We had an eventful, uneventful arrival back in Charlottesville.
On the train from DC, Pat executed a flawed clean and jerk of his 50-pound suitcase to the overhead storage bin in a moving train. It ended poorly with the suitcase tucked in by our feet and Pat popping ibuprofen and rubbing his back. We wondered if we would make it off the train in Charlottesville.
I texted our son Mike to meet us at the station. We had rented the downstairs of an older, restored house in a historic neighborhood near the Amtrak stop, but I decided not to try to walk.
The first thing I noticed when we entered our house was how cold it was. Mike was in the lead going through the door; I heard him say, “That’s not good,” and saw a pile of glass on the floor. In slow motion, my brain snapped together what had happened. The night before our arrival, someone had neatly cut the screen and broken out the window of our rental.
My first thought was, “This Airbnb life needs to end.” My second thought was, “Thank goodness this isn’t my house.”
We called the landlord and the police. The landlord arrived first. Initially we were all stunned and unsure how to proceed. Pat and I were willing to stay at the house—it’s adorable and in a perfect walking neighborhood.
We assured the landlord, “If you guys can cover the window before tonight, we’re fine to stay here.” And with that, we headed over to my son’s house. Before the police arrived. Before the plastic was nailed over the window. Before the glass was swept off the floor.
It was the weekend of our grandson, Jack’s, christening. Family was arriving. It was time to get this party started. Later that afternoon, I received a text that everything was fixed.
As we drove over to Mike’s, I told Pat, “You know, that could have been our house. We might have been returning from a trip to find our window broken. Maybe renting isn’t all bad.”
“I know,” he replied.
Since that rocky arrival, our stay has been perfect. The window was patched that night and repaired a few days later. We put Pat’s camera equipment in Mike’s basement as a precaution. No one is going to steal our clothes. At night, I sleep like a baby.
We are considering buying a place. But where? We will look in Budapest and Ireland, Philadelphia and Charlottesville. Yet we both agree we want to spend half the year on the road. That raises the question–why buy a place? A base would be nice. Sweeping up glass the day we arrive back from a trip, not so nice.
That gets me back to the train ride. Pat and I are both downsizing what we carry. His weight is due to camera equipment. Mine is from books. We both carry too many little things which can be purchased abroad (toothpaste, vitamins, sunscreen, etc).
The huge suitcase is gone. In it’s place is a brand new, much smaller one. April 30th we will fly to Budapest, Hungary with a lot less in tow.
I’ve spent the last two weeks looking at real estate online—Budapest, Courtmacsherry, Charlottesville, Philadelphia. Then I remind myself of a pile of glass, and I wonder what the right answer is. Even more, I wonder what we’ll decide to do.
Categories: The United States