Just a few days after the bright blue back porch makeover, I picked up the phone and called my parents. They had just purchased a house in Arco, Idaho, and I wanted to see how that was all unfolding.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with the geography of southeast Idaho, Arco is a dusty blip of a town thirty minutes passed the middle of nowhere.
It’s far away from grocery stores and doctor’s offices and everything in general.
My parents fell head over heels in love with the view of the mountain RIGHT out of the front window. Now, to be fair, it IS a very lovable view, but along with that view came a house that was in need of a bit of elbow grease.
Midconversation with my mom, I found myself saying that I would go help them for a couple of weeks, and within 48 hours I had loaded the car with my chop saw, jig saw, air compressor, nail gun, paint rollers and any other useful item I had that I thought a fixer upper might require.
Off I went, the proxy for both Chip and Joanna Gaines. It was time for some demolition, rebuilding and color scheme choosing.
I dig these kinds of projects.
The month of July was spent renovating an old house with a timeless view. I used the sledgehammer. A lot. I knocked out fireplaces and hauled out brick. I lugged out 40 year old carpet and toilets and vanities. I textured walls and painted ceilings.
I got up early and worked late into the night. I took my vitamins and listened to Audible books.
It was about a week into the project when I realized that I felt better than I had in YEARS. I felt smiley and happy and energetic and strong. I felt capable and useful. I felt like Deb Evans for the first time in a very long time.
As my time in Idaho drew to a close, I was so delighted that I had finally found some vitamins that were really making a difference. I felt fantastic, and I looked forward to returning home to the many projects that needed to be done.
I made my way back to Oregon, carefully making a to do list the entire 12 hour ride home filled with all the things I was going to do now that I had energy to do them.
I pulled into my driveway late one Saturday afternoon after a month of being gone. I practically skipped into my backyard, so happy to be home again. The ripe cherry tomatoes bobbed next to the purple bandana bows. The red raspberries lingered waiting for me to return. The blackberries were just appearing. The green of Oregon washed over me, and it felt good to be home.
I, Deb Evans, felt good…to be home, to be healthy, to be alive!
And then it happened.
I spent the evening puttering around in the backyard and tucked myself into bed by ten o’clock.
At 4 a.m. I woke up shaking. I’d been home less than 12 hours, and the weight of inboxes and bills and large house payments and small bank accounts gripped my chest. The reality of my situation that I had so blissfully avoided for a month came crashing down on me.
I lay there in bed feeling the muscles in my neck tighten and the life, energy and vitality drain out of my body. By nine o’clock that morning I felt utterly exhausted. I felt empty and soulless. I felt like everything was too hard. I spent the whole day curled up in bed.
Now, having just spent an entire month wielding a sledgehammer and hauling heavy debris to the dump, I KNEW there was nothing physically wrong with me.
Having just felt so incredible, so energetic, so ready to take on the world, the difference was drastically evident.
Financial stress does that to a person. It drains the life out of even the most energetic go getter.
I am a strong and capable person. It’s not my first time trying to figure out how to pay the mortgage AND buy food AND pay teenage car insurance. It’s not my first time having to figure how to juggle all the financial balls.
Not to brag, but I am a skilled juggler. I know exactly how long I can go before the power company is serious about turning the power off. The ladies at the water company know this isn’t my best year and that I currently have more good intentions than cash.
I know the eternal, hold-your-breath moment after you swipe your debit card and before the word APPROVED appears on the screen.
This is not my first rodeo.
I have a fifteen year history of financial highs and lows, but it’s always worked out.
I have taken the road less traveled many times while raising my children and sometimes that road costs a little more than I thought it would and sometimes I just miscalculate and sometimes we go to China and Australia and haul a camper to every state in the country.
I’m not really known for being steady. Up or down. High or low. Rich or poor.
Lukewarm isn’t really my cup of tea.
But this time was different. I thought I had an ace in the hole. I have an escape room that brings in about half of the money I need each month. It was under contract to be purchased in May.
I’d held on and scraped by this past year knowing that the building and business would close in May and that would buy me a bit of time to figure out what I was going to do next.
Only, their financing fell through. After a year of creative juggling, I was quickly dropping all the balls.
So, after a month of feeling on top of the world and then finding myself instantly crumpled in bed with anxiety, not knowing WHAT to do with my house, with my bills, with my life…I made a decision.
I was NOT going to sink back to that dark place of the last two years. I could no longer stay paralyzed.
I couldn’t. I was out of time. Life demanded that I do something. Anything.
I decided to sell my house. I’d been holding on way longer than I should have. I didn’t want to move in the middle of my boys’ senior year. If I sold my house in this beautiful town, I would need to leave this beautiful town. And I didn’t want to do that.
I decided to liquidate my life. I decided to sell everything and rent a convertible and have a long road trip across America. I decided to make my way around Europe or take a cruise to Australia. I decided to trade in the house payment for a season of fun and connection. I needed some fun. I needed some people.
I needed to linger on the front porch of loved ones while we watch the sun go down and wander down the streets of Portugal to find a bakery.
I needed to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. I needed some adventure.
I’d had enough of this humdrum life. I’m too young to grow old in my house all alone.
I needed change.
Off with the shackles.
I decided to list my house for sale. List my building for sale. Sell my car. Sell my life.
I was ready to channel my inner gypsy. I needed people. I needed time to find myself. My purpose.
My shoulders needed a reprieve from the weight of financial strain.
So, I got out a pen and paper and started making a list of everything I needed to do to liquidate my life.
To be continued . . .