Friday, June 22, 2012
Moving. The word first came up a few months ago in connection with a job offer for my husband. Not that he had been looking. He had a good job working from home as a project manager for a healthcare company. But he was bored and the job was really going nowhere. He approached me with the idea and the first reaction was a very volatile no way. I love my home, I love my town, I love my friends, I love my life. But I could tell he was wrestling. After eight plus years here, he still knew nobody, had few friends, a result of spending most of those years traveling five days a week. The job offer was with people he knew, in a field he had been wanting to learn and the money was...well let's just say the money they were offering was pretty good. But California? It was a long, long way from the sleepy little Texas town we were now living in.
I wrestled. He wrestled. We wrestled together and apart. I absolutely did not want to leave my home, my town. My son would be starting his senior year in the fall, my daughter her freshman. We would be leaving my oldest to fend for herself, as she was adament that if we moved she would not go. And what would we do with the house?
A month went by. Nobody slept well. I did a lot of thinking.
Twelve years ago when we moved to Tx, he had had a job opportunity similar to this one. We had just moved back to Tx after living in California for eight years. I didn't want to go back to Ca after moving eight times in eight years I was tired. I just wanted to settle down. I said no. It turned out to be the right decision but there were some hard feelings.
This situation was turning out to be eerily similar.
I didn't like it.
I didn't like what I was thinking.
I knew I had to let him take the job.
I knew it wouldn't be right for me to keep him here in a job he hated when the offer of something he really wanted was on the table.
He left for California and got an apartment. After he left I considered my options. I could A) divorce him. I didn't like that.
B) We could live apart. I didn't like that.
C) I could move to California (and leave the life I loved so much behind) and be a part of this new venture. (I didn't like that either.)
I opted for C.
My husband made arrangements for my brother in law to take over the house (we decided after much deliberation not to sell) and that was that.
It seemed unreal. I would stand out in the middle of the back yard, listening to the echo of the birds chirping and try to imagine myself in the middle of a California suburb. I couldn't do it. Couldn't picture myself there. Couldn't picture myself anywhere but this quiet little town I had become so accustomed to. My reality was rooted here. In this house. This place where I had put in my time, my sweat, and tears. Where I had worked so hard to make this old house into a home.
I sat in the midst of some half packed boxes, at the kitchen table and let the memories flow around me. The first Christmas we spent here. It was cold and we had only been here a few days. The house was still mostly unfurnished. All the subsequent Christmases with the kids running down the stairs in a hurry to see what Santa brought. My wonder at the growth each new year brought them. All the birthday parties we had here. Katie's graduation from highschool. Even the sad things, the news of the death of both of our grandmothers and my son's best friend. If these yellow walls could talk, they would have so much to say. The thought of leaving all this made me feel like a plant being ripped out of the ground, roots dangling, exposed to the elements.
I spent a lot of time just sitting, watching the shadows move across the walls of my old house, soaking it all in. And then I buried myself in work. People asked me why I was spending so much time and energy fixing up the house when I knew I would be moving. But how could I not? Since I moved in my dream had been to make the place beautiful but I had not anticipated how much it really takes to make an old house new. Now the money was there and I felt no shame in spending it. After all the house did still belong to me. I wasted no time in replacing the carpet in the living room. Water stains and soda stains and the cat had made this carpet pretty ugly and stinky. I made my friends laugh by running circles around the living room, just delighting in the feel of the new carpet under my bare feet. I had the old wall AC in the living room removed. It hadn't worked for years and was doing nothing more than letting in bugs. I had the wall patched up and the brick on the outside of the house replaced. I had the termite damage on the outside of the house replaced and at long, long last had that blasted gutter fixed that had been hanging off the side of my house for two years. My friend and I tackled the dead bushes (killed by last year's drought) and filled the beds with pretty flowers. I knew people didn't understand but in my mind it had to be done. To leave a house in mid renovation would be failure. And I don't like failure. Also it made sense to me that I needed to fix these things, not leave and move off, or when I came back things would be beyond fixing.
Not that I am through with renovation. The house still needs a lot of updating.
The countertops, kitchen floors, the bathrooms and the carpet upstairs. And the dishwasher. I complained about that dishwasher every single day for the last three years. But now...now that I am far away, in a 1300 sq ft. townhome, looking at a dishwasher that is in far worse condition than mine ever was...I guess it's really true that you just don't know what you have until it's gone...