Tom Petty’s Girl

Tom Petty and I have a unique relationship. Granted, we  have never met. The closest I have been to him was in row 7 at a concert 10 years ago. My first memory of him was  in a hayloft, on my grandparents farm in Michigan. I remember hanging out with my older cousins.  We spent entire afternoons listening to “Refugee” that summer.
As time went on, I remember  thinking that Tom Petty was a musician that people of my mom’s generation liked to listen to. If anyone my age was a fan, it was because they were a “rocker” (jr. high slang word used to categorize a group of kids who listened to rock music, wore concert t-shirts and smoked.)  I, was not a “rocker”. I have no idea what I was at that age when kids begin to find themselves and want to separate from their parents and their tastes. Duran Duran, Madonna, Wham and Howard Jones held my interest.  Rod Stewart, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen were for “older” people.
Even though I was trying to find my musical niche, I was still under the music influence  of the adults in my life. I was like a sponge and absorbed all that I was exposed  to. Well, maybe only the lyrics because if there was one thing I was sure of, it was that these “guys” (Tome, Bruce, Rod, Ric Ocasek, etc.) were not attractive. Rod Stewart in a tank top with shiny, skinny pants singing “Do You Think I’m Sexy?” made me want to vomit first, and then send him some clothes to cover up in.
Fast forward to the adult me. I am all grown up, married with children.  But here’s a surprise: I own more Tom Petty CD’s than Wham, Madonna, Duran Duran and Howard Jones combined!
It seems that I absorbed more than I ever thought I would. It is permanent. I am proud that I am  a Tom Petty music lover. I point out his songs to my kids when I hear them on the radio. I get excited when I get to learn one of his songs in  my  guitar class.
But I have to say, the most intriguing change comes over me when I am alone with Tom Petty. I become his girl. I am the girl he is singing about in all of his songs. I cause him heartbreak. He yearns for me. I am there for him, no matter what. He sings to me, “Our Love Was Built to Last”.
When I am cleaning the house, I put him on. I listen to his sweet, slightly twangy, but edgy Southern voice tell me things that I understand now as an adult. I sing along with him, my words surfacing from a vault in my brain that has collected lyrics over the years.
When I am alone with Tom Petty, I am young and available. I have long, blond hair blowing around me (like in the old MTV videos), tanned and toned legs a mile long perched on high heels. I “bring it”  in a mini skirt and a tank top. I am his “American Girl”. I’m going to save him. I’m the best thing he ever had. I’m his “Honeybee”.
Although Tom Petty will never get a 10 in the looks department, he rocks my world when he sings. He really knows how to make a girl feel special. He makes cleaning the house a pleasurable experience.
I’m off to find my sponge and Simple Green now. I think I hear  someone singing.

Time to Move On

Our Second Moving Truck

A year ago we FINALLY sold our condo. It took 3 long, agonizing years to do it. There was nothing wrong with our condo. We just got caught in the middle when the housing bubble burst. We could afford to move, but not until we sold our property.

I could create numerous graphs showing: how many hours our children spent in front of the television while we cleaned for an open house or showing, number of potential buyers who we never heard back from after they raved about our condo, and how many homes we visited in neighborhoods we wanted to live in. I could share horror stories of those years. This is the story of my last day on Clinton.

It began the Friday before. The movers arrived and of course we were not ready. Yes, there were piles of boxes and bins, but there were also closets and drawers still full of 11 years of life. Life that began with 2 adults and ended with 2 adults and 2 children. Plus all the paraphernalia of parenting. I had tried very hard to sort through all of our possessions  to avoid packing items that would eventually be thrown out or donated. I tried so hard, in fact, that I did not leave enough time to  pack. In a whirlwind of hours, the movers loaded up their truck, leaving empty rolls of packing tape and soda bottles in their wake. I was left with semi-empty rooms,  brimming closets, dust bunny colonies and an uneasy feeling in my stomach. I tried to reassure myself that we still had the weekend.

Monday morning arrived and we decided to park our children at the neighbor’s house to finish packing, cleaning and emptying out our off-site storage facility. Sponge Bob, Arthur and the Looney Tunes crew took care of them while I raced around, cursing myself for not being prepared. The invisible stopwatch in my head rapidly moved the day forward, getting closer to the 4:00 closing that would only be attended by our real estate agent. Just when I thought the kitchen was complete, but then I discovered a drawer full of utensils and instruction manuals. I dumped handfuls of unknown contents  into boxes for the sake of saving  time.

The refrigerator was still full. Why hadn’t we finished the juice and the baby carrots,  I asked no one in particular.  I hated to throw out food. I eased some of the guilt by leaving surprises in my neighbor’s fridge and freezer with a nice note  explaining my last-minute generosity.

I spent the last hour in the condo on Clinton cleaning while sending text messages to our Realtor about the status of the closing and when exactly the new owners would arrive. I still had a bathroom to clean, could he stall them? I couldn’t leave without leaving every space presentable. I was so sleep deprived from this whole excruciatingly time-consuming and life sucking roller coaster of selling our condo. I was unsure about the months ahead and I worried that somehow the deal would fall through at the last-minute and we would be trapped in our condo forever.

I took one last look around, remembering our life of the past 11 years when we: first moved in,  brought our cat home from the Humane Society, brought home babies from  the hospital, potty trained our kids, played hide and seek, survived the years when my husband worked from home, laughed about the blackberry incident, hosted our 3 Kings parties, had friends over for play dates,  had visits from out of town friends and family, let the kids zoom through the kitchen on the tricycle , received bad news.

I tried not to cry. I had wanted this for 3 years. Sometimes change is hard, especially when the unknown lies ahead. A Tom Petty girl at heart, I tried to comfort myself with the lyrics from his song, “Time to Move On”. I said a silent goodbye as I carried the remaining items that we would need for our upcoming Adventures in Tiny Condo (a future post), to the car.

My husband was unloading the second filled-to-capacity moving truck into the new storage facility. He had a flight to catch that evening and was depending on me to pick him up and get him to the airport. I brushed my tears aside, cranked up the radio and somehow made it happen.