Moved Again

Dear diary, it’s November 21, 2021. I recently moved. It was an in-town move, so not too tough. I moved a lot of stuff with a rental truck and a two-wheeled tilting hand-truck, but had movers for the furniture.

A little over three years ago, we showed-up one day after driving over a thousand miles – we needed a place to stay. Our prayers were answered when we found ourselves living in a 2-story top-floor condo. Financially, I only expected to live there for less than two years. Yet, we lasted over three. I’m not sure why, but we randomly received some checks in the mail. We seem to come into enough money to scrape by when needed.

Then all of a sudden, the owners of the condo (I was renting) wanted to sell. It was an investment-property that didn’t pan-out and they wanted to cut their losses. I barely have enough money to rent, let alone buy, so purchasing wasn’t an option – therefore, I started packing. We ended up staying another four months.

A guy bought it and said we could probably stay until the middle of next year. But very soon afterwards, he re-listed the property for sale. And soon after that, he told us we had to be out by the end of this year. Your classic “kicked out for the holidays” tale.

To be fair, I didn’t mind leaving – I had a significant portion of my stuff packed anyway. It was a nice place and I would’ve considered buying it if I had the resources, but I’m fine with something different. The new place is a bit smaller though, so fitting stuff in has been the real challenge. The entire dining room was packed with boxes for over a week – but it’s almost empty (closets and cabinets are full though).

Well, that’s what’s been going on dear diary: dealing with a limbo-like living situation, unsure about where to live and what would happen. I was quite dissatisfied. So what could I do when all I saw were external problems? Turn inward. “When surrounded by darkness, should you not seek a light?”

I meditated a lot. Three times per day, about twenty minutes each – morning, afternoon, evening. I wrestled my mind, trying to remain calm. Then one day my wife came home and said she toured a condo for rent – and here we are. It’s nice enough, not as spacious, but it gets the job done and probably fits our family better for now.

Packing Purpose

If you know where you’re going, it makes packing much easier. With packing, you can’t always bring everything you own. And even if you can, you still have to prioritize accessibility of items – some things get buried on the bottom while others are kept near the top. What’s the weather like? Hot, cold, rainy? What activities will I do? Which accessories should I keep at hand? How long will I be without the stuff I leave behind?

A couple years ago for example, I emptied out a storage unit that contained stuff I left behind ten years prior. More than half of that stuff was irrelevant and got thrown out. I’m at a similar spot now. I have to leave but I don’t know where I’m going. I have to pack but I don’t know what to bring. Will the rest go into storage again? Another decade entombed until my return? I’m obviously not pleased by this prospect.

If I had my druthers, I’d simply buy a nice home in a pleasant location and settle there. I’m able to make more suitable choices for myself than the powers that be. Yet for whatever reason, something wants me riled up. But honestly, I don’t like this world enough to bear any inconvenience. It’s a relationship in which my needs are reluctantly addressed. Me: “Can I get an ice-cream cone?” The world: “We have popsicles at home.” Me: “oh.”

So dear world, you disappoint me once again. If I could end this relationship, I would. But I know any authority so petty and cruel would not allow such a circumstance – thus your prisoner I remain. Whatever. I have nothing better to do apparently. One would assume that a good host would make their guest’s stay a pleasant one. Yet, it is an absolute chore to attain any sense of enjoyment from this place. Good day to you.

A New Dawn

Dear Diary,

As I write this, it is the evening of the day upon which the property-manager approved our application. Tomorrow morning we’ll sign the lease and move-in. I suppose this means I’ve officially jumped time-lines — I’ve altered my frequency to one that aligns with good-fortune. Sweet!

Back on my old frequency, I’d deny every gift given, assuming it was a trap. But today and tomorrow, I’ll embrace this gift as a warm ray of afternoon sunlight following a chilly morn. Though thoughts of cold enter my mind, I reject them in favor of the warmth. I smother suspicion with appreciation.

The next words you hear from me, I’ll be in even deeper….

I’m here. It’s the nighttime and I’m currently on an air mattress because we have no furniture to speak of. I don’t mind. We have electricity, water, and internet… what more could I need?

Just to interject, my friend and I would browse through expensive real-estate listings and joke when we’d see big American flags flying from the houses. I’d say, “man, I’d love America too if I lived in that house!” Now here’s our view from the bedroom balcony:

Balcony View

If you can’t see it, it’s a giant American flag waving in the breeze.

