Labor Day Weekend

Remember all that stuff we packed? The POD full of 174 (THE HORROR!) carefully inventoried boxes that we set into a container three years ago?

It’s finally here.

Well, not HERE, like, on my lap, but here, like, in Portland.

So close I can almost smell the memories.

Tomorrow, it will be here. Well, not HERE, like on my lap, but here, like, out in the parking lot. About 100′ away from my lap. And my lap will be traveling back and forth between the POD and the apartment bringing things in and taking them out, because some of the things in the POD will replace some of the things in the apartment, and some of the things in the apartment will be going to a resale shop, and some of the things in the POD will be going to a resale shop, but some of the things…oh, some of these things…

I have missed them.

Without looking at my carefully annotated cards, I can tell you about a couple of items whose absence has made me sad, either because it provides utility or comfort.

  1. My Cuisinart. With that bad boy, I was able to create kitchen masterpieces with a fraction of the work it takes me to do it by hand. I have tried a blender, a “Bullet”, and a wand/blender (because I saw it on Great British Baking Show) and none of them function like my powerful baby. Soups, freezer prep, making bread crumbs, fruit purees, bulk cheese shredding, it saved so much food for me by chopping it into smaller bits for storage. And eatage.
  2. Similarly, my cast iron dutch oven. I am amazed at the number of times I planned a recipe, thinking “I’ll just put that in the dutch oven…oh, wait.” I’ve been using a replacement, but it’s not the same. Plus, I’ll be able to take the cast iron one camping, which will be lovely, because when I went camping over the summer solstice, I lacked an appropriate pan to use cooking over an open fire. Cheese and crackers were fine. But not delicious.
  3. My red wool wrap cardigan with a hood from Anthropologie. Portland is the perfect place for this piece of clothing. I mean, yeah, I wore it in Chicago in the winter, as part of a layering ensemble. Here, it will stand alone as a jacket, and a stylish one, at that. Plus, I can wear it–get this, Chicagoans–in the SUMMER. At night, it often gets chilly enough to warrant a toasty layer, and this summer, I missed it. Right now, I would be very happy to wrap it around my shoulders. It’s about 10 years old now, but it’s still one of my enduring favorites. And I miss it.
  4. My children’s memory boxes, filled with baby books and childhood memorabilia. I know, I don’t “need” them, but I don’t like those special items out of my reach. It’s just weird.
  5. The promise ring I wore for two years before Tim and I were married. It’s safe in a jewelry box, and has no monetary value, but it’s important to me. It spans our whole relationship, not just the years we’ve been married, and I wore it on my right hand, signifying our history.
  6. My old sewing stuff, so I can introduce it to my new sewing stuff, which is somebody else’s old sewing stuff. I’ll be getting rid of my mother’s old sewing machine, because Genevieve (acquired in PDX) is so much better.
  7. My Schwinn touring bicycle with the basket and original leather panier and a bell, the one STC people teased me about, but will fit in PERFECTLY in Portland because it’s mint condition. I may even buy a fun floral bike helmet to go with it, because I’ve always wanted one. Nobody here will make fun of me for it. They’ll cheer. Because Portlanders appreciate a beautiful old bike.
  8. Framed artwork, and some drawings my sister did of me. Except for a single painting of Mt. St. Helen’s (hey, I had to try to fit in), I have not had art on these walls in four years.

Much of what lives in the POD is books and memorabilia from my kids’ lives. The two Portland-area kids will take their things, and we’ll store what we want to keep. This weekend Tim and I will be sorting through our life again and deciding what to keep.

Oh, I forgot to mention that, didn’t I? Yes, Tim will be here in 28 hours. Did you hear that? TWENTY EIGHT HOURS. For five days, I get to soak in his Timness, his pine and ginger scent, his voice, his sturdiness. All of the things you can’t put into storage, or feel on a video chat. He’ll be right here with me, hauling and heaving our life in boxes from the Midwest, the life on which so many family members have cast aspersions, have doubted and dismissed. Our life, represented by those 174 pieces in a 10X15 shipping container, has withstood almost 18 years now, three children worth of work and tears and laughter. Tomorrow Tim and I will gaze into that box and remember moments and eras and see the arc of our life, but the true magnitude of this time is in our glances, our shared language, and our profound understanding of each other. This is our life, you see, in and out of the boxes. Ours, together.

Whether we’re in the same state or not, the same room or not, we’ve created this life.

And this weekend, as sure as we did the day we got married, we will be starting the next chapter of that life. Together, just him and me.

Our Labor Day of love.

A pod.


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