Boxes, Boxes Everywhere

The state of my current place

I swore to myself when I moved into my current place a little over 9 years ago, I wouldn’t move again like *ever*. I have moved more than most in my life, and that is a significant part of my story. This blog is somewhat my therapy so here is the somewhat redux of the times I have moved in my life, and for what reasons. Moving in general has meant great upheaval in my life from time to time, and not always good. Given this is second longest I have lived anywhere in my life, I feel I need to give it proper due.

My First Home- Thanks Google Maps!

I was born in Cleveland and my first few months were spent in an apartment off of State Route 82 in North Royalton. Pretty soon after I was born though, my parents moved to a townhouse right behind Berea HS in Berea, as my Dad was going to school at Baldwin-Wallace, and my Mom worked in the registrar’s office at the time. My earliest memories are from there, my Mother’s parents farmhouse on Aikens Road, and my Father’s parents house in Brookpark. I remember it was unusually warm and that I had a Sesame Street cake for one of my earliest birthdays. I also remember the night I memorably stuck a key up my nose and severed an artery up there, a reason that today that the “lack of smell/taste” symptom of COVID-19 was never going to be a true indicator for me, as I damaged my sense of smell. Then in 1985, I remember my Mom being very sick while pregnant with my sister, and my Dad coming home late more frequently, as he had gotten a job in Wooster, OH. We moved that fall while my Mom was very pregnant with my sister. Melissa, my sister was born in early 1986, and I remember watching the Challenger disaster shortly after she was born. The birth of my sister and that are forever linked in my memory. That fall I started kindergarten at Layton Elementary, and things were pretty calm for awhile.

My Childhood Home, Wooster OH- Thanks Google Maps!

There is some lingering mental anxiety from this time that I still carry to this day. When I was in 2nd through 4th grades, my Dad was out of work/underemployed for 18 months. My sister doesn’t remember much if any of this time because she was only 2-3 years old. I remember that my Dad was working two part time jobs while searching for work with a completed MBA. I remember my Mom started working at a local shoe store so that my parents could keep us in shoes. I remember that they struggled to get me my first pair of glasses when it became clear I needed them in 3rd grade, then I promptly broke them in gym class, and how much stress that caused. I remember that they had problems keeping me in clothes that fit. I remember there were times there wasn’t much food on the table, and to this day I still will not eat baked beans because of it. All of these things make moving stressful for me in ways that it doesn’t for others, because there were times that I know my parents were worried about losing our home.

My Dad did eventually find gainful employment again, but in some ways my parents even 30+ years later are still digging out a bit. Dad ended up on the short side of several consolidations/takeovers in the early 1990’s and to remain employed he eventually took a job in Pittsburgh. In the middle of my 7th grade year, my parents announced we would be moving to the west side of Pittsburgh, and I attended school in the Moon Area School district on the west side for the last 6 weeks of that school year.

The House in Moon- Once again, thank you Google Maps!

Middle school sucks. Always has, always will in my opinion. Let’s just say the summer between 7th and 8th grade was pretty lonely for me, as I didn’t have a lot of time to make friends for the summer, and I had left a really good core group of friends that I had started Kindergarten with, and we had only just came out of elementary school into a city-wide Junior High in Wooster. Moon at the time was a middle school and everyone had already made relationships for a full year before I got there. Let’s just say 8th grade was one of the worst years of my life. Some bullying, incorrect placement in certain classes and subjects, plus me not having the greatest social skills (I am, and will always be an introvert, and I had made friends with introverts at Layton) made for an extremely rough year. My high school years might have been much of the same, if not for music teachers looking out for me, in particular one Mr. Dean, who recognized my musical talent and asked me “Hey, do you want to join the band?” as a viola player. The first three years of high school I then had a pretty good friend group, and I generally did okay. As I continue to see in my career, the band takes care of their own.

Fast forward now to 1997. Dad gets consolidated out of a job again. He lands a very good job in the Columbus, OH area. I know my parents agonized over this next decision, and some of it was due to the house not selling in Pittsburgh, and I think that my Dad’s company at the time actually ended up buying it out (unsure because I was full on angsty teenager over this). They did involve me in the decision, but this was a big sucky situation overall. I could move and start school halfway through my Junior Year in January 1998, or I could move for my senior year only in fall of 1998. I chose the former option, thinking I could have a decent senior year if I went earlier.

Once the decision was made, I lived with my Dad in a extended stay motel for a few months (I forget exactly when we moved into the next house). Thank goodness for Ms. George my english teacher recognizing how introverted I was and inviting me to her “lunch group” otherwise I probably wouldn’t have made it. I also learned almost all of my writing skills from her, so if you are reading this Ms. George, thank you! I am able to freelance part time as a writer on music topics because of you.

Senior year sucked for many reasons, one of them being something I came to peace with and an understanding once I was in my career. Let’s just say, if you ever are a band director, don’t treat a very musically inclined senior as a freshman if they move into your band. Mr. Stevens if you are reading this, you are forgiven, and I know you grew and self-reflected after teaching me.

The House in Reynoldsburg- Courtesy of Google Maps

I basically “marked time” through my senior year of high school socially except for a few core people. The one I keep in touch with the most is Marc. Marc is two years my junior, and we met in Earth Science class, and we were paired because we were the smartest two in the class. Earth Science was the bell where we watched Channel 1 with Lisa Ling and Anderson Cooper, and we all played blackjack and poker. As he was only a sophomore at the time, I took him to prom that year. We lost touch for a good amount of years, but we are back to talking somewhat regularly now. Marc if you are reading this, you know what I went through, and I can never thank you enough!

