Thursday, June 16, 2011

The View From the 23rd Floor

Recently, Bruce and I decided to rent an apartment downtown St Paul. Instead of going to a lake home on the weekends, we now have an "urban cabin," and in true Agneberg style, we have settled in quickly--pictures on the walls, shelf liner in the kitchen cabinets, and books in a new bookshelf. We have even entertained for the first time, although I am telling everyone I am not planning to do much cooking there. The grandkids gave me colorful measuring cups and spoons, however, so I do think an occasional batch of cookies will be in order. 

We have decided to take this step for several reasons.

1. I anticipate needing and wanting to go to Minnesota more frequently, as my father, who is almost 88, begins to cope with more issues of aging. Having our own place will make the coming and going easier. We have always stayed with our daughter and her family, and we loved doing that and never felt we were imposing. They have always been hospitable and thoroughly welcoming, but we take over our granddaughter's room and while she appreciates the $$ tip I leave under her pillow, at some point her room will be her castle, her sanctuary from little brother and disagreeable parents and friends she can't quite figure out. They have incredibly busy lives and having Mom and Dad come and come more often and maybe more spontaneously adds more to their schedule and To Do list. 

2. Our plan when Bruce retires is to move back to St Paul where we raised our kids and where the majority of family and friends still live. Having an apartment is a way to begin re-establishing a life there; a transition stage to fulltime life there and life as a retired couple. A way to get to know the metropolitan area again and what it has to offer us now that we are in our 60's. Having an apartment is a step up from "visiting," although it is still not quite living there. It is a way to road test what will be right for us and for our family when we do make this permanent change. At this stage of our life the opportunities for "do-overs" are not as obvious or as easy, and this decision feels like a way to become more sure of later and bigger decisions. When we lived in Ohio and more recently in Madison, our visits were jampacked and we never saw all the people we wanted to see and never had the chance to explore the area--go to the Guthrie Theatre or the arboretum, for example, but perhaps that will change a bit now that we have a home base.  

This is all quite new still, but Bruce keeps saying how right it feels, and I agree. At the same time I feel a bit cautious, for I don't want us to let go of our good life here.  My circle of women friends has increased and deepened in the last few months, and I am beginning to feel at home here in a way that is more profound than knowing my way around and having our home decorated the way we want it. I am not ready to let go of what we have been establishing in these 3 and a half years. When we do move to Minnesota, I want to miss Madison, our life here and our friends here, just as we miss our son and daughter-in-love and friends in Cleveland. I want reasons to return. 

An ongoing theme for me is finding the right balance. What I am balancing changes with time and situation, of course. Family and career. Time with friends and time with family. Exercising or reading a book. Solitude vs time with others. This is one more opportunity to listen and respond to my inner voice. 

3. Oh, and one more reason. It's fun !!! We are good at moving in and creating a homey space. We enjoy doing that and already our "urban cabin" feels like home.   


  1. We'll miss having you at our house, but are so happy that you'll be coming more frequently and experiencing downtown St. Paul through your eyes! I know you don't want to brag, but I think your blog readers should understand how completely you and Dad transformed a basic apartment into a warm, welcoming space - all in about two hours. You're amazing!

  2. Excited that you are around in MN more. Would love to connect. Exciting times for you both.
    Nancy Peterson

  3. We will miss you indeed, but what a healthy way to transition! And fun, for sure.