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The Decision Part Three

11 Dec

 While we were deciding if we should move to Cape Cod, I wrote about everything I was feeling. This is the final chapter, Part Three. If you missed them: Part One and Part Two.

 

I’m in the plane on our visit back from Cape Cod.

 For some reason I want to name where I am at the beginning of each of these emotional dumps, to root them in time and space. This whole decision is a rollercoaster ride, one that’s gone on for miles and miles and weeks and weeks of my life.

At this point on the coaster, we’ve crossed the country several times over, from sea to shining Nebraska cornhusks, and we’re still looping, the excitement long gone, all that’s left is a headache and some sort of neck pain and also the ever-present nausea.

I’m exhausted.

I wanted clarity from this trip, though I don’t know why I thought this time would be the first time in my life I had clarity on an important decision.

I am not known for my clarity. For my easy decision-making.

Before this point, the decision that scared me the most was the decision to get married.

The people who get engaged and say easiest decision of my life? 

Yes, I don’t know if I even believe they are telling the truth. Or if they are, their truth is such a distance from my own that perhaps we live in different spheres altogether.

They are from Mars, I am from Venus.

Deciding to get married was agonizing.

Loving Rob is not agonizing. Loving Rob is easy and fresh, he fills my lungs with air.

But deciding to get married shook me to my bones.

I knew with every part of me what an enormous decision I was making. How it would alter the course of my life forever. I knew big decisions would not be my own anymore, big decisions like where to move. 

Like where to live as grown-ups. 

Ugh it’s hard to be a grown-up.

I’ve never done it gracefully, never enjoyed it.

I blame a happy childhood.

One where I lived with the people I loved the most and saw my best friends 10 hours a day.

It was a dream! The world was so small and it was a dream and now the world is big. 

Most of the time I don’t like it that much.

The decision of Cape Cod is really a bigger decision, which is why it’s so difficult.

It’s a question of where we can live long-term. What quality of life looks like.

What our future family looks like. If we are having a family.

It is the giving up of the Peter Pan phase of life in a tiny apartment surrounded by the whole entire sunny world for the practical phase of life, lawn mowers and really solid retirement plans.

And we like this phase.

And we are giving it up (largely) for children who don’t exist yet.

And what if I don’t even like them? 

(My children, that is.)

 —

On Saturday we went candlepin bowling. First we went to the depleted farmer’s market where a neighbor told us that we would be bored in the small town, that there was no good food.

And then we went candlepin bowling.

It’s a New England only thing, which is why I wanted to try it. Gimme gimme gimme a bowling alley that hasn’t changed from the 1950s, a bowling alley where you keep score by hand and reset your own candlepins. 

The bowling alley was quiet, off season Cape Cod, but there was a young family next to us, using bumpers and sliders. Guiding their children back to the game when they wandered off.

The family had a little girl named Eleanor who had just reached that stage where she was stumbling back and forth, getting the hang of this walking thing. Eleanor looked like she could have belonged to me, all brown curls and bright patterns. 

At one point, Eleanor left her family and waddled right up to me. Without saying a word, she reached up and held my finger, her chubby hand barely wrapping around. She smiled at me.

I smiled back.

Eleanor’s mom came over and said to me, “She likes your dress.”`

What if I love having children?

The Decision Part Two

10 Dec

While we were deciding if we should move to Cape Cod, I wrote about everything I was feeling. This is Part Two. You can read Part One here.

I’m sitting in the attic bedroom in Rob’s parents’ home on Cape Cod. I’ve applied lavender to my wrists in an attempt to calm myself down. I Facetimed friends across the country and tried and failed to read a book and it all comes back to this.

I can’t calm down.

In the next week I need to make a decision that will alter the course of my life forever.

And I know, life is long and we can change courses all the times and decisions are not permanent! Even the big ones!

I know.

I can’t calm down.

This morning I read one of my favorite Cheryl Strayed columns to Rob, the one about the ghost ships, the life not taken. I think about it often. 

