Journey Back To Me
Moving Week – Mtn. Grove, Missouri
4.7.17 – 4.14.17
It’s very difficult to believe it’s already been a month. It’s equally difficult to believe it’s only been a month.
Let’s take a look back, shall we?
My brother, Tommy, arrived from Albuquerque on Thursday, April 6, which was also my last day of employment at both of my jobs. After driving over 14 hours, he arrived at 2:30 a.m. and barely had time to sleep before my arrival at his hotel room at 8:15 Friday morning after I dropped my maybe-pregnant, recently-rescued kitten, Oreo, off at the vet to be spayed. My sister, Sheila had generously given me the green light on bringing along 2 of my 4 cats to her house in Wausau, so after Oreo went into heat and disappeared for 36 hours only a couple of weeks before moving day, I couldn’t take any chances.
Tommy and I then spent the day loading his work van with my larger belongings, including furniture my dad had built as well as boxes upon boxes of clothes and memorabilia and whatnot, to be taken to New Mexico and kept in storage until my future, undetermined arrival date. Phase One of my “Journey Back to Me” will be taking place in Wisconsin.
After breakfast at Mom & Pop’s Family Restaurant, followed by packing and loading his van, getting my car tuned up, and retrieving Oreo from the vet, Tommy and I returned to his hotel room for an evening of beers, Bloody Mary’s and Pinochle. We didn’t even have time for breakfast the next morning before he was back on the road for another long day of driving. I returned to my house to finalize my next phase of packing in preparation for Sheila’s arrival the following Thursday. (That date got changed more than once – as did my utility cutoff dates – while I was still trying to get the closing details on my house taken care of before I left, which didn’t happen, which turned out to be a good thing after all.)
The next week was incredibly stressful, working out Sheila’s arrival date and subsequently our departure date. (We had a one-week window during her Spring break from school where she works as a speech therapist.) As with my brother, I again had to determine what could go and what needed to be sold/tossed/left behind, based on what was going to fit inside my Ford Escort and my sister’s Prius. Every day was an emotional roller coaster…letting go is not easy, even when it’s a good thing. And I had 16 years’ worth of stuff to let go of.
In the end, I was able to sell some stuff, including my pool table and a bunch of furniture. I was able to find a good home for all 36 of my houseplants, and an even better home for my 2 remaining adult cats (a veterinarian friend-of-a-friend whom I ran into at the last possible minute while getting an oil change at Walmart ; she even picked them up at my house, minimizing my emotional trauma).
Sheila arrived at my house on the morning of Thursday, April 13. We spent an energetic day packing, me filling last-minute boxes as Sheila took the lead on fitting them all strategically into our cars. We needed to fit my small flat-screen TV, my big, boxy computer, lots of clothes, a couple of small plants and 2 cats (inside one carrier). After that we stuffed my want-but-don’t-need stuff into the nooks and crannies while everything else that didn’t fit got left behind for my house-buyer to deal with. With the packing complete, and my stress levels still running in the stratosphere, it was obviously time for wine. And blackberry schnapps. So I pretended to clean house while my sister listened attentively to stories told by my neighbor, Amy, who was having a little letting-go trouble of her own (letting go of me, a whole book chapter in itself, but I have other stories to tell).
We spent the night at Sheila’s hotel room with plans to return to the house, pick up the cats, and be on the road to Wisconsin by 8:00 a.m. the next morning. So at precisely 8:00 a.m. on Good Friday, 2017, I watched Mountain Grove, Missouri, disappear in my rearview mirror. I may have shed a tear or two, but my emotions lightened considerably over the next hour or so as I waved back to every single one of the dozens – if not hundreds – of church groups standing next to white PVC crucifixes on the side of the road waving to passersby. God was definitely with me on this journey (which was proven first in Cabool, a mere 10 minutes into the road trip when the hood of my car appeared to be unlatched; and proven again a little while later during a pit stop on a busy highway in Rolla where one of my cats escaped from his harness, and even later still after missing my exit in Bloomington/Normal, Illinois, during a thunderstorm, resulting in me driving for over an hour in the wrong direction. When I got re-routed (sans GPS, by the way), I drove right back into the same thunderstorm and almost missed my exit again. I really should get my windshield wiper motor fixed so that it has more than one speed, but for now Godspeed is all I need.)
Journey Back to Me
Wausau – Month #1 and Beyond (A Synopsis of What’s to Come)
- What Happened with the House
- What’s Up With the Weather? Winter never actually arrived in Missouri. In Wisconsin, it still hasn’t quite left.
