I’m feeling pretty clear that I’ll be selling my house soon. I don’t know when. But it will happen. Highly likely it will happen in the next year. Might happen in a month. I just don’t know.
The reason I don’t know this is because I don’t want to move while my dog is still here. And I don’t want her to go. I know she has to. She has cancer. I know this, even though lately I’ve been questioning whether she really does. Was that x-ray really her? Did the vet make a mistake? I don’t know what cancer looks like. Does it look like something else that it could be instead?
That’s a crazy rabbit hole I prefer not to go down. It’s probably best to assume that the vet knows what he’s doing. He’s seen a lot of bone cancer in dogs, especially older dogs. He knows what it looks like. He would never have had that painful conversation with me if there was a question. So cancer.
The good news is that my dog’s doing great. Hence the questioning. And now my daughter is grown and settled in her own home. When I’m left all alone here, in a house too big for me and more than I can handle, I don’t want to stay. Here. Alone.
So my plan is to sell the house and move into something much smaller, a condo. Not a tiny house, because there’s a whole set of problems that comes with that. Not an apartment, because I would have no equity, no tax write off and no rent control. But a condo. Something that I can maintain my portion and have the association as a group help with the big stuff. Not just me. Alone.
That’s the safe plan.
But I have some dreams, too.
I have a gypsy soul. When I was growing up I dreamt about following each road, just to see where it went. I wanted to be an astronaut, a cruise director, stewardess, travel agent. I didn’t end up pursuing any of those careers, but I did get to travel a lot in my twenties. I loved it. When my daughter was born I made a conscious choice to settle in one place and raise her in a real neighborhood. I wanted her to have childhood friends and familiar faces. I bought this house by the skin of my teeth and somehow held on to it.
It was beautiful. It was hard. It was safe and sweet, yet always scraping the edge of what I could handle. Here is the room where I read bedtime stories to my daughter and left the door open just a crack to let a little hall light in. This is where I shut my dog in when the moon was full and the raccoons and possums had her racing in and out of the pet door all night long, chasing, guarding, being a dog. My daughter went to the nearby schools; I walked her to grade school in one direction, then to middle school in another. My dog and I walked every street, all the nearby trails, changing up our routes to keep the 6 am darkness interesting. We walked in fog, snow, rain, mist, ice. We saw sublime sunrises. We met deer, hawks, woodpeckers, ducks. And a lot of cats.
I built the fence around the front yard. Okay, I had it built by someone who has skills like that, but still. I created the front garden – hundreds of square feet of awkwardly lit, often shady soil that killed as many plants as thrived. After much digging, weeding, and hauling compost over the years it has matured into a real garden. It went through incarnations of mini-farm, herbs, shrubs and finally into mostly flowers. No matter what I did to the soil, most vegetables just didn’t do well. Pests and rot. So I focused on the birds and the bees – planting flowers, putting in a fountain. Hummingbirds zip and little chickadees flit and the bees bumble around from flower to flower.
The trees in the backyard create a canopy that forms a shady paradise. When I hang colored paper lanterns it creates a magical summer night space to gather with good friends and laugh and tell stories around the fire. The little playhouse/clubhouse/storage shed has had a lot of uses, but is now decaying. The fences are falling down and neither me nor my neighbors can afford to fix them. So we let them be, with blackberry brambles climbing over them.
My daughter is grown and gone, my dog is dying and I’m left here with entropy.
The time for living here is over. I’m slowly packing, sifting, shedding. It’s time to go. My long-slumbering gypsy soul is stirring. I don’t know where it will lead me, but I turn my face forward.