Starts. Stops.

Last stop… North Carolina.

The picture above is our view. “View of what?” you ask. Well, it’s the view from where Michael & I will be living by year’s end.

I’ve started & stopped this blog post several times, but I can’t bear to finish it. I feel a duty to report all that’s gone on for the last several months, for posterity, but it’s too painful. Too much has happened. I don’t want to be mysterious if you’re new here so I’ll just say my father died at 89 in March & our Kaela had to go away to get some help for some emotional trouble she was having. Dad, no doubt, is at peace with Mom in Heaven. And Kaela is coming along marvelously. So that’s that, I guess.

The trouble is, we’ve not yet been able to memorialize dad. This stupid virus hit within days of his death, or should I say, got serious around that time, and as a result, the church & funeral home are closed. I called last week and they are only doing gatherings of 10 and you all have to have masks on. Well, that ain’t gonna work. Dad’s life was too long, too eventful, too big to be contained to merely 10! It’s getting to the point where I honestly think we won’t be living here anymore by the time we can actually book it, and that brings me back to where I started.

I’m filled with so many emotions leaving this place. I’ve literally never lived anywhere longer than I have in this house. Not even growing up. I left home at 18 for college & never came back to Hatherly Road. I lived in the Bay Area for 5 years. Philly for 5 years. Then we bought this house in August 1998 and here we are. I was 7 months pregnant with the twins when we bought it, me, waddling around, thinking what a nice, big yard for the kids to play in, and what a magnificent view of the ocean, but at a very safe distance from harm, as we have the marsh, then the river, then Humarock buffering us from any wickedness Mother Nature may toss up.

The view from our home in Massachusetts.

It’s not that I’m not ready to leave. I am. So is Mike. We’ve done all we have to do here. We gave our kids a wonderful education in our public school system & wonderful memories of New England. We were able to help my parents as they grew older, what they would allow, anyway! The kids had the benefit of knowing their grandparents, which was great. Leigh has said she would like for me to be near when she has children someday because she treasured her relationship with her Nana so much. I can’t tell you what that means to me. It’s everything I could have hoped for.

Honestly, I’m the luckiest person I know. An absolute embarrassment of riches. I surely haven’t done a thing to deserve it, but I’m deeply, profoundly, everlastingly grateful.

So we’re preparing to leave. We’ve endured our last harsh New England winter, and this last one was pretty mild, thank God. I cannot even begin to describe how much I am looking forward to not freezing my noonie off this coming winter in North Carolina.

Mike is looking forward to the downward adjustment in the cost of living. (As I am too, of course!) I just happened to look up the cost of housing in both places the other day. Median price here is nearly $700,000. Median price where we are headed is $110,000. I mean… Come on. It’s unbelievable. We couldn’t possibly afford to build what we are building down there up here, and it’s not even that fancy or big. It’s smaller than our current house, just on more land. We’re not doing anything snazzy. The only place we’re spending money is in the kitchen, so we have solid surfaces & nice appliances. Other than that? very middle of the road choices. Oh, well, we’re upgrading the window choices! LOL. Mike didn’t like the windows the builder typically spec’d so we’re gonna go with the windows he used to sell, which, as it happens, are manufactured in North Carolina! Too funny.

We visited the kids in Texas recently. Talk about cost of living. Gas up here? Over $2/gal. Down there? Less than $1.50. Groceries? Easily 20% less. I can’t wait to not stroke out whenever I check out. Damn that will be nice.

But back to my original thesis: we’re leaving. I’m leaving. New England. For the last time. This is it for us. Our “sunset years.” This is the time we’ve talked about all our lives. “Mike ‘n Annie”! We so enjoy each other’s company. All we want to do is be together. After all this time, I still adore him. Just cherish him. He’s the brightest part of my day, everyday.

Like I said: luckiest person I know.

Ok. That’s it for now. Getting a bit weepy. (But in a good way!) I’ll write more soon, I hope.