Moving on, yet again

Maybe you’ve noticed or maybe you haven’t, but the daughter and I have moved around a lot these last few years.  It’s happening again; our fifth move in three years and I’m terribly conflicted.

Part of my really really really wants to go back to Portland, to the city I know and love with restaurants I enjoy, cheap movie theaters, the big ol’ downtown library, friends who have made me feel loved and my son, yes, I’ll be near my son again. {Really near, in fact, like living under the same roof again.}

People joke about how your kids will grow up, move out and then move back in again when they realize they can’t afford to live on their own. Ours just happens to be the opposite situation where Mom realized she can’t afford to live on her own.

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Wait, that’s not where this was supposed to go… So I am glad to be going home to the Pacific Northwest, full of clean air and forests and rivers.  My lungs will be happy, too. They are the reason I finally said Yes, I’ll go back. I’ll give up the job I enjoy at a wonderful company. I’ll give up the sunshine and warm air if I can just breathe again without hurting. If my daughter and I can go a whole month without either of us being sick, I’ll take the rain. I will. 

You see, it’s been months of breathing problems and I’m not willing to let it become years. The daughter has missed weeks of school with all the illnesses, all of them validated by my own eyes. The girl has been sicker than I’ve ever seen her; both of us have been bedridden for days with coughs, fevers, vomiting and, the ever-popular, general malaise.  And on more than one occasion.

My lungs hurt to breathe in deeply. I avoid laughing because it’ll make me cough uncontrollably, gasping for air. Walking up the stairs to our second-story apartment makes me wheeze. I can feel the difference in my lungs if the air is being re-circulated in the car or being brought in fresh.

It’s bad, uncomfortable, painful, disappointing. It totally sucks.

In four weeks, I’m packing up a UHaul and heading north again. Away from sunshine and blue skies. Away from smog so thick it hides the mountains.

In ways, I’m so very very glad. Like I said, I’ll be near friends and family and a city I know and love. But there is an overwhelming guilt about moving yet again. I’d planned to stay for the rest of my daughter’s high school years. Stay here until she graduated. I had the best intentions and instead I’m asking her gently to please at least think about packing. Again. Please do this for my health and for your own. Asking your child to sacrifice, knowing they’ve already had to sacrifice so much to follow your hopes and dreams to SoCal, is so much harder than I want it to be. I want her with me. I want her healthy. I want her to be happy.  It just doesn’t seem like there is one place that can do it all.

The push-and-pull between all the things I want and need and all the thing she wants and needs is tough and the answers aren’t easy. Each time I’ve moved us, I though it was for the best…a place of our own, an extended family, away from the relationship drama, to a good job, back to healthy air… but it’s yet to work out as I had so earnestly hoped.

Nonetheless, here we go again. Packing for another move, another adventure. Another notch in the belt and another reason to be angry.

Making the move.

Sometimes I need a good swift kick in the pants and now seems to be one of those times. To be honest, I’ve had a somewhat rough go of it the last eight months, wondering just what the point was if I couldn’t have the things that made me happy. Then I saw this on Instagram and clung to it:
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I knew what wasn’t making me happy but wasn’t quite sure what would. I re-started the Sewing for Orphans campaign and got some sponsors, made more dresses, cheered on other sewists and sent more clothes. That whole project can only make me smile, really, so it is a great thing for me to do and I’m just gonna keep on doing it as long as there are orphans to clothe and I can get the help to ship the dresses, shorts, tees and more to them.

But I needed more. A good shake-up at life. So with a little impetus, I decided to move to southern California to be near my little sister. The whole thing took about a month to figure out and then it was a done deal.

I asked my dad to fix up my little car enough to get us there. Instead he found me a new(er) car and loaned me the money to get it now.

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The little white Escort, affectionately known as Ooben thanks to its license plate, has gotten me through a lot over the past nine years, but it was time to retire. So now I have this cute little silver Focus. Totally basic, but I love it.

Then I quit my job at the trade magazine and instead spend the next week teaching these sweethearts to sew in the morning …

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and packing everything I own into a storage unit in the evening …

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By the time I closed up the storage unit yesterday morning, there wasn’t an inch to spare. It’s stacked high and all the way to the door.And there was still stuff I couldn’t fit in–my desk, our TV, dressers, couch. We’ll be replacing all of it except the TV, which we managed to fit into the back of our car. 🙂

Then we hit the road, my daughter and I, for a three-day drive to Los Angeles, first along the Oregon Coast, through Sacramento and down I-5 until we reach my sister’s home sometime on Saturday evening.

20130628-071238.jpgIt’s an adventure and it makes me hopeful and happy.

 

Settling

We moved into our new place on December 1 and this is what the main room was looking like:
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The aparment is tiny, less than 500 square feet. Add to the lack of floor space, the fact that there is only one closet , in my daughter’s room, and we’ve got a real quandary. Where is all this stuff gonna go?!

There weren’t many options on how to arrange furniture in the apartment–the couch could go on the wall or in the middle of the room. Same goes for the TV.  The main room plays quintuple duty as kitchen, living room, dining room, office and my bedroom, so I had to figure out a way to divide things up just a little and this is what we settled on:

House Plan

I forgot to mark a door into the bathroom, but be assured there is one.

I was able to get three bookshelves [on sale for $25 each at IKEA] and fill them with books and display the handful of Xmas cards that showed up. (USPS has been sending my mail all over: to our old address, to the new address and returning to sender.) But the point is, we have a place to put the cards that did show up.

I’m still having a hard time figuring out how to deal with my clothes. Granted I don’t have a lot, but I do need a place to put them. The half-dozen dresses I wear hang on the coat rack around the corner from the front door. But all the socks, underwear, tights, pjs, pants, and tees have to go somewhere and for now they are hanging out (literally) in boxes on the bookshelves.

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Not attractive. But whatever, it works for now. I like the wooden box, though I’m not sure how practical it is for getting things in and out of. I may be tweaking the clothes arrangement for a while still.

Once I get the curtain ironed and hung up, I’ll show you the other end of the room, too. The “office” area where I keep editing, writing and editing more.

But for now, we are still getting settled.

oh life.

Moving yet again.I keep thinking that this job/housemate/idea will be the one that changes things for me, that makes life easier. But I’m often wrong. This past month, it’s been made all the more obvious that I was wrong yet again. I’ve realized that some people just won’t click, no matter how much I cheer from the sidelines: Please, can’t we all just get along?

They couldn’t and one hurt feeling led to another and that led to doing things to purposely upset the other. It’s no way to spend every evening, every weekend, playing referee. So I stopped. I forfeited the game, I guess.

The daughter and I are looking for a new place to call home. Somewhere we can stay awhile. A place where we can deal with the ups and downs of teenage years, together.

Despite the piles of boxes while we camp out at my son’s apartment, I’m still plotting new things to sew. First two on the list: camera bag and pea coat for my daughter’s upcoming birthday. I’ve got two weeks. Think I can do it?

xo!