My son and I walked over to it tonight. I also showed him the small park his mom and I used to frequent. We even walked downtown and became part of the nightlife, scoping out restaurants, walking past tourists, I loved it. I barely ever walked out the door in my previous house, but this just feels natural.

I’m back. After a decade gone I’m back and this time I intend to enjoy myself.

Lovingly yours,

Familial Lamentations

Dear diary,

I’m at my mother’s house today. I’m not pleased. When we left the hotel today it felt like I was on my way to prison — the party’s over folks. Last night I was livin’ the high-life eatin’ Mint-Chip Dazzlers at Disney Springs, tonight it’ll be hot dogs in the kitchen.

Of course I’m being overly-dramatic and I can readily recognize it. But my mind is swirling with the worst thoughts possible. I don’t like this place. I could quite easily compose a one-hundred item list of all the things I don’t like about it.

I want to go back to where I just was, my real home. I want a nice condo on main street, I want an annual pass to the parks, I want a nice school and restaurants within walking distance. I want to go strolling right from my front door among all the pleasant little neighborhoods.

I’m still waiting to hear back from the property manager about our approval — I’m just super-impatient. And what if… what if… no I can’t even consider it — we have to be approved! I need that place like I need air to breathe!

Oh diary, we’re running out of time and alternatives. Our old house is gone (and good riddance), but now we’re in limbo, an in-between state of residential uncertainty.

Speaking of family, I went and visited my father’s grave today. Nothing new to report, he’s still dead.

Yours Truly,

Seven Year Itch

It’ll be a month shy of seven years when we depart at the end of this week. And even though this is only a thousand squarefoot house, we sure did find ways to stuff it with stuff. So a lot of my time has been dedicated to emptying it. There’s a few places where you can redistribute the stuff though: there’s the regular weekly trash pickup, there’s dropping things off at Goodwill, there’s selling items on Facebook Marketplace, and there’s services that pickup your junk with a truck and take it to the dump. And of course you can bring some of it with you, and for that, we’re going to fill a small storage container that’ll be shipped to our new location.

I was most excited to get rid of the lawnmower. Yesterday was my last day of mowing and someone bought the mower a few hours later. I could write an essay about how much I disliked mowing every week for half-the-year for every year we lived here — but I won’t — as that would be a poor use of my focus and attention. Instead, I’ll just quietly reflect on my newfound freedom from the tyranny of landscaping. Deep breath. In…. Out….

To be honest, I never wanted to live in this house, it was my wife’s idea. I’ve been waiting to leave since we moved in. I wouldn’t mind returning to the general area though, I like it. I really should have appreciated this house more while I lived in it though — that’s my bad. Because really, my wish in life is for a myriad of delightful surprises, so I don’t actually want a say in where I live — surprise me! But my problem is that I criticize everything I’m given instead of appreciating what’s good about it. That’s a dumb strategy by the way.

So I guess the test begins again when I leave. I’ve had seven years to reflect on life and its meaning — but life isn’t all theory is it, there’s a practical exam too. Speaking of which, you know what would make this story more interesting? Some chaos and calamity! And that’s true isn’t it? So don’t wonder why turmoil exists, it’s what provides the most captivating content. If this story was all about near-misses and redemption and a love gone wrong, you’d be glued to your seats just lickin’ up the drama. Lucky for me I like boring stuff.

Sale Pending

Dear Diary,

Lately, I’ve been busy preparing the house for sale — sorting through things, boxing, tossing, and cleaning. There’s been a “For Sale” sign in the window for a few days. After a showing today, an interested party just put in an offer — but there’s some stuff that needs to happen before the deal is finalized. And after it’s sold we’ll be moving outta state. We’ve got plans to ship our stuff in one of those small portable storage containers while we drive in our compact car for a few days.

My friend has the town she wants to live-in already picked out. It’s a town we already lived in ten years ago, maybe we had some unfinished business there. She’s got big plans I guess. Me, I’m just along for the ride. I did like the town, so I’m not complaining. But for anyone keeping track, I’m not moving to where I had selected, nor under the conditions I had selected. So as far as my “Law of Attraction” experiment went, it’s a no for me dawg.

