Monday, October 1, 2012

Stupid Worries

Here's the beautiful thing that happened to me today:
I went to a Super Cuts (yeah, I know) to get my hair trimmed as it has not been touched by a pair of scissors since last December. I've decided to let it get as long as it wants but it does occasionally need trimming so I walked in to this place and a most beautiful, friendly woman put me in her chair and trimmed me up and we talked, the way you do, you know.
Her name was Iesha and she was the color of caramel and mocha mixed together and her smile and her eyes and her face were, well, she could have been a model. And she's the mother of a six-year old girl and she's going to school and she has a dream and plans and she wants to have a boutique where she sells clothes from all over the world. "Paris, Italy, Africa!" she said. And she will do hair there and she will travel all over the world and buy those clothes and when she talks about this place she wants to open, she becomes filled with light and I felt like she might just fly up and away right that second, when she was telling me about it all.
I thought about Gradydoctor and how she describes the salon where she gets her hair done and how white bread all the places I go to are, although I do love the little salon in Monticello where a sweet woman named Jessie has done my hair before. It's part of her house and her son comes in to help her wash up and stuff and sometimes he sits on the counter and I do feel at home there.
But anyway, this was Super Cuts but it turned out so sweet and Iesha told me that my hair is so beautiful and she said she could brush it all day and Lord, wouldn't that be heaven? After she cut it, another woman there French-braided it for me. And when I left, Iesha gave me the biggest hug and I just felt, well, damn. Like that's how these things should go.
And that was the beautiful thing that happened to me today.

I am still glowing a little bit from it.

But here's the not-beautiful thing that happened to me today:
My husband is upset with me. And he has every right to be.

We're really, really talking about building this house in Apalachicola on the lot we've owned for years and years and years. I mean, he's just about ready to truly and honestly begin and he's looking at house plans and last night every plan he showed to me I just flicked off with disdain without discussion and I was mean and I was pissy and I admit it.
And he was hurt.
And he is feeling like I don't want to move to Apalachicola with him and so what the hell? What the fuck? We've been talking about this for twenty years or more. And this afternoon, when he was all packed up and ready to leave to go to Orlando he asked me about it. He told me that he was upset. And I, well, I began to cry.

I AM having a hard time with this. And one of the main reasons is because I remember so well when Mr. Moon's father built his retirement house. He and my mother-in-law were finally, after a lifetime of constant hard work, going to retire in Florida and Paw-Paw was going to build the house himself with helpers and he did. In August. In Florida. He was staying with us and he'd come in every evening after working all day long and he'd sit on the end of the bed in the guest room right off the kitchen where I'd be making dinner and he'd drink a cup of coffee, waiting to take his shower and he was so tired he could barely get up and walk to the bathroom when it was his turn and it killed me to see him like that but he did it. He built that house and it was such a sweet house and they moved in and before two years were up, he and his wife were both dead.

Too early, too soon. I still miss them so much and yes, I guess I am afraid, even though there is no logic to this. None at all.

And. Well. As much as I love the idea of moving to Apalachicola because it is going to be awesome and there will be dolphins for us to watch right off our deck and dock and because we'll be able to walk downtown and get groceries and go to the library and bookstore and restaurants and because Mr. Moon will be able to fish in the rivers and in the Gulf and because it's a fishing village and an artists' colony, but...but.
I love this house so much. I have never felt this way about a house that I've lived in ever before. I wish I'd given birth in this house. I wish I'd gotten married in the back yard. I would not mind dying in this house. The years of it, its age, gives it a grace and a beauty I've never thought I'd experience in a home. Ever. And the very gift of living here sustains me. The walls embrace me and enfold me and the floors offer their old wide pine planks to my feet to tread and the hallway is perfect for music to be played in and this is where I have taken care of my grandsons and where my chickens live and where I have my garden and where these ancient oaks shelter me. I have planted camellias and palms and phlox and fire spike. I have planted a Buckeye tree and an Ashe Magnolia. I have transplanted ferns from the surrounding woods here. I have my porches. Three of them. Each of them perfect in my eyes. My writing room. The kitchen which has room for the kitchen hutch I've been toting around for thirty-something years. Billy and Shayla got married in my back yard. So did Jan and Jack. There has been magic in this house for me. It has represented every unspoken and even undreamed dream I've ever had.
This is not something I want to give up and Mr. Moon understands. He is trying to figure out how we can keep it so that we have a place here, too, near the children. Not that Apalachicola is that far. Two hours down the road. That's nothing. Leave after breakfast, get there before lunch. We'll be able to drive over on a Friday and pick up the kids after school and their parents can come and get them on Sunday. Apalach has parks to play in and quiet streets to ride bikes on and docks to fish off of. That, like this place, will be a sort of heaven for kids and the idea of being able to share that with them, let that be part of their growing up is a beautiful thing. But so is this house, in Lloyd.

