No, We’re Not Dead…

Been a while, huh?

It’s been a staggeringly busy few months at our place, for a lot of the wrong reasons. But the end result has been positive, as it usually is, and we’re moving forward. Instead of scaring and depressing you with the ugliness, here’s a quick update on the good stuff.

Facing the demise of several of our vehicles — one of those we-knew-this-day-would-come events — we were lucky enough to find and purchase what is, for us, the newest car we’ve ever had: a one-year-old Chevrolet Equinox SUV who we have named Vern, middle initial L. Write it out, you’ll get it. It’s been a delight, and has a HYOOGE warranty that is already allowing us to sleep better at night. Alas, the addition of one means the subtraction of another, and so the much-maligned but ever-stalwart Nissan “Max” Maxima is now a 3’ cube of snarled metal, rubber and upholstery. How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting. 

The band Thomas plays in at school had been planning a trip to New York City since the end of last year, and that trip finally took place in March. The Broadway show, New York Philharmonic and trip to the top of 30 Rockefeller Center were terrific, but nothing compared to seeing Thomas and the St. Charles East Wind Ensemble take the stage for a performance at Carnegie Hall. The whole family made the trip, including Tim’s parents, and Meg even had the unbelievable fortune of running into her cousin Nadia on a city bus! The trip was a highlight to our year, and certainly to Thomas’ performance credentials as he begins applying to university.

But somebody else is far closer to stuffing their worldly possessions into a dorm room: Sophia has been accepted at several Midwest schools, and appears to be strongly leaning towards the University of Illinois at Chicago. Preparations have begun in earnest, along with the mountains of paperwork needed for her to receive the aid she is entitled to from the government. She will not declare a major her freshman year, preferring instead to see where if her exposure to a variety of subjects will reveal where her true interests may lie. 

Meg is finally free of the job that was at times rewarding, but whose treatment of her and mind-boggling mismanagement sent her home in tears more often than she cares to remember. She is now focusing on Sophia’s graduation and transition to university in the fall, along with teaching her piano students, gardening, and the other major change in our life…

We have moved down the road from our prior home, renting a house from very close friends of ours (the Davis’, for those of you who know them) for the remaining time we will spend in Illinois. This was the most stressful of our upheavals in the past several months, as you can imagine. But it has had the very positive side-effect of allowing us to take a bold step forward in reducing our footprint — not just in square footage, but in the amount of “stuff” we keep lugging around.  

We have rented a storage space nearby, but we have committed to spend an hour each weekend going there to sort through the anonymous boxes of debris that we think we should keep, and make some hard decisions about whether those things really do still have a place in our lives. We are looking at this change as an interim step towards our westward migration: surveying the margins of our personal possessions, isolating only those things that need to be a part of our lives, and determining how we can best facilitate that as we downscale to what will likely be apartment living when we go to the mountains.

There are more stories to tell, but it was time to let the world know that we were still alive, and those are the ones that have affected us the most. I will relate one more for you that we are viewing as significant in another way. 

As we started the move-in process at our new residence, we noticed a beautifully formed nest sitting on a latticed half-wall in the back yard, tucked under the eaves and fully protected from the rain. While it appeared to be empty, once moving had begun it was quickly evident that mama robin had laid claim to it and deposited some eggs. Now, weeks later, the four of us quietly peek in at the young family bravely starting a new life in our back yard: mama sheltering her two babies, papa off finding worms and caterpillars to bring home for the family.

The metaphor is not lost on us.

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