The mountain. {Preface}

Dear friends,

Mr. Mom has been gone for a couple of days, which always throws my routine off-kilter. Besides the fact that I miss his presence in our home and never sleep well when he’s away, I have to do things in his absence. Things like laundry. And dinner. I have to make my own coffee in the morning. It’s a real pain.

Mr. Mom is away because he’s tending to the mountain. You know . . . that thing I never talk about but occasionally mention? Actually, he headed west to Colorado for what should have been yet another court hearing in our long and winding saga — only to get as far as Wichita and learn our court date was bumped at the last minute because of another case.  So he spent the night with a friend and turned around and headed home. He has done this many times in the last few years — headed to Colorado only to learn we were bumped or postponed. Unfortunately, we’ve discovered first-hand that fitful starts and stops are common in litigation, painful though it is.  And after five years, what’s one more delay?

I’ve been thinking for some time about telling you our story. I haven’t so far for many reasons. Partly because it’s a difficult one to write. Partly because I’ve wanted to forget about it as much as possible. And partly because when you’re involved in litigation, well, you learn to be very, very careful about what you say and do.

The story of our mountain has been a life-changer for us. By that, I mean “the mountain” is a line of demarcation that influences the entire thread of our lives. There was life before the mountain case, and life during it. We’re still waiting for it to be over, though we have a glimmer that there will eventually be a life after the mountain case.  We had hoped that life after the mountain case started next week. Instead, we were delayed this week yet again.

Given the nature and duration of our mountain story, I couldn’t possibly tell it in one sitting. It’s a long story, with lots of characters and many twists and turns. There’s even a cliff-hanger or two. It might be entertaining if it were anybody’s story but ours. But when a story like this one belongs to you, there’s only one way to feel about it: exhausted.

I will have to tell you this story in installments. There’s no other way to do it. It’s so long and so complicated and so grueling that we long ago tired of telling it in person. The people closest to us don’t even ask about it anymore.  If we happen to mention a recent development in passing, our friends say things like “Oh, that’s still going on?”

Putting it all down in story form is overwhelming. So that’s why I will eventually tell it in manageable doses (as a kind of blog serial). I realized recently, though, that there’s a bit of background to this story that would be required before I could launch into the saga of our five-year ordeal. And I realized I could tell that part of the story now, before it all settles, without much difficulty or without risking the outcome.

So I plan to do that.


Because lord knows in the course of experiencing a life-changing event (one strung over many years to boot), I’ve learned some lessons. Some practical, some existential. Despite the heartache and worry, I’ve found some things to be grateful for along the way. I’ve learned to deal with the stress of unfortunate and “unfair” events I can’t control. I’m learning to release anger for the contentious and hurtful actions of others that I can’t control.

And, most of all, I’m learning that even a thing as monumental (literally) and as dear to us as our mountain is still just a thing.  And things – in the scheme of life – mean very little.

With gratitude {for what does matter in life, which are my loved ones, especially Mr. Mom who I’m glad is coming home today},

Joan, who despite growing up on the plains fell in love with a mountain man and, by extension, his mountain

To be continued . . .