Change is coming to the Near Philadelphia household. It isn't a change we've planned or welcomed, but one that is necessary, and one we've prepared for -- mentally and emotionally -- over the past couple of months.
For twenty years Joe has had a small architecture practice in our town. His work is diverse and includes additions, custom homes, refitting business spaces, low income housing, church design and modification, shops, and other types of projects. The recent economic downturn began to impact his business long before the rest of the country was talking about it. Back in the early spring, there were indications that things were picking up, but this didn't hold. Having laid off his employees in the late spring/early summer, with the hope that he could call them back in the autumn, Joe worked very, very hard this summer, refining skills he'd not used in a while, continuing to look for new work, and thinking deeply about what was next.
Next has come, it seems, and with it the decision to move the office out of the space it has been occupying on a busy street in downtown NP, and re-establish it in our lower level. Possibly for the time being; more likely, permanently. This was a change that we knew would come someday; we just hadn't anticipated Someday for another few years.
The Move will happen over Labor Day Weekend. Sherry has offered to be the logistics manager and organizer. Both of the boys have volunteered to come and carry out the actual physical move. I am deeply touched by their kindness; a friend said, "Well, it is the right thing to do and they know it." She's right, of course, but I'm well aware that both of them have complicated lives with young babies and long, irregular work schedules. And, their gift of time entails driving up and down I-95 on a holiday weekend, an enormous sacrifice of time, patience, disposition, and godknowswhatelse. Another friend said, "Somewhere along the line, they've learned what priorities are."
Our home is a ranch-type house that sits on a slightly sloped lot so that the downstairs isn't a "basement" but rather a "lower level" that has peep-type windows in the front, but the back has a huge, wide picture window and a door that leads out to the back yard that Joe has landscaped beautifully. One-fourth of the lower level is my sewing space, and the plans that have been drawn up show that I don't lose a single inch of it. The other three-fourths will become the office.
The positives that come to mind in this situation include Joe's having the ability to work any hours he chooses, the delight of having Blackberry around to keep him company, and vice versa (not to mention the much-needed attention to the as-yet-incomplete potty training!), a restructuring of the household schedule to an earlier dinner hour, a less formal working environment, and, best of all, having him here instead of there when working late is a necessity.
Though I'm not losing any of my space, my conscience tells me that the next two weeks need to be spent making that space more aesthetically appealing to my new neighbor. I don't actually throw fabric scraps over my shoulder a la Eleanor Burns, but you wouldn't know that to look at the floor. And the "nearly completed" and "failed experiments" are everywhere.
Beginning today, much of my time in the next two weeks will be spent not only tidying up but actually cleaning up, finishing those things that are near to completion, stowing and prioritizing those that are not, tossing that which needs tossing and finding places for All Those Things that are casually here and there. Blogging time will be impacted, I would expect.
I'm not one of those people who abhor change and neither is Joe. We've experienced plenty of it over our years together, and much of the change has been imposed upon us rather than chosen by us. Nonetheless, we've always tried to put a positive spin on change, and to find and embrace the good that lies within, for there always is something good. This is a change we expected eventually, and while I'm not one to think of God as a micro-manager, I remember all too well how the opening of the office was in His time -- and His hands -- and I'm trying to let this change rest there as well.