And the final reason, the craziest part of my resistance, is the planning of the house. I am not a visual person. I can't look at house plans and see what the spaces will look like. And besides that- if this is to be our last and final home, I want it to incorporate all of the things I want in a home. And I'm not even sure what those are. And so, every time my sweet husband shows me a house plan, I freak. What if I agree to something and then I hate it? What if what I want is impractical? Too impractical for my practical husband (although he bought me THIS house so how practical IS he, really?) to agree to. And how do you make a new house a house where my funky stuff will fit in? My old Seminole Indian dolls, my aprons that I tack up on the walls? My Fridas, my roosters, my seashells? My beloved year-round Christmas lights? My madonnas and my mermaids? Okay, the mermaids will probably fit right in. But...the madonnas? If we keep this house, will I have to go out and buy all new stuff? How do I replace these comfort-totems?

I am scared. I am scared of change and I am scared of a Final House and I am scared of making mistakes. This house we bought as-is and it was as if it had grown here. Organically. Over the years. And in a way, it has. It rambles from the original structure to the added-on-through-the-centuries bedrooms and bathrooms. There are so many doors that I can't tell you how many there are. Open a door and you'll find a porch. Open another door and you'll find a different porch. I thread my way from kitchen to my bedroom many times a day through rooms and those porches and I can't recreate that. No one in their right mind would really want to. And yet, I love it so.

I swear, I wish that Mr. Moon would just build the house and not ask me anything. Just build it and then show it to me. Let me adapt myself to it as I have adapted myself to every house I've ever lived in. To learn and appreciate and work around the imperfections in design. And yet, no. That is not even vaguely possible. I MUST be part of the planning.

I think of the little cabin or cottage that my own grandparents retired in in Roseland. It was, quite frankly, primitive. A living room, a kitchen, a bedroom, a bathroom. Granddaddy built another bedroom, another bathroom, a wide front porch. But it was tiny. It was all they needed. There was the Sebastian River right across the street and they watched the sun go down over it every night from that porch, sipping their tiny ginger ales with a paper towel wrapped around them, held in place with a rubber band. The brickwork for the fireplace in the living room was part of the wall in the kitchen and that's where Granny put her spices, over the stove. The picture her son painted when he was a child was hung on the wall over her bed.
It hangs over the fireplace in my room here, in Lloyd, now.
Can we build a house in which that picture has a place?

Do I, at heart, not believe that I deserve a new house, built entirely for me and my life with my husband? Do I fear that I will not be me in a new house? That I will feel like an impostor, the way I sometimes do when I dress up and put on make-up?

I honestly do not know. But I do know that my husband deserves not only my support, but my enthusiasm too. Because we have dreamed this dream of a house on the bay together. Because we fell in love with Apalachicola together. Because we will live there together. So I need to get my shit together and figure out what I want and what I need. He knows what he wants and needs. He wants and needs tall ceilings and a Glen Den where he can go and watch TV surrounded by his deer heads and his mounted fishes. I get that.

