Settling In, Finally

My moving-truck-baked succulents are slowly recovering.

Hello, fronds.  This weekend I did … absolutely nothing.

Honestly, it came as a bit of a shock.  I was worried for a hot second: was I ill?  Depressed? But no.  I think what’s happening is that I’m starting to settle into my new life.

I talked a couple of months ago about how constitutionally incapable I was of doing nothing, even when I had time.  There’s been a standing to-do list, especially for the weekend, while I kept myself busy busy busy to cope with my anxiety.

But here I am.  I’ve worked through the eleventy-billion details that come with moving across the country; this weekend, for the first time since the move, I had nothing on the agenda.  No errands, no projects, no meeting a friend.  I stayed up late reading, slept in, and spent Sunday binge-watching Bernadette Banner videos* on YouTube, which is wildly out of character for me. Apparently, moving into a house without children and dogs might free up some time on the weekend.  Who knew?

Here’s the thing: once I calmed down, I realized it was the best kind of nothing.  (Or maybe that realization came first, then the calming down?)  I’m alone, but not lonely. The weather’s gorgeous, it feels like fall, I have friends here I meet up with in various safe ways. I’ve been slowly digging out my warmer clothing and linens from wherever I haphazardly shoved them in June, when I moved in during a heat wave and couldn’t bear the thought of touching my winter things, much less organizing them.  That’s all a merciful blank in my memory (moving is terrible) but there are only a couple of places I could have stashed them – mostly under the bed in storage bags, this house has literally one closet – so, I’ve been pulling them out and doing what I should have done before I put them away, which is washing and/or airing out.  I’m pleased that there are in fact sweaters and pants and coats, now that I’m going to need them.  I made harried decisions at the last minute, so it’s been a surprise seeing what made the cut.

Micro-potted succulents rehomed into larger pot.

I did a couple of tiny projects on Saturday — buffing some moving-related scuffs off the top of my coffee table, and re-potting two small houseplants that had outgrown their micro-pots. I had to nudge a black widow spider out of the way with my trowel to get into my potting soil; I’m not thrilled about that aspect of the southwest (the giant desert centipedes here are frankly horrifying, and it’s also tarantula migration/mating season, they’re on the move in droves. You’re welcome!) But allegedly black widows are shy and would rather run than fight, and it served as a reminder not to stick my hands and feet where I can’t see, even indoors. I’m back to shaking my shoes and boots out vigorously and banging them upside down on the floor before I put them on.

I also took a short walk to see the pair of ravens in a tree up the street.  One of them keeps talking to me.  I googled it (“what is the raven saying” is apparently a thing people regularly google) and I still don’t know … some of the online symbolism is more dire, I hope that’s wrong. I think ravens are gorgeous, way cooler than crows, which were the standard big, spooky bird back east.  I’m going with the interpretation that ravens are a harbinger of change and transformation, not death; that seems nicer, doesn’t it?

What are you doing?  Any prep for seasonal changes?  Here’s a shot of the late-season roses out front, two different shades on the same stem!


*Bernadette Banner hand-sews historical garments for herself, something that I have no intention of doing, ever, but I find it fascinating; she shares all her research and techniques along with occasional reviews of the costumes on period dramas.

  • Jennifer S says:

    I think doing absolutely nothing from time to time is actually quite beneficial for people…so…do it as often as you can with no worries I say.
    Spiders…I’d rather they stayed outside but living in the woods they do find their way in…no alarming ones but the wood spiders can be quite big! Aren’t ravens supposed to be exceptionally intelligent birds? Who knows what they could’ve been saying lol.
    And how beautiful are those roses!

    • March says:

      Those super-quick big ones we used to have back east — wolf spiders? Bleargh. And yes, ravens are supposed to be super-intelligent and can copy words rather like parrots, I believe. And those roses, I know! I’m new to this rose patch, and that particular bush sat there all summer and did nothing while the others bloomed…. then I stepped out there last week and went WHOA. That bronze-y pink is fabulous.

  • Dina C. says:

    I can relate to both you and Cinnamon, March, since I’m also a brand spanking new empty nester. I find the household quietness both peaceful and disturbing. I’m getting used to my new normal. I could never live in spider land, I mean, the southwest for more than a visit. Nothing scares me more. Full body shudder Can’t even have fake ones around for Halloween decorations. No way! You’re brave, Lady!

