Life at The Funny Farm – kinda like herding cats

The Funny Farm. The term "farm" is figurative, of course, referring to our menagerie of dogs, cat and chickens. But the funny? Yeah, we've got that.

So I told you this week that we were moving.  Well, check that. Reverse it. Or maybe not.

For more than a decade darling husband has been complaining about where we live. The house, the neighborhood, the lack of privacy. You name it, he hates it.

Not the neighbors, understand. We actually are surrounded on all sides by very great neighbors. It’s not the people. It’s the fact that we have neighbors at all that’s been his biggest problem.

I love having neighbors.

But several years ago I gave the OK to move, hoping that it would make darling husband happier. He’s since spent hours scouring the internet for properties, looking everywhere from New Brunswick, Canada to Montana and Wyoming. I did finally say that I wasn’t moving to the middle of nowhere, so that narrowed the search. I think New  Brunswick was just a dream anyway, but with darling husband you never know.

Well, over the last year I’ve been more and more convinced that a little village lot isn’t the best place for two border collies and chickens. I’m at my wit’s end trying to get the dogs to stop barking, the season of the arguing renters is in full swing up the street, and the neighborhood teenagers are out in full force (and they seem to like barking back at Scout and Bandit, which doesn’t help). Add in the fact that you can hear every door on the street slam and every other dog bark for a two mile radius and every kids scream and this week we talked again and decided that moving sounds like a grand idea.

I called the realtor, and yesterday, we drove out to Walworth to take a look at a house for sale on 38+ acres of land for just $135,ooo. Understand, I don’t really want to move. But I will move, and I’ll be happy about it.

And then darling husband decided maybe he doesn’t really want to move after all. He thought if we just took all of the great things about our house, which he now loves – go figure – and remodel we could stay here. So he decided: we stay and remodel, and in 10 years the house will be  paid off.  What does he want to remodel? He said, and I’m serious, “We start from scratch.” To which I replied, “Why don’t we just move to a different house?”

I think part of his reversal was that I told him if we bought a new house, he could not buy a tractor. I suspected, and it was confirmed, that if we bought land he was going to want some other toys and we just can’t afford it.

So I called the realtor and told her we’d changed our minds, and called the remodeler to get some quotes on fencing, a garage roof, and a start on some kitchen and bath designs.

Then last night, darling husband and his friend were talking and guess what? There maybe be a house and land in Victor that would actually be perfect for us. It’s land his friend is buying but he doesn’t want the acres with the house, so he thought if he bought it he could sell it to us. So I asked darling husband, Is the moving plan back on? He said, no, well yes, well, maybe.

I literally banged my head against the wall and then went to bed.

Normally, I can deal with this. Darling husband isn’t a great decision maker and is notorious for changing his mind a hundred times without actually making a decision. Just ask the customer service reps at Cabelas; he’s on a first name basis with them because he orders things, gets them, wears them, changes his mind, returns them for something else … rinse, repeat a dozen times. That back and forth is a daily thing, along with his charming tendency to take every project and make it more complex and complicated.

But this week darling daughter is also dealing with some very major life changes – quitting a good paying but very frustrating full time job to waitress and go back to school full time. It means leaving her apartment in Buffalo and moving home for at least the summer, neither of which she really wants to do. So she’s waffling back and forth, even though Saturday is her last day, because her job is back and forth about whether they’ll transfer her and work around her school schedule. And this requires at least 10 phone calls a day to me to talk about her options. I feel badly for her and am usually her sounding board for decisions,  but this is one of those times when Mommy can’t offer much help  because I’m not the one who has to live with the consequences of her choice.

Add to that the intolerable heat and my increasing migraines – which are triggered mostly by smell, so you can understand why living so close to other people is a problem lately; everything from someone grilling two houses down to a neighbor’s use of scented dryer sheets to a someone smoking a cigarette as they walk by can make my head ache and my stomach turn if a migraine is coming – and you can understand why I’m more than a little cranky these days.

And why 38 acres in the boondocks is looking more and more attractive.

So for now, the Funny Farm is not for sale. The dogs will bark, although it’s getting better, and I guess we’ll have to live with it. Every neighbor has a dog so we’re all in the same boat. If I have to listen to work being done on cars and neighbors having all out battles at 3 in the morning and smell campfires in my bedroom, I guess the neighbors can deal with dogs barking, as long as I’m trying my best to keep it to a minimum.

And if things get really bad, I can always join the circus. It might be a nice quiet change of pace.

(PS: As I reread this, I thought that you might get the impression that darling husband is jerk or that I’m complaining about him. Quite the opposite. He may complicate projects, but he never does anything half-assed, like I do. He’s a hardworking man who toils at a crappy job – which in this heat is probably unbearable – and never slacks. He’s honest and trustworthy and loving and he’d give me the moon if I asked for it. Just so you know. He’s a prince of a husband and I wouldn’t trade him for anything. Not even another dog.)

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