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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

How Do I Feel?

So, it - The Big Move - is over.  Kinda.  I think.

How do I feel?  I dunno yet.  I haven't shed any tears.  I haven't had any time to.  And I'm sitting here looking at the blinking cursor, wondering what to write.  Hmm . . . 'cursor' . . . 'curse-er'?  Yeah, I like that!  ;)

There's been one feeling, one emotion, one desire that I've felt so far that has surprised me.  And I knew it was lacking, I just didn't know why.  These two nights that I've been home - in my totally this-is-my-new-home home (without still being split between the two), I've DONE stuff around here.  Which is a first.  I hadn't felt the inclination before Friday and last night, and I didn't know why 'cause I felt like I SHOULD be doing stuff, working on this disaster.  But it wasn't until Thursday was done and gone that I finally DID so.  Apparently, my energy was still focused on The Move.  I was always drained, both physically and emotionally.  I didn't have it *in* me to do anything here, even if my brain told me that I should . . . would feel good after I did.

So, Friday night, with the first REAL snow of the winter falling, I worked outside on the disaster that is the wraps-around-two-sides-of-the-cabin deck.  Shoveling and just the beginning of organizing.  Last night, I took the temporary bedside shelving unit down and put up the new one . . . complete with the stove heat shield that slipped it behind the open shelving unit and between the bed and the stove's chimney.

You'll remember that I was struggling with learning the stove here enough so that I didn't roast myself out each night in the sleeping loft.  I spent many an uncomfortable night, trying to fall alseep while sweating . . . only to wake up chilled because I'd opened the window above the bed to allow the heat to escape.  And, I knew putting up that heat shield would help the situation.  Besides, I *have* learned the stove now, and that's a great thing!  

AND, now I have somewhere to put my laptop each night instead of sliding it over to the other side of the bed.  I was able to bring my large jewelry "box" (chest) up, too, so now I'll have more earring choices that the three pair I've been revolving between for these past many weeks.  There isn't much space remaining (after that) on the top shelf where I want to put a lamp, so I'll have to be creative - I don't think any of my table top lights have a small enough base . . . except for one I don't really like anymore and which I ended up leaving out at SRR, anyway.

Rambling with no segue . . . I was almost giddy last night about the thought of NO ALARM this morning!!  Aside from that day a week or so ago when I was sick and slept 13 hours, I've had to set an alarm on each of my days "off" for, what . . . MONTHS? . . . so I could work on The Move.  I slept until 11:37 when my phone rang.  Doh!  I mean, really, people - how could you even THINK about calling so early on a Sunday?!  ;)

The last day out at the house went fairly well until the end.  And, it ended in the stereotypically worst fashion you can imagine.  I was literally RUNNING around the house, forced into prioritizing the (many) things that remained as the overseer stood watching, listening to his set watch beeping that my time was up.  Seriously.  I kid you not.  Never mind the fact that I, legally, had until midnight that night.  But, our appointed time for that final day was that I had until 6:00 PM, when he would return and lock up.

I called him at 4:30 that afternoon, saying that I'd like him to wait to come until 7:00.  And his response?  "Uhh, no, that won't work.  I need to be home to eat dinner."  After an (are you SERIOUS?!) pause, I asked, "Can't you eat before you come?"  No.  But, he'd give me until 6:30.  (Whoo-freakin'-hoo!)  So, arriving - as usual - about an hour before the deadline (so he can watch me!), he took a look around and said, "Okay, how about 7:00?"  I was still rushing but was glad for those 30 extra minutes.  But it was apparent that I'd let everyone else leave without packing their vehicles to the brim.  There was still LOTS to take, and I *wasn't* gonna have the room in the Suburban I was driving.

Too soon, he was admonishing, "You'd better start packing your truck!  I need to lock up."  This is where I started running.  I was frantically trying to look at everything remaining, doing a triage-esque inventory to prioritize what I *had* to take and what could be left behind (wahhh - NOTHING!).

I'd been accumulating the last prioritized things in the foyer, and so I then had to move everything onto the front landing so he could lock the house.  Did I have time for a final good-bye?  Uh, no.

