Me: I’m selling my Austin House. Kinda sad.
Todd: Ah I remember that house fondly, as my breakup regrouping house.
Me: You housesat right after the breakup? I do remember you and my pets got tight.
Todd: Hanging out alone with your pets, in that fast-fooded part of town…

Closing on the house, 2007.

Eleven years ago, I was 25 years old and new to Austin. I used to eat lunch almost every day with fellow reporter/wise sage John Moritz, then of the Fort Worth Star Telegram‘s Capitol bureau. John became one of my best friends, trusted advisors, birthday-party-cohost, and the forever parent to a foster kitten we took in, Miguel.

What I remember about that time in my life was my mom was really on me about adulting and suggested I do so by buying a small house. I mentioned this to John at one of our lunches, probably at the Texas Chili Parlor, which has a delicious cheeseburger salad.

He goes, “Do you want to buy mine?” He proceeded to tell me some things about it — four bedrooms, open layout, huge backyard that he watered by hand each day after work. It sounded great to me, and I have a tendency toward the impulsive decision or two, so John never even put the house on the market. A few weeks later we signed the papers, closing the deal.

I love that house and kept it for the past decade, as a slum landlord.

It goes on the market this week or next, because it’s proven to be an excellent investment and because property taxes in Texas are super-high and I don’t want to pay them anymore.

I will miss you, house. You were my first big purchase, a symbol of the start of a weird, wily time they call adulthood. You passed hands from friend-to-friend, hosted lots of weenie roasts, were briefly home to my hot-bodded roommate Jarrod (who was into bears and introduced me to my favorite subset of gay, bears), and after I moved away, home to a series of my photographer friends who became my tenants. Friend Scott grew watermelons in the backyard and even raised some hens. A fertile house, indeed.

Today, it’s empty.