Sunday, September 26, 2010


(My favorite tree here)

Over 20 years ago my mom moved over to Central Oregon, first Bend, and then Sisters, where she bought a house. First one she bought all on her own. Recently divorced and ready for a new life, she left the grey and rain of the Willamette Valley and started over. She bought a business, ran it for years, then "retired" by volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and Together for Children.

I made the three-hour drive across the mountains frequently: before I married STM, after, then eventually hauled Woohoo over and later, Rojo. I nursed my babies in the blue wing-back chair. I taught Woohoo to ride a trike, then a bike in the cul-de-sac. Both kids really got comfortable in water in the development's swimming pool.

Eight years ago my mom moved back to Portland and kept her house in Sisters for a get-away for all of us. She's used it less and less as she's re-made Portland her home. We have continued to use it for family vacations and probably most importantly of all, a place for respite for STM and I to separately, and occasionally together, get away to re-group.

I have brought friends here, held retreats, had a few crisis', withdrawn from SSRIs, read a million books, watched every episode of "Sex and the City," numerous times, and slept the sleep of the dead. I have walked the loops around the neighborhood during every phase of fitness, pregnancy, weather and mood.

Last December STM and I were here for two nights alone and we noticed the wood stove wasn't working properly - smoke was coming out, not going up. I called a repairman and arranged for him to come out later, after we'd already returned to Portland. He called us and said, "I can't get in your house, there is standing water everywhere."

The power had gone out (electric heat) and two pipes had burst when the town had temperatures in the teens for several days, and as I said, no heat.

We set to cleaning up and repairing the damage. Insurance helped, but we decided it was time to do some long put off updates while we were at it: replacing the single-pane windows with new, getting a new tub/shower to match in color everything else in the bathroom, that kind of thing. The house had never looked better when we were done in late April. STM and I had many difficult talks about the necessity, and perfect timing of now trying to sell it - with the best weather coming and the house looking good, it was time. My mom agreed and knowing she's not getting any younger, was ready to liquidate.

As we made all the changes we kept in mind, sell, sell, sell. We went for colors that were neutral, redecorated with Everyone in mind, kept all the kids' artwork off the walls and in their places put up stuff Everyone would like. We picked a brownish carpet, khaki walls, stainless appliances and off-white blinds. Not choices I would have made if I were repairing/replacing/remodeling for myself. Gone was the bright splashes of color. Gone were the family photos. Gone was, well, the very personality of the house.

I think it was at that time that I began to let go. My memories, experiences and nostalgia were washed away with the flood. Newness replaced familiar. Fresh replaced cozy. Everyone replaced the me in this house.

Now there is an offer and it is looking like it will go through. It's time to pack and time to leave. I came over to prepare for STM, who will do all the heavy lifting when it actually does go through. My job it to sort, purge, label and make piles. My specialities, if I do say so myself.

Had a hard time driving over the mountain Friday, actually found myself dragging it out, took a long time getting out the door then made two stops along the way. Didn't want my last trip over here to start. Or finish. Got here and wouldn't you just know it, Nancy was here for her daughter's volleyball tournament. I literally walked in the door and then made contact with her, put on a cooler shirt (gorgeous fall weather), peed and was back out the door - delaying the process even further. Met Nancy at her hotel and we walked into town. We didn't mean to, but we walked by all my favorite haunts. Together. Walking and talking and laughing and sharing, I was able to say goodbye to all "my" places.

Then I went back to Nancy's hotel and we had Beer O'Clock with all the other volleyball parents, and I was able to totally forget why I was here, and instead, just enjoy the fact that I was.

Yesterday I was going through the kitchen, putting things in piles for the thrift store, things to bring home, things to pack up and save for Woohoo, etc. What should I do with all this canned food?  I thought. Sure, we could use it at home, but we are trying to leave as much of what we don't need as possible. Not 30 minutes later, I kid you not, three young people came knocking on the door. They were doing a CANNED FOOD DRIVE. Yes! That very day! I have had maybe three other people knock on the door when I've been here in 20+ years!

As my grandmother used to always say, "Isn't it wonderful how the Lord provides?"

And that's just it. The Lord is providing.

Today I will say goodbye to this and hello to Something Else. Not sure what that is or how it will look, but it will all be provided.


kario said...

Oh, I love the feeling of you just going with the flow here. Knowing that you are "dragging your feet" and still letting yourself do it, not fretting while you're having beer with the volleyball parents, etc. And your rewards came in so many forms.

I hope that this feeling of peace with the big change continues to build in you and I just know that the space it leaves will be filled with something wonderful that will give you so much more.


Elizabeth said...

Oh, good luck with all that work and organization. And, yes, the Lord does provide. We just need to keep our ears open and eyes wide, I guess!

Deb Shucka said...

This story itself is a sweet tribute to the place that's been the site of so much healing. Some of our best gifts come in times of endings, probably because we're vulnerable enough to notice. May your remaining days there be full of Mary's presence. said...


Anonymous said...

i wish i could say deb stole my words, but i wasn't thinking anything near as eloquent, so i'm just stealing hers. what she said, k?

Anonymous said...

Love from New York. I've lived through the purging of several houses (including my mothers after she died when I was 25) and it is never easy. It can be as emotionally draining as it is physically tiring. Hang in there and remember, Life is nothing if not a revolving adventure. (a modified Hellen Kellar quote)
Hugs from across the country.


andrea said...

I can relate to that feeling of saying goodbye, weighing down in your heart and stomach. Worst feeling.
I love your outlook. Beautiful

Amber said...

LOVE it.

Change is the most constant part of life. And I know that, knowing you and how angels come your way, it will be just as good-- whatever it is.


Kim said...

Wow, I needed to read this today. I'll be posting soon about why. I'm love the way you own your feelings and let yourself work through them.

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Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

Oh, I love what Deb said. Such truth. And what a beautiful post. Wishing you much peace as you say goodbye to that wonderful place.

Tabitha Bird said...

Oh the time spent in the betwixt and between is often the most precious. It is the time I see myself most clearly and the things around me come into vivid focus. I love that house and I have never seen it. The way you describe it, it sounds like a home :) I hope the new owners will make it one.

Jenny said...

So bittersweet. Love your approach to it all.

deb said...

Carrie ,
I love the way you wrote this...

I felt pulled along with you,
and am left with a certain peace in the end.
I hope you are too.