The Long Goodbye


We're loading the truck next Tuesday and driving out next Wednesday evening.  I am exempt from truck-loading but I'm sure I'll coordinate and run around and work up an equivalent exhaustion.  We have extra bonus stress like a couple of pieces of financing that aren't finalized and sellers who are frustrating. 

Our sellers expected to close and move out a week or two later.  This is typical in our part of Tennessee.  Once we got done sputtering with outrage over that, since it is not done here, we tried to explain.  We are not moving from across town.  We don't have friends we can stay with.  We are coming with a 26 foot truck and a cat, and would have to sit in a hotel for a week, paying thousands to park the truck, driving an extra half hour to the few hotels that allow pets.  We need to close and move in because we are homeless until we do.

Once I explained our different logistics, the sellers didn't budge; the only way we came to agreement was when we discovered that closing means possession in our contract.  To be nice, I offered to close at the end of Thursday and give them until noon Friday to be moved out & cleaned. 

Today I get an email saying they will "try to be out by noon Friday" as a "goal" but "can't guarantee it." 

I sent a smoking hot missive back containing phrases like "absolutely not negotiable" so we'll see.

I am all about coordinating: piano movers, regular movers, 26' trucks, hotels that allow pets, drugs for said pets so they don't yowl every minute of the 10 hour drive, renting our houses here, buying furniture from High Point, North Carolina, trying to calm my husband who is making Eeyore look like a positive, cheerful person and trying to remember all the things that I don't want to forget.

My other job is saying goodbye.  Every day I say goodbye to someone crucial.  It's been very social and very weird.  I am feeling detached and not sobbing.  Yet.  I may be saving all the sobbing up for some moment in the future.  But I'm also thinking that moving away isn't what it used to be.  Visiting is easier, staying in touch is easier and I see a lot of crucial people rarely now; yet they remain crucial. 

I think having a baby is going to change our lives so much that this is a good time to leave.  I don't know which of my single/childless friends will really stick around to deal with me as a mom.  I remember the first time a girlfriend of mine had a baby.  She was so not available or interested in my life, and I didn't understand hers, and I'm not looking forward to that happening again but it definitely will.  At least most of us have some understanding of what having a baby does to our friends, we have seen it before, and won't be surprised by the change.

Turn and face the strange, yes?  not much else I can do.

In other news I am having fewer sick days and more ARE YOU GONNA EAT THAT? days.  Whoooeee I am so crazy hungry.  It's nice after so much nausea but a little scary too.  I'm thankful that I have some good habits after so much dieting, and at least I know to start on something healthy if I'm going to stuff my face.  It also doesn't last all day – or it hasn't yet.  After a meal, I might shut down for the rest of the day and the heartburn / reflux / nausea carnival starts up again.   The books say to eat small meals, and I am: just two or three at the same time.

Last night I noticed that dark line down the middle of my belly, which medicine insists on calling "linea negra" instead of, well, "dark pregnant line thingy."  My husband and I both had the same irrational reaction, which is basically something like, wow, I guess I'm really pregnant.   It takes a while to sink in but I'm sure we'll know it's real eventually.

I'm getting that uneasy feeling that I have after a few weeks without seeing the doctor (more importantly the ultrasound) and should schedule something for the week after next.  New doctor new town new house.  Hopefully same old baby (except bigger).

Yesterday in the mail we got two teeny tiny pairs of baby socks from a close relative.  They are so cute and almost made me cry.  It still seems unreal that we're having a baby, even as my fat seems to be coalescing into something that looks almost pregnant and the weeks keep passing. 

I am about to order a reclining rocking chair thing called a "glider" and needed to pick out fabric.  I found a local baby store that carries the brand of glider I'm about to order and the name of the store sounded familiar.  It was only when I got there that I realized that this baby store is right next to my regular grocery store, Trader Joe's, and I passed it at least twice a week the whole time I was trying to conceive.  I went into this store once during that period when a dear friend was having a baby.  I agonized about going to her shower, finally decided I couldn't, and went into that baby store to buy her a gift. 

