Episode 57: At Home
Good morning, and Happy Brunch Sunday from sunny, blue Florida. Let us raise our mimosas or mugs, and clink a beautiful cheers to a bit of connection between work, notices and ads in your inbox. Written with a London accent in my head. Reading with an accent is completely your next, best decision.
This came up on my phone just now, as I was sitting down to write:
Calendar, 11 min
Traffic is light. It will take 16 min on E. Broadway St.
Hmm. My phone thinks that the old address is still Home, and apparently has noticed that I've written my blog at that address for thirteen months.
My sister-in-law recently visited her family in Columbia, and brought me a bag of freshly-roasted coffee. Though it would no longer be fresh, I saved it until today, wanting to brew that traveled bag while living in my new Home.
Alas, it was whole beans and not ground, and I had left the grinder for my ex at the house.
I had just offered it to him, and now I had to take it back.
I feel a little bad for taking it back. Because, in 1972, on the playground at Lincoln Elementary, I was declared an Indian Giver.
Wisconsin lingo lesson: There were nationality descent nicknames we all called each other like wop, spic, honky. Wasp was another but we had no idea what it meant. I thought it was interchangeable with wop.
These names were completely acceptable to use on ourselves and others, but no one ever said the N-word.
Because as children, we knew our black friends had it harder than all of us.
After I boldly told a few kids that I was Mormon, as I was encouraged to do by my church teacher, my nickname was Marie Osmond, which replaced my old one of Nazi, due to my last name of Schend.
Marie wasn't better than Nazi, it was just different.
Indian giver was more of a nickname for something you did.
For instance, when I held out my baggie, filled with the coveted Tropical Punch Kool-Aid and one cup of sugar, to three kids--and they licked their first fingers and dipped in my bag,
then I cut them off and pulled the bag away.
Fun fact: these baggies are now called Happy Crack, and kids get suspended from school for having a bag of flavored sugar in their locker, with this explanation:
"The kids violated a policy prohibiting any substance represented to be a drug or alcohol. In this case the Kool-Aid mixture looked like cocaine, and the school does not want to encourage an action that reflects trafficking.
The HOPE is to partner with our parents to provide an opportunity to learn from mistakes as a student, before they suffer more permanent consequences as an adult."
A young black girl from Akron, Ohio was suspended for five days in 2015.
Kool-Aid. The gateway drug.
So this morning, I put the dog in the crate, since she panics being left alone in this strange new space, and jogged down the four flights of stairs to my car. (I reserve the elevator for coming up.)
I was taking back the coffee grinder.
He really only had claim to it for about three days, maybe a week. It's been with me these seven months of separation.
At the time I asked him if he wanted it, I had resolved that I would only purchase ground coffee. I could live like that.
That's my phrase. As I reduced the cupboards in the kitchen, and scaled back on the 40-plus mugs we'd collected over the years--"I can live with that."
1300 square feet from 3400 square feet...I've been and am excited to live with that!
There is a point to this meandering read.
I went to the house this morning to get the grinder.
There were The Last Things.
Last plant to bring over.
Last items: a family of eye glasses collected over the years to be donated and
cable boxes with remotes to be returned.
I removed the key from my lanyard.
I've been using a UCF Championship lanyard for the many keys during this transition week:
house keys, car keys and apartment keys.
It's around my neck so I can carry boxes, walk the dog and pull the wagon, and not have to un-pocket a key for the gates or doors.
My last house key was painted sky blue and printed with a cursive, Home, in red.
I leaned against the kitchen desk for support.
I cried a little.
And I removed it.
The thought came: this is not my home anymore.
And immediately, I chose this response:
"I have a new home."
I thought it three times before putting the key in the buyer's baggie.
And from that moment, I decided that I will call my new space, that smells in spots like someone else's sweat socks, my Home.
Today's Deep Breath: here's a practical juju nugget, a collective Next Best Decision.
What does this word mean to you: Home?
Is it pulling your car into a space and seeing lights in the window?
Is it where your people are?
I have a space. My things are there. My dog is there.
It's where I sleep, shower and read.
It's where I write and paint and cook.
I walk from, and to.
More rare these days, it is the soul-to-soul connection of a hug.
My heart filling up with light, next to yours.
Pulling from what you can give, and pushing my love back to you.
Though we are separated.
And will start working on our divorce after the house is no longer a To-Do.
I will miss you.
I cry for us.
I am removing the dream that our connection could be deeper.
If I just contorted.
Maybe if I could cook more. Or less.
Maybe if I could institute a hug protocol every time you entered and left.
Maybe I could listen to all of your stories and never tell you mine.
Maybe if I created a Home, you would want to be there.
But you don't.
And crying washed clean, I am making my own.
I am creating this Home for me,
and for our dog in her remaining years.
Welcome Home, Tami.
Until next time,