I’ve been harboring a secret

You didn’t think I’d abandon you, did you? I’ve been as busy as a leaf blower this season; after the lull of summer, the fall semester hit hard. You think I’d realize this after working at a college for ten years, but no, better to live in the denial of This fall will be a breeze. Overlapping copyediting projects dominated my life too, and while the pace was tough, they were paying gigs when not everyone was so lucky. I was able to rake in a lot of money, which is lucky, because my biggest fall project required briefcases full of cash. After much mulling, research, number-crunching and doubt, I bought a house!

And let me just say, Holy Mother of God. What an undertaking. Do not embark on the home buying process unless you have the stamina of Secretariat. I’m just starting to dig my way out of the paper piles that resemble a snow fort. The project sucked the life out of me: it brought back traumatic memories of trying to solve unsolvable math word problems (Assume the cost of the house is X, the interest rate is Y, and the down payment is Z. How fast was the train going?). Other days my only task was faxing reams of paper to my lender, proving that I had a job, filed my taxes, had good credit, and was a Responsible Adult ready to assume a mortgage, which led me to wonder: Am I a Responsible Adult ready to assume a mortgage? I decided to go ahead anyway.

But now that I’ve settled in, well. All I do is look out at my cheerful patio—even though the flowers are gone, the umbrella is stored in the basement, the table is covered for winter, and it looks nothing like this picture. But I can see it hibernating out there, just waiting for spring, which feels so far away that if you walk by, you may just see me sitting out there in a puffy coat under a blanket, drinking hot chocolate.

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