When I read It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too) by Nora McInerny I couldn’t help but laugh. Not only is she a fantastic writer, she’s hilarious. If I understood her social references, she would be even funnier. But if you know me well, you know, I have no clue when it comes to famous people. Anyway, immediately after finishing one of the chapters in her book, I handed it over to Brett and made him read it, asking him “does this remind you of anyone?” The entire chapter was about the plans that she had made after her father and husband both died just weeks apart from each other. Right then and there, my feelings were validated. I no longer felt like a crazy person that wanted to do nothing but start over. It was normal, or at least it felt normal. I want a complete life redo.
So here is my life plan after Simon’s death, inspired by Nora. This is also by no means an exaggeration of how my brain is processing on a daily basis.
1. We are moving. Moving to Minnesota. I’ve never been there, but I have to get the hell out of here. There are shards of glass bottles scattered throughout my neighborhood. I can’t stand the site. I noticed it before, but now I can’t unnotice it. It’s trashy. It’s not safe. I would never trust Nolan walking around by himself. Each house has a driveway. I want alleys and not driveways. I want Nolan to walk all the way around the block without the fear of him getting backed into by someone not paying attention. My neighbors are too loud. Their music blares at all hours of the day and night. It’s not calm music. It’s Mexican music. I used to love it. Now I hate it and can do nothing to get away from the constant noise. I’ve watched drug deals take place out my window. So we are leaving. We are getting the hell out of here. We are moving to Minnesota. There are trees, lakes, water. Nature. Just what we are looking for. And 10,000 lakes! It has to be peaceful. It has to be safe. It has to be all we have ever wanted. And all I want is some peace and quiet. All I want is for Nolan to be safe. So there it is, Minnesota. When do we leave?
2. Bryan and Jill just got back from Minnesota. Jill’s legs are covered in mosquito bites. Bryan’s legs are covered in mosquito bites. Okay, fine! We aren’t moving to Minnesota anymore. Back to the drawing board. Should we put our house on the market now? It is almost winter. Don’t homes sell better in the spring and summer. If we don’t do it now, we are going to have to wait.
3. I think Idaho would be perfect. There are trees everywhere, I think. I’m pretty sure there are lakes. It must be a pretty peaceful state, right? I’ve never been, but I have my heart pretty much set on it. Now I just need to convince Brett. There are some pretty good colleges in Idaho. Maybe he would want to work for one of them!
4. I’m quitting my job. I have no patience. No patience to be a teacher. No patience for planning, preparing lesson plans and turning them in. No patience for the 9 month pregnant lady that comes in my room and types away insuring that she doesn’t miss a word I say. The lady that you would think would have empathy. But the lady who has not said one word to me since I started. Not. One. Word. Not, “I’m sorry about your baby.” Not, “How are you?” Not, “Is there anything we can do for you?” Nothing. I can’t stand it. I wish people knew how isolating it feels for the elephant in the room to just be ignored. Everyone calls it a distraction. I call it added stress.
5. I was looking at homes for sale on Redfin in Idaho and decided to look in Minnesota too. I found a really beautiful house! It is affordable! It is surrounded by trees! It reminds me so much of the house I grew up in! It looks peaceful! There are HOA dues but they go toward a private lake house and beach. You can even rent a little lake house for parties or celebrations. There is a swimming area and a beach too. Nolan would love playing there everyday! I can see Brett and I there in our beach chairs watching Nolan play, sipping a glass of wine and watching the sunset. The house has a beautiful backyard. I can just see Nolan running around. We will build him a tree house. When he gets older he can bike around the neighborhood safely with all of his little buddies, coming home only for dinner when the sun is setting.
6. I just looked up the average temperature in the winter in Minnesota. Nope. Not moving there. We decided we are going to move to Berthoud, CO. It’s a super cute small town with a charming main street. The houses are possibly the last affordable homes in Colorado. We have never been there, but I saw an article saying it is going to become the next best place in Colorado. There is even a breakfast burrito shop that has a line out the door every morning. That sounds yummy!
7. We looked up the commute from Berthoud to Denver. Turns out Brett doesn’t really want to drive one hour to work and one hour back. Imagine what his commute would be in the winter. We need to come up with a better plan.
8. Finally. We figured it out! We are moving to Vancouver, Washington. I haven’t ever been there, but I heard it’s beautiful and more affordable than neighboring Portland. And speaking of that, Brett could probably get a job in Portland. I’d finally be back in Oregon, kind of. We would be so close to so many different beautiful parts of the North West. We could take Nolan to the ocean! We could go hiking in the mountains! We could explore Washington, Oregon, Idaho, everywhere! Imagine the camping and hiking we could do in the summer! I’ve been looking at houses in the area and haven’t found the perfect one yet, but I will keep looking!
9. It rains in Vancouver? How much rain? For how long? Most of the year? Hmmm… Okay, we are moving to Sweden. I know it will be a long flight for grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins to come and visit. But, it’s beautiful. The taxes are ridiculously high, but we wouldn’t have to pay for childcare or school lunch. Speaking of school lunch, in Sweden the school has an actual chef. The meals are healthy and prepared fresh daily. That would be perfect for Nolan. I love the idea of learning a new language. I know that my brain doesn’t function like it used too, but that’s okay. We could just immerse ourselves and figure it out. Right?
10. The sun in the winter in Sweden is up for how many hours? It rises around 9 am and sets around 3 pm. The seasonal depression has to be out of control during those months. Isn’t it really cold in Sweden?
11. Montana. That’s right. That is where we are going. It looks like we can find a pretty cute home. Nestled in the trees. Surrounded by the nature we are seeking. I’ve driven through Montana one time and it seemed beautiful. I see pictures of all kinds of hikes that I am sure we can fill our weekends with.
12. I just read an article on the new about a stray bullet from a shooting range in Berthoud that struck two people! I guess it isn’t the safest place on the planet. I’m so dissapointed.
13. Okay. This is what we are going to do. We will stay at our jobs. Stay at our house. Shut our doors. Shut our windows. Shut our blinds. Make our backyard as peaceful as possible. For now…
14. Hey babe! What about Ft. Collins?