Empty room

Once again, our house is The Shell.

The furniture, the pictures, the coats, toys, old boom box, knickknacks, dishes, refrigerator magnets, junk drawers (yes, that’s plural), the Exxon Valdez (a leaking-fire-hazard-of-a-toaster-oven aptly named by the teenager), and all the stuff that 8 and 16 year-olds leave here and there and everywhere are now gone, thrown away, taken to Savers or moved to the new place.

And, except for me at this moment, those who brought life to this space are gone. As I pause within the The Shell, I consider what has transpired to make it so, again.

Sometimes, at the onset of something, I find myself jumping ahead to consider what the end of that something may look like. I speculate about what will need to happen to bring it to pass. Whether that’s a degree program, a job, a pet, a friendship, a positive or negative health issue, a change in residence, a relationship, or … a life.

I did the same going into this home. But what actually happened to set this prolonged exit in motion wasn’t anywhere close to showing up on that initial short list.


Back when I first walked into The Shell I thought, “There’s no way we can get this.” I opened the double doors to the master bedroom. “Wow, it’s huge. A bay window, cool. And, is that a bathtub … or a jacuzzi?”

Next I walked out to the Arcadia door and saw the back yard. “Daaang (I said under my breath since the current owners were nearby. I didn’t want to come off as married to it, yet, I was). We could put a massive pool back there! And a patio, that could be an add-on room someday. Oh, no way, New River’s behind us? That’s … awesome.”


The years Ian spent transitioning from an adolescent to a young man were filled with moments in that riverbed in The Great Outdoors. He’d scale The Wall, pellet gun in hand, and stalk and shoot some small anima … uh, and go shoot cans, bottles and stuff. He and his friends had a few, special hiding places that they’d constructed. The little trampoline ladder served its intended purpose far less while finding a more permanent place at The Wall and the entrance to The Great Outdoors.

Open space, no boundaries, independence.

More recently, Chloe grew to love that ladder too. She’d stand up there on the top rung, sometimes for a while, gazing over The Wall and hesitating at the entrance to The Great Outdoors.

“Chloe, what are you doing?” I’d ask.

“Just looking out here, dad. It’s my Safe Place.”

Turns out she had a number of those. The trampoline, The Wall, and the bench we’d ride our bikes to on the trail bordering the riverbed. At least those were the ones she told me about.

“I’m going to miss my Safe Places,” she confided.

“I know,” I whispered, “Me too.”


The pool didn’t happen. Neither did the add-on room. Some expected paths took unexpected turns.

There were some very good times shared in The Shell, and some not so much so. Mountains and valleys. Joy and pain. Life’s that way.

And, although perhaps obvious, The Life that Shells experience is based solely on that with which they’re filled.

Far too often I wondered if this sale and move would ever happen. The Shell was listed for so long, and my resistance to change, and The Unknown, so telling.

Yet now, as I sit here writing–letting go–this chapter of life seems to have come to a close … so … suddenly.

Turn the page.


These move-related posts seem to be adding up to an unintended series. So, here are the others:
1. Making An 11th Hour Move
2. How to Remedy a “C-minus” Day. Or, 6 Things I Forgot
3. Unbelievable Coincidence
4. Turn The Page
5. A New Chapter