I've been falling down on the job lately. Not literally of course because to fall down and get injured on my real job is to come into the realm of the dreaded Medical Department and "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here". No, nothing physical like that. Just slacking off on blogging while all hell breaks loose around Old Drafty. It's never too peaceful hereabouts for any stretch longer than ten minutes anyway but this is real shock and awe. Suddenly, we put the house up for sale. Suddenly, we're thinking of moving. Suddenly, everything looks a whole lot different.
Things have been more than a tad hectic since we decided to put the big homestead on the market. Without going into all the details, let's just say this little adventure came out of the blue and we're still struggling to believe it might actually come to pass. Just when you think nothing else can happen...
We've lived in this monster house for twenty years or so and raised our kids here. It's the only home they've ever known but it's just getting to be too much for the old guy. The recent estimate I got for repairs on the roof (again) kind of took the wind out of my sails for the last time. It was a pretty substantial chunk of cash and even if I had it in my pocket, (which I don't), there's still everything else below the eves yet to do. It also dawned on me that I've got about 15 years to go until I'll be either retired or real close to it and frankly, I don't want to do drywall and plumbing until then...much less for untold years after I leave the right-side seat for good. It's time for someone else to have a go at the old chicken farm. My dearest wish is to retire and do things I WANT to do; not things I HAVE to do. Unless Bob Vila drops in with his checkbook and a boatload of contractors, there's never going to be an end to the fixing-up projects for me. With my lack of schedule and bizarre working life, I could quite possibly tinker on this place until I die and still not have it all done. Reality sometimes sucks but there it is.
The illusion of all twenty-somethings that life just goes on and on over the horizon has sort of faded for me as most illusions will. These days I'm thinking more about the end of things and watching the clock. There comes a point where you have to quit kidding yourself and face the fact that you will most certainly not live forever. I think it's time to look down the road with different eyes.
The kids will probably be out and gone sooner than later and when they pack out to homes of their own, it'll be just Chris and I rattling around in this three-story-endless-renovation project. We've poured a lot into the place over the years but the long and short of it is that we're getting older and time is starting to look more and more like a finite commodity. There's a limit to how much I'll ever do unless my sulfur-water well suddenly becomes the fountain of youth or an armored truck pulls up and just happens to unload pallets of money on the porch. Do I really want to be hanging sheetrock and pulling wire when I'm about 90? Not if there's any way out of it I don't.
I realized a while back that I've been working since I was about twelve in one form or another which translates into almost forty years of nearly continuous employment so far. Not that I'm complaining but its been a pretty long haul. I've still got half a career with the railroad ahead of me so I'm not ready for the rocker quite yet but at least the end is in sight. When I do finally get to the end of it, I might just want to sit on the porch for a minute, sip a beer and think things over instead of installing a bathroom. I might consider mowing the grass eventually...or I might toss a neighbor kid 20 bucks to do it while I have another beer and supervise. Who knows? There may be grandkids to wreak havoc with by then. There's always the original plan Chris and I have for our retirement...two full-dressed Harleys, an offshore bank account for my pension checks, summer clothes in the tour-packs and no forwarding address. One way or another, my days of fixing it up before it falls down will be over.
Yep, the house is for sale and I hope the payoff is more than just an end to the mortgage. I hope it's the life we've worked so hard for all these years.