Sunday, September 26, 2010

10 Pairs of shoes!

My closets are empty, bureau drawers, too. I have stuffed a great deal into the motor home ... hoping that the increased storage in the newer one will prove adequate. I am heading to a life where I will basically need 2 pairs of jeans and 4 shirts. Good Lord. The tough part was limiting myself in the shoe department. I managed to whittle my shoe department to 10 pairs ... and that is including slippers and flip flops! I lined up over 50 pairs of shoes and began the purge. Lots went to Goodwill with no second thoughts. Others I had to really force myself to part with ... and a few are going into storage because I can't bear to give up my deerskin Cole Hahn slingbacks with the adorable tassels and gold trim or the chocolate brown suede Stuart Weitzman pumps with the buckles or the cute little brown faux crocodile slings with the saucy tassels and the square toe. They will wait for me in storage ... quietly maintaining their loveliness until the day I can haul them out and we can dance together. Sigh.

We will begin sleeping in the driveway tomorrow, I think. It is all coming down to the end. I can't let my mind go to the image of closing the door ... leaving the drive ... leaving the street for the last time. I just can't go there. I need to get started, get away, get the image of these empty rooms out of my head. I know I will cry. I don't want to cry. I know I will cry.

P.S. cute faux crocodile slings went to friend Barbara ... I will happily imagine her dancing around her office in them!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Going to the moon ...

Good neighbor Larry came over the other night ... walked through the yard with a beer in his hand and all choked up. He needed to talk to us, he said. Larry is one of the good guys. He is a sweet, sweet man with a huge heart who is a ferocious defender of his family and a guy who would go to the wall for a friend. We will miss him when we head out.

He was in his back yard, grilling a steak, when he looked up and saw the absence of furniture in our house through the window. He said it just hit him that we were going to be gone. He took the time to walk over and let us know that we would be missed. And he was choked up and so sincere and it was such a gift to us that he took the time to let us know what was in his heart. We were almost crying right in front of him.

One thing that neighbor Larry said just made me look at our adventure a little bit differently. He said,"I know you guys are doing the right thing for you. But ... but ... I could NEVER do what you guys are doing! You guys are ... you guys are going to the MOON, man! I could never go to the moon!!" That just made me stop and think about the way other people may perceive our change in lifestyle. I guess we are really doing something that many people would consider as crazy as going to the moon. We are giving up almost everything we have tried desperately to accumulate in the past 25 years ... and do something that we have only an inkling of experience with. The astronauts had a lot of science and technology behind them, but when the first rocket ship took off, they were taking a leap of faith. And faith means that when you come to the end of all that you know, and you leap off into the unknown, you have faith that you will find a soft place to fall. Now ... it is truly a stretch to compare our little effort of living full time in a motor home with the first astronauts ... but in our own little way it truly is like going to the moon! I'm really going to the moon!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Another sleepless night....

Last night was another one of those "white nights", where I really try to get drowsy and not let my mind stray to the kind of thoughts that keep me awake ... but once you get started, sleep is a lost cause. There are all the little tasks that are waiting for me to discipline myself to complete. I review drawers and piles in my head and stress about the minute contents that used to have purpose and meaning ... but now do not. Why is it that I can't just discard this stuff with abandon?? It is all silly stuff. I DO NOT need to keep it. Am I a hoarder?? Do I have OCD?? I just have to remind myself how easy it will be to replace anything I need. It is just hard when you know the "back story".

Take the old, black phone, for instance. Andy was really very good for me. He gently talked me into throwing out the telephone that came from the house I grew up in. A wonderful, heavy duty, rotary dial phone! Big, loud bell! Great innards that would probably be a fine thing for Jeff to have at some point, as they have pretty decent sound quality. The phone that helped me communicate during High School ... it has the echoes of all the conversations between my mother and grandmother and aunts. It heard me tell my mother that I needed her and relayed her advice when my kids were sick. I used it to call the family when she finally slipped away after slowly being suffocated by lung cancer. A lot of my life went through that instrument.

BUT, as my son pointed out, when we finally come to the point of emptying our storage, it will be one of those things that have us scratching our heads about why we kept it. I had to listen to his sane observations and I followed instructions and gave it up. It was the right thing to do. I will have those memories, even if I no longer have the phone.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Home Stretch ...

We are really on the home stretch, now. Some rooms are completely empty and others are very nearly so. Then there are the rooms with piles of clutter and debris that I have yet to sort through and make sense of. I am running out of gas. But it will be fine.

Son Andrew came in from Colorado to lend a hand for a week. It has been better than I can say to have him here and spend time with him. He has helped us get a good bit accomplished, and the muscle is really nice. We will be taking more things to son Gordon, tomorrow, and look forward to his energy and strong back on the 25th ... a final push to get things into storage. We have given more furniture away to friends and sold a piece or two. I am happy to know that my grandparent's things are going to people that I love ... I wanted them to stay in the family!

I will be moving into the motor home (in the driveway) by the middle of next week. We should spend just enough time in it that the newer on will seem luxurious when we finally occupy it. I am looking forward to a smaller, more ordered life. I think I can achieve that when I have fewer things to deal with. I don't want to be pulled in so many directions. but ... as I go through all the "archives" of photos and mementos and memories, I am already creating projects for myself. Sort these later, make these scrapbooks later, document this vacation later. Maybe it will all get done ... maybe not. I have 3 generations of faces to label and organize for my sons and their progeny. I hope I get around to it!

I WILL get around to it. It's just that first I need to travel and see lots more stuff that I can then tell them all about.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

On this day .....

