It is June 2015, a month that, on paper, appears to be mild-mannered; a month during which we should be gradually moving into my most favorite of seasons: summer. But this appearance of casualness on the month of June’s part is a fat lie. Underneath its soothing, floriferous veneer, there is nothing at all sedate about this month of June. This June does not clutch an iced drink with languid fingers. No, this year June is life in fast-forward. It is the roaring fiery furnace of an early summer. It has come out fighting with weather in the mid 80’s and a garden that is so confused it thinks August is on its way out. I guess that is nothing if not poetic. Things are coming to a boil in the Little Cunning Plan house.
It’s like this: We have 12 months before lift off. Twelve. Months. Crap. That was fast.
We are seriously freaking out just a little. A shit lot of things have to come together in the next year in order for us to gracefully leave the dock for this trip. Please recall that due to Suddenly-We-Feel-Old Syndrome, we’ve moved up our departure date by an entire year. I would like to feel excited about that, but what I really feel is overwhelmed by all the things that need to be done to dismantle a life and create a new one. I’d make a list here, but why should you be overwhelmed, too? Things like writing Last Will and Testaments come to mind. Still, ready or not, it has begun.
Life in the fast lane started while I was away in Scotland playing tourist with my mom. (And please enjoy these photos from our trip because, why not?) Mike disconnected the land line for my fax machine (for my business) and our home phone. He didn’t cancel the number, he just lived without that land line for awhile, trying it out for size because we’ve had the same home phone number for 25 years and he felt weird about canceling the line. Our son Andrew has never had a different home phone number in his life. Mike finally cancelled the account completely and we have, of course, not missed it. The small pain we felt was an emotional attachment to something that gave us a perceived feeling of permanence. Now we can multiply this process by 1000ish to get some idea of what is in store for us as we disconnect ourselves in the coming year from the life we have been living for decades. Ugh. I guess if it were easy everyone would do it? So they say.
Claire and Dan are coming home from Scotland for the summer so in getting their room ready, I was forced to reckon with clearing out a chest of drawers and the buffet. This produced several boxes of stuff for the estate sale. It was a dandy good feeling with only minor qualms as I included a big box of professional books that I used to keep in my office. Some of them are out of print now, that’s how long I’ve been around. Whatever. Out they go. However, when it came to the box of momentos from Claire’s birth 30 years ago, I was stuck. Didn’t even open it. I’ll have to do it, but not this particular minute. That box is seriously different than a lousy phone number. It remains in the middle of the floor, unmolested.
By January I am going to have to seriously consider retiring because I will need that time to focus on getting the house in order. Why didn’t anyone tell me how hard it was going to be to retire? I’ve been toying with the idea of retiring from my long career as a psychotherapist for the last 2 years. But when you’ve done something for 28 years, it’s not that easy to just walk away. Just when I think I’ve had enough, I decide to keep my hand in the game a little while longer because I’m still having a little fun with it. And also because we need the money. Now I’m having to get serious about quitting. So July will see the end of accepting new insurance clients. Oy vey. It’s scary. I can hardly cotton it. I have worked since I was 16 years old. Please tell me I’ll be glad to be free of my private practice. And that we can make it without the money.
To avoid complete meltdown we do have a bit of a sketched out plan of attack. We’ll have our cruise in July, then in August we’ll begin clearing out the house and have a big estate sale. Or two. Our tentative plan is keep our house. Decision making about what to keep will be easier. We will also be able to store some stuff here, which will save us from having to rent storage space. I am breathing a huge sigh of relief that we have decided to keep the house because this is a great property, a good investment, and offers us a bit of security in terms of a ready-made place to live on land if we decide we hate it out there. (Unlikely, but who knows?) I like to hedge my bets, not being much of a gambler by nature.
Our one fly in the ointment is our dog, Skippy. Skippy hates the boat and is 12 years old. He is not a spring chicken but he is still very healthy and has a lot of living yet to do. We were hoping Andrew could have him up in Bellingham, but no one wants to rent to someone with a dog. This is a shame because Andrew loves little Skippers and would like to have him. I am depending on Providence to offer a solution to this at the right time.
If all goes as planned and no big curve balls are thrown our way, we will take the summer next year to circumnavigate Vancouver Island. We are both really looking forward to what will amount to a leisurely shake down cruise. If all goes well during that cruise, we haven’t hit major snags in the plan, broken the boat, or killed each other in our sleep, then we will continue south in the fall of 2016.
You’ll notice how I’ve said ‘if all goes well’, and ‘if no big curve balls are thrown our way’? That because as all good sailors know, plans are written in sand and sometimes the water of life is a complete bitch. And we know it. Still, it’s happening now and I sit in my house on a beautiful summer day when the garden is in full force and think how lucky I’ve been in my life to be able to make these choices.