KVETCHING

condo1condo2Everything is fine. Actually it is more than fine. We have moved. We are in a wonderful new place. Everyone is healthy. Summer is great, weather appropriate for North Carolina. All is well, really. So, why am I an anxious, unsettled ball of mess?

 

Nothing is comfortable. I do not automatically know where the light switch is. I still cannot find any of my favorite and comfortable shoes, meaning there are no Birks, no Mephistos, and no Danskos (except winter clogs) to be found. Internet sucks most of the time. I have no printer in the office so must think ahead of all items needed to be printed and bring them with me. My office space is so small that if a dad comes along to a consult, it is hard to find hi a seat. I bought a folding chair. Sort of solved.

 

I think I have a form of houseselling/moving PTSD. There was so much sustained stress for so long, with house not selling, then selling, then not selling, then sellng. There was the getting rid of as much as possible, turning the walls, floors and furniture into a neutral land of beige, with the stager in command. Then, we packed, but then we unpacked when the buyers pulled out just days before closing. We resigned to staying, the house sold again. Change schools, no wait, don’t change schools. Call movers, no stop.

 

All the while, my lovely home office where I see mamas and babies, remained intact. I would not disturb that until the last minute. That was a fatal error. As a result, I ended up in a complete panic as the moving van arrived, with NO where to put all of my office furniture, breast pumps, nursing bras, rocking chairs, huge desk and more. I was literally running around Raleigh the days before and the day of, trying to figure out where best to situate my practice on a limited budget going from no rent, to rent! As the movers were loading, an offer of space came through at literally the eleventh hour. It was in Cary and I wanted to stay in Raleigh, but it is with a great practice, where I hope to see referrals. Meanwhile, I can’t find anything, haven’t make bank deposits, bookkeeping’s is a mess, brand new website is being worked on so there will be yet another unfamiliar item in my life. But, WHY am I complaining? These are not bad things.

 

As our household was leaving in moving van, I got my boys to jam my entire office into my minivan. We drove it all to the Cary office, where I am sure they thought I was daft as we crammed all furniture etc into this tiny exam room. I figured I could straighten it all out another day, but for that moment, it just needed to be somewhere. I have been there for about a week. Have seen only a few clients and they have all been my own, not referrals. Hopefully, that will change. I have a teeny, tiny desk that was my husband’s mother’s dressing table. But, there is a window and some natural light so that counts. It is quiet and I am amongst alternative healers which is nice. It will work out I believe, but in the meantime I am in new surroundings, uncomfortable, unsure, careful and cautious and that, is exhausting.

 

We are in the condo. It is a repurposed (such the 21st century word!) old textile mill from the 1800’s. It is quite cool, yet with its only three plus rooms and 18 foot ceilings, I am finding this 1600 square feet to be completely intimidating to arrange. I was completely obsessed for awhile, getting rid of every last smidge of corrugated cardboard. I barely slept as I unpacked until wee hours of morning and jumped out of bed early in am to continue. Often, when I unpacked a carton, there was nowhere to place its belongings. It didn’t matter. I could get rid of the box. Then, the clutter began. What to do with everything? My son, Nick came by and said it looked like “there was too much going on everywhere” and that stung. So, I became more obsessed with getting everything put away. Where? Shep added more shelves in the laundry room. Yes, we should have gotten rid of way more stuff. But, at the time, we never knew if we were coming or going, and I would have been damned to have another yard sale. I sold stuff like crazy on Craigslist, adding another new item about every hour. Sold the sofas, chairs, beds, rugs, washer, dryer, desk, windows and doors (bought for the house we were going to build, but didn’t, and more. At one point, I began giving things away or putting them on curb for free pickup. It was madness and it was completely exhausting.