I suppose in Law-of-Attraction speak, the universe has something better than what my measly mind could manifest on its own. But if that’s always going to be the case, why bother with LOA stuff in the first place? I guess I’m gonna have to dump that philosophy. Wishing is for the birds, it’s just not my style. My friend on the other hand, her wishes seem to work more than they don’t work. I’m a passenger though, she’s literally always in the driver’s seat — and I don’t mind that, cuz I’ve got no particular place to go.

Besides, I don’t like planning my life out and I don’t have a great imagination — so I’m not good at wishing, it’s not a process I innately enjoy (unlike my friend). So in that sense, LOA is actually working perfectly i.e. I don’t want to wish my way through life, I’d rather sit back and keep my arms and legs within the vehicle at all times. But what I have enjoyed is the practice of hopefulness and a belief in the benevolence of life — those ideas are working out fine.

Every time I start to worry I simply shut it down and overpower it with hopefulness and a belief in the benevolence of life. What a relief I tell ya. Will everything work out? Yep. But what about… Yep that too. Even if… don’t worry about it, it’s all good. Okay but say that… nope, not gonna even finish that thought, I’m in a positive place. It’s a little game I’ve been playing. I don’t always dominate but I’m definitely getting better and it’s well-worth the invested effort.

Well, thanks for listening dear diary.

Yours truly,

Overcoming Inertia

While we were leaving Florida after living there for five years, we considered buying a camping-trailer and a tow-vehicle. We even went to some RV dealers and browsed around. In the end, we decided against it and just stayed in some Home-Away houses when we got to the Northeast. But funny enough, when we started to look for a more permanent place to stay, we found a nice little mobile-home situated in a nice little trailer-park not far from the beach. It seemed the most affordable option too.

The funny part is that it’s just like we’ve been camping these past seven years. So not only did I get my wish of living in a trailer, but life knew me too well, so well in fact that it put me in a deluxe-super-upgraded version of a trailer. This place is easily at least three-times the size of a conventional travel-trailer, has 2 bathrooms, 2 bedrooms, a full-kitchen, living room, ample closet space, and a decently-sized yard. Not to mention that it’s located near attractions and amenities.

Hm, why am I moving again? I suppose in one sense we’ve been a bit stagnant. Although, being still is a way of life for me. But my friend came up with the idea to move — she doesn’t like stillness for too long. I think that’s fine, I mean how long can you reasonably camp in the same site — it’s been 7 years, time to move on. How moving back to the location we left in Florida is “moving on”, I don’t know — seems more like back-tracking to me.

I watch those International House Hunter shows on HGTV and I’m usually intrigued by the possibility of living in a completely different place. But I don’t have a job with international ties, I’m not a student, I’m not married to a European, I’m not independently wealthy, and my budget is a bit too small to get the locations I’d want. There I go with my lack-minded thinking again! I’m in the middle of sorting through stuff for the upcoming move by the way, which is why I’m rambling. What’s better than procrastination, I wouldn’t know.

Perhaps this is one of those situations where you’ve been home all along and only recognize it when you’re about to leave? Sniffle…. It’s like when you flip a coin — you only realize what you truly want when the coin is in the air and your fate is about to be decided. Really though, we’ve put down zero roots here, so it’s hard to imagine this as home. This place is familiar yes, but there’s nothing keeping us here but inertia. Well, back to sorting….

For Sale

Last year at this exact time, I was in Walt Disney World. My friend had the absolute need to go there and so we went. She actually wanted to up-and-move to the Disney area but I convinced her that perhaps a several-week vacation would suffice. We stayed with my mother (who lives nearby) for a couple weeks while there. We were probably gone for over three weeks because of the drawn-out travel-time (by car). I thought that would be the end of it.

This year she wanted to return for a vacation. We had used our savings to fund last-year’s travel, and since it hasn’t been replenished, I told her it’s not feasible. Well, now she wants to move there again. We actually used to live there about ten years ago, so that’s not as crazy as it sounds. Personally, I didn’t prefer the unrelenting heat and I kinda like being back in snow-country. But at the start of this year, due to my poor stewardship, I relinquished control over the family, allowing my friend to make the major decisions.

Partly because of wanting to support my friend’s wishes, and partly because I must be more willing to accept life’s narrative, and partly because I don’t prefer living in this particular house, I’m okay with moving. Therefore, we’ll be putting the mobile-home up for sale soon. The most uncomfortable aspect to me is having to empty the house, just the logistical aspect mainly — there’s not much worth bringing and we only have a small car for the stuff we do want.

