My appointment went almost as planned, but I decided to start the waterworks right there in front of God and everybody as the reality of my life started to sink in. Fortunately, the gentleman on the other side of the conference table just happened to be Miss Charlene's husband Steve. Mr. Steve is an attorney who has bravely and very graciously taken me on as his hapless client, so my poor tender heart was in very good hands indeed.
From there I went to the bank to retrieve cash for the movers tomorrow, but I stood there for what felt like three days trying to determine what an appropriate tip amount will be. Can anybody guide me? It's going to be 110 degrees tomorrow, so in addition to providing these guys plenty of cold drinks and meals, I want to give them a tip that compensates them for having to haul all of my crap up the stairs in the midst of a hearwave.
I finished packing the last few boxes and took a quick look to make sure I didn't miss anything, then I stripped the bed and washed all of the sheets and blankets and such, and I lifted the mattress and boxspring to vacuum the underside of the big girl sleigh bed.
You might remember that under the bed was one of Stewey's forts, so you can imagine the ugly cry that ensued when I found a few of his treasures hidden under there and enough white fluffy hair to construct an entirely new Stewey with a few pounds left over.
Yup. Sat right down in the middle of the floor for that one.
I was going to call it a day, but decided to do a fast Target run and hit the grocery for a few things to stash at CS2 just to get me started...like fruit and sandwich things, and cream for my coffee. I had the entire store to myself (which was lovely), but just as I was heading for the checkout lane the lights decided to go out. Ka-blooey. Why this would upset me is completely beyond reason, but...more tears all over the front of my t-shirt and old lady jean capris.
I made it through the grocery without incident and managed to get the bags upstairs in record time, and then I came home, packed the coolers, took a lovely cool shower, and hit the Happy Chair.
And that's when the big one hit. I suddenly realized that tonight is my last night here. I have loved this little house with my whole heart for almost 15 years. When I first moved back to Indiana in January of 1999, I used to drive around on Saturdays looking at houses. The minute I drove onto my street, I told myself that some day I was going to live here. And then Dad came for a visit and I brought him over to meet the builder and we looked at different models and Dad said "CJ, I think you've found your dreamhouse".
They broke ground on May 1, 2002 and then Dad got sick and I spent most of that summer in Phoenix. My friends drove by and took pictures for me and I sat with Dad and talked about lighting fixtures and cabinets. They finished construction and I moved in on November 7th, and I remember sitting in this exact spot that first night planning decorations and wondering where I was going to put this or that.
Chrissy moved in a year later and stayed until she went home to be with Dad before he died, and then she came back and bought her own little dream house in the neighborhood next door. That was probably my favorite time...me in my house and she in hers...runnings our errands and having sissy days and decorating for the holidays and raising the boys.
And then the wheels came off the bus and I got sick and lost my job, and then Chrissy went sideways and everything turned upside down. That was in 2006. Eleven years ago. Eleven years of doing everything I possibly could to just keep it together until together wasn't even remotely an option anymore. Survival became about the only thing I could think to do.
I can honestly tell you that right up until the very moment the door opened at CS2, I was determined to leave this house one way only...feet first. I could not even fathom the possibility of living elsewhere, but what looked like complete foolishness to anybody advising me was a actually just...fear.
Tonight, though, I'm not afraid.
I'm sad, yes, and I think it's OK to acknowledge that. I feel very humiliated and ashamed and embarrassed that I'm leaving my house and despite my very best attempts to put a happy spin on it, this has been the single hardest thing I've done right after losing my parents and Stewey. For it to come on the heels of such a hard year last year certainly doesn't make it any easier, but for the first time in a long long while I actually think I might survive this.
My new life begins at 8am tomorriw morning. I know I still have a ton of hard work to do before I can officially relax into it, but this week is going to be all about new beginnings. I am going to enjoy getting myself unpacked and organized and back into routine, and then in another week or so I will call in the cavalry and get this place cleared out and cleaned up for its next occupant.
My prayer is that this house knows how much I have loved her and that I am so very grateful for all of the happiness and comfort she brought me in addition to keeping me safe and sound. She's a good house and I hope the next owner feels as lucky as I do to have lived here.