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April 30, 2000

This really feels like an ending. Not the final cleaning up of my old house, and not even turning over the key to the landlord, but going through the empty rooms for the last time, checking for anything I left behind, then packing everything into my car, closing the door, and driving away.

Driving away to my new house, which doesn't feel like home yet. I haven't spent enough time unpacking to keep the place from looking like a warehouse.

And I haven't had the chance to do the things I moved here to do. Trying to make up for time lost packing and moving, I've been working just as much overtime as I did at the Home Office. I'd love to spend an hour or two a day reading, either out on the patio or on the couch in the family room. I haven't really spent much time in the family room at all, and that has to change. I'm still a few days behind reading newspapers, and I have weeks of magazines to look at. I'd like to learn to cook more than two dishes, since I now have a big enough kitchen to do that.

I'm no longer nostalgic for the old place. It's not my home any more, just a few empty rooms that starting tomorrow morning will be dismantled and remodeled. Now that that part of my life is behind me, I'm eager to get on with the next chapter, and whatever new adventures it brings. I'm excited about bringing new people into my small circle of acquaintances. New journeys with new shipmates can only enrich the quality of my life.

I spent way too much time on my hands and knees today to be totally coherent tonight. I did learn one more thing about cleaning, though. The scrub brush I bought for the tub and tile was hopeless when I tried to use it there, but it was a boon when I found my vacuum inadequate to suck up the ground-in dust on the carpet. I already knew the vacuum was weak, and I'd even been invited to use Suzanne's supercharged model, but rather than drive across town to get it I tried out the brush.

Herb and Ida were watching over me, because it was almost a pleasure to be able to do with my hands what the machine couldn't do. It was the legend of John Henry all over again. Well, it was. I just had a brush instead of a hammer, and I was going up against a vacuum instead of a steam drill. Other than that, it was exactly the same.

Teresa from the rental agency has been like a guardian angel to me. I don't know why she likes me, except that I pay my rent on time and never complain about anything. Okay, then I guess I do know why she likes me. But sometimes I think the Golds must have sent her to look out for me. She's been running interference with her boss and insisting all along that I should get my whole deposit back.

This evening when I met her for the walk-through, she barely glanced at all the hard work I'd done to spruce the place up. She just started to tell me about all the things that they're going to replace, like the walls I'd washed and the carpets I'd spent the day scrubbing. Then she gave me a hug and told me my seven hundred dollar check will be in the mail this week. I hugged her back, but I'm always skeptical until I see the money. I don't know if her opinion carries as much weight with her boss as she says.

I have no reason to doubt her, really, except my own paranoia.

Farewell, Home Office

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