Golly. You know how everything is going along sort of normally and then you decide to move and chaos reigns? You don't think you'll give up every single excess thing you usually do, but it turns out you severely underestimated the moving beast. Moving is a beast, right?
And it's a bummer because I have all of these things I've meant to tell you, posts that flit into my head and flit back out again when I crash for the night without having written them. So here is a brief report on all of the ones I can remember.
*A few weeks ago we got ourselves bamboozled into an in-home presentation from an earnest and awkward vacuum salesman. Even now I keep thinking of him carrying these little filthy filters--round white circles black with dirt--over to us very carefully, like the dirt was sacred. He did this half a dozen times--on our carpeted stairs, on our couch ottoman. He told us about bugs that live in our bed and feast on our dead skin. He told us if he vacuumed our bed, he'd have a pile of bugs the size of the two of us. And I was a believer, except that there was no way we were going to spend $1,000 on a vacuum, even if this was a very special deal just for us, even if he could put us on a very reasonable (and yet still absurd) payment plan. When the baby went down for a nap, I gave Sam the signal to send the man home. Wasting naptime on a vacuum presentation is just not cool. When we convinced him we really weren't buying, the man instantly relaxed out of his salesman pose. It was like a different person stood in our living room. While he waited for his crew to circle back around to pick him up, he tried to recruit Sam for the sales team. Which, if you know Sam, the thought of him as a vacuum salesman is pretty hilarious.
*Sam got an iPhone. He set Siri to have an Australian accent and asked her to call him "My Sexy Little Wombat." They have a very close relationship, but she doesn't understand him unless he tries to use an Australian accent too, and his accent isn't that good. Okay, it's getting better. But I still hear him (several times a day) have conversations like the following:
Sam: "Siri, should I have my breakfast before I take my shower?"
Siri: "I don't know what that means. Should I search the web for 'Wolfman ruthlessly for sale?'"
*Driving home from the grocery store, desperate to get Henrietta home so she would stop screaming hysterically, I got pulled over for thinking the light was more yellow than red. She, of course, stopped crying as soon as the strange man in uniform approached the car (she loves men. and shiny, flashing lights.). He was unpersuaded by my plight, and gave me a $150 ticket. The baby and I both cried the rest of the way home.
*A waitress in a Chinese restaurant came up halfway through our meal with a wet napkin and wiped Henrietta's snotty nose. I usually keep her snotty nose in check myself, but she had been screaming in my face for the last 45 minutes (in the car--she's not into cars, lately), and I couldn't bear to hear her scream again when I wiped her nose. Still, who does this? Who cleans the nose of someone else's child? When Sam went to take the napkins and wipe her nose himself, the woman swatted his hand away. I tried, at the time, to not be offended, and to believe that this came out of the very best corner of her heart, the grandmotherly part. But I confess it's still blowing my mind.
*I'm worrying about this move. It's keeping me up at night. Actually, I'm frantically worrying and wildly optimistic in turns, sometimes in the same afternoon. This is, as you can imagine, really fun for Sam. This morning he said, "I feel like I'm getting mixed messages on how you feel about the move." To which I said, "If you feel like you're getting mixed messages, you're picking up on exactly how I feel. Mixed." The other day I realized probably everything I thought about the move would feel true, at times. Sometimes we'll feel frighteningly broke and wonder if we've made a foolish leap. Other times I'll look up at the big Western sky and feel like I can finally breathe. It helped to have this realization.
*I'm turning into a mom who wears jean shorts and t-shirts. It's the only thing that makes sense, as it turns out, especially when it's this hot. I'm at once thrilled by my non-fussiness, and baffled that this is actually my life.
*Henrietta has learned to shake her head, and she means "no." She uses this trick entirely too often for my taste.
*My parents came into town to help us pack, and while they were here we took them to a Lowell museum about the textile mills that ran during the industrial revolution. We walked through this enormous room with working looms and the sound was deafening. The exhibit featured quotes from mill workers about their experience, and this one quote somehow sunk into me. I had to will myself not to sob in the middle of all of the looms. From a woman named Lucy Larcom: "I discovered, too, that I could so accustom myself to the noise that it became like a silence to me. And I defied the machinery to make me its slave. Its incessant discords could not drown the music of my thoughts if I would let them fly high enough." I feel like if I can just remember this strategy, I'll be all set.
*The other morning I found myself eating lemon-zested bulgar for breakfast, speckled with poppyseeds, as the 101 Cookbooks recipe recommends. I realized that since I had run out of honey, I was using pomegranate molasses. And I had a sort of out-of-body experience. Hmm, I thought. Pretentious, much?
*Henrietta is getting smarter every day, getting closer to walking, getting more fun and more frustrating in seemingly equal proportions. I'm getting better at making her giggle, and I am beyond proud when I manage it. She wants me, and wants only me, more and more often now. It's clear she's disoriented by all of the changes, all of the boxes, all of the disruptions to her routine. And sometimes I feel so exhausted by her that I can't get through singing her lullaby without feeling like weeping. And sometimes I look at her and I'm so in love with her, so madly and deeply and completely in love with every little thing she does and every look she has and every one of her toes and each of her six teeth-- I'm so in love with her that I can't breathe. I want to hold her and love her forever. I want to kiss her head over and over and over again until she's thirty.
*My parents took two of our cats to Utah. (Once we get to Arizona we'll turn around and go pick them up.) They had a pretty rough trip from here to there involving some insane delays on the runway, and by the time they got to my parents' house, the cats sort of hated them. And I'm sure none of them were were too happy with me, either. But my mother said my cat Meatsock has been sleeping outside the door to my childhood bedroom. He must be picking up on some sort of scent of me, and finding it comforting. I find this at once heartbreaking and heartwarming. He is a very good cat.
*The reality of leaving this area and my dear friends is beginning to sink in. Boston is beautiful. It's where I've done so much of my becoming. And I don't know what I'll do without the ability to drive down Storrow Drive by the glittering Charles River, passing gorgeous bridges, on my way to see some like-minded friend or another. There are so many like-minded friends here. What will I do without them? What if I never find so many again?