The Stuff of Memories

I apologize for the tardiness of this post. I know that many of you catch me first thing in the morning or not at all.  Although I have been assured that punctuality and daily posts aren’t necessary, I am a writer and this blog is part of my discipline and I have been slacking.

Slacking has been the theme of August.  Rob pointed it out to me the other day and he’s right.  I haven’t pushed myself overly hard where any of my writing is concerned.  In part because it’s hard to lose myself in a project when Dee is around.  She can be wonderful one day – not needing me much at all – and then turn around and be at my elbow every 5 minutes the next. Not knowing makes it hard to plan and execute, and our lack of schedule once swimming and camps ended just added to the jumbled feel of the day to day.

I have a plan for the school year.  Funny, this is my third year away from the classroom and I still think in terms of the school calendar, making it the basis for my planning and personal schedule. 

The annual summer purge has been unsettling but on a lower level than in the past.  Summer, for some reason, always finds us foraging through the boxes of our past and imposing change on the immediate landscape.  By the end of September – if the weather holds – the exterior of the house and the yard in general will be dramatically different than when Dee and I first moved here.  The interior – upstairs mostly – will be nearly overhauled.  It has its emotional impact.

Dee has been on the edge of tears several times over the last week as we have been going through her toys.  Rob and I didn’t have the stomach for purging her possessions when she and I moved up here.  I probably divested myself of things I needed in order to accommodate what amounted to junk in an effort to keep the trauma level to a dull roar for her.  Consequently, I have been engaged in a near constant war of attrition with Dee for over two years now.  At seven she is finally old enough to understand that much of what she was holding onto was not really all that important and that I have never tried to force her to give away anything with true meaning attached to it.

Except for the chair.

The chair is a brown Lazy Boy recliner my mother bought for Will when he went into the nursing home so he could watch television in his own room. But as he was unable to sit – the dorsal nerves in his lower back were quite damaged by then – and he was nearly blind, the gesture was just that.  The chair ended up being co-opted by his mother though Dee doesn’t remember that and which explains our differing opinions on the importance of the thing.

She sees it as something tangible of her Dad’s that she rocked, sat and used as a jungle gym after I brought it back from the nursing home when Will went into hospice.  I see it as something he didn’t use and that made it easier for his mother to perch night after night in his room, feeling sorry for herself and feeding him the sugar that eventually rotted the enamel off his teeth.

The chair, however, has once again survived a round of purging.  It will not survive a major move.  There is no way we are paying to ship that thing to the UK or even Texas if that ends up being the case.

It surprises me still that the most insignificant things drip with the past.  It’s like slime, clinging and oozing all over. Even when I don’t feel as though it is obviously affecting me, it does.

Rob received an email inquiry from his former boss today asking for an update on his project status.  This is a good sign. It means there is still need and Rob is still the man they want.  But, it means things are going to happen and happen quickly.  By March in all likelihood.  It colors things.

I have been half-heartedly applying for jobs.  I am torn between sorta wanting to work and knowing that work will hamper my writing, be a juggling act where Dee is concerned, and won’t really be fair to any employer because I know I won’t be around in nine or ten months.  The definition of “part-time”  seems more like practically full-time as well.

“What would you do if something happened to me?” Rob asked after a discussion about part-time work.

He’s already observed, aloud, that I have fairly willingly abandoned many management issues because he is around to  do them.

“I would assess my financial picture and take steps accordingly,” I said.  I did not add that I have spent time thinking about this very thing because that is a given.*

The truth is that I would stay put as long as possible, tie up any loose ends and stabilize as much as possible before looking for teaching jobs in Iowa – which is where I would move back to.  I would teach, write and mother until Dee was off to university and then I would search for new opportunities which would not include remarriage.  Though Rob thinks I should consider that because in his opinion I “do better” in a loving relationship – and he’s right – I doubt I would have the stomach for a possible third widowhood.  It’s like being burned down to the bone and I am sure I could do it one more time, if it turns out to be me again, but anything more would be too much – even for an Amazon like me.

Wow, I got off track.  Forgive my digression.

So, purging in preparation for the hamlet-wide garage sale on Saturday and preparing for the school year that begins on Monday.  Dance class registration was yesterday and yoga registration is tonight.  I have a few classes at the university to sign up for and my quarterly calendar to pencil.  And a disgusting bathroom to finish up before Dee’s hair cut this afternoon, so I need to end this.

#fridayflash will be an attempt to continue last week’s story. If you have a moment or two, stop by.


*Cheery discussions like these are not new to me. I have always been a “what if” contingency planner. Side-effect of teaching, where the good/successful teacher is the one who spends time imagining what could go wrong with every lesson plan or class and cuts off routes to chaos in advance. Worst case scenario daydreaming is just part of who I am.  I can’t remember not being a worrier.

2 thoughts on “The Stuff of Memories

  1. I used to periodically go through the house with the eyes of “what if we were to move” and assess what we could live without. After twenty years of that I never thought we’d really move, but when we did that mindset made things easier.

  2. It surprises me still that the most insignificant things drip with the past

    i go through phases… sometimes it’s just a scent, a color, a random memory that triggers a jaunt through the ‘way back’ machine. but when faced with overwhelming ‘stuff’ and clutter? i can be a brute. and need to get back into that mode. way too much stuff… good luck!

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