Moving, Part II
I’m facing scenes like the above every day. And you’re looking at stuff that isn’t coming to the new place.
At times, I drift around the house, scanning shelves and closets, wondering how to make less, and where it’s going to go. It’s an overwhelming task.
But angels have appeared.
There’s the couple, handyman extraordinaire and his landscaper wife, who have painted and repaired and planted.
There’s the good-natured man who came to pick up scrap metal, and has been back to take loads to the dump, and drive heavy machinery to the storage unit.
There are the T-bird aficionados in North Carolina, who delight in relieving us of car and car parts.
And the friends who shlep bins to the storage unit, and others who offer to pack us up for moving day.
And of course, husband Pat, who lifts and carries and solves problems.
So even though the children are far away, three in Australia, and four in Vienna this Thanksgiving, I find much to be thankful for.
Anybody need some gardening tools?
Let’s meet at midnight, in midsummer,
At the table at the end of the platform.
I will be wearing a yellow beret and sporting a briar cane.
You will be wearing a blue vest and a skirt that twirls.
You will tell me in your fluent French
That you are tired of being ambivalent.
I will remove a gold ring from my toe
And mispronounce the words J’t’aime.”
You will say the French word for “maybe.”
I will show you the key to my room in a small hotel nearby.
You will thread it to the chain around your neck.
I will leave a ridiculous number of francs on the table,
And we will teeter off down the cobblestone street.
Meanwhile, Van Gogh, behind his easel, is finishing his painting.
“What happened to the couple in the foreground?” he thinks.
“I hope they’re as happy as lovers can be.
Meanwhile, their blue and yellow are just right for stars.”
— Michael Lopes
for Kim, 2001
It’s only mid-November, and the back deck is piling up. I look out the kitchen door, thinking, “This will be the last winter I see this view.”
It’s sad, and yet it’s a great relief. In our new residence, we’ll also have a big glass door that opens onto a balcony. The view through that wide window is on woods, too. BUT– we won’t be paying the plow guy to clear our long, steep driveway.
As the move draws closer, I have “last time” thoughts. The last time I’ll have to pay for a heating repair. The last time we’ll have to buy water conditioner salt and haul the 40 pound bags down to the basement. No more house insurance payments! No more checking the oil level in the tank!
And yet—Ladythorn Place has been a good house. So many sweet times, so many memories are in her walls. Yes, she’s quite a prima donna when it comes to behaving well, but we’ve loved her high ceilings, the sunlight pouring into the bedrooms, the glow of the bamboo floors. The quiet.
It’s a time of letting go, entering a new phase of life, admitting the limits of age, and looking forward to more ease, with lightness ahead.
From 1972 to 1973, I attended the College of Creative Studies, a school within the University of California at Santa Barbara. The boxes and portfolios of work from that time and later years survived several moves across country, and have resided in the attic for the past 25 years.
One of the daunting tasks of downsizing is choosing what to save and what to throw. Fortunately, my son left his empty portfolio case that he used at FIT, so I had a place to put the artwork I deemed worth saving. It was hard to choose. Flipping through stacks of drawings and paintings was like taking a tour through my past.
I spent a lot of time sketching in dance classes.
Print-making was fascinating, but the fumes and the harsh chemicals drove me away, and into oils.
The above is a painting of my best friend.
I was a passionate folk dancer while living in Santa Barbara.
The works pictured here were saved, and will go into the storage unit. Many, many more are in the recycle bin.
I left the art college to get my teaching credential, but I’ve never stopped creating or dancing!
Moving to a new home is rated as one of the ten most stressful life events. This has certainly been true for me. Reviewing, sorting, and throwing out the accumulated stuff of 25 years in our roomy house have proved to be overwhelming tasks for my husband and me.
In the process, I’ve learned a few things: 1) My body isn’t 30 years old anymore. This 67-year-old woman can’t lift and carry heavy bins of books and photo albums. 2) It’s okay to get rid of things I haven’t used in the past 5 years, or 2 years, or even 6 months. 3) Help is available, but I have to ask. 4) Renting a storage unit is not a sign of failure.
Meditation and yoga kept me sane for the first month of cleaning and clearing. Those regular practices weren’t enough to counteract the effects of stress and heavy physical activity. I turned to Tapping. Officially known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Tapping works to rewire the mind-body connections and reduce stress, pain, and many other emotional and physical stressors.
My sources of information and guidance for EFT are these:
The Tapping Solution by Nick Ortner
and the related app for your smartphone:
Some of the tapping audios are free. I’ve been using at least two every morning, and I can confirm that the tapping is helping me get through this difficult life event. Go to the website to find out why tapping works so well.
A very determined young father came to get our hot tub last weekend. He brought along his wife and 3-month-old baby boy. While his family kept warm in our house, Joe took down the deck railing and dragged the tub onto his trailer. Then he put back the railing and drove away. Many happy soaks to you, Joe!
Pat said a sad farewell to his last motorcycle, a vintage 1972 Husqvarna 360. The day that I posted it for sale, this fascinating guy messaged me that he wanted it 100%, and he didn’t quibble over prices. That was almost too good to believe. When we spoke the next morning, I asked if his offer was for real.
It was. As he strapped the bike into his moving van, Romulus von Stezelberger told us his story: how he left home at age 15, and eventually headed up a company that made custom, one-of-a-kind leather jackets for celebrities.
He was delightful and fascinating, and also friendly and fun. After he left, I checked out his jackets on Facebook. He had not exaggerated.
A beautiful creation…
and the designer himself, somewhat younger.
Thanks, Romulus! It was great meeting you.
The snake baby I found in the bag of potting soil was not a venomous species. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed.
According to Raymundo, our local reptile and amphibian expert, this was a young ribbon snake masquerading as a viper. He said that the shape of the eye indicates who is dangerous. A round pupil (as above) belongs to harmless types, while an eye with an elliptical pupil means trouble. Also, venomous snakes’ heads are distinctly triangular, with a narrow neck. Also, a snake with heat-sensing pits along its head is poisonous, if you want to get close enough to check.
So I guess it was a good thing that I set the little snake free by the stream. Maybe she’ll grow up to control the mice population that enjoy the warmth of our walls in the winter!