September 11, 2010. I have the television on and can not keep from watching the History Channel and it's footage of the events of 9 years ago. It is one of "those days", where you will always remember where you were and what you were doing and who you called.
Like the day President Kennedy was killed in Dallas. Then I was in Jr. High, and a hall monitor. I was holding a door open in preparation for the changing of classes. I blurted out what I had been told to a teacher passing by. She didn't believe me and told me that I should never make up a terrible thing like that. Immediately, another teacher came up and confirmed what I had said. They went off together and never spoke to me. I have always been angry that Mrs. Yeaw didn't believe me and never apologized.
On September 11, 2001 I was watching the Today Show and listening to Matt Lauer interview some guy who had written a book. I have no idea what the book was about, but they broke into his interview to cover the breaking news that a plane had hit the South Tower. There was some speculation that it was an accident, but I picked up the phone and called my son Gordon, working for Exxon Mobil, to tell him that New York had been attacked. For some reason, I just knew it was no accident. I just thought of how near he was to refineries in Jersey and I felt that he needed to be warned. I was sure that if this country was under attack, they would bomb refineries near the coast.
I could not tear myself from the television for the rest of the day. I could not bear to watch, but I could not look away. I can not look at the night sky ... ever ... without remembering what it was like to see no planes in the sky at night. I thought so just last night, as I was outside enjoying the wind in the trees before bed, and watched the blinking lights in the heavens.
The whole world changed that day, even if it wasn't immediately clear to every citizen of the Earth. We are all different now. There is no going back. I only hope that some day, some how and way peaceful people can prevail on this planet.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What goes next?

Jeff left for Nacogdoches yesterday, to check out the new (to us) coach and be present for the independent inspection. We don't want to fall in love with it until it has been thoroughly gone over. The seller and his wife are very good people .. but any used vehicle is a crap shoot and worth having a detailed look. I was a tad worried about Jeff flying right into the tropical storm that was dumping all kinds of rain on Houston, but all is well. He is stuffing his brain with all sorts of info, negotiating small repairs and talking to people about our coach. He is a tired boy, but I will bet he is glad to be away from the nonsense of packing the house. I'll be glad to have him home tomorrow.

I spent time sorting more photos, packing fragile things, gradually clearing rooms of all the special things that I will be happy to unpack when we finally have another home some day. I think it will feel good to be streamlined. Some days I can just blow through items and never think twice. Other days are harder. I am feeling as though there will be times when I think of something I can no longer put my hands on and feel a real pang of loss. Like a phantom limb syndrome ... still feeling the sensation of a hand or leg or foot that is no longer there. I will truly miss a great many things about this "life" we have been living. We have been very fortunate.

Had dinner with Larry & Patti, next door. They are so great and funny and kind. I will certainly miss being able to run next door and hang out with them. They are always ready to pitch in and help with anything we need at any given moment. I will miss them like crazy.

Andy will be coming in less than a week. I have not seen my son in almost 2 years. Too long. I can't wait to put my arms around him. Long day, today ... long one tomorrow. I need bed.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Hard Weekend.

After a lot of preparatory work, we had a 2 day moving/yard/garage sale. The very roomy driveway was filled. All 6 tables that we rented were loaded, shelving units were filled. Well before the starting time, folks started to arrive. Our neighbors had joined us in the effort and we all wanted to feel lighter and have our things go off to new owners. I have to say that I will be happy to NEVER have another sale. What a lot of work!! But, sell we did ... and then give and donate and laugh and sell some more.

I was surprised that I felt very little attachment to the objects I decided to jettison. Years ago, I would have packed every last item and wanted to move it with me. But I have worked to really embrace this notion of radically changing our lives and moving on to something completely different. Scary, unsettling, daunting, exhausting. A real roller coaster ride, emotionally. I have spent a long time trying to hold on to things and places. Now I am purposefully setting them all aside for something largely unknown.

Our son and his family came to spend time with us today. One of the hardest things for me has been letting go of the visions in my head of all the times I would have with my grand kids in this house. I look across the hall in the middle of the night from my bed, and think about the fact that Anna & Owen will not be spending the night with us any more. Maddy & Brody will not be here for a visit. We have had the last session of them coming to decorate Nana's Christmas tree and bake cookies for Christmas. No more weekends in the spring to come and dig worms in the garden and go fishing with Poppop. No more movies with popcorn snuggled on the living room floor. I will miss those sweet times.

What I have to keep my mind focused on instead, are the places we will be seeing and telling them about, the visits we will have when they join us on the road, the easy Skype visits that let us see and hear them and the joy of wrapping my arms around them when we get back together. We have grandkids in 3 states ... we can circle around and see them on a regular basis, pick one kid from each family to travel with us for a bit in the summer and help them get to know their cousins better while avoiding sibling squabbles. Moms and Dads can join us in state and National parks and we can all have adventures together. THAT is what I have to keep focused on ... the future and how joyous we can make it and the memories we can make.

Jeff leaves Tuesday to go to Texas and check out another coach we are looking at. If all goes well, we will put the plans in place to upgrade and enlarge our living space for our full time adventure. I am well along in the process of saying good bye to this wonderful old home that I have loved so much. I keep thinking about a line in the movie "Eat Pray Love", that I went to see with my friend last night. In her journey, Liz learned to embrace the Italian idea of enjoying life by savoring "la dolce far niente" ... the sweetness of doing nothing. We need a lot of that to mend our exhaustion after all the work of this move to freedom. It has been a hard weekend ... but it was another step in the process we have started. More steps ahead. Stay tuned.