To say this has been terrible would be an insensitive comparison to the real trials of life: death, tragedy, loss. After all, at this moment we are on a quest for dirt, right? This is a happy time. But it hasn’t been. It’s been hard. Unexpected things appeared, namely some pretty major water damage on the rental house. This led to shaken trust, hurt feelings, hundreds of heated discussions, and repeated thoughts of walking away from the whole thing. Basically the beautiful fantasy was wiped away and replaced with muddled garbage. No peace; no security. Fear. Continue reading “Finally (Almost) There”
The key to my freedom lies within me. Intellectually, I know this yet I’ve not been able to grasp the concept in the practical sense. I’ve blamed my upbringing. I’ve blamed my mother. I’ve identified the bane of my existence and I’ve named it: Guilt. It’s my go-to emotion. Anger ends in guilt. Good fortune ends in guilt. Elation can even end in guilt because it oftentimes travels through asinine behavior before it’s through.
I can try and explain the rationale behind what I’m about to declare, but the attempt will surely diminish it. It will be more of the same reasoning and self-validation that has been confusing me and leading me back to zero for about ten months now. So what I believe to be the secret to my personal freedom I will simply state:
I’m going to quit trying to be a good guy. It’s not who I am. It doesn’t fit.
Grasp that concept, baby. Neutral is the ocean. Sometimes nurturing, sometimes destructive. Existence is pure. Nature is pure. Imperfection is pure. Life doesn’t stop to question itself. Its rhythm is not good or bad. It just is.
Let me be like that.
This journey is getting boring and worse. Waiting. Complications. Money out. Negotiations. Fear. Conspiracy theories. Taking offense. Blah blah blah.
Where the hell is the peaceful zenlike oasis? Is there light at the end of this tunnel?
“Someone please tell me it’s not a train”
Yeah, I know. I’m supposed to rip out these old cabinets and install granite and stainless. Well I’m not doing that. Those cabinets are in beautiful shape and are cool, especially that little decorative thing over the window. I do want to change out the floor, I think, but to something convincingly retro. And some kind of fun backsplash needs to happen. Guess what I saw on Craigslist for $125? An avocado stove that looks and works great, according to the poster. (Probably will save appliances for last touches, if at all.) But either way, this kitchen is going to rock. Hot tub time machine, here we come!
Can we just be done with the inspections and especially the findings already? The water damage is real, possibly extensive. This is on the rental house only, due to cheap leaky skylights in a very nice expensive metal roof. And because the rental is an efficient “earth house”, it is half buried into the ground…which is damp. So, Gordon ordered a termite inspection. And threw in a radon inspection. After all, our current house just underwent a radon inspection, so it must be a sign. Signs. Not my favorite things, unless they point me in a happy direction.
Then we got the inspection report for the home we’re selling with ninety million fix-me requests attached. Some legitimate: You want your roof to be fully functional, even if the “dysfunction” was a single shingle overlapping in the wrong direction. Some not so legitimate: The bath tub’s slow drain hasn’t bothered me for five years and Are your children really going to climb up the stove and tip it over? Some downright wrong: No, just no, you never fully drain a pool that has a liner, and for moderately high cyanuric acid? Come on!
Needless to say we were a bit stressed and overwhelmed yesterday. Just have to wait for the official reports back on the new place and address the things on our house without spending a ton.
Pecans, persimmons, pears, apples, muscadines, and one scraggly little peach tree occupy the property. Mr. C. walked us all around today, identifying so many plants, pointing out where the invisible fence line is (surrounding an impressive 3 acres or so), and giving us what felt like an orientation as he was handing over the keys to the kingdom. This was a home, built, maintained and nourished by one family for forty years. Mr. C. had a quick step and a glow about him as he told stories about the goats they used to have, and mischievously encouraged Eddie and I to bite into a green, mouth-puckering persimmon. Mrs. C greeted Gordon with an embracing handshake and me with a pair of lovely mangoes grown at their new subtropical home. She showed me a picture of their mango tree, the large ripening fruit cleverly covered with socks to discourage grazing squirrels. She told us how they’d been praying that it would be a family to buy their place.
Today, there with the people whose home it actually is, the land felt more mine than it had before.
Now I’m alone in bed worrying. About the busy road and whether we can figure out where the invisible fence line is so we can put up some actual fence to keep Silas safe. About the renters’ tight budget and whether I can stand to have people there at all and whether we could survive without them. About the house and the strange layout and what flooring we should use and the musty smell and how much time I’ll have to clean before we move in.