And I guess, as a start, I need porches and I need a room with bookshelves. A kitchen big enough for the kitchen hutch and perhaps a table. And a couch. I have always wanted a kitchen with a couch in it. And wood floors. And plenty of windows I can open to the bay. And wide window sills where I can put my rooting avocado seeds and begonia plants.
There. That's a start.

But what I really need, above all, is for my husband to know I love him and that yes, I very much do want to spent the rest of my life with him. And if we have to redefine the space in which that happens, then I need to be onboard with it.

All right. That's it.
A hug and a future life-plan. House plan. Whatever.

The dolphins are waiting and as long as this woman has a gas stove and running water, she's pretty damn happy.


As my friend Billy would say.

Hell, I've lived in a house where I had to pump my own water outside with an iron pump that sounded like a dying donkey when I used it. I've lived in a 500 square foot trailer with a husband and two kids. What the hell am I so worried about?

Well, you know me. Everything.

I'm going to go cook a little piece of salmon and then I'm going to look at house plans online.

Thanks for letting me think out loud. It ain't nothing but the rest of my life.


Love...Ms. Moon


  1. Hmmm, I'm afraid I can't relate. At all. Maybe it is simply more than you need, especially when you already love where you live now.

  2. Where do I begin? First, Iesha. I love how you described her and I love that you saw her. I love how you always see everyone. It sounds like a real beauty shop moment. All you needed was somebody to come in selling peach cobbler and it could have been my beauty shop!

    And the part about Mr. Moon and you supporting him. I love that. I love that you worked through those feelings right here for all of us to read and think through with you. I love that you love him and that he cares enough about you to talk to you before leaving and not just huff away to Orlando. Because you matter to each other.

    Damn if I don't feel like I know Mr. Moon. Like if I saw him in real life I would come right up to him and say "HI BOP!" and then hug him and thank him for loving you. Because him loving you makes your writing so rich. Do you know that? It does.

    Damn. Did I just blog in your comments? I'm sorry, I thought this was the hair salon for a minute so I just made myself comfortable and talked to the sisters like sisters do. So that includes you, Sister Moon.

    Be easy. Be light. Be you.

  3. Rubye Jack- Well. There is that. Exactly.

  4. Recently my dad moved from Iowa, where he has always lived, to Arizona, and bought a home near my sister. It's in a mobile home park, but permanent, and when I first saw it I was SO depressed, thinking that this was his last home (the Final Home!) and that I wasn't ready to think about it. Then I realized that who the heck ever knows? I don't have a clue if that's his final home. It's his home now, and he has made it homey and he's at home there and that's enough for now. You will figure out what you want in the Apalach house and it will be good. You have a good start.

    Also I was just thinking about you because we had breakfast for dinner and I made my pancakes with grated apple, sliced bananas, oatmeal, and cinnamon in your honor.

  5. Gradydoctor- Mr. Moon adores you. He never comments but he reads. He checks the comments. I absolutely know that he allows me to do what I do. Always has, that man. He is my blog-enabler. And honey, you go ahead and give me what a sister would give me in the hair salon. Because what woman doesn't need that? Even an old hippie who gets her hair trimmed twice a year? And there is nothing Mr. Moon is loving these days more than peaches.
    So come on. Tell me. I love you.

  6. Oh Mary. I get it. This would totally and completely freak me out too. Love you, girl. It'll be okay. When you leap, all of us and all of your loves will come with you. You'll see. I promise.

  7. Maybe the problem is that this new house will be so "new". You have a love for history, stories, patina and wear. Maybe you need to consider building with reclaimed wood, or find a wonderful house of history near your lot and move it.
    Just a thought :)
    Love, Michelle

  8. Unleash Bop's awesome potential to build that house and just trust him. It's worked so far right?

  9. Oh man, I hear you on every point you raised. Change is HARD. Even when it's what you want, it's scary and hard. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that this dream is 20 years old, and is so deeply embedded as a dream, and not reality. That must be sort of surreal.

