Living in Limbo

My last post was written in mid-June, which feels like a galaxy far-far away. So here’s a recap for those following our journey.

Full disclosure: our move was anything but smooth, and I would never recommend a DIY version — especially for anyone over the age of 50! Let the movers do it all.

Photo: July 6th, Part 1 of our move

Moving Day

Our closing day — July 9th — was one of the hottest days of the summer. Realizing we had too much left to haul ourselves, we called my brother to help. As we began packing our three cars and utility trailer with the final load, we were hit with a torrential downpour. The rain kept us holed up in the garage and empty kitchen for over an hour.

But at 6:19 PM we finally pulled away from the curb, leaving 24 years of memories and an empty house behind. (A mix of relief and pure exhaustion in this selfie — and the last of our belongings. Taken as I was about to drive away for the last time.)

Then and Now

The past two month have been spent settling in to my brother’s house. And I am now a commuter, traveling 42 miles each way, four days a week, to my job that was once 5 minutes from home. But I do love my job, and we are mortgage-free for now, so I will not complain.

Most mornings I enjoy my commute. The Blue Ridge Mountains and surrounding valleys and pastures are lovely at 7:30 AM, often shrouded in clouds and mist. This is my quiet prayer time that sets the foundation for my day. I drive past lush farmland with grazing sheep and cows. I cross the Shenandoah River and pass the Appalachian Trailhead at Bear’s Den. Traffic picks up significantly about halfway to my destination, but it keeps moving along.

My commute home is another story. Everyone seems to leave work at the same time, and there is one particular construction project that always causes a bottleneck in the afternoon. At least once a week there is a fender-bender and my normal 50 minute drive can stretch to 90 minutes with the residual backup. These are the days I really appreciate my satellite radio.

At the end of my long commute, I drink in the peaceful landscape and shady canopy surrounding Hickory Grove. And one added bonus: my husband and brother always have dinner on the stove when I arrive home. Not a bad deal!

Purging . . . and Wedding Planning

Two months later, we are still unpacking. This is the reality when you merge two households into one. Prior to moving, my brother’s home seemed large enough for the three of us (plus Gipper, of course). Now, not so much. Every closet is stuffed full, the basement storage area is packed to the ceiling, and the garage may never hold a vehicle again. But each day, we make a little more progress on unpacking, and we continue to purge stuff that should have gone to the dump or local thrift store.

Photo: My current view as I sip my morning coffee. (Also today’s unpacking project.)

My 3-day weekends are spent shopping, cleaning and unpacking, and oh, yes — preparing for our daughter’s wedding on September 18th. We couldn’t cram much more crazy into 2021, but it’s not over yet. Thankfully, we did manage to take a week’s vacation to unwind in Tennessee!

After the wedding, we are hoping life can slow down a bit. Fall is my favorite season, and I expect it to be even more enjoyable here at Hickory Grove. We have lots of exciting projects to work on (more in a future post), but we can move at a more leisurely pace.

All-in-all, life is good. God is faithful, and we have been blessed with this time in limbo. We always have plans for our future, but we know they can, and often do change. That is the rollercoaster of life.

Countdown to Goodbye

All the months of purging and packing are finally nearing an end. After 7 days on the market, 22 showings and 4 offers, our house is under contract. In just a few weeks, we will close our front door one last time and turn the page to the next chapter of life.

Selling our home seemed like a practical decision after our daughter moved out on her own. We no longer needed the big house or its hefty taxes and mortgage payments. The booming DC housing market made the decision that much easier, at least from a financial perspective. My heart has been saying otherwise.

Our house hasn’t felt like a home for a while now. In preparation for sale, we removed all photos and décor, curtains and rugs — basically everything that gave personality to the place we’ve called home for nearly 24 years. The rooms, freshly painted in neutral shades of beige and grey, now echo with an uncomfortable silence. Even our beloved kitty, Gipper, has been temporarily relocated during our move. We are missing him terribly, and look forward to being reunited soon.

“I don’t want to be here anymore,” I said to my husband last night, “but I can’t bear the thought of leaving.”

So here we are . . . counting down the days to goodbye.

But as sad as I am some days, I know somewhere, a new family is packing up their treasures and excitedly preparing for their move. These rooms will be filled with laughter, the walls covered in family photographs, and the empty windows will have curtains once again.

And one day soon, we will be seeking our next home — hopefully with warm Gulf breezes and a view of palm trees from the lanai.