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Buying a house, prepping bowels, and the airline industry: gold stars all around.

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I had at least two friends commend me on my ability to make things happen. In full crisis mode, I said to them both, I’m gonna buy a house in Lexington. A month later, we were preparing for the closing: a record for us. I, for one, am constantly developing fantastic ideas. Rarely are we executing them to completion.

I give us gold stars. Josh and I really did pull off some magic in the first couple months of 2024. (How is it already June? How have we lived that mortgage-full life in the city for over 2 months now?)

Moments I remember

Back in March, we went to a bank and got a big fat check for our down payment. We found a lucky penny in the lobby on our way out. We got the keys to our new home and immediately went…mattress shopping?

[I didn’t see that coming either, but that’s a story for another day.]

It took us a week to find a new mattress. My mother helped me load it up in our 1990’s Ford F-150 in the sprinkling rain (relevant only because the wiper blades on the truck don’t work.)

There is nothing like breaking in a new home than prepping for your first colonoscopy.

A few months prior, I was having some issues that I very casually, cooly, almost imperceptibly brought up to my gynecologist. He said it was never too early for a good ol’ colonoscopy and scheduled me practically without my permission.

Side note: is it just me, or are doctor’s offices straight up just scheduling shit without consent these days? Are there notes on my record that warn them I will not schedule it myself? I can picture it now: takes Buspirone for anxiety, understates pain, cannot be trusted to take medical advice.

Let me set the scene

It was day two of the new home, and new mattress. I was restricted to a liquid-only diet. I couldn’t have alcohol or tobacco so we celebrated our miraculous move to the city with an expensive bowl of Miso soup. Day three of the new house, the day before my “procedure” as I was known to call it, I celebrated with a refrigerated gallon of bowel prep.

If you’ve never done this, let me summarize: potty party.

In between potty parties, I wrote Bowel Prep Poetry with my unreasonable large collection of refrigerator magnet vocabulary. Here’s what my empty colon brain came up with:

medicine does // anxious // arrival
find either ceiling between fog
and filth // falling across
dance about fire // noxious and happy
armed // afraid // alive // fighting

obscure thought // start new
grateful depth each night
mind to floor death // too
terrify your dress // remember
through enormous heart
woman // obscene the year

What world will drink chaos
embarrass the business
laugh radiant
drive heavy
feel young
die abundant
sick science

The day of the procedure was a bushel of exhilaration. I was told I’d be there for about two hours. Josh would wait in the waiting room and I’d be free to eat anything I wanted when I left. As hospitals do, they made me wait almost two hours before the procedure even began which afforded me enough time to, as I do, have a small panic attack.

My panic attacks look a lot like a sad puppy crying in the rain, grief stricken after being abandoned on the side of the road. Just tears upon tears, maybe some hyperventilating.

My mind and body are convinced that what ever my present circumstance is, is the groundhog’s day loop I will be stuck in for eternity. So there I was, naked, cold, empty stomach and empty colon forever. (Can you think of anything worse?)

Thankfully, an perceptive and attentive nurse promised me the good drugs as he slapped a bracelet on my wrist that branded me a future “FALL RISK”.

Yes, always, bring me the good drugs and tell all your friends I’m a fall risk.

When I emerged from my drug induced slumber, I asked and received the validation that I had a *very* clean colon, which apparently was more important to me than finding out that I and my colon were healthy.

I was told I was legally drunk and should not drive, operate machinery or sign legal documents for 24 hours. Just in time for me to have soberly signed my life away to a mortgage company. My first bite of food was a star crunch from a gas station.

I am destined for great things

Life in the new house, in the new city, with the new job, has been surprisingly mundane since then. My daily navigation isn’t so tense and on guard. It’s as if I was driving the wrong direction all along, and now that I’m headed the right way (FINALLY), I’m not constantly looking at the GPS, or the signs, or the traffic. I’m not convinced the wheels won’t fall off, but baby steps, right?

The best part? When I get in my car to drive to work, it still has gas in it. I am witnessing real life magic. I have never lived this life before.

Did I mention I love my coworkers? My supervisors? My crew chiefs? I was complimented for being the “best ramp agent they have hired in a long time.” While sitting in the office, someone reached over me and knocked over a water bottle almost hitting my head. My general manager joked, “No! Not that ramp agent!”

I laughed but didn’t have a chance at coming up with a witty comment. I mean, they were joking about me being important….me! The socially awkward, increasingly old, smelly pits, and reeking of type A tendencies, me.

This moment was right up there with the endocrinologist complimenting my bowel prepping. At the risk of sounding conceited, can I be proud of this? What does that even look like if it’s not arrogance or vanity? My inner gifted-and-talented child/recovering life-long-people-pleaser wants to throw a pizza party for herself.

