Years ago, before we had children, I had a real home office.
In that office, I had a beautiful solid wood desk, bookshelf, and table. There was a desk lamp and a floor lamp and an assortment of art pieces, hanging on the wall. There was a fax machine, a telephone and a 20-inch, flat screen, computer monitor. There were assorted office supplies and files. There were miscellaneous reports and journals that I had published over the years.
Everything was neatly stowed away and organized.
Today, that home office is now the boys bedroom. What had been our guest room, with a solid cherry futon, end table and coffee table, is now the girls bedroom. Our home office has been reduced to a computer hutch in the family room that holds our computer, critical paperwork and mailing supplies.
Once our children were born, we moved all of our excess furniture and equipment in to Charlie's office. In addition to our furniture, we moved all of our old school supplies. Our textbooks from graduate school, research materials from our Masters Thesis, and assorted diplomas were boxed up and stored.
But last month, when Charlie was laid off and his office was closed, we realized that we would need to make a decision about what to do with all of our furniture and supplies, both work and school, that we had accumulated over the past 20 years. We would need to figure out a way, somehow, to assimilate everything in to our home. This past week, Charlie began the process of moving all of these items out of his office, which will be closed soon, and in to our garage.
When we returned from our vacation to South Carolina three weeks ago, I was already starting to feel overwhelmed with our small living space - rapidly growing children - and assortment of things that I'm not yet prepared to get rid of ... but have no place to store.
Children's bicycles, in addition to our bicycles. Strollers. Toddler toys. An oversized wagon. An antique school desk. An heirloom doll house that measures five feet long by two feet wide.
Now ... add to that ... the equivalent of two rooms worth of furniture and innumerable boxes filled with reports and documents that are critical to our careers. I just spent the past four hours, filling up three trash cans worth of things I'm prepared to get rid of, and filling the back of my husband's truck - to the brim - with items for Goodwill.
But what about the rest?
Do we sell these beautiful and well made items, that I adore, for a fraction of what we bought them for? (answer: no)
Do we store everything in a storage unit and shell out $100.00 a month for an undetermined amount of time until we can use them again? (answer: no)
Do we leave everything in the garage and do our best to ignore the fact that you can no longer see the ground? (answer: no)
Do we sell our house and move to a larger house, even though we have no idea how much longer our careers might keep us in San Diego? (answer: no)
Do we count our four little blessings and focus on the fact that we are healthy, have a roof over our heads, food in our refrigerator and air conditioning on a sweltering summer day? (answer: yes)
Do we tell ourselves that we don't know the answer - soon it will hopefully present itself - and until then, it's best to pour ourselves glasses of lemonade and lay on the lawn with our children deciphering characters in the clouds? (answer: most definitely yes)
At the moment, Charlie is online looking at larger homes in San Diego County. The average sticker price is $900,000.00. To me, it seems illogical to buy an almost one million dollar house when the future is so uncertain. Or, to even waste time looking at such a purchase.
I'm ready to keel over from uncertainty.
Work is crazy busy and I've got a backlog at least four weeks long worth of things to get caught up on, since our vacation and my two-week trial. The house is a disaster. Last night was the first time I had mopped the floor in six weeks. I'm doing my absolute best to get caught up on paperwork, errands and shopping. People are calling and asking us to call them back and by the time we get around to calling them back, two days have passed and they are angry.
We have no idea what we are doing. We know we want and/or need to move, but we have no idea where. We have no idea when or how. From all accounts, my job will be gone in a few years - unless I accept a new one and a transfer. But who knows where that transfer will be?
Charlie just started a new company and will be signing his first contracts next week. But we don't know if we want to remain in San Diego. We don't know if we want to sell our house and move or rent. We don't know if we will sell everything and travel around the country. We don't know if we will homeschool our children or send them to Kindergarten, next year. We don't know if it's possible, or likely, that we will move closer to family.
We don't know anything.
Except that dressing up and pretending you are an adult is sometimes a whole lot more fun than actually being one.