So in my mind, there’s a 100% chance that we’ll be outta here by the end of the summer or earlier (that’s about 7 years we’ve been here). My wish though, is to travel in a larger, more comfortable vehicle (I was a bit dissatisfied with the car-portion of the trip last year). Plus, I would prefer to have plenty of money to spend along the way and when we arrive. Yes it’s true that selling this small house will provide some savings, but I would prefer significantly more.

At our wedding reception, my wife said, “I used to pray to God that I wanted to marry rich, and when I met my husband he told me he was Rich — and I said, ‘Thank you God!'” Well if “nominative determinism” is real, I think I’m due for a windfall. Funny enough, my actual last name is a synonym for “abrasive” — which does kinda fit me. So after twenty years of being together, I think my friend is due her windfall as well — she’s been the greatest aspect of my life and she’s put up with my abrasiveness all these years.

Ready and Waiting

I’m ready to move. I’ve been researching this and that, towns, houses, town-houses, trucks, trailers, schools, furniture, I’m champing at the bit. Even the local news is trying to tell me to go, with some time-to-get-out-of-here type stories, nasty stuff.

Let’s do this already. It feels like I should be there, not here. I’m just waiting for the finances to kick in. I don’t know how that process works exactly, but I expect any day now my bank account will have sufficient funds.

I think they call it magic. The secret to my success will be wishes and magic. Since I’ll be moving, no one will wonder why I was an overnight success. They’ll simply assume it was years of hard-work mixed with talent. When asked for evidence of my endeavors, I’ll just say I’m a writer, writing under a pseudonym for privacy.

I think I can pass off the well-educated writer vibe. I wear glasses and have a little beard, and for whatever reason I dress more formally nowadays — button-down shirts and such. After achieving success, I’ll recognize all that came before as worth it, remembering the tough times fondly.

Sometimes I think about Lennie asking George to tell him about the rabbits, and how my wishful thinking won’t get me anywhere. But I have faith in life. For instance, when life looked bleak and lonely, my friend arrived. And the time we moved from my parents’ house, our new place appeared like an oasis in the desert. And when it looked as though a little-one would never come, he did. When we needed a nest to bring him into the world, a small one materialized.

So I have no reason to doubt life is providing me both the idea and the means to implement it. I’ve noticed life likes to build up the anticipation and suspense, as if what I want is never going to happen, but in the end, all of a sudden, boom, there it is.

Of course I’ve tried to work for things, over many years I tried various means to achieve my ends, but in a sense, I was attempting to force an outcome, and those endeavors always fell flat. Only when I stopped pushing, only when I relaxed and let things happen, did the things I want manifest. You can’t force a flower to open, the result won’t be pretty.

I don’t know how life works for everyone else, but for me, things have to come at their own pace, falling into my lap. Impatiently striving has only ever been a recipe for frustration. I can’t take what I want from life, it has to be given, and the receipt of such gifts brings forth my appreciation. And so with that in mind, I’m anxiously anticipating, awaiting my Christmas miracle.

Retreat at Westchester

The retreat to Westchester was a frustrating one. A child again, dependent on parental figures, a house full of people. Plus it was a mess, so I spent the early months just tidying and fixing things up, even to the point of renovating one of the bathrooms — new toilet, sink, floor, everything. But I suppose it kept me busy and feeling accomplished.

This particular region seemed odd though, disjointed and in decline. Certain stores were in the next state over, and many groups of people occupied the same space without intermingling, all very distinct. There were fancy little towns with nannies strolling children to the ice cream parlor, ghettos, dilapidated suburban neighborhoods, cities with corridors of giant buildings.

As far as what I liked, that ice cream parlor in the fancy little town was within walking distance. I also went to a lovely old cemetery filled with lots of prominent names — and walking around large scenic cemeteries is an underrated activity, it’s very serene. I also went row-boating on a small lake, something I always wanted to do. And of course it was nice not to worry about money, all food and supplies were paid for by the relatives.

But money could not buy happiness. No matter how much I tried to adjust to the surroundings, this wasn’t home. I wanted to go back to the previous place, the one that felt more like home than my actual home ever did. So after 12 months, I had an irresistible urge to leave immediately, but how could I afford it — so I did what any spoiled child would do, I called up my mom and was able to secure the funding for a gently-used single-wide mobile-home in a pleasant little trailer park near the beach. She had some spare change after my father passed.