I didn't want to be one of those people who overstayed her welcome.

When last we left Lorna, she was hole up at her older sister’s house, wondering if she would get her mortgage approved before she lost the contact on her sweet little condo…

I had one week until the sellers were going to pull out of the deal because Creative Mortgage Man wasn’t making things happen. The lightning incident left me with nearly constant headaches, something Dr. M., my neurologist, told me to expect for probably several months. I tried to stay positive, especially being my sister’s house guest for possibly the rest of my life.

Mortgage aliens brokers  must be stress junkies enjoy working under pressure, ultimatums making them flipping giddy with delight. They probably street luge for relaxation.

Let's time our run for rush hour, okay?

Four days before my condo contact was history, my mortgage was approved. Creative Mortgage Man had long ago stopped talking to me and had Mini-Him deal with me. He seemed nice enough and sympathetic to my situation. When he delivered the news, I sensed genuine joy in his voice. After nearly three months of  his “any day now” and “you’ll hear from our office by close of business, I promise!”, however, my reaction was suspicious cautious tepid. “Oh. That’s good.” He asked if I’d heard him right. “Yes, but I’ll believe it when my lawyer has a signed document in his hands. “And, thanks.” Messengers shouldn’t have to wear bullet-proof vests.

Okay, so I had a headache that wouldn't quit, was without a home for nearly 3 months, and was tired of financial people yanking my chain. But those aren't reasons to go all Yosemite Sam on the guy's butt.

Through the entire climb up Mount Convoluted Mortgage, my wonderful realtor was my trusty Sherpa. She was the only one who kept in contact with me at least every week and even helped (with my lawyer) to make arrangements to let me move my stuff from the storage trailer to “my” condo’s garage ahead of time. My stuff moved six weeks before I did. I designed and crafted a tote bag in her favorite colors as a token on my appreciation.

My design for a shopping bag.

The closing was set for June 30, the day of the ultimatum. I don’t know how reams of pre-printed paper and a cotillion of people coalesced to be at the proper place at the proper time, but it happened. I went to MY condo alone, turned the key, opened the door, and smiled the biggest smile I can remember smiling while alone. I did it. I was home.

I didn’t officially move in for two weeks. Tina, Jim, and Phil helped me paint every room in the place after I carefully picked colors. I only had one misfire on a wall color: it was supposed to be a sand color but took on a Calamine Lotion appearance. I was going for a Tuscan Villa color scheme, not Girl-Scout-Camping-Trip-Disaster theme. We  fixed it. Phil often stayed into the evening to help me. One evening “My Girl” by the Temptations came on the radio. I was on the floor, painting a baseboard or wiping a splotch of paint from the floor that should have gone on a baseboard. He took my hand, helped me up, and we danced in each others’ paint-splattered arms. I was home in more ways than one.

Once the new bed and furniture I bought was delivered and I partially unpacked the garage, I moved in and started my new life. Scrappy became the toast of the neighborhood and people quickly came to know me as “that woman who sings and dances while she walks.” Before I knew it, people were waving to me as they passed by in their cars—something that always happened in my “before-life.” It felt like this had been home forever.

The real tricky part is not getting the leash tangled up with the ear-bud cords. Well, that and not falling on my butt when Scrappy decides to stop and sniff and I'm still moving forward in oblivion. It's a talent that takes nurturing.

When Phil separated from his wife, he moved in with me. I never expected him to be in my life, let alone living with me. Had I known he would be part of my picture when I was looking for homes, I would’ve chosen one with room for a wood shop—one of his many talents and passions. As it turned out, the condo was perfect; we both needed to simply our lives. We spoke at length about our past and our future, something the Buddhist in me said not to do and the human in me needed to do. Both our ex-spouses found it easy to blame one or both of us for the break up of our marriages. I can understand how they would. Neither of us regret the paths we chose and the lives that came from those choices; but Phil and I got something few people in this life get: another chance.

I can't suppress my smile even when I'm kissing the guy.

And so each day marks the beginning of a new life for me, filled with any number of possibilities. The only thing I know for sure is that I don’t know what’s going to happen; but come what may, I can handle it. I have a lot of practice at handling whatever “it” is.

This is the perfect signal for me. I'll know when to either go freely or proceed with caution. Stopping is not an option. It never was.