 

And now here, I have a mishmash of what was left and what didn’t sell, like a tired dirty slipper chair and my old floral couch from my office, when it was big and roomy. At least we have somewhere to sit. I have no idea what kind of furniture to buy for this huge room or how to lay it out. This is new. I used to know how to do these things so well! Where am I? And of course, I am not one to walk into the local furniture store and choose a sofa. Nope. Now, that I know all that I know about the toxic chemical soup in sofas including the carcinogenic flame-retardants, this takes endless research instead. The twins have a loft room, so one is up and one is down. It was the biggest mess I have ever seen and while they were away, I decided that for 24 hours I would do nothing but keep opening the cartons that were piled up to the loft. Nightmare. In each box might be a sock, some electronics, some papers and notebooks from third grade, a few caps, some military gear, stuffed animal, books, underwear. In other words, it was as if they had swung their arms around their rooms, gathered whatever they reached, and threw it all in a carton. Clearly, they did this repeatedly box after box. I was stymied and did not know where to begin. But, I did, and about 24 hours later, I did in fact toss out the last carton, moved stuff around, got the futons put together and made some sense out of it all. I was thrilled but I knew that when the boys returned from encampment they would likely not care at all. They didn’t. Unfortunately, when they did return, we decided to hoist a very heavy cube table up to the loft, which slipped out of my son’s grip and landed full force on my head. My head, my neck, and my back hurt a lot and I dissolved into tears. Still am achy, but hopefully okay.

 

Our bedroom is now the host of the million ugly photo albums, which previously lived in the catch-all bonus room. It is my life’s mission to get those pix organized and attractive and to leave this as my legacy before death takes me. Not sure whether I will win that battle, but now that I awaken each morning to stare at them, perhaps I will move more quickly on that project. Our bathroom is stacked with all the framed art, posters, and photos that adorned every inch of wall space in our 2600 square foot home. I can hardly look at them wondering where to begin and really, we can’t begin until we get furniture and situate it all. The shower door came with the condo, smashed to bits, so no showers in there. Bathroom needs to be totally renovated anyway, so that’s all on hold. One shower in the house. But, that bathroom, has no working toilet. Needs to be fixed. The fan in living room is not working, nor is the light. There is no working air conditioning in our bedroom, needs a new thermostat. The lighting in condo sucks and with 18 foot ceilings, you need to get the lighting right, especially in kitchen. Last night we found out that the “broil” setting on stove does not work. The leg on the antique bench needs to be fixed. The rocking chair rocker needs repairing. The dresser needs to be refinished as it looks worn and still shows the vestiges of when one of the twins had what his brother called, “writing sickness.” That would be “writing on furniture sickness” to be precise.

 

Nothing is familiar or easy. And, I need to mention that in the midst of all of this, Shep and I attended a month long session of classes at Whole Foods on the Engine 2 Plant Based diet, which we ended up completely embracing. Food’s delicious, feel great, lost weight, cholesterol, blood pressure and all bad things are marvelously improved. But, this is yet another thing that has changed and there is no downing salmon or ice cream for comfort. It is ALL veggies, fruits, some grain, no oil and no sugar. Everyday is still a challenge in that it doesn’t come automatically and one needs to think about what to buy, how to prepare and what to eat. Thought, effort and intention required.

 

Internet is slow as shit. Tool bar on bottom of screen disappeared. Safari no longer working. Time Warner is only possible service and I hate them with a passion. Rip you off and give you crappy service. What a business model! No more cable but who the hell knows how to work Roku, Hulu and all these other new things I need to learn. Sorry, brain at complete capacity right now. NO room for ANYTHING new!

 

And then, there’s the old house with lingering issues. The bats found in fireplace still need to be remedied but you can’t fool with bats until after August 1, because they are busy having babies until then. Did you EVER hear of such a thing? After that, the entire damned chimney has to be raised and steel posts drilled 65 feet into the earth to stabilize because in fact, the chimney has moved a couple inches from house. This likely happened 30 years ago after it was built and who knew, but alas, these are the kind of crazy things that come up in home inspections. And, still waiting on the garage door replacement for the new owners. We broke it and we needed to replace it.

 

I just feel out of sync, all the time, sleeping, waking, and in between. A good cry seems appealing and yet, I don’t feel able to let go long enough to let the tears flow and this could be one of those long awaited cries that have no bottom which is scary.

The truth is, I have NOTHING to complain about including having no comfy shoes and no broom. I am not in Israel fearing for my life and as of this moment, have not been diagnosed with any cancers as my dear, dear friend was a few weeks ago and informed me of, yesterday. My problems are trivial and unremarkable and do not hold a candle to anyone else’s.

 

I just have to figure out where the light switch is before I leave a room, plan my printing ahead of time, wear achy shoes, and sweep with a tiny broom. It is okay. I am tired, very, very tired and yet, I am still so determined to get through this and make it all comfy and pretty, because, I believe that then, we can begin to live. But, you all know how that goes and it is not how it ever goes.