The baby store is quite an assault, isn't it?  There are powdery baby smells in the air, there is tinkly music – I noticed a music-box-ish version of "Hotel California" when I was in there and I don't know what to think about that – and the places seem hosed down with blue, pink and white.   When I bought for my friend I didn't know the sex of her baby so I just ran in and grabbed something pale yellow and got out of there fast.

I had email from a friend yesterday who said she was usually able to separate her own grief from happiness for others, and when I read that I felt like a loser.  I just sucked at that.  Looking back now on the showers I skipped and the friends I distanced myself from, I wonder if I could have gotten better at that.  I tried, I guess.  I grieve with intensity and focus, because I don't want to sweep things under the rug, something I used to do: that's how I got to be 250 pounds back in the day, by eating my feelings. Grief isn't something anybody can control, so I guess it was what it was.  I do think I got better at it, and not just because I'm now getting what I wanted.

I think.

Anyway, I pulled up to the baby store and felt amazed that I was walking in there like I belonged.  There were other women in there, young thin women with beautiful perfect round bellies, and I fixated on not belonging in that way, what with my age and my pregnancy pre-fat, and then I had to shrug and get down to the serious business of picking out fabric for my baby to barf on.

I feel sad looking back, that every time I passed that baby store over the past 4 years I got a little dose of The Feeling.  For me the cocktail is/was: left out left behind aging frustrated shameful lost bitter afraid, and whatever else, depending on the day.  I reinforced the feeling, made it a habit, like turning off the lights or parking in the same spot every time.   If there were more hours in the day maybe I could have stopped that feeling in its tracks and lined it up with what I believed, which was that I still had hope.  We were still in the game, and we were staying in for as long as we could.  But I didn't.  I walked into Trader Joe's and since I shopped in the daytime, marinated in The Feeling some more what with the babies and pregnant mamas all over the place.  I guess whatever you are going through, you see it everywhere, so eh: I did my best.

I'm glad to say that I have other little doses when I pass other landmarks in this city, and those are happy reminders.  There's the intersection where I came up the little hill and saw the sign that said "26," which meant I had completed 26 miles of my first marathon, and as you crest that little hill in the last moments of the Chicago marathon, realizing that all you have left to do is the .2, you also see the bleachers and the cheering people and the big, big sign that says "Finish."  I get a big smile every time I go past that street.

There are restaurants where I had great dates, and stretches of the lakefront that were always amazingly beautiful no matter the season, there is the Target where I bought the first of many pregnancy tests that were finally, amazingly, positive.  There is the spot on the sidewalk where my husband and I stood and talked for what turned into hours, on a night when we weren't dating but realizing we maybe should be.  That spot is just in front of the house where we ultimately spent our wedding night, and our first five years.

It's hard to leave this city but it's nice to leave the sad reminders.  I hope that the good ones will stay with me and the bad ones will fade.

I’ve been coy during the more-than-a-year life of this blog about "my city" but it’s pretty obvious to those who live here that it’s Chicago, or who really cares anyway.  As we prepare to leave and move to Tennessee, I get the same question from many people: "why Tennessee?" 

Today is why. 

All this week it’s been summery, 70’s, sometimes high 60’s, which to silly Virginia-born me is barely summery and very nice.  Even though I have gained weight and have wobbly fat on my upper arms again, which makes putting on even a basic short-sleeved t-shirt into a moment of shame, I still like this weather and it seems appropriate for very late April.  There are budding trees, suddenly showing auras of that young, bright green, and there has been abundant sunshine.  All this week I’ve felt edgy, wondering how I could leave this city that I love, everything I know, for some faraway red state with huge bugs, extra racism and no Trader Joe’s?

Today.  Today is how.  Because after last night’s thunderstorm, which rained out the baseball game and was preceded by that portentous humidity that made the last few hours of packing into a sweaty miserable chore, it’s now 43 degrees with enough wind chill to make you find not just your coat but your scarf, for crying out loud.  I don’t care how long I have lived here, I am just not from around here and 43 degrees in very late April is just wrong.