Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thankful: An Update on Life

It's been quiet here for a bit, and I feel the need to apologize. While I realize I don't owe anyone an explanation, I do seem to share so much of what's taking place in life here, that it only seems fitting to fill readers in on at least some of the details. Life has been in a bit of turmoil (I don't want to be overly dramatic because nothing that has happened is as life-altering as some have had to experience) but writing here has just had to take a back seat. After Sam returned from his mini-adventure with the new job in California, and we realized that we were staying in Colorado after all, we attempted to get out of the sale of our home, but unfortunately, there were a lot of circumstances that were simply out of our control.  The buyer wanted to carry through with purchasing the house, and we were left to wait things out. The theme for my mental state over the last few weeks has been kind of a que sera sera attitude.
Que sera sera
*Image found here
As stated in a former post, we couldn't exactly start looking for another home because there was always the possibility that the buyer could back out, or that the house wouldn't appraise. Surely (as my thought process seemed to go), our house was in no way worth what this individual was going to pay for it. Please don't misunderstand. I love our house and we've worked hard to change and add and do all the things that make it feel like home, but it's a small place that has limited potential. Although I didn't want to live in a fantasy world, I thought that the odds were likely in our favor, and that the appraiser just wouldn't see the value in the house - particularly as his job is to assess the home on facts, not emotion - and I was certain that this would be our means of staying right where we were.

But life, well, life had other plans for us. Six days from closing we got a message from our Realtor that the house had appraised and everything was set to close as scheduled. As we were told, we needed to find another place to go. Before this day arrived, we had started looking for rentals and homes for sale. Unfortunately, both are scarce in this area at the moment and there are individuals battling it out for places that normally would sit for some time. Small homes are renting for hundreds more than they should be, and purchases are no different in that they have escalated to levels we haven't seen since before the crash of several years ago. We were amazed to discover that we were one of 50 applicants at the first rental we saw. Yes, fifty. I couldn't help but believe that there was no way on earth we were going to find a place to go in less than a week, knowing that we have pets and were up against so many others who had probably been searching for weeks or even months.

In all of this, we had a friend offer to allow us to stay in his home until we secured a place to live. It was quite a relief to know that we'd have at least a temporary place to go until something came along. Unfortunately, things quickly became strained and before we even started moving any items in, the plan quickly disintegrated. I won't get into the details of this piece of things because it is a long tale all its own, but suffice to say we were completely unsure of what to do at this juncture. Sam has family to the north east part of the state, but it would be an incredibly long/difficult drive every day for an undetermined amount of time, and they have no extra space (although they very graciously offered to take us in, and we were seriously considering this as an option for a short time).

The timing of all of this couldn't have been worse and only added to the immense stress that was permeating life. Not only were we going to be homeless in a matter of days, but as quickly as we'd spot a potential home possibility, we'd quickly realize that there were dozens of applicants within a matter of a day in each instance. I was coming to understand that we were very soon going to be without a home, perhaps living in our vehicle with all of our things in storage. Having experienced homelessness first hand in the past, I was mentally preparing for what was to come. At the same time, the "whatever will be, will be" thought remained in my mind. I kept singing the songs' chorus in my head when I'd find myself ready to have a break down.... "Que sera, sera... whatever will be will be... the future's not ours to see. Que sera, sera." It has been a mantra of sorts to get me through the tough moments, hours and days.

I was trying to keep everything in perspective. No one was dead, the world was not coming to an end, and in the grand scheme of things, all of the happenings were very minor. I have to say, it's amazing what hope does for a person in times like these though. Any little possibility or small seedling of chance would bring my mood up tremendously. I continued to have people tell me that I "seemed to be handling things so well." What most didn't realize is that I was actually feeling quite fragile and alone. Some would ask why we had put the house up for sale so soon, others wondered why Sam hadn't stayed at the job for a bit longer. In my mind, all of the questions were moot because all we could do was deal with what was happening now. No one can change the past and the only choice was to use those little slivers of hope to believe that something was meant to come our way. I tried desperately to stay positive, but it was easier to say the words than it was to actually believe them.

A few days before our house was to close, Sam spotted a house for rent on Craigslist that seemed to have been miscategorized. He called to see if the house was still available, and set up a time for me to go and take a look. When I arrived, I was informed by the property manager that she'd just sold a house for another couple and had promised them first dibs at this place as they also only had a few days to find a home. She said it would be a downsize for them so they may not be interested, but I wasn't holding my breath, fully expecting that we'd get a call stating that they were going to take the house. With the market the way it is presently, how could anyone turn down any opportunity? I knew that the house would work well for our needs, but knowing that we were dealing with competition, I just couldn't let myself believe that it was even possible we'd end up with this house. To my amazement, within 24-hours we received word that the couple had passed on it. Later I would learn that they had merely missed the time cut off she'd given to them and moved on to us. Thank goodness for little favors.

