God is Good! When I found myself divorced 6.5 years ago, I believed I would never own a home again. I couldn’t find a job. I was living off a quickly depleting 401K and felt utterly unrooted and that was the key. It wasn’t that I hated renting, but it gave me the feeling of impermanence. Prior to the divorce, I had lived in the same community for almost 30 years. Now in 6.5 years I have made 5 moves. Never underestimate God.
After trying to qualify for a mortgage a few years ago, I felt it was a lost cause. Then I decided to try again at the first of this year. The mortgage broker with whom I spoke, told me I could NOT qualify. It was heartbreaking. Then a dear friend told me to try someone else so I did. After giving him my information, he said I could qualify!! I couldn’t believe my ears. In fact I am not certain I believed, until I received the CLEAR TO CLOSE email in my inbox. I’ll be closing the end of May and moving in mid-July. I’ll have no help but somehow I’ll manage.
Upon seeing that email, I began to cry. They were tears of joy but my heart was and still is full of so many emotions. Gratefulness, happiness, joy, coupled with fear and sadness. Why fear and why sadness? My daughter and her family are moving 1,635 miles away to the East. My younger daughter lives 1,412 miles to the West. According to google maps they are 2,711 miles apart. And this will be the first time in my entire life, I have lived with no family or close friends nearby.
Being alone, not living alone, but having no one near to call on in an emergency scares me. I’ll be alone on all major holidays except Christmas. I won’t be there when my daughter has her 2nd child in November. With a 50 hours per week job and not a lot of extra money, the ability to travel to see them is and will be very limited. And that doesn’t include trying to see my 82 yr old mother and sister who live 1,242 miles away.
But God is good and I will never underestimate Him again. If this is where He wants me to live and work, then I will accept it and find joy. As I approach my 60th birthday, it is ever more evident that life doesn’t roll along like a slow paced creek, but it rushes by like river rapids. There is no time to waste. I have to get onboard and go for the ride.
I don’t know if you can tell from the photo but I’ve been sleeping on a very small and uncomfortable sofa for the last two days. I helped move my daughter to the LA area. I helped load the truck. I drove the truck and then helped carry boxes up to the second floor apartment. Thankfully she moved no furniture.
Without going into details the room she’s subletting and the apartment were filthy. She said, “Mom, how can people live like this?” I don’t know but working as a real estate agent a few years ago, I learned never to be surprised what was behind closed doors. So rather than unload the truck first thing, the next few hours were spent making the room clean enough to even begin. Once we unloaded the truck, I thought I had been hit by a semi. I don’t remember the last time I ached so much.
Then we ran a few errands including buying paint. When we returned I promptly set about painting the orange and blue room a soft gray. More unpacking and cleaning, finally crashing about midnight on the sofa.
The next day we made an IKEA stop, along with half of LA followed by Walmart then we set about assembling a bookcase. The room needed more cleaning. A lot was accomplished including cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. Hopefully we will finish up today because I fly out of LAX this evening.
Maybe it’s the physical, emotional and mental fatigue which has caused the nightmares to return. They not only make for a poor night’s sleep but I awake feeling depressed and disheartened. I return to spend another week with my family and will go to chemo on Thursday. I will manage to see three high school friends before my cat and I hit the road again for two long days.
There is nothing I wouldn’t do for my daughters as long as I am able to help. I no longer have the ability to help financially even with anything small need. I wonder if their father, who acts as those they were never born, realizes he is missing out on the lives of two incredible women and the love of the three of us. Praying the nightmares leave so I don’t wake up feeling so down.
Oops I did it again. Yes, I moved. This is my 6th move in 4 years. I’ve slowly pared down my belongings although from the photos it doesn’t appear so.
I decided with this move to sell one huge reminder of my ex: our bed. It is a large four poster wood bed and I bought the small full size iron bed on Craigslist. Just waiting for a new mattress to be delivered. Now when I go to bed at night, there will be no visual reminders of the past.
When I do buy furniture I’ve always tried to find pieces which can be used in a multitude of ways. So my formal living room end tables are now night stands in my room. The small tables with drawers I bought at Hobby Lobby for my bedroom are now in the living area. The tall, narrow drawer chest has been moved from my bedroom to the kitchen. And the small armoire which went with my four posset bed is now in the guest room.
I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by the boxes but reminding myself to be grateful to have such a problem. The heat and humidity aren’t helping the unpacking process but hard work and sweat never hurt anyone.
As much as I’d like a cool shower and a good book, I’m heading to the garage and another box.
My youngest told me today it was time to stop worrying about her and her sister and start to worry about myself. I wanted to laugh because most parents (except my ex) always have their children on their hearts and minds. I don’t worry per se, but I pray for them and if they are sick or feeling down I’m concerned. It’s like the moment your child is born as with goes on inside of you and you realize for the first time in your life what love really is.
I am doing my best to focus on rebuilding my life as I approach my next move. I’ve signed up to volunteer at a local theater. I’ve joined a few Meetup groups. I found out I qualify for a free senior checking account and a discount at the community recreation center. (Happy to save money but still difficult to realize how old I am).