I’ll never know and neither will you of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.

After reading it, I said a prayer. I started with Heavenly Father, we are freaking out.

We laughed at it later, but I stand by it.

Heavenly Father, we are freaking out.

I could make you a pro/con list here, the one we’ve been toying with for a few weeks.

It’s a robust list, let me tell you. Should I describe it more without actually listing it? That’s really fun to read, right?

But it comes down to this:

Cape Cod makes a lot of sense.

Cape Cod scares the pants off both of us.

Does that make it wrong?

Heavenly Father, we are freaking out.

The Decision Part One

9 Dec

While we were deciding if we should move to Cape Cod, I wrote about everything I was feeling. This is Part One.

I have been spinning and spinning and spinning, barely able to catch my breath. I haven’t written a word. Of my book, of my blog, of my journal.

When you’re spinning this fast, you might throw up.

I got a job offer on Cape Cod.

It’s just about the perfect job. If I had to design a job for myself on Cape Cod this one ticks all the boxes.

It’s so perfect that we’re considering taking it. Therein lies the vomit.

We went to my therapist together this week. I told her we had been struggling with the move. “Of course you have!’ she said, matter-of-factly. “Anyone would.”

I’m lending that to you now, whatever situation you’re in.

Of course you have! Anyone would.

We struggle because it’s about the future and because it’s a huge decision and even huger change and hugest seems like the next word I should say here.

Would we dare?

Rob told me he loved me because I’m brave.

Because we’re getting on a plane to Boston this week to go check it out. To try the Mexican food and the candlepin bowling and that one ramen restaurant a half hour away.

This weekend in LA we are going to udon noodles and to get our auras read and it’s a world away from what we would do in Cape Cod.

Can we do it?

Are we in that world?

I’ve been doing a few things to avoid it all.

One is eating. Just like the awful food-as-coping strategy on full blast. I recognize what I’m doing, and yet. My regular tricks are not making up the difference here.

The other is throwing myself into Kaylor tumblr. I started my own Google Doc of Kaylor evidence to show…I don’t know who?

I’m scared.

I don’t know what to do.

I don’t know who?

Halloween 2019

20 Nov

We watched The Shining and ate a bag of candy.

It’s a simple tradition, watching a horror film on Halloween. Going to the store and picking out which candy mix has the least losers.

I can see this tradition spreading far into our future. The years when we’ll have kids to join us, the fire going, popcorn over the stove. Blankets and tea, and of course, candy.

Candy pumpkins?

I can see it all and it takes place in a little cottage with shutters and shingles. It takes place on Cape Cod.

Is that just because we’re moving?

Is that why we’re moving?

Dolly was a hot dog for Halloween this year.

We’re learning.

Last year she hated being a lion. She was cute, oh dear was she something. A viral tweet, that one. But she hated it.

This year we got her a body suit and she took to it much more kindly. Walking around casually, like the walker around casually she is.

Except.

The suit was an XS.

And while our Dolly is petite, and while it fit her around the waist,

Our baby is also a Pokemon character named Furret.

Image

She is long, long, long. She grows like she’s in a funhouse.

And so our Dolly hot dog costume turned into a Dolly sexy hot dog costume, barely covering any of her, as though it was purposely small and revealing which is not what I planned,

but which also has its humor, its delights.

I was Mrs. Frizzle.

I didn’t get a great picture. The light was too dark as I headed out the door and then I was at work. And then my ears hurt from the planet earrings I super glued to them.

And then my ears recovered.

By the time I got home from Quidditch in the smoky air, my hair was done, my earrings were long discarded.

I didn’t get a great picture.

It’s funny how a costume, a moment, a memory no longer counts unless you get a great picture to go along with it.

It’s more than pic or it didn’t happen.

It’s pic or it didn’t mean anything.

And I don’t want this to be so.

Next year for Halloween we’ll be on Cape Cod. 

