My life seems to consist of one split focus after another. I’m astonished at finishing anything. This past week is a good example. Not only did my bride and I share the desperate need to get our house ready to go on the market, but we both had other things to do: some needed doing, and some just made us happier. My week consisted of writing, editing, teaching, packing and sorting “stuff” into what could be trashed and what could be given away. Oh, and planning for Mother’s Day. That, actually, topped the list.
Knowing that we’d soon embark on yet another strange diet, Paleo this time around, I doubted I could sell my sweetie on the idea of a brunch or a big meal somewhere. And after 45 years with this gal, I know better than to try and cook for her. But there had to be some way to show her the gratitude and attention she’d earned after putting up with me for so long. Thankfully, she came up with the perfect solution: a picnic.
But not just any picnic. Nope. This one would be smack in the middle of the lot on which our new home will soon be built. “Remember that romantic picnic we had in Germany, so many years ago? We went to all those little shops to buy wine, fruit, cheese, and bread, then gorged ourselves under a shady tree in the countryside. We even found some edelweiss!” Shades of Julie Andrews and the von Trapps.
Anyway, I did remember, and despite my certainty that our lot contained neither trees nor flowers, it would be a great place for a picnic. So we shopped for the required goodies, packed ’em in the car, and after dropping off a load of stuff at Goodwill, headed for the hills. Or, more specifically, Soleil at Laurel Canyon in Canton, Georgia. (Here’s their website.)
And there we had our feast. Under the bright May sun, on hard-baked clay with hardly a plant or animal anywhere on our absolutely flat, featureless lot, we ate like royalty (only without the servants, castle, and general hubbub that typically accompanies such).
I realized, somewhere between sips of sweet Rhine wine and bites of yummy cheese–Gouda and Cream Havarti–that building a home is a bit like building a story. One starts with a plain blank page and eventually constructs something beautiful and intricate. The trick is being able to imagine the thing before it’s complete. One must ignore the doubts and navigate around the plot holes, manufacture details and a convincing narrative, and ensure that each piece of the puzzle fits seamlessly so that the ending is not only satisfying, but surprising despite the logic that ties it together. “Whoa. I didn’t see that coming. But ya know, it makes sense.”
The difference now is that we’re relying on others to put this story together. We’ll do our part, to be sure, but I won’t be wielding a hammer this time. The construction will be up to someone else, hopefully much younger.
Our job is to be patient, keep our ultimate objectives in mind, and–of course–to pay the bills. Eventually, probably in late October, the castle walls will be completed; the tapestries will be hung in the great halls, and the new residents will start dragging their stuff into the new domain. Hopefully, we’ll clear away enough of the mess to throw one helluva party!