  10. Wherever you go, you will be you, mermaids, madonnas, aprons, grandsons, and all.

    I was actually thinking exactly what Juancho said. Mr. Moon knows you intimately and instinctively; I bet he will build you a home that will be perfect for you AND him. Just let him know you need a couch in the kitchen, lots of porches, plenty of room for children and grandchildren, chickens, and anything else you can think of.

    Otherwise, just tell him you changed your mind and want to stay in Lloyd ~ maybe build a vacation home in Apalach?

  11. Vergil was thinking the same thing that Michelle was saying- your new house will need some recycled materials to make it feel older. Like having driftwood incorporated into it and other found items. Well, he was saying more things about recycled items, but I think I may have zoned out.
    I would be freaking out too, Mama. This is a huge change, but you know your family (blog family too) will follow you where ever you go. Plus, I'm excited about the prospect of being down there to help you and papa out.
    I love you so much!

  12. Oh Mary I read this a d held my breath. The. I cried. And cried. And cried like something busted wide open in me.

    I wa t to lie on the couch In your kitchen and listen to you. My radical aloneness is sometimes a foreign house.


    Typoed on my ki dle

  13. If I had to move soon, I'd lay down and just die. Then again, if I had to move to Bora Bora or somewhere in the Italian countryside, I would light a match in my house and run.

    I like your think-aloud thoughts, though, and think that you'll come to some resolution/decision. It's always the presentiment, the undecided thing that blows, right?

  14. Honey, I know.

    The creak in the stairs, the kitchen counters I've wiped a million times, every wall I've painted, the garden I've tended...

    I know.

    XXXX Beth

  15. I figured Lily and the fam would just move into your place.

  16. Hmmmm. So much to think about here! It sounds to me like you're quite reasonably dragging your heels on a decision that could mean leaving the home you love. Maybe it's a decision that needs more thought and discussion. On the other hand, change can be exciting, invigorating!

    I can see why you'd have a visceral reaction about moving to your "last house," but as someone already said, who really knows if it would be your last house? The world works in mysterious ways!

    On the other hand, Apalachicola sounds great, but where you are sounds great too. Balancing the pluses and minuses in making this decision sounds like it will take a lot of thought.

  17. I'm sure Mr Moon understands why this scares you. It probably scares him a bit too . . .
    But you'll be fine, both of you, all of you. More than fine, mighty fine! And in another 10 years when you've swept and mopped those floor boards a few (!) times and it's smelling of Fabuloso (I had to check some of your "house cleaning" posts as I couldn't remember what it was called . . . I had a few laughs there-you will need a cupboard under the stairs!) where was I? O yes, in ten years . . . well, who knows eh? I know you'll both still be loving each other and that house, built with love, will be full of love.
    Full and overflowing x

  18. Maybe you could show him this post, or just tell him that you're afraid and why. He would understand and probably be able to come up with a way to ease your mind about it all.

    I totally get what you are saying though.. about committing to things and then being worried you may learn something new or whatever and change your mind and be stuck in what you committed to.

    You'll get there. Don't panic whatever you do. I've been doing a lot of that and making really bad decisions. sigh.

    xo m

  19. Dear Mary, I read this last night and couldn't respond right then, because I was on my kindle and I couldnt really type everything this post brought up for me on that odd keyboard. But this post is so wrenching true, so honest and plain, the way you go there, the way you just determinedly peel back the layers of what you're feeling and expose them to light. So there. And somehow I suspect it's not as scary as it was before you wrote these words down, and I love this process, this place where we can dive into ourselves, our very souls and share what we find.

    I did have another thought though, that maybe part of the resistance is leaving your grandsons, the everydayness of your connection with them now, not that you wouldn't stay connected but perhaps you worry that it would change things somehow, and it would superficially, but not deep down. Your bond with those boys is so deep and deeper every day.

