“It’s Wisconsin,” Julia said Friday morning as she stepped outside. As if Wisconsin was a season or a a weather description like sunny or cloudy. It was cold yesterday and overnight and this morning it is colder—cold enough to run a bit of water in the kitchen sink to make sure the pipes don’t freeze.
But it is hardly Wisconsin.
And I check myself to see if I miss those brilliant sunny and frigid days in Madison.
Yes, somewhat. What I miss is my people, my community, my chalice circle, my Quest group, Julia’s teachers and therapists and some very good friends.
I do not miss the cold. I could feel nostalgic for every one of those people if temperatures there never once dipped below freezing.
We are a week in the new house. There are fewer piles of boxes in the corners, there is a somewhat comfortable arrangement of furniture in the living room, there are some books on shelves.
A few things:
The living room and my study get the most glorious warm, morning light. Even on frigid below zero mornings. I expect that I may not feel exactly the same in the middle of summer but for now, I feel like Muta basking in the sun or one of my sun loving house plants turning its leaves to the window light.
Julia decided that she didn’t want her book case or any books in her room. She said it and looked at me, and perhaps expected disapproval. And I took a deep breath and held it, not wanting to show disapproval or disappointment. No books! It’s like no home for me. But, but, but . . . but she is showing some preference for something and this is cause for celebration. A good, if painful for me, step for her.
We didn’t do anything with Julia’s room when we moved into the blue house. We brought the remnants of her Harry Potter bedroom—reds and golds of the Gryffindors. In the blue house, other than some new anime posters, it was her Madison bedroom transplanted. She didn’t ask for or want change. In this new space, the cheery teal that she chose for the bedroom walls begs for some redecoration. Nothing too quickly but I suspect that the decor will be inspired somewhere between BTS, the K-pop boy band, and Demon Slayer, a Japanese manga series.
I began packing a few weeks ago by putting books in boxes. As much as a hate taking down my books, they are easy to pack and easy to claim those boxes as progress in the moving process. What I delayed taking down until as close to the last minute as I could was the art and photos on my walls. I knew as soon as they were down, the home would cease looking like home. And it did. My VNM teased me some about this predilection—my feeling for what makes my home so ingrained that I was almost surprised at the teasing.
Taking down and packing art hurt my heart some. Not crippling, I mean, I’m going to put it all or most of it back up in the next few months. Interesting to note, I took down what I thought was everything at one time in order to pack according to size, but for the next few days kept “finding” pieces that were still on the walls. Those pictures was not unobserved but an even greater part of home.
Unpacking books yesterday, I was opening boxes and deciding to mix biography with fiction and alphabetizing everything by author when I got to the box holding Alcott and Austin. I felt a little fountain of joy erupt in my heart and smiled in recognition of making home. The books on my shelves are not glorious or valuable editions with impressive bindings. There are many, many ragged paperbacks but I love them no less than if they were first editions. As I was packing, I watched home renovation shows some and a decorator designed a study with book shelves packed with matching blue bound books. At that moment, my opinion of that decorator plunged. I much prefer miss matched, well loved volumes.
At 10 a.m., the temperature was 0, and an hour later it is 5 degrees above zero. Time to get off the couch and back to those books.