I’ve just returned from almost two months in Trail’s End, and am having a major culture shock, being back in the Bay Area. As much as I know it is folly to compare anything, I just can’t help noticing a few differences between the two places. Luckily, Trail’s End comes out ahead, which is a good thing since we’ll be moving there permanently in a year. But there’s still this year…
We became completely adjusted to being very careful with water, and actually, we were trained in California for that. We’ve always been water conservationists, we just had to make it a little more stringent this summer, and that was fine. I think the thing we missed the most was our wonderful clawfoot tub, and taking a nice, hot bath, or a nice, long shower (which for me is never more than 5 minutes anyway). But otherwise,it was fairly easy to use the jugged water for rinsing dishes, the bottled water for drinking, etc. I haven’t been drinking the tap water there for at least a couple of years already, due to a warning put out by the town. Doing laundry was a bit of a chore. When we heard we could do a small load at home once a week, that worked out fine. Otherwise, there’s a good laundromat about 1/2 hour away, and I don’t mind, although my partner has a definite aversion to laundromats. We worked it out.
The most shocking things in CA are the constant noise, the number of people everywhere you go, the crazy drivers, the lack of sky and landscape, and the fog that takes over this town many hours of every day. My hands and body ache from the dampness (and this area is not even considered “humid”) and my poor back, with enough issues as it is, hurts almost all the time. I wonder if I’ll get used to all of this again. We’ve never stayed so long in NM before, so it’s never felt like such a contrast.
Actually, we’ve had a hard time remembering how to live in this house again. Where do we put things, how do we do things here, what is the garbage schedule…? We’ve had to remind ourselves after reaching for the dog biscuits on the dryer, and not even being able to find the dryer without thinking about it, and realizing that the biscuits are somewhere else. This has happened time and again after coming back this summer, but I don’t remember it ever happening before.
The one most striking thing, is to come into the house and realize how much “stuff” we have! (Mostly me.) First of all, I’ve lived here almost 20 years, and never ever intended on moving, so I gathered things as I wanted. Second, I am a collector, not a hoarder, but a collector, so I do have a lot of this and that. Third, this is a full house, and yet the one in NM is almost full as well, and QUITE a bit smaller, so I’m not sure how we’re going to take the things from here and put them there — it actually completely wears me out to think about it. Yes, we do have some storage space there, in a garage and a shed, thank goodness. Yes, we’re hoping someday to have an extra bedroom built in the garage or in a single-wide that we have on the property next door if we can get it. So we’re not going to get rid of everything, but there is a lot to do away with.
Last night I put out two imperfect chairs, a doghouse, and some lawn chairs on the street for giveaway. I have put 4 bags in the car, and we took two boxes and two bags to a thrift shop last week. I’m trying. Sometimes when cleaning an area I can only find a couple of items I’m willing to lose, but at least that’s something. I try to use the phrase, “Can I see myself using this is NM?” If not, out it goes. Sometimes it’s school stuff that I loved, homemade beautiful puppets, stuffed animals, etc. Sometimes it’s other past life memorabilia. Believe me, no matter what I throw out, I’ve got plenty left to placate me. The trick for me, is that I need to keep things that I need to keep — because we often find we need and use them later. Time and again, we’ve come to decide that we need something, and then I go and find it somewhere in the house or basement. My partner says I have good instincts about what to keep, and I have to say I agree. Most of the time.
I’ve found that what will end up taking up the most space in our new (and this) house, are our projects. We have a million and one projects that always involve materials like yarn and wool and paper and paints and etc. etc. And they now comprise plastic bin after plastic bin. We will definitely have to find places for them. I actually really like that we are both artistic people. And that we have plenty of supplies, so that we can trade around on the actual art, we don’t have to stick with one thing. I’ve always been that way since I was young, and I don’t suppose I will ever change. So right now I’m into my instruments and writing songs and learning to play classical songs on the piano (so I’ve got my books, my songwriting tabs, my array of instruments). I’m working on painting mandalas, knitting a sweater, and making rag rugs from sheets. So I need all of the “ingredients” to do these projects. And my partner is spinning, knitting, and working on graphic novels at this moment, so she needs all the tools and supplies for these projects. You can only imagine how much space they take!
We have decided that we will have to take a load in December, one in the spring (with the trailer) and then be prepared to rent a U-Haul trailer for our summer load. That’s just the way it is. So I have a list of everything in every room, and whether or not we’re taking it, and where it will go if we are taking it. I know, kind of obsessive, but anything that helps me calm down about this move is worth it.
I look on Facebook, and see the amazing pictures of our town in NM at all times of day, and I try to breathe in the peace of it, and imagine I am on the front porch looking at our mountain, while really I’m listening to the insistent blasting of the train whistle, the hordes of teenagers passing by on their way to high school, the garbage trucks and sirens on the streets here in CA.
The best part of this year is that there’s lots to do. I won’t have much time to be melancholy, but will know that everything I accomplish brings us one step closer to our dream. And from last year, I know how fast a year can go. It zoomed, and I imagine this one will too. And then we will be jumping into the scary future, but it will be in a place that we know we feel content and peaceful, appreciated and known. That’s good.