it's been a rough week. things we didn't address in our last few weeks in PA are now perched immovably in the middle of the room, getting tripped over every time we turn around. they're very nice elephants, but they're taking up a lot of space. head space, heart space, conversation space. it's getting tiresome. and Michael's elephants appear to be distant cousins of mine (or entirely schizophrenic), and I thought we knew the same ones.
it's all a product of getting out like we did, which involved head-down slugging though boxes and lists, cranking the music, and avoiding the big conversations because if we didn't, we'd never get out the door. the door that was swinging shut thanks to weather and rent and the knowledge that if we didn't hang on tight and JUMP the trip would never happen. we jumped :).
one month later, we're still in Knoxville, staying with Michael's sister Keren and her husband Bobby, and not able yet to move on. the finances aren't quite there, the plans not unearthed that will give us the feeling that we've got enough figured out to make the next jump. it's a big tangle of faith and work, and the desire to work without being forced to pick jobs that can pay over jobs that can't. i can't articulate much more than that right now, the words aren't there yet, we just need to figure out the money stuff. every time we look at it head-on, talk about it, and try to tackle it, it seems to squeeze itself just out of the picture and into peripheral vision before we can pin it down. everything we run at is getting tugged just out of reach. not giving up whatsoever, just changing tactics and tackling the things we CAN do right now, like finishing up the laundry-room-to-sewing-room transformation, installing stuff in the camper, tracking down water pump issues, and getting out and about to see stuff around here and learn about TN.
... and you are perhaps still wondering what the title means? well, not everything this week has been hard and there are a few stories to tell.
first off, we went to the Ijams Nature Center on Wednesday, taking advantage of a rare non-rainy day that stayed well above freezing. it's just outside of downtown Knoxville, and has a couple old limestone quarries as well as lots of trails, river access, and a cute little visitor's center with pretty things like this lovely creature ...
we hiked, snacked, rambled, talked to a salty old fisherman who had the thickest TN accent we've yet encountered, realized that explaining who we are and where we're from/what we're doing is going to take some practice, took a 'shortcut' between two marked trails that involved scrambling up the nearly vertical end of one old abandoned quarry while following Douglas' lead, took lots of pics, and had a grand old time exploring together, without any agenda. it was a free day that was long overdue.
another delightful (to me!) bit of the week is Keren's ongoing battle with the boys over their use of the words "Duh!" and "Doody!", which is nearly incessant. i'm DELIGHTED to have help in this arena, I've been waging war on it for over a year now. they came up with the creature (with their cousin's help), and it apparently has a negative IQ, fights with green apples as its only weapon, and does everything wrong.
Keren's idea was to award kisses to the boys for each time she heard either word, and of course they were climbing all over her to get them each time they were promised. or not. then the other day fynn asked to have his nails painted, and she cheerfully obliged. douglas was watching, and she offered him the option of having his nails painted also, with the understanding that if he left it on for 24 hours, she'd considere it payment for the Doody talk, in lieu of the kissing bit. he chose the polish :).
another delightful interlude started thursday morning, with a frantic pounding on the front door at 7:30 am. (that's Keren/Bobby's front door, we've been sleeping in the house almost every night.) Keren went to the door and i could hear a man's insistent voice shouting something, and then the slam of the door of our truck. i got up, threw on clothes, and went out to see what was up. keren was trying to talk a half-naked man (seemingly wearing nothing but a bright pink towel around his waist) into getting out of Matilda's front seat, while he fiddled with buttons and frantically looked for a key, hollering about the need to "Hurry up and get out of here!!" i was fully awake by now.
i've had my moments in the last week of hurry-up-and-get-out-of-here-we-need-to-keep-moving-or-everything-will-fall-apart panic, but it never involved a pink towel, a delightfully earnest but entirely-tripping-out-big-time neighbor, or quite so much urgency and drama. and so it became a morning of the most entertaining sort.
he was convinced that a plane had landed somewhere nearby, and its wings were gone and the roof ripped open. he wanted the cops called, and insisted on it. he was seeing things either very sped up or slowed down, depending on the moment, and was deeply disturbed by it all. we all had to "Get Out! Don't you see that? Don't you believe me? The roof is ripped open!" i really should let Michael tell the story, as he ended up talking the man out of the truck, taking him home and talking to him, and chasing the three hyper little dogs back into the house every time the guy opened the door to ask "Why aren't they (the cops) here yet??", or better yet, to try to show Michael that when the door was opened, there were four doors instead of one.
the story kept changing. the downed plane was in the local park, and then it was his house instead, so we should "Fire up the Winnebago" (pointing at our camper) "and all get out of here! It's going to blow!" Keren and i watched from the sidelines, while Michael kept him occupied and we all waited for the patrol car to show. one finally did, and after asking if the guy was violent (Keren assured her not at all) she went in and took over. a 2nd squad car arrived, and then an ambulance, and they eventually escorted him (and his towel) into the waiting ambulance, and that was the end of the morning show.
it's been a rough week, but certainly not a boring one!