So here be I on Saint Paddy’s Day, part Irish somewhere, laughing and sniffing by turns, in the midst of accepting an offer to buy my house.
If this offer doesn’t work out, soon enough there’ll be another.
There is much that could go right… and wrong… in the weeks ahead, but should this man get his mortgage I will be saying goodbye to my home of over six years on May 5. Bidding farewell to my nearly lifelong state of owning homes to living in small apartments owned by big corporations.
I’m finding this to be a lot for my poor little senior years spirit to go through. Glad and relieved I’ll be to no longer have only myself to turn to when the roof leaks or a pipe bursts inside a wall. Nonetheless I am still that rebellious teenager of the 1960s who finds it easy to resent big developers who scarfed up foreclosed homes for pennies on the dollar in the recent Depression to resell for fat profits, who plastered cities with so many cookie cutter apartment complexes, to rent to the folks who lost everything those few years ago.
A simplistic sort of resentment of the ways of capitalism, yes, but heartfelt nevertheless. And I didn’t lose everything, merely half the value of my current home.
There’s no way to go forward without flying over it, and this is my testament to working on that.
Looking through the six rooms (plus laundry/utility area and two baths) and enormous garage, the back patio and yard stuff, I am, at present, feeling stunned and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of STUFF that I must be disposing of as rapidly as strong goodwill and feeble muscle power can wrestle it out the door. Well — initiate sales for other people to cart it away.
What a time for my things to begin radiating memories, comfort, grounded-ness about who I am, where I’ve been.
Say what? How sorry a thing, to learn that your furniture is defining you?
Starting a load of wash this morning I discovered tears running down my face as I stood in front of the familiar white machines. The ones that don’t need quarters to get them going, the way washers and dryers in apartment complexes, such as where I will be going, require.
There’s the solid pine cupboard I had made back in Massachusetts some 30 years ago, that I am about to put on Craigslist. It’s developed funky hinges on the door, which I can’t fix myself. Thus it’s the first candidate up for sale. Unintentionally, when I look at it now I recall my mother and Terry, her carpenter friend, and there comes a powerful sense that it’s impossible to find such solid wood furniture easily now, or to afford it if you do.
I find myself wanting to lean my head against the warm pine boards and hug it. And no, hugging furniture isn’t something I’ve done before — but that lovely old wood calls out to me…
And what the heck do I do with all the things that have been inside it? Jam them into the stacks and heaps of boxes that contain things packed when I almost sold the house two years ago? Since then I’ve mostly forgotten what’s in there.
Two ancient trunks are stuffed high and heavy with old family papers, letters, photographs, graduation certificates and college degrees. Bookshelves stand in the living room. My daughter, before going off to college, emptied out her bank account to buy them for us at a time when we really needed to redo, lighten up, our previous house.
And the books that fill them… The last time I tried to sell my house I donated more than a pickup truck full of books to the local library, saving back only books that I truly love. Now some of those must go, too. However to make these decisions?
Venerable tables and dressers my dad refinished after he retired from one business and began another, with antiques. On and on.
The goal is to fit as little as can be into the smallest rental truck we can come up with for the trek across New Mexico, Nevada and up through California — with two small dogs and their belongings stuffed in there somewhere, leashes just about permanently attached to their collars.
There’s so little to protect two dogs not accustomed to confinement or leash walking. When the truck door opens it will be quite a project for semi-mobile me to ensure that they don’t bolt out ahead of me.
However will they, and I, adjust to having no convenient dog door into a large, safe backyard? Add practicing well behaved leash walking to the list of to-dos for the next few weeks.
This place, the small city in which my home stands, has become increasingly lonely for me, and that’s where the desire to be close to my daughter took root. I’m old enough, my physical condition has become precarious enough, to believe this new adventure is exactly what’s needed to renew my excitement about life — as a person who primarily goes out and does things rather than mostly hangs around home, taking care of all these things that surround me. Me, the curator of a family collection of old furniture, wood carvings from my artistic days, good books and a nice little dog door.
It’s just not me.
I’ve come to see the next part of my future as just right in a Silicon Valley city, with a large Baha’i community, surrounded by the diverse population I recall from my previous years a bit further south in California. Spots like Yellowstone and Tahoe to visit. To be where so many important tech outfits have of late been going through watershed moments. Will Yahoo survive? What’s up with Alphabet, really?
What’ll it be like if the city of San Francisco, now irked a bit by all the techies who’ve taken over the city, manages to shove some of them out? Can apartment rents in the Silicon Valley possibly get any higher before people start sleeping in cars or under their desks at Google?
What’ll it be like to roll my wheelchair along city sidewalks, dodging driverless cars now and then in crossing streets? To live not far from an ocean once again?
The mystery, of course, is how a woman whose income is from Social Security can possibly afford this new place. There’s the feeling that I will be reverting to that familiar old 1960s sense that communes are sensible places to live, perhaps going from having a family-sized house and yard all to two small dogs and myself to said small dogs and me sharing a two-bedroom box with several roomies. Wrestling ourselves and leashes in and out a few times a day for exercise, fresh air and potty patrols.
The plan is to live with my daughter, for a while at least, and go from there.
I have to admit that there is something about not knowing how things will turn out that appeals to me at some level. Entropy is the force of creativity, yes? Opens doors to new ways of being.
So, as writer Tom Ryan likes to say no matter whatever he and his mountain climbing mini Schnauzer, Atticus Finch, are facing: “Onward, by all means!” … Right now both are ailing, I find upon consulting the Following Atticus Facebook page. They need your prayers.
And: “Act as though things will go well, and they tend to do that.” ~Me