Dig our living room’s current state of feng shui. Whoever said that clutter is inharmonious to a home’s energy balance is nothing but a big killjoy. I am sure of this because each time I haul out my treasures that have been tucked away drawers and closets, I feel as if I’m attending a big family reunion — thankfully without the undercurrents of resentment.
So why the mess? We are moving. Our landlord¹ wrote us a few months ago that she has decided to convert her condo from an annual to a seasonal one. She offered us the opportunity to break the lease and leave early instead of waiting until December. That’s when our lease officially ends, but it is also not so coincidentally when the heart of the winter rental season here begins in earnest. She explained that she needs time to furnish the unit for the high-paying Snowbirds who migrate down to Florida from the cold north each winter. Our making an early exit will help facilitate that process.
This is one of the pitfalls of retiring to Florida and not owning your own home. You are subject to the whims of an owner who is influenced by any opportunity to make additional money. Indeed, my ex-wife, who lives nearby and rents out her own condo from January to April each year, confirmed that the upcoming season is shaping up to be a very competitive one. She sewed up this coming season’s rental as recently as last month (July).
Sadly, this means that once again I am forcing my lovely wife to box up our possessions and move to yet another home. It is her fourth move in the last four years. Prior to this she lived on a Michigan farm for 16 years until I led her to California, then moved her Oregon, and now to Florida. Both of us are of Hungarian heritage, and for a long time she had always referred to herself as a gypsy. However, her identification with that label was a cultural one that focused on cooking and baking only. I, however, have literally been a gypsy for most of my adult life with stops in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington, DC, Virginia, Maryland, California, Oregon, and now Florida. I long ago got used to pulling up stakes. Gorgeous, not so much.
For two beats we did consider buying a place to call our own instead of renting again. We went through an initial process with a mortgage lender, but ultimately decided that karmic energy was cycling in such a way that the Crown Chakra was informing us the timing wasn’t right. At least that’s how my psychic wife explained it to me. What I heard the loan officer say in slightly different wording was that perhaps another year of saving for a down-payment might do us some good.
Instead we’ve found a very nice and far roomier condo at another retirement community about seven minutes from where we currently live. We’re headed to a part of town where a handful of the stores have already named an aisle after Gorgeous, and so I am reasonably certain that she’ll feel at home there. Just like the development where we’ve been living, this particular one also has a golf course and is graced with a sizable wild bird population. The main difference from what we’ve seen so far is that the new one has pink flamingos wandering around, and they are quite startling and beautiful to observe.
Our new home is also located just steps from one of the community pools. If that doesn’t have convenience and adventure written all over it, I’m not sure what does. One of us is looking forward to the advantage of quick swims in between client sessions, while the other is seeing blogging opportunities about condo association rules governing appropriate bathing cover-ups.
In my younger days I used to treat each move I made as an adventure. I had certain protocols. There was the required case of beer to be placed in the fridge the minute after signing the lease and having access to the apartment. This was followed by announcing a “moving party” to my friends, which was a not-so veiled attempt to ask for help in schlepping my stuff from Point A to Point B. Finally, and I have no idea for the symbolism or meaning of this at all, but once finally settled in the apartment I would blare Chicago’s “Dialogue” (Parts I and II) for the enjoyment of myself and notably my new neighbors. I believe it had context at the time, but it’s lost to the ravages of time.
Unfortunately Gorgeous shares none of the nostalgia or pioneer spirit that I have. She instead chooses to talk about another year, yet another move. Her focus is on kitchen ware to be wrapped and packed, desks that need emptying, and rooms that will need to be cleaned immediately after we move. Boy, speaking of killjoys…
Coincidentally our new lease begins on the same day in which I ended my library career (August 15). This date was arranged through serendipity only, but still I am nonetheless pleased by it all the same. I have not planned on anything momentous to mark the one year anniversary. Lifting boxes, driving a U-Haul truck, and ignoring the new neighbors as they peer at us from their windows sounds like a good enough plan to me. I’ll spare them the beautiful, full-throated vocalizations of Terry Kath and Pete Cetera, though.
Over the next week the energy balance in our present home will continue towards even more disharmony. Boxes will pile up even higher than they are now, narrow paths will be created to traverse from one room to another, and nearly all meals will be brought in as the kitchen permanently closes.
A friend of mine recently moved and posted Facebook pictures right after he emptied the last box from the moving truck (Hi, L). I chided him because in the chaos of his now disorganized living room, with unopened boxes everywhere and furniture haphazardly placed in all corners of the room, I noticed that the one thing that he did manage to unpack were his wine glasses. Brilliant! He certainly had his priorities in order, and I now have a new role model.
I had promised Gorgeous when we moved here last year that I wouldn’t make her move again for at least two years. I didn’t keep my promise. But what I can promise her is that the very next time we move, it will be to our new permanent home, hopefully one that is our very own.
Onward to Chapter Two of retirement.
¹ Actually it’s a woman. I spent way too much time looking at grammar web sites while writing this, and I found too many differences of opinion on the use of the word Landlady. It would appear that either “Lessor” or “Owner of the Property” are the preferred terms to avoid any charges of gender-biased language. But to borrow from my British friends, I say “bollocks” to such nonsense. I’m calling her our landlord and that’s that.