Turtle's Progress

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

...for the last time

I'm meeting my friend Sue for lunch today after the weekly "Pause for Prayer" service at our local "Disciples/Christian" church. I have been attending this service for nearly four years since its inception. I made the comment to Sue that we needed to meet for a late lunch so I could attend this service "for the last time". Her response was that sounded so final...

Well, I guess things are pretty much finalizing. I am doing many things this week that I have done often but will do "for the last time" during the next few days. That is not to say that I won't do some of them again when we arrive here in Anniston for a visit but no longer on a regular basis as a resident.

Today is my last "Pause for Prayer." Rebecca Littlejohn's pastoral prayer during this short half hour of my life has fed my soul each week. Today is my last lunch with Sue -- our friendship was sealed in 2001 when I became a Big Sister in the Big Brother Big Sister program and she interviewed me for the position.

This past weekend Tom and I did the yard for the last time. Mowed, trimmed and blown, we are glad to have that chore behind us. The house does look beautiful after each cleaning but I'm glad we are getting out of here before all these leaves start falling in the yard and pool and driveway....

Judy and I hung-out and played for the last time last Thursday night. Dinner at Outback and a "Frappacino" on the Starbuck's patio. We talked and laughed and loved each other. I will miss our "girlfriend" time.

Brody spent the night in this house with grandad and grama for the last time on Sunday night. The first time he stayed here with us he was less than a month old. He discovered the empty closets -- hiding in them and then yelling "Where's Brody?" Such a delight!

Sunday afternoon Tom drove us on a tour of Anniston for the last time. We drove through the neighborhoods where we both had lived; past houses that had sheltered us over the years. The apartment he lived in when he met Lynn. The houses where he took his newborns home so many years ago. The house where Stan and I first moved our family when we arrived in Anniston fresh from navy retirement 15 years ago.

Today and tomorrow I will probably visit the local "thrift stores" for the last time. Yes, despite packing and preparing to move all of this stuff I still search out the local thrifts just to see what I might find... (we are moving to within five miles of a Goodwill Supercenter!)

This afternoon our home buyers are coming by for a visit. I will show them how to vacuum and care for the pool during this time. This will be the last time for me and the first of many for them. It can actually be a very relaxing chore but I don't think I will really miss it much!

Wednesday night Tom and I will take Craig, Jenn and Brody out to dinner for the last time. We will all sit together as Brody entertains us and I will remember the first time I met this "Wright Family" and how often we have sat together like this.

Wednesday night I will also turn the white mini lights on and sit out on the deck for the last time. I will remember the good times spent out there with family and friends. I will give thanks for this place and my heart will ache just a little...

On Thursday at around noon Tom and I will pull out of the driveway and make our way down Elizabeth Street. At the bottom of the hill we will pass Tenth Street School and First Presbyterian Church . No longer residents of Anniston we will drive on past Mike's Tire and Auto, the post office, Mata's Greek Pizza and Grinders, Dad's BBQ, Martin's Department Store, Smith Cleaners, and Carpenetti's Italian Restaurant. Later that afternoon our new adventure will begin when we cross the Alabama-Tennesee stateline "for the first time" and head on to our new home....

Sunday, August 13, 2006


My daughters can attest to the fact that I have a somewhat obsessive streak to my being (Erin has inherited it, I think)... and it has caused me to be obsessed with this move. I pack by day using all of the tricks I watched the packers use during my many past moves. I mark the boxes with the room where the box should be delivered. I try to not combine too many items from different rooms in the same box to keep from having to sort too much at the destination. I worry about some of my antiques being lost or damaged in the move. But, oh, how I'm looking forward to the new house....

So, I spend most of the days packing, staying up until midnight some nights, and then fall asleep exhausted only to wake a few hours later thinking about the new house. I toss and turn planning the furniture placement, the closets, the stereo speakers and wiring, the silverware drawers and cupboards. I think of the furniture I want to paint and refinish before putting it in the house, I wonder which color rugs to order for the hardwood floor areas and if the curtains I have will fit the new windows. If I'm lucky I go back to sleep within an hour or so.

Some nights I think about what my life will be like in the new house. The biggest change is that Tom and I will be together every night! We can actually have dinner together, take walks in the evening, and enjoy having a normal life rather than one where he is home only on weekends. I think about making friends and finding a church. I hope for a friend or two among our neighbors in "Chestnut Glen". I think about the friends I have here in Anniston and how I will miss them all terribly. Even though I don't see many of them on a regular basis it is nice to have lived in a place long enough to expect to run into someone you know at the grocery or hardware store or restaurant. I hope that some of them will come up to Nashville for a visit. It will be nice to get settled in Tennessee but I know that a part of my heart will stay here in Anniston just as part of it still lives in the California area where I spent my childhood and where much of my family still lives.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The New House

Things are moving right along toward our move at the end of the month. We had a small bump in the road last week when our buyers had the home inspected and as a result wanted the furnace replaced. It wasn't an unreasonable request as the furnace is as old as the house -- nearly 40 years. We compromised by taking $2,000 off the purchase price and the deal is still on. We close the sale on this house on August 23rd. But I've closed on this house in my heart and mind already....

