Paralyzed Without a Chute


I can remember feeling this way only one other time in my life.

It was six weeks from my wedding date and all I had was a ring, a dress, and a groom to prove it. Not a single flower had been ordered, invitation had been sent, or bridesmaid had been squeezed into overpriced satin. See, I was not your typical bride that had envisioned her wedding from the age of 6. The truth is, I never really gave my wedding much thought before I actually agreed to get married.

No vision + No money= Planless-ly paralyzed bride-to-be.

Instead of looking forward to my wedding day, it felt as though I was 6 weeks away from jumping out of a plane without a chute.

… which is exactly how I feel presently.

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you might assume we’ve taken up relocating as a new hobby. Last month, I announced that we would be moving for the FOURTH time in three years. Well, we are exactly three weeks from said move–

… and all I have is a few cardboard boxes to prove it.

I spent the latter part of May scouring the countryside for rental properties. We’re a bit high-er maintenance this time around now that Salem is getting his speech and occupational therapies through the county school system, and we’ve limited our search to three top elementary districts. Not to mention, if you’ve spent any time on the streets of Atlanta, you know that unless you live within a 15 minute radius of where you work, you will die a slow and premature death from the stress of the rush hour commute. So, we mapped our 5-ish mile radius and Mia and I drove our real estate route every morning after we dropped Salem off at school. It became so much of a routine that Mia would ask to, “go see da pwitty houses” before I could even find my car keys. I tried to keep my chin up about it, but you know what I realized pretty quickly?

There are a lot of DUMPS for rent out there.

After we completed our Curbside Drive-by Tour each morning, I wanted to jump out of the van and kiss the pavement of our current residence. It has nothing to do with size or luxury or comfort or status. It has all to do with spending 95% of my waking hours raising small children under one roof. I want to feel safe. I want to feel at rest. I want to pull up the drive and enjoy that feeling of “Ahhh– we’re home.” Not to romanticize brick and mortar too much, but I want to feel even mildly inspired within my immediate four walls.

Girls, you get this. I know you do.

With each passing day, I would return home more discouraged. With the Moving Day Skydive fast approaching, I was nearing the edge of panic. And then one morning, I was running through a neighborhood and I stumbled on a quaint little cul de sac with a home for sale. Fast forward: Quaint Little Cul de Sac House is being sold, flipped, rented out for a decent rate AND it is in a great school district, AND it is 6 minutes from Clark’s work, AND the next door neighbor doesn’t have a garden gnome in his yard holding a sign that says, “TRESPASSERS WILL BE SHOT ON SIGHT’ {which is more than I can say for some rentals we considered}. Problem solved, right?

No, problem not solved.

There’s a catch. There’s always a catch. The buying investor has yet to close on the property which means the home is still technically unavailable. We technically have to be out of our current residence in 3 weeks which means I’m technically contemplating voluntary admission under the Baker Act..

Plane. No chute.

I feel like I’ve turned back the clock 8 years and I am reliving my Planless-ly Paralyzing engagement. In wedded hindsight, I wish I would have had a more matured sense of adventure– perhaps a white mini dress and sneakers, a tandem bike and the downtown JOP with a black bean burger reception following at the Vortex in Little Five Points. It might have made for a great story and even better pictures. But the sheer gravity of making the single most important decision of my adult life had me thinking my wedding day ought to be a bit more sacred than sporty. S-a-c-r-e-d for us was spelled 30 people, a three-day weekend, and a vow-exchange on the side of a mountain. It was spontaneous and intimate and “us” and I wouldn’t change a thing. I loved my wedding. And I am sure that I will love our next address, but in the Land of the Uncertain, I’m beginning to worry we might become a family of couch surfers– party of four.

So, I’m calling in for a little perspective reinforcement. You don’t have to come physically pack up my underwear drawer or anything. What do I need here? A greater sense of adventure? A back up plan? A motorhome perhaps?

In the meantime, I am off to look at some more pwitty houses.

 {Image via Beyond the Screen Door}

Removable Wallpaper Mural

I have our new home {location TBD} on the brain today and most likely every day for the next 60 days. That’s how long we have until we have to be out of our current space. A look on the bright side– as many times as we’ve moved in the last 3 years, I now feel more excited about decorating the new than I feel bummed about leaving the old.

Removable wallpaper is a housing commitment-phobe’s best friend, don’t you think? I want to experiment with some in the bathroom or on a wall in the new kitchen. One New York City family transformed a favorite digital image into a removable wallpaper mural.


Curious– is there a family photo or a vacation snapshot that you love enough to cover an entire wall?

PS. It’s Elvis

{Image via Seth Smoot for A CUP OF JO}

Here We Move Again

Peter Hall

There are days that take your breath away. And then there are days that knock the wind out of you.

Yesterday was the latter. I will tell you why.

I don’t have a makeup drawer… nor do I have a medicine cabinet where I keep my everyday soaps, lotions, and personal items. I have stored everything from my toothpaste to my face wash in the same toiletry bag for the past 6 years. It only occurred to me last night while I was getting ready for bed that Clark doesn’t have a personal drawer or cabinet either. He too keeps all of his everyday items in a travel-size tote– the very same that he used to throw into his carry-on luggage from our professional traveling days. We have no less than seven bathroom cabinets between us that remain empty as everything we need fits within airline regulations.

How does empty cabinet space qualify as a personal crisis?

The unused space is a glaring reminder of our tenancy. We’ve been renters for the last three years and while that too isn’t the end of the world, our lack of home ownership has resulted in three moves in three years. As of today, it appears we are staring down the barrel of the fourth. Our landlords just informed us of their plans to sell our current address. Wouldn’t you know it– I just unpacked our last box 3 weeks ago. The news has once again thrust me into excessive planning mode– cleaning out the unused household items and clothes for Goodwill and making a list of things to sell. I know that “rent” means “temporary”. I knew we wouldn’t be here forever. But we just got here, and now we’re about to box it all up again. I feel like a military family without the G. I. benefits.

CSIS is foiling terrorist plots in the Toronto transit system, and Chinese rescue crews are still working to recover from last week’s 6.6 earthquake. And, I am complaining about caboodles.

But the fact that I haven’t unpacked my toothbrush in SIX YEARS since the last time I flew around the world has to mean something, right? Six years ago, I preferred mobility. Six years ago, I fantasized about having little gypsie children in tow as Clark and I traipsed the globe from one musical pursuit to another. Six years ago, the idea of suburban settlement was worse than banishment into exile. And now, my first-grade maternal instincts say, “keep the nest from rocking as little as possible”. I worry what rearranging Mia’s bedroom furniture might do to her little psyche. Salem is barely old enough to remember the last three addresses, and yet I fear he is going to require long-term therapy to recover from all of the transition.

And yet, here comes the sway.

I know me, and you know me. Next week I will be posting color schemes and layout for the new space. But as for today, I want stay somewhere long enough for the Sarna bottle to expire underneath the bathroom sink.

How about you? Do you find moving daunting or exciting or a little bit of both?