The new house is not at all what I envisioned for two weirdos. It’s so normal, like it’s been copy and pasted on a ridge line. We just picked out the one with the teal door. We have all free furniture which doesn’t match or make sense. (Which is actually, totally us.)

The hardwood floors have scattered nail heads to keep the planks flat. Our front and back yard has had tulips, peonies, roses and lilies. I have a Tupperware of raspberries from the fence line. There are blueberries and possibly tomatoes on the way. I have splurged on bird feed and feeders and have started a life list. I’m at 42 bird species so far.

It is not all rainbows and butterflies, as they say

Work wears me out. Sometimes I am stuck at work for hours waiting on a plane. (Weird, I thought the airlines were an on-time industry?) I have bruises all over me. My friends are calling me buff, and all I can envision is “heavy” tags looking back at me from the bag carts. I have virtually quit my second job and this is not a financially beneficial decision.

Our first mortgage payment hit just over a month after closing. I wrote reminders in my planner for the two weeks leading up to the due date. As if, I might forget. As if the only way I’d remember to pay for this new house was if I wrote it down in a $7 planner from Half Price Books.

I would see my scribbled reminder and the obsession would kick in. I had to double check our bank account, then the balance on our credit cards. I would double check the to-do list with big ticket items: cut down that tree that every one thinks will fall on the house, mitigate the radon in the basement, and get a new breaker box so the house doesn’t catch on fire.

To offset the doomsday mode, I would look at my flight benefits. I would browse free flights with space available. London was calling. France was at my fingertips. With a call or text to a co-worker to cover a shift, I could have taken a stroll through Santiago.

Rip off the rose tinted glasses! I couldn’t dream of destinations! I had to make sure we made that first mortgage payment. What if I misunderstood the payment schedule and we missed the first one and they were already plotting ways to take this house from us? What if I did get the first payment date right, but there was a mix up with the routing numbers and the autopay?

What if my personal details with the mortgage lender warned them “loan holder is a flight risk”?

Okay, I can’t afford to go anywhere but what am I even doing at the airport if I’m not using my flight benefits?

Breaking news: Woman gives herself whiplash

I have a metaphorical gauge measuring my contentment. It shakes and side-eyes the section that says “I may regret this.” It shoots right past it to vibrate at “What was I thinking? I am an ungrateful asshole. I had it so good. And what? It wasn’t good enough? A free place to stay, no utilities, a fat down payment still in the bank? That wasn’t enough for me? What am I? A princess? What do I have to show for it now? A mortgage in a real estate bubble on the verge of bursting? I can’t trust myself anymore. I’m not allowed to want anything ever again.”

Okay, big breaths.

If I’m honest, sometimes I just miss the rolling hills and the forests, and a short walk to the only Mexican restaurant. I miss evening bike rides with Josh and having the roads to ourselves. I miss how excited the dogs got went they saw Josh’s mom and sister. I even miss muffling sex when the flower shop was open downstairs.

And then, all it takes is for me to drive back to our old apartment to pack up a few boxes. We look around and we realize how little there is to offer. Not that it’s not enough for other people. It’s just not enough for us and I have to believe it’s okay to want more.

I am encouraged by my friends and my mom who also see how our move to Lexington is a move for our own joy. It was never going to make sense, or feel risk free. The internal gauge of contentment will never stop wavering between doubt and certainty.

If only I could harness the energy from this oscillating needle. Hell, maybe I do. Maybe that is what fuels me–fuels us all. Is it possible, we are all just vibrating needles aimed at something that keeps us on our toes. We must waver between fear of failure and desire for everything we’ve ever wanted.

In customer service training a couple weeks ago, my instructor said, “Working for the airlines is fostering your relationship with Chaos.” So here I am, inviting Chaos to an unofficial house warming party.

Josh and I have proved to our selves we can be resilient. We will offer Chaos a sofa to sleep on, and fully anticipate them to sleep in the ice maker, or the garbage disposal, or the second bathroom, all of which are things we’ve never ever had before.

We will keep in mind, that Chaos sometimes brings great fortune and unexpected joys.

We pay our second mortgage payment

Of course, Josh doesn’t think about this because it’s me with the $7 planner. None-the-less, our internal gauges point to celebration. Josh and I go to a lovely Mediterranean place that I think is the best decorated dive in town. This is sarcasm, but I am sincere. One can not enjoy affordable food, if restaurants are wasting their money on trendy decor.

We order too much delicious shawarma and decide we aren’t crazy about the basil seeds in our falooda. I try to filter the basil seeds out with my teeth so Josh can enjoy the milk but he graciously declines the byproduct of my efforts. I don’t hold it against him.

As we drive the car out of the strip mall, Josh says unprovoked, “I’m really happy here.” I know here is Lexington, our new home, now.

That wavering needle inside of me shimmies confidently past “don’t get comfortable” and “don’t let your guard down” and, as if given its own voice, finally lands on “Let your self say it. Say it! You’re happy, too.”

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