Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Leaving New Hampshire, and Texas

Upper Village, Hillsboro, NH

Yesterday morning Chris took a 9am flight to San Antonio.  Rather than roll us all out of bed at 6am to drive him there, as if I even could, I suggested he drive himself to the airport.  Chris and I had a wee bit of coffee and a short time together, and he drove off before the sun came up, which these days could be nearly any time before 8:00 am, sassafrassin' Daylight Savings Time.  Dad and I made plans to drive to Manchester later to retrieve the Jeep.

He was not particularly pleased to be traveling with two gigantic fifty-pound suitcases, and two carry-ons.  Chris is a man who can leave for a week packed with one small suitcase that fits in the overhead compartment.  This is something I think he has to do to strike a balance for the Universe, because when I leave for a week it is with two fifty-pound bags.  Or maybe I'm the one striking the balance, because he so woefully underpacks.  Life's great mysteries.

Scaling Mount Everest at the NH Audubon Society

Back in early September, Chris drove from Texas to New Hampshire in the heavily-loaded Jeep.  He made record time until he came to Vermont, where bridges wiped out by flooding from Hurricane Irene took away all of his gains.  The Jeep did really well on the drive, but its much-abused shocks and its engine have had their share of little mechanical issues.   We will not be taking it back to Texas.  It will serve us better waiting here for the next time we want to fly out for an extended visit.  Hence Chris, and his fifty-pound bags. 

As I write, my children have turned two of our big suitcases into pillowed and portable forts.  Later today, once they've been vacated, I'll be working on packing those bags.  I'll be packing things I don't normally pack, like scooters, and planning to ship some things that couldn't travel in luggage, like a microscope.  At least one of the 4 suitcases we're taking home will be full of craft supplies and books.  If they don't all fit into one, Quinn's stroller will get to relocate to New Hampshire sooner than Quinn, and I'll pack another bag.  Sorry, stroller.  You'll learn to love the winters.

A wry Griffin in front of the grape arbor
We all have mixed emotions about leaving this time.  The boys seem to be 100% excited to return to Texas, and 100% sad to be leaving New England.  I am so thoroughly enjoying myself right now - fall has always been my favorite season - that I can scarcely imagine returning to the unseasonably warm afternoons and blazing sunshine of McKinney. Of course, they're not unseasonable for Texas, they're right on track.  Only unseasonable to my expectations of Autumn.  Chris had no choice but to return, he had a meeting in San Antonio and then he'll fly home to Dallas on Wednesday, where we will join him on Saturday.

We are planning to move ahead with selling the house in McKinney.  Before he left in September, Chris did a walk-through with our realtor and made an outline of what needs to be done.  Some of it will be done, like staining the fence.  Some of it will not be done, like replacing all of the floors (puh-lease).  Once we are able to put the house on the market, our plan is to return to New Hampshire while it is being shown.   We have an outline, but we do not have a timeline.

"Keene Pumpkin Festival" or "Holy Yellow Tree, Batman!"

One of my friends in Texas is a homeschooling Mom to three boys.  As you may imagine, there are as many reasons for choosing to homeschool as there are homeschooling families.  When asked why she does it, Brianna responds, "I want my sons to have a chance to make their avocation their vocation".  I understood the gist of what she was saying, but I'd be lying if I pretended I didn't look up avocation when I went home.  You know, just to get the nuances right.

With apples from Grandpa's trees.

av·o·ca·tion noun
1. something a person does in addition to a principal occupation, especially for pleasure; hobby: Our doctor's avocation is painting.  2. a person's regular occupation, calling, or vocation. 3. Archaic. diversion or distraction.

Making the best of wherever we are in life, making lemonade out of lemons is a laudable personal philosophy and one we all need in our toolbox.  (Or shall I say, in our knitting bag - why should men get all the action imagery?)  The trick is to have the discernment to know when we've crossed from creatively working with our present realities, to accepting our present realities as immutable fact.

I've collected quite a few old address labels over the past 41 years.  Missouri, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Rhode Island, California, Massachusetts, Maine, and now Texas.  (Be forewarned, in order to capture my innate personal glamour more correctly, my future memoir may also include some less well-documented moves I made to Paris, Scotland, Nepal and Manhattan.  Not to say New Hampshire, Nebraska and Texas aren't glamorous.  But they're not.)  

I've made a home for myself in every place I've ever lived, but I've learned that New England is my spiritual home.  I am lucky to have married a native Texan who feels just the same way.  Now we want our everyday home and our spiritual home to be the same place.

Another native Texan
In moving back to New England, we will incur some losses.  We'll lose daily contact with some beloved friends and family we have in Texas.  Quinn will deal with the loss of the only home he has ever known, and Griffin says he will lose the "the home I've grown up in!".  Yes, he did refer to having grown-up as a 'fait accompli'.  He's 8.

There will be some positive losses, too.  Our real estate portfolio will go from 3 to 2 homes, a much more manageable number.  We will lose the need to pay astronomical electric bills from April to September.  We will purge a lot of our unwanted belongings in the process of the move.  I will effortlessly lose 20 pounds, and our dog will lose her ability to shed buckets of hair every hour.  Don't question me, I'm manifesting here.

Of course there will also be gains, but I'll save those for another post. 

So today I'll start the packing that will take us from New Hampshire to Texas.  When I return to Texas on Saturday, I will sit down in a chair with some yarn and and some needles, possibly for as long as 3 days.  I will come to terms with the imminent chaos, and then I'll start packing again for Points Unknown, New England.

Does anyone have a lot of cardboard boxes?

Old County Lane, the road we grew up on.

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