Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been!

Hi! It’s been a long time since I abandoned this blog and I’m not quite sure where to start again. I guess I should start at the beginning and see what happens. Or, start at what I thought was the end… semantics… anyway, here we go. 

At the end of 2012 I was tired, burned out, and overwhelmed. I had to let the blog go to focus on other things, and I’m glad I did. It had become more of a burden than a pleasure; I had the feeling that I was working my butt off to come up with interesting posts and not getting much in return. After all this time I realize now that it’s about the writing, not about the reading. It’s a perk to know that people out there in the ethers enjoy what I write, but I understand now that’s not what it’s about. 

2013 was a hell of a year.  At the end of January my property flooded and that scared the crap out of me. I was sure the water would get in the house, so I threw some things in the car, stuffed Lola into her carrier and drove to my neighbor’s property on higher ground. It was too late to drive across the bridge. I stayed in the car for 5 hours (with Lola yowling the entire time) until the water went down enough that I could get back to the house. No water got inside the house, but my front yard and driveway were washed away.  Many hundreds of dollars’ worth of gravel later the damage to the road and around the bridge was repaired and I had a guy dig some ditches to drain the water from the front yard.  Then, it happened all over again in July. Who knew rocks could be so expensive? The gravel/grading guy said “The rocks are free but it’s expensive to get them out of the mountain and over to your house.”  

Every time it rained I was afraid it would flood again.  These fears brought to the forefront just how isolated I am here, how increasingly difficult it is to keep up with things by myself, and how it’s almost impossible to find anyone to help, even if I offer to pay them.  I have one neighbor who used to help me all the time, but he’s been laid up with a couple of surgeries. The other neighbors are either too busy or incapable of understanding the meaning of being a good neighbor and doing someone a favor.
The combination of fear, anxiety and no support system led me to decide that the best thing to do would be to sell this property and move to a better location that wouldn’t terrify me if the skies turned dark.  At first I pondered moving off the mountain so I could be  closer to family, but I realized that (1) they’re all so busy they wouldn’t know I was there, (2) all my business relationships are here, and (3) my small group of close friends is here. I decided to stay in this area, but find some place out of the flood zone. And, it's just so GORGEOUS here!
I spent a large portion of the rest of the year purging, cleaning, painting, repairing and generally getting the house ready to put on the market.  I’ve been here 12 years and it’s amazing how much one person can accumulate. Lots of it went to the dump or to Goodwill.  All with the goal in mind to list it in the spring. Like now, but it hasn’t happened.  After looking online for months I’m disappointed to find that there’s nothing on the market that I even want to go look at, much less move to. Right now I’m too chicken to put this place on the market and risk having it sell when I don’t have even a clue as to where I’d want to end up, but that's what I might have to do.

There are so many factors to consider and it's stressing me out. I thought about getting some flood insurance and sticking around here for awhile, but I found out that it would cost me $1,000 to get a Certificate of Elevation from a surveyor, a document required just to get a quote for flood insurance. So now I feel trapped, too.

The beginning of 2014 has been strange. First, several appliances crapped out on me. The dryer had to be repaired, the washer had to be replaced and the furnace blower motor quit working. That took nearly two weeks for the part to arrive, and luckily I have gas logs that kept the house warm.
I usually spend the winter months in my studio building up my inventory for tourist and show season. This year I lost my mojo. I couldn’t work. It’s happened before but has never lasted this long and I’m starting to get worried.  I tried several times to force myself, but nothing would come out. I crocheted an afghan that kept getting bigger and bigger until I ran out of yarn after about a month. I packed up a lot of things in my studio in anticipation of moving and sold a lot of supplies that I knew I would never use.  I binge watched “Breaking Bad” and “Orange is the New Black”. I tried to trick my creativity by imposing deadlines. I solicited advice from fellow artists and received lots of tips for jump starting things and lots of opinions as to why this was happening.  Nothing worked until recently, but that’s for the next post.

So, I’m back. I feel like I took a detour and wound up right back where I needed to be. No promises as to how long this will last or how often I’ll post here, but this is the start of something new and right now I’m excited about it.


Alice Walkowski said...

Good to have you back Zoe. Hopefully things start working out for you. You could always move up North. I know you have relatives up North and Oil City is a great place for artists. Check it out and see what the Arts Incentive program is all about. Just google it. Lots of good people here. We would love to have you. We have beautiful rivers and mountains and trails here too.

Zoe Nelson said...

Thanks, Alice, for welcoming me back! I'm a Southern Girl. We sometimes get bad winter weather here, but nothing like what happens where you are. I don't think I could handle that!