I'm back in Iowa...again. I think this is the fourth or fifth time I've gone back and forth this month. People here are asking, "So when are you leaving for good?" Not in a bad way -- I think people are trying to fit in one more dinner out, one more long lunch, one more happy hour, etc. I don't get the sense that my friends and family here are sick of my couch-surfing and my determined efforts to empty a few more wine and liquor bottles before the final move. If that's how they feel, they are terrible actors.
Anyway, I leave "for good" on Monday. I have one more family Christmas this weekend, in Northwest Iowa. I'll return to Waukee early on Sunday, pack up, get someone to come take away my living room furniture (I think I'm going to post a Craigslist or Freecycle ad), and ready myself to make the 930-something mile drive one more time.
It's weird packing things up and emptying the house. Dad and I already took a moving truck of stuff to Austin -- all the furniture from the master and guest bedrooms, all my kitchen things, the dining room table, etc. I've driven down again, with another SUV full of stuff, including my little keg fridge that has a perfect spot already in the new place! My dad came to the house today to get some things that they are going to store for me -- patio furniture, grill, lawn mower, furniture from the bar, the actual bar and barstools from the Boka Bear Den, etc. It's looking pretty bare here, and it's been weird...and sad.
I think it will be really hard to see the living room furniture go. It's not in the best shape, and it's all hand-me-down stuff, but right now the living room is the only room in the house that feels remotely normal -- aside from the bareness of the built-in shelves, piles of CDs on the floor, the stereo set on the fireplace hearth, and the fact that the TV that is hooked up is the "wrong" one, it feels somewhat like it used to, when it was the setting for nights spent as a happy family with Brian, Picaboo, and Ellie. I will forever miss sitting on the couch, Picaboo cuddled up, seeing Brian in the recliner with Ellie, who was always a daddy's girl. When this room is emptied, it will be one more visual reminder that those days are forever gone, that that life is over.
Already, the dining room is empty. No table, no wine rack, no funky rug, no paintings on the walls. Dad took away the rug and the kitchen table (which, with the leaf in it, served well as the de facto wine club table for the last month) today. Now, when you walk into the house, it looks bare, empty. A nice house, to be sure, but not teeming with the same energy and life it once had.
Well, I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll have more to say about that when I'm really, truly gone, when I've completely emptied the place, when I'm "gone for good." But I can already see that this will be an emotionally difficult thing for me, that the 13 hour drive doesn't sound as daunting as the thought of turning around to lock the door to a completely empty, vacant house.