Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Will We Ever...

For four or more years we were convinced that we were moving somewhere new, Hawaii most likely. We planned, we saved, we cleared out our belongings, we sold our home, we packed away boxes and marked them "Hele on." We visited favorite places for a last goodbye. In my heart I practiced a letting go of familiar sights and paths. I braced myself for missing friends, being further away from some family and closer to others. I anticipated the challenges that are sure to come with new places and changes in latitude. We constantly grappled with the issues of what we could and could not do, because we weren't going to be here long. No kitty, we are moving soon. No new television, better to wait until we are moved. Don't get settled, don't unpack, don't decorate, and don’t enroll in that program, because we are leaving soon. We put a lot on hold, we held our breaths, and we didn't commit to here and now, because the real thing was coming, anytime now. We have been healthy and had fun adventures, we have Maria, the boys have friends and a climbing tree, but throughout we have been living with the voice in our heads, the common denominator: Not now, wait, we are leaving.

But we aren't leaving. We are looking for a place to move, another place to rent, and we'll be staying for a while. We don't have long term plans any more. We know we need to stay in the county, and close to the office would be nice. We know that the housing prices here and in Hawaii have exceeded the expectations of reason and ration. Houses
are no longer homes, sweet refuges, but trading cards for profit... oops! Off-topic housing bubble rant... redirect...

Sometimes I run into someone and they're surprised to see me. "Weren't you moving to Hawaii or something?" And in conversations, after friends ask about our Move and I reply "Not yet, " then there doesn't seem to be much more to say. With so much build-up for our big goodbye, I think it's embarrassing to be found 'still here.' And not just here,
but renting, not buying, renting. When 70% of Americans own homes, it isn't surprising to find people incredulous about our choice, but it does make one feel left out, sub par. It's a fascinating, and humbling, experience to realize how integral home ownership and happiness are in American culture. No sour grapes from me; I'd love to be putting some nails in my own walls, matching drapes to Lego bricks, calling chickens to breakfast, planting a garden.

For now, I am just trying to rewrite our story. We live here. We rent. We are moving, but staying in the area. Really, a lot has changed, yet not. We are still on hold, waiting. I could add more to our story, I know we have a lot to be glad for, but I do feel a little disoriented, sad, turned around. Helen Keller wrote, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing," and John Lennon sang, "Life is just what happens to you,
While you're busy making other plans."
Does it have to be so?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Every beautiful day, every green tree, every carefree moment; I thought of Hans and said a prayer. I hoped he would soon be home to enjoy it all.

Welcome home Hans!

This poem makes me think of my brave brother...

it does not mean to be in a place
where there is no noise, trouble
or hard work. it means to be in
the midst of those things and still
be calm in your heart.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Yesterday we drove around looking at rental homes. Yikes. Have I ever complained about the Treehouse? I take it all back, 'cause it's slim pickings out there people. We looked at one place that sits in the middle of a postcard neighborhood, but it's surrounded by light industry and growers, and the steady hum of the freeway is the constant soundtrack. Further south we were in the Navy Bachelor's Taj Mahal. "We figured we don't need a dining room, so we just built this wet bar instead. And outside we want to keep this permanent keg set up." They also need the tenant to keep an eye on the engine block they're storing in the garage. The rest are too small or too, too funky and a great many of them are homes that are not selling; as a last resort desperate owners decide to rent out their lovely, overpriced homes, and hope that some poor tenant will be smitten enough to eventually buy.

How small is too small? No one seems to know. A lot of the houses we go to see are advertised as one size, like 2,200 sq. ft, but in truth are only 1,600 sq. ft. Cozy.

Okay. Time to shower. Time to rouse the children, and convince them to join us on our quest. "Life is an adventure. Isn't this great! Hey, let's see if there's a yard. It could be worse. We think this might be the one. Because I said so..." They're team players. They're wonderful. We're going to find them someplace nice.