 

SELLING ONE’S HOME IN RALEIGH, NC

House outside summerOne shouldn’t compare different environments lived in at different times in one’s life. But then, one should really NOT compare one’s twin sons and their grades, abilities, leg and underarm hair growth, stature and dispositions. I do. I can’t help myself. So, tell me why – selling our home in North Carolina is so completely different than selling various homes we’ve lived in including Long Island, San Antonio,

One shouldn’t compare different environments lived in at different times in one’s life. But then, one should really NOT compare one’s twin sons and their grades, abilities, leg and underarm hair growth, stature and dispositions. I do. I can’t help myself. So, tell me why – selling our home in North Carolina is so completely different than selling various homes we’ve lived in including Long Island, San Antonio,

Hampton Bays, Southampton, and another neighborhood in Raleigh, NC? My goodness, in The Hamptons one could sell a hovel in a day! Location, location, location was the mantra and who cared what the house was like! Is it geography or have times changed to an extent where house buying is a whole other game?

 

One day in our previous Raleigh home on Mapleridge Drive, I tried to fit two “Exersaucers” into the kitchen for my then, four month old twins. They didn’t fit, or at least not if I wanted to be in the kitchen along with them. Probably, the most financially sound thing to have done at the time, would have been to have simply ditched the saucers and played on the living room floor with them. That house was inexpensive, fit most of our needs and though I never loved the neighborhood, it was really just fine and affordable. But, instead, Shep the house lover and part time realtor began looking for a larger home. We had three sons plus the twins at the time, so it needed to be BIG. He found a lovely home in North Raleigh, all decorated for Christmas. He came home and said, “Mooch, look at this house! Don’t you love it?” I did. Since the time that Shep and I first met there has been a part of us that has never matured or become particularly realistic. I mean, ”the dreamers” live on. Pretty much everywhere, we have ever gone, has lured us into thinking, “Hey, shouldn’t we live here happily ever after?” This has included St. Croix, Aruba, France, Italy, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Vermont, Grand Canyon, to name a few. It always includes million dollar NYC apartments! Anyway, back to the Raleigh home decorated for Christmas. It would normally be way beyond our budget but, because there were plans for an interstate in the woods behind it, the price was reduced and affordable. We brought our cherished friends, Lisa and Dion with us to help carry the twins around while we looked and it was love at first sight. They loved it too, lived nearby and pretty much said that we’d be nuts not to buy it. And so, we did. Being near them has always been a huge bonus, because they are our dearest friends!

 

Of course, when I say this, I recall how unrealistic I was at the time. The owners who lived here had no children and the house was decorated in a typical southern, pristine way. The living room was dark and masculine, the dining room had the requisite gleaming mahogany table, chairs and china cabinet, and the kitchen was beige and floral. There was an excess of upstairs walls that were painted pink and an extra two car garage in back, because the guy was a car collector. Add to that, a huge bonus room and three bedrooms and we were ready to spread our wings. And yes, both exersaucers fit in the kitchen!

 

My aspiration at the time was to “become southern.” I thought I could simply toss aside my born and bred New York roots and accent and become a sweet, southern, magnolia girl. Sure, I might get away with that if I never spoke again or reacted in my classic NY overreaction. And in fact, shortly after we moved in, I did in fact purchase an almost identical dining room set. It was walnut instead of mahogany but it certainly had that look. We also painted our dining room what I refer to as “Raleigh Red” to complete the image. For a while, we tried on the whole southern look, until I began hating it and the uncomfortable feel of it all. My old self cried out, “Hey, I’m still in here and still refusing to say, ‘y’all,’ plus, I don’t really feel comfortable or creative here.

And let me make mention of that famous “back garage” and how it morphed from a place for a car collection to at one time, the finest man/boy cave you ever saw, including a Rubbermaid bin turned into a tadpole aquarium, a television, Airsoft guns and targets, snacks, swinging ropes and more.  I would go crazy every time I went back there.  But, even more, the back garage became a resale shop. Beginning around 200o or so, we began holding a twice yearly kids consignment sale back there. Each sale became bigger and was used as a fund raiser for a La Leche League group I helped to lead.  We would raise enough money to send various leaders to conferences so that the mothers and babies they helped, benefitted from newly acquired knowledge. One fateful year, two weeks before the sale, my co-leaders decided that they wanted nothing to do with the sale and I felt stuck holding the bag for something that had taken on a life of its own. It was too late to cancel and I was deeply hurt by what felt like abandonment.  And so, my friend Lynne and I ran the sale on our own with volunteer help, newly acquired racks and lighting and the sale grew and grew and grew until it took over both garages, the driveway and the walkway.  It was a completely exhausting endeavor and Lynne and I would take weeks to recover each time.  It was a great concept, in that we were all recycling our clothes and toys and making money to buy new ones at the same time, so I am glad I had the space to offer this, but boy, I was also glad when it was done.

