Busy Bs

We thought we’d be pacing the floors by now as the closing grows closer but, as luck would have it, we have been attending back to back social engagements non-stop and have so little time that the remaining days until we own a house have flown by.

We had the pleasure of enjoying dinner and an all night gab fast with a new couple we met from the recent Bear Night in Albany. It’s always a joy to make new friends. They have two beautiful miniature Schnauzers that we fell in love with, instantly, and made my heart long for the companionship only a dog can provide. It is still hard to conceive of owning and loving a dog that could ever fill our hearts the way Clyde did, but each exposure to the pets of our friends makes the longing stronger and pulls me closer to being ready. One thing we have decided: when the time is right, we will be getting two dogs

Last evening, we enjoyed a fabulous dinner and pitcher of pink cosmos at the home of another couple we are friends with, then attended an art performance at a local theater, the EMPAC, on the RPI campus in Troy, NY. The EMPAC describes itself as so:

“Founded by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, EMPAC offers artists, scholars, researchers, engineers, designers, and audiences opportunities for creative exploration that are available nowhere else under a single roof. EMPAC operates nationally and internationally, attracting creative individuals from around the world and sending new artworks and innovative ideas onto the global stage.

EMPAC’s building is a showcase work of architecture and a unique technological facility that boasts unrivaled presentation and production capabilities for art and science spanning the physical and virtual worlds and the spaces in between.”

The building is an experience just to navigate and is like a museum of itself. I truly had no idea what the performance would be like or what to expect, merely accepting the invite to see it as an opportunity to spend time with our friends, but it was amazing. A platform had been constructed and mounted in some manner at the top center of the wall space above the stage, with what appeared to be geometric shapes. At first glance, it looked like a 3-D op art installation. As the performance started, music played while a man was lowered on suspension wires and began making his away around the platform and various shapes. We then thought it would be an acrobatic performance (which certainly it was in its own way.) Eventually, though, through the amazing use of lighting and projection, the once generic geometric shapes were transformed into furniture in an apartment and the performer was the occupant, moving about it and doing routine things as a poem was recited, describing his thoughts. Very quickly, I embraced that I was a “fly on the ceiling” looking down from above, watching this man go about his business in his space. His movements were smooth and natural and at no time did he look like he was struggling to appear to be walking upright or moving about casually while he was actually suspended sideways and fighting against gravity and his natural bearings. Several times the illusion of the apartment fell away to give the sense that the man was falling and felt unstable, or to imply movement such as running, bouncing, and flying or returned to the apartment illusion so that he appeared to be lying down or sitting still. It was visually stunning and reminded me how powerful the mind can work to convince us what we’re seeing is real and to make sense out of things that don’t make sense in relation to our normal perceptions. I had hoped to have an enjoyable evening with friends (and I did) but also experienced a totally new art form that really touched and impressed me. I will definitely keep my eye out on upcoming performances and, since it is merely a hop, skip and jump from our soon-to-be new home, it will be a neighborhood theater for us.

This evening we will attend our first ever Superbowl party. We have been promised appetizers, cocktails and conversation with other gay men and, although the game will be on to give credence to the nature of the party, we will not be obligated to watch or pay attention in any way.

Then, we have two days of work and two sets of plans in the evening before our final, pre-closing walk-through on Wednesday at 9 am. Wednesday evening, we will stay overnight in Saratoga, have dinner and cocktails, and be close enough in the morning to walk to our 9:30 am closing on Thursday. After that, it’s operation Paint & Prep for our big move the first weekend in March.

I haven’t packed a single thing, to help stave off the urge to move in immediately. We will force ourselves to take our time and get things done before moving in. We have given ourselves three weeks (which is like 2 months in overachiever, obsessive compulsive time) and we actually have until our lease runs out at the end of May to get all of our stuff out of our current place, so the only sense of rush would be that we place on ourselves.

It’s a big week ahead, for sure.

Moving Ahead

With the madness of “the holidays” behind us, we are excited to move forward with our plans to buy a house and move into the next chapter of our life together.  We have already grown tired of our current location and look forward to leaving behind the myriad of disturbances and inconveniences that come with living downtown and, specifically, living in this space, not to mention the exorbitant rent we’re shelling out for the “luxury” of living here. There was a time when we thrived in this environment, but we have since changed enough and/or outgrown it and now long for the relative peace and quiet that comes with a more suburban setting. I am already feeling the itch to begin packing, along with my ongoing urge to purge even more than we already have. This, of course, is all crazy since we don’t actually own a new home at this point, but the desire to prepare is there, none-the-less.

