I gave notice on my apartment today.
Not in Seattle, where I have been house and pet sitting since May. Here, I move among other people's sofas and sauce pans like a spirit unable to move from this world to the next.
My mobile phone buzzed as expected at 3 AM, and this time I answered.
In Spanish: "I'd like to keep the apartment."
"Vale. OK., The rent increase at November 1 will be 60 euros per month." Sixty euros and the decision I'd been avoiding was made in the blink of one crusty eyelid.
No more balcony the width of a café table with a view of the train station, and on the rare clear day, the mountains beyond the city. Good-bye butcher block kitchen cart that I conjured magically in the IKEA sale room only months before. Farewell, art deco wardrobes and sofa de pluma (feathers), exactly the right size for the living space sandwiched between bedrooms and the drying porch.
The adventure won't end, but my Madrid lease ends October 31. Halloween. The day my spirit chooses this world.
Because I love nothing better than random information, here is some random information about me.
1. Since junior high, my dream was to move to another country long enough to learn the culture and speak the language.
2. In 2014, I moved to Spain for two years.
3. I have three gorgeous children: Emma 22, Erik 18, and Eleanor 14.
4. In the fifth grade, I won a county speaking contest on the subject of the new Earth Day.
5. At three years old, I played a bridge troll in our preschool production of Billy Goats Gruff.
6. My favorite color when I was five was magenta. My favorite color now is orange.
7. I wrote my first story about Paul Bunyon and Babe, the Blue Ox when I was 9 and I knew writing was my destiny.
8. We were a cat family growing up (my parents weren't familiar with spaying) and my cat gave birth on my bed when I was six.
9. We lived in six different homes in the same small town where I grew up in Wisconsin, and I have always loved moving.
10. My favorite book as a kid was The Egypt Game.
11. I got my first job at a canning factory when I was 16 by sitting in front of the employment trailer until someone put me to work.
12. At 9 (a seminal year) my best friend and I go-go danced on my parents' dining room table to Archies records with one of us using a reading lamp to spotlight the other.
13. I lived in San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Chicago a few summers in my twenties and I love exploring cities.
14. I made my first trip abroad to Portugal for two weeks when I was 44 years old.
15. I once sent Bob Dylan a birthday card.
16. By the time I was 16, I had seen Gone with the Wind 12 times.
17. My favorite memory is sitting at my grandmother's dining room table with my aunt, mom, grandmother and the relative du jour listening to family stories.
18. I grew up in the Birthplace of the Republican Party, and I was one of two kids to raise my hand for the Democratic candidate in our third grade "election."
19. In the summer of 2013, I quit my job to walk across Spain with my 15-year-old son,
20. Two of my three children were born at home with midwives.
21. I love to cross-stitch and sew.
22. I chose my first college because it had a riding stable (that I never saw!).
23. My favorite invention is the digital camera because I hate chemicals but I love photography.
24. Title IV meant at 5'9 I made the girls' first basketball team at my high school even though I had no athletic talent, and I am so grateful I had that opportunity.
25. Four of my junior high friends and I still message each other in a Facebook group.