I’ll push for Hocus Pocus, Rob will push for Alien. We won’t be able to walk to the store for our candy.

I won’t be wearing a sundress.

And.

Maybe we’ll have trick-or-treaters? 

I doubt it, in the small town we’ll live in, on that sleepy street.

In my seven years in LA I have not had a single trick-or-treater, despite stockpiling on candy, despite the preparation. Isn’t the best part of Halloween seeing the excitement of children in costume? 

Maybe next year we’ll have trick-or-treaters?

I doubt it.

But maybe.

House For Sale

28 Aug

I made Rob look at a house for sale on Cape Cod.

To clarify, we are not in the market to buy a house, nor do we know where we will eventually buy a house (if we ever buy a house!)

caveat 

caveat

caveat

But this house!

Oh it’s a good one.

But this house!

Oh the mortgage would be less than our rent.

It looks like a little cottage out of a fairytale. Barn meets Cape Cod. Shingles with an outdoor shower. A deck made for string lights and card nights. A clothes line.

There’s something so romantic about a clothes line, about a white dress fluttering in the salty breeze. About packing a picnic for a beach that lies just beyond the backyard.

I’ve picked out the tile for the kitchen. I’d turn the loft space into a guest room slash library slash play room.

The bookshelves would be millennial pink and I wouldn’t care.

Every year I’d send out colorful invitations to my closest people, inviting them to stay that summer, to borrow our deck and our beach and our bookshelves.

Whenever I imagine having kids, it’s always in a home like this. There’s shakshuka or an oatmeal bake or cinnamon toast in the oven. The windows are open. We run off to the beach or the pond or grandma’s house. We eat fish stew in thrifted bowls. Dolly lounges in a slice of buttery sun.

I made Rob look at a house for sale on Cape Cod.

Two weeks later the house sold.

I am surprisingly hurt, surprisingly invested for someone with

caveats

caveats

caveats

 

PS: A dream home in Malibu

Cape Cod Year Four

22 Aug

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The days blurred together on the Cape, one stifling afternoon after another. We walked through soup air, dripping sweat on our coverups. It’s so hot we said, our brains gone dead with the temperature.

The bay was cooler, with a breeze.  We set our chairs out by the water, letting our toes dip into the bathtub before us. The water’s so warm, we said, our brains gone dad with the temperature.

My hair found snarls, knotting and twisting, revealing my insides like I always knew it did.

Clumps and chunks and curls I pulled out to no avail. The next day it was back to the same.

Back to me.

I noticed every picture I took was a copy of the last. Command C. Command P. We went one place and one place only.

We went to the water.

There weren’t long rainy days in town, slow afternoons exploring the bookstore or eating fried fish. There weren’t day trips and gallery walks, plays and movies and vintage teapots like in years past.

The days were the same.

The heat turned everything to mush, including time.

Hank Green said Gilmore Girls taught him that your great ambition in life can be your life.

I wrote it down as soon as he said it, because he had put to words something I never had.

Your great ambition in life can be your life.

Gilmore Girls was about the minutia, but the minutia mattered. Where Rory went to school mattered, what Lorelai’s inn was like mattered.

The minutia can be your life.

Is your life.

We had big breakfasts, potatoes and butter, bacon and cranberry juice.

We piled our coolers full of drinks and treats. The best that the corner store could buy.

We took ladder golf and bocce, high-backed chairs and umbrellas. We spoke to neighbors, and took beach walks. We stayed in the water until it turned slate and the sky finished its last streak of light.

We walked back home in the dark to a kitchen full of food, to a homemade basil sauce and grilled tomatoes, fluffy white rice and marinated chicken.

We listened to themed music and watched the Olympics. Cuddled and talked and had ice cream sometimes and ice cream cake other times.

It was routine and small and boring and mushy and Command P again and again.

And again.

 

We did it with our greatest ambition.

 

 

Cape Cod Year 1 (and Martha’s Vineyard), Year 2, Year 3, and my love affair with it in general