    • March says:

      It is odd, isn’t it? Somehow I thought I’d be exempt from the empty nest syndrome hahaha especially since we were all a bit on top of each other due to lockdown. I reeaaaallllly don’t like spiders, I find them revolting, but I keep reminding myself they’re mostly supposed to be beneficial to us, circle of life blah blah. Ugh. Hang in there!

  • Musette says:

    I live in mostly-benign Spiderland but I still bang shoes, etc before slipping into them, ever since I saw a gal get stung by a scorpion in her shoe (in Mexico). Ya just nebber know…

    • March says:

      ::barf emoji:: There ARE scorpions in NM but mostly south of here as far as I know, I’ve never seen one around here. But when we used to stay down south in rustic cabins etc the bedframe legs were in coffee cans filled with water lol. But that won’t stop the widders….

  • cinnamon says:

    This was a great read, March. I wonder if initially after a whirlwind period we need to continue the manic activity because stopping abruptly would be too shocking to the system? I am just now starting to have the head space to think ‘how am I actually really comfortable living?’ I think it’s going to take a while to work that one out. Love spiders but that shaking out the shoe thing …

    • March says:

      You know, it was an interesting juxtaposition, after your post yesterday (since we hadn’t seen each other’s posts)… I’ve been so UNSETTLED. Life transitions are f’ing hard. For me, I know I use staying busy as a coping mechanism — lots of people do, I gather — to avoid that shock to the system, to remind/convince my subconscious self that ‘everything will be okay, just give it time!’ To avoid falling into grief. COVID lockdown makes it even harder. To my kids, this is I think primarily the start of something new and exciting (if a bit scary at times.) To us, it’s the end of a period in our lives, and it’s sad, no matter how great it is in some ways — hey, we want them to grow up into lovely adult humans. I expect you will find your new rhythm. <3

  • Portia says:

    YAY March! Sounds like you are getting a speck of you time. Also sounds like you are spending it wisely. Moving is YUK! Your writing feels like you’ve come out the the other end fairly unscathed, congratulations.
    GAH! Spiders! The worst. Living in Australia a large percentage of them are deadly, and of course they are the ferocious sneaky ones. Our version of the Black Widow is called a Redback, they’re the same but ours have a blood red blotch on their asses. They are notorious for hiding under toilet seats awaiting flies and biting unwary men on the dick.
    Plants are looking good!
    Portia xx

    • March says:

      HONEY. The number of times I thought of you when writing about the insect kingdom here, we’ve got nothing on Oz lol. Hilariously I JUST learned about redbacks because I googled some random weird spider in the house with a furry red backside and redbacks popped up and I was horrified until I realized, nope, that’s Australia! (mine was a red-backed jumping spider which sounds disgusting but is … just another random spider, I really do not love spiders but mostly try to leave them be.) The plants took a beating in the truck, baking and tossed around for two weeks, and looked like hell when they arrived but they miraculously survived.

      • Musette says:

        LOL! Portia immediately came to mind, as well. I dunno if you remember, P, you and Kath discussing the web that was in the back hallway in your former house? You’d decided it might be funnel-webs. I nearly fainted! AUS does its very best to kill the living life out of pretty much everything that walks, crawls, heck… everything that breathes!!


        • Portia says:

          HA! Not a funnel web Musette, they build in the ground. The only spider species where the smaller male is the most potently toxic. Their fangs are so strong they can bite clean through a grown mans big toe nail. They have to travel from their burrows to find their mates, who oft times mistake them for food.
          If it was an air web we wouldn’t have been too terrified, nothing in an air web is deadly in Australia unless the reaction to it sends your blood toxic. Just a nasty sting and a lump that stays for a few days.
          We have DOZENS of spider stories from the big house. They LOVED that place.

  • Taxi says:

    Beautiful roses!
    Also beware of brown recluse spiders.

    • March says:

      Yeeaaaaaahhhh…. the problem is they’re so ugh-generic-spider looking and I don’t want to get close enough to look for that tiny violin… I know people who’ve been bitten and they didn’t even know they’d been bitten until things got nasty D:

  • Tara C says:

    I have happily escaped my Canadian new-home-from-hell to the safe haven of my winter home in San Diego. No need for warm clothes yet here. Been here for two weeks and finally getting sleep. So happy to see you settling in and feeling less anxious! I told my husband we need to make a road trip to Santa Fe, I’m sure I’ve passed through there at some point but I have no memory of it. I do remember visiting Taos many years ago.

    • March says:

      I am so glad you escaped! Yeah, it’s wild the way your sleep gets wrecked, isn’t it? I hope your settling in is less stressful and as uneventful as possible.