Another use for the infamous back garage were our annual Halloween parties. We invited hundreds, dozens would come and the requirement was to create a cardboard house and bring “non-candy” toys or goodies to give out.  We’d have a great potluck inside the garage and then, a parent from each family would go into the house they’d brought as the kids went trick or treating. Each year brought more elaborate houses and it was great, creative fun. But again, when the time came that my kids had outgrown it, so had we!

And not in the garage, but in our home, we have so enjoyed our annual New Years day potluck which we have been doing for over 25 years now. It is always a huge family party, with great food, sweet sentiments to bring in the new year and some of the finest, wittiest, most heartfelt grace and blessings said by our ever so dear friend and deacon, Jack Durant.  This house was a perfect party house, with a good flow and lots of space… I will miss that, but simply offer it again in our new quarters and hope for the same sweet time.

Gradually, I began to use my newly acquired accreditation as a board certified lactation consultant and I worked in the dining room on the formal table now covered with a custom made heat pad. The red walls became light blue and then lime green, thanks to my patient son, Nick being willing to paint over and over, along with Shep (who seems to love to paint??). I made home visits for lactation consultations and rented breast pumps out of the dining room. Then, I needed to carry parts for pumps, which began in small baskets, then bins, than an IKEA storage unit. One day I listed the entire dining room set on Craigslist and when it finally sold. In its place came a large desk, a scale, a sofa and chairs and I was on my way to creating what has been the sweetest place I have ever worked!

I love my home and have loved it for the 15 years we’ve been here. It became completely us in every way. For a long while, we rose at 6 a.m. every Saturday and never missed a yard sale. My friend, Lynne would pull into my driveway with her eyes half closed and say, “We must be crazy.” But off we went, list in hand, often finding that perfect chandelier, never wondering how it would get hung. So, a lot of our decorating was a collection of what we gathered, some of it treasures, some of it, not so much. It was eclectic and Shep, being the lover of bold and audacious colors – the house sure was colorful. Our hallway was Crayola blue-green and our living room was butter yellow with Periwinkle blue trim and fireplace. The kitchen was once a screaming yellow with royal blue wallpaper and then a softer green with no wall paper, because hey, “we stay current!” In wallpaper’s hey day, we used lots of that as accents. It was a wild and fun looking house and from comments each year at our annual New Year’s Day party, folks loved being here. I loved being here.

 

Our friend, Duff finished off part of the third floor attic, and we now had another bedroom. Each of our sons resided there at one time or another, as they became the senior-at-home-brother. Peter spent his three years at Raleigh Charter High School studying in his bed up there and on graduation day he said, “I am finally done studying on the third floor!” It was nice and private up there, though it lacked a bathroom and it provided a great space for many years, but it also has some wretched karma. There have been activities and illnesses and wrath up there, that I would just as soon leave closed and done forever, so as to wash those memories away with the softness of time passing.

 

Our oldest son, Nicholas moved out shortly after we moved in, as he started college the next year. And then began the bands of elementary, middle, high schools and college years one after another after another. I homeschooled the twins for pre-school and eventually started driving them each day to Montessori school. That went on for several years and was such a blessing. There were prom nights and learning to drive days and there were birthdays and anniversaries, first days of school, and Christmas mornings that were as lovely as imaginable. A few years back, we began our tradition of the Seven Fish on Christmas eve, so that has been a huge, delightful, hedonistic mess each year in the kitchen. Shep became the master chef of the family and each culinary delight only rivaled his previous meals, which always attracted a crowd. His dabble into business ownership related to his love of cooking ended up poorly and lost us most of the money we had ever saved, but it was through no fault of his own. I remember sitting up late on many nights, helping him create next month’s menu, including every adjective we could think of to describe a chicken, but in the end, his difficult partners and circumstances overrode all great food descripitons!

