Saturday, January 23, 2010

Waiting and Marking Time

As dawn came sulking in on Thursday morning, I realized new snow had sifted down during the dark hours.  I had been in the living room reading, a circle of cats around me, during the night, but there was no sound of wind to blow the snow against the windows. We had a few days of warmer temperatures and the old snow, too long with us, shriveled and receeded in sunken, grubby layers.
The deer have circled the dooryard, making fresh trails of pointy hoof prints in the new whiteness.
The photo above was taken late on Friday afternoon.

This was taken Saturday morning just as the sun opened one eye to the east. Sunrise was a pale peachy band of light quickly swallowed up in a grey sky. The foothills to the west have been swaddled in hovering gloom nearly all day.
I took this photo with the camera on the "night snapshot" setting which intensified a slight blue shadow and smoothed out the contours of the snowy yard. It was too cold on the west porch to fiddle with settings and try for a more realistically colored shot.

Back in the house I aimed the camera through the relatively clean window to record the clothespins bobbing on the line and the gnarled fingers of ice clutching the porch roof.

Raisin, the spoiled, beloved, bulemic cat-in-charge.
I have been researching special feline diet foods with the help of Heidi.  Yesterday J. and I ventured into the Wind River Mercantile and I handed over the proceeds of several hours quilt making hoping to present something that her majesty will eat and keep down.
In addition to regular "pukey days" Raisin has taken the notion that whatever meat is on our plates is surely more appealing than whatever has been offered to her.  As J. says, she prefers her steak medium done with sauce!

I've worked on quilt orders at home this week. Jemima keeps me company but gets easily bored. I love those plush brown paws curled over her nose.

The house we live in has been listed on the market for nearly a year.  During that time we have had two or perhaps three rather lackluster showings.  When the Baldwin Creek spec house finally was sold after months of delays, negotiations and head-banging frustrations, J. concluded that this was no time to continue in his trade of house building.  During better financial times we talked of selling the house we live in and building a more modest one, a "keeper", on the lot across the small pond. We told each other rather complacently that we would have sufficient funds stashed away to live comfortably and J. would build another spec house or two at a less frantic pace than usual before succumbing to full retirement.
The downturn in real estate was slower to strike oil-rich Wyoming than in other areas of the country, but it appears to be entrenched, particularly for the upper/middle price range homes we have been building.
I have felt that we had few options beyond gritting our teeth, tightening our belts and staying put.
When J, prompted by son-in-law, began investigating attractive rural places where we might "retire" and put our funds to best use, I said, "Right!  You're asking for a miracle--sales of land, a house, motor homes and equipment, in the dead of winter in a depressed economy."
I beleive I was wryly challenging God as well as J.  I have to state that God has a sense of humor!  J. sold two motor homes in less than 10 days.  Tractors, equipment, and small trailers which have been lined up for months with "For Sale" signs have attracted buyers, and last week we endured 4 house viewings in 24 hours. [If God or anyone else thought that amusing, I, as chief house-cleaner-in residence did not!]
The upshot is that the two couples who each came back for a second viewing wanted the house and we have signed a contract with the first ones who offered.
So now we begin to skitter down the usually bumpy road of a sale closing.  If everything goes smoothly [it usually doesn't!] we could be homeless in 30 days--if there are delays we might still be in the  house 60 or even 90 days from now.
At what point does one pack all but two plates, two bowls and two mugs? The books--where will I find enough boxes for the books?  How will I ever sort all the STUFF which was plonked in the storage shed nearly four years ago?  At what point are we sure enough of our available funds to make an offer on property in the desired "new" location 1500 miles away?
Rhetorical questions all, and no doubt God is biding His time with an anwer we haven't guessed.

I think I would be wise to start packing. If there are delays the cats will enjoy climbing over and into boxes and helping me to haul half-forgotten belongings from the depths of closets. Daughter's suggestion is that we relegate most of our worldly goods to the dump. I don't think so!
Our family gatherings often turn to remembrances of what are fondly called "typical Whitehurst journeys"--replete with details of blown tires on over-loaded borrowed trailers, transmissions which gave out on the great plains, hysterical memories of the cafe in Nebraska where the waitress mixed up our orders and kept appearing with forgotten side dishes. Of such are the family chronicles written.

I count the vehicles which have to be driven across the country, all the bits and pieces that must go with us.  I picture the cats, stowed in the motor home with mournful furry faces pressed to the windows.  Shall we tie the horse to the bumper?  Who will be rounded up to be part of this ludicrous convoy?
I daresay we will survive this upheaval one more time.  Where ever and when ever we go, I can think of reaching the destination and hauling my battered armchair from the depths of a van, unearthing the mugs, the tea and the kettle, flopping in triumphant exhaustion while the cats prowl the corners of a different house and the old horse explores a strange and greener pasture.


  1. Well, it's certainly all happening at once in your house! I'm glad it's all come right, and I hope you will soon find a lovely spot to put down some retirement roots . . .

    Glad to report no more snow, so we are Green here again (Wales, being on the West coast, gets the rain before anyone else does!)

  2. Hullo MM,

    Congratulations on the house sale. No doubt it's a double edged sword despite the opportunities it will hopefully open up for you.

    It sounds so alien to be considering moving 1500 miles, and esecially to still be in the same country. You will be following an old American tradition of packing up and moving on to hopefully greener pastures for you and the family { and Pebbles}.

    I hope it brings all you wish in a timescale that suits.

    kind regards....Al.

  3. BB; Our most recently past real estate transaction leaves me hoping that this one has "come right"--time will tell.
    Al; If this goes as planned we'll be doing the reverse of the great American movement, because we'll be returning to an eastern part of the country.
    All good wishes, prayers, and encouragements gladly accepted at this point! [We haven't told Pebbles yet, though we have mentioned possibilities to the cats!]

  4. Gorgeous photos, as always! Have you had Ms Raisin's kidneys checked lately? Hope that's NOT what is causing her vomiting....but it could be. My Fuzzy (the big hefty longhaired black and white kitty) actually has a delicate digestion...he's on Prozyme Plus which is an enzyme that seems to really help.

    Amazing luck with all of the sales!...but i know enough about real estate to know that your buyer might not qualify for a mortgage or the sale's contingent on the sale of their house or any one of a number of variables...even if it goes through o.k. (and of course i hope it does!) you might be able to rent the house back from the new owners for a while until you're ready to move. Good luck!

  5. I love the picture of you surrounded by a circle of cats. But moving? -- with all your animals -- can't imagine that. Oh dear, I'm glad it's you and not me. You must have a very flexible personality. If Bailey were a bit more accommodating I'd offer to look after your cats until you settled in, but his majesty is so territorial I'm afraid that just wouldn't work. It wouldn't work for the other "his majesty" who returns Wednesday either. He does kindly tolerate my love of animals but only one at a time.

  6. Chris; I married into a galavanting family--I suspect one adjusts or one might be left behind! Our three older cats have been in three houses with us in the past 6 years--the younger ones will have their first experience of moving.
    QC; Raisin has had a "delicate digestion" since kittenhood--she was the runt of a large litter and has always gobbled her food as though it might get away from her. I'm hoping the pricey new diet may settle well with her.