Life just doesn’t move forward at a steady pace or in the way that you wish or plan for it to do so. I had imagined that by now I would be writing about being in my new home and unpacking. Finding things I missed. Rediscovering things I had forgotten about and a few things that I would wonder why I moved it. None of that is true. We have closed and moved into our new home, but are still living the “Craig’s List/Dorm” style.
We closed on our house here in NC at the end of October. It was a bit of a challenge because in all of our other moves and selling of homes once you left closing you were done. Here in North Carolina, you may have signed the contracts and exchanged money, but nothing is real until your deed is filed. So you leave closing and wait for the word your deed is filed to get your keys. For us, it was about 5 minutes to 5pm on a Friday. You can imagine how crazy it was for a person who likes things neat and tidy when it comes to finances to hand away money and not have what she paid for.
We initially elected to continue to stay at the apartment after closing since we were all set up there. The date our refrigerator, washer, and drier we had ordered six weeks ago was due to arrive the Wednesday after closing seemed like a good date to move to the house. That was two days before our furniture was due to arrive.
It did not work out that way. It was not long before the utilities and contractors wanting to complete punch list items were asking us to be at the house for them to complete their jobs. We in the end moved into the house three days before the appliance arrival date. We figured a few days of carryout and cooler lifestyle would be ok.
Our appliances arrived on schedule only to discover when they took off a perfectly good box my refrigerator had been thrown down a set of stairs. It was dented and broken in ways the box did not foretell. It went back and fortunately of the 11 refrigerators of that model that arrived the day before my delivery only 10 of them had been sold. I got the replacement a couple of days later. Once again it was a day full of disappointment but also so much thankfulness that I did not have to go six more weeks waiting for a refrigerator to arrive.
Our furniture did not follow the schedule either. It left Montana four days late. The truck broke down for several days and things were at a standstill in SD. Then the driver choose to sit out a day when there were high crosswinds on one leg of the route where semis were being blown over. Our belongings arrived completely intact. The driver and the local unloading crew were professionals and kind. They told us over and over how much they loved the one floor of our home. Our house was completely unloaded in four hours and now we are left with boxes upon boxes to open and clean and put away.
None of this is on the schedule I planned but honestly, we are moving forward and so all is good.
In life it is easy to get into a holding pattern. We say to ourselves when we have enough money, get a new job, get married, get divorced, have kids, the kids leave home, and the list goes on. We find ourselves in a holding pattern right now. RangerSir and I find ourselves saying when we get into the house. In reality that is a long way away and a lot of time to waste waiting.
I had not thought we were living life in a holding pattern until I got my local library card and checked out some books. I got an assortment of books: cookbooks, house organizing, watercolor painting and a retirement book. It was the retirement book that made me realize that I was putting most of my life on hold. Yes we were settled in our temporary quarters. Yes there are a lot things we can not do. But there are somethings you can do that will move you forward in the continuum of life.
I realized that journaling, cooking, painting and other creative outlets I was pursuing daily was not really moving me forward. As much I love them and the fact that often they were the only thing between me and insanity of boredom, there were not moving me forward. These are activities I do most days home, travel or in an apartment waiting for our house to be done. I realized that these were part of me. There were like breathing. I needed them desperately in these times, but they were not moving me forward.
There are lots of things we can’t do like signing up for our utilities and getting our homeowner’s insurance. Somehow we focused on those things and let it obscure what we could be doing. We could update our legal paperwork i.e. wills, health directives, pick a dentist, find an primary care doctor and so much more. We do not have to wait until we get into the house to do things like this. It doesn’t matter that we are living in an apartment in a town 50 miles from our final destination.
So don’t confuse a busy life with a life moving forward. They are not the same thing. You can busy and just existing. Don’t wait moving forward even if it is little steps.
The book I was reading is “Who Will Take Care of Me When I am Old?” by Joyce Loverde. It was not full of pages of things RangerSir and I had not thought about. It was full of reminders of what we had done right, what we might want to revisit, and even a few things that had never crossed our mind. I have since returned the book to the library and purchased a used copy for lifetime reference. I recommend it it. Planning for aging is never easy. It is a good reference.
On our trip across the US we had many plans to visit many National Parks. Most were out of curiosity because we had never been there before. There were a few parks that held special places in our heart and we had specific goals for that park. This plan turned out to be a bust and we ended up not visiting National Parks on this trip.
