We got the shock of the month when we came home yesterday to discover a ReMax Sale sign on the front porch of our building.

I can’t say “shock of our lives” or even “shock of the year”, but it ranks up there alongside receiving a $500 electric bill for a neighbor’s usage.
The landlord actually stopped by yesterday morning (sans sign) to deliver a storm window that was missing and needed to be replaced. He never mentioned anything to us. But everything about this move seems a bit backwards… from not allowing us to move in until the former occupants (who were squatters at this point) vacated, to not having the building inspected prior to our moving in. We had to repaint any exposed wood and have electrical wiring replaced AFTER we’d settled here, because an inspection failed.
(He actually may have gotten into some hot water with the state for allowing the building to be occupied in it’s condition)

We had so many plans to renovate this place – from building a floor-to-ceiling bookcase in the dining room, to a bathroom storage unit, and decorative radiator covers – but now we’re sitting in the twilight zone, waiting to see who buys the property and what their intentions are.
If they decide to raise the rent, we’ll leave… and most likely, the couple upstairs will too. Joe doesn’t want to continue painting or even consider installing new carpeting solely for the new landlord’s benefit. I’m worried about what will become of our security deposit, because we can’t really afford to cough up 2 months worth of rent on short notice, if we decide not to stay.
I try not to dwell on negative outcomes… after all, there were 50 pages of rental properties for sale in Hagerstown, according to ReMax’s website yesterday. I think many landlords are trying to cut vacant property losses, and I seriously doubt a new landlord would want to jeopardize his steady income by pissing off the current tenants. Would he?

We had discussed, at one time, our desire to purchase the building ourselves… and perhaps The Fates overheard us and decided to grant us the opportunity. However, we are nowhere close to being ready for such a large investment, unless She decides to grant us a generous amount of money as well.

My third portrait in the Regency series is almost complete – I should have her done by tonight and listed, kids’ willing.
I have two other projects with deadlines to finish before this weekend is over. A customer’s custom portrait (that I’m waiting on the photograph to be sent) and a personal gift to Joe for FD.

I don’t typically celebrate holidays, except for the benefit of our kids – who are young enough to get a kick out of fireworks, Christmas trees, Easter baskets, and all the hoopla.
I recall getting into an argument with a friend (whose religion forbade holiday celebrations) and defended the traditions by saying that our interpretations and intentions of said traditions were the most important part; the decorations themselves held no special significance. I.E. bringing a Christmas tree into the living room didn’t automatically make you a devil worshipper..
Now if you also erected a Satanic altar beneath the tree and chanted some anti-hymns in ghoulish Latin… One of these days, I actually will paint my vision of what a Satanic Christmas tree would look like (and post it somewhere anonymously of course) 😉

Anyway… I wasn’t intending to veer off onto a tangent, but now as I look back and recall how passionately I fought to keep traditions in my home without sacrificing my former morals (along with the goats, babies, cats…) it seems funny that after all these years, I’m no longer interested in participating except in spirit. I believe now, as I did then, that the importance lies in honoring our families, our deities, our patriotism, our freedoms… every day, and that these calendar holidays simply call into focus these things we may have taken for granted throughout the year.

I have decided to paint a portrait for Joe as a gift… even though he knows how deeply I appreciate him as a partner and father to our beasts. They would appreciate him too, if they understood the meaning of the word. They do know that he provides their food, diapers, toys, television, and plenty of hours of attention, bath-times, and hugs. They probably aren’t aware of how drastically their lives would be affected if he weren’t with us, and hopefully they can grow up in ignorance of that possibility.

So I plan to paint a portrait… which will serve as a tangible reminder that I’m thinking of him, always, even if I seem to take our lives together for granted. In the back of my mind, I’m ever conscious of the fact that Joe is the reason we’re all here as a family. He is the captain guiding our ship towards whatever future The Fates have in store, and he’s the source of the hope I carry with me – that wherever we lay down our roots, will be our Home, and my heart will reside there.

So I’m planning to paint a portrait… of Dominic dressed as Admiral Adama, leader of the orphan fleet, from the extremely popular remake of Battlestar Galactica. (Joe’s favorite show) I have him drawn up and ready to paint. This will, naturally, be considered “fan art” as the show is obviously copyrighted…. so no prints for sale; this is strictly personal.

We’re still searching for our Earth.