Spring cleaning…

The temperature actually rose above freezing today!  Sylvie, wisely, took the rare opportunity to hang outside and bask in the sun.

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…for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile I, inspired more by the hope than the reality of Spring, decided to embark on a little Spring cleaning.

I started with my computer’s address book which I purged, in the blink of the delete button, of many of the vestiges of our old life. Gone, instantly, were house sitters, insurance guys, tutors, trainers, someone’s mortgage broker we never used, electricians, furnace people (did we ever even HAVE a furnace?), friends of the boys who they are no longer friends with, their parents who we only pretended to be friends with to begin with, some nice French guy I met at a TED conference, camp counselors, hair dressers, great Take Out places (Good-bye Reddi Chick!), gyms, the orthodontist (but not our dentist Dr. Chin! Never Dr. Chin!), and the guy who used to deliver soda and water in glass bottles. And in the Fs, one I found especially hard to delete, a dear relative newly gone from our little spinning planet.

As I scrolled through the names, wielding my delete button freely, it felt as if our long California life was passing before my eyes.  It was sad – and sweet – and when I was done, I felt refreshed, happy to see the names of my real friends left standing, somehow easier to find.

Sorry, but you’re not on the truck…

Packing is almost done. We’re down to the head-scratchers…

Uh, I’ve never climbed Everest, or been on a chain gang, and yet I own this…

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According to my wife, this death spike is actually a “hose guide”…

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Apparently, I went through a cane-chopping phase…

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This is a solid steel level. Used once as a hammer.

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I truly hope this was a gift…

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The Growing Wall Lives On

One of the only things we’re not sticking in a moving box this month is The Growing Wall, that place where we marked the growth of our kids, inch by inch. The wall hasn’t seen much action recently what with all our boys maxed out on height…

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So what do you do with a growing wall when you’ve sold your house? It’d be sacrilege to paint it over. You can’t take it with you. And there’s not enough time to re-purpose it into a Shrinking Wall (You know, the wall that empty nesters use to measure the ravages of age and gravity). No, you just have to hope that a family like this buys your house, a family that believes in the growing wall concept (they’re the really young people on the left)…

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So, as of next month, when we move out and they move in, “O” (4’3″) and “V”( 3’6”), will be the new keepers of The Growing Wall…

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Letting go…

Shoes:Boots

SHOES: Can I toss these papers? They’re clogging our storage space.

BOOTS: Those are my high school term papers.

SHOES: And therefore it’s time to let them go.

BOOTS:  I’m letting go of gluten. I’m letting go of snowboarding. I’m letting go of liquor that’s brown.  I am NOT letting go of my high school term papers. They’re heirlooms.

SHOES: Okay. But just take a quick look at the first page of your 1974 heirloom entitled “Franklin Delano ‘Rooservelt’s’ Lend Lease Act”…

BOOTS: ….Good God. What was I on?

SHOES: Do you really want the kids reading this stuff?

BOOTS: Incinerate at will.

The things that matter…

funny what matters

Here in the empty nest, we’re lightening our load.  I only want to carry things that are either purposeful, beautiful, or meaningful – or some combination of the three. Everything else can go.

Yesterday, I came across some red and white checked fabric. On its own, it’s nothing special and so with little hesitation I threw it on top of the give-away pile. But then I remembered the child-sized mattress it had covered, by the bay window in Quinn and Eliot’s room in our old house on 7th Street.  And I remembered that the mattress had hosted much raucous play and eased many a nervous sleepover guest to slumber. When we moved, we left the mattress behind because all our boys, and all their friends, had grown out of it. I saved the fabric, and brought it with us to this house, and it has waited all this time to be purposeful and meaningful and beautiful again.

I picked the fabric off the pile, folded it carefully and placed it with the other keepers. Like us, it will have a new life, someday soon.

Where private school tuition dollars go…

As you may recall, Eliot stood in judgment over all his possessions while home over the holidays.  He threw a bunch of notebooks in the pile destined for the garbage, but I, daughter of a mother who (bless her) recycles birthday cards, thought I could find a good use for any paper that had escaped the industrious note-taking, essay-drafting and mathematical calculating that I was sure occupied his time at his wildly expensive private high school.

As I paged through the book, I noted two things: one, a surprising lack of pages that had actually been used and two, this intricately worked inside back cover.

times xxxxx says actually...

In the interest of privacy, I have crossed out the name of a teacher who clearly spent a tad too much time teaching an inadvertent vocabulary lesson.

In case you misplaced your glasses, the text at the top reads: “Times Xxxxx says actually.”

Or click on the picture to see it in all its magnified glory.

Now I am going to file this under “Things I wish I didn’t know.”