notes from the spiral

The Newton Living room/Dining room 

A week and two days.  Hold tight.  This is long.  I’ve taken notes.  I am really tired and last night Cheshire and Justin brought over an “extra” air conditioner to take the edge off the heat.  We’ve made it though the loading, the drive, the almost catastrophe, the arrival, the delivery, seeing our new home, a measure of unpacking, and our ninth death day celebration.  Lots of being here with some worry on the side.

Beginning last Thursday.  Closing on the Madison house and the journey out here were, as in any good transformative tale, challenging.  My buyers hesitated and complained a bit. Wedding jitters? This might have been their first old house buy or their first buy together.  My cleaners were responsible for some of the anxiety—the middle burner on the stove top probably still wet from cleaning did not immediately light and the cellar floor, still wet from a wash, suggested a wet basement.  Then, the central air did not immediately switch on and blow out cold air, but I hadn’t run it yet this season and directions needed to be followed.  Does anyone read directions? Eventually and with some realtor help, signing happened.  I worried and fretted from the road and was happy and relieved that I had pre-signed what I needed to do last week. Continue reading

hand up high in the air

5F64E1D8-9108-43E6-A05B-2CB997BB54D7Yesterday. Two more sleeps. 

Today. One more sleep. How many times did Julia and I do the “sleeps” countdowns when we were getting ready to travel?  This time counting sleeps is for me.  Are we really going?  Will Boston really be there?  Next week, this time, with a bit of luck, we should be in a house I’ve never seen, unpacking.  

Today is our last quiet morning.  Tomorrow, the movers come.  There are still so many measures of uncertainty—no idea of what time movers are coming and so, what time my clean up crew can start.  The buyers want to walk through at 2:30, or rather the buyer’s agent named that time.  I’ve been visited by half of the buying couple twice to measure for a washing machine and to show her the garden, and I suspect that she is not pushing to do a walkthrough before the movers are finished, but who knows . . .  The window for deliver is still July 1st to the 8th. With some luck, they will close that window up tomorrow.  If it is the 1st to the 3rd, we will camp out in the new place starting July 1. We will be connected to the internet by noon on the 1st. Cheshire has two air mattresses, I have 2 camp chairs, swim towels and our picnic stuff in the car.  I have reservations for our travel nights and a plan to see Seneca Falls on Saturday.  Passports and the cat’s certificate of health are in our travel folder. Continue reading

packed and put away

0FAFD24A-F622-4366-AA49-EF120EA48B68I am finished!  Now, perhaps the words, a few thoughts will come.  I have described the last two or so weeks as “not writers block.”  Really, I always have something to say, some of it not incredibly inspiring, perhaps most of it not very inspiring, but usually cogent.  However, recently I sit down at my usual writing times and discover that the words come slowly, are forced, and trite, are almost stupidly simple.  “I’m having a hard day,” was the start on Tuesday and then nothing after that.   Continue reading

work arounds

9E740784-01C3-4054-855F-C8FE90F2BD80Last Thursday: This moving to a different state thing with someone with a disability is not for the faint of heart.  And today I am feeling pretty heart faint.  Enough so, to let go of more of what I had planned to accomplish before leaving.  Specifically, health insurance.

Explanation:  Julia will qualify for a MassHealth program.  Eventually.  My goal has been a seamless transition—leave Forward Health, WI Medicaid, on June 30; begin MassHealth on July 1.  This will not happen. (Ok, I was the most naive, cockeyed optimist ever!)  And so, I am left with “eventually.” Information I’ve gleaned from various sources (all state employees or expert advisory staff) has been cripplingly conflicting.  Ex: At 18, she can apply for MassHealth as a single adult.  At 18, I have to apply for MassHealth and ask to have her covered as my child. (I don’t qualify for MassHealth.). Another example: In January, Health Care For All  told me I could apply for Julia’s coverage when I had a lease.  Last week, the same helpline said, I cannot submit any application until we were in MA.  I’ve stopped sputtering my buts—‘but last time I called. . . . ,’ and ‘but the website says. . . ‘ —but I was defeated.   Continue reading

long weekend notes

Weekend notes. Art, pictures, mirrors and empty frames are off the walls.  It is sooner than I expected but it was what presented itself for today when it started out cloudy, dark and wet.  After two boxes of art/pictures (with another two to go), I am finished for today because there is sun and a chance to sit on our deck and tap on keys.  We have not had anytime outside in this lovely space this spring.  Granted, there may have been a few appropriate days that we missed.  Trees have fully leafed out, the grass is extraordinarily green, the peonies are poised to burst with just a few more days of sun and a million ants, and the lily of the valley . . . another one of my favorites . . . blooms!  Thankfully, a friend brought by cuttings from her flower garden last week and I kept the vase—all of mine are packed.  I have what I need for lily of the valley to come inside.   Continue reading

bullet points of now

So much moving, nothing stops time, nothing stops emotion ebbing and flowing. There are lessons of impermanence around every corner.

