Oh Dear, and Headlights

It got to me today.  Don’t ask why.  Maybe the weather.  Maybe the cold.  Maybe the waiting.  Maybe the … well, who the heck knows…. Maybe I’m just crackin’ up.

I keep saying that this is my diary, and today’s entry (more than some) is primarily for me:  Moi!,  μου, mnie, мене, minua.


someone else captured that deer in the headlights feeling quite well

Today I’m feeling paralyzed. Kind of “deer in headlights” paralyzed. That’s it in a nutshell.  I am sitting here without tools, without normal household furniture and possessions laying around with no idea how long we’ll be here and no idea whether anything we might do around the house would be of any help in selling it.  If I had the slightest idea that some particular action would move something forward, anything forward, even imperceptible distances I’d jump on it right now.  That’s what I do — I move forward.  I tackle the problem and get it fixed.  But I don’t KNOW the PROBLEM.  I have no idea WHAT to FIX.  Which, to those of you who are eavesdropping on me today you know is to get this house sold.  It’s a great property.  It’s a huge property.  The possibilities are virtually limitless — but we need to find someone with 1.) vision and 2.) money who wants to buy it.

I’ve been putting off doing our taxes  just because I AM feeling paralyzed — Oh, I have time yet; and I have completed my taxes well after this date several times but I’m usually finished by now and halfway to getting my refund by the middle of March.

I have been dawdling around on my insurance decision — that medical insurance change because our COBRA expires at the end of this month.  I had a conversation with an Independent Agent on Friday — (so I am doing things) just not quickly the way I usually would do them.  I think I know what will ultimately happen but I’m awaiting a certificate of credible insurance in the mail.

Every time I start thinking insurance or tax, or whether to remodel anything, or not, or whether to plan future movement — pretty much anything — I just feel like the walls are closing in.  It is so unlike me; but the problem is that movement in almost any direction seems completely wasteful.  The things I could do are all in areas I’ve never been skilled and frankly don’t want to be skilled. It’s transient.  It will pass.  Others have much worse situations to deal with.  They, however, are not me.  And I can’t walk their mile.  I have my own to walk. I’m doing the best I can but I’ll admit to feeling weaker about this circumstance than anything I’ve ever faced in life.  There seems nothing I can do to change anything.  Even if we were to decide to abort our mobility plans — which we have no intent on doing — we still need to get the house sold so that the money can go to other commitments — commitments other people are now depending upon.

I have even been wondering whether some of my frustration relates to the way I have avoided waste.  I have always wanted to be efficient; and I have always avoided doing things that had to be redone. I put off deadlines so that when I was done I could not decide there was a better way of doing the job, or that someone else would say they changed their mind. I avoid repetitious tasks; I love learning, but don’t ask me to do something I learned over and over and over and over — I’d rather learn new things than just keep repeating what I’ve done 1,000 times.  When I drive I usually go the shortest, or the most efficient way.  But I don’t like returning the same way I went out.

Yesterday Peg said something about touching up the woodwork around the bathroom window.  There are two windows up here in the residence that could use some work.  Well, actually they all could but that’s another story for someone who intends to put new  windows into the place in the future.  So, I went to look at the kitchen and bathroom sills.  They need scraping, and heavy sanding.  Then I could paint or stain the lovely old wood  — and they would look freshly painted.


I could just scream

But that’s the rub.  I know that when I look at real estate my eye is always drawn to those things that are freshly done — and I always ask myself — for a house this old, why is that freshly refinished?  What was wrong?

Do other people do that?  I have no idea.  I rarely seem to think the same thoughts that others do.  I just seem to have a different approach to life.  Therefore I never know whether my take on how to appeal to other people’s interests is valid or invalid.

apple splatter

Apple splatter on a wall

So, I could just about scream — but even that wouldn’t accomplish anything.  I’m not even sure it would release all that much energy.  I remember mom telling me the story about one time that dad was really upset about some argument between the two of them.  He left the kitchen and went out side.  He picked up a fallen apple from a tree and threw it against the garage. The apple splattered to smithereens.  Mom decided that if dad could do that to an apple, she’d hate to think what he could do to her if he got angry at HER (he never did), and ever after behaved in such a way as to be a peacemaker, not an agitator.

Kathryn offered us tickets to a local chili cook off.  — sounds nice but the only way to go and enjoy it is to go back to meat eating.  We’ve been working at staying OFF the animal products.  I could have accepted, and we could have gone and noshed all afternoon long — but that’s not where I want to be.

