Over the last three days, I’ve taken short, one mile walks in convenient locations. I tried to walk at Rutherford Park along the intracoastal behind the shopping plaza but after I passed a tangled web of mangrove the smell of sewage became overpowering. Apparently the hot summer months and the heavy rains can create quite a simmering stinkpot of overripe stew. I quickly did an about face and ended the walk. I had a lot to do that day anyway.
For you see, we are moving again. For the third time in a year I am packing my belongings. When I was young, I did this often. Twice every year when I was in college and then on a fairly frequent basis in my twenties. I moved twice in Boston, from Commonwealth Avenue to Washington Square, then I moved to Vail, Colorado then back to Boston where I couch surfed for a month in Jamaica Plain then moved to Newton Corner for two years.
I lived in York Harbor, Maine for four months, the first time I ever lived alone. Then my boyfriend, now my husband, and I moved to an apartment above a garage by the beach in Rye, New Hampshire. Living at the beach was a dream but after two years of waking to the landlord’s car starting up each morning we moved to a two bedroom apartment in downtown Portsmouth.
Then the big move, to the old house built in 1728 along the Squamscott River in Stratham, New Hampshire where we lived for twenty-two years and raised our children.
But last January, our transient lifestyle started once again. We sold the house. I moved to Florida and stayed with a friend in Delray Beach. Rich stayed behind to finish some work, house sitting in a barn in Exeter directly across the river from our old house.
Three weeks later, I moved into the apartment we are now leaving. I made a deposit for a top floor apartment available March 15th but got a mysterious phone call in late February that the top floor was no longer available but they did have a unit opening up on March 1st. Could I move in a week? Sure. I guess. I had some suspicions regarding my current living arrangements but I gave an old friend the benefit of the doubt. I’ve been told strange things happen in South Florida. Deals fall through. I decided that was the story I would believe.
I called Comcast yesterday to start service at my new apartment and they told me the current tenant hadn’t placed a shut off request yet. They damn well better be moving, because my lease is up in five days and my apartment looks like this:
It would have been nice if we found the right apartment from the beginning. I was new here. I didn’t really know the neighborhoods, the byways and the highways. I was taking advice from someone who resides in a different income bracket. Rich had sent me off with specific instructions to rent a top floor apartment. He can’t stand the sound of the pitter patter of little feet above us, or three hundred pound insomniacs who pace the floor all night.
Due to the mysterious South Florida rental transaction or more likely a broken or misinterpreted invitation, we ended up on the first floor with the crackhead insomniacs above us. There was a domestic disturbance up there one night that really sent my husband into a funk. The tenant was a woman who lived with her daughter who got in a fight with her boyfriend (the alleged cigarette smoking door opener and closer). Objects were thrown and broken, accusations and threats were hurled, and the police were called.
We were housing hunting, that didn’t work out, but we have now found our way to the intracoastal and are moving on Friday to a top floor apartment. I can walk across the Intracoastal bridge to the beach. The pool has a water view, our deck has a garden view.
Yesterday and today I packed. I have also been writing a lot. I have 63,000 words and 142 pages. I’m almost there. My sister is reading what I have so far and likes what she sees. I am very excited about it. It is hard to take time out to pack and work. My walks have been brief; in the neighborhood, or to the recycling and trash center to get rid of things I don’t need anymore, although there isn’t much. I already got rid of most of my things when I left New Hampshire.
We are excited about being on the water, close to the beach. It is a short drive south along Route One to Atlantic Avenue in Delray or north to Lantana and Lake Worth. We are looking for a change in attitude, hoping we like living in Florida now that we are moving to a nicer location.
I am trying to recall the last year, all of the faces and all of the places, which haven’t disappeared because I’ve had the time to write it all down. I don’t ponder the decision to move to Florida, we needed to get out from under that old house. I had to escape the cubicle and so many nights I dreamt of the ocean, palm trees swaying in the breeze. So we changed our latitude to the tropics which begins in Lake Worth, just two towns north of here. Nothing remains quite the same, but if Rich and I couldn’t laugh about it, we would surely go insane.
So, if it suddenly all ends tomorrow, I will know that at least I tried to live life my way. Good times and lack of riches and sons of a bitches, I’ve seen more than I can recall. Yesterday’s over my shoulder/So I can’t look back for too long/There’s just too much to see waiting in front of me/And I know that I just can’t go wrong.
Thank you Jimmy Buffet, for the opportunity to riff on your lyrics and your always positive, inspiring outlook on life.