Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Is this the last move for me?

I move around a lot. My friends shake their heads at my gypsy ways and my children think I am nuts, but in the past 5 years I have moved 4 times, and if you count back to 1988 add 10 more. I have promised them this is the last stop for me, but the jury is out on whether or not they believe me.  This feels like a final state to state move, but perhaps not a final in city move. I am hoping at some point in the not too distant future to buy a house, but that remains to be seen. For the moment I am in a great apartment with a really functional floorplan and a terrific view.

There have been moves when I have hired moving companies, and ones when I have rented UHauls and done it myself. The professional moves have their own quirks and oddities, but you can't beat a do it yourself move for laughs.

At some point my ex had acquired some large, round cardboard barrels with metal lids that fastened with clamps. They originally had rice in them and were virtually indestructible. Once packed, they are also virtually impossible to pick up without a forklift. Each time I tried to move one with a dolly, it somehow managed to roll right off. At one point one rolled down the driveway and had started down the street before the kids chased it down and rolled it back. Due to their indestructability, it seemed a good idea to pack more fragile items in them, and I have to admit there wasn't any breakage when I unpacked. The problem was I couldn't reach the bottom half of the barrels and had to tip them over and practically crawl inside to unpack them. After that move I declined to be involved with any barrels, indestructible or otherwise.

Another diy move involved 3 bikes standing upright, secured by a complicated system of bungie cords and rope to a homemade trailer, pulled by our station wagon driven by me. Things were going swimmingly until too many curves in the winding road had them all listing to the side. I pulled over to assess the situation, wondering if I could make it to our new house or if I should try to shove them upright on the trailer, at which point they slid gently and rather gracefully to the side of the road.  As I stared at the tangled pile of bikes and cords and rope on the ground, I glanced at the car to see my sleeping children and wondered fleetingly if anyone would miss them if I chucked them over the side of the mountain...the bikes, not the children. My 7 year old son took that moment to pop up from the back of the car and enthusiastically offer to ride on the trailer and hold onto them. I thanked him for his offer but managed to load them back onto the trailer, although I refused to stand them up, and strapped them all back on. This was the same trip that's become known as the time I almost left my son at a gas station. Not intentionally, of course, but still. After I filled up the tank, I started the car and began to pull away when my 10 year old daughter looked into the backseat and asked where her brother was. Slamming on the breaks, I leaned over the back of the seat and threw the covers and pillows around, because I apparently thought he was the size of a hamster. I ran into the gas station and asked the gal behind the counter if she had seen a little redheaded boy come thru.  She pointed to the attached bar and there was my little guy, kneeling on a barstool, asking the bartender if he could have an orange soda.

A memorable move involved me, an enormous drive it yourself truck and my best pal, Marilyn. I was a little short of cash, so elected to rent the biggest truck the company had, hire a couple of guys to pack it up, then road trip to California. Marilyn had planned on visiting her family and they were close to where I was going, so we set off, me and my dog in my car and her driving the behemoth of a van. I am still in awe of how she managed it, since I drove it exactly once and vowed never again. Once we got to our destination, she realized she had left her coin purse and one of my credit cards at a McDonald's about 200 miles behind us. A phone call later, my friend had convinced one of the gals behind the counter to not only look for the little purse, but to mail my card to me.  Once we reached our destination, I rolled up the door at the back of the truck and things had shifted so badly during the trek across the states that stuff started falling out, including a set of dumbbells.  I instinctively threw myself in front of the tumbling items to try to block their fall, because heaven forbid heavy, bulky, metal things fall onto the street. One of them crashed into my lower leg and I had a bruise the size of a saucer for about a month.

For this recently completed move I hired professionals, but I am not sure they did any better job. The guys who unloaded my stuff acted like they were luggage handlers at the airport, dropping boxes from a couple of feet off the ground. When I expressed concern to one of the men over his dropping a box, he replied "it was heavy". No kidding, that's why I hired professionals, you nitwit. They also were oblivious to the fact that they were stacking heavy boxes on boxes that were damaged and/or collapsing. I was surprised there wasn't a lot of breakage, but if I do one thing well, it's pack.

This move is over for now and it may indeed be my last one.  Just a day ago I unpacked my very last box and for the first time, didn't flatten the empty boxes to save for the next move. I sucked up my courage and recycled the lot of them. That's a big step for me. Maybe the first step on the road to staying put for more than a year. We'll see.
The view from my south facing deck


Friday, September 23, 2016

Early to bed, early to that still a thing?

Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.  Does it?  Does it really?  Sometimes early to bed means you miss a lot of good stuff, like Monday night football and late night Ben and Jerry's Pfish Food binges. Early to rise sounds good, but unless you live alone, instead of making you healthy, etc, it could just make you annoying. I suppose you could live with another irritatingly early riser, but what are the chances of that happening? The people I know who smugly announce that they get up at the crack of dawn and have a gazillion things accomplished by breakfast, all have suffering housemates who would roll their eyes at them if they weren't so frickin' tired all the time from all that early morning racket.  I used to pretend I was an early riser, but actually I was just a woman who got woken up by her dog who thought the neighborhood was in dire need of policing before the sun rose. If I had been a true dyed in the wool early riser, I would have gotten up waaay before him and had a big go cup of hot, liquid energy to sip along the way. That never happened. Instead, I would stagger along behind his happily wagging tail as he sniffed his way around the block for the umpteenth time, chanting coffee, coffee, coffee (he sniffed, I chanted). So no, not an early riser. That's one of the perks of working from home. Don't have to be chipper or smiling or even coherent at 6 in the morning, or 7 or noon. I mentioned once to my daughter how annoying it was to have people want to talk to me in the morning and did she have that problem. No, she said...people around her know better. Amazing woman, my daughter. She has this ability to tell people to stop talking to her and no one gets offended. She says it so pleasantly. When I try it, people go all wide eyed on me. Perhaps I snarl it. People are so easily irritated (insert eye roll here).

And what about that early to bed thing?  How early is early? 6? 8? Earlier? I could never manage that. While it is sometimes fun to be the first one awake, it is much more fun to be the last one. I get all my best reading done after 10pm. There is just something about a quiet, dark house and a well written book that seem to go together. Ditto for good movies. If you are a marathon Netflixer, you know what I mean. Pajamas, movie/book, wine. Three of my favorite things blended together.

Bill Maher once said the reason he became a comedian was because of the hours. He stayed up all night and slept all day and got paid at the end of the week. I can understand that. One summer, when I was 21, I worked 3-11pm at the front desk of the Disneyland Hotel. Employees got into the Park free after 10pm, so I would badge me and my then husband in and we would wander around until way after it closed. We would sometimes not get home until after 2am, when I would fall into bed and not budge until just before I had to go to work again. My entire summer was spent either sleeping or working. It wasn't really a sustainable schedule. Being young helped. Having no kids helped. Getting to wear a uniform and not having to think about clothes really helped. Once I started back to school in the Fall, I had to quit, but it was a great summer.  Could I do that now?  Probably not. I might be up at midnight, but I am in pajamas with the whole movie/book/wine thing going on, not smiling at people as they checked out of the hotel, happily wishing them a good rest of the evening.

So not an early to riser nor early to bedder. More of an up by 8 and in bed around midnighter. As a result I am healthy, tho not wealthy, and only occasionally wise. It's a fair trade off.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Looking thru love goggles

I have a small abrasion on my eyelid, so have foregone wearing makeup for the past several days, something I rarely do. I decided what the heck, I work from home, there's no one to scare, I'll give my hair a break, too.  So instead of blowdrying my hair every morning, meticulously taming it with a round brush and the occasional touch of the flatiron, I have just been letting it air dry. Because I hate the feeling of wet hair on my neck, and because my hair is neither straight nor curly but is fairly thick, air drying it involves a lot of me roughing it up with my hands to let air circulate. I considered just putting it up wet in a clip, but recalled an horrific story my niece told me about her college roommate's hair growing mold from being bundled up into a bun while still wet. Yikes! With my not-straight-and-not-curly hair drying in wild abandon, I look like the Wild Woman of Borneo. Actually, without a speck of makeup on, more like the Wild Woman after pulling an all nighter.

So there I was this morning, sitting on the patio, my hair all wild about my head, looking and feeling every one of my 60+ years, thinking there might not be enough coffee in the world to fully kick myself into gear, and my mom comes out, looks at me and says "Your hair is so pretty.  I think you should grow it out longer."  What?? I wondered by what stretch of her imagination does this mess on top of my head look pretty, and why on earth would I want more of it? That's it, I thought, her mind has either finally jumped the tracks or her cataracts have completely grown back overnight. I gaped up at her smiling face and realized...this woman has seen this hair before. Before the years turned me middle aged, before kids, before college or high school or even grade school, this woman has seen this hair before.  She used to wash it, comb thru the tangles, brush it dry, then braid it into two perfect plaits tied with ribbon. She knows this hair...she loves this hair...she loves me. And she is looking at me thru her love goggles.  They are kind of like beer goggles, except they are in place all the time, not just at closing time at the bar. Everything she sees when she looks at me is filtered thru these goggles. When she looks at me she sees not just the adult I am but the child I was and always will be to her. 

What a precious and unexpected gift. On a sunny Wednesday morning, sitting on a patio, feeling like be looked at with love goggles. Maybe I'll embrace that Wild Woman and let my hair, which I was considering chopping off, grow out a few more inches. Maybe I'll stop being so (I can admit it) anal about letting people see me sans makeup. And maybe, just maybe I'll look at myself the same way my mom still looks at me...thru love goggles.