I have a couple image projects to work on but right now I don’t even have the heart to tackle them.  I thought about picking up some more furniture when we were at IKEA but what’s the sense of buying “stuff” that we’ll just have to sell or store when the house finally sells.

Peg suggested that we hire a rental car for a couple weeks allowing her to stay home and me to make a photo trip somewhere — I usually seem to do phototrips in mid-winter.  But, now that we are retired I don’t want to travel without her.  I have gone so many places alone and I’d really prefer going with her. And it’s not warm enough yet to take off in Journey, not that there’s anything wrong with traveling in Journey at this time of year, but because we’d have to pack everything in the school into Journey and then unpack it when we return  — and it’s too early in the year to leave the house unattended.

We clearly will never put ourselves in this kind of limbo again. Accepting an offer to purchase with a home sale contingency did not work out for us. That deal dragged on for 6 months, each extension allowed because we hoped the buyer could get their home sold.  Having bought Journey when we did we also limited our subsequent options.  That one choice further dictated how we could get from here to mobility.  Downsizing was something with which we desperately needed help. The only person we knew with experience in estate sales was leaving the area permanently.  We made the best decisions we could make at the time, and within the time frame we could foresee.  I’m not regretting anything we did; but I would not put myself in the situation to do the same all over again.

temper tantrumI’m recounting these things as my way of reminding myself that I am not a victim.  I made conscious choices at each step of the way and some of the choices did not work out the way we “planned.”  I guess at the moment the subject of planning is not my favorite subject in the world.

Talk to you tomorrow.


5 thoughts on “Oh Dear, and Headlights

  1. Wow, Reading this was actually a balm to me. Your description of paralysis is exactly what I”m going through at this time.

    My big dream is to full time which I had hoped to do when I retired. Unfortunately, I was laid off 16 months ago and have been trying to find a job ever since. Thirteen interviews and no luck. Unemployment ran out and so when I hit 62 I signed up for SS. It’s only enough to pay my mortgage and my son is helping me out for for the moment. I’ve been debating about selling my house, using the money from the sale, paying my son back, getting the RV and trying to make it with what is left from the house sale, the SS, and workamping, craft selling, etc. to fill in the blanks. But yet, I keep getting interviews. Living in limbo takes a toll on the nerves and brings up a lot of fears.

    It helps to know that others have gone through a similar process. Thank you.


    1. Hi Donna,

      Peggy and I can feel your pain deeply. I wish there were some answer we could give other than what we truly believe, that

      God is good, all the time.
      All the time, God is good.

      We have been pushed to the brink numerous times and each time — in the end — we see that His way was better than ours. In our case he found a a buyer, and not only a buyer for our 1923 old schoolhouse — but a buyer who loved the building as it was, who respected it’s history, and who wanted to do something with it that would make it a valuable part of the little community without ruining it’s historic facade. To us that was important, more than important. So, we waited longer for a buyer we felt good about selling to. I say that as if we had a choice — but he was only the second buyer in 18 months willing to make a commitment and the only one with $$$$ to complete the deal.

      Getting rehired at 62 is not an easy task. I cringe to think of hard hard it must be. A good friends husband is facing a similar situation at your same age (in Seattle) and he is not coping very well at all; of course he rarely copes with anything very well (sorry to say).

      I know it’s not really any help, but sometimes all we can do is keep breathing and try to put one foot in front of the other and move forward even if those ‘steps’ are infinitesimally small. Find anything you can to feel as if you have just one iota of control, and take satisfaction in every little thing that you are ABLE to do.

      Hang in there, and if you need an ear, stop by and talk — troubles shared are divided. I know that’s a trite cliche but I’ve always found that it works — which is why I started blogging — just getting all the venom out through my fingertips sometimes does wonders.



      1. Thank you for such a long and thoughtful reply. My spirituality is what has helped me to get through this time. Surrender and trust. Though it’s not always easy. And the not feeling as if I have any control is definitely difficult. One area that I can control is to keep cleaning out. I’ve heard it said that by getting rid of “stuff,” you make more room for other better things to enter your life. And that “stuff” isn’t necessarily material things. It could be relationships, ideas, etc. that no longer serve or enhance your well-being. For me right now, it’s the actual material things. Thanks again for your reply.


      2. Your welcome Donna.

        It’s a difficult situation to work through. We aren’t the only generation to face such issues, so there’s some consolation in knowing we are sharing ‘common’ human experience — something thousands of years of experience have NOT been passed through to others — for how can you pass those internal doubts and worries to someone else?

        Do what works for you. Throw yourself into anything that gives you relief. Including the downsizing of relationships, or ideas, or even your own fantasies.

        Keep in touch.


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