I cannot express enough the relief felt when we found out that we would have a place to move. It was as if a huge weight had been removed and it seemed that we could finally move forward - particularly because we now were down to a day before we had to start moving. I spoke in my last post about the realization that I would miss sitting in our front room watching the squirrels, cyclists and walkers as they meandered by, but I have to say, I have an even better spot for such things in our new home. I feel fortunate that despite all of the feelings of sickness or being ill-at-ease with the situation, I think we've managed to land on our feet somehow.
Our "mini-city" hill. We had a bit of a haze on this particular eve.
The move has been interesting. Even though we have only been here a few days and are only about a mile from our old home, it feels almost like a different world. I have nicknamed it "mini San Francisco" because the house is on a fairly steep hill that has a decent amount of motorized traffic, as well as cyclists, dog walkers, and the convenience of almost anything we could need within walking distance. Our old street was inordinately quiet, whereas this house almost always has some sort of background noise. Some might not like it, but we were looking for a shake up, a change of sorts, and even though we are virtually in the same location, it really does feel completely different. We are still adjusting to the traffic noise, particularly at night, but we think that this will be a great spot for us to recover from the admittedly mostly self-inflicted stresses of the last month and focus on the things we enjoy once again.

We were so fortunate to have help from friends and family when it came time to move. Truly, I don't know what we would've done without them. I thought I would have a difficult time saying goodbye to our old house, but as things came down from the walls, books came off the shelves, and nick knacks were put into boxes, I realized that it wasn't home anymore. Through it all, I knew that it was merely a "thing," and that a house is not a home, but rather home is what, where, and with whom we choose to make it. The box itself is of little consequence. I was a little sad to say goodbye to my studio, the garden, and our newly finished kitchen, but again, I realize these are just things - and all things that can be replaced in time and in another location.
A little piece of the yard. I think it will be even better as the foliage begins to come in next month.
When I walked into the new place on moving day, with two friends at my side, they were excited about our new space. I couldn't help but think they were merely appeasing me as the house smelled musty, surfaces were dirty, and I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach about all of it (not because of the house, but simply because of all that had transpired so quickly). When we entered the backyard, one stated that she knew where the summer BBQ parties are going to be held this year, and commented on very much liking the yard... Which, frankly, just made me smile - both outside and in. Whether known to them or not, those little encouraging comments throughout all of this have made all of it so much easier. When I had minor breakdowns about the very real possibility of having to give up one (or more) of our dogs, they offered hugs and suggestions - or just listened to me cry about giving up part of the family (as a side note, I am happy to report that all pets have and will remain with us).

As we finished taking all of our things from one house to the other, it seemed fitting that the last load to transfer was done by bicycle. My trusty Hillborne was loaded up with his trailer and I carried over the last remaining items - two of which just so happened to be our dog waste bucket and shovel. It's funny the looks one gets when riding down the road with what seems like non-typically transported-by-bike items. I wondered what others thought I was doing as the combination of items could easily be construed as being up to no good. I couldn't help but giggle a bit as I rode down the road, poop bucket strapped to the top of my trailer, and severe head winds blasting me, leaving (I'm certain) a trail of stench for anyone coming behind me. "That's right," I thought as I pedaled toward our new home, "leave all the shit behind you because you're on to better things."  I arrived feeling grateful, blessed, and loved by those around us, and I don't think I would've wanted the last trip to be any other way.

Life is starting to settle in now. It's amazing that so much transpired in a matter of less than two weeks. Hours often felt like days and days moved forward like weeks, especially with so much left to the unknown. As quickly as the stress and madness entered, it seems to have dissipated just as quickly, and for that I am beyond thankful. Who knows what is coming down the road, but for the time being we are grateful to have a place to lay our heads, our family together, and a reminder that even though we can't always control every little moment or situation, life is what we make of it. If this is the most difficult time of 2014, I will happily accept it and move on to what awaits us on the other side of this event.


  1. Que sera sera isn't a bad way to deal with troubling times. And when you mentioned that at least anyone wasn't dead, etc I thought that you guys, while potentially homeless for a time, were not going to be subjected to that condition like so many others who have just lost jobs and can no longer afford to stay.

    Good luck in this new adventure! but I don't think you'll be needing luck.

    1. Yes, VERY thankful that a job is not one of the worries at the moment.

      Hope things are well for you and your family. :O)

    2. We're all good, beginning to fight spring allergies in the east. Hurrah. But will be doing our first organized ride of the year, and most anticipated, next Saturday, so we're stoked about that.

    3. The blooming of all the green seems to bring with it the allergy issues. Hopefully, you'll all get through it just fine.

      Good luck on the first organized ride coming up. I'm sure you'll do amazing! :O)

  2. What a relief. I'm so glad to know that you have a new place to learn to love. Funny thing is, you kind of moved to CA after all, your own little San Francisco.

    1. Definitely a relief, Kendra. We are very glad to have found a place to be and are looking forward to being able to enjoy it after all the unpacking. :O)


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