A post about how everything sucks (or the joy of experiencing changes in life)

(Disclaimer: the following post contains a lot of moping, groaning and whining about the stresses of putting a house on the market and life changes in general. You have been warned.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about life-altering events these past few days.

Death and tragedy ones, like the shootings what happened in Tinley Park and NIU this past month. Everyone in Chicago are still reeling over those. Sadder ones, like the breakup of a marriage or the end of a close friendship. More joyous ones, like getting married or having a first child.

And then there’s moving.

There’s something sobering about driving from your house one morning and coming back to see a “For Sale” sign sitting on your lawn. Even though I knew in my head it was going to happen, to see the actual sign with my own eyes, sitting on my own lawn, suddenly drove home the fact that this will no longer be my house. Someone else will sit in the backyard and gaze out over the pond. Someone else will wake up in the bedroom and paddle barefoot to the kitchen to put on a teakettle. In fact, that someone else probably won’t even drink tea; they’ll have a coffeepot. A coffeepot in this house!

I lived in this house for almost seven years. I know every creak in the floor (well, not anymore, since we fixed those), every crack in the ceiling (hmm, actually, that’s gone too, now that’s it’s repaired), every smudge and mark Daniel’s put on (which has been cleaned off…and given new paint…)

Actually, I take all of that back. Ever since we’ve done all the renovations to the house, I don’t know it anymore. Oh, the layout’s still the same, and the pond hasn’t gone anywhere, and we still got (most) of our furniture. But it’s not my house anymore. Everything has to be clean and uncluttered, and there’s a lot less furniture than I like, and the color of the walls are not what I would pick, and it looks too much like the inside of a (tasteful) furniture store than an actual lived-in house, clutter and toys and all.

My house looks so pretty. And it’s depressing, because I don’t recognize it anymore.

This past month has been crazy getting the house ready to put on the market. Now that things are slowing down, I find that I can actually take a breather for once and relax. I can say to myself, now things can get back to normal again…

Except, well, there’s no such thing as normal anymore. The last time anything has been “normal” in this household was back in September, when Daniel was going to daycare, I was writing full-time, my hubbie was working full-time, and life was good. In fact, I remember thinking at that time, hey, this is perfect. Everything is going nicely for once. I hope it lasts for a good long time.

And then October came. KA-BOOM!

Today was the first time in weeks that I didn’t have to concentrate on working on the house. Oh, yes, there’s still cleaning and all, but most of the renovations are done. And you know what? I have no idea what to do. I suppose I could write, but what will Daniel do in the meantime? What do I do with a three-year-old in the middle of winter? According to that ‘perfect schedule’ I had in September, Daniel would be in daycare interacting with other kids and I would be working on Willow. Now that we don’t have (nor can we afford at the moment) daycare, Daniel spends his days playing by himself or parked in front of the TV, which is where I’ve been placing him throughout most of the month of January while we were working on the house. I can start taking him to playgroup again, just to get out of the house, but outdoor activities are definitely out, not until we start having weather that’s not in the single digits.

And writing? I can ease back into that, but those days of working four to six hours a day? Gone. At the most, I can do writing after Daniel goes to bed, but usually, I’m so tired, the most I can manage is fifteen minutes worth of writing before calling it quits. Work on Willow has slowed to a crawl, and working on short stories have become non-existent…

You know, I think I’m in mourning. I’m mourning the fact that everything’s changed, and nothing will be the same again. Not my writing time. Not my house. Nothing. It sucks.

Everything sucks.

Maybe I should cheer myself up by listening to Tom Waits.

(Caveat: This post is merely the author’s method of blowing off steam and in no way reflects the philosophy of the Cafe in the Woods–which is to sit back, relax, and have a cup of tea. Yours Truly promises that the next post will be more uplifting. In the meantime, you’ll just have to make do with what you got because the teapot is in the corner, sulking. And the table’s passed out in the corner. And the napkins are debating about the theory of relativity. And the carpet needs a haircut…

…And you can’t find your waitress with a Geiger counter, and she hates you and your friends and you just can’t be served without her. And the box office is drooling and the bar stools are on fire, and the newspapers were fooling, and the ashtrays have retired…cause the piano has been drinking…the piano has been drinking…the piano has been drinking…not me…not me…not me….not me…not me…)

Free Your Mind! Throw it all Away!

Yesterday, I did something that I never thought I would do.

I threw my unfinished cross-stitch away.

It was a tree that I’ve been working on since I married my hubbie back in ’98. The one I had planned to cross-stitch the Serenity Prayer: Lord, grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, the courage to change things I can, and the wisdom to tell the difference. Well, I started working on it, and somehow, over the years, the stitches I counted didn’t match what was on the pattern. Slowly, my Serenity tree was mutating into a tree one would find in Dante’s hell.

I wouldn’t give up, though. I was determined to finish it, to at least make it “seem” like the picture. But as Daniel came into the picture, I brought out the cross-stitch less and less, until it simply sat there in the craft bin in my closet, pouting. Whenever I brought it out into the light on rare occasions, its jagged lines stared dolefully back at me. Why won’t you finish me? I’m leafless! Put some leaves on me! I’m cold and wolves are out to get me…

Pretty soon, I kept it buried so I wouldn’t hear its accusations.

In our quest now to purge everything in our house before we move to Madison, I unearthed the thing after it spent several years at the bottom of my craft bin. The canvas backing has turned a dull gray. The pattern I’ve worked from has split apart, and the floss is now hopelessly tangled into Medusa knots. I brought my cross-stitch out into the light, and I swear it hissed at me. And that was when I made the realization:

1) I cannot change the fact that I don’t have time to cross stitch anymore.
2) I can do something about it this cross-stitch though. I just need the courage to do it.
3) Wisdom is telling me to dump this in the trash.

So that is what I did.

It’s liberating. Suddenly, the guilt of not working on a craft is off my shoulders. I think I’m standing up a little straighter. My craft bin looks lighter too. All my knitting stuff looks so nice now that it no longer is sharing a cramped space. And I didn’t get rid of all my cross-stitch stuff. There’s a few patterns I kept which is nicely filed away in a drawer. I think there will come a time when I will do it again. Now is just not the time.

Tossing out things that you don’t need or use anymore. For some reason it felt…disturbingly…good.

Hmm. I wonder what else I can toss out of my life to make it lighter?