"Grovel," according to Merriam-Webster is 1) "to creep with the face to the ground: crawl, 2) to lie or creep with the body prostrate in token of subservience or abasement."
And grovel I did just days after I had given notice at work. I began trying to reach my boss that same week, but as luck would have it, our office was moving to a new building and all forms of communication were cut off from Friday through Monday. You can just imagine what fun I was to be around that weekend.
When I arrived in the new office space on Monday morning, rather than my name being posted on my designated cubicle, it just said, "Petterson Replacement," I knew I had to move fast. I ran into Elizabeth first thing and asked her if she had a moment to talk. She was actually very relieved that they would not need to replace me so quickly and told me that the job was still mine if I intended on staying. She said that they will continue to interview candidates for my position now that she knows our eventual master plan, but she said she was fine in keeping me for the time being which was incredibly kind (and smart as I continue working 10+ hour days, every day which is still nowhere near enough time to finish everything). I also offered to work from France which she did not dismiss entirely and she even asked me pointed questions on how that might work. Other than the time difference, everything else would remain the same since I work from home 95% of the time right now. If I were willing to work some evenings, it might just work.
Phew, catastrophe #1 averted for the time being.
But what still remained was this overwhelming feeling of uncertainty that dominated all of our lives and had for over a year now. Was this plan still viable; even worth the incredible amount of stress it had caused? We all knew how it was beginning to take its toll on me with my emotional outbursts and reliance on more wine consumption than I should. But Caleigh was another matter. She kept her feelings to herself and generally appeared strong. She even acted supportive of the move in order to make us feel better. Unfortunately, bottling up her true feelings had probably made her act out in ways that she said she wasn't so proud of due to the impermanence of her life. Hank was still the solid rock of our family; so much in fact that he would not even entertain the possibility that our dream was not attainable. And although I envied his confidence, I was also frustrated at times because I often felt that I was handling the financial realities on my own while he got to do "all the fun stuff."
So, what to do? For one thing, we had to admit to ourselves that our house was just not going to sell this year even though it was considered "the best value" in Topanga according to local agents. That was difficult to do, but such a relief when we decided to take it off the market. No more spotless house and generic decorating. Bring back the family photos, yay! By taking it down from the MLS listing, we could also go forward with the re-fi that I had begun the week before. This time though, we would pull some more money out of our equity; rent our house in Topanga, possibly have me work remotely and hopefully have enough to make the move to France for a few years and begin renovations. During that time, there was also a chance that our previous home value would return, making this plan sort of an investment in our future. Wishful thinking I know, but the thought of not being at the mercy of low ball offers in the middle of winter was a great relief.