Here goes another effort:
A few weeks ago, after a morning of teaching, I looked at the screen of my phone and saw that I'd missed a call from my husband. He knew I was teaching, I thought. Why is he calling me?
But he'd sent a text too.
"Dispatch is being sold. Call me when you can."
And that's how, one morning in June, that we both learned the company that has supported our household for 17 years might be coming to an end.
That's a scary scenario when you're in your 50s like we are and learn that the primary family income is in jeopardy.
My husband's newspaper company has been fairly stable in spite of the bad economy seven years ago. There'd been some lay offs and some shake ups, but Earl flowed from assistant editor to copy editor to reporter.
Suddenly, it seemed very likely that Earl might lose his job. Because while he left editing behind, the company left his pay the same each timer.
Meetings the next few days, meant to soothe worries, left us in a bit of a panic.
No one would lose their jobs for 90 days, the new management assured the editorial staff.
90 days! Holy crap!
I created a budget that showed we could survive on my salaries if we needed to, and if we didn't pay for college. Our boys are both still going to school.
We talked about possibilities in the car, sitting at the dining room table, lying in bed in the morning if we both happened to be awake.
"Well, there's the house," one of us said, I'm not sure which, but the house we bought seven years ago has gone up in price enough to leave us with a tidy profit if we sell it.
We looked at different neighborhoods close by and discussed where we could move. I talked with Earl about job possibilities and he started sending out feelers.
Our long-term plan has always been to retire to France. We love to vacation there, the lifestyle, the food, the scenery, the language.
I've always insisted that we need to have a home in the U.S. If we bought a new home in Ohio, we couldn't afford a place in France.
A note from my Aunt Esther helped change my mind. (I wrote about it a few weeks ago here.) She wrote to thank me for my book Trail Mix and for the opportunity to go on the adventure. She had always wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail and is unable to now. "My other dream was to walk the Grand Canyon. But the Old Mother Nature's Clock just went too fast," she wrote.
And it struck me, we aren't that far away from where she is. How fast will those years ago and how many regrets will we have?
If we buy a house in France, we could always sell it to buy a place in Ohio if we wanted to come back.
And so, I said to Earl, "We can move to France."
He looked at me.
"If you lose your job, we can sell the house and move to France," I repeated. "I know it's what we've wanted."
We could get a three-bedroom house and rent out rooms through Air B&B to make extra money.
And we've always dreamed of creating a writer's retreat B&B. We could redo outbuildings like garages or barns to be rooms and cozy writing nooks.
We're about 30 days into the guaranteed 90 days of job that Earl was promised.
We've done very few chores to prepare the house for sale, but we've made plans in our head and we've shared the news with some friends.
"Oh, I hope Earl loses his job," my friend Tracie said. "Can I hope that?"
I know what she means.
The status quo is so comfortable, but maybe it's time to take a few chances on adventure.
Within the year, within six months, I could be writing this blog from somewhere in France.
Maybe this farmhouse for sale with a view of the Pyrenees.
Maybe this farmhouse with an old barn in Limousin.
We're about to set off on an exciting new episode.
I hope you'll all come along.