An Ode to #62

Seven years, five months and 15 days later, it’s time to say goodbye.

When this blog post officially hits the internet, I will be in the process of moving out of my home. The feeling is bittersweet. Change is exciting, and the opportunity to make a fresh start means cutting ties to the past and looking forward. I’m doing this to ensure we’ll have a better future. My credit has taken a severe hit, but that’s temporary. We’ll be living in a smaller space with a single bathroom, but that too is temporary. In two years we can begin thinking about buying a house again, and that is worth every bit of sacrifice we’ll go through between now and then. I’ll soon be free of a stifling, upside-down mortgage and an overzealous (aren’t they all?) homeowner’s association. Best of all, Tara and I will be partners in the truest sense of the word. It’s not a case of her uprooting her life and combining it with my preexisting one. It’s a new start, and we’re doing it together.

But like I said, bittersweet. Which means the decision wasn’t an easy one to make, and I will miss certain things about my townhouse. It’s cozy and comfortable, for one. With a secluded, covered patio where I’ve spent many an afternoon and evening relaxing, listening to music, drinking adult beverages, playing cards, etc. I have great neighbors that I’ve grown especially close with over the past few months. Leaving isn’t easy, and once upon a time, I never thought I would.

It wasn’t love at first sight. The complex was a sprawling mass of buildings, and looked too apartment-y to me. I was used to white picket fences and manicured lawns. But the interior was nice, and it was an end unit. “I could live here,” I thought, and before long I found myself the proud owner of my very own townhouse. I bought it completely on my own, a very gratifying (and grownup) feeling.

The day I moved in, I was ecstatic. I had somehow survived the worst spring and summer of my life, one in which my marriage spiraled out of control before crashing and burning spectacularly. A promotion at work had turned into a nightmare. I found myself seeking escape in ways that were foolish. I blogged elsewhere then, and if there’s any question how badly I was suffering, words like these – written virtually as events unfolded – serve as a painful reminder.

We’ve had many talks over the past few months, but this was the first full-fledged fight, calm voices giving way to angry shouts. I laid it all out on the table, and she knocked the table over, every kind word out of my mouth met with slings and arrows from hers, all along her words – “I feel nothing” – running bitterly through my head, the hopelessness of the situation swelling by the second.

So on that last day of September in the year 2006, when I was handed over the keys to my new place, the relief I felt was indescribable. Those last few months together had been excruciating. I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy. The moment I walked through the front door of #62, I felt an overwhelming sense of freedom.

I believed for a time that I would always live there.

And why not? I had plenty of space, for me and the kids (and at some future point, I figured, somebody else). I had all the amenities I wanted and didn’t have to worry about yard work. I painted the living room a color I liked, and began stockpiling lava lamps to create a look that appealed to me. I’d never even owned one when I was married. I got a cat (the ex was allergic). In short, I started to build a life for ME, rather than compromising my interests to death. I quickly settled in, and figured I’d never move again.

If these walls could talk, they’d tell tales of good times. Like my first houseguest, Chris – she’s still a good friend to this day. I cooked her dinner and she brought a jug of merlot. Drinking was still pretty new to me back then, and I had virtually no knowledge of wine. I ended up so drunk I could barely walk, but I hid it from Chris well, only collapsing on my bed once she had left. On another visit, we played an Adam & The Ants record late into the night. There was Heidi’s visit, where we played cards and I jumped up on the counter. Tara’s first visit. We shared our first kiss midway between the kitchen and living room. I stand in that spot still and feel the electricity. There were visitors unseen. For a long time I dealt with objects flying around the bathroom, doors opening on their own, lights coming on without anybody flipping a switch. One day Rusty told them to go away, and they did. True story.

There were holidays. Pumpkins on the mantle, harvest decor on the kitchen shelves. Christmas trees in the window. Easter eggs scattered through the house. Streamers on the 4th of July. Family gatherings on birthdays and other special occasions. Thanksgiving became mine and I hosted every year. There were snowfalls and thunderstorms and heat waves. A fire in the adjoining building. I wrote a book there. Planned a road trip there. Started a blog there. There were arguments there and passion there. In short, life happened there, and if you believe energy exists in places long after events have occurred, then #62 is positively brimming with it.

They say people come in and out of your lives for certain reasons, often when you need them most. I think the same is true of places. #62 was the perfect fit for me at that stage of my life, but I have grown – and in the process, outgrown it. It’s time to move on, and that is what I’m doing today.

