Taking the Good with the Bad

Note: I wrote this post long before I wrote One Very Close Shave, long before I had finally decided to listen to my little voice and not take this house! There is a happy ending– stay tuned! But I decided to post this anyway, because it is so revealing about my internal struggle.

Many years ago, I got a phone call from my doctor. “We need you to come in for some tests right away, as there’s a possibility you may have cancer.”

I made the arrangements, hung up and sat on the edge of my bed, lost in thought. This was the same kind of cancer that killed my mother in a slow, torturous way. The same kind of cancer would later kill my sister. My life was never going to be the same. I was staring mortality in the face. The luxury of pretending was over.

While I sat there in shock, the phone rang again. “We’re thrilled to tell you that you got the job! When can you start?” “Whoa. Um… yeah. Wow! Um… after two weeks’ notice?”

So there you go. I should have been dancing for joy all around the house. But… okay, how do I process these two things at the same time? How do I even wrap my head around these two things at the same time? What does all of this even mean?

What if it really is cancer? Should I be switching jobs at a time like this? (Fortunately, this was to be a transfer within the State of Florida system, so my insurance wouldn’t lapse.) But what if I turned down the job and it turned out I didn’t have cancer? I’d be kicking myself for not going for it. So I went for it.

Long story short, it turned out I didn’t have cancer, and I wound up with a much better paying job. Whew. Landed on my feet that time.

I hadn’t thought of that day for a long time, until something similar happened recently. I had bid on two houses simultaneously. The market is so cutthroat around here that I couldn’t afford to wait.

One house was my dream house. Even just driving into the neighborhood felt like an embrace. And I loved everything about the house itself, from the fireplace to the hardwood floors to the amazing yard and the detached workshop. I could see myself living there for the rest of my life. I wouldn’t even have to paint. The previous owners had excellent taste and their color sense was spot on. I could imagine spending hours on the back deck, just thanking the universe for my good fortune. It was a house that I’d look forward to coming home to every single day. This house was meant to be mine. I felt it in my bones.

The second house was nice, too. But there were some things I’d need to change. And there were other causes of concern, too, that I won’t get into here. I could live there. My dog would love playing in the back yard. But it was most definitely my second choice.

A moot point. I didn’t get my dream house. After my realtor broke the news, I said, “Okay, I’ll be incommunicado for a while. I’m going to go take a bath and have a good cry.” Because that’s what I do when I receive bad news and I live alone. There’s no one to talk to. So I take a bath and I have a good cry.

I felt like I was in mourning. I had envisioned an amazing future, and it all just popped like a soap bubble. It’s all so unbelievably fragile.

So I prepared my bath. I felt a lump forming in my throat. I added lavender Epsom salts to the water. I was pretty sure I’d need them.

Then the phone rang again. I got the second house. Well… yay! I mean…

No time for that good cry. I wasn’t sure it was even appropriate under the circumstances. But those toxins took a while to ebb. And that meant that my well-deserved excitement took a while to flow.

At the time of this writing, I am looking forward to the inspection process, which is the last major hurdle to this home becoming mine. All mine. (Little did I know!)

But a little tiny part of me is always going to feel like I settled on marrying the less attractive, less stable, less reliable brother. And every once in a while, as I’m doing my best to transform this home into my castle, I’ll wonder what might have been. But the good news is that this house comes with a tub. (So relieved I didn’t take this house when all was said and done! I’m getting an even better one! More on that soon!)



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6 thoughts on “Taking the Good with the Bad

  1. I’ve always wondered about that expression. Seems backwards to me—it ought to be “take the bad with the good”. Because nobody wants to take the bad, but it often comes with the good. 🙂

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