"Are you done in the garage?" he asked as he locked the house.  Sh*t!  No!  There were still those boxes in there!  I ran through the squeaking snow (it was probably about -18 by this time) up to the garage and nearly THREW those final boxes outside and grabbed my standing easel.

He turned off the generator (no more yard light), locked those doors and said, "Well, I'd like to see just how you're going to get all of this into your truck!"  Then he got into his own pickup and started the engine, sitting in the relative comfort and watching me frantically throw things in.  Headlamp strapped on, I was desperate.  I knew I'd slide the beloved and much-used wooden toboggan in at the very end - upside-down on the load.  But, as I looked, there wasn't the spare three inches I needed between the top boxes and the ceiling of the Suburban.  And I still had to fit the folding step-ladders and my red leather & chrome retro kitchen stool.  And my easel.  And some large pieces of artwork.  And he was glaring at me, daring me to take a moment more as I was already well past the departure time.

Now, this is gonna label me a TOTAL loony, but I started singing to myself.  Out loud.  As I would - and HAVE - to an upset baby who needs to be soothed.  It was a nonsense tune, sing-songy with words something like, "You can do it.  You just have to.  Do what you can.  You can do it.  You will do it.  Do what you can.  Just keep moving, you can do it."

I was running between the pile left on the front porch and the truck.  Running, running, in the icy black night.  I did notice how beautiful the stars were, shining down on me.  I've always appreciated the night sky up there.  SO much.  And I'll always remember that beauty associated with the otherwise-awful night.

I "comforted" myself with the thought, too, that the items I was leaving behind were my penance.  My penance for not being organized enough with The Move.  Not having worked harder, sooner on it.  Knowing it was coming, was INEVITABLE back in - what, March? - and yet still not really starting the move until early winter.  So, there I was, experiencing my own punishment, hard that it was.  But, a "punishment" no doubt fair and "deserved".  Kicking myself that I *hadn't* loaded Mom & Dad's other Suburban to the gills before they left.  But, what was done was done, and there was no going back.

Poor, wonderful, sweet, never-complaining (oh, right, he's a DOG!) Tucker ended up sharing the front seat of the truck with a food-safe barrel and the vacuum.  He wasn't too sure about the arrangement, but he just curled himself into a smaller portion of the bucket seat.  I SHOVED things inside the passenger doors and then slammed them shut against everything that was threatening to fall back out.  There was no room for the toboggan, none for the step-ladders or red stool.  None for the easel or my favorite shovel.  None for the two large, terrifically-handy tarps.  None for that favorite lamp.  Those two floor lamps still waiting in the foyer.  Those dishes in the kitchen I had to leave.  That good electric baseboard still plugged in that we'd sat around to eat our lunches.  Those fantastic record albums.  The shoes and boots in the downstairs closet that I hadn't had time to grab.  The mirrored light fixture I'd had Dad take down so I could keep.  The . . . the . . . .  

With those last possessions left behind, standing in the snow and cold in the yard of Swamp River Ridge and without a square inch left in the truck (and without a word to the watching overseer), I layered the last chair cushions onto the driver's seat and climbed in, uncomfortably high on top of them.  And drove away.  And out "my" 4 1/2-mile ice and snow-covered driveway.  Away from Swamp River Ridge for the last time.

So, I don't really feel like I have closure because all that stuff is still *there*.  Granted (and this is NO small thing!), it's ONLY "stuff" . . . and stuff can be replaced, more or less, but leaving so much leaves me feeling like the job's not done.  The overseer did comment, at one point in the evening, "Maybe they'll let you come back in the spring to get everything else."  Maybe so.  But I doubt it.  The only compromise that I can think of that might make that happen is me offering to come in to clean up the mess I left.  After all, they have to take care of that before they start showing the house to prospective buyers.  Maybe if I offer to do that in exchange for getting the rest of my things out?

