It finally happened, the house I’ve owned and lived in for over 20 years has sold. I can still remember, as if it was yesterday, when I returned home from work one Saturday in January 1993, to our tiny 900 square foot apartment and my husband greeted me with, “I’ve found you your house!” We drove over the next day and after a tour of the almost 2400 square foot ranch-style house gave the owner a down payment. We moved in over Valentine’s Day weekend and then spent the next six months unpacking.
So many memories in this house; birthdays, anniversaries, and parties were some of the fun times we’ve had. There were also the trials of home ownership, such as when the plumbing broke and there was water all over the floor. We had to hire professionals to re-plumb the entire house in the ceiling.
We had lots of repairs and maintenance jobs too. The swimming pool was re-plastered, the master bathroom updated and the house re-roofed. My husband and a friend re-painted the exterior of the house. I hired handymen to do odd jobs such as painting closets, and installing sprinkler systems in the patio gardens. Every spare dollar went into fixing up the house. The house spoke to us, whispering, “paint me, fix this or do that, etc.” It seemed like a lot of work and it was, but finally we settled down to enjoying living in our house for almost ten years. Then my first husband died and while I continued to care for the house, it wasn’t the same.
When I met my new husband, I started to make more memories in this house. After dating almost seven years, we married and lived together in my house after his house sold. Our wedding reception/retirement party was held here with both our families present. My new husband has continued to live in the house while I have been getting settled in the new house we bought for our retirement. He’s been keeping the house, pool and patios clean while we waited for someone new to love it.
Now this home is being passed to new owners, who will have their own adventures. I hope they will be as happy living in the house as I was.
On Mondays and Wednesdays I take Yoga at 8:45 a.m. followed by either Body Sculpting and Balance or Pilates. Today was Pilates and as usual the room was filled with ladies from our community. I think most of us come for the social aspect but we all bravely attempt to complete various exercises, including, what seems like a zillion crunches. Our instructor tries to fool us by having us do sets of ten one way and then she changes our position slightly and has us do ten more sets. I know you have taken a class like this so I won’t bore you with more details.
What I want to share is the music and how listening to it brought me back to a ballet class in the early 1970’s when I was attending college as an undergraduate. At that time students were required to take physical education each term. There were three terms in a year so I had to decide on three classes. I went to college in the Pacific Northwest, where it rains a lot. Thus I was not interested in outdoor sports, such as golf and softball. I wanted to take something new. So I decided I wanted to take ballet.
An adult beginner ballet student is something to see. We were required to wear black long-sleeved leotards, pink tights, and matching pink leather ballet shoes that we had sewn white elastic over the insteps to keep the shoes in place.
Our teacher was an elderly man, about 50 years old, who wore dark slacks, a white shirt, and big poofy tie. He carried a cane that he tapped to the beat of the music as we did our exercises.
But what I remember the most is the music. There was an upright piano that a man or woman would play during our sessions. What a treat it was to practice our jetes, plies, and releves accompanied by live music! Sometimes it would be classical pieces; Mozart, Bach, or someone I didn’t know. Other times it would be songs from musicals or popular songs from the past, such as Yankee Doodle Dandy or White Cliffs of Dover. Whatever was played was enjoyable, even if I couldn’t quite complete the dance steps. It was fun to dream that for a moment I was a ballerina.
Our Pilates class does not have a pianist but the instructor plays a CD of piano renditions of Broadway musical songs. The connection was made for me as I remembered the music from another class long ago.
When I married my first husband in 1978, I looked to my parents marriage as an example to follow. I was raised that the man is the head of the household. As benevolent as he was, my father was in charge and no one questioned his judgement. My mother was not allowed to work; Dad said it looked to others like he couldn’t support the family if she worked. So she played golf and joined clubs, and took care of the house.
Now I am married to my second husband and with the experience of a previous relationship, one that had it’s ups and downs as I struggled to follow his lead, I no longer see my new husband as the ruler of all and me as the subservient wife.
I think of marriage as two people yoked together like a team of oxen. The two have to be able to work together towards a common goal. They rely on the judgement of a higher power, one that knows the destination and guides them on their journey. They each have their tasks to do and must communicate to the other their wishes. They work out their problems together. They must agree to work together instead of arguing or fighting or complaining.
