For just about the entire 34 years since I moved to this town, I’ve dreamed of escaping and living elsewhere, preferably someplace with a diverse cultural scene, a healthy arts community, and above all, less severe winters. By March of this year, I had finally decided that this was the time to go. My plan to move in August was waylaid by my older son’s plan to return to the states in August. I moved my date to mid-October, and then due to work obligations, to the end of October. I looked forward to never spending another winter here, to spending more time with my brother and his wife, to a vibrant arts community, and to starting fresh in a new place. Ahahaha!
This has not been a good few months. In mid-May, my sweet little cat, Astoria (Story), swallowed a jagged piece of plastic and had to have surgery to remove it. An amazing friend helped me out with the vet bills, assuring me that I could repay her whenever I got the money. The following week, I traveled to Washington, D.C., to work for a couple of days for the FDA. On my first day there, I went to dinner with an old friend, and upon returning to my room, I found my computer dead—blammo—completely unresponsive in any mode. And of course, I had no money to replace it—Macs are extremely expensive for no good reason—but with 26 years of Mac files and programs, I really had no other good choice. I had to do something very quickly, since I had the summer issue of a quarterly tabloid-style, 40-page newsletter to produce.
Upon my return from Washington, I discovered that the central air in the house was broken. No problem, my home warranty would cover that. Except that it doesn’t because they claim there is faulty wiring (it’s been this way since I bought the house in 2001, and not one of the techs who has been out to work on it over the last 15 years has ever mentioned it). I will have to replace the outside unit to the tune of $2150 (best estimate).
Fortunately, I was able to arrange the replacement of my Macbook Pro through my younger son, with interest-free, car-payment-sized installments over 11 months. Unfortunately, when I travel to D.C., I have to pay my expenses up front and wait for FDA to reimburse me—six weeks later and I’m still waiting for a sizeable check. Meanwhile, I have yet to purchase my other son’s return ticket, flinching as I watch the price rise daily, with the number of hours of travel rising accordingly. This is, as a little boy I once overheard say, a real “fustercluck.”
What it actually means is that I will now not be able to move, a reality that hit me squarely between the eyes with such force that it left a huge depression (figuratively speaking). As the days have passed, I’ve come to accept that I will spend yet another miserable winter in this place, and that I’ll be up to my earballs in repaying debts for the next nine or 10 months, all the while racking up additional medical bills for physical therapy on my badly damaged shoulder. This is a long-term owie rehab, and of course, my insurance calendar year began July 1, so co-pays and out-of-pocket will have to be satisfied before I get a break. It’s just another pile of money I don’t have.
SO, I was feeling very sorry for myself, [not so] quietly pissing and moaning about my thwarted plans. After wallowing for a couple of weeks, I came to the conclusion that I could either let it go and accept things as they are, or NOT. Past experience has taught me that NOT is a pretty unproductive way to live. Instead, I can embrace the extra time I now have to de-clutter, downsize and get rid of all the junk, to make better choices about what I will take when I do move, spend more time with people I care about, who I will eventually be leaving, and I can appreciate what I do have—a wonderfully supportive family and friends who have been here for me at every turn.
Yes, my inner child is still disappointed that she can’t have what she wants, but nowhere is it written that just because someone, anyone wants something and make plans, it will happen. Life is like that. As a completely detestable fellow I worked with years ago once said, “Life is like sh*t on a wheel. Sometimes up, sometimes down.” Or, in the wise words of the incomparable George Gershwin, “Life is a lot like jazz…it’s best when you improvise.”