The view of the sunset over the southern Rockies from the dog park of the KOA in Colorado City is spectacular. I spent almost every evening out there with Ridge and Summit, for the better part of three weeks. Sometimes I’d bring Chels, sometimes the kids. It was a quiet moment of colorful magic, and a respite from the constant gnaw of worry.
For the first two weeks Chels and the kids headed into Pueblo to do some exploring. I spent my days holed up in the camper, obsessing over our next move. My optimism faded long ago and the tack of my attitude needed constant adjustment.
Everything hinged on August 13. On that day we would know what fate awaited us. At the end of those two weeks we figured we could do one of two things. Either stay in Colorado and begin establishing ourselves or return to Oregon and resume our previous lives there.
From a distance now, those two weeks are a blur. I have been in many crises before, but it’s different when you’re married and responsible for children. I had to accept the fact that, ultimately, I had no control over the outcome of our situation in Arkansas, and therefore what lay in store for us in the immediate future. But I did my best to dance with the mystery.
Dance with the mystery. Who am I kidding – that’s about as real as non-clumping toilet paper. The truth is I did my best to be stoic, but there were cracks. My jaw was still out of place. Sleep became a joke. When we first started our journey, I lost ten pounds from chronic stress diarrhea, but I quickly gained it all back by indulging my love of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, claiming them “survival food” just to “get through this situation” and once we had some sort of direction I’d get back on the Paleo Diet and resume my Intermittent Fasting, right?
According to Chelsea, she received a text from our realtor Marcie the minute the buyers signed the closing docs on the Arkansas property at 9:47 on Thursday, August 13. When Chelsea informed me, I had her repeat it. Before she was done informing me the second time I had an NDE.
Within hours we were at the title company in Pueblo, signing the closing docs on our home there.
We finally landed. A bit of a crash landing, but we landed safely just the same.
I backed the caboose into the driveway, and we moved in. Well, moved in with what we unpacked from the camper. Our possessions were still stored in Oregon.
After a week of relief and beginning to arrange our new lives in Colorado, Chelsea began to “encourage” me to retrieve our things as soon as possible. I was in no hurry – basking in long hot showers in my full size bathroom, meditating on the flush toilet with plumbing I no longer had to mess with, privacy from the neighbors . . . didn’t bother me we were living like the Swiss Family Robinson, rescuing items from our shipwrecked camp trailer, the kids sleeping on cots, Chels and I sleeping on the thin mattress we salvaged from our camper bed, the only other furniture being five camp chairs. I was considering scavenging the dinette and vinyl loveseat from the rusty innards of the beached caboose, putting off the headache of having to close out our lives in Oregon and return with all our crap. But in less than two weeks after moving in, I was on a flight to Medford.
I cabbed it to my friend’s house in Eagle Point. He and his folks had just returned from Portland where they had been for a few days because Diego just had a minor surgical procedure. His folks had come to help him recover for a couple days. He and I go way back, over twenty years, so I know his parents well. It had been a long time since I’d seen them, and it was good to catch up.
After a weekend of Norma’s homemade tacos and enchiladas and packing the moving truck, Diego’s parents had to hit the road back to Fresno and I had to hit the road back to Pueblo. “Via con dios, amigo,” Diego said as I pulled out of the U-Haul parking lot.
I was so stoked to start the next chapter of our lives I made the 1350 mile drive in twenty-one straight hours, only catching four hours of uncomfortable sleep curled up in the cab of the truck at a rest stop along the interstate. But I made it home.
And like they say, there ain’t no place like it.