Dearly Beloveds. It’s been a while. Are you there? I am here (what is Here, anyway? It’s just There without a “T”).
This post marks the end of the longest lapse
this blog has suffered since I renamed it a year and a half ago. Actually, I don’t know that the blog literally suffered; it is, after all, only as sentient as a trifling aggregation of ones and ciphers can be, strung invisibly together in the netherland betwixt Time and Space. And if you managed to make sense of that last sentence…no, wait, if you even bothered to read all the way through that last sentence, you must have really, really missed me. I’ve missed you too. But. While I’ve missed you, dearly beloveds, I am still ok, it turns out. Ok and present. Call out the roll and I’ll pipe up: “Here!”
You might ask where I’ve been? And what I’ve been up to? If you were actually Here, in person (rather than There, anonymously online), I would grab your hands and waltz you into my miniscule living room, plunk you down on my rapidly-becoming-shabby couch, grab us a couple of banana muffins, and tell you. You would not be able to shut me up. But (sadly) we aren’t Here together; you’re reading this from a safe and austere distance. I sit on my declining couch alone with my laptop. At least fundamentally educated about blog decorum and prudence, I will edit.
(Thankfully I’m a woman and impossibilities lie well within my purview. Plus, I know about bullets. And synopsii. Also I can make up words.)
Okay, I don’t know how to do bullets. And I hate editing my own words. But I can write lists.
Where I’ve Been
A) During my blog lapse, I studied (in their natural habitat) realtors . Also home buyers. Informed by experience and observation, my understanding of the realty world became profound, my opinions more pungent. I would love to share; I have an awful lot to say. But not now. I ‘m editing, after all.
2) Also in the last three months, as winter waned and spring sprung, I sewed a bit. Sometimes with a friend (thanks for the inspirational visit, Steph). Most of my own projects were a bust, but one, a stretchy black velvet dress designed and sewn entirely by me, became necessarily metaphorical. If only for me. A landmark in a bittersweet, uncertain era. I call it my Madame X dress. I wore it on Valentine’s Day.
3) Now, it is spring, when my thoughts usually become consumed by things horticultural and floral, but I have no idea whether my garden is in sync with the rest of the greening world or not, because ….WE SOLD OUR HOUSE!!! (you noticed the foreshadowing in A?). The garden went with it. It is no longer mine. Some of it has already been covered by concrete…the new owners must have experienced some consternation at the former vintage style carriage path (where a narrow swath of grass lies neatly between two concrete tire paths). And though I enthusiastically offered, the new mistress of the property (we’re calling it The Lake House, now that it’s a figment of our imaginative past) hasn’t called yet for me to help prune her lavender, or dispel the mystery of her seedlings (are they weeds? or baby penstomens, malvas, lavender, salvia….?). I’m thinking she may never. Perhaps that’s best…at least for me. Lest I look back a little too longingly. And turn to salt.
D) Also (and this would be obvious and almost not worth mentioning except it was so Epic), WE MOVED. Into a rented townhouse, presumably so we could build another house on a lot we bought with almost all the money we made on the Lakehouse sale. Which land purchase also happened during the last three months. The rental is tiny, roughly 1/3 the Lakehouse in size. But cosy.
E) I really, really dislike moving. I would say hate, but hate is a bitter word, so I won’t. Lest it catch me and I wander into frostbitten tangents or tangled deeps. But I will emphasize again how seriously and emphatically I don’t like moving. It’s stressful. Unnerving. Packing, unpacking, new routines, the unknown, adapting and regrouping…. neighborhood friends too far away to see on a whim…the necessity of endless driving to get kids to school and lessons and other familiar territories. Trying to muster up the courage to introduce them (and myself) into the unknown.
But. For the sake of streamlined conversation, I’ll just address packing here. Establishing hierarchies between the negligible, the necessary, and the apocalyptically priceless. Getting lost in detail. What to store? What to take? Why do we even have so much stuff? The deceptively easy first few days of packing, where I’m lulled into believing that it’s therapeutic, a perfect opportunity to de-junk. Which innocuous beginning feeds into a never ending flood of unclassifiable but un-relinquishable detritus , where I’m forced to admit we’re all hoarders, each and every one of us. Exhaustive and exhausting crazy making. Triggering within my soul a manic fixation on monasteries, nunneries…asylums. I envisioned living possession-less and naked in a quiet warm place who knows where. New Guinea? A Pacific Isle? Or the Northwest. Except I’d miss my children, who would probably be permanently scarred if they had to live with a naked me. Frank might not mind, though he’d probably mourn the mystery that Madame X dresses lend. But I digress.
5) Frank has had four cold sores in less than eight weeks. Cold sores, for him, are sure signs of deep stress. The sort of stress he experiences when he loses a job. Or proposes marriage. Meanwhile, my fingernails have become even groovier. Literally. The ridges running vertically from cuticle to tip split out sometimes, like old barn wood. This is also a sign of stress. Or incurable disease. Or both.
And yet (Miraculously), the kids seem content. Ezra (who just learned that he will be attending a new high school next year, thanks to his parents’ choice to sell their comfortable lovely home and build another smaller one a few miles away) likes that we’re forced to breathe the same air as we stack ourselves on the one couch that fits our rental, just three feet behind the kitchen table. Which is generous of him, considering that we also shared a vicious strain of the flu these last few weeks. He equates our close proximity to a more heightened emotional closeness…and I think he’s right.
Looking Forward, from Here to There
We sold The Lakehouse and moved into a tiny space so we could build another house with another name…one that would hold less detritus and cost less cold sores. This was the reason for our madness, I keep reminding myself. And we are on it. Proof:
Z) I’ve drawn up a house plan (something else I worked on during the lapse). Simple, classic yet modern, smallish yet psychologically spacious. Cross my fingers blow fairydust hold my breath beautiful. I’ve given my dream child (with Frank’s input and careful computer plotting–no small doorways or tiny closets) to the engineers, who’ll make it legal and logical. We get to preview the preliminary tomorrow. And then we wait a few more weeks to begin, as we pursue permits, estimates, materials (lately, I’m fantasizing about a revamped antique range). Hoping that we don’t use all our savings on gas as we run kids to and from and to and from and to and from. And, dearly beloveds, I’m eager to tell you about it all…the bright future and the wanky present.