It is both daunting and exhilarating to think our next move will (or should be) our last for the next 15-20 years. To think we will actually be done with living lease to lease again and be able to really dig in and settle down, change things as we wish/need to/can afford and feel free to invest in things to make our home as cozy and enjoyable for us as possible for the long-term. I have lots of anxiety about the process, but I have lots of anxiety about everything so that is nothing new. I worry about money, about making the right choice, about having regrets or missing important defects in the house we buy, despite inspectors and research on the property. I worry about the timing of a closing vs. the end of our lease, about the daunting process of packing and moving once again (do it ourselves and tax ourselves physically and emotionally, or higher movers and tax ourselves financially?) especially after the trauma of the last move which, admittedly, came at an unexpected time and right after the loss of our beloved dog.

But mostly, I am thrilled to be moving forward with my husband into the new year, a new home and a new adventure.

Observations

Holiday Observation #1:

It is very difficult to remove yourself from a holiday. I am continually asked “Is your tree up yet?” “Are you done decorating?” “Got all your shopping done?” “Are your Christmas cards sent yet?” These are questions that can’t be answered with a simple “No” or “We’re not celebrating the holiday this year” without it leading to multiple follow up questions and sometimes long drawn-out discussions. People want me (perhaps need me) to justify and explain why. I’m not angry, although I’ve grown a little tired of the third degree interrogations. It’s interesting how much we assume about others and how little we are willing to understand and accept (or capable of understanding and accepting) that not everyone is like us nor wants want to be like us. On the other hand, it has been incredibly wonderful not diving into the merry melee and madness. So far, I haven’t felt any pangs of regret. We shall see what next year brings.

Holiday Observation #2:

It seems like those who decry the alleged “war on christmas” are the ones who are actually feeding the flames of the imaginary battle. I have read more “It’s christmas and only christmas and if you don’t like it or agree f**k you” comments and posts on Facebook than I ever remember seeing before (not literally these words but clearly this sentiment. And not one anti-christmas post, for the record.) I finally spoke up about it on one wall. I merely pointed out the message seemed a bit anathema to the intent and spirit of the season and that being inclusive is never a bad thing. Several people disagreed with me, and I wound up being called an “anti-christian, Europhobic racist,” all because I said maybe we should try to be more inclusive and spread cheer not animosity. (Oh, and I might have pointed out the irony that some christians are angry about people “taking the christ out of christmas” and “stealing their holiday”, given the fact that christians subsumed many of the traditions of the season from pre-existing secular and pagan celebrations, but I digress.) Go figure. Guess being out of the holiday rigmarole I forgot that the holiday is about spreading seeds of dissention and hate and disgust for other cultures, beliefs and ways of life. My bad.

Financial Observation # 1:

When you grow up near or at poverty level and you struggle for most of your adult life to make ends meet and get ahead (or just stay afloat,) it is VERY hard to accept when you actually start making real financial progress and no longer have to worry about the basics. We have been doing moderately well for a few years now and I keep waiting for the hammer to fall. I can’t seem to trust our income or financial status, as if out of the blue it is all going to be taken away or disappear. I worry about having nothing to worry about. Perhaps it’s because of our current economic slump and having read about and heard so many horror stories of people, who once had everything, losing everything: jobs, home, health insurance, etc. What choices am I making that will prevent me from experiencing the same thing? Can I truly prevent that from happening to us? We try to live within our means, not use credit, save money and pay off debt, but I wonder sometimes if it’ll all just come crashing down around us. Which makes the thought of buying a house (something we’ve recently decided to look into) terrifying to me.

Financial Observation #2:

It is easier to sell something than to give it away. We listed our futon on Freecycle for a week. I included pictures and dimensions. It is a very nice futon (wooden frame, thick solid mattress) that was given to us. I got several nibbles and scheduled two separate days and times for two different people to come get it. Neither person showed, nor had the courtesy to send me a “we changed our mind we’re not coming after all” message. So my husband posted it on Craigslist for $125.00 and it sold the next day and was picked up the following day. Lesson learned.

Vacation Observation #1:

The best kind of vacation is when you plan NOTHING except where you’re going and where you’re staying. Play the rest by ear. Schedule nothing and go with the flow. Not having a schedule or plan truly allows you to enjoy yourself, relax and have the best time, doing whatever you want to do whenever you want to do it.

Vacation Observation #2:

The hardest part of soaring so high from a fantastic vacation get away is how far you have to fall when you get back to “real” life. (aka “the job.”)