December has been a crazy month - even crazier than December usually is for those of us who observe Christmas.
My wife and I had been invited to my lodge's holiday dinner in the middle of the month, but unfortunately it was canceled due to a snowstorm. It would have been a welcome distraction from our main concern, which was the house we had been in the process of buying since the end of October.
We actually closed on the place on Christmas eve - probably the most expensive Christmas present we'll ever buy for ourselves.
Back in September I alluded to "other factors at work" in the context of wishing Summer would last just a little bit longer. At that time we had determined that we were ready to take the plunge and buy a home, but given our budget and the type of property we really wanted (A house with several acres, but not too far from civilization, and staying in New England) it looked like we were going to wind up moving to Maine. (That's why I was driving around Maine in October; doing reconnaissance.) Although I love Maine, I was not thrilled with the prospect of moving several hours away from family and our few local friends. I was also not crazy about the fact that a move to Maine would probably mean taking the degrees from my mother lodge and then skipping town.
Within days after returning from Maine, however, we found a few listings much closer to home in Massachusetts... they were all "fixer upper" properties, but they generally met our criteria, including budget. One in particular grabbed us; a 19th century post and beam home with plenty of land, a pond, and apple trees. It's now ours... there are several months of hard work ahead of us before we can actually move in, and many more months/years of hard work after that before it's done (as "done" as old places like this ever are), but in the long run it's going to be well worth it.
What's especially pleasing is that it's not much further from my mother lodge than where we live now, so I needn't worry about breaking off that fellowship before it's hardly begun... and at the same time, our new house is only a few miles from another lodge, which I will be petitioning once I get my dues card.
Speaking of my mother lodge, it's looking like the next round of degrees will be starting in February. If you had told me *last* February that I would be joining the Freemasons a year hence, I would probably have scoffed. The seeds of getting involved in my community had been planted by a couple of co-workers, (one in the Knights of Columbus and numerous other organizations, the other in the Elks), but given my grueling commute at the time there was no way I would have considered taking on any additional commitments.
Happy new year - it promises to be another interesting one for me!