Less Than Two Weeks

In less than two weeks, we will sign the paperwork to sell our home. The next day, when the ownership paperwork is filed with the county government, the home will no longer be ours.

As we have been packing things, the home has been slowly losing its “personality”. I’m not sure how else to describe it except as personality.

VERY little is left in the home….I’m estimating it will take four hours to move the remaining “stuff” to storage and probably six hours to move the old vehicles to a friend’s home.

Signing the paperwork will be a bittersweet time. We will be leaving the place where we lived for 23 years and our daughter grew up. At the same time, we will be achieving a near life long dream.

Figured It Out. Maybe

I think I’ve figured out my sense of foreboding regarding our impending move to the “cold desert” and it was a dutch oven that made me realize what is happening.

Moving to a “cold desert” was the dream my fiancée and I shared.

The dutch oven was bought by my fiancee. We did a lot of tent camping (hauling it all in the car) and we wanted something more than just skillets to use on the Coleman stove. That was why the dutch oven came into my life.

The dutch oven was purchased from a “junque” (fancy name for junk) store for something like US$5. It had some surface rust, but was still smooth on all its surfaces–nothing that a bit if vinegar and seasoning wouldn’t fix–the bottom was flat, the lid fit tightly and there were no cracks in the cast iron.

The dutch oven was supposed to be a wedding gift to us, but it was given to me just before we left for the doctor’s office…where we found out that her cancer was “terminal”. The dutch oven ended up in a box at the very back of a shelf in the garage for seemingly “forever”. I was moving stuff in the garage when my daughter and wife found it. I told them the story about the dutch oven and my wife brought it in, saying it was a waste to not use it. I cleaned it up and have been using it on a daily basis since then.

Today I packed up the dutch oven into a very well padded box and I realized why I had the sense of foreboding.

My fiancee and I had goals that when achieved, would allow us to reach our dream. The dream was for her to have a pediatric medical practice in a small town in northern or eastern Arizona, anywhere in New Mexico, southern Utah or southern Colorado. These places are all in what I call the “cold desert”…the high desert.

My wife has always wanted to live in a small desert town that is not hot. It is essentially the same dream that my fiancee and I had. My wife and I, in about two weeks, will be achieving that dream.

Packing the dutch oven up made me realize that the move was reminding me of my fiancee, and this is something I try, very hard, to not dwell on. And, when I “overdo” it, I feel guilty because I don’t want my wife to compete with a ghost.

My fiancee was determined, almost desperate, that I “keep on keeping on” and continue to live my life. It took a while, but I did go on and I’m sure my fiancee would be both pleased and proud.

While I was packing the dutch oven, I realized that as long as I don’t compare the two people, and don’t continually do it, thinking about my fiancee is okay.

For what it is worth, thinking of my fiancee was actually helpful when my wife was undergoing surgery, chemo, and radiation for stage 3 breast cancer. I was able to draw upon my experiences with my fiancee to help my wife. If my fiancee could have communicated with me, I know she would have been proud of me.

Maria Revisited

Today, I was “channel surfing” on the TV and I came across the Fox Network’s Weather News and watched a “back then” report about Hurricane Maria crashing into Puerto Rico.

I pulled out my telephone and started looking at some of the pictures I took the morning I got there…the first one was taken three minutes after midnight…the morning after the hurricane hit. We were all wearing flashlights on our heads while we unloaded the plane ourselves.

The moment the medical team arrived, we were literally and figuratively, plunged into darkness. Literally because the only lights available were our flashlights and figuratively because the communications were so difficult that, for several days, we had no news from “the outside world”.

I learned a lot from that program.

Amused

My wife and I are looking to get a small mortgage for the home we are purchasing. Part of the process is to explain information about old addresses and other information that has been obtained by the mortgage company.

For the addresses, they want to know if we rent or own, and if the home is my primary or 2nd residence. One address lists our post office box. I’ve not lived at/in the post office box. I would think the folks at the mortgage company would be able to figure out that a post office box is neither a primary, nor a 2nd, residence.

The mortgage company is also asking me to provide a death certificate or a divorce decree regarding either of my two marriages. That one surprised me as I’ve only been married once (been married over 30 years). The two names listed in this section are my wife’s name and my twin’s name.

Excitement, Worry and Possible Courage

Today, we drove to what will be our new home town and made an offer on the house we are hoping to buy. The offer was accepted, so we have somewhere to live “on the other end”. The sale of our current home will be complete at the beginning of May and the purchase of our new home will be complete 3 weeks later.

I have lived in the “hot desert” for almost 60 years…nearly my entire life. My wife has lived in the hot desert for 37 years. For me, city living has been the case 43 years and for my wife, 45 years. Before that both of us grew up in tiny towns out in the “middle of nowhere”.

We will still be living in the desert, but it will be a cold desert. Each year, the hot desert has one or two days below freezing and many days above 115F/45C. It has never been below 20F/-7C. The cold desert will have high temperatures, at most, around 90F/32C and many days with low temperatures around -5F/-21C. The lack of “water falling from the sky” is pretty much the same for both places…just a few inches/cm of precipitation per year.

While the move, and achieving a near lifelong dream is exciting, I’m also a bit sad. I will be leaving what I’ve known for my entire life for something new.

