CatchUp

Guy packing a box in front of empty bookcases.

So, like these last couple of weeks have been full of whack. We were backed up against an immutable deadline–demolition. So we moved a generation’s worth of life out of the space it had occupied.

I fully recognize that I’m making a big deal of what others just manage without comment. But, I’m here to say those folks are just withholding. They might be outwardly strong, but this shit is real.

It’s not like packing up all of your worldly possessions accrued over a middle-aged lifetime is insignificant. But you’re correct in your impulse to say, “Doc, shut up. It’s just life. And you’re getting what you want, you ingrate.”

Okay. Thanks for the reminder and for your chastisement. I earned it.

But now here I am with so much that I haven’t told you. Not for lack of thinking about you. Not for lack of sentences that I strung together in my head without any tether. It’s that I’ve lacked the mental space to write. Since I’m a bit behind, I’m just gonna share some pictures. And some captions. Just to catch you up.

Above is a sampling of old crappy furniture that you can’t even give away. Except that there are always takers. I might have had to post online more than once, and there may still be some crappy junk furniture yet to find it’s forever home, but I can always put it out on the curb and send an alert to the listserve. Crossing fingers that someone doesn’t try and have me cited for illegal dumping. If all else fails, there’s a dumpster on the way.

Warning sign that there is an impending dumpster. And there's some wild marigolds.

There was the day that I came home to find a pair of candy corn cones marking the spot that the dumpster will sit. It says that we have the permit until mid-November. That coincides with the hopeful move in date of, “before Thanksgiving.” Also, check out those wild marigolds that are growing from a crack in the street. I hope they survive the ordeal.

IMG_0541

Truly a ridiculous amount of boxes. At one point I just started throwing items in and marking the boxes rando.

green yellow and orange dot stickers

Now this, this was a piece of my genius. There were some items to go to our interim abode, some things–mostly furniture–to be stored in the garage, and others to go in the basement. I color coded everything. It was brilliant. The movers thought it was brilliant. I had to mark some of the crappy furniture with duct-tape and a handwritten “NO,” to keep the flow going. That helped kill the questions that slowed things down. I paid the guys by the hour, not the pound.

The moving truck, in front of my house.

This is the moving truck. That is all.

The emptied wall.

We painted the dining room walls this amazing terra cotta twenty-some years ago. I wanted to capture the color, and the nail that steadied the sconce for four candles. You can see where the sconce hit the wall. I saved the sconce. I don’t know if it will go back there.

Two red mugs and a coffee setup.

We left the coffee rig at the house when we moved. It was the last thing to pack. We moved the bed, and that meant no coffee. Since the interim abode is only one and a half blocks away, I figured I’d walk over there and make coffee.  But guess what? The Spouse went and got it. So I woke up to fresh coffee. This was the best morning.  I married well.

Yellow tomatoes, parsley, bread and cava.

There was much eating out around the move. This was the first dinner I made in the interim abode. It was rice with minted peas and sweet, salty and sour chicken thighs. Oh, and, obvs, some bubbles. Celebratory and what not.

The Beast, chilling.

The Beast was a little worse for the wear during the move. But he found a chill spot on the floor at the interim abode. He kept an eye on everything because even though the movers came last Wednesday, we didn’t actually finish moving out until yesterday. Yes, a full week later.

It was at a point–or perhaps a few points that I may have made in a borderline hysterical tone–that I didn’t think we’d ever finish. But that’s what happens when you move. You lose your mind over the fact that you seemed to be almost done and then you weren’t. And you cycle through that again and again until you realize that the contractors are coming tomorrow. And then, it’s done. And there are things on the porch that will be picked up by Purple Heart and stuff that the person from the next neighborhood over claims to want and then the stuff that the city will take. I love the city for that.

The front door with all the signs of construction.

And today, the front door was adorned with the signs of construction. Warning labels. EPA certifications–required in a house as old as ours–permits, and the posting of the nuisance fee that we pay the city because…dumpster. Just for the record, my neighbors don’t get any of that nuisance fee.

As I walked through the empty, echoing rooms, I didn’t know what to feel. I thought that I should feel a big emotion, yet I barely even registered relief.

So I found a random pink ribbon during my clean out and decided it would look perfect next to the random green ribbon that has been hanging from our door knocker for more than a year. The house is still ours. I’m feeling good.

