The last weeks have been packed full of surprises. Unexpected knee surgery. Selling our house to builders who will tear it down and build two where it used to stand, a not uncommon occurrence in Northern Virginia. Our offer accepted on a house in Florida, which, after making plans and finding movers, had to be withdrawn because major problems were uncovered during the inspection.
So now we have a limping author scrambling to finish a book while her husband–just completing a forty year career–madly scrambles to find movers who can store most of our worldly possessions for some undetermined number of months while we search for another home.
Okay, are we having fun yet?
Of course, through all this, I was and am aware how lucky we really are. We have health insurance. Our house sold quickly. We have an unheated cottage in NY where we can stay until cold weather. And we learned about the leaky roof in the house we had planned to buy BEFORE we bought it.
Luckiest of all, we can decide where we want to live next. The world is open to us–at least the portions of it that we can afford. We’ll be near our grandchildren all summer to watch them grow. Wherever we move we’ll see our children frequently, but for the first time we don’t have to consider school systems, distance to work, job opportunities.
I realized years ago how important setting is in my novels. I’ve had as much fun designing places to live as I’ve had creating characters. Emerald Springs, Ohio, home of Aggie Sloan Wilcox, my minister’s wife sleuth, was a particular joy, but would I want to live in Emerald Springs–with its abysmally high murder rate, nosy neighbors and snowy winters?
Or how about Toms Brook, VA, home of the Shenandoah Album series and a real town? As much as I love Virginia and the Valley, I’m ready for something a bit warmer in winter, a place I won’t regret leaving in summer when I head to Western New York. That goes for the very real Asheville, North Carolina, too, home of my newest series, Goddesses Anonymous.
Of course that leads me straight to Happiness Key. . . But wait, I think Happiness Key is, ahem, no longer habitable.
Creating all these wonderful places and researching those that exist, has taught me a lot about what’s important. It’s not (all) about weather. It’s not (all) about roots. It’s not even (all) about being down the street from family. It’s about settling in, making any house a home, turning neighbors into friends and finding out what we can contribute.
The next months will be an adventure, but I’m glad I have my imagination to help me. After all, if I can create a home for my characters, I’m confident I can do the same thing in real life. I’m looking forward to it.
In the meantime, in the next weeks you may find fewer posts here. Just bear with me until we’re temporarily settled again.