“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.” ― Gloria Steinem
Yesterday, in the midst of all the tasks I was checking off my list, something caught me. There in middle of my intentions, appreciation came in the form of a beautiful day. Beyond words, in the cool/warm delight of this early Albuquerque afternoon in November, I noticed the blue sky. Wispy white clouds streaked the day and although the temperature was in the mid-fifties and the smell of woodstoves perfumed the air, it felt warmer in the sun. This is why I live here. More days than not, I find myself in gratitude for the beauty of it. More days than not, I just want to find a park bench and stop to take a moment and drink it all in.
It carries with it the promise of possibility. Beauty does that. When I’m snuggled inside appreciation, my heart quickens in awe. I feel as if anything is possible. I feel blessed.
Of course, at that moment, I wasn’t just savoring nice weather; it was the culmination of a long journey with regards to the saga of the house I’d bought nearly two years earlier. A small house purchased with the intention of securing a modest home I could sell to my son, my investment company had purchased it for a mere $18,000. It was that cheap because it was without water and sewer connection. This is a house in the city – don’t even ask how such a thing is possible! Correcting it all was a nightmare; one compounded by lack of funds for the project and a water department that couldn’t determine how this house had functioned all those years. It took countless trips to various departments, inspections to ascertain what lines were there and what weren’t and lots of head-scratching. It was never immediately apparent how to best remedy the problem of installing water and sewer for a house that sat behind two other houses and in front of another with which it shared a driveway. No one could even tell me if we could legally tear it up to lay pipe and all of this complicated by a shiesty plumber who, it turns out, never pulled a permit and strung me along with wild yet plausible stories for over six months. Just because a man’s wife is dying of cancer, doesn’t mean he is honorable.
All of it tested my relationship with my son. Accomplishing this goal went from a mere money pit of a project to a test of my veracity. It corroded his faith in me. The second plumber was on the up and up and did manage to complete the job, but not without taking two months longer than he had promised. On top of that, the whole house needed to be replumbed, as all of the lines had been compromised during the big freeze of January 2011. That was the point that second plumber lost all of his credibly as he attempted to turn the disaster into an opportunity for more work. Somehow, all the broken promises of the plumbers became my broken promises. The shortcomings of the house became my shortcomings. All of the tears and all of the obstacles served to strengthen me. Through it all, I had to know who I was in the midst of others’ lack of faith in me.
Yesterday was the day I finally managed to secure some private funding, a note against the property so I could pay off the second plumber and a short-term loan. It was the culmination of a vision and it was challenging and heartbreaking and yesterday I had but last piece of the puzzle to finalize. All there was left to do was draw up the papers, sign them and get the money. And still, I found myself baffled at how such a simple thing could feel so challenging. I was on a deadline. I had told the plumber the funds would be in his hands today, and even though I knew the money was waiting for me, I resisted.
It turned out it was a breeze. A good friend of mine is the paralegal in the office that does the real estate documents for the escrow company where the note would be serviced and although they are usually slammed, time parted for us. Within a few hours of talking to my friend on the phone, it was all complete.
So, today I pay off the plumber, who doubted he would ever get paid. Today, I lay this trial to rest. I chalk it up to experience. I revere the value of tenacity. I drink in the beauty of the day and breathe in possibility. I hold fast to the vision of who I know I am and prove that the opinions of others speak only to who they are. They cannot define me unless I allow them to. They cannot defeat me unless I give up.