Shep Everyday Entrees

There were many runs to emergency rooms, and days in bed with flu or poison ivy. There was the building of the long awaited tree house, except that it had been so long awaited, the twins were nearly too old and had lost interest upon its completion! There were the lovely days when our friend, Lesley would come with her endearing British accent and take the twins out for hours, giving me a break of time that I might likely have never survived without. There was my mother’s foray into staying with us for a while, which was a completely predictable disaster. Her caretaker, Linda came along too, but my mother insisted on reminding me daily of her hatred for me. It was, shall we say, miserable.

 

Probably best of all, there were the meals and celebrations, always gathered at a round table, so we could see each other. I cannot describe to you how blessed I feel and how magical it is, to look from one beloved face to another, while sharing a meal. When it is the seven of us (with always the ONE, missing) and there is banter and laughter and some angst and competition, I am in complete awe, that this is MY family. The fact that I bore each of these children and that the most dear and wonderful man next to them is my husband and their father, is almost beyond comprehension to me. And then, many times, my sister, Alice and her most loved daughters, Katie and Maddie are with us as well, to celebrate. That then, adds yet another layer of magic and love and blessing.

 

 Christmas eve

Shep and I have danced to Billy Joel’s “I Love You Just the Way You Are” in the living room, recalling our wedding dance together. I have lay on the floor with Sam and Will and sung every Raffi song we could think of. I have sat in the recliner at 3 or 4 am and nursed the twins until they finally fell asleep. I have laid on the living room floor next to a sick kid on the couch all through a night. And for years, I would nurse the babies in bed, run downstairs and hop on the computer, only to run right back up into bed with them when they cried. When we finally couldn’t keep them in our bed any longer, they slept in sleeping bags next to our bed for a year or more. Once, when our son, Peter came home from Harvard for a break, he said he was going to call Social Sevices regarding us having our kids sleep on floor since he was sure they would develop scoliosis! We have planted gardens that failed and landscaped the backyard only to forget watering and weeding and have it turn back to a mess. We did it up nice once for a graduation party, but that didn’t last long. And I have pushed the swings in the backyard till I was weary, forgetting always about the rampant poison ivy around me. And then, I would watch my naked twins climb across the top of the swing set, with my heart in my mouth. Oliver would climb up on the kitchen counter whenever he came home from college and relate to me all that was going on. Once when there was a flying squirrel in the bonus room and Shep was away, I was shrieking and holding onto Oliver. “Be a man” I screamed, “Get the squirrel with this broom!” Terrified himself, and hanging onto ME, he said, “I’m not a man and so I am not getting the squirrel!”

 

And speaking of twins, oh my, they did some crazy things here! The building of the interstate began one day with the plucking out of all the trees, just like toothpicks, by some mammoth machine. We watched in awe. Well, for two year olds, this began a long phase of fascination. As roads began to be cleared and many machines arrived, Sam and Will took on the job of clean up crew each evening. Every night when Shep came home, they would gather up their brooms and pans and head out to “clean up,” sweeping up the debris left from the days workers. This also included many hoists up onto the parked machinery, which they loved. I never drive on I540, that I don’t think, “Hey, my twins helped to build this road!” At three, they became serious construction workers with hard hats and yellow vests and lunch boxes. Sam would go the back door with all his gear and say, “Bye wife, take care of the kids” and leave me chuckling. Sometimes, they became medics instead and took the old sled turning it into a stretcher on which was placed a very injured Will for Sam to tend to, while dragging it along. There was an intense Bob the Builder phase for sometime too. But, the really insane things included rappelling out of the third floor window when I wasn’t looking, tying a hammock up in a tree over 40’ high (which yes, they laid in!), digging a trench so huge and so deep under the house that the entire foundation became exposed. They basically “lived” under the house for a long time as they spent all of their days digging manically. Shep could NEVER find any of his tools, but sure enough, they would turn up in “the trench.” They strung a rope from the top window of the back garage to the bonus room window and were about to swing across when I caught them in time! The Airsoft gun phase was particularly disliked by me, especially when they put the lock on our new $2000 garage door to hide from “the enemy” and then hit the open button, twisting the whole new frame as it struggled to open! And then too, they were digging a huge hole in the woods in between our neighbor’s house and ours so that they could erect a swimming pool.

