Like a Rolling Stone

I just can’t seem to stop moving. Literally.

Years ago, someone asked my sister if I would be around for a while.  Her response, “She’s a rolling stone.”

Let’s see.

1969-1987:      Mom and Dad’s house. Birth through high school graduation.

1987-1991:      University of Wisconsin –Madison.  2 years in the dorms. My first apartment was torched by an arsonist and the location is where the Kohl center now resides. I find this very suspicious.  Second apartment was a total dive on South Orchard Street near Union South.  The kind of apartment that is still available when the semester has already started.  Year 4 we had a great apartment on Pinckney Street which was right off the square and near lots of good bars.  Perfect.

1991-1992:      Year off.  Spent some time in a shack in Clark, CO, another dive apartment on Langdon Street in Madison, and finally my Mom and Dad’s place again.

1992-1996:       First year apartment was a total dive in Forest Grove, OR.  The following three years were spent in a much better place in Beaverton, OR with my two roomies Nicolas and Trevor.  We are still very good friends. We would have parties after we took our board exams and there would be a bunch of future optometrists getting hammered and lifting weights and being crazy in general.

1997:       Charlotte, NC:  My first job as an optometrist.  I had a pretty decent apartment.  My sister came to visit with paint rollers in her suitcase and we painted the place.  Living room wall blue, my bedroom purple.  We must have done a decent job because I got my deposit back.  When it came time to move, two friends came to get me.  Big Mike took one look at my sofa and said, “Oh no, I am not moving that cheap sofa down 2 flight of stairs again.” This sofa had been purchased for 100 bucks in Oregon at a rummage sale and had been transported to both Wisconsin and North Carolina.  We threw it over the balcony and put the broken bits into the dumpster clearly marked no personal items.  Had a great dinner and bottle of wine at Manzetti’s and got the hell out of there.

1998:       Returned to Wisconsin.  Lived with Mom. (Dad was in heaven by then.) I filled-in all around the area working for a bunch of optometrists.  My Mom was my roommate/secretary/Mom.  Once in a while I run into one of the doctors I used to fill-in for.  Whenever he sees me the first thing he says is, “How is your Mom?” They used to plan my schedule and did a great job.

1998-2000:      I bought my first house on Lake Street.  Great bungalow.  Fabulous garden because the previous owner really was a master gardener. (Unlike, me…. I am a wannabe.)  My Mom helped me plant a raspberry patch and asparagus patch.  Later, both were destroyed by the next owners who built a bigger garage.  It was my first place.  When a good friend got married, I was able to host several of the groomsmen instead of them having to stay in a hotel. I remember making cinnamon rolls from a can and orange juice from a can and they thought I was freaking Martha Stewart. Fun.

2000:       Sold the first house because I was working out of town and the commute was getting to me. Made a small profit, so that was good.  Moved into a historic apartment in an old factory. Great loft.  Historic Fox River Mills.  It was pricey, more than my house payment but fun.  Lived there until I blew my ACL skiing and couldn’t make it up the steep stairs to the loft.  Back to Mom’s…

2001:       Knee better. Rented a crazy apartment above the old dime store on Main Street. I remember I was just getting out of the shower watching CNBC when the Towers fell.  That was such a terrible tragedy.

2002:       Moved to Oshkosh, WI and lived in a small apartment for a very short time.  Bought my tiny 2 bed/1 bath green and white “cottage”. No lake. Just a small, cute as pie house.  The best thing about the place was that it was in the direct path of the largest airshow on the planet, the EAA, which is held every July.  I would be outside watering my flowers and watch the B-52’s fly directly over me.  I think the pilots must of thought, “Who’s the crazy chick watering her flowers in her nightie?” I loved it.

At the time I was dating a much older guy (17 years) who was financially more established and in a completely different socio-economic sphere.  It took a while but eventually I started having some of his friends and family over for dinner. I have to say they were all good sports and didn’t make me feel bad about my tiny house or hand me down furniture.  In fact, I think they liked how relaxed my place was- not fussy!

We used to go to the Pioneer Inn on Lake Winnebago.  It has been destroyed now, but used to have a great little tiki bar with live music in the summer. One particular summer night, the vodka was flowing and I did my best Stevie Nicks impersonation.

‘I’ll follow you down til the sound of my voice will haaauuuunt yooooo.’

To this day my now ex-sweetheart doesn’t like to listen to Fleetwood Mac anymore because it reminds him of me.  It was a really good impersonation.  I did the spinny-dance moves and everything.

2007:       Work change.  Moved to…guess where? Mom’s house again. The tiny house sold very quickly and I was desperate and threw everything into boxes and moved in with Mom.

2008:       Bought my current house.  Super cute.  A little bigger. 3 bed/2 bath.  Great yard, on a river with a bit of a cliff in back.  I did make a few improvements to the place. Always thinking ahead to when I would sell it.

Guess what?  I haven’t sold it.  I have officially been in this house the longest I have stayed in a single place since I graduated from high school.  Woo hoo.  I did put it up for sale for a short time about three years ago anticipating another job change. It didn’t happen.  I am glad I stayed.  I also had a weak moment this winter when we had the worst winter in 100 years.  I was sorely tempted to move south.  But, I didn’t.

I must be planning to stay a while because I am starting to make changes to the place that are just for me- not for adding resale value.  I have never done that before.

All bets are off though if I win the Powerball. Then I might have to buy a compound in Miami Beach and a ski chalet in Steamboat. (A girl can be a dreamer, can’t she?)

Am I still a rolling stone?  It would seem I have worn a flat spot that has landed. I roll a bit and then come to rest, back in the same spot.  That’s ok.  I feel good about it.

The potential to roll is there. As long as I have that it seems to be enough. For now.

Lake Street House Front



Lake Street House Back


Lake Street Bloom
Historic Fox River Mills Loft
Green and White ‘Cottage” Oshkosh Front
Green and White ‘Cottage” Oshkosh Back
Current House Back Garden
Current House Side Yard View of my Neighbor Jerry’s Tree.

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I write stories about my life.

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