My Double Life Keeps Me On The Move


For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to lead a double life — not as a spy or anything, just so I could fit in everything I wanted to do. I played the oboe and clarinet, but I wanted to learn drums. I majored in early childhood education, but I also wanted a degree in fine arts. I worked part time in a millinery department, but I also wanted to be an au pair. I needed to earn a living, but I also love shopping, especially for junk. I moved to Florida, but I also love the Midwest.

Things work out. When, as a teen, I got braces on my teeth, the band director moved me out of woodwinds and into the percussion section. At college, I minored in fine arts. I have four grandsons I am pretty sure I am welcome to au pair all I want. I opened up an antiques shop (which I need to keep fully stocked with junk), and in Florida, I learned about something called a “snowbird.”

Snowbirds have the best of both worlds. When it’s cold, they’re down south. When it’s hot, they’re up north. Friends are constantly welcoming them “upon their return” because, at least twice a year, they’re returning. It’s a double life at its best!

I’m not quite a snowbird yet, but I’m working on it. I’m in the Midwest a good deal of the time.

That said, I enjoyed one of my more interesting double-life weeks this week. Here’s the gist of it:

On Sunday, I was in Kansas City helping my son-in-law Greg put together a holiday party for his staff. On Monday, I bought a house. On Tuesday, I packed antiques into my trailer. Wednesday was Christmas. On Thursday, I drove said antiques to Florida. On Friday (today), I will read my book to kids at the library and, over the weekend, I will unload the contents of the trailer into my store.

Sunday was hectic because of the party. It started at 6 p.m., but Greg didn’t get home from his Christmas shopping until 5:45. He poked his head in the door of the kitchen and hollered, “I need some food for this thing if anybody can help!” then dashed outside to string lights in the greenhouse, where the party was being held. My daughter and I looked at each other and zipped into action. By 6 p.m., we had three plates of cute sausage-and-cheese canapés on plates, pigs-in-blankets in the oven and Christmas cookies (with the icing still drying) on a tray.

Monday was exciting because of the house purchase. We hadn’t intended to buy a house but, three weeks ago, Greg met a neighbor who needed money by the end of the year and was selling his 5-bedroom, 3-bath home to “the first one with $50,000 cash.” Some house-flippers had offered him $45,000 and some other neighbors wanted to do financing, but the guy was firm at $50,000 cash. The house was great, except for the parts he’d “remodeled.” The hard part was finding $50,000 three weeks before Christmas. But we did it. The house is ours, and we already have a renter lined up.

Packing the trailer on Tuesday was hard, only because it was 20 degrees and snowing in Kansas City. Wednesday was fun, as Christmas always is. Thursday meant 20 hours strapped into a seat belt but it was worth it because of Friday at the library. (I have always wanted to read something that I wrote at a real library. Writers revere libraries.)

By the time you read this, I will be in shorts, happily unpacking still-cold merchandise from my trailer while enjoying the balmy Florida weather. Ahhhhh.

Leading a double life? I highly recommend it!