    Mr. Moon might be the kind of man who needs this house, this PROJECT, to keep moving forward, to give a shape to things and so let him build it in that beautiful place you found together, but maybe, maybe, you can think of it as a vacation house at first, not a place you have to live in from day one. Would he be open to this? Perhaps over time you will spend more and more time there and as you put down new roots you will decide to call it your primary home. Definitely bring in the weathered woods and found objects, but I have no doubt that over time you will make that place just as loved and beloved as your current home, because it's who you are, it's what you bring to every space you are in.

    Still, don't give up your house in Lloyd just yet. Perhaps the move can be gentle and by degrees, and maybe knowing you don't have to move your life until and unless you're good and ready will help you enjoy the adventure of building this house together with that man who is so capable, so intent on making your dreams come true, this vacation home, possibly your next but not final home, and a house you can build as a legacy for your grandsons, who knows?

    In any case, I love what you wrote here. Every bit of it. I thought about it all night and woke up thinking how blessed you are to have this man who loves you so, and this family you don't want to leave and this house that sustains your spirit. You deserve it all and more.


  20. sorry i wrote a whole post in your comments, but of course, those are just my thoughts, and you and your love will do what makes sense to you.

  21. Oh, dear Mary. So much here. It's the hardest things after losing someone, moving house. You're right, it's a huge thing.

    How about you just tell him what you want, and trust him to put it all together?

  22. Blue Gal- One never does know, does one? Dammit. It's true. I'm glad your father has made his trailer homey and that he's happy there. And I'm also glad that you had pancakes for dinner. They sound delicious.

    Sara- I know I overreact to every damn thing. I always have. Even the wonderful things. Maybe especially those.

    Michelle- He's already talking about that. It is a wonderful idea.

    Juancho- Yes. Perfectly stated.

    Lora- That is part of it too! Exactly. A dream house is one thing but a "real" dream house? Very surreal, that idea.

    lulumarie- He'll build it beautifully. I know he will. And it will please me. And it will be a beautiful place to live. I'll come around to it. I know I will.

    HoneyLuna- Oh, me too! I'm excited to think of y'all coming down to help us. It is one of the sweetest ideas in my head, that dream-maybe-coming-true-soon. I keep saying, "Vergil will figure that out." Between your daddy and your man, it's going to be beautiful.

    Madame King- Maybe you will someday, sweetie. Maybe you will lay on my couch in my kitchen near the Apalachicola River, right where it comes out into the Gulf and you will listen to me and I will listen to you. Why not?

    Elizabeth- That image, of you with the flung match and then running, made me laugh. I adore you.

    Beth- Our houses are like our second bodies, aren't they? We grow so used to them. They house our souls, it seems.

    DTG- Schools. That's the big problem there. Dammit. But I do have four children...

    Steve- After twenty years, there can't be much discussion left- at least on the reality of moving there. And I DO want to do it. It will be so much more sensible to live where we don't have to drive everywhere. But yes, I am dragging my heels. And I want to stop.

    Bugerlugs- Thank-you. Those words comforted me mightily. Where there is love and Fabuloso, there is home!

    Petit Fleur- You and I both worry a great deal about making the wrong decisions. And I did tell him all those fears. I think he understands.

    Angella- First, never apologize for long comments. They make me feel loved.
    Yes, of course I worry about leaving those boys and who knows? Other grandchildren may come and then what? How can I be a part of their lives the way I've been part of Owen's life and now Gibson's? Oh god. It's like the empty nest fears all over again. Sort of. And you are EXACTLY right about Mr. Moon needing this project. He has been thinking about it and planning for it for decades. He is looking forward to it with all of his heart.
    Thank you for every word you wrote. You have given me much to think on, to consider, and have shed more light and I need it, need it, NEED IT!

    Jo- I think it is part of my responsibility for the shared dream to help plan. I do. Otherwise it would be too easy to come back later and blame him for what I might not like. Which would be so wrong. And unfair. And even cruel.

  23. Oh wow. I love you Mrs. Moon.
    You are beautiful.

  24. Every move I've ever made has been wrenching in some way. I have also loved each of my abodes.

    What's that I hear? I think the dolphins are calling you.


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.