- Minimalism: from 2 bedrooms and 4 closets on nearly ½ acre with a barn, to 1 bedroom & 1 closet (plus a bonus room and a full basement)
- Animals: from 4 cats with a yard, to 2 cats now forever housebound, plus a puppy who wants to forever play. (Excuse me for a moment while I extract my kitten from the desk drawer and take the dog for a walk.)
- Exploring the City and Planning New Adventures: on the list: bike rides, kayak trips, hiking excursions, camping, horseback riding & road trips to who knows where? And who knows what else?
- Fitness/Wellness: I will be quitting smoking and getting fit. I am already well underway in both categories. I brought one carton of cigarettes with me and have spent maybe $20.00 on cigarettes since then over the past 3 weeks, despite their costing more than twice what they do in Missouri. I’ve been doing some outdoor bike riding, exploring the area (10.5 miles the other day to the town of Texas); I walk Sheila’s Border Collie, Gypsy, a couple times a day, I joined the YMCA, started lifting weights and did a 30-minute virtual bike ride yesterday along the Columbia River Gorge. This category is my most important…this is where I will find me. And from here, the rest will fall into place. I did it once, I can do it again. Perhaps another triathlon?
- Food and Drink: I had planned on cooking a lot since my sister does not. Heck, she barely eats. I’ve been here a month and still have most of the groceries I brought along. I’ve eaten pizza 3 or 4 times (compared with 3 or 4 times a week previously), and been out to eat several times, exploring local eateries and such, which was something I was really looking forward to and would do every day if I could afford it! I’ve become a fan of Coors Light and I still drink wine and my sister enjoys it also, but she’s a lightweight and I’m a lush, so there will be some compromise on both our parts (more mine than hers, no doubt). I thought this category might be a challenge and it was at first, especially when I discovered a bar practically in our backyard, but I’m acclimating. I’m finding NORMAL, me (which is somewhere near BLOOMINGton, me and nowhere near Illinois or Missouri). This subject is closely tied to the aforementioned Fitness/Wellness category which in turn is closely tied to the Psychological/Psychosocial category (see below), both of which will hopefully address my underlying, chronic depression and sense of dissatisfaction which I expected to miraculously disappear when I changed my geographical location and which I also knew would require more effort than that one, single, huge undertaking of a move. But one step at a time, all in due time. An ongoing lesson in patience…
- Fashion/Shopping: to replace all the clothes I couldn’t bring with me, there is an abundance of thrift stores & yard sales here to take the place of the flea markets and auctions I left behind and clothes take up less space than furniture and home décor and my sister, too, is a bit of a minimalist and now that I’ve been “forced” into that mindset, I kinda like it. But I forgot to mention the cool and trendy upscale stores in quaint downtown Wausau…and the malls (I cannot remember the last time I was in a mall!) and the big-name stores. Even the grocery stores…so much variety! I have to constantly remind myself that happiness does not come from things while still acknowledging and allowing myself to have fun doing some of the things I love, which include decorating myself with unique clothing and jewelry, reading cookbooks and recipes and food labels, and shopping for groceries and enjoying restaurant food. An ongoing lesson in balance…and perhaps another blog in the making? Why not?
- Family & Friends: a blast from the past, and the place where I should seek my true happiness (combined with adventures, and food and drink, and shopping, and fitness) and just plain good, old-fashioned fun). (Who wants to go on an adventure? Who wants to go shopping? Who wants to go out for dinner and drinks? Anybody wanna take a Zumba class?) There’s a faint memory there somewhere, slowly coming into focus, something to do with people.
- Technology: my “new” not-so-smart I-phone “upgrade,” my big clunky computer; my tablet is my go-to device, but it has limitations. A laptop would be nice, but it’s not exactly in the budget, nor is the new “cloud” software I would need to purchase (lease) in order to further my freelance graphic design career.
- (Speaking of) Career: getting dressed and pounding the pavement versus trolling the internet and filling out resumes and job applications in my PJs versus doing my own freelance thing. The job thing was going to stay on the back burner for awhile, but…$$$...see “Food and Drink,” “Fashion/Shopping,” and “Exploring the City and Planning New Adventures”); oh, and there’s the minor detail of health care (I have a knee issue, a dental issue, an eyeglass issue; and I’m pretty sure there’s a whole political healthcare issue on the docket of which I am blissfully unaware for the moment.) Geez, this whole money thing sucks.
- Psychological/Psychosocial: see next bullet point, but in addition, I will be meeting new people and re-learning social norms, like how to go out to a restaurant which, since my move, I’ve now done more times than during my entire 16 years in Missouri.)
- Self-Definition/Discovery: Who Am I? I finally have some time now to figure it out. Hopefully that’s what this blog and my eventually-updated website will be all about.
Anyway that’s what’s to come, the stories I will write and share with you as I take my journey back to me. I hope you will stick around for the adventure.