Thursday, May 30, 2024


            Change can be exciting, a path to renewal. It can also be stressful.

            So, we are moving to Ann Arbor in the summer. We will live at the co-op called Hildene Manor for half the year, and if the place works out and the workload here at the Bark House is too much, we’ll move there full time in maybe a year or so. Exciting, right?


            Stress? I woke up at 5 a.m. a couple of days ago trying to figure out how to transfer our Spectrum cable account, plus the streaming services we use, to the account we will have in Ann Arbor with Xfinity, which I think is owned by Spectrum. How would all of this work? Would I need to pay for two accounts? Would I have to learn how to use a new remote after I finally solved the ones I have here? At breakfast Kim explained that we have a month or two to figure that out, and I should just phone Spectrum. Of course! My stress level dropped some, but I’m still thinking about it.


            A day later I woke up with a sore hip and wondered if I would need hip replacement. And if I did, how would that impact the move? And impact my life – when would I be able to drive? I told Kim about my sore hip, and she told me hers feels that way every day. By noon my hip felt fine, and I wondered how I got trapped in a Woody Allen movie.


            And how is Kim, with all her pain and fatigue, going to handle the move? How far can her determination take her? We have stacks of boxes in the basement, ready to haul out to the car when we drive to Ann Arbor for closing, and then to put away in the new place. And then we will have furniture to arrange when we get there. Kim’s hands and knees are bad, so how will that go? Stress. Kim reassures me she will outwork me, and she will be calling a doctor about her knee.


            I woke up at 5 on Sunday, thinking about the beds we are moving. They are new, and unassembled. Will I figure out how to assemble them? The plan is for us to sleep there the night the beds arrive. What tools, other than an adjustable wrench, should I have? Will I be up to the task? Kim says I can figure it out, and if not, help is available: friends, family, the movers.


            I spend a lot of time thinking about what we will move. Should we move the large pine dinner table – once in our Florida home – that’s been stored in our garage for a year? But the pine doesn’t go at all well with the wood in the new place, so should we try to sell it and move the Arts and Crafts table from the Bark House? Should we also sell, or attempt to sell, our antique French pine cabinet? Kim is encouraging me to make these decisions, and she gets annoyed when I am hesitant. This makes me more stressed and more hesitant. She has too many good suggestions.


            More stress: Where are we going to dry dishes with our sink not wide enough for side-by-side washing and drying? What will it be like to live there and do our daily tasks?


            Is there room to store anything in the garage? We neglected to inspect it during our brief visit. Could our antique work bench fit there? 


            Kim suggested getting a small sleeping couch to put in my study, which will be located on the third floor, many steps away from our first-floor unit. (One of the charming peculiarities of Hildene Manor is that each of the eight units has a bedroom on the third floor, along with the shared bathroom.) Should we move all of my office furniture there, in anticipation of our living there full-time?


            Of course, part of the stress is due to the realistic planning that assures us that one of us will probably die first, leaving the other . . .. I choose not to think about it in detail. Too stressful.


            My stress was not helped when I received an email from the very helpful owner of the unit we are buying. She answered a number of my questions, and noted what my share of the summer taxes would be. (One feature of the co-op is that the Manor gets one property tax fill, which the members divide up.) Wow! And what about the winter taxes? This was about double what I thought I would be paying, and our budget is fairly tight! I stressed about this for a couple of hours. Are we going to lose another sale? Could that just be a typo in her email? It was what we who are involved in real estate call an “Oh shit! moment.” (As it turns out, she told me the tax bill for the whole year.)


            There’s more, but no need to tell you about it. Yes, I’m trapped in a Woody Allen movie.


            Kim reminds me, from time to time, “This is supposed to be fun.”


            In her blog, My Wobbly Bicycle, our friend Fleda, an award-winning poet, quoted Maria Popova: “Changing — your mind, your life — is …painfully difficult because it is a form of renunciation. . .it requires giving something up — a way of seeing, a way of being — in order for something new to come abloom along the vector of the endless unfolding that is a life fully lived.” Watching our garden emerge reminds me of the wisdom in what Fleda pointed out.



  1. Your blog reminds me of when we decided to go sailing for a year & all the planning needed to embark on this adventure. Should we sell the house & the car? What are we going to do with our 15 year old cat? How are we going to handle our finances like paying property taxes? So much planning needed. Could write a book about it & did. One step at a time as Jim says.

  2. I hope you are not moving during the AA art fair! All jokes aside this is an adventure and you will be too busy with social calendar of seeing old friends attending cultural events and coming back up north for the rest of summer.