Launch date is Friday, March 6, four days away. My last day at Hewlett-Packard was two weeks ago. Kate’s last day at PeaceHealth is today. There’s no turning back. We are doing this thing.
This last month has been so packed with preparations, I haven’t had a moment to blog. We had the leaky hot tub removed and deck boards replaced. I repainted both the front and back deck floors. Power-washed the front walkway, repainted laundry room cabinets, replaced a deck railing, and oh yeah, did our taxes. All in between unexpected oral surgery, then a root canal, then a crown. (Making the most of that dental insurance while I’ve got it.) We got the tow bar installed on the CRV and on Bessie and gave it our first test tow drive. I packed up the kitchen and the garage, dismantled my office, and the Tetris stack in the storage bedroom grows bigger every day.
We’re starting to have our last goodbyes. I got my last haircut with Chad (who’s been cutting my hair for almost 20 years) before we leave. Gave my last pint of blood to Lane Blood Center for a year. Got my last chiro adjustment for a year (sorry, achy back). Last dog walk at Mount Pisgah. Last dinners with friends.
A Relationship Challenge
It was such a romantic, whimsical notion, a year ago. Let’s quit our jobs, buy an RV, and go see what the world has to offer. I don’t know which of us was more surprised when I agreed to it, and as we edged forward with the plan, I think each of us half expected the other to come to her senses and put a stop to it. I mean, who does this? Really?
More than one friend suggested it was a grand plan on my part to get Kate to relinquish her hold on excess. And it’s true that when we started, I set that forward as a challenge of her commitment. You want this? Okay, but we’ve got to pare down. I figured, at the very least, we would get some closets cleaned out, make a dent in the 30+ years of accumulation that has started to feel like less of an accomplishment and more of a burden since our nest has lightened. But we kept moving forward. I upped the ante by planning a garage sale and she didn’t back down. She closed her eyes and handed over the goods, then raised my garage sale with RV shopping. Neither of us folded, and as the stakes got higher, the brighter that kitty gleamed.
We both wanted this, and the more real it became, the more right it felt. But I don’t think either of us was prepared for just how much it would take to get there. The work has been physically and mentally exhausting, and much of it has fallen on me, since Kate’s work takes so much out of her. And the process accentuates our fundamental differences.
I’m a list-writer. I plan ahead, and I tackle projects one at a time. Kate calls me a task master, and she winces at the “good enough” job I do of touching up deck paint or cleaning cupboards. She’s more meticulous, it’s true, and she takes a much less linear approach to a goal. Years ago, I repeated to her a Zen saying that a friend had told me: “See a task, do a task.” And she has taken that to heart as her life’s motto. It fits well with her ADD style of housework and it keeps her from getting bored. But from my standpoint, trying to get from A to B as directly as possible, it’s torturous to watch. This weekend, for example — just days before we leave, mind you — she set aside her chore of packing up her clothes to make bedroom curtains for our neighbor’s granddaughter, sew new pillow shams for the RV bed, spray paint the door chime cover white, repair a hole in the closet wall, and touch up the bathroom baseboards. To be fair, she also cleaned out under the kitchen sink, the laundry area, and the master bath. The girl’s not lazy! But her clothes are still not packed.
The fact that we have made it this far without a major blowout is a testament to our relationship. We will do this. We will pack up the rest of this damn house, load Bessie up, and get on the road come hell or high water on Friday. But it may take a month to recover.
First leg of an itinerary
Our first two nights we’ll spend at Silver Falls, just north of here, with local friends. Then up to Portland, where we’ll spend a couple nights with Kate’s “childhood chum” and her husband. Then on to Seattle to visit Tobi and her family and Aly, who’s working in a hostel and pub. Hop a ferry to Whidbey Island for one more visit with friends there. Then back to Eugene for a couple of days to get some warranty work done on Bessie.
After that, we head south to Mendocino to visit another friend of Kate’s and then to Santa Cruz, where we’ll stay a week and visit so many old friends in our old home town.
From there, we head south through Big Sur to Santa Barbara, where Aly will fly to meet us. We’ll drive to Anaheim where our neighbor Kathleen, and her 7-year-old granddaughter, will join us. We’ll have three days at Disneyland, which has been a plan of ours with Kathleen and Maddie for years now (and Aly has wanted to go back ever since we took her when she was five). After we drop those three off at the airport, we’ve got an evening with the Steins, our neighbors who left us to be close to grandkids. After that…. anything goes.