Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Why We Move

Having moved away from my good friends and strong social network, I frequently find myself wallowing in self pity. Poor me, no good friends that I can visit at the drop of a hat. No one to discuss books we've read over Indian food and a glass of wine. No one around that really knows me with the exception of my kids and husband. When I'm stuck in the moment of self pity, there is no saving me. I just want to pick up and move back to Cincinnati so I can spend Friday night out with my girl friends rather than then endless nights and weekends spent without socializing.

Today I got a wake up call from Craigslist. I posted an ad on Craigslist to get rid of the last of our moving boxes. What a better way to recycle than to have them reused. The first person to respond to my ad said she could be here in a about 15 minutes, she was coming from the next town over. As with all of the people that come to get the boxes, and we have had many, I always am excited to hear where they are moving to, mainly to make small talk, and mainly too because I don't have any other adults to chat with throughout the day. I remember six months ago meeting a couple that I could have seen hanging out with on the weekends. They were excited to be leaving the NYC area to start a new life teaching in North Carolina. They had had enough of the long commute, especially with a new young baby. They told me about what papers to read, what websites have great lists for what is going on in town and what to avoid. They were also very grateful to have the free boxes. I met other people along the way who were only there to pick up boxes and didn't want to even say "hi" or "thank you". They just wanted to get on with their move without having to chat to someone excited for a harm body at her doorstep.

The woman that showed up today was different than all of the rest. She came in her old two door sports car that had certainly seen better days. It was a car clearly on the end of it's final miles but had been at the height of car fashion in a prior decade or two. So when she came, the dogs immediately started going crazy over a visitor, so I yelled that I would meet her at the garage. Upon properly greeting her, I apologized for the manners of the barky beagle. She only replied, "I would love a dog someday, but I can't have one". Figuring allergies or a stuffy building that didn't allow pets, I left it at that.

"So, where are you moving to?", I said in an overly excited voice as if all moves are always exciting and happy occasions.

"Well, the boxes are going into storage with all of my stuff, but I promise to recycle them when I'm done. I will post them back on Craigslist", she quickly said to me as if I was the recycle police to the world beyond my house. She ended the conversation since she knew I was going to ask again if she didn't offer it up, "I'm moving into a shelter for awhile".

I didn't know what to say, so I just wished her the best on her move.

As we loaded her small car with the boxes. She was embarrased over her messy car and appologized, which was nothing compared to my minivan with litter constantly falling from the doors on windy days. I commented on how much space she had with the hatchback and reclining seats. She said there was a lot more room with the car seat gone. "Luckily my son was sleeping so I could leave him there". It look me awhile to realize that she most likely left her sleeping son at home alone while she went to get the boxes. Obviously she wouldn't have been able to leave him if he was awake, so she did luck out.

Hopefully her car made it back without breaking down, or before her son woke up. What more can I say, she is moving without a choice. She isn't moving to better her life, to have an adventure or to be closer to family. She was moving for the simple need of shelter.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Our First Fall Nature Hike

We don't hike like we used to. I remember constantly loading the kids into backpacks as we hiked for hours in the parks of Ohio. Now that we are surrounded by endless parks, beautiful landscape, and unforgettable scenery we seldom make it out for nature hikes. Sure, we are busier now with unpacking a new house and having a puppy, but really it's just finding the motivation to get everyone out and dressed properly for time outside.

Sunday I finally found the motivation. I got the girls excited about a nature hike with the dogs, and it was warm enough I didn't have to obsess over hats and mittens. The youngest even went hiking with fancy shoes and a dress, like I said, the battle was just getting out the door.

The leaves on the trees were colors that really can't be duplicated. It's hard to believe such a bright red is really found in nature, but it exists in the North East, really it does. The hike was invigorating. Everyone was so happy to be outside, the rocks sparkled and the girls were convinced all of the boulders must hold crystals since everything was sparkling. A fellow hiker we met at the start of the trail told us of a great lake for dogs to swim in, so the girls couldn't wait to find it to see if our new lab could swim.

After hiking for an hour, we didn't find the lake, and I wasn't finding the trail to be a circle as the map had promised. My mind started to panic. I had this vision of my cold wet girls huddled in a corner of the forest as my husband cleaned the warm basement at home without a care in the world. He doesn't worry like I do, so I pictured the end of daylight savings time bringing a 3:00 darkness where we would never find our way out of the forest. Certainly he wouldn't start looking for us until long after dinner, assuming we stopped to get a meal without him, while we were out and about. Again, he doesn't worry, so there is no way he is going to look for us. I worry, so my mind was starting to bring wild animals to our remote location.

To my hiking wonders' disappointment, including my own, we turned around after hiking for an hour and went back the exact way we came. Panic mode required that I review the photos I took to compare where we had been to give me the confidence that I did know where we were. I didn't let the girls know I was worried about getting home before famine and hypothermia took over (not really that worried about either, but I did want to be home before bedtime).

What I learned:

1. Study the map if you have never been to the place before and take it seriously.
2. Take a photo of the map so you can reference it when you want to turn around or keep heading forward, either way, it's good to have a copy of the map.
3. Bring a cellphone if it's really not too remote. This place was bigger than I thought, but certainly having the cellphone would have given me the false confidence I needed to keep going.

The kids had a great time since I didn't let on that I was needlessly paniked. No need to make them fear new trails!