(You know it's serious when you need a binder.)
A little while back, when Operation: Outta Dodge kicked into high gear, a friend of mine -- a professional decorator, a woman with so much innate style that she can answer the door in her pajamas and still look ready for a photoshoot on the cover of the late great Domino or one of those types of magazines -- came over and gave me a list of projects to do in order to stage the house. She picked out paint colors, repositioned my furniture, and gave me a list of accessories to purchase. And because she knows me so well, she was very specific in her advice. "Two apothecary jars of differing heights. Fake mini-apples in the small one. Fake lemons and limes in the big one. Then a small fake topiary midway between the two. Put them here. Just like this." She even told me which side of the sink to put my soon-to-be purchased orchid on. After ninety minutes, I had filled up three pages of a legal pad with instructions, which I intend to follow to the letter.
It was not unlike being run over by a very well-dressed freight train, in the best possible way.
Other friends have helped out, too -- two have given me all of their expensive moving-company boxes from their recent moves, so I don't have to go begging at liquor stores. Another divided all of her shade-loving plants, so I don't have to spend a lot of money on landscaping. Yet another opened her home to me and the girls while the painters were here so Josie wouldn't have to inhale a bunch of paint fumes. Several have volunteered their husbands for furniture-moving duties. Another has offered to come by and teach me some yoga, which perhaps indicates that I am looking slightly more wild-eyed than usual. It is a tangible reminder of the roots we've put down, of our good fortune in finding such an amazing circle of friends. Because of them, we do more than get by. We thrive.
We don't know yet where we're moving. Considering the state of the market, we don't know that we're moving at all, and I remind myself of that every day, right after I look at the listing for my dream house (circa-1920's Sears kit house bungalow, and if we manage to land it, I will stop making fun of Sarah Palin -- THAT is how badly I want this house). Assuming we do sell, there are a host of very compelling reasons for us to move away from this area. Still, every time I think about leaving this incredible group of women, every one of them funny and smart and generous and talented, my stomach pitches and my head feels fuzzy. It is almost enough to make me grateful for my interminably long to-do list, so that I can put off that decision just a little bit longer.