The theory goes like this: By agreeing to spend your days in Lonesome Valley, where rough weather is the norm, you should at least be free of unpredictable rough weather.
But like that other theory about gay couples having enormous amounts of disposable income, this one has not proven true for us. And so it was that a thaw-born windstorm inaugurated our December, downing power lines outside of town on the first of the month. We read by Coleman lantern that evening, until the power came back on and woke us up early the next morning, then turned off again and made us worried it wouldn’t come back on, then came back for good at the permanent cost of our trust.
I should have taken that night as a sign that stability would not be the order of the day this December. Even work is crazy for us: As I mentioned before, Bob’s a church organist, and thereby a cog in The Christmas Machine. He can’t celebrate the season because he’s too busy making it happen, and if you think the holidays are crazy from your side of the footlights, you should see it from the wings. As for me, I’m in the midst of a bid for Medical Care Certification at The Practice, and when I tell you that the application is roughly the length of my novel, you should know that I am not using hyperbole. In a Bizzaro-Dickens moment, I actually had to ask my Boss to let me work on holiday weekends, just to be sure I’d have enough time to finish the thing.
And then there’s The Big Move.
* * *
Well, it’s not so big really. We’re not moving to The City, after all. But we are moving to a city. In fact, we are moving to Coleberry Lake, the original “Silent Hill” lookalike that won Bob and I over so long ago.
Bob has gotten a gig as property-keeper for his church. The gig involves copious amounts of snow shoveling, a fair amount of gardening, and a free apartment with free heat. And did I mention that its (free) water does not need to be coerced out of a well every day with a garden hose?
I can’t explain what a good thing this is for us. Less driving for me, less gasoline for us, no more storage space in Delburgh. The amount of money we’ll save adds up–the equivalent to getting a $300-a-month raise. (Which is a $600 raise in Lonesome Valley Dollars.)
Even better, we are going to be living behind an old church, on its property, in one of the creepiest little towns on earth.
I’m a lizardman invasion away from living a Lovecraft story, and I’m so jazzed.
* * *
This is, of course, going to create more confusion, as Bob’s caretaking gig begins on the very first of January. And it’s not as if he’s no longer organist! But there’s a certain elegance to cramming all the crazy into 2010, so that 2011 will feel like closing one box, and opening another.
The only thing we haven’t done is tell our neighbors. We have to find the right moment.
It’s a delicate situation, since we’re sure that Bev and Helena, the chain-smoking sisters with whom we share our bi-weekly game night, will assume we’ll never visit again once we move. And that’s just not true.
First off, Bev and Helena’s family has just about adopted us. We’ve been to Helena’s kid’s houses for Thanksgiving and Christmas, we’ve been given rides by them when The Je was clunking out on us. The amount of friendship and support these people have given Bob and I is not the kind of thing you forget. I feel as though we’re related to them now–by deed if not by blood.
And even if all that weren’t true, I just spent six months teaching Bev and Helena how to play Mahjong. Would I give up on the thrill of introducing them to Yakitori tiles, and teaching them the meaning of the term, “Flip Your Chicken”?
That’s not how I roll.