 Sam and Will NY 2010

And speaking of neighbors, this is the hardest part. When we first moved here, Shep and I were walking with the twin stroller and we ran into a familiar looking woman. When we got to talking and realized that she had been a deacon for a while at a church we attended and she then remembered that we were “the ones who had lost a child” we knew each other. Suffice to say, I don’t think I have ever had a friend quite like Nancy. Yes, Nancy went on to be the deacon at Church of the Nativity for several years while we attended there and she also lived right next door, making it easy to spend time together. She was also a hospice nurse, went on many a mission trip and retreat and loved to study Jung and Spong along with a myriad of others to help her learn more about what makes us all do the things we do and how do we realize we are loved through every moment of our lives. As she once famously said to me, “You can’t deal with someone else’s crap, until you’ve dealt with your own!” I have learned eons of soulful knowings from this woman, this dear friend of mine who has been a nurse to my sick children, to my mother and to me on numerous occasions and the confirmation sponsor for my twins as well. She teared up when they received their first communion as she gave them the wafer saying, “I feel like they’re my own.” Nancy is soulful and centered like no other and has the best sense of humor at the same time. (She arrived at our door dressed in black, mourning our leaving, which completely floored us, hysterically!) She can be irreverent and sarcastic to my liking but also be the most respectful and non-judgmental person which is a tough combination to pull off. Once when Sam and Will were in their “detective period,” they made copies of Nancy’s photo from the church directory and had posters with her face plastered around the neighborhood, that said, “Wanted!” Then, they spent time at her house putting her on trial with a stuffed Desmond Tutu doll as the judge. She has had grown children stay in her home for long periods of time which she has acclimated to, with complete grace, patience and love. Nancy is a listener of the best kind. She listens quietly but not silently, as you can count on a response filled with wisdom. We have walked together, we have shared tea and wine together and broken delicious bread or more often, Shep’s scones and biscotti together many a time. When I go to Nancy’s house, (many times in despair) I get to pick out one of her antique cups and saucers for tea. It just doesn’t get any better. Over the years, it seems that Nancy has gotten busier and busier and so have I, so we see each other a lot less. But, it matters not. We have always known that each other was THERE and that was enough. I only hope that I have been one tenth of the friend and neighbor to Nancy, and that we will remain friends forever, no matter that I am moving away. I will still always be THERE.

Nancy in black      Nancy and Shep

And now, as we have finally repainted the house beige enough, staged everything to Martha Stewart proportions, and fixed just about each darned, expensive item on each of two different inspection reports, we have about 24 hours left here. Remember that I mentioned how different it is selling a house here, in that everything must be perfect. Well, this was the thing that nearly unraveled Shep and me. Tomorrow, someone is coming to drill 65 feet into the earth to add bolts under the chimney that has shifted one inch over the 30 years of this home! The garage door panel is to be replaced. There were bats that appeared in the fireplace and we have to wait till August 1 to take care of them, until after “bat birthing season!!” But, the million little things and patches and fixes that have been required, have been astonishing. However, when all is said and done, though we lived here perfectly fine, warm in winter, cool in summer, protected and cozy, it seems we are leaving this house in much better shape than it has ever been in and sans color or personality and with brand new beige carpeting and newly painted “Killim Beige” walls. The new owners are a young couple, just starting out and I wish them all the best as they grow their family and feel the love.

Fireplace  1939694_5_3

 

As for us, we are moving onto a cool condo downtown Raleigh that is an old repurposed textile mill. No more lawn mower or weeding and no more maintenance on a home, which for Shep especially, will be a long needed break. I am the one who grew up in apartments, and have felt that home ownership was like royalty. But, Shep has been taking care of homes since he was a teen and it has been wearing. For me, it’s back into an elevator, for him, it is freedom at last.

 

I will miss my home office terribly and as I sit here in my pj’s typing, always glancing up at all the verdant greenery outside, my eyes fill with tears. I have loved working here, seeing the mamas and the babies, the worried dads and the thrilled grandmas. But, it will be okay and I will change once again and move onto to something easier or smaller, albeit, not as beautiful.

View from office

After being a poor “relocator” in San Antonio, Texas at the age of 28, who complained daily about missing New York, I have at last grown wiser. I know now, that I could live most anywhere, as long as those I love are nearby and I can see their precious faces on a regular basis. It matters less now than it used to, because I have learned that the love of my family and the blessing of waking up each day, is really all there is. And so I say, “Here we go, God, let’s roll.”