It had all begun on the night of the full moon in February 2011. My house must have known something was awry. It’s smarter than it looks. Perhaps it had found out I was thinking about putting it on the real estate market, not that there is much of a real one around here. That’s when some of my appliances started to retaliate with a particularly nasty attitude. I had once read on some Internet site that failing appliances can be a telltale sign of classic poltergeist activity. However, I felt it was more likely they were just breaking down due to old age, as I undoubtedly will one day.
The most alarming malfunction was the temperature sensor in the oven, which made the circuitry sound off in the middle of the night like an activated smoke detector, beeping hysterically and showing an F2 error code on its digital clock display. The clothes dryer decided to follow suit two days later and smoked me with a bad igniter. The noise from inside the vents came next. It sounded like some kind of disjointed unrecognizable music.
I couldn’t keep my plan a secret as long as I was sending e-mails on the computer from the Blue Room, my upstairs office. The house sees everything I do here and something was telling me it was not pleased. It was probably reading my e-mails to Daniel in Eugene, Oregon. Daniel and I were corresponding about a mutual exchange through work. We would keep our same jobs but trade locations. That would mean selling the house and moving clear across the country. It seemed like an exciting yet terrifying idea. But when you start feeling stagnant at your job and you know there is very little possibility for personal or professional growth, you begin to entertain all sorts of wild notions about what you need to do to further yourself and maximize your potential.
So– why Eugene, Oregon? Why not! It’s one of the greenest cities in the United States. And even though the weather isn’t hot, it’s still the cool West Coast! Winters are generally very mild. The Cascade Mountains are about an hour east and the Pacific Ocean is an hour west. Could the grass really be greener on the other side of the country?
The University of Oregon is located in Eugene. The city is accepting of alternative ideas, places an emphasis on the arts and hosts many interesting cultural events. There are lots of jogging and bicycling trails. However, it also has an unfortunate overabundance of grass seed pollen that can interfere with outdoor fitness. I also heard that medical costs are high. Still, I was willing to overlook those few drawbacks at first, until Daniel’s next e-mail arrived.
Last December, the area got what Daniel described as a “dusting” of snow that they were not equipped to handle. He was told the city only has one snowplow. The commute was slow and the city scrambled to find ways to clear the roads. The schools closed. My romantic dreams of Eugene started to fade. I know there is no perfect place to live, but I’m sorry– I hate snow! That’s one of the main reasons I want to leave Ohio. Several days after receiving that e-mail, I saw on the news the entire state of Oregon was under a Winter Storm Warning. This felt like a deal-breaker.
I decided to stop e-mailing Daniel, at least for now. This must have temporarily appeased the house. The appliances stopped breaking. It’s possible the house no longer felt threatened that I wanted to move on. Maybe I just need to continue to give the house a little more time to think things through. Looking back, I think it had me at F2.