The author, in simpler times

The author, in simpler times

It’s pretty crazy around here! Realtors have looked at our house and shown us some others. Rental possibilities have been assessed. Wally, the horse, will soon have a new home. There’s a funeral to attend in honor of a life lived long and well. Change marches on!

This assortment of change is very disorienting for me, someone who makes and sticks to a full daily schedule in normal times. Pets, exercise and writing stay in the mix; musical instruments, tap dancing and my weekly application of vacuum cleaner to rug falls by the wayside. Outside, the ground has turned to mud, creating one more sticky obstruction to work days that are designed to run like a well-oiled machine. My mind is filling up with extraneous details gleaned from being shown through strangers’ homes, shuffling a collage of furniture, photos and what’s kept on the basement pantry shelves into imagined histories of the current occupants. I can’t help it, I’m a writer!

We’ve lived in rural Washington State, amid thousands of acres of wheat (none of it ours) for almost nine years- -nine years! As people say, we don’t get out much, and I believe it’s made us a little bit weird. Friends and family who know me well, stop laughing this instant!

It’s a deep subject, the transition from country mouse back to city mouse. The thought of living cheek-by-jowl with other people induces claustrophobic dread. Properties with an acre or two within a city do exist, at a price, but there always seems to be something strange attached to them or pending development nearby. Finding quiet among neighbors is difficult. Listings next to cemeteries sound incredibly appealing, would that we could find any!

When we first moved to our present home it was perfect for our needs. It was a good central location for several months each year of work-related travel and there was room to park our tour bus during the off times. I love our house, built in 1895 by a couple who moved to the area as toddlers in 1858, the daughter and son of the first two families to settle in this valley. Lewis and Clark passed right by our place on their return trip east in 1806! But it’s time to get closer to grocery shopping and services, presently a 40-mile round trip. We learned from frightening experience (a 2012 injury to my husband) that it can take an ambulance 45 minutes to get to our place. We’re ready to attend cultural events, gain access to work opportunities if needed and have a larger group of people to beg to house sit for us when we travel for fun.

Whirl, whirl, whirl. That’s my brain working overtime: the logistics of getting a house ready for sale, deciding whether we list it before moving to a new home with our herd of critters, choosing between renting for a while or buying, chewing on the philosophical problem of whether we’ll move again sometime or whether this is “it.” Time will be carved from our schedules for months to come to sort this out. The only thing that feels controllable now is deciding on which possessions to sell or give away so we don’t have to load it into a U-Haul or pay someone forty-plus cents a pound to move it for us.

Moving is a huge change, but there’s something bigger still to contemplate. Next up, the transition from life to afterlife. Tune in next week for Change on Every Front, Part Three.

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