The bullet points of the now:

-We have a place to live!  Last Thursday, Cheshire and I saw the first floor of an owner occupied 2-family victorian house, 3-bedrooms, good kitchen, laundry hook-ups in basement, off street although not garage parking and relatively close to stores and restaurants and pretty.  I made application on Friday, was rushed along when another prospective renter expressed interest, the RE agent called me (in Indianapolis, thank goodness, we don’t need land lines anymore) and broke the good news.  Lease signing, check sending, other document signing was a stuttering flurry over the next few days.  I think I can safely say that we have a place to live in Newtonville. Continue reading

making application

Yesterday, the sun rose although we needed the bathroom light to brush teeth close to 7:00 o’clock.  Two hours later, there was dim light in the distance to the north and all else was dark. We had wind and shaken new leaves falling.  Storm.  Thunder rolled in.  I sat with legs over the arm of my leather overstuffed chair, a pillow at my back so very aware of the moment and its passing.  Six weeks minus one day.  Are Madison storms  different from the storms on the east coast?  I think so although I don’t remember how.  I remember our first Indiana thunder storms — fierce and furious.  Storm drains filling so quickly and rushing so fast.  Cheshire in First Grade in the south of town and us stuck midtown Bloomington.  No cell phones then (except on tv), all we could do was wait. I don’t remember what storms were like in NYC or Jersey.  Or Boston for that matter.

I will make comparisons.

With renewed vigor, curious about what we could find, Cheshire visited 4 apartment yesterday after her work day.  The last place she saw in the north of Newton, is the first floor of an owner occupied two-family, heavily wood-worked, excellent stove, 3-bedroom house.  The fireplace may work and there is a place for our desks and Julia’s art supplies.  I am making application.  Perhaps we have found the new home.  The school—it is Newton North—I will do some writing to PTB in the next month and then much more when we arrive.  Perhaps that beautiful building will serve Julia well, if not, I will ask for transfer to South.  Yes, more questions that I am trying to love.

moving van in 6 weeks from today

“No, no, there is no going back.
Less and less you are
that possibility you were.”

Wendell Berry’s words are in my bones. Indeed!  I have done this before —picking up my stuff, going someplace else, starting again, but never before have I so observed the process.  Never before was there so many balls being juggled with the hope that I can catch them all when gravity kicks in.  Never before has it been so bittersweet and hard.  I bleed bit by bit from Madison every day.  

I am almost the tiny man in a midair jump in the tiny painting that I have on my bedside.  There is no guarantee that he was land on solid ground.  I am not yet in the air but I am no longer on solid and familiar ground either.   Continue reading

on sunday

Muta, the cat, wants to sit on my chest as I type.  He wants to lick my fingers and get closer.  He purrs very loudly.  I’ve put him down twice.  There is little time for reflection right now and I should not let this go.  Still, is it Muta who really knows what I need?

Yesterday, I drove to the burbs of Chicago to see Julia’s Optometrist and Cognitive Therapist.  Dr. Z’s staff did a batch of eye tests with something akin to computer games, replacing some of the more traditional looking testings. Using a computer allows for a record of the tracings of Julia’s eye movements as she reads or follows directions like looking reft to right as quickly as she was able. The results are startling. I wish I could compare it to my own eye movement tracings to Julia’s.  Of course, just seeing Julia’s results and having them explained are enlightening.   The testing provide some of the why’s of Julia’s challenges.   Continue reading


a3288989-70cb-4510-a4d7-ae7eed0af2a6.jpegAnother liminal stage of this unexpected life.  Ah, nothing like a perfect word.  (Thank you, Anne, for giving it to me.)

First note, when we moved to Madison twelve years ago, it was to be our permanent home.  David and I had given up an east coast replant and saw Madison as the just about perfect midwest place to be for-almost-ever.  Okay, there were the winters (100 inches of snow our first winter here) but other than that, it has been pretty perfect place for the three of us.  Continue reading