Most of the boxes are unpacked now. Those that aren’t have been stacked up in storage, to be forgotten until we move again someday. There’s not as much to store as I’d anticipated. Turns out, I don’t want to hang on to all that stuff, the cute clothes that no longer fit and the iron candelabra that made me feel like I lived in a European castle. If we don’t have room for it, I don’t want it.
I came back from the Bay Area bone tired, yet hesitant in my new space. No oven yet, which made dinner preparation interesting. No shelving in the pantry, the remnants of my spice rack still nesting in a cardboard box. My shoes remained in another box in the closet, my wedding dress taking up 50% of the space in said closet (that would have to change soon, as space is at a premium in this place). Everywhere I turned I saw reminders of all that had to be done, not just for our house, but for the rental unit up front. Mike left for a business trip, and I rolled up my sleeves.
I got right to work doing long-neglected laundry and prepping for a yard sale. I sifted and sorted, ruthless in my paring-down process. I kept only heirlooms and items I’d used in the past year. At six a.m. on Saturday, I hauled it all out of our new garage onto our new driveway, and sat limply in my camp chair with a quart of coffee at my elbow. I had wrangled out the heavy dining table and eighty pound coffee table myself, dripping sweat by the time I finished. I sold my gray sheath dress for a dollar, unworn earrings for three dollars, my VCR for ten with a VHS copy of Peter Pan thrown in for free. Neighbors came out to introduce themselves, to welcome me to the neighborhood. One neighbor brought a carton of cherry tomatoes from her garden, and another bought our old picnic basket and spatula set.
This is a neighborhood where the residents petition the city for one hour parking and form a neighborhood watch, poking in each other’s gardens and business. A departure from my prior neighborhood, which bustled with urban noise and lively children at all hours. So far living here has been peaceful. Different.
Throughout Mike’s absence I worked like a carpenter ant during the day and collapsed on the sofa at night, drinking in the dark silence. The windows opened wide to catch the evening breeze, I had a complete view of our front yard, where an Ent-like tree guards our tiny new house. It feels like nothing will ever harm us here in this cocoon of greenery.
There is still a lot to do, but it’s slowly starting to feel like I belong here. No, Mimi still won’t come out from under the bed except to eat and to sleep on top of the coverlet with us at night, but she’ll warm up to the place. Moving is hard on everyone.