Sunday, September 28, 2008

Spilt Milk

In the past six or seven weeks, my husband and I have continued to search for a home to buy, in the area of his new job - Waldo County, Maine. We were fortunate to have our own home go under contract - something that seemed sad and monumental the day it happened and now seems like ages ago and not anything to worry about. As our closing date has crept closer and closer, we've had a series of fits and starts, trying to press forward with some places that just weren't right, then falling back and assessing and starting again. We now are looking for land upon which to build, and have fortunately just days ago landed a rental so we will actually have someplace to go when we leave this place.

And really, it isn't just someplace. It's actually an incredible custom-built home on the water in Belfast, Maine. Belfast is a town we didn't even consider looking for a permanent home, because the taxes are so high. Why we are able to affordably rent such a palace, but can't find a modest home to buy, is kind of beyond me. I have stopped trying to figure out the real estate market. Our last back-and-forth with a seller this past week involved him stretching the negotiation out the whole week, all so he could tell us that he would drop the price on his land from $44,900 to $44,400 - what whopping generosity.

Finally in this last three days, comes the actual inspiration for this post - we have begun PACKING. I've been anticipating it for so long, it's actually been fun most of the time so far. I love to sort, organize, pare down, and purge. Carrying four thumbtacks from the kitchen, three rooms away to the box which contains all the materials from our desk drawers, and putting them into the thumbtack container I've already started there, brings me inner peace. A sense of calm knowing that things are in their places. For the most part, now that we are in the midst of the move, I have not run into any emotional walls, and have done well working over our candle cupboard, the bookcases, and kitchen cabinets. I banged my head against them (the emotional walls, not the kitchen cabinets) for most of the summer and the early part of this month, so moving forward finally through the change has been a welcome relief.

Until today, when Matthew and I tackled the basement. While we've spent the past year sorting and selling things from down there, it still caused the mover to say "Wow, that's a lot of stuff," when he came a few days ago to give me an estimate. So we chipped away all day today and actually packed about three quarters of it. When Noah got up from his nap, Matthew went up to put together the Christmas train set that Noah spied and had to unpack, and I decided to empty our chest freezer.

Now, we are just a little bit famous in our small circle for having a lot of organic beef in our freezer. We used to do half-cows, but a year ago we bought an entire cow. People can't get away from a visit with us without having some beef in their hands. One Christmas we gave away frozen roasts at a holiday party. This fall, however, in anticipation of our move we didn't buy any beef, so now we have an amount left that would fit in the side-by-side refrigerator we have in our kitchen. I brought it right up. The only other things of note in the chest freezer were the bags and bags of frozen breast milk that I once so carefully packaged and labeled. It was all over a year old, well beyond when the books say breastmilk is still good, and I knew months ago I should have taken care of it. Not until today was I ready to deal with it, and it still was the last thing I took out of the freezer. I unloaded the bags into a wire rack and carried the rack up to the kitchen sink. I thought I would just let it sit there and melt, but five minutes later I came back and ran hot water over each bag, sliding the icy lumps out. I felt all slurry, a good-bye registering - to this time, to Noah's babyhood, to this place that brought us together as a married couple and a family. Good-bye to the spot of many wonderful celebrations and the best day-to-day life I've had so far. I slowly emptied all the bags, and it was done. Nothing else to do but turn off and unplug the freezer. Isn't that just like time, to come so heavily into the room, and then walk out like nothing happened.

Now here I sit just a little while later. Noah is in the living room, playing along with his Christmas train and singing a song amidst bare walls and boxes, and I feel ready, thankfully - on the other side of some line that I've been shrinking away from for months. "I thought I could - I thought I could - I thought I could," is maybe what comes to mind. Our transition continues, but we are definitely off, onto another adventure together in a new and beautiful place.