I also have sense of foreboding and I can’t shake it. I’m not even sure what it is that I am worried about. Is it ET’s (twin sister) leukemia and my not being as close as I’d like in case she needs help? Is it something else? Am I just imagining things? Am I just sad about leaving a familiar situation? I don’t know.

I do know I am worried about ET, but I don’t think that is all the worry that I have.

I guess courage is not a lack of fear and worry but forging ahead despite the fear and worry. So, I guess I’m sort of courageous.

Dreams

As I was writing the prior post, I realized that dreams live on.

1983.

My fiancee and I shared a goal. She would finish medical school and the residency programs while I finished my MSEE degree.

I had a job offer to work for a defense contracting company (making missile guidance systems) that paid *VERY* well and had the benefit of paying for the tuition for my MSEE degree. The company I would have worked for only wanted two years on the job for each year of paid tuition. So, for two years of tuition, I only had to be there for four years, which was the length of medical school. I was honest with the company about moving on after about four years and they were okay with it.

The salary, and living very frugally, would have made it possible for her to finish medical school and me to finish up my master’s degree with no student loan debt. And, with no student loan debt, a medical doctor and an engineer would have no financial issues, no matter the place they chose to live.

The dream was to move to a rural part of northern Arizona, eastern Arizona, southern Utah, southern Colorado or anywhere in New Mexico. My fiancée would have a pediatric practice while I worked for a rural telephone company, a local electric utility company or a government agency.

She died in late 1983 and that dream ended.

2022.

It turns out the woman I married had similar dreams. Similar, but not exact. Like me, she is also an engineer and also had dreams of living in a very rural area. I’m not sure if I “picked” her because of the similar dream, or if my dream “infected” her. I guess it doesn’t matter.

Unfortunately, jobs in her field of engineering were available in only a few areas of the country, none being rural, so the dream had to be put on hold until we retired.

When we retired, the dream was rekindled and if everything falls into place, we will be living our dream.

More Updates

We have a written offer to purchase our home and there is no contingencies on the offer, So, now it’s just wait until the early May settlement date and hope nothing happens between then and now.

The offer is far larger than I expected, so that is good for us. However, my wife and I hope that nothing happens to the buyer that makes the mortage payments unaffordable. During the last real estate “disaster”, my wife and I saw lots of homes turn into horrible messes when the owners were unable (or unwilling) to meet the terms of the mortage. I guess we shouldn’t worry about such things, but we are not ruthless like some might be. Also, this was our home for over 20 years and the one our daughter grew up in, so we do hope that the new owners can make it into a good home for themselves.

We do have a house that we are hoping to buy and will be making a purchase offer on it. It will, of course, be contingent on this house actually selling.

What we are selling…around 2,000 square feet of living space with a three car garage on about 0.15 acre of land in the city.

We are buying, we hope, a home with 1,600 square feet of living space with a 2 car garage on 18 acres in a very rural area.

I’m one of the “prepare for the worst and hope for the best…that way I’m never surprised or disappointed” type of people. so, I’m not getting my hopes up too high that the home we are hoping to buy will actually become ours.

Updates

ET has her first meeting with a hematologist/oncologist on April 13. We are both anxiously awaiting the results of that consultation. I’m not sure if she or I is more anxious.

I’m busy with getting the house packed up for the (hopefully it happens) move and that keeps my mind off of it, but, at the same time, having to do all this divides my attention.

Switching topics.

The freezer is now empty, and I just turned it off. The “computer room” no longer has the background hum from the freezer. The computer is convection cooled so it has no fan and I’m amazed at how quiet things have become. Also, since the freezer door is propped open, there is a cold draft coming across the floor.

The garage is nearly empty. I need to put together the hard top for 1964 Jeep and the soft top on the 1950 Jeep. Once that is done, they will be stored at a friend’s home. The 1957 Jeep truck will remain here until the last possible moment as it is the vehicle that is hauling everything to the self-storage units.

I stopped writing this post to work on the garage while the freezer sat, and I’m glad I came back in here because I noticed the freezer was starting to drip water onto the floor. The freezer had no frost inside the freezer compartment, so I’m guessing the water is coming from frost that built up within the door. Fortunately, it was a small puddle, and the floor is tile, so the cleanup was a simple 30 second effort.

The freezer is now in the garage where it can drip without causing a problem and I will remember this so the next time I unplug the freezer…I will be ready.

Hiding

After yesterday’s not so good news, I’m working on the home by filling nail holes (pictures) and thumbtack holes as we paint the interior walls. I really don’t need to do this because the housing market where we live is what is called “white hot”. Homes go on the market and within hours, bidding “wars” ensue between buyers…each buyer hoping to be the one to “get lucky” and buy the house.

I’m mostly doing all this work to keep my mind busy. When I stop, I think of ET and her leukemia diagnosis. With the diagnosis, but no details, the missing information gets filled in by one’s imagination and the imagination can be quite scary. The exact same thing happened when my fiancée was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and also when wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, so I know about “imagination”, but I can’t help myself.

So, I keep myself busy and hope that my fiancée and my twin don’t get to meet anytime soon.

My wife just told me that the timer, set to “ding” when the caulking around the window was cured enough to paint, has “dinged”.

So, back to work…and hiding.