It’s a Wrap

It's my tree. From before. Not this year. So?

Write? Wrap? Write? Wrap?

It’s Christmas Eve and I started a post that needs more thinking. Alot more thinking. And work. And writing.

Write? Wrap? Write? Wrap?

I glanced over at the bags with things that needed a transformation in order to become Christmas.

Write? Wrap? Write? Wrap?

The boys are out carousing. It’s not like they are asleep, awaiting Santa and his deer. Sugarplums and whatnot, all afloat.

Write? Wrap? Write? Wrap?

But some parts of Christmas are just that. A part of Christmas. And I am the maker of Christmas in this realm. This tiny realm of us.

Write? Wrap? Write? Wrap?

And, you, My Loyal Reader, are not known to give a rat’s bum about my thinkings on a holiday. Although I truly appreciate every moment you spend reading my words–no matter the day. But, it’s like Christmas. And there are gifts to be wrapped.

Write? Wrap?

WRAP!

Slipperly Wear

weird little slippers with animal faces on the top.

They come out of the box with a luxury that is close to decadent. Except they are slippers. Not quite sexy.

They’re an orangey, brown suede with a fluffy creamy interior. The interior might have been lambswool or a very good approximation of clouds of wool. The bottoms were cork or vibram or corky-plastic. You could walk outside in the rain and not ruin them. When you pulled them out of the box, you’d immediately pull off your socks and sink your bare foot in and a sigh would escape your lips and your eyes would roll a little bit toward the back of your head. Your feet would be saying, in a little foot voice, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

You keep them clean for as long as you can, but then there is the morning when you spill coffee on your foot that is covered in slipper. And the decay begins. The footbed gets more and more matted down. The suede gets shiny in spots, and there are spots. After a while, they are just a duller, darker shade of brown. The vibrancy of the orange fades away.

They’ve been outside in wet snow, gone in the car with you to 7-11 and walked the dog even past the corner where you thought you’d turn around. Your toe is almost poking through the hide and the inside of the shoe is totally molded to your foot. Nobody else could comfortably wear them.

But they are comfortable to you. Very.  You keep them by the door so you can take off your shoes or your boots and slip into something more comfortable without taking an extra step. You anticipate the pleasure of your foot hitting the warm innards of the moccasin. Its like a big welcoming hug.

To an outside eye, they just look like dirty old slippers. But as you put them on after a long day at work, a little breath escapes from your lips and your eyes roll to the ceiling and and maybe even beyond. Actually, they’ve achieved their maximum level of decadence.

Post #335

From the AMTRAK: Emergency Brake. Open this cover. Alarm will sound. Pull handle down.

I started writing something earlier today. And it was hard. Hard to think about and hard to write about. But, at least to me, worth writing about.

Frankly, it required more nuance than I had to give to it today. I have decided that I’m going to defer this post for a little bit. I still want to write it, but it deserves a bit more research and thoughtful thinkings and a better articulation.

You might be surprised that I do that, Loyal Reader. Surprised that this publication includes research and thinking and rifling through options and analysis and then writing. I realize that much of what you read here may seem like a simple stream of consciousness. And if I were to tell the truth, which is my preference since I am lazy and lying takes a lot of work, I would admit to at least my share, if not more than my share, of raw and emotive work. Even these, though, take some cognitive and creative effort. I’m not kidding.

That said, there are many posts that I wrestle with deeply. Posts that I start with gusto but then lose steam. Sometimes the energy is gone after a paragraph or two. Other times it is writing that simply doesn’t coalesce. It might have concepts or sentences that are brilliant, but it either doesn’t hang together with the rest of the words or just doesn’t have enough form to be cogent. While that may also surprise you, Loyal Reader, that is that I hold back when something sucks, it’s just a confession about how bad my writing can be.

In this case, though, I have something that I want to say and I want to say it to you, Loyal Reader. But first, I need to make sure that it will stand up on it’s own and that, second, if you object to my thesis, you will at least have enough to object to. I don’t want to leave you unsatisfied, or worse, dismissive. Truly your indifference is the most painful.

So, for today, I will only share with you a little about my process and a hint of something yet to come.

Train Sense

Looking out the train window.

