Adventures in moving cross country- Volume 17: I guess we're home?
Having James and Bucky go out ahead of time was intended to serve a couple of purposes- getting Bucky out of the way of the heavy house purging and cleaning, and allowing James to settle in for us ahead of time so that there would be some kind of home to arrive at. Being in the midst of a construction project, however, made any kind of settling impossible.
While James and Bucky were away from the area for a few days, the renovation crew took advantage and did some necessary work up on the 3rd floor. The aforementioned polyurethane was the biggest piece and required that all of the stuff that had been set up, like a bed and James' computer, be stashed away in closets and covered in plastic.
Although all we wanted was to crash out and stretch out after days on the road, we had to find the places where things were stashed in order to be able to have somewhere to actually stretch. We also had to get the Sonar, Judar & Ned into a relatively comfortable space, so that our stuff wasn't soaked in animal piss by morning.
We only had one mattress on the floor, for James and I to share, and a large and leaky air mattress for the boys. But it was enough and we were able to sleep, even if it was still a foreign environment that smelled of chemicals and had no real sense of home about it.
In the morning, I got up and navigated the chore of leading a blind and deaf dog down three sets of stairs and through a construction site. I surveyed our house, that I had only seen in the snow and noted the corroding roof tiles, the garbage in the lawn from people walking by, the wooden steps that were falling apart and needed to be sanded and painted. I marveled at the amount of damage that the beautiful snow had covered in February.
After putting Ned upstairs, I wandered back down to the first floor, with the intention of getting pictures of the progress on each floor. I made it through most of the first before gagging down some vomit, starting to cry and having a full blown panic attack.
Throughout this experience, I have been aware that this is a HUGE house and an OLD house and there was A LOT of work to be done. I continually chose to look at the positive parts and have faith in it all working out in the end. Now, with reality staring me directly in the face, it wasn't just hard to be optimistic, it was hard not to feel that I might be trying to destroy our whole lives by chasing this crazy dream.
James and Jerome allowed me a day of being bed ridden and anxious. They unpacked the Penske, for the most part, while I unpacked my fears and concerns and tried to reason with them inside my head.
This next day, with all the feels offloaded and nothing but exhaustion left, it was easier to accept that this was our life now. We were 4 humans, one elderly dog and 2 cats living and working in a one bedroom apartment. The apartment, however, with it's vaulted ceilings and gorgeous wooden accents, was still a step up from the basement apartment we lived in for 6 years. I was finding my optimism again.
That first week of work flew by and by the next weekend, I had developed a little routine of putting Bucky to bed and then sitting on the porch and watching the fireflies come out. As neighbors walk by, we say "Hello!" and most nights James and I will take a walk, or go to a local bar for a drink just to get out of the house and let Jerome have some space on his own.
I feel more confident than ever that this was a great choice for our family. Not because of the joy that the children have with the fireflies and the lush nature, or because of all the great food and social scenes that we've already been able to enjoy- but because of the fact that my anxiety has shrank to levels that it hasn't been at in years. It's not that I'm no longer anxious, that would be weird in it's own way. But my stomach isn't clenched in knots on a daily basis, and I don't have to take medicine to make sure I sleep through the night without an endless circle of thoughts trying to keep me awake at 4am.
This feels like the right place, even though so many things are still up in the air.