Come In and stay a while

Come In and stay a while

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Goodbyes and Hello

Hard to believe my last post was in January 2016.
We will blink and it will be January 2017.
Not going to lie, on New Year's Eve I will probably be bidding 'good riddance' to 2016.
It was quite a year.
What did not happen in the blink of an eye has been the last 9 months.
At times it clipped along and at others it crawled at a snails' pace.
 I know you come here mostly to see pictures and maybe glean an idea or two for your own space.
I hope you will indulge me for a minute, or two, so I can explain how my space has changed.
And by space, I mean ALL my space.
My home.
My city.
My state.
My world.
I don't write much about my personal life on this blog. Again, I know why you come here. 
An idea or two.
I'm sorry you might have come here over the last 9 months and not found much of either.
Our life was a little crazy.
And now you'll understand why.

A job loss for me in July 2015 meant major problems for the family.
 I brought in about 40% of our household income and carried the family's medical insurance.
We were in a bit of a pickle.
I picked up a new gig but it was not a good fit and I was struggling...and I mean struggling.
I missed my work with non-profits, schools and children.
I was not making what I was making before.
We still did not have health insurance.
We had a daughter in college.
A son beginning his senior year.
And two more guys depending on my husband and I to figure this out.
My husband's employer had been struggling for years and those struggles continued.
Seeing the writing on the wall, my husband had actually been looking for another job for about 3 1/2 years.
And nothing.
Hundreds of applications.
Dozens of interviews.
Flights to various locations around the country.
The summer came and went.
Fall came.
School started.
Daughter went back to college.
Son's senior year started.
Christmas was just around the corner.
Years of job searching had taken its toll, the roller-coaster ride was beyond nauseating. 
We needed to get off. Get centered.
No more applying for jobs we decided.
It wasn't working.
We needed to just enjoy Christmas. Regroup in the New Year.
Our Christmas 2015 was pure magic.
We woke up to a snowstorm on Christmas Eve and a closed mountain pass laid between my parents' cabin and us.
The cabin where we were supposed to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
We drove around the mountain instead of through it.
A trip that usually takes 1 hour and 10 minutes took 7 hours.
Something about almost missing it, made it so much more special.
Or maybe, it was that we knew deep in our hearts
things were about to change.
Such a simple word for not so simple things.
On February 19, 2016 my husband was called into his boss' office.
You guessed it.
Laid off.
Two week's severance.
Seventeen years with the same company and it came down to two weeks severance.

Good thing my husband had been offered a job.
The day before.
In South Carolina.
No, he had not started looking for jobs again, they had called him.

If you look at a map do you know what are almost exactly kitty-corner from each other?
With a whole country in between them?
Seattle, WA and South Carolina.

I'll spare you the details of what transpired between February and May.
The top level:
Get house ready for real estate market.
Give away about half of our stuff.
Open houses.
House hunting trips to South Carolina.
Husband drives across the country to start job.
Sending senior year son on airplane to finish senior year in South Carolina.
 My little family is now in three different states.
Sell house.
Buy house.
Being apart from husband.
Making trips to dump and recyclers.
Giving more stuff away.
Goodbye to schools.
Goodbye to beloved teachers.
Goodbye to life long friends...for all of us.
Goodbye to favorite restaurants.
Goodbye to our home.
Goodbye to our neighborhood.
Goodbye to favorite vacation spots.
Goodbye to extended family.
Goodbye to my happiest place on earth, my mountain.

This might be a good place for a little history.
We had lived in the Seattle area for 19 years.
We had lived in the school district and city we currently lived in for 18 years.
Almost our whole married life.
Our children's whole lives.
As a family, we had known nothing else.
My parents were just over the mountains.
My sisters lived just 3 hours away.
One brother 30 minutes away.
Two other brother's less than a day's drive.

The last day of April, 2016 we moved into our new house in South Carolina.
Unfortunately, the struggles of a major move were not over.
In many ways they were just beginning.
We had lots of work to do to make our house a home.
To make this new place our home.
And things did not start well.
A botched hardwood floor job.
My kids could have done a better job then the company we hired.
Upstairs air conditioning going out 3 weeks after we moved in.
Fight with home warranty company and paying for most of the repairs ourselves.
Thirteen WEEKS to get air conditioner fixed-most of the summer-a hot, humid summer.
A fight with department of unemployment that ended in a hearing.
Struggling with the new school district to jump through all the hoops to get senior son graduated.
Removal of wallpaper.
Misfires on wall color.
Painting and repainting.

Then there was the really hard part.
Sending both son and daughter to college mid-June.

Dealing with serious bouts of homesickness.
Missing not just family and friends, but the West in general.
Memories of the past 19 years of vacations, holidays, and simple moments flooding my mind daily.
My children missing former teachers, classmates and schools.
Days rolled together as I struggled to just get out of bed most mornings.

Time moved on.
We got to take some family weekend trips.
Our backyard pool felt really good in the heat and humidity.
The boys made friends.
Autumn came.
School started.
Little by little it was easier to get out of bed.
The house finally started to come together.
And now
the holiday season is upon us.

I get to see my older kids in a matter of hours.
I will get to see extended family and my beloved Seattle for Christmas.
I know hard days and times are still ahead.
But for now I am grateful.
And I am finally able to share with you our new house, that we hope soon will feel like home.

Follow me over the next several weeks as I post the change in our home and decorating for Christmas, with South Carolina style.

Check out my redesigned website:


Vicki said...

My heart is full as I read your journey all put together in one place. I miss you so much. I remember well Christmas Eve last year thinking dad and I would be alone for the first time ever because the pass was closed. We had put up the twelve foot artificial tree but there was not one decoration on it. "Why bother", I thought. Then we got the message that both your family and Ben were going to make the long journey down through Portland to get to 'grandma's house' for Christmas Eve. I think you all arrived about 8pm and you started working your magic, transforming that bare tree into the most beautiful tree one could ever imagine. I could hardly contain my emotions to know what you all had sacrifice to spend Christmas Eve with us. We love you and your family and miss having you close. We are so grateful for a life time of wonderful memories. We pray for your happiness and for opportunities you will have there to make many wonderful memories. We cherish the times we are able to spend with you.

Bianca said...

Loved every. single. word. I loved the raw emotion of this post. Thank you so much for sharing. And yes, I will be following you as you decorate your home for the holidays. Can't wait!

Kira said...

Thank you so much for opening your heart - such a crazy sad moving story - you are so missed here! I can't wait to see pics of your new home! I've always loved your style - hope we can see you over the holidays!:). Love you!

McKinlay Mom said...

My heart aches again for you for all of it. I miss you.
Looking forward to seeing your new home but I'm really hoping to see you sometime over Christmas!

pineplace said...

Thank you all for your kind words!Love and miss you all! Yes, we are excited to travel west for Christmas and make more memories! Mom, I plan to decorate the tree again :)