But, I'm completely open to the feeling that I'm actually (?) hopeful will come:  that TIME will provide enough closure, and I'll be able to grieve those things I had to leave behind and then MOVE ON.  And I *do* know how fortunate I am to even have had the opportunity to grab what I did!  After all, people who have experienced a fire or Hurricane Sandy . . . or whatever . . . never GOT that opportunity!!  How petty I must sound to be "complaining" about it!  So I think about that a lot.  And know I just need to Get Over It.  Count my blessings, chastise only myself if I want to "blame" anyone, and MOVE ON.

I know it will be a (mental) process, moving on, but that's my prime goal right now.  That and unloading all of the four packed vehicles (Mom & Dad's two Suburbans, their trailer, and my pickup) . . . and then beginning to collect ALL the possessions stuffed into my folks' garage and one empty woodshed and . . . all the other places of theirs I've thrown things into!  It's my hope that with these physical tasks, the mental portion of Moving On will steadily sneak in to my psyche.  

Can it be done?!

Yes.  Of course.

ANYTHING can be accomplished if you put your mind to it.

Peace out.

xox  Chicken Mama


  1. This too shall pass. I got nothing appropriate to say but am feeling your pain. I lost alot of "stuff" years ago but really didn't miss it , it was the idea it was mine I missed. You'll get through this. You are tougher than you think. Go with your heart and know you'll come out of this stronger for the turmoil involved.

    1. BTW not my place to say but here goes, your ex is an as*hole to let you lose something that meant so much to you. Never feel bad for him or mourn him. I lost one of those too years ago. Best thing that ever happened.

  2. I am so, so sad it had to end this way for you. I don't even have anything comforting to say since I would have been right there with you singing made up songs too, and probably crazy eyes like Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation. I can't believe the ex didn't show up to help you at any point during this, isn't he still in the area? I wouldn't be surprised however... if there is only a lock box on the main door, might be worth a check. Who is to say it was you who entered in the garage door or window? It's out in the sticks, maybe some snowmobilers were out exploring.....?

  3. Moving sucks anytime, but when you have to rush through those last few precious minutes at a place you loved, it's just so much worse. I'm so sorry things turned out this way for you Chicken Mama, but I know you will figure out a way to turn it into something positive! I send you virtual hugs & positive thoughts as you venture onward in your home & life.

  4. I know from reading your blog this past year or two, just how much this place meant to you. You are being very brave and I know that the best is yet to come. I wonder about people like that overlord..(oops--overseer?) lol ...how could he be so heartless? If that had been me, I would have been helping you pack and offering to take some of your stuff for you in my car!(And probably blinking back tears the whole time).

    Stuff is just stuff. You, dear girl, are embarking on a whole new adventure. We get lessons in so many ways, don't we?

    Wishing you full wind in your sails !

  5. Hi! I have been away (my own life ordeals) for awhile, I am so sorry. I know how much you love that place and the life. Divorce it can keep giving for a while but it will get done.

    You have the fortitude to get through this. Looking forward to reading about your new fork in the road.

  6. You will live and happily too,I made it and if I did ,anyone could ,I have to move again,I hope the last in this life time but that really important move where we moved from my house my dad build (really stupid thing to do ,but if all the things that happened after ,I wouldn't have my beautiful grand kids ) that being said,that move was by far most the worst.I had to call my shrink on the way out of town because after our moving van broke down ,so did I. CHEERS C.M.

  7. Holy S@#$! I am speechless. And sorry. :-(

  8. Ah CM! I feel for you. We went through nearly this same thing with my daughter. One afternoon at the Ex's house to pack 3 kids things and 3 hours to move what he approved of. Broke my heart, it was a very simple house but, she'd made it her *home*. So many things left behind but was blessed with a group of family & friends to help. Nearly a year later I can't say things are terrific but, her life is in her control and starting fresh is a blessing. It will be for you also...in time......and yes, she sang as she packed also. comforting! Hugs to you!

  9. I've been away too Long from your blog! Gotta go f und what I've missed. I married and dragged my feet on a move and th e bags lots of people throwing things in cars and boxes. Nothing got left behind but what a mess of unpacking any sorting! Who puts bread,socks, and kitchen utensils together in a box???


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