Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Moving. Again.

Our big move is just a little over two weeks away. My mood lately has been increasingly irritated and tense. It occurred to me tonight that this may have something to do with the upheaval of the last seven months of our lives. Since the great Flooding of the Kitchen last October, we have been in an almost constant state of transition and unsettlement. The kitchen remodel had only been finished (well, mostly finished) for a few weeks, we'd only just fully moved back in on top of the new floor, when the job offer came in from Lynchburg. So we've basically spent the last seven months moving out, back in, and back out again. It's starting to take its toll. I feel homeless again. And even though I know it's only temporary, I also know I"m staring at another month, maybe two of this. More like three, if you count the final move from apartment into (dream) house (hopefully!) and the settling there. That brings the final count to nearly a full year of moving. Out, in, out again, into apartment, out, into house, *sigh*

We will celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary in the middle of all that in and out. Fourteen years of wedding bliss. Fourteen years of moving in, out, in, and out again. By the time we settle in L-burg it will be a grand total of eight moves. Nine, if you count the in-and-out of the flooding/remodel. I know you military people can beat that handily, but for us average folks, that's a lot of upheaval. That's nine times of examining every item we own, weighing it's worth-- it's value-- and deciding; pack, or toss? Is this thing enough Mine to warrant space in a truck? Is this piece of Me/Us vital to our identity? Will it help make the next house a home? Or is it just stuff? Easily replaceable from a yard sale table, a rack at Goodwill, someone's trash bin?

In some ways the weighing of myself, again and again, is cathartic, freeing. I realize, again and again, that I am not, we are not, the sum of our stuff. My identity is bound up in my People, not my personal items. That's good. On the other hand, I'm beginning to feel a little too light, I think.  There was a story from my childhood about a princess who was too light. She never took anything seriously, everything made her laugh and it wasn't until she loved something other than herself and lost it, that she regained the gravity necessary for life. I'm beginning to wonder if this lightness of grasp on my stuff is somehow morphing into a restlessness of spirit that will lead to carelessness. A light grasp is a good thing, until it begins to allow important things to slip from one's hands. A healthy tree needs deep roots. Perhaps in the black dirt/red clay of Virginia, mine will begin to grow again...

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Jamie my Jo

For each kid I've set up a photoshoot in the few months before they turn five. They're my "Farewell to Babyhood" pictures. I have a set of matching frames that hang together where I can see and remember each child in that precious moment where they hung on the edge between babyhood and childhood. Here's the highlights from Jamie's set this week. I have to choose just three ;) Wish me luck!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Good-bye, House...

In an awesome twist of fate or providence, one year later I return to say that this Florida house, with which I had finally made my peace, is now for sale and we are returning home to the mountains, the black dirt/red clay, the peonies, roses and hostas.  We will leave the yard and tree branches echoing with the laughter and conversation of our tropical family to another homeless wanderer. Perhaps the lingering ghosts of the joy we have found and felt will comfort and delight the next occupants. I know the memories we take with us will occupy a secret melancholy place in our hearts. I will plant red geraniums beside my gladiolus and never forget my Florida home.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The post I've spent a week not publishing because I wanted to find and upload some pictures....

(...aaaand now you see why i never post any more...)

Easter is over. My house and I breathe a conflicted sigh of relief and regret. We have been stretched to the breaking point these last few days-- full of laughter, activity and rich food. We now both rest in silence and remember the joy of the last 24 hours. It is a comfortable, easy silence, but we have not always been in such harmony, this house and I.

When we first met, I was still post-partum, breastfeeding, lonely and homeless. Not house-less, but Homeless. I yearned for my little rose-covered cottage and my cozy Small-town Southern life.

I was dazed from a long progression of low-slung block houses, wrought-iron barred windows, bright green swimming pools (some complete with families of tadpoles) and terra-cotta roof tiles.

The house search had not been kind to me. Nary a white columned front porch, picket fence, or rose arbor had I seen. Second story dormers are scarce in Orlando. Claw-foot tubs and farm sinks even scarcer. The suburbs of this city rose out of the swamps in the 80s when popcorn ceilings, florescent lighting and patterned linoleum reigned supreme.

When I first met this house, I saw not what she was, but what I thought I would make of her.

I saw the magnolia tree, but I saw it ringed with hostas. I saw the live oaks towering over a lush green yard rimmed by flower beds full of gladiolas, tulips, camellias and crocuses-- not fireant hills, aloes, pineapples and palmettos. In my mind's eye, the living room ceiling held rough-hewn beams and cozy-cushioned Adirondack chairs ringed the pool deck.

We bought the house and I waded into the warfare with a will. But I reckoned not with the force of the hundreds of years of being Not Virginia. This house has a mind of her own. She will not be made a cottage. She fought back. Her obdurate tropical foreignness resisting my attempts to re-establish the familiar Southern shabby chic ambiance of my former life, her very soil rejecting my gladiolas, tulips, camellias and crocuses. Here there be no English Tea Gardens. Here grow cacti, hibiscus, bananas and palms.

But today as I sit in my pajamas, recuperating from The Party Of The Year, I suddenly realize that over the last three years, we have reached a tentative peace, this house and I. We have formed a tentative alliance. I have not been allowed roses, but she has given me bright red geraniums.

There are no rough-hewn beams or Adirondack chairs, but she has given me pineapples, gardenias and a water slide and the back yard is strewn with confetti and egg shells, and the live oak branches echo with the laughter of friends and many children.

I do not know if this is the house where J and I will grow old, where our grandchildren will visit us and we will "retire", with the puttering and the sleeping late that we always joke about, but don't really believe will ever happen. But I do think we are no longer Homeless.