NOTE: THIS IS THE FIRST OF A 3-PART SERIES, ENCAPSULATING THE PAST THREE YEARS OF LIFE. Enjoy the journey as you hear of the ups and downs of life with the McAllisters. It’s a journey which brought my blog to a screeching halt a few months ago, and it’s the beginning of many more blog posts ahead, now that this crazy stage of life – for us – is history! Looking forward to what’s ahead! Hope you are, too. 

PART ONE: He’s baaaaaccccckkkkk!

He’s back and we’re celebrating the end of our commuter-marriage. Not the end of our marriage, but the end of his three years on-the-road and the end of my three years on-my-own.

Married life is full of unexpected twists and turns. We’ve all experienced them. Happy days mixed with in-the-doghouse days. Miraculous moments blindsided by stress-filled days. Tragic times. Glorious times.

There are no guarantees in marriage – just days filled with promise as we continually choose to see life through the lens of another person with whom we’re uniquely paired. It’s our ‘til-death-do-us-part’ life together.

When Jim and I got married we had no idea the ups and downs we would encounter, but we were intent on crossing that finish line together. We’re not there yet, but we certainly have fewer years ahead than we do behind.

Interestingly, at 47 years into our life together, we have just endured one of the most difficult stages of our lives. It’s been intense and we celebrate that it’s over.

When my 60-something husband and I (also 60-something) began planning for our next 60 years we had no idea how intense that journey would be. Our transition included a ‘marathon move’ and a ‘long-distance marriage’ which spanned three years.

For nearly 33 years we lived in the same place. It’s where we raised our kids and some ginormous gardens. It’s where we loved and lost many a fur baby. And it’s where we became empty-nesters as our kids began adulting.

We loved our peaceful country home, but I was ready for small-town living. Jim consented if, and only if, we found a house that suited me with a shop that suited him. That’s a pretty tall order so when we found it, we snagged it. We bought it. Our move began – to small-town USA, just 35 miles southeast of our rural property.

Creative financing became our new best friend via a bridge loan. No, we weren’t buying a bridge, but we were making it possible to move over time while owning both homes and paying only interest. Our bridge loan gave us six months to move to our new-to-us home and to sell our country home. The proceeds from the sale of our country home would be applied to the bridge loan, then we’d secure a traditional mortgage for what remained. It sounded so easy but what made it intense is the bottom line – we owned two homes.

Actually, three. Let me explain.

Ten years earlier we bought a waterfront getaway – our little piece of paradise. Now don’t let my well-crafted spin fool you. It was no more than a 600-square foot fixer-upper on the edge of an abandoned sandpit in the middle of land-locked Kansas. Much blood, sweat, and tears (and a lot of money) went into renovating it, and it was truly amazing – a beautiful place we loved. We made millions of great memories at #13 Timber Lane with our friends and family however, our labor of love became a burden for Jim.

Our cabin was nearly an hour from our home, and without fail, when we were there, something needed to be mowed or fixed or finished. Jim was burned out and hated to even go.

We realized our plans for the next sixty years didn’t include that cabin but we had projects to finish. Then, we’d clean it from top to bottom, move out, list, and sell it before having to do the same process at our home in the country.

The physical act of moving is just plain hard even when you’re young, strong, and energetic. Add a few decades, minor aches and pains, and you’ve got a much more difficult task. Then, further complicate the move with multiple homes and 33+ years of accumulated stuff.

Stuff that hadn’t seen the light of day for decades. Stuff you forgot you had. I was beginning to think my stuff expanded as I’d pull it from every nook and cranny. Every cabinet, drawer, room, and closet. Every attic, garage, and even a 30×90 shop. Expanding stuff, and expanding stress. It was intense.

We rented a 6-yard dumpster at our country home and filled it up as we sorted and packed. It was unending. We moved some essentials to our new-to-us home, and soon started living there, but we were back and forth quite often between the two homes.

Our new-to-us home had several features we were excited to have; a second bathroom and a third bedroom, an extra unattached garage AND metal building in the backyard with alley access. Enough room, right? Wrong!

Early in our move Jim decided our new-to-us shop was NOT big enough. He was overwhelmed and so ready to move back to the country. The marathon move had begun, but stress was multiplying.

Could we navigate through it?

I wasn’t sure, but we were in it now.



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