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I’ve had a tough time figuring out where to start with my post after such a lengthy hiatus.

As I packed up things in the last couple weeks before the move, I kept telling myself, “I just have to survive this and then I’ll be okay.” I don’t know how many times I’ve said the same thing in my lifetime.

I had so many papers to go through and dispose of — some of them mine, some my Mom’s, Dad’s or son’s. Many of them were thick with memories. I kept throwing things into the bonfire, barely looking at what they were. Just trying to burn the pain away.

Six days before the closing on the house, there was a storm. Up to 80 mph straight line winds and rains so heavy that there were no visible droplets. Instead it looked like buckets of water were being emptied from the heavens.

I put my hands against the windows that were being hit by the wind (I know, a big no no), and I couldn’t believe how the glass was moving. The trees were getting pretty beat up, and there was a fast moving creek rushing past the basement walkout door.

Tree roots struggled to hold to the water soaked ground, but many trees simply toppled over.

There were many broken tree branches.

The road was blocked from fallen trees in both directions. Chain saws and wood chippers created a constant drone for days after the storm.

The damage to our trees necessitating spending lots of time on cleanup at a point when I was already uncertain how I was ever going to pack and make the move out deadline.

But there was also beauty after the storm.

And I did get moved. Thank God for my dear cousin and her family, and the other friends that helped. The sellers came through and allowed me to move my entire moving van of stuff into their garage the night before closing. My realtor was very impressed when my 6 car caravan arrived to unload.

Friday I received more help to get the heaviest items inside the house and to unload my horse trailer.

The weekend was spent cleaning and unpacking. I still have a long way to go but it’s coming along.

So far I feel like a duck out of water. It’s like living in a strange hotel.

There is a cat pooping in my backyard, a neighbor with blinding security lights (forget star and moon gazing), and I injured my back when Java jerked me off the deck as she took off full bore after a squirrel while on a leash. Would some fencing company PLEASSSEEE return my phone calls!

Oh, and the laminated floor covering my living room, dining room, and stairway is bugging me more than I thought it would. I feel guilty about how much the flooring is bothering me. I’m lucky to have as much as I do. But I love wood floors and walking on hard plastic feels even worse than walking on the softer linoleum in the kitchen and bathroom.

Okay, done with my shallow complaining …

I keep reminding myself to give it time and stop thinking of my new home as imprisonment. At least the drive to work is a lot better. And I have nice neighbors — an air conditioning/furnace guy on one side and a guy that helped back up my horse trailer when he saw me struggling. My driveway is short and slightly downhill, and the city streets are narrow. My neighbor ended up having to back the trailer all the way down the street and around the corner because there wasn’t enough room to maneuver and get the truck facing the direction I needed to go otherwise.

(Note to self – never bring horse trailer home again.)

I ended up taking the barn cat Shy with me, just temporarily, until the new owners are completely settled. I’m not much of a cat person but she’s growing on me, and Java and Shy are so cute together. I don’t think Shy was on the Purchase Agreement’s list of items I HAD to leave behind …

Now for tragedy. One of the horses Luke was turned out with had to be put down over the weekend due to a broken leg. That in itself is horrible enough. But the owner blames Luke because the horses had some initial scuffles. But there were no external marks on the injured horse to indicate that Luke or the other horse in the paddock had done anything. A storm was another factor that could have come into play, but we will never know what happened.

So there was a great heaviness as I worked on unpacking. It was impossible to enjoy any of it or make any move towards decorating. Everytime I laughed over something, I felt guilty. Did the little black cloud that follows me around end up hurting someone else?

I’ve been looking forward to releasing some of the responsibility of horse ownership. I’ve been looking forward to being able to do things and go places without having to worry about horse care. I’ve been looking forward to the social aspects of boarding.

I did expect boarding to be a tough adjustment. I expected Luke to end up with some battle scars as a pecking order was established. But I never expected anything like what has happened.

There is another gelding coming in that will be placed with Luke and that should be fine. Still, I’m afraid that something might happen again.

This isn’t helping with my effort of not living my life in fear of the “next bad thing”.

Luke (along with Java) has been my life vest though the past year. Riding has been a source of peace for me. Now, I don’t know whether it will ever be the same. I felt guilty yesterday as I rode because I still have a horse to ride.

It makes me wonder, if your path keeps leading to loss and tragedy, should you turn in another direction? And if you do, where do you go? Where do you dare to go?

I’m hoping that like a thunderstorm, there may be damage, but there may also be something awesome to behold when the storm blows over.

I am convinced that the world is not a mere bog in which men and
women trample themselves and die. Something magnificent is taking
place here amidst the cruelties and tragedies, and the supreme
challenge to intelligence is that of making the noblest and best in
our curious heritage prevail. — C.A. Beard

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart” — Confucius

I was busy yesterday moving Luke to his new home, then helping send Murphy off to his new home. There was an e-mail from the new Murphy family last night, reporting that Murphy is curious about the other horses, is bonding with one of their daughters, and they were looking forward to saddling him up today. No news today so I’m assuming the ride went well.

