I never looked upon moving as a stressful situation. In the seven years we’ve lived together, Louise and I have moved six times, not counting the mini-moves we made during our year of travel. Excepting one, all those moves were exciting and optimistic, untroubled and confident. Excepting one. And that one put me in the hospital.
That one was our most recent, foretold in this May 3rd post. On that day we were enthusiastic, oblivious of what was ahead. Moving day was three days later, when five of us—including three strapping young men from the moving company—spent eight hours at hard labor. In spite of our increasingly desperate efforts, things remained undone. At our new home, all the pristine remodeling pictured in the May 3rd post was buried in boxes. The bed was unassembled. The kitchen was inaccessible. Boxes were stacked in the shower. We lived—if you want to call it that—in chaos and anarchy for eight days…
…until I had a heart attack.
That was Thursday morning, May 14th. During my recovery, family and friends sent cards and texts. A pattern emerged: “Be calm.” “Take it easy.” “Smell the roses.” And from my daughter, “Chill.” Were they trying to tell me something?
With mortality (and my daughter’s advice) whispering in my ear, Louise and I decided to chill at the Oregon coast for four days. We lounged in front of the fire in an (organized) beachfront apartment, read enchanting books, walked deserted beaches. When we returned to the scene of the crime at home, we found buyers in our emailbox for the problematic furniture that had been posted on Craig’s list for over a week. With the furniture out of the way, a dramatic guest room emerged from the ashes of what was a calamitous catchall area. We bought a barbeque, organized the kitchen, and started cooking. Louise went on an unboxing marathon and we were able to shower again. My new motorcycle—in the shop for almost two months after a contractor backed into it in a parking lot—came home.
Chill is not a demeanor that comes to us easily. Regular readers of this blog know that we seek adventure with imprudence. But like a puppy in a new home, our boisterous modus vivendi is abating, succumbing to a more tranquil rhythm, yielding to the authority of mortality.
Will we move again? Never! Will we stop traveling? Hardly. For us, travel is imperative; moving is elective. Travel is rejuvenating; moving is maddening. Moreover, our style of travel is leisurely: we often reside in one place for a month or more, becalmed in a sea of unstructured days. And now, when we return from our travels, our new home—our permanent home—will welcome us with serenity, amenity, and yes: chill.
Edith (dedie) Uunila Taylor said:
Oh, Tom, we are so glad this ended so well! Lonn had his heart attack nov. 5, 2001, and both our lives and our health have improved greatly! Our prayers are with you and Louise.
Rick Wilcox said:
Since the last time I read your blog, your heart attack has come and gone. Wow. And yet you persevere. Would this be a bad time for a request to leave me the motorcycle in your will?
It would go nicely with my Leica. Joke.
Katharine Doel said:
So glad you have a permanent home! Should prevent further heart attacks. Happy that you are better!
Dedie, Rick, Katharine — thank you all for your kind comments. I’m doing well — better than ever — and intend to stay this way for decades to come.
Oh Tom and Louise, I had no idea. I knew you’d been quiet, but I never imagined the reason. So sorry you had to go through that experience. There’s nothing more rejuvenating than chilling on the Oregon coast. So glad to see that your new “forever home” is starting to feel good. It’s gorgeous! Please take good care of yourselves and each other. All the best, Terri
For those who may not know, Terri and her husband James are also moving, presumably without the drama of our experience. Thank you for your kind words, Terri, and I hope your move is going well.
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