Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Moving to Seattle

“If you search for tenderness
It isn’t hard to find.
You can have the love you need to live.
But if you look for truthfulness
You might just as well be blind…
I don’t want some pretty face to tell me pretty lies.
All I want is someone to believe.”
 - Billy Joel, Honesty

My sister is an Edumacator (sic) from Detroit. I have lived in Southern California longer than I’ve ever lived anywhere else. We have been talking for years about moving in together in our dotage. This year, because we are both now with no rings and no strings, we have started negotiating about actually doing it. 

We finally agreed on a location on the Puget Sound in a community not unlike the neighborhood where we grew up – where you actually know and like and socialize with your neighbors, and you and look out for each other. We finally settled on about a year out.

Barely two weeks ago, our schedule abruptly changed. We just bought a house near Seattle. My POD will arrive in a few weeks. My handyman guy is fixing what my real estate guy says needs to be fixed. I feel like Nancy: “The whole world is spinning.”

Why, you are asking, did all this happen so suddenly? I know I am. 

We were motivated by our desire to retain our independence longer; and we wanted to do this before our kids had to do it for us; and my sister is a Zillow junkie.  Honestly, I blame the Illuminati and the increasingly obvious collusion of our grown children – let’s call them the Diabolical Conspiring Cousins (DCC) to protect their presumed innocence. They convinced my sister to stop dithering around in slightly less genteel terms. Ok, they convinced me too.

Since then, as another of our sisters sagely advised me, this has become a full-time job. Of course, we’re older, and we’re slower, but we’re feisty and together we’re a pretty smart team. I’ve ended many long days completely fried from sending texts, reading documents, arranging and interpreting inspections, negotiating yet more documents, e-signing seemingly endlessly. A lot of what I’m doing is similar to what I used to do for a living. But that was more than ten years ago. This is work that demands substantially more focus and concentration than I typically spend these days deciding what to make for dinner. I’ve been sleeping very well after long days.

Now it’s all over – except for more endless paperwork, negotiations, repairs, and the lurking statute of frauds that compels me to want everything in writing and carefully documented. Ok, compulsively documented. Within a week or so, I will officially no longer be among the ranks of the second-homeless. No way am I moving before the mid-century-modern-meets-psychadelic-contact-papered wet bar basement is hit with a sledgehammer. 

Shortly before the purchase reached the point of no return, one of the DCC recently, gently and oh so diplomatically suggested the mere possibility that we might get on each others’ nerves. After a moment of silent mystification at the very thought (!) I practically did a spit-take. Whaaaat???

When you decide to move back in with the sibling you shared a bedroom with for your first 15 years or so, it’s not like you don’t know you’re in for a wild ride. Within a couple of anxious, stressful and emotional months my sister and I will be on our way to the Pacific Northwest from the Midwest and from Southern California respectively.

And we’ll settle down and begin to get honestly on each other’s nerves. There comes a time when truthfulness in a relationship is worth more than a pretty face. It's going to be a bumpy ride, but we got this.

1 comment:

Annie in Austin said...

Your post is a few weeks old - with a little luck you're starting to be settled in, even as you still ponder the events that led to your landing there, arms linked with your new/old sibling partner. Best of luck - there is so much to like about Seattle!

You're a beautiful writer.