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Our old apartment the morning before we moved

Our previous apartment on the morning before we moved

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.

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