I love to get off the tourist track when visiting National Parks. I like to get out of our car and hike some trails. I really wanted to see sunrise and sunset at Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota on this trip. I had made big plans. It was something that was on my bucket list it was that important to me.
Unfortunately we were traveling with a dog this time. I had never traveled with a dog before and did not realize the restrictions on dogs in National Parks. Dogs were only welcome to do auto tours or be in your campsite with you. Dog owners before me apparently were either crummy owners in dog discipline or delinquent stewards of the land because for the most part dogs are not allowed on trails in National Parks. I suspect this comes from dogs being off leash or appearing to be aggressive to people or wildlife. I also suspect that many owners have not picked up after their dog.
It sure put a big crimp in our plans It was too warm to leave Zip in the car. It meant we either had to tag team or someone had to miss out. In the end we bagged it and marked it up to something that was not supposed to happen this trip. I am not sure that we will get that way again, but if so we will likely try to do sans dog to get an opportunity to be more than a drive by tourist.
Moving is never easy for humans. Humans are lucky, we know what is going on and that there is an end game. All a dog will see is change at best, abandonment at worse. We have had our rescue dog, Zip, for over five years. We have never moved since he arrived in our home. So this is a first for him that we know of.
We started packing in earnest when we listed our house. We constantly worked our way through the house saying we can live without this. At that point we either rehomed it, trashed it or packed it. So things started changing around our house slowly and Zip did not seem to mind when love seat that gave him window access disappeared. He looked at the moving boxes as a new vantage point and as long as his humans were around this was ok.
Last Thursday the movers came and loaded up everything but the clothes on our back that were going to make the trip cross country in the car. I was once again not sure what he would think. It did not seem to phase him too much.
We were blessed in that several of our friends offered us accomodations since the buyer’s loan was having all sorts of things that were delaying our closing. Once again Zip just settled in like it was his home. He’d always been a good visitor, but moving into another’s home,well one could never tell what to expect.
Our next step is spending hours in the car as we move across the country. He has never been a good car rider so it is a bit of a question how this is going to go. He is taking an anti-anxiety medication each morning before getting into the car. He is seeming to do well in the car but our laps are his first choice. We have a seat belt set up for him and cushion on the center console, but he is always looking to sneak down onto our laps.
We will keep you posted on how he does as we change locations as often as we change our underware.
Since I last wrote RangerSir and I have sold our home. It has been a ride like no other home sale we have experienced before when selling prior homes of all sorts, in many different states and locals. We will be having a closing on June 1st. One of the things we must do before that date is empty our larder because we will not be moving directly from one home to the next. Nor will this move be a local one. We will not be moving food. We must empty our freezer and cupboards.
After years of living without a grocery store just minutes from home, we developed a habit of having a well-stocked pantry and freezer. We bought our beef, pork, and lamb from a locally known rancher. We raised and butchered our own chickens. We stocked up on meat when it was on sale, so if tonight we wanted brats on the grill, it was possible without running to town by looking in our freezer. Our freezer was well stocked. If beans or can tomatoes were on sale in the 10 for pricing option, we stocked up so we could make chili if the day turned cold. Our full pantry always had lots of options available.
This last year in the midst of COVID, a friend offered us apples. We accepted the gift and went about putting them in the dehydrator for snacks, and making enough apple pie filling that we could have a pie a month before apple season next year. I love cranberries and when they were in season, I bought multiple bags and froze them so I could make a salad, relish, or bread when cranberries were no longer in the store. I did not think much about this because 2020 had been such an unpredictable year. I did not know for sure if we would move or 2021 would be another year spent in Montana. COVID taught us life was a toss-up and anything was possible and any plans could be upended.
In 2021 we sold our home and found our moving plans for retirement back in play. Because of how the sale’s timing, it turned out we were short on time on our exit plan. We suddenly realized we had five month’s worth of apples, and bags upon bags of cranberries, and just weeks to use them up. I decided that I would make pies. I found a recipe for cranberry apple pie. I made five pies, mixing the two together in a pie mashup.
I enjoyed making the pies. It took my mind off all the craziness happening with the sale of our house. I enjoyed more giving the pies away to friends. It moved me further along in the continuum of getting ready to leave behind our home of over 20 years. Getting rid of the items in my freezer allowed me to mentally start to move forward into the next phase of our lives and journies. Our larder is not bare, but I can see and hope that by the time our last day comes that there isn’t much left I will have to find a new home for.