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I love my house as much as a person can love a structure. To me, who is not really materialistic for the most part, it is the most wonderful composite of wood and glass; stone and grass. I’ve pretty much humanized it. I talk to it. It comforts me. And as I prepare to move out of it – and take the 15 years of me, and my family, away from it – I feel like it, too, is sagging a bit from roof to root in sadness and loss.


I do believe we fixed this missing spindle. Twice.

Yes – get a grip, Lois. Although my heart is being tugged daily from my chest to my gut, my head does reign. It’s time to turn things over. For me, it will be my new leaf. For my home – the deed.

But this house (my fourth and final) is hard to leave. It is enchanting. It’s rambling, old, and solid. It comes with some history (Abraham Lincoln has sat in front of my 200-year-old marble fireplace), humor (stairway spindles have gone missing without notice), a mix of modern-day convenience (floor-to-floor laundry shoot), and old-time charm (buzzers on all floors, and a bicycle bell on the kitchen wall).

There’s lots of space to be alone, but it’s not so cavernous as to allow loneliness. It can be filled with people, and not feel crowded. The whole downstairs has allowed my kids, when they were smaller, and as present-day strapping young men, to run in circles with our crazy border collie throughout, until she pants and slides herself into a sideways floor-flop – as happy as if she had just run through a field of Kentucky bluegrass. It is also dotted with curves and corners for intimate gatherings alongside leaded glass windows that make the sun sparkle and shimmer when it comes inside. And it has long kitchen counters that beckon: “Lean on me.”


Off the walls. Pulled out of drawers. Into boxes.

Preparing to move has meant that gerunds and present participles (those “ing” words) have ruled for a year now: Hauling (disposing), Packing (sweating), Cleaning (back-breaking), Staging (announcing). Crying. But with no menopause in sight, and without warning, lately, after I break into a wet mess of gulping, heaving sobs that take me to my knees at the thought of leaving – in a flash, I then rise up into a twirly, heel-kicking danseur – prancing from room to room, ears plugged with iPod music, arms and head ceiling-ward, with my heart less tugged, and more joyful, in tribute to every bit of the wonderful space I got to live in.

So, now that the contractors, who have been renovating my home, and have become an extended family for the last seven months have left, and the realtors who will be selling my house are “moving” in, I have done some unpacking. Specifically, the unpacking of some new “ing” words. Like: Breathing. Arising. Fulfilling.