A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Different Version of Myself

I read a quote this week that said "every next level of your life will require a different version of yourself." I've been trying to work on that version of me since my move. Between the physical demands of making a move by yourself to the emotional upheaval of leaving everything familiar behind and uprooting your life, well, it's been a month to test my strength. 

I had no illusions that I would move and be magically happy. In my heart I know I'll probably never be totally happy again, the sadness will always be there. But in spite of that I believe that there is some joy left in the world for me. As the prophet says, joy and sorrow are inseparable; when one sits with you at the table the other is alseep upon your bed. I want to wake up that joy that has been sleeping for over two years now. 

Sarah and I made the trip over for the closing on the new cabin. It's a great place and is a good swap for the ranch. It's a 30 year old house that has been added onto over the years. The previous owner was a flooring contractor, and he did most of the renovations, maybe all of them. The hardwood floors are beautiful, the kitchen cabinets are custom hickory, and the 4 car garage with workroom, all with infloor heating, are a carpenter/ranch hand/DIY gal's dream. It has 4.6 acres with it, including a ponderosa pine covered hill in the back. 

I wasn't really looking for acreage and I didn't want a well or septic again and I wanted a paved road. But I either couldn't see myself in any of the other houses I looked at or the ones in my price range needed more work than I could afford. This cabin spoke to me and the kids loved it too. So I chose it in spite of a well, septic, and gravel road!

It had been snowing for days when Sarah and I got there. It was my first experience with snow like that and with icy, snowy roads. If Sarah hadn't been with me to encourage me, I'd have never made it to Pagosa! Not that week anyway. The driving was stressful and I got stuck in the steep driveway (thankfully, the previous owners Matt and Lisa were there shoveling the walkways and Matt got me unstuck and gave me some driving hints), and slid through a red light (no one was coming and my brakes locked up but the state trooper behind me had no sympathy). 

But the people there were the best (well, maybe not the trooper who gave me a lecture and a scolding along with the ticket. But I have been trying to be extra careful, so maybe he helped too, in his own way) and welcomed me into their beautiful snowy world, telling me they had gotten stuck too, and gone into slides, and as long as I hadn't had to be pulled out of a ditch yet, I was doing ok. Everyone I met was from somewhere else and shared their experiences with me and told me I'd love it in Pagosa. Matt and Lisa were amazing; they called to check on me, brought me firewood from their supply, sent the firewood guy over (they even told me not to pay him, that Matt was bartering with him for the load, but it was just too much to ask of someone so I paid him anyway), built a snowman in the yard to welcome us, brought me flowers, had the drive plowed and hooked me up with the snowplow guy, and not only told me to call them if I got stuck and they would come pull me out but gave me other names to call in case I couldn't get them. 

Later when I started buying furniture to replace what I sold with the house, one of the furniture delivery fellas was a young man from Houston. He told me he used to do HVAC and if I had any problems to call him and he'd get the parts and come fix it, or if I had any other problems, give him a call. He also told me where to go crappie fishing, and elk hunting, and what beautiful lakes and scenic places were around. The list goes on of the people that were helpful and welcoming, but more on that later. 

Sarah and I had been staying at an Airbnb condo downtown, right next to the Riff-Raff Brewing. We walked the streets as the snow fell and went to the shops downtown and bought wool socks. We ate at a different great place every meal. We spent the first night in the new cabin. We slept on air mattresses in front of the fireplace where we tried to get a fire going with the oak we brought from the ranch. We made homemade soup and planned furniture layouts. That afternoon we had shared a bottle of bubbly with Lisa and Matt and our realtor Diane. It was an eventful first day!

Sarah left the next day to fly back to Austin. We spent the day in Durango before she left. That night, as I lay on the air mattress in a strange empty house, all alone, was hard. I admit I wondered what in the hell had I done! But as I thought back to how sad I had been at the ranch, I knew in my mind, if not my heart, that I couldn't have stayed at the ranch. The happiness there was gone with Rickie and only the work remained, and it was work for more than one person. It was the life with Rickie that I mourned and keeping the ranch wouldn't bring that back. I knew I had to suck it up and go on and I knew it would be a period of adjustment at the new place. 

So in the next days I got out and started on the process of making the cabin mine. I bought new furniture, started putting up new window coverings and replenishing the cupboard of groceries (and whiskey). I had some painting done, and I did a little myself also, before my furniture got there, and then the place started to look like it might me mine. 

My sister Kathy and her husband Derald flew over for a visit. Kathy and I tried out the new snowshoes I had bought. My first time to do anything related to snow other than build a tiny snowman from the wet infrequent snow we had in Texas and Louisiana. We trekked around the yard. I loved it and hope to do some of that in a more adventurous spot in the future. Kathy and Derald got the feel of the Pagosa area and are planning to come back this summer with kids and grandkids in tow! I look forward to that. 

It's been an eventful first month. I've had ups and downs, and I expected to. Time alone will tell if the move was the right one and if the ups outweigh the downs. With most of the stuff I brought from the ranch in place in the cabin, it's starting to look like home, even if it doesn't yet feel like home. We have to start collecting memories to make that happen. We had 28 years of memories at the ranch. We're just getting started here at the Rockin' RS, Colorado Division.