Still

What is the opposite of “moving?” I think it must be “still.” And at this moment, I can’t think of a more beautiful word, a more desired state of being. Under the waterfall, my feet swaddled in puffy clouds, garbed in a simple, ethereal yet slimming raiment, with only the sound of sunshine and lollipops buzzing in my ears. Still.
Remember the time I sold my house in California where I had lived my entire life, and packed all my worldly goods and moved to lovely, but oh so different New England? And I settled in, and I wore boots and learned to shovel wee bits of snow and got promoted and did, like, 3 jobs at once, and felt content and happy and finally, at last, settled, resettled. A backwards Pilgrim, as it were.
I remember! So clearly. I mean, it was only about 7 months ago! And yet, settled as I was, it was always the plan that my initial move here wouldn’t be long term. I had taken a 10 month lease in a well-managed and amenity rich townhouse, always with the knowledge that the end game was home ownership.
But it was a bit trickier than I had foreseen. Timing was problematic. To go beyond my lease left me vulnerable to a very steep rent increase. To break it early required a minimum of 60 days’ notice and a ridiculously steep penalty. The goal was to time it perfectly. Having sold in the L.A. market I expected to enter into this race in a favored position. I had been watching the local real estate for months on Zillow and fully assumed I would come in on favorable level. But the Metro West Boston real estate market was a notoriously tough nut to crack!
I didn’t know that Boston and the surrounding suburbs was the third toughest real estate market in America, behind only New York City and San Francisco. I wasn’t aware that the medium price in the area I was renting in and worked in, Waltham MA, and the even more desirable border towns I had come to love, Lexington and Arlington, were so far priced out of my league that the only house within my range was under 800 square feet and had no closets! And I actually bid on it! Over asking price! And cried when I didn’t get it. Who needs closets, asks the crazy lady with 14 pairs of boots?
So, reality, as well as realty, finally reared its practical little head. And I set my sights out a little further, to Framingham. Initially I had resisted Framingham, because it was farther out than I wanted to be, about 25 miles west of Boston and 13 miles from work. And it was admittedly, on the face of it, less charming than the lovely town of Waltham I had been living in, with its beautiful town common, historic mansions, farm stands and surprisingly, a quite fabulous restaurant row.
Framingham is much more suburban. It reminded me in some ways of the San Fernando Valley, with malls and parking lots and a Loews and Cineplex. And at first, I resisted that idea. I didn’t make this huge life change to eat at PF Changs, if that makes any sense. But then, I found a darling house, in a sweet, extremely charming neighborhood. With two fireplaces, and a possibly haunted basement and a sunporch. And it needs love and it needs money put into it, but wait! There’s a Trader Joe’s! And a Whole Foods! And a historic downtown and a town common and lakes and ponds and farm stands all waiting to be explored. I started to feel much better about living in the ‘ham (as the locals call it).
The story of how I got the house, and the serendipity surrounding that, and the wrangling and negotiating and multi mini dramas swirling around me for the last 60 days is a tale for another time. I closed last week; it felt like we wrestled down to the wire. The work being done to the house has involved intense levels of coordination; the house had been vacant for a year and it needed some TLC. Over the past 8 days I’ve project managed a troop of electricians, a painter, a handyman, pest controller and cleaning crew into a beautifully choreographed dance. We’re at the tail end. There’s two nights left before I leave this townhouse.
If any of this sounds easy, I haven’t done a good job of telling the story. It has been hard, really, really hard. As always, I am incredibly grateful to the wonderful and extraordinary love and support of family and friends. I’m not always graceful or smart or logical, or even cheerful. Thank God for the crew that listens to me doubt and complain, and renders advice even when they know I may not listen to them, and loves me anyway in spite of my flaws.
I am frankly exhausted. I haven’t slept for what feels like weeks, my body hurts from lifting and hauling, and I’m pretty sure my boxes are having box babies and laughing at me behind my back. Daisy has been a brat for days, she doesn’t understand why things are in such disarray and I’ve been so cranky, she knows something is amiss. And I’ve tried to explain to her, yes we are moving again, but this time is going to be the last time for, I hope, a long while. And we’re going to have two fireplaces, and space, and privacy and a yard, and, yep, Trader Joe’s is in the near vicinity. And we’re going to get past the pain of moving, and settle in. Again. And we’re going to be blessedly home at last, and beautifully, wonderfully, still.
The end, for now

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