Yes! Finally I can tell you some things. There are still struggles; there are still problems. Some of these I can’t talk about, mostly because I wish to maintain the privacy of those involved. Other issues I won’t bother to mention, basically because we all have these problems. The car breaks down. Your indoor cat somehow gets fleas.
And while it’s good to purge sometimes, I prefer selective and productive dumping, so as not to pollute the public’s emotional water ways. Sometimes others need to hear the specifics of your struggles, so that they do not feel alone. This isn’t one of those days. Today I need to share a bit of good news, because the gods know I have been needing some good news. And in this way, I hope to bring some encouragement, not through commiseration, but through celebration, and tangible reasons for hope.
So let’s boil this down. My beautiful 100-year-old building was bought by new owners this year. I was a little worried because frankly I’ve been living here pretty cheaply, and that allowed me to take that leap and quit the restaurant biz, go full-time at the library, and start working on that freelance editing thing. But the first time they raised the rent it was only by 25 bucks. Whew. Then, like my knee, the car broke down. No problem, we have another car and I can walk up the street to work. It will take time, but we’re gonna make it, I thought.
Then in July we got the news that the rent would go up again, with the promise of a further hike coming in January. All totaled that’s a 200 dollar rise in rent in their first year of owning this place! Hey, if I’m going to pay that I want at least a postage-stamp-yard, not just a stone courtyard, with stones that are only there because friends and I drove the truck and put them there (with sweat, and little help from the previous landlord).
For that price I want a place with more light, not a cave tucked in between these dark buildings. I want a view akin to what I had when I was up on the third floor, when our family was smaller, a view that looked over the building toward the hills along the river, not this view of an ugly wall. For that price I want the stained tiles in my kitchen ceiling replaced, like the landlord promised months ago. A little insulation in the place would be nice too. The cheap rent only served to offset the high cost of heating and cooling.
There are nicer places (and we don’t need one quite this big now that the boys are older) for that price. But even so, I couldn’t afford the two hundred-dollar hike, not yet. The budget really was that tight. It meant a change in plans, and honestly taking my wounded knee and my battered heart back into waiting tables just wasn’t an option. I love my job at the library here. For the last year and a half I’ve been happy going to work, not dreading it (even when the computer lab tech issues seem to be conspiring to bring me down!). But circumstances were just making it clear that I needed to adjust my plans.
And to keep this story from taking up your whole day, here’s the news: After some inquiries, two interviews, and several weeks, I have accepted a job offer that (once I get past all the moving expenses–thank you to my friends who are offering assistance!) will get our heads above water again. No, we won’t be living lavish life-styles of the rich and famous, but we’ll be in much better shape and on our feet financially again.
It’s a little further from my sons, but my sons are well above driving age now, and really the few extra miles just make sense. We’ll be closer to Brian’s family, and that will save him his monthly week-long absences to work with his brother and father. And we have friends in the area too, so while we will miss our Northumberland-Lewisburg crowd, we will not be adrift or alone.
I’ll be supervising a small branch library and learning a little each week in the large home library downtown too. There is a local, active arts, music and poetry scene, and I’m looking forward to getting involved once we settle in. I’ve scouted out birding opportunities in the vicinity–it’s important! There’s even a little fall hawk watch south of town. And of course, we can pay the bills, rather than juggle them, without my having to do any more damage to my body on restaurant floors.
So that’s the scoop. The picture in the video below makes me chuckle, because while we are not exactly moving to “the big city,” for this country boy, it’s pretty close. So allow me a little artistic license here. As I’ve said elsewhere, “I’m a poet, not a historian.”
It’s interesting, as I type this post in the editing window, WordPress is suggesting tags that include Star Wars, Nazi concentration camps, World War II, and the Associated Press. These are big life changes going on for us, but thanks for the contrast, WP Editor; It’s really not that bad. Here’s Little Milton (no, my cat is not named after him) with “We’re Gonna Make It.”