Then, finally, I was off to college. I worked hard, played my viola and earned a scholarship to WVU. I never would have been able to go to college without significant debt unless I had earned the full-tuition scholarship. My time at WVU still stand out as some of the best in my life. I really thrived and came into my own, and I still have life-long friends from there. I lived three different places, two years in Bennett Tower (one year on the 4th floor and one year on the arts 9th Floor) A year in the Chestnut Ridge Apartments, and a year at Chateau Royale Apartments.

Ah. Towers. ‘Nuff Said.

While I was at WVU, Dad was involved in the retractions and consolidations in the dot-com bust in the early 2000’s. He earned a position in the Cincinnati area, and my sister went through something similar to myself, moving between her freshman and sophomore years of high school, but since Lakota (where the family moved to) is a 10-12 high school AND East and West were combined freshman school at the time, friendships weren’t set, so her experience (in combination with being more extroverted) was altogether much different from mine.

The Liberty Twp. House

If you are keeping track, in my first 22 ish years of life, I have lived in 8 different places (including the college dorms and apartments). I graduated college, and earned my first teaching position in Fairfield, so it made total sense for me to move back in. Which I did. The Liberty Twp. home was a good place, and my parents lived there the longest of any point in their marriage. I lived with them in that home for the two years directly after college, until I decided it was time to spring out on my own, and I did that by getting a job in Lima, OH. This is where I lived on my own for the first time as an adult. I rented half of a duplex.

I lived in the left half of the duplex.- Thanks Again Google Maps

The rent was right and it was a nice lot with nice trees. It was very small though (884 sq feet), had very little cabinet space (1945 original cabinets), but it was livable. It served well for the 3 years I lived there.

I loved Lima for many reasons, felt like an “adult” living on my own. Close enough to the parents, got my first “adult” cat. However, the pay was not great. I mean teaching is not about the pay, but Lima pay was particularly low. Some other things happened up there that let me know it was not going to be my long-term job, so I interviewed actively in the summer of 2008 and earned the job that I am in now, at Princeton City Schools. I needed a place, and fast. I knew how important it was to live in district (voting on my job) if possible, so I landed at an apartment complex in Springdale.

Springdale Apartment-Google Maps!

This was right at the start of the 2008 recession/housing bust, so I am glad I didn’t buy at this time. I also am glad to have lived in the district, as I voted on several campaigns to save my job, and build the new buildings that we now have at Princeton. However, by a certain age/income in this country, you either have to get married, have a kid or buy a house because the tax bill gets expensive. Let’s just say getting married has never been my priority, I am proudly child-free (except for furry children of course) so I was left with option 3, buy a house.

My Current Place-10 year old photo.

It always pays to check into what programs you might be eligible for. As an educator, I was eligible for a program through the FHA, called the Ohio Heroes Program. That is the only reason I was able to get into my place. I had a really extended closing, one that I would not do again, mostly because the lady who lived in my current place was a bit crazy. She honestly felt the offer might have fallen through, or she wasn’t quite as ready to sell as she thought she was, because she requested more time the week of closing, after having like three months between offer and close.

Lots of sweat equity went into this house, from painting, to a complete kitchen renovation in 2018. Also all new floors and windows in 2018. It’s the place where my first adulthood cat George lived a good life and his last years, and where I first met Marty and Lorraine. It’s where Melissa struck herself out as an adult as we lived together here for 7 years. Lots of fun and shenanigans during that time. It’s where her dog Maci lived the majority of her life. Lots of good memories here. I will say goodbye to it this week, but I know in my heart of hearts it is time to move on for me to be independent long term. In the meantime I will be living with my parents here:

My Home for most of 2022

I am once again so glad they built this house 5 years ago, and that they planned ahead and have a space for me. I am living in the front bedroom, which has its own perks and struggles, like cement trucks rolling by starting at 8am every weekday, and the fact I need to make sure I keep the blinds closed if I’m changing, but in general I have a bed, a closet and they are allowing Marty and Lorraine to stay so I do not have too much to complain about. I am counting this as the 13th place I have lived in my life, because I also spent the summer of 2018 here while my entire kitchen at my condo was torn out and renovated. Therefore with the 9 months I am scheduled to live here in 2022, I will have lived here for almost a year which is actually longer than some of the apartments in college that are in my count. This is the 13th place I have lived in my life, or I have moved an average of every 3 years or so.

As you have read (and if you have stuck around this long- bravo, or its really creepy at this point) moving has meant both positive and negative things in my life, like anything I suppose. Moving is always great upheaval. Memories to go through, emotions upheaved, sorting through memories past. This one is decidedly mixed. I was not planning on moving anytime soon, but my illness (a bad thing) forced my hand. Ideally I would have liked to take more time to make a decision, but considering where I landed is the tippy-top of my budget, I really couldn’t take more time. As it is I will have a 9-month layover, though this time it is due to supply-chain and building permits.

What does the future hold?

So what does the future hold? No one truly knows. We can be here one day and not here the next. I count myself lucky. Right now I have reserved a mud pit, but eventually it will be a home that is “right sized” and set up for my long-term independence. Memories will be made, and I am hoping that I never *ever* have to move again.

More later…

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