I keep being asked, "Are you all settled in yet?" I just want to answer with a curt, "Are you kidding?" Tomorrow, we will be able to say, "We have been living in this house for three weeks now." In someways, those three weeks have seemed like a very long time. We are growing accustomed to our surroundings. We are beginning to establish a routine. This place is even beginning to feel a bit like home. We are not settled in yet though.
I am still writing this blog from my favorite chair in the corner of the guest room. I have not yet set up my desk, my office, my writing space. I did finally unload the top of my desk. It is no longer covered with boxes. I have not unpacked any of my office supplies. I don't even know where my mouse is for the computer. Thank goodness I use a laptop. Thank goodness a laptop allows portability and connect-ability. I think I have finally decided which room will house my office. I think my husband and I have decided what space will work for his office. Thank goodness, we are finally getting a vision on how to set this house up to best suit our needs.
We went from a two story house with a full unfinished basement to a one level patio home with a finished basement. We had four very large bedrooms at our former home. We now have three bedrooms that are not very large. Two of our bedrooms were large enough in our old home to allow for space for a bed and an office. This is no longer the case. In theory, I went from a five bedroom house to a three bedroom when it comes to space. What I didn't realize, was that I also gave up three very large closets! I had a lot of stuff (please note how descriptive that word is!) in those closets. Now, I am trying to figure out what to do with my stuff. My new favorite place to shop has become The Container Store! I am constantly on the search for better ways to store and have access to all that stuff that I need. Believe me, this stuff is the important stuff. I still have a storage shed full of stuff that isn't important that I need to deal with at some point. For now, I am just dealing with the important stuff.
The kitchen was the first challenge in this new home. I also didn't realize that I was giving up a large pantry, a pantry I constantly complained about and didn't appreciate. The pantry in this house, and the kitchen cabinets, took me about a week to arrange. I am still rearranging. My husband, my dear sweet husband who is patient and helps me so much, is still asking me to show him around the kitchen so he can figure out where items go. I have rearranged quite a few times trying to make sense of where each item should be placed. It has all been like one big puzzle, but I think the puzzle is finally coming together.
I love my new kitchen. I love cooking in it. Yes, I am actually cooking. That is not something I have done much of over the past 15 years. Our lives were too busy while we were working. Then, after retirement, I just never took up cooking again. I never liked my kitchen before. I loved how I had fixed it up. I loved its colors, but I didn't like cooking in it. This kitchen has less storage, but it is more functional, and I love being in it.
The first floor of our home is finally free of all boxes! This is something to celebrate. Now, I have to empty the dining room table of all the china and crystal and get it loaded into the china cabinet. That doesn't seem like it should be such a big task, but it is. The only thing I have more of than shoes is china or dishes. I love dishes almost as much as I love shoes. The everyday dishes are arranged in the kitchen; now I must take care of the "good" dishes. I must get them all put away. I lamented that I could not remember how I had the china hutch arranged. Thankfully, my husband had taken a picture of it before we moved. Now, I just have to look at the picture and not rethink how to arrange it all.
We are finally also making progress on the basement. A good friend of Jim's came over on Saturday, the second time he has been here to help, and loaded a lot of things into the crawl space. He brought his seven year old son who thought it was just really cool to take things into the huge crawl space. Wow, was that ever helpful. Our friend, Rob, also helped us get a vision for the family room. I think we know what we will do with the space now. He is coming back with his family to help us arrange it all and unpack books. We would not be where we are without the help of friends and family.
On the day after we moved in, I took Boston for a walk around our little block. Just three houses up from ours, as I rounded the corner, I was again awestruck by the beauty of where we live. This scene that I photographed is just steps from our home. This sight, the white sandstone rocks, the stately pines, and the Colorado blue sky, are there for me to admire when I round the corner from my house. I still can barely believe I have the blessing to live to in this beautiful place.
As I rounded the next corner, I saw a few of our neighbors were checking us out. Boston and I are the new kids on the block. I'm not sure what they think of us.
Boston was surprisingly polite while he met his new neighbors. He sat quietly without barking and kept his distance. I guess he didn't want to appear too eager to meet the other animals in the neighborhood for fear they would scamper away.
Boston spends most of his time gazing out of the window at his friends. This keeps him entertained throughout the day. He has his favorite viewing spots. This one is in the living room.
Our lives are very different here. Our vistas are different. We are settled in a small community of patio homes just over the hill from the Air Force Academy. We drive two and a half miles from the interstate up a wooded road to our home. I breathe a sigh of relief, of peace, whenever I drive this beautiful road on my way home. I am away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and yet, in just minutes, I can be anywhere in the city itself. We are surrounded by nature, trees, and lot of wildlife. I saw a fox tonight as we were driving home. I understand a bobcat lives in the area. Needless to say, Boston no longer is able to run freely in the yard, but I think he is ok with that. We give him walks, and he goes to doggie daycare to play on special days.
We have wonderful neighbors. Everyone has been so friendly. We are all about the same age. Most of us are retired. Everyone stops to chat when they are out and about. Everyone waves. We have had visits from our closest neighbors. They have brought food, flowers, and housewarming gifts. They have given suggestions on handymen and even helped with advice on where to hang pictures. We think we will be very happy here.
I have longed for a sense of community. I have longed to be near my family again. I worried that my husband would never really adjust to moving to a new town. So far, we are almost feeling like we are on an extended vacation as we get to know new places to explore. We are in the honeymoon stage. This past Friday night, we thought we would settle in and not go anywhere. For the first time in our marriage, we ate in on Friday night. (Really, that is the truth!) For the first time in years, we did not go out for Mexican food on Friday night. Jim put on his pajamas early. Then, we remembered we needed something from Home Depot before Jim's friend Rob came over on Saturday morning. Jim changed from his pajamas to his clothes and we were off into the night. We drove all over looking for a yogurt place. We found it and ate frozen yogurt just before the place closed. On our way home, I said, "We were in a rut before we moved. It is good to do new things and go new places." Just tonight, as we came home from another trip to explore new places, Jim said, "I love living in Colorado Springs." I am so happy he is happy here.
We've had our moments of profound homesickness. We miss much about our former hometown. We lived among the most wonderful people in the world. We lived in a place with great tradition where people have roots that go deep. We lived in a place that we dearly loved, but it was not where our children and other family members lived. We were an odd rarity in Pueblo. Most everyone in that town was surrounded by family. We were not. We knew our children would never move back. That is why we moved.
The move has been very unsettling in many ways, but in others, it has also given us a chance to begin again. For me that was most important. I needed a new beginning. I needed a new focus for my life. I've never believed a place will make you happy. I still believe that. This place will not make me happy, but I know that I will be happy in this place. Jim told me this past week that he thinks I am happier here. He is right. I am happier because I have the opportunity to move on with my life. We are both able to rebuild again after great loss. We've always been at our best when as a team we are building something new.
As we settle in, we recognize that we must take it slowly, one box and one day at a time. We also recognize that we are starting a new chapter in our lives and in our marriage. This is a something for which we are both very grateful.