Fear and Loathing at my Duplex

In my duplex.

About my duplex.

If this were a facebook relationship status, it would read “it’s complicated”.

Of course then ALL my friends would comment.

What’s going on? Did duplex do something to you? Can you not commit to duplex? Has duplex been housing a shady tenant on the side? A plugged commode? Can you call the house whisperer? I hate to see a three-year relationship end so badly.

I would assure all the well wishers gossipers it’s not the duplex, it’s me.

I’ve had an affair. An affair with my future husband’s house. The shame of it, because I still LOVE you duplex. I still NEED you. But I’ve slipped in my attentions.

I didn’t tend to the flower pots this year. Nope. I planted pots at the new house, just like last year. And I didn’t make garden beds like I had always hoped, but I did plant in the garden beds at the new house. How disparaging.

This is hard. SO HARD. I love your new duplex smell. I love your embrace when I come home at all hours of the night after spending it with my other place. There is no judging, or weeping. Just a poignant sigh (or maybe that’s me). I love how you are my safe haven when I need it; my quiet sanctuary. I love the roominess, yet compactness. The delights of having an extra bedroom, and a big garage. The tiny but – oh so handy – backyard.

Do you know what I love most? You’re mine. My place.

Just being in your realm brings me great peace and comfort. To leave, to say good-bye it’s….. devastating.

I don’t want to. I don’t. But the upkeep to keep this sweet spot on the side, well, it’s steep. Too rich for my poorness. With four and half months until the wedding, with a lease that’s expiring in three days – what makes sense is to move most things to the new house and lease a last fling apartment for six months.

An apartment. A fling. I know. Sick. It’s not a duplex kind of love. It would be a one bedroom, not three. No yard. No front nook with a mini black lab statue. No extra bathroom. No garage. No empty flower pots. ALL my things would be stored, sold, or moved somewhere. I’d be in limbo. I’d live with a toe in the door there, and a half a body here, an address there, and the rest of my body parts scattered in between.

I’m torn.

I’m sad.

I have to write the thirty-day notice to the master developer today (aka-leasing office). It’s killing me. I want a happy ending for us. I want to remember with gladness how you were there for me during an extremely difficult first year of residence. It was you that heard every tear, every sob, every cry.

You absorbed my pain into your walls. Your heart grieved with mine. You watched me grow as a person. You watched me survive. You watched me heal. You screamed with me when we cleaned yet another puppy accident. You didn’t even complain when Sydney, at age thirteen and bratty, sprayed your walls with silly string (which is still there). You watched with great pride as I snapped a picture of my little girl going to her first day of high school. What memories we have. The many memories of just Sydney and just me. Together, but on our own. To leave is breaking me apart. Breaking us apart.

I have to tell myself you are just a place. Everything we shared is inside of me. New people will come and you will be home once more. You won’t stay vacant. There is a reason and a season – a time for everything – and ours has reached the end. It’s not really the end, just a new beginning. A new home. A new transition for a moment in time.

Truth is, I fear. I fear being without you. *My place* You are my crutch. We’ve been through it all. If I kick your address to the curb, there is no return.

With a heavy heart, I humbly thank you. I am grateful I had you to go to. I’m glad you were my duplex. No other duplex would have made me feel as safe and as loved as you did. But it’s time to move on, write that notice, and fully invest in my new house (with a fling). You are deserving of so much more than me. You deserve a family that spends more time with you.

So, here’s to our last thirty days together, let’s turn the ceiling fans on high, take a last poop scoop of the yard, then run like banshees up and down the hall, while singing off-key and celebrating all of life’s memories as one.

May your walls echo my great joy, for as long as you shall stand.

Planting Seeds

I had the good ole black thumb growing up. I think my first plant my mom gave me to sacrifice was an african violet. The second plant my mom made walk the plank was a hanging spider plant. That one took a little longer to end its misery, but eventually I did.

Those two experiences told me and my avid gardener mother, I didn’t get the gene. As a grown up, I had plastic plants. A little dust never hurt anyone, that was until my second marriage. We moved to his mother’s house. She lived with her husband in a different house.

This residence may as well been the garden of Eden. There were so many flower beds, I felt sick to my stomach. A HUGE island with a pistachio tree, a back garden filled with day lilies, three other side gardens with irises, and lastly a large container bed under a newly built pergola.

It was enough to make a non-gardener want to cry. Luckily, here came my mother from Oklahoma to save me, to save the garden beds before I sent them off to meet their maker. She was patient with me, oh so very patient, and she showed me how to clean them out, divide the irises, and then PLANT new flowers.

She had all the confidence in the world of me. Lo and behold, they all grew. None died. The next year they multiplied. I even got brave and planted seeds myself, grew those in little pods and transferred them to my flower beds. To my delight, they grew too. I bought a trellis arch and had morning glories growing on each side and up. They bloomed every day, my little plants – I grew from seed.

Even the container under the pergola was filled with baby’s breath that spilled over in great glory. I had moon flowers, four o’clocks, rosemary, lavender, roses and sweet peas. It was an oasis. A surprise oasis. I was so proud.

When things fell apart, I had to leave my oasis. I left my effort, my hard work, and mostly my love – my beautiful garden.

When we moved into a new house, I did some gardening as well (nothing like before). Elephant ears, oleander, zinnia, mexican heather, and, again, had a gorgeous rose-bush. AGAIN, I had to leave it behind.

I’ve been in the new place two and half years. I have some container plants, but I never made garden beds. I didn’t see the point at a rental, I was sure to leave again.

I never had the strength or fortitude to start all over again. Until this year…..

I fell in love with Jason’s house and empty garden beds. My love was re-kindled. What a blessing it was to me. I toiled and planted with all the spirit I had before.

As winter approaches (well our winter anyway, which doesn’t count but still kills plants), I am remembering a spring of gardening, a summer of blooming.

I am remembering that in our world today, we are a lot like flowers. We are all different and unique. We grow at different rates. Some of us need more care than others. Some of us need protection from bugs and the world around us. Some of us are fragile and easily broken, but some of us are tough, long-lasting. Some of us will die and not return next year, but some will birth new shoots that grow taller and stronger than ever before. But mostly, we all just need love and care to thrive, and grow.

Jason’s gardens, 2009

Angel Begonia

Impatients and pink stain-glass coleus.

Cooper’s memorial stone, an angel statue that reminds me of Jason’s oldest daughter, more impatients.

My pride and joy – the moonflower. They only bloom at night.

Amazing in the moonlight.

The front bed. Calidiums and impatients.


We each have our own beauty to display. Our beauty may not be pleasing to everyone, but to some it will take their breath away.

Revel in your beauty today, shine through winter, bask in your moments before they are gone.

A flower’s appeal is in its contradictions – so delicate in form yet strong in fragrance, so small in size yet big in beauty, so short in life yet long on effect. ~Adabella Radici

Hope you enjoyed your garden walk as much as I did, live with long lasting effect.

Happy Friday!!

P.S. (I’m feeling like a fourth grader typing that) – I updated my photos on the About Me tab. New for November with some of my favorite photos.