A very musically talented friend of mine recently posted a beautiful choral rendition of Billy Joel’s “And so it goes” tune on her Facebook page. The song is a tribute to unrequited love, and an affirmation to try again. While this blog post has little to do with this heartbreaking theme, I thought the title of the song was appropriate for my current blog post. And, upon reflection, perhaps I do see some parallels to my current situation embedded in the lyrics of this song! My love affair with a self-imposed nomadic life-style has temporarily come to a halt, albeit with the promise of a new beginning in the spring! If you’ve never heard The King’s Singers version of this melody, here’s a link. Enjoy!
Since the End of September
We’ve been back in the east since the last week in September. If you’ve been following me, you know my last post ended with our arrival in New Hampshire. Our first priority was getting the Airstream settled into its winter home at my son, Leif’s, house in southern New Hampshire. While there, we spent some time helping him and his wife with some remodeling projects. It was so much fun to be with them once again, and lending a helping hand.
One of the highlights of the visit was assisting my daughter-in-law, Jeannie, with a dinner party she was hosting for some of her co-workers. The dinner guests were almost all immigrants to our country representing several different parts of the world – from Belarus to Syria to Sri Lanka. We enjoyed visiting with this very culturally diverse and intelligent group. Chatting with these folks was both refreshing and eye-opening. What if we all developed a more universal mindset – one that preserves the uniqueness of our individual nations, but also recognizes that we are all citizens of the Earth and, as such, dependent on one another. I consider everyone on Earth to have dual citizenship – to your native country and to the global community. If only we could all feel this way, and not lapse into self-indulgence and isolationism. What a world we could envision! Okay – enough philosophizing for now…..
Back in Vermont
Inevitably, we had to break ourselves away from southern New Hampshire and come home to Vermont. Why in the world did we choose to return to Vermont for the winter, you ask? I’m still trying to answer this very same question!
Truthfully, “re-entering” into a sedentary life, and facing the decision-making process we ultimately must focus on, was a bit unsettling for me. I did not adjust well! We came east and decided to hunker down for the winter at home for two main reasons – 1.) take care of some medical concerns, and 2.) make some potentially life-altering, but necessary decisions. The medical reason is by far the easiest to deal with – although that has been fraught with its own stress-inducing moments!
Those darn medical appointments!
I have experienced deteriorating vision for a couple of years now due to premature cataracts. While the diagnosis came just before we were heading off on our nomadic adventure, I was assured that it would probably be 20 years or more before I would actually need surgery. Well, it turns out that I’m one of the few who experience a more rapid decline of eyesight – and so it goes! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be facing cataract surgery in my early 60’s. Due to a few setbacks, my surgery is not scheduled until March, assuming all goes well with testing over the next month. The positive spin on all of this – I will be glasses free, at least for distance, for the first time since the 3rd grade, and everything should be completed in time for our next summer adventure.
Our other major challenge this winter is to make some critical decisions regarding our property here in Vermont. For some full-time RVer’s, there was no question they would sell everything before hitting the road, and their RV is their full-time home. For others, that path is not so cut and dry. In essence, they become part-time RVer’s with a physical home base. We know folks who are in both worlds – some who live full-time in their RV, some who will always have a sticks and brick abode, and others who postpone the decision to liquidate their property in order to be sure that the nomadic lifestyle suits them. We fit into the later group. We decided to hit the road, knowing we would have to return at some point and face the music – and so it goes!
Rver’s who decide to keep a home base have varied personal reasons for choosing this route. There are plenty of articles out there on this subject. Two main arguments include:
For us, we were not ready to make a decision to sell or rent, initially. We knew that if we waited until all the projects were done, and the time was right to sell – that the time would never be right. That’s just how we operate. (or at least how one-half of the duo operates, which impacts both of us!) It’s expensive to keep a home that you are rarely using – insurance, maintenance, utilities and taxes – all add up over the course of a year. Even though we work while traveling, it’s difficult to produce enough income to cover the cost of a property we are not living in full-time. Especially if that property is in a cold, northern climate, which has its own unique challenges. Add to that the stress of worrying about everything while you are away – and well, you get my point.
If one is retired and has a sufficient pension or retirement income that allows for travel and maintaining a property, then the decision is a little easier. If you don’t fit into that category, then keeping a home base becomes more problematic. Since we have not retired from pension-generating jobs, and are not ready to dip into our retirement savings, we have some soul-searching to do and some decisions to make moving forward.
In order to prepare ourselves for whatever decision we ultimately reach, there are some projects to complete, some minor remodeling/face-lifting that needs finished, and, here’s the scary part, some major cleaning up and out of all the STUFF we’ve accumulated over the past 18 years. So, that brings us to our other main reason for coming back to Vermont this winter.
Some fall photos of garden and indoor plants!
House Renovation and Projects
The weather was good when we first returned in early October so we prioritized outdoor projects and got to work. Some of the outdoor work includes:
Eventually, we had to move completely indoors. We’ve been tackling some minor remodeling and painting projects. These include:
It may seem like the above-mentioned task list is keeping us in constant motion. And, for the most part, that is true. We have actually found some time for other endeavors. As is usually the case, I have added more to my list than Jim. I have always been the one with more outside interests – so to speak. These time-consuming additional activities include:
Jim has been steadily getting many of the projects completed, but has also found time to enjoy some other fun activities.
We’ve both enjoyed the time we’ve had this winter to visit with family and friends – some of whom are experiencing their own transitions and changes – in different ways from us, but changes nonetheless. Can’t wait to see what the future holds!
Hockey day with family and friends over holidays!
And so what was the decision on what you plan to do with the house, short term anyway?
Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone
Well……you noticed that I was non-committal 😉 We are proceeding as if to sell, and will make the ultimate decision further on towards spring. That’s the best I can do!
Standing applause for your comments about engaging immigrant residents and the world community. These experiences interacting with others who are “different” can broaden your diversity horizon as many Vermonter’s discovered during the Montpelier open state house meetings which occurred prior to passing our “civil unions” legislation which ultimately was expanded to include gay marriage.
Recently at a “Big Box building supplier” across the river in NH i had an interesting encounter with a very blue collar employee who related his military experience in Thailand where he spent his off duty time with a local resident exploring the unique features of the countryside. We both agreed those experiences can be life changing if we only are open to making them available.
Thanks Stewart – talking with these young adults at an informal dinner was just such a great moment for me. You never know when a moment in time will capture your heart and bring such inspiration and hope for the future.
YOU are a rock star, Lynn. Love you and your writing life!
Thanks Maria!! And thanks for the blog post title inspiration too! 😉 We need to get together – I’m here in Vermont until middle of May.