I have packed up the entire place -- there are only about four boxes, besides the kitchen, that need to be packed, and the kitchen has only what we needed until moving left to be packed. My heart has moved on to Tennessee and the new house. I have studied the floor plan and pictures we've taken and, as of today, have arranged all of our furniture in the new house. I drew a large floor plan on graph paper, measured all of the furniture, and placed it where I think it should go. Now to get moved and actually arranged the way I want it.

I'm finding that with a brand new house there is much more to do than when moving into one that has been previously occupied. We will have to buy and install curtain rods and window treatments in all rooms. Bathrooms need towel racks and shower curtain rods. Putting that first nail in the wall to hang pictures is going to be like getting the first scratch on a brand new car. I'm planning to refinish some of our furniture and paint a large shelf unit once we get settled in. There are also a few items of furniture we will need to buy down the road but for now we will be all set for company with two guest rooms available by the middle of September! Come on down!

The yard is another story. New construction avails nearly nothing in the way of landscaping: no already established shrubs or bushes, no trees providing shade. A minimal amount is done in the front to make the home attractive to buyers, but the back is a weed bed! There is also a slope that we are planning to deal with by bringing in top soil and building a wall along the property line. And, of course, we will be putting up a privacy fence to keep Cali in. I told Tom that I will deal with the inside and he can make plans for the outside, and the huge garage! We are anxious to get my parents to come out for a visit -- when I first moved into my current house my dad and father-in-law planned and helped build an awesome work bench in the middle of the garage. We are hoping to put Dad's talents to work again in the garage of this house.

I would post some pictures but Tom doesn't want anyone to see what it looks like unless they come for a visit. I'm sure once we move, the newness has worn off some, and we have had a few visitors, he will change his mind. Maybe in a month or so!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Tennesseans by the end of the month and a motorcycle...

The offer on our house had firmed up while I was gone during July to the point that we have a signed contract, earnest money, and a closing date for August 23rd...whew! That means a dwelling place in Tennessee needed to be had by the end of this month. I spent much of my time last month sitting at MDC's (Meghan Dave Charlotte) computer in California, and then EBS's (Erin Brent Sarah) in Colorado, looking at real estate. Before I left for California at the end of June I had spent a day with our real estate agent (Susan Tant) looking at new properties. I saw so many houses in various stages of finish that they all began to morph together... but there was one house that stood out from the others. First I didn't like it, then Tom liked it alot, then I liked it even more, then Tom changed his mind. We took a look at it (and many other properties) again when we got back to Nashville after the jaunts out west. Finally, we decided that it had everything we wanted. Went with our agent to the builder's on-site sales agent and wrote up a contract. Because it was not yet completed we were able to choose carpet color, kitchen hardware, hardwood floor finish, have some tile and a closet added to the bonus room, and a couple of doors removed. This house had been on the market for 150 days so we took a chance and offered $10,000 less than the asking price with all of the changes we wanted. And they took it! So, if all goes as planned, we will be moving into our brand new home in Lebanon, TN by the end of the month. Though our new home is actually in Wilson County with a Lebanon address, we are much closer to Gallatin and will probably claim that as our town for shopping, church, etc.

I have begun packing in earnest and am surrounded by boxes. Newpapers have been saved in the garage since early last year and are now being put to good use. Many moves spent in the past watching military-hired movers pack my things into boxes is now serving me well. I remember well how carefully my things were usually packed and am trying to do the same now. The moving van is scheduled to arrive early on August 24th and we will be on our way!

Leaving this house is right. I have grieved, remembered, and celebrated my time here (see April 12, 2006 post) and am now ready to move on. Tom and I are looking forward to having a place that is "ours" with no ties to our past lives. A place where we will celebrate and make new memories of our own.

On another note... in the midst of the craziness of trying to get ready for the move, tearing things out of closets, sorting and purging, Tom decides to see if I was, perhaps, serious about my anniversary gift to him (see June 28, 2006 post). He invited his good friend Glenn and his wife Teresa over on Saturday. They rode over on their totally decked out Honda Goldwing motorcycle (my sister says it is an "old fogies" bike). Glenn took me for a ride around Anniston and out into the country roads of Dearmanville. I was apprehensive at first but must say that the experience grew on me. The seat was totally comfortable -- had arm rests with cupholders, speakers in the helmets to talk with Glenn, and an XM radio hook-up. I did enjoy the experience and have not totally ruled out the possibility in the future.... but first we have a house to buy!