M as in merge. M as in move.
This week Fellow Traveler and I had a serious discussion about how we can best live our way into our future. And we've decided that it's time for us to abandon our dual-home lifestyle.
Fellow Traveler worries that by continuing to pay a mortgage on the Big House in these economic times, she's simply throwing away money that could be better spent on both of us, in a house that's already paid for. She also feels that her home is too big; too much to manage indoors and out. I feel we're throwing away money by double-spending on things like utilities and house maintenance. I feel trapped by my job which, even though it literally makes me sick in both body and mind, I need in order to maintain our current living arrangements. We both feel that, in a world where people literally die waiting for adequate shelter, it's morally questionable to share two houses for no good reason. And the novelty of doing that -- of loading up the vehicles like the Joad family every month and switching residences -- has frankly worn off for both of us.
Fellow Traveler also loves Cold Comfort Cottage. For me, that's the least compelling sell of this proposition. All I see is repair work that needs to be done, and I worry that what FT finds "cozy" now will feel cramped and inadequate later on. But FT loves the wooded surroundings, and the relative quiet; she says she finds a peace here that she doesn't in her own house.
And we both have a long-term goal of moving away from this area altogether. Where we're not sure, although northwest lower Michigan appeals to us greatly; or maybe we'll wind up in the Northeast, near FT's old stomping grounds; or maybe somewhere else entirely. Consolidating will help us save the money to do that.
So -- we are merging our homesteads; downscaling in size but not quality of life. We toasted our decision last night at The Brass Cafe', which seems to be our special place for celebrating our relational milestones.
I told FT that she needs to make a special visit to the garage and state her intentions to "Hank," my dad, at least part of whom she is convinced still inhabits his old man cave -- who seems to have taken a shine to her (I kid her that she's the son-in-law he always wished he had) and who does mischievous things like suddenly turning on the radio, or wafting the scent of his beloved Swisher Sweets around the place, when she's in there alone. Hank no longer consults with me; but I think that he would approve.