Friday, November 18, 2016

Our new interim normal

"But I will raise up my voice into the void
You have left me nowhere to go
I'm riding shotgun down the avalanche."

Life shifts.

I feel like I am standing on the fault line just as the tectonic plates beneath begin to tremble and rumble and threaten to slip.

At the end of this month, Neil is going to retire from a 34-year career with RDS. On Thursday, December 1, he will wake up when he wakes up and start living some new and improved version of his life.

On Thursday, December 1, I also will begin living a new version of my life.

Somehow, life already has begun shaping this metamorphosis for me.

The things that have kept me so busy, making beads and selling beads, are falling by the wayside, more and more with every passing day.

I'm feeling mostly OK about that. What I'm not yet clear about is what is waiting around the riverbend, what my new normal day-to-day life will be like.

Of course, I'm begging the issue that the next nine months will be spent getting ready to move 1,100 miles across the country. So it won't really be our new normal. That won't happen until we are settled in our new digs, which realistically won't happen immediately on the day we move in. We could be talking about quite a while.

There are lots of things that are going to happen while we are embarking on this life shift that I shall perhaps call our new interim normal.

My children, their partners, and my grandson will all be here for Thanksgiving, a very bright spot on the near horizon.

We will welcome another grandson in December when Neil's daughter Laurie has her baby.

We have a trip to Austin on the books to see Chelsea in back-to-back shows, her weekly Loverboy improv troupe show and Doper than Dope 2, a comedy sketch ensemble show.

We'll go directly from Austin to Lake Charles for Laurie's husband Luke's graduation from McNeese State University.

The Christmas holiday is a big question mark right now. Kandace and Chris are going to Minnesota. Chelsea and Rob are going to Michigan. Baby Blake's due date is December 24. So we won't make a plan quite yet.

Sometime in there we might sandwich another trip to North Carolina. We're still waiting for some details and updates to the design documentation, which we may be able to finalize this week. After that, while the mortgage company has the appraisal done, we are supposed to have a preconstruction meeting with the builder and the design consultant. This could be done via Facetime, but we have the option to meet onsite to stake the lot and I want to be there.

I know. I surprise myself. I don't want to move. But I've somehow gotten invested in building this house. I'm the one poring over the 19-pages of design selections, pondering our paint decisions, rethinking drawer pulls versus knobs.

Once the appraisal is complete, we will close on the construction loan. And that's when construction would begin. Weather permitting of course.

I can't say that I'm sorry that the timing puts this around the first day of winter. I'm in no rush to get there. I wouldn't mind if it takes more than 9 months to complete the house.

Many things could happen in that much time. Neil might even fall in love with the new grandchild. Although honestly, his desire to leave Texas for a climb with four seasons seems to so far override all other considerations that the most I can hope for is delay.

And at some point, delay will become limbo, and we all know how little I love limbo. At some point I will want to just do it already. Start living there, start working toward our true new normal, so we can actually find out how much we really like it.

What will it be like, a day in our new house? Will Neil be in the basement, watching Star Trek re-runs while I am up on the second floor binge-watching something on Netflix? Or will Neil be out planting raddishes while I fire up my natural gas-fueled torch and crank out a few beads?

Will we take a walk into Birkdale Village, stop at Kilwin's for ice cream or Starbucks for lattes or Fat Daddy's for burgers? Will we take in a movie at the Regal Birkdale Stadium 16? Will we go grocery shopping at Harris Teeter and grill salmon steaks on our natural gas grill? Will we take a yoga class or visit the Cornelius branch of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library? Will I volunteer at the Cornelius Animal Shelter?

I don't know. At least I am thinking about it, when I'm not playing emu or Scarlet O'Hara.

First though we have to figure out what our days will be like when Neil isn't working 13 days out of 14. When he isn't so stressed and mentally exhausted that he falls asleep on the sofa watching Texas hold'em or women's softball or movies where most of the cast has long since shuffled off this mortal coil.

I hope we have fun. I hope it's a joy. I hope the freedom will give us permission to be creative and impulsive and unstructured and evolving and civic-minded and expansive.

Oh yes, this week I made dream beads for Beads of Courage.

For Nathaniel, age 4. "Red, yellow and black, with ears like Mickey Mouse. Nathanial is finally healthy enough to go on his Make-A-Wish trip to Disney world. He is absolutely beside himself. He had worked so hard and been through so much. This is a huge milestone!"

For Benjamin, age 7. "Captain America bead Like Captain America's shield, red, white and blue with a star in the middle."

For Bentley, age 6 "Bentley's bead would be Wonder Women or the Wonder Women "W" and would be sparkly and have lots of glitter! She has always been our Wonder Women and she loves all things glittery! She also loves princess crowns so it would be awesome to have a crown incorporated into her Wonder Women bead."

For Jocelyn, age 18. "I would like black boxing gloves with a cancer ribbon holding them together one so de of the ribbon purple and the other side of the ribbon green! Maybe some bumpy dots on the gloves. I would like a J on the one glove and a N on the other (those are my initials) if you could add maybe a music note dangling off the bottom! I would like it to be a decent size I hope you can make this and I get chosen for the dream bead!"

I have to say, I love doing them. I like the challenge. I like the idea that I am doing something philanthropic. I like using my skill for something that is more than one more bauble, however pretty.

I love the idea of my bead being a little light in the dark uncertainty of childhood cancer for a child and his or her family.

I'm riding shotgun down the avalanche
Tumbling and falling down the avalanche

So be quiet tonight the stars shine bright
On this mountain of new fallen snow
But I will raise up my voice into the void
You have left me nowhere to go

I love you so much and it's so bizarre
A mystery that goes on and on and on
This is the best thing and the very most hard
And we don't get along

After countless appeals we keep spinning our wheels
On this mountain of new fallen snow
So I let go the catch and we are over the edge
You have left me nowhere to go

Sometimes you make me lose my will to live
And just become a beacon for your soul
But the past is stronger than my will to forgive
Forgive you or myself, I don't know

I'm riding shotgun down the avalanche
Tumbling and falling down the avalanche

So be quiet tonight be sure to step lightly
On this mountain of new fallen snow
But I will raise up my voice into the void
You have left me nowhere to go

I'm riding shotgun down the avalanche.

(Shawn Colvin, John Leventhal)

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Thanks for your comment! I will post it as soon as I receive it. Liz