Gordon isn’t feeling so hot either. He’s been pretty grouchy and has opted to spend the night on a thin mattress in the bonus room, hoping that will give him a better chance at sleep than last night in our bed. Our bed was bought as a temporary fix. Cheap and bouncy and too small, with the tendency to make a restless night snowball into a vicious cycle when occupied by two people.
All day I read about chickens and coops and tree houses and bees and flooring, and golden retrievers versus labs but it wasn’t fun. It was worrisome. So many challenges to overcome that haven’t even begun to begin yet. Gordon showed me pictures of manly vehicles that he is certain we will need, and dollar signs kept flashing up behind my eyes.
Eddie has been obsessing over the idea of building his own super gaming computer, and when he’s not holed up in his room window shopping online, he’s holed up in his room playing Minecraft online. At least he’s doing that with buddies. I’m worried about him too. A lot. He is changing schools because of this dream. He did go swimming today so that is something. I should have gone with him.
And then, lying here, I tried to take this alone time to pray and maybe reach out to my mother. But instead I just frettted more until I reached pre-panic grade anxiety. My mother has been gone from me lately. I’m not sure if she’s gone for good now, or not. But I miss her. I miss her a lot right now and I’ve missed her for a long time even before she died, but I’m sick of saying and thinking that. I don’t want to feel sorry for myself anymore, but I still can’t connect the dots on a path away from there. Maybe I should just leave that last part off. I miss her a lot right now. Period. Maybe there is no path away from those words except to stop saying them. I miss my mom right now. I want to make a garden for her. I told her before she died that I wanted to make a crying garden wherever our new house was and asked for the painted rock she made when she was young. In this garden, you can plant your pain into the ground and have it turn into something beautiful.
She said I could take the rock and then tried to get me to take some books. I told her that I would later because I couldn’t take them this time on the plane. I’d be back again next month to see her. That was April. I was scheduled to go out around May 10th or something. But she left us May 2nd. Then I took the rock and the books and her essential oils and her sweater and her Harry Potter dolls and her tarot cards and a few pairs of earrings and a few pictures and some things she wrote and her resume and cover letter when she applied for the nursing job she did for 24 years and some of her creams and vitamins and things. Going through her room was depressingly insightful to the absolute medical void her life had become. I kept opening boxes and things, hoping to find some sort of memory-filled treasure and instead found prescriptions or ankle wraps or ointments. It made me feel ashamed. For not being there more; for being disappointed in her disinterest in me. She had no interest in anything probably. I should have been able to understand that.
And now it’s one a.m. When I wake up, things will be better. It will be time to breathe in the air around me and breathe out my expectations. Everything will come together as it should. Tomorrow I need to stay off the internet and out of books and go outside with the boys. Maybe take them somewhere. Maybe Gordon would like to do the same.
Now I will close my eyes and whisper out to my mom and maybe she will visit me in my dreams.
So strange how limbo is. Of course the house is not yet ours. But in my private thoughts, it’s mine and it’s wonderful. Today, however, walking around with the realtor-cousin, it felt so much theirs.
She made sure to tell the boys not to go downstairs on their own and to not touch anything in the workshop. She followed us to the pond. She told me not to talk to the renter until both deals had gone through because he will leave if he has to pay more than $800/month. And we should therefore be ready to back off the idea of raising his rent. Then she told us not to go into the woods without wearing long pants.
Tagging things was unnecessary and pretty much impossible. There was an old record player that I liked, but realtor-cousin said it was probably sentimental and they’d likely take it (or she would). The tools, in my humble opinion, were just a hodgepodge of metal, plastic, and wooden jibberish that could probably just be moved into a dumpster. We ended up tagging a single desk and agreeing that the owners could just leave what they didn’t feel like moving and we would take care of it. We also said that if they forgot anything they did want, that we would save it for them.
Now my dream feels laden with ghosts and responsibility. It isn’t really though. I know that. I will wriggle into this life like a earthworm claiming its damp comfort. It will just take a bit of time.
A Dream Coming True
I don’t know how to get there. Not without navigation. My new home. How often have I pulled up Google maps and looked at its satellite view and then clicked over to the old (current) neighborhood? How many times have I tried to zoom out just right to compare the size of the land and approximate distance from other humans?
It may not be vast if you come from old landowner stock. Or if you live in Wyoming. But for us, it’s amazing.