Last year at this time… Do you ever do that? I do. I always have. It’s a way of reminding myself of what I’ve done, haven’t done and want to do. A way of being thankful.
This time last year we were moving. After a long drawn out battle with our negligent landlord we gave up and moved. There were mould issues that she wouldn’t address. There was a 100′ tree hanging over the bedrooms that had just began a slow collapse.
But we loved that house. Really. Even with all the problems it was in a lovely setting and the garden was our beautiful creation. It was so hard to leave it. And, worst of all? I was feeling awful. I was weak and tired all the time.
But that was stress, right? YOU think about moving a big henhouse from where it was entrenched and tell me you wouldn’t stress. How do you move chickens? That alone made me want to curl up in a ball and start screaming.
Chickens. I couldn’t get the two different flocks to stop fighting each other. They never got along. It was the Jets and the Sharks. If they were within some imaginary, arbitrary distance from each other they would fight. ‘Oh, gee, won’t it be lovely to have free range chickens, Laura?’ No. It won’t be. Now I know better. Different sized chickens don’t get along. And you can’t protect free range chickens. They free range all over hell and gone. Into the neighbors yards. Way back to the tree where the owl lived.
They’d go stand all over the road. Once in awhile they’d just vanish for hours. When it started getting dark they’d come back. Most of them. Then we’d have to go look for Annie or Nina or whoever was missing. You’d hear their cackles of panic when they realized they were alone and lost. Follow the sound. Pull them out of whatever tree they’d retreated to. They have absolutely NO sense. But they’re really smart. Yeah, chickens. Clever and stupid.
This time last year I was driving all over creation trying to find a house and not just any house. It had to accept 3 dogs and 25 chickens, two cats and us. Not an easy proposition.
Every morning I got up at 4:30 am for work. After work I’d go look at houses. Every house that was listed for rent, I would go see. I couldn’t afford not to look at everything. Places too far from work? I’d go see it, telling myself that it wouldn’t be too bad a commute. An hour or two. Each direction. I would go and check it out. I looked at 3 story, 100 year old places with only a wood stove to heat it and startlingly bad wall paper everywhere, unfenced places next to highways, old falling down houses with brother in law handyman renovations, I drove and drove and drove. Looking. I didn’t know what I was going to see, but I had to keep trying.
It was even harder because I had a car with no reverse. I had to be extremely careful about where I was going and what the driveway looked like. Getting trapped in a downward sloping driveway or a place I couldn’t turn around was my daily nightmare.
That and packing with no where to go? Can you imagine?
I was sometimes so stressed out that I had to remind myself that confidence came from within. That positive thinking and an upbeat attitude had gotten me through worse times that this. I was confident. I told myself to see the house in my mind. See it. Visualize the house. Don’t let this beat you. I was going to find a house. This next house would be IT! A perfect 3 bedroom house, for less rent, walking distance to the beach, 15 minutes from work, that would take chickens and dogs and cats. A place we could garden and sit in the sun. A place that was new or at least not neglected, that would be easy to clean and easy to heat. That’s what I wanted.
And that’s what I found. And not only that, but landlords who are kind, patient, decent and fair.
That’s what I did last September and October. I looked and when I got home, I packed. November we moved. December we unpacked and got ready for Christmas. But, boy did I feel awful. But I didn’t mention it. Just to my doctor. Didn’t want to worry anyone. Little did I know that I was about to find myself in the battle of my life.
I pride myself on my sense of humor. I am always smiling. I love life. Life was a banquet, maybe just a Golden Corral banquet, but I had a choice of what I took and what I left off of my plate.
Sure it wasn’t a George V Hotel banquet with nice linen napkins and chandeliers and jumbo shrimp but it was the way things played out for me. My decisions all the way across the board. That’s what I thought.
But life has a way of forcing you to pay attention to what decisions you make. And that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 9 months. Paying attention to every thing I do. Trying to believe in positive visualization. Trying to believe that I wasn’t dying. Trying to understand that it could happen anyway. Then thrusting that thought away.
It’s like this house. I just have to believe that it can be done. We found our house. The perfect house with less rent, nice landlords who accepted our chickens and pets. We have our garden, our sunshine…I just need to keep thinking like that.