I went to the stable to see Luke this morning. Luke moved really nice during our ride. His canter felt better than it has for a long time. I think it was the combination of the good footing and the dressage saddle, which Luke seems to always move better in, probably because I’m more at home riding English. I like the close contact and being able to feel my horse. But I’ll stick with riding western when I’m on a trail. It’s easier to carry stuff and holds me in better if Luke does a sudden about face.

There was a visiting clinician at the barn from 8 AM to 1 PM. After my ride, I watched one of the lessons in the outdoor arena. I liked the style of clinician and watched closely as she worked with another quarter horse and rider that struggled with the same things that Luke and I struggle with. The clinician is supposed to come back in August so I’m hoping I can ride with her then.

After the clinic there was lunch and horse talk. It was such a wonderful break from packing and worrying about where I’m going to live. The women at the stable were all so nice. I think I chose right when I picked this barn.

Luke seems to be calm as can be in his new abode. He’s looking longingly out at the other horses outside but isn’t getting overly upset about it. These two will eventually be his new pasture pals. They come up and check him out every once in awhile.

For now, Luke is in an open pen where he can observe everything going on.

Luke will go out with the two other horses on Monday during the day, so the owner can watch how they get along. Then he’ll come back inside at night. Eventually he’ll be out in the pasture full time.

As for my house adventure, when I got into my car, I had a voicemail from my realtor saying the seller’s realtor says the amendments to the purchase price have been signed and she’ll work on faxing them to us today. As I still haven’t seen the signed papers, I’m not completely relaxed, but at least things are moving in the right direction. Maybe now I can go ahead and get my utilities and change of address stuff done.

Yesterday, as I was cancelling current utilities, internet, and dish TV, I had to use my work address for my final billing address and tell them I couldn’t set up new services as I didn’t know where I was moving to. It really hit me then what a precarious position I was in. But, like I said, things appear to be heading in the right direction.

It was so strange last night and this morning without the horses here. I kept thinking, “I need to go out and do something with the horses”, and then remembered they weren’t here. It’s sad and it will take getting used to, but on the up side, the social aspect and camaraderie of the barn made up for it. So there’s some loss, but there’s some gain to.

I read the quote above recently and I think it applies to moves and changes in direction. I need to look forward and put my heart into this new life. It just doesn’t work to do things half-ass.

How’s that for eloquence?

I was hoping the next time I posted I’d be announcing that I had purchased a house and the process was running smoothly. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. I ended up with a seller that really doesn’t seem to want to sell. I expected counter-offers and stressful negotiations, but I didn’t expect the sellers to simply not respond, leaving me to hang in the wind for a week.

My realtor is at a loss over the seller’s behavior. She’s had some nasty negotiations but nothing as frustrating as no response at all. Very passive aggressive and, dare I say, rude.

It would be nice if I could just walk away from this one, but it’s the only house (since the last nightmare with the wood foundation) that I’ve been able to find that I even remotely want.

I need a place to heal and the other houses I’ve looked at just don’t feel right. I’m trying to follow my instincts for once. But I don’t have much time since I have to move by July 23rd, but better to be homeless than be stuck somewhere I don’t want to be.

Do you think I’m maybe a little stressed? Actually, I’m trying to figure out why I’m still standing. And there was the evening where I kept losing my balance and falling into walls and knocking things over and scaring Java half to death. Scared myself too. And no, I wasn’t drinking. Fortunately, I haven’t had a repeat episode of that.

I’m working it out in my head what it would take to live in my truck for the next 6 months or however long it takes to find a house. I can put my stuff in storage. I can use work as my mailing address (I’m already starting to do that). Luke will be boarded and the trailer will be parked there. Java could stay with me during the evening and I could take her to a doggy daycare during the day. I hear you can park at Walmart overnight or I could just park at work where there’s 3 shifts, so who would notice? I have my sleeping bag that is good down to 35 degrees.  It would make a good story.

You think I’m joking don’t you? I’m not. I’ve come to the conclusion that this is what happens to Mary. You can change your name but you can’t change your karma.

And to top off my week? My internet connection quit working completely 3 days ago. It’s been off and on, mostly off, for about a month. The tech guys don’t believe me that it’s the humidity and rain but I swear it is. Since I only have a month left in my house, I’m not going to pay $85 to fix it. So at a time when I need to be searching for houses and am longing to read what’s going on in other people’s lives and to connect up, I have been cut off from the world, except when I’m at work or sitting at a coffee shop, like I am now.

I wish dogs could come to coffee shops. I hate leaving Java cooped up by herself any more than she already is.

Can’t look any farther down, so I’m looking skyward. We’ve had some interesting weather. Lots of humidity, some fog, rain, some severe thunderstorms and tornadoes north and south of my home. All of that, has made for some interesting sky watching (it really was orange).

I went trail riding this morning. I did my best to protect Luke from the annoying gnats and sprayed him for the mosquitos and flies. He was probably better protected than I was.

Once again, it was pretty cloudy. So much for the prediction of a sunny day.

I guess things could be worse. I could be this poor guy. Imagine how awful it is for a gorgeous cardinal to be going prematurely bald. All kidding aside, I feel really bad every time I see this poor boy. I’m hoping whatever he has, he doesn’t spread to the other birds.

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