A mountain forms in my living room.
Inspired by the West Virginia hawk, in the name of simplicity and freedom, I’ve committed to this 1-year sabbatical. But there’s nothing simple or freeing right now, as I sort through a lifetime and houseful of stuff, as my back seizes up on the twelfth trip up and down three flights of stairs. (That’s 360 stairs, but who’s counting?)
I’ve committed to 1-year sabbatical in order to write; but I haven’t had three minutes to put pen to paper other than to create transition to-do lists and garage sale inventories.
And the worst thing? I don’t have my mommy to help me.
This is Mom and me, at my 2010 garage
sale, looking pretty satisfied with ourselves. By then, we’d done 100 flights between us, clearing out heaps of my earthly possessions, unloading them upon friends, neighbors, strangers, Good Will, Salvation Army, the Fort Totten dump, to make room for my new life. Mom was about to become the proud parent of a Peace Corps Volunteer!
She isn’t around anymore; though Mom’s watching over me, grimacing down on me. Worried about my scoliosis spine, she asks: “You sure about this, Annie?” She knows, full well, my answer.
Nothing’s going to stop me – not even a plague of 17-year cicadas!
Not even Resistance.
After five months fixing up my house and six weekends showing it, after lowering the price twice, after discovering the rental market is soft (while the sales market booms), after realizing maybe I should have hired an agent – after reference checks and lease agreement back and forths and trouble getting the electronic down payment to go through – I have rented my house. The lovely tenants move in June 1. This is a deadline, a lifeline.
As for the getaway car, I've been in months of analysis paralysis (once a systems analyst), Consumer Reports research, discussions with auto-savvy friends, decision matrices, cyber-stalking ‘til bleary-eyed, loads of test drives and negotiations with sleazy salesman, one near disaster purchase of a RAV-4 Hybrid with a faked CarFax (it had been in the Mississippi flood). Until I finally found my joyride, trading-in beloved Cherry for the brawny blue beautiful used VW named Azul.
Of course it didn’t take 5 miles for the buyer’s remorse to set-in. Crossing Roosevelt Bridge, gawking at DC’s marble skyline, I broke fast for rush hour traffic and could hear the breaks gnash, the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard! Had I bought a lemon?
I’ve hired an organizer named Brandi who forgot to bring a pen or notebook to our initial inventory meeting, whom, if nothing else, is a human off which to bounce my swirling ideas about what stays versus what goes, and who keeps telling me: “This is gonna be fun!”
I look quizzically at her as I open the door to yet another closet bulging with crap: the word nightmare comes to my mind.
By the end of the day with Brandi, the living room heap has been organized into gopher mounds of like things – glassware (martini, margarita, wine, champagne), electronics (cords untangled and matched to their parents), linens (tablecloths, placemats, and a litany of runners), hats, headdresses and bags (I have a bit of a fetish), sporting goods (skis, tennis rackets, balls, gloves, camping gear, flippers)…need I go on?
Pictures taken, ads posted, back throbbing, I lay gingerly onto my bed and exhale, opening my notebook, eager to steal some minutes with the muse. But before I’ve scribbled a full page, my eyelids droop, the pen drops.
I have no energy to write right now, and it pains me, prompting me to wonder: “What's the point of all this?”
As the birds awaken me at dawn, just before the to-dos fill my head, I try again to connect with muse, get some ideas down – the draft of this post. As I reach, reluctantly, for my phone, Molly assures me: It’s okay. We’re in transition. Transitions are the bridge…
I exhale, touch the airplane icon, relinquishing to Wendy the Worrier, who has become the Warrior. She’s in charge for now; she has to be. We must get over this moving sale hurdle; the we can tackle the next, and the next...
- DC historic grant came through on the front porch - What?!
- Broken cement and wobbly railings must be fixed in the backyard
- Appointment with urgent care to Xray my hip and back
- Second Moderna vaccine on Friday
- Best childhood friend arrives from Brussels Saturday – clean the bathroom
- Insurance and utilities must be changed
- New tenant walkthrough
- Taxes are due
It’s three weeks and counting!
My heart palpitates like a snare drum, adrenaline rushes like a river; I shut my eyes and hear Mom’s voice, a little pleady: “Annie, you sure about this?”
I nod, eyes squinched tighter, and picture myself on June 1,driving away in Azul - car packed light, moon roof open wide, breeze in my hair, Springsteen crooning out of the Bose sound system, baby we were born to run. Breaks suddenly failing on 95, I careen into a ditch.
My eyes flash open. I scowl and add another item to the damned to-do list.