Thanks for the memories.

#62, a few days after moving in.
#62, a few days after moving in.

 

 

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22 thoughts on “An Ode to #62

  1. Mark, I can so relate to your feelings of bittersweet because that exactly how I felt when I was SO ready to leave Florida and move back east. But I have to say, I’m glad I did it.

    ” Best of all, Tara and I will be partners in the truest sense of the word. It’s not a case of her uprooting her life and combining it with my preexisting one. It’s a new start, and we’re doing it together.”

    That’s right…it’s a NEW start you are doing together. And you’ll both make this new house a HOME.

    The best to both of you and your move this weekend!

    Cheers!

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    1. Moving from Florida to Philadelphia is a hell of a lot more complicated than moving from one part of town to the next, like I did. It’s ten minutes versus 1000+ miles. I can see why it was bittersweet for you – but you definitely strike me as more of a Philly guy than a Tallahassee (or insert other Florida city) guy. Glad it’s worked out for you so well!

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  2. I understand a good bit about how you must be feeling. We were reluctant to sell our home in Lexington, but one year later, I can assure it was well worth it. Sorry you are having to say goodbye to a house that has give you so much. But the future has even better in store.

    Hugs form Ecuador,
    Kathy

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    1. You and Sara were definitely an inspiration. I just told Ron (above) his move was far more complicated than ours. But yours takes the cake, Kathy! It’s gratifying to see how much you two are enjoying living in Ecuador. I’m looking forward to our own better future, as well!

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  3. Cheers to new beginnings and hooray for you and Tara! I would love to just be able to pack up and move—I feel a yearning for Italy of all places! But that won’t happen any time soon……perhaps one day! :)

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    1. I’ve always wanted to visit Italy. And I’m sure if/when we do, I too might feel like putting down roots there. Maybe in the Tuscany region. We’ll buy a farm, raise sheep, and make cheese. Oh, and grow grapes for wine, of course.

      Yeah. That doesn’t sound half bad.

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    1. It’s the album with “Ant Music” and “Stand and Deliver.” Ahh, early 80s, how I miss you!

      And yes, I suspect a ghost. Things happened that couldn’t be logically explained, and I was unable to disprove them as much as I tried. I guess I’ve never written about that on my blog…maybe I should!

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  4. Mark,
    You said so much here. Some of it all too familiar to me. As I type this comment, we too are moving to a new home. I’ve been on spring break this week surrounded by boxes and memories. Starting again in a new place is exciting. All the best to you and Tara. Good luck sharing the bathroom with two women. GAAAHHH! Can’t wait for those posts to start. HA!

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  5. Seems like it doesn’t matter where you move, the feeling is always bittersweet. That moment when you walk around your empty place, remembering this and remembering that, tears start to fall and your heart starts to ache. All the great memories!! They will always be there and you’ll remember certain things that you have long since forgotten when a song comes on and it was playing that night that (fill in the blank).

    Now, fast-forward 2+ years and it will happen all over again. Only this time, there is someone to share the tears and the heartache with you.

    It will be okay. And it shall pass.

    Love you, buddy!!

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    1. Aww…thanks for the great comment! I agree, moving always does seem bittersweet. I guess that’s good. If not, it would mean you were living in a truly horrible place, and probably suffering miserably. That has never been the case, and hopefully, never will.

      Love you, too! Looking forward to a trip up there in just a few weeks.

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  6. I have to say moving is one of my least favorite things to do. Of course there comes a time when it is necessary but it always so hard to leave behind a place so filled with memories. I hope however this new place brings with it new and better memories for the road ahead!

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    1. I already knew I hated moving. Now that we’ve moved, I realize I hate moving even more than I thought I hated moving before. Part of me kinda hopes we don’t have to move again in two years, as we’re planning. That seems much too soon to deal with all this again!

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  7. I’m late to the party (conveniently done so I didn’t have to lift anything), but happiest of happy moving day! I have no doubt it was bittersweet, but enjoy this new chapter of your life in its new setting!

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  8. Strangely I have moved so often over the years I have rarely grown attached to any ‘space’. Now, I face it again and I am of two hearts and two minds. Your description of the bittersweet, I think I understand it I have felt it when leaving people behind. Good luck in building new memories in your new home. I am sure it will be equally full of joy.

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    1. I did a lot of moving around growing up (my dad was in the Air Force), but that felt different as it was always base housing we were leaving behind. Not quite the same attachment there.

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