Last night, the temperature hovered near zero.

From under my mound of blankets, I watched the snow fall through the branches of the stretching oak in our backyard. Andrew made fun of me for thinking the house would somehow be colder because it was colder outside. “The heater doesn’t know the difference,” he argued.

But the house knows, I think. Just like last year at this time, our house in Philadelphia awoke under its blanket of snow and sensed our expectancy, the imminence of our leaving.

Sometimes I can’t believe it was only a year ago that we put our house on the market to prepare for our Asheville migration. The feel of Philadelphia has washed from my soul. I can hardly remember what it felt like to be me there.

And yet, it was only a year ago, so when a friend posted on Facebook (looking for strategies to keep herself sane, her clients happy, and her kids lives’ normal, all while putting her house on the market), it sent me back to this time last year:

No kids, I wrote, but 2 dogs and it kept snowing and snowing.

Andrew was up on the porch roof shoveling off the snow every few hours so big blobs wouldn’t fall on potential buyers’ heads. I was on my knees sopping up wet dog tracks every other minute…

And when we had a buyer, before inspection the snow melted forming muddy sink holes in the yard which our border collie decided to dive into. Full body muck, pale carpets, and no doggy bathtub on the first floor.

All this to say, life keeps happening even when you’re selling your home.

I lightened my load as much as I could and then was simply super honest with everyone from my clients to my students to potential house buyers. One day we had to leave a note on the dining room table that said something like this:

Thanks so much for stopping by. Enjoy the house. So sorry that you can’t see the yard. You’ll just have to trust us that it’s lovely underneath all that debris. Here’s a picture to look at until we can get the tree that came down and all the bits of fence cleared (there’s too much snow and no one can get a truck back there). If you want the house we solemnly swear it will be repaired before your moving truck arrives!

Being openly human was my saving grace.

I’ve found that over and over again: being openly human is my saving grace.

And if you are shoveling gads of snow this week, or stressing over work, or stressing over the kids being home interrupting your work because of the gads of snow this week, let me recommend the tea that got me through last year at this time:

linden, chamomile, and ginger.

Touch of lemon, touch of honey.

Share with anyone else who is stressed and simply human.