Phase 2: Painting has turned out to be about much more than painting, so I’ve had to rename it Phase 2: Preparing Our House. In five days in North Carolina, I’ve set up accounts with utilities, sewage, water, mail, and the library (where I’m sitting now to use the computer). I asked our neighbors to keep an eye on our place until we move in, and paid the guy who cuts our grass so it looks like we’ve moved in. I’ve shopped until I can hardly walk and compared prices for discounted furniture (this is the Furniture Capital of the World!) for the rooms we’re lacking. I’ve checked out another church, looked for possible apartments for my parents, and scouted out jobs for me. I’ve tried to assemble a patio table and chairs, and after succeeding only in dis-assembling the skin from my knuckles, I solicited the help of our realtor’s son to finish the job.
I’ve been charmed by the friendly people and the evening thunderstorms and fireflies, and not-so-charmed by the humid August afternoons and mosquitoes (all things we don’t have in Northern California). I’ve bought out the local stores with supplies to camp out in our vacant house – just me and my air mattress. Oh, and yes, some of our walls are now a different, much more vibrant color. (What did you expect from an artist who’s spent her entire adult life confined by white apartment walls?)
Our house is beautiful but it feels empty. That’s not just because voices echo in the furnitureless rooms, but because Steve, who chose this town and this house with me, is not here to experience it. I go now and prepare a place for my husband.