As the sun crossed the sky from noon to dusk, the train hurdled and then shuffled and lagged then hurdled again. Heading north.

I understand why there are two ga-zillion songs about trains.

First, there is the sound of the train. It’s rhythmic chug, chug chugging at its low register. It is a growling beast, and then a purring one. It touches your insides via quakes delivered from the soles of your feet. It adds the high tones from the clang of the cars as they pass over the tracks, an underloved but meaningful timbre of the orchestra–more cowbell like. And intermittently the low deep whistle sings it’s lonely tune as the train passes by. It’s warning you that it won’t stop, that it will just break your heart as it powers by.

Then, there is the feel of the train. The jostle back and forth along the tracks. Where walking the aisle of the train is akin to passing an unpasssable sobriety test. It sings songs the rails, leaning ever so slightly to the left and then rolling a bit to the right. The rocking lulls many passengers to dream of adventures to come.

Looking out the window, the world rushes past. The portal is big, but squared off. The edge creating an illusion of a ribbon of film passing through at speeds fast and slow. At first, it seems like the outside is moving, but as the speed picks up you realize that you are the one that’s moving–you just didn’t feel it. Yet, it moves you. Like a song, sung via tons of metal gliding over the tracks heading somewhere else.

Flower Girl

Roses I bought from the grocery store. Pretty, no? There are three here and they are light pink.

I shop much less frequently at grocery stores. I’m talking about the stores with the miles of aisle, where they hide the milk in the back of the store to tempt your impulses and where there are sixteen different types of mustard but none of the brown deli mustard you used to regularly buy there.

Gone are the days where there were just a handful of big box grocery chains in town. Now there are options that include those huge traditional stores with pharmacies and tons of prepared foods to small specialty stores or the independent butcher shop and bread shop and fish shop and cheese shop in the market. I buy my milk at the gas station when I run out–there is no line. I prefer the eggs at the Saturday morning farmers market. I can hustle in and out of the small independent organic grocer to grab an onion and enough green beans for tonight.

The big stores don’t carry my favorite yogurt. Their chicken thighs are as big as my own thigh–no actual chicken would be able to walk on that. The lines are too long. The parking lot too chaotic. And the staff, sometimes, too brusque.

Because there are so many nearby choices now, I don’t have to invest my time and money stocking up. It’s a big change that has happened slowly. More stores, more options and fewer people eating in the house.

The one thing I miss about the big stores, though, is the flowers. The cheap and beautiful roses. The purple or the maroon Alstroemeria with blooms for almost two weeks. The two stems of lilies that provide six or eight massive trumpets. The gerbera daisies with the green straws that hold up their heavy heads. The mixed bunches that shift with the seasons. I would pull out a tablecloth to match.

I’d sometimes buy two or three bunches and grab an assortment of vases, cutting the stems to fit. I’d distribute the sprays in the dining room, the living room and a small bunch in the bathroom. I have no talent for floral arranging, so I sometimes just lean them in the glass all bunched up for a more modern look. You do what you can.

Cheap fresh flowers from the grocery store don’t always open. I have had many a rose bud that stayed tightly wrapped until it became brown and crisp, dropping it’s lowly head down as if exhausted. These become my Corpse Bride bouquet, sitting on the table, somehow managing–only to me I suspect–to maintain a sense of beauty, if not actual beauty.

The flowers are the only thing that I miss from the megastores. And paper goods and cleaning supplies.

It’s good I don’t mind the shrunken head blooms, the falling petals and the crunchy leaves littering my dining room table. Stretching the blossom for an absurd period is a part of my indulgence. I guess I’m still experiencing whatever attracted me in the first place. It’s odd to be loyal to cut flowers, but that’s just my nature.

 

Nothing

Street sign on a deserted highway that says,

I surveyed my family for ideas for today’s post.

The Supermoon. I have nothing to say about it. It’s a hot topic, but not one to scratch out one hundred and fifty words to.

Curses. Another weak idea for a post.  Is this supposed to cover magic-style curses or to focus on the oppositional views that become corrupt? I have nothing more.

Bill Belichick. Although he looked like an oversized garden gnome at tonight’s game, that is about all I could muster about him.

Writing every. stinking. day. Sometimes just stinks. Sorry, Loyal Reader. It’s me, not  you.