It’s hot and humid here in central Texas. As I sweat or as a southern lady glisten my way through the day, I remind myself all that humidity is good for my skin and helps delay wrinkles!! I am privileged to grow old. Not everyone gets the opportunity.
This being my sixth move in four years, I decided it was time to find an easier way to determine where each box should go. I’ve tried writing on the boxes. I’ve used different color markers. I’ve purchased large white labels and wrote on the boxes. And while each helped some, I wanted a way to quickly look at a box and decide where I wanted it to go.
I bought duct tape in a variety of colors. Using a box cutter, I carefully sliced the tape down the center so it would provide me with narrower strips and twice as much tape. Then in a small notebook, I put a piece of each tape and labeled which room it represented. The living area is yellow. Christmas is black. Office/Craft room is white. You get the idea.
I’ve begun to move the boxes to my garage to get more organized and figure out what I have left to pack. With a quick glance I can tell where I need to place the box I am moving into the garage. And since I am having to downsize yet again, I will know which boxes will be headed to storage.
Colored duct tape is providing me with a simple visual clue to help organize my very unorganized and unsettled life. And right now any small thing which adds to my sense of peace and control, it a miracle from God
I must be out of my apartment in 53 days and the above signs express things which have been running through my head. I can’t say I agree with the sign on the left. I agree we can choose where we make our home, but I don’t think it only exists in your mind. So many things go into making a place a home. It is not about the location, the size or the cost, it is about the memories. When I was a young mother, I had so many great ideas and plans. Then so easily was distracted by the day-to-day responsibilities I forgot all the plans I had. My daughters and I did make many happy memories and we are in the process of adding more memories all the time. But right now, not having any place to “call home” has caused me distress.
For me personally, I need a secure, solid home base and I don’t have it. In fact I am not certain I will ever have it again. Much was lost when I divorced and leaving the area I called home for thirty years was one of the most difficult choices I’ve ever made. It was if I was a mighty oak tree with deeply planted roots which was ripped out of the ground. But rather than being directly transplanted into a rich soil, the beautiful tree (me) was sat to the side and forgotten. And since that time in January 2013, I haven’t found the place where I belong.
If money was unlimited then I’d have a long list of places I would like to go because I would have the ability to travel and see my children as often as I like. But with no job, very limited funds, and no job in my foreseeable future, my choices are very limited. I failed to make the right choice years ago when I learned my ex-husband, Doug Erickson, an AA pilot, was a sexual deviant wanted by the police. I stayed married because I was afraid to leave and now ultimately I am paying a heavy price for not leaving in 1999.
So the sign on the right shows how I feel. Do I go right? Do I go left? Do I move near my oldest daughter for the next three years and when she and her husband move hope I can afford to follow them? Or do I run the risk of being left in the middle of Texas with the closest airport over two hours away? Living near my younger daughter is not an option because she is still in pursuit of her career and not settled on one place. My fear has me paralyzed. I have a very real fear of being homeless of belonging nowhere. I know my readers know this. I am thankful for all the prayers they have said for me. I am praying I will hear God’s voice and know his will, so I make the right choice, the right move for my life this time.
How many of us choose our destiny? We definitely play a role in our lives and what happens, but so much is out of our control.
Would I be different if my parents had never moved me at the age of 9 from Oklahoma to Minnesota therefore preventing the teasing which tore at my sense of value? I still hear the laughter ringing out as a recording of my voice is played back to the class and my distinctly southern accent stood in contrast the nasal, clipped sound of the north.
Would I be different if at 11.5 I wasn’t moved from Minnesota to Colorado with six weeks left of sixth grade. Not enough time to make friends and settle in, so a summer spent alone. Which meant having to begin 7th grade just a few months later at an entirely different school. Doing my best to figure out where I fit and finally finding my place to be moved again.
Midway in 9th grade a move to Las Vegas and a high school that was nothing like the one from which I had come. Sitting at lunch in the car with my mom for the first week so I wouldn’t cry and try to walk home. Spending another semester and summer alone to begin a new year once more with no friends.
Would I be different if I hadn’t desperately wanted to leave Las Vegas and ended up marrying a man a hardly knew? Spending 30 years of my life with him first in Iowa and then in Texas?
Would I be different if I had stayed in the place I had called home since 1986 rather than moving a mere 30 minutes away where it was convenient for my friends to forget me? If I had stayed would they still have forgotten me?
Would I be different if I hadn’t taken 3 months and gone to France to try and learn French and experience life from a different perspective? Staying in the security of the familiar?
Would I be different if I had made the choice not to leave Dallas-Fort Worth rather than taking a chance on a better life in a new place and all the struggles building a new life entails?
Of course there is no way to know. Our lives are shaped by so many things and places are but one. We are the sum of our experiences but until we die our life equation is never complete. There is always something more to add, subtract, multiply or divide in our lives.