Tag Archive | home

Home is Where My Life Is

airplaneLast week at about this time, I was packing for a three-day excursion to see a good friend in Florida. On Monday morning in a driving rain, my brother saw me off at the airport for three sun-filled days in the sunshine state. Boy was I ready to go!

In October, one of my dearest friends and her husband decided to make a move back to their Orlando condominium they purchased twenty years ago, and as you might imagine, a lot of things have changed. Needless to say, they weren’t ready for the extreme growth of the area. The two-lane roads have morphed themselves into five lanes. Towns have sprawled, and the theme parks have doubled in size. Because of so many more residents and an abundance of tourists, you witness very creative lane changes on the highways which keep even good drivers on their toes.

All of this change for a person in her sixties has been rough on my friend. After I arrived, she told me my visit was as much for her mental health as mine, but like all solid relationships we picked up where we left off and enjoyed being together. She had a lovely bedroom for me to stay in and pampered me like a queen. I got the rest I needed, and she had a buddy to laugh with.

As the days progressed, I got my quota of sun, sand, and tropical foliage, and was ready to go home when Friday rolled around. It was nice not to have the responsibility of a caregiver for a few days, but I missed Ken and Ernie a lot and knew it was time for me to go home. It was comforting to Ken was fine at home with the help I arranged, so the next time I need a few days away, I can go without being alarmed about his welfare.

It’s also good to realize my dream of having a palm tree grow in my front yard is just that–a dream. The ninety degree weather was too hot for me, and my poor northern skin rebelled even with a sunscreen of 70! My true happiness is right at my front door, and I’m not seeking anything else at this point in my life.

I can travel to see the wonderful places this world offers, but I choose to be where I am. There’s no way to replicate my friends and family who make me who I am, and  I would never want to be the same place where Kay is right now, starting a new life in her sixties.

Eventually she will make friends in her new space, but forming new reciprocal relationships takes years.  I hope she’s up to the challenge.

Where Is Home, Anyway?

Ever since I could remember, I always wanted to move away from Racine, Wisconsin. I told myself I never had the opportunity to do so because I moved from my parent’s home to my husband’s home at a very young age. I never went to college when I was 18, so I never formed my own idea of who I was or what I wanted to do.  It took me a long, long, time to achieve that.

But here I am. Still in Racine, Wisconsin.

Why? Well, the truth of the matter is, I got okay with myself.

Let me explain. After my divorce about 20 years ago, I was already to pack up and move to Florida. I dreamed of palm trees growing in my front yard and the ocean or gulf only steps away from my home. But an angel came into my life and showed me a change in geography would not fix my problems; it would only add to them. My hurts and estrangement from my children would only get worse. She said I needed to go home and fix me, then I would be free to move somewhere else. Then it would be a good thing. Luckily, I had grown ears to hear her.

So, I went back to Racine.

It took me over a year to fix everything I needed to fix. One of the biggest things I had to do was forgive myself for allowing someone else live my life. I had to forgive myself for letting someone treat me badly for as long as they did. I had to forgive myself for letting others make my choices. That was the most difficult part.

And you know what happened? After I came to terms with myself, the relationships were mended, and things started to turn around. I made new friends, while keeping keeping my oldest, best friends, who had supported me through the lowest time in my life, And miraculously, I didn’t want to move any more. When I traveled, I didn’t dread going home any longer; I looked forward to returning. Racine was my home, and I realized how much I had here. It’s a nice town. In all my travels, I hadn’t found anything better.

That’s because home is more than a location. It’s personal history; it’s friends; it’s family; it’s memories. When Ken waltzed into my world, it got even better. We built a happy life together. Here. In Racine–one of the oldest cities in Wisconsin. It’s a pretty city on Lake Michigan that has gone through some rough times during the past 20 years.

It’s trite, I know, but home truly is where the heart is. And mine is planted right here where I was born.

Ever-Changing Home Sweet Home

home sweet homeI don’t know about the rest of the world, but in America, everyone dreams about having a home of their own. I’ve been fortunate to have had one all of my life. I grew up in a cozy ranch style home my father built with his two hands.

After I got married the first time, my husband and I bought a four-bedroom, two-story colonial  home on an acre of land. The home was only four years old and everything was in perfect shape, so the two of us moved in with a television. We hand nothing else, so all of our furniture and appliances had to be purchased. Awwww — what a hardship, huh? It was great fun turning an empty house into our home. It got really fun a year later when we added a daughter and three years after that we had another daughter. It was a nice home, where there were good and bad memories.

After our divorce, I lived in an apartment for three years and then finally decided I was going to stay here. I had dreams of moving to Florida, but decided my friends and family were more important than having a palm tree growing in my front yard, so I bought a condo because I was single and all the stuff I couldn’t take care of was handled by someone else. Perfect.

Until I married Ken, and we wanted to have a dog. The other factor we didn’t like about the condo was it was on the upper level of the complex. And  the roof leaked, so we moved to the city into a little 1100 sq. ft. home with a nice lot across from a cemetery on a dead end street. This house wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but something pulled us here. After sinking in $30,000 to renovate the place so we could live here — new windows, doors, roof, appliances, air-conditioning, hot water heater, painting, wallpapering, remodeling the bathroom (we ran out of money to do the kitchen — which badly needed updating), we felt we had built a nice nest, so we could grow old together without major house problems.

This house has been perfect for us until Ken’s MS started to get serious. So, the other night, we laid in bed, holding hands, listing things we’d like in a new house. One we would have custom built. (Believe me, it was just a dream unless something drastically changes.) We decided we wanted open spaces with lots of sunlight. Any hallways and doorways would have to be wide enough to accommodate his power wheel chair. The bathroom would have to be spacious with a step-in shower and bath tub and two sinks (one at a lower level) and lots of storage space. We also wanted first-floor laundry facilities, a  eat-in kitchen, and finally a three-season room, so we could enjoy the outdoors for most of the year without the hassle of putting up with critters and bugs. The yard professionally landscaped and it would have a fence, so Ernie couldn’t suffer from the wrath of the neighbors getting into their space. What a dream, huh? And how it has changed since my “dream house” when I was raising children.

But Life is Change and as we turn the page on our 17th wedding anniversary today, our dream house will go up on our vision board. We’ll put it up there with the wheelchair van, a Viking River Cruise down the Danube River, a book that made Oprah’s reading list and other smaller dreams we’ve sent out to the Universe.

Keeping our Visions in front of us is important. After all, the things we originally put on it have come true. I kid you not.

What does your “dream house” look like?