Thursday, May 31, 2012

Crossing the Rubicon...I mean Rio Grande

Ran into a snag today. The property management company with whom we were planning to list the house decided they cannot take on our project. It's too unorthodox, it's too complicated. The one-year limited lease is problematic, but the main issue for them is Rowan.

They said that having a teenage girl living technically in the same house (even though the space is physically separated and lockable) "opens them up to legal liability." Without having asked what he meant by that, I assume he means should one of the renters attack my daughter - or in any other way have inappropriate contact with her.

That question actually came up - obviously it has occurred to us that our daughter needs to be safe while we are gone. I asked if the company runs criminal background checks on applicants in addition to credit checks, and was told that they do. That was good enough for me - there is only so much anyone can do to protect themselves and loved ones from whackos. Apparently, however, it wasn't good enough for the legal minds at Accurate Property Management. Now we will have to decide if we want to go through this process again with another agency, or if we will try to rent the house privately.

Meanwhile, Homero found us some cheap plane tickets. The three of us (me and the girls; Homero will be driving) can fly from Seattle all the way to Oaxaca for about a third less than what we thought we would have to pay - but we must buy the tickets two months in advance, which means now.

The thought of buying tickets now gives me a panic attack. I had thought I was committed to this venture. I AM committed to this venture. But buying tickets while so much is left unresolved is frightening.

What if we don't find suitable renters for the house?

Rowan hasn't yet been accepted to University! What if she doesn't get into the program she wants? What if she doesn't get accepted at all?

What if I can't find anyone to take the goats?

What if  we can't get everything ready and organized? What if we are unprepared?

Here's the truth: there will never be a perfect time to go. We will never have everything and organized and prepared. There will never be enough money; there will never be a single second when I feel perfectly ready.

We will have to go unprepared and unready.

I've been here before. When Homero and I were talking about when to have children, and he said we should save money first, wait until the business was stabilized, wait until we were "ready."

"Becoming a parent is not something you get ready for ahead of time," I told him. "It's something you get used to afterward."

During the several years that I dithered about quitting smoking, I used similar excuses. "This is a particularly stressful time," I would think. "I'll do it when I finish this semester... when my relationship is more stable... when I'm ready."

The time will never be right for anything we want to do. There will always be problems, there will always be uncertainty. The mind, that anxious monkey, plays tricks with us, throwing up fantasies of the perfect situation, or even just a better one. "Just hold on a minute," says the monkey. "Sleep on it, why don't you?" If we really want to do the things we want to do, we can't listen to the monkey.

This is not to say that we won't try like hell to make as many preparations as possible. Luckily, this isn't an all-or-nothing situation. Life isn't a choice between being a cringing, indecisive ball of anxiety and being a heedless fool. There is a middle way, and we just have to try and find it.

We will buy the tickets, trusting that in the next two months, we will be able to resolve the most major of the issues. Maybe they will be resolved in less than perfect ways. Maybe we can all just live with that.

P.S. "Anxious Monkey": rock band name of the day


  1. And Anxious Monkey's debut album, "Throwing up Fantasies".

  2. That sucks about the property management company, but I think it will work out for you in the end. I agree that there is never a perfect time... it's like having kids then waiting for things to "calm down"... it just never happens.