So here I am setting up house in our new home, doing the tasks set before me. My husband is completing his tasks, working and caring for our previous home until he can join me. We may be apart geographically, but we are yoked together spiritually in a common bond.
So next time you have a fight with your spouse, think about the oxen who are yoked together and strive again to work as a team.
Several times recently I’ve had situations occur that reminded me of when I was in high school and I wonder…
I joined an activity club and the first time I was there a couple of ladies were complaining about someone else that belongs to the same club. I was telling my new hairdresser about moving in to this community and she asked if I had “made any friends yet?” Then there was the pilates class I attended where the snowbirds, as they refer to those who live here from mid-October to mid-March, were welcomed back and I found myself envious of one of them. This “cheerleader” type had perfect hair, a new outfit and knew everyone. I hated her!
That was last week…now my confidence is bolstered as I am getting to know others who share similiar feelings about those that gossip about others…I met the “cheerleader” in pilates class and she was very nice…People smile and wave as I drive by and I find my self smiling and waving back!
So now I’m off to Pickleball lessons and I can’t wait to meet more neighbors.
I recently received an email from a friend who asked how my cats like the country life verses their previous home in the city. I thought it was amusing as I live in a nice house with landscaping and all the other trappings of city life. Country living congers up thoughts of cows and horses, neither of which are near me.
While paying bills online today, I gazed out the window and saw a small jackrabbit sniffing the air while sitting on the concrete path to the front door. He then hopped over to one of my Lantana’s and stuck his nose into the base of the shrub. A few minutes later I spied a little lizard scurrying across the rock mulch towards the safety of the house.
A couple of days ago, one of my cats brought me a frog and dropped it next to my feet while I was watching TV. I was so startled at first, I just stared at it. Then as it hopped away I quickly scooped it up and took it back outside, rescuing it from certain torture and death from my cat.
This may not be “Country living” but I’m no longer living in the city…
By now all the furniture is set in place and the house is starting to look like a home. My husband was here for the weekend to help set things up and is now at the airport waiting for his flight back to our old life. I almost wish it was me going back to what I used to know and the routine I depended on for so many years. I love retirement but I don’t look forward to the unpacking job ahead of me.
Somehow in the packing I forgot where I put the remotes. This wouldn’t have been an issue but yesterday was Monday Night Football and John really wanted to watch the game. So we opened every box and looked and looked and looked until we found them in a box with some towels! I would not have had the patience to do it without his assistance in opening the boxes for me and then moving them to the other side of the garage.
The most challenging part for me is yet to come, unpacking and putting everything away, especially the kitchen. My new kitchen is entirely different from the previous one. The pantry is smaller with bi-fold doors; the pantry I left was a walk-in closet sort of thing that I was able to store oodles of things, not just food items. On the upside, my new laundry room has enormous cabinets that will store these other items, such as medicines and light bulbs. I need only to decide where to put everything!!! That is my predicament.
The voice in my head says, “Start with those things you do know where they go and work from there.”
So that’s what I’m doing. One lousy box at a time.
So now just about everything I still own is boxed up ready for the big move. I have given away more than I can believe. Friends and neighbors have helped take my possessions, the remaining items have been taken to the goodwill or shredders.
As I was pondering the enormity of my upcoming adventure I thought of my ancestors who moved over 150 years ago from their homes in Scandinavia and Germany to a better life in North America.
Some of my family left with nothing more than the clothes on their backs, having given away or sold most of their belongings. Others traveled first class, having the income to prepare more extensively for their trip to America. All left their homes with the certainty they would never see their families and friends again.
My trip is only five hours by car, theirs several months by ship. They endured sickness, hunger, loneliness, and unending discomfort aboard the ship. One of my relatives, a two year old boy, died at sea during the journey. I will endure my cats, Lucy and Bobby, complaining loudly for possibly the entire trip. We will make several stops for gas and bathroom breaks. They had no break from the perils of their journey.
At the end of the trip we will both find a new life. One with endless possibilities in the new world. I am here because my ancestors persevered and succeeded in establishing a new life.