Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Looking back a year later

Shannon will write a post for me soon, and it will be much better than what I am capable of at this time.  Look forward to it!

At the same time, I feel a deep need to write about the past year, here on the somewhat-anniversary of our move to the Midwest.

I don't have the exact dates.  I was a wreck back then, an absolute wreck.  Right now, I am a bit of a wreck simply in remembrance.  I think I could figure out the dates, even by looking back a year at my writing here.  But I don't want to read those posts.  Not today.

Approximately one year ago, we drove out from Syracuse to close on our house, this house we had never seen.  I remember my gut-wrenching panic at the discovery of the eight-foot-tall weeds overtaking the yard, the clematis dying around the foundation of the house where the previous owner had sprayed Roundup, and the utter lack of storage space in the kitchen.  I remember looking at the corroding gold faucet extending over the dirty pink kitchen sink, and choking back tears.  I remember the realtor smiling brightly and saying in a pushed-cheerful voice, "Do you love it?"

I remember going to a burger place called Meatheads for lunch and crying over my burger but somehow still choking it down.

I remember the closing.  I believe it was on a Friday, the last Friday in July, 2013?  The seller's realtor was a nice lady who kept saying nice things to try to make us feel better about the house we were purchasing.  Honestly, she was trying to be nice.  And the seller's lawyer was obnoxious and kept talking about her recent trip to a water-park in Indianapolis, and how much the kids loved the breakfast buffet, which was not just any buffet, now this was a real buffet.  Because of her prattle, we were having trouble hearing the pertinent parts of the transaction we were going through, signing form after form as in a nightmare, and finally Shawn, who never snaps at anybody, snapped at that lawyer and asked her to please be quiet so he could hear what he was signing his name to.

And then we went back to the house, newly ours, and slept there on an air mattress.  I remember struggling to figure out which switch controlled which light, and walking up the narrow oak steps to the second floor in the dark, and how different it felt from my house on Sugar Pine where the upstairs hall that connected the bedrooms was actually a balcony that overlooked an open two-story foyer.  I remember walking the hallway in this house from the kitchen to the front door, making a 180 degree turn and heading upstairs in the dark, giving up on the light switches.

We left the air mattress there, and some other things, a few towels, and pictures and china we had elected to move ourselves rather than leave them to the movers.

We drove back to Syracuse where commenced surreal days--Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday--of packing and loading the moving truck.  It was all like a dream, and possibly a very bad dream.  I remember not being able to eat, not knowing what to do, but somehow it was miraculously happening without me.

We finished in Syracuse, sad, empty, overwhelmingly grateful for Kevin and Jeannie, whom we had just met, who fed us our last supper in Liverpool, and also to Ed and Donna, beloved friends who put us up beautifully, lovingly on our last night there.  Ed and Donna also helped us with a few last touch-ups on the empty house, and with loading our vehicles for the last drive away.  I remember lying in their son Adam's bed (he was away on a missions trip), unable to sleep.  I got up and stared out the window for awhile, just soaking up the Liverpoolness of it, the green grass beneath the streetlight. 

We drove across the states on Thursday: New York (I will never forget that last drive down John Glenn Boulevard, wondering if I would ever see that road again, familiar as it was, the grass, the trees, the stoplight at 370), then Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois.  Ohio is a wickedly thick state, full of dug-up roads, and every time we drive around Columbus, somebody almost kills us. On that trip, there were two near-death incidents, but God kept us safe.  Shawn drove his car, David drove his, and Jon drove me and the dogs in the silver van.  Jon's red van had been towed off to the Rescue Mission.

We arrived here late Thursday night.  We'd hired the house cleaned, and the carpets shampooed.  They did this on the wrong day, and the carpets were soaking wet when we walked in, the windows fogged with condensation.  We never complained to anybody.  We just laid out our air mattresses on the wet carpet and did our best to sleep through the night.  Schubert became disoriented and urinated on Jonathan's bedding.   An early morning cell phone call alerted us that the truck with our furniture would arrive in about 30 minutes.

And so we were here.  A year ago.

Since then:
  • David went away to medical school.
  • Jonathan began his first year of college, in PA, with Laura.
  • I was alone, alone, alone like I don't think I have been since we moved to NY before any of the children were born.
  • Laura got engaged.
  • I had to have a breast biopsy.
  • I had a hysterectomy.
  • We remodeled the kitchen (that is all I'm going to say about that).
  • Laura graduated from college.
  • Laura got married.
  • Laura moved to Ohio and got a real job.
  • Shannon moved from New Haven to Boston, I think on the anniversary of our moving here.

Those are the big ones.  That's enough.

That's enough.

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