There is an odd sort of disconnect this week between the environment in which I've spent my days and the one in which I've spent my evenings. It stands to reason, since the two environments are more than an hour and a half's drive apart, but still, the dissonance is staggering.
First things first. I am buying a house. This is especially significant if you refer to this post, in which I list the 42 (it's now 44, though) places I have lived. Owning a home will mean that number 45 (actually, 46, since I've got to find a place to stay next week) will likely stick. At least for a while. And my number might not change so quickly or so desperately as it has in the past.
This little house I'm buying from a family friend is precious. It's a small, sweet two-bedroom house with a quarter acre yard for the dogs to play in.
But once we started cleaning up the yard and hauling trash out of the living room, we learned that the people who used to live in this house lost it because of personal problems. And some of the neighbors aren't happy about the change.
Not that I'm happy about the change either -- at least, not the part where someone else lost a home. But my mother's earliest memory is of her mother sneaking her out the back door of their former home while the new tenants moved in the front. On my birth certificate, my address is simply listed as "General Delivery, Mt. Nebo, W.Va." I have been evicted from trailers without plumbing. I have pulled my panicked cat out of a gaping hole in a hotel wall on a school night. I have shampooed my hair in the Summersville lake. I have lived 44 places in my life and I want to go home now.
All of that is serving a double purpose -- simultaneously making me feel guilty and easing my guilt about someone else losing the home that has become mine.
So what does that mean for my house? It means I should be able to move in next week. It also means the house is surrounded by neighbors who may or may not accept me.
In the meantime, school started Monday.
I am in heaven.
My kids are cantankerous little counry kids with attitudes taller than their diminutive statures. But my partner still works two hours from my school, so we've been staying in a motel and I've been commuting an hour and a half to work. Flood plains and country kids during the day. Hot tubs and 70 channels at night. Dissonance. Fortunately, I'm too sleepy to dwell on it.
Between driving and teaching, teaching and driving, I feel like I've spent much of the week in a fog. I haven't even really thought about the fact that by next week, I will be living in a home of my own.
Instead, I've spent the week having conversations like this:
ME (to second-grader pretending a ruler is a guitar): "If your guitar is going to distract you, I'm going to have to put it out of sight for a bit."
STUDENT (pointing to spelling test): "If my spelling test is going to distract me, can you put it out of sight for a bit?"
and like this:
ME (to six-year-old student): "I love how you came in and got right to work!"
STUDENT: "Lady, that's how I come into this world!"
So I haven't stopped to think about the pros and the cons of home ownership in a community that might not initially embrace me.
I'm not that worried about it, though. The house will be great, and I'm excited -- don't get me wrong. But every time I walk into my classroom, I know I've already come home.