There’s an old New Yorker cartoon I love that goes something like this: Two men are walking along a beach. One says to the other: “When I was 30, I swore that by 40 success would be mine. When I was 40, I swore that by 50 success would be mine. When I was 50, I swore that by 60 success would be mine. Now I’m 60 and success is mine.”
The reason I love this is the point it makes: Something may not happen as quickly as you think they will, or as quickly as you want it to, but it can still happen. Our original departure target was September 1. As the day approached and we realized that it was Labor Day, and also that we would never be ready, we began extending. I said I would stay till the Inc. 35th anniversary party on September 9. We ordered the pod to be delivered a week ago Friday for pickup this past Tuesday. Over last weekend we got help and maybe we could have made the pickup with some frenzied and not very organized packing, but we were both crashing with exhaustion plus Bill was driving himself back into being ill. So we extended the deadline by two days, and then again until tomorrow. And this time, I say with fingers and toes crossed, we just might send the pod away with all our stuff inside.
For the longest time, it looked to others and sometimes felt to me as well like we would never actually get out the door. But I’m starting to see that we’re close to done. My office, which took weeks to pack is all packed up except for my computer–Bill’s job–and one lamp to help him do it. My clothes are nearly all packed. Packing the zillions of things in our kitchen is underway. Whether we make tomorrow’s deadline or not, one day soon we’ll be on the road.
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Tuesday, September 16, 9:43 am
Night before last (the same day as my last post) three members of the Glaring Omissions plus one civilian friend came over after a great reading to help us pack. I’d invited them for “packing paintings, pizza, and expensive booze” (because we have many bottles of fine whiskeys and other such things and despite Bill’s wishes they just can’t all come with us). They sat around our dining table with boxes and packing tape and scissors and bubble wrap (replaced by old clothes and bedding when it ran out) and constituted themselves into a lean, mean packing machine, while Bill and I kept up a steady supply of items to be packed. By the end of the evening, there was an impressive stack of boxes on the porch, and all our fine breakables, as well as many of our dishes and other items had all been packed up, ready for the movers to transport into the container.
It was so nice of them, and it was interesting to see how a group of people who were accustomed to getting together on a regular basis to help each other in our work could so easily form into an efficient team when faced with a completely separate task. Something about how we all know each other, are well aware of each others’ quirks and preferences, personalities, and histories, and so we can just fall into easy collaboration without any preamble. At least that’s my guess.
It made me see one more time how much I’ll miss this group. The truth is, the Glaring Omissions is probably what I’ll miss most about not being here. I’ve been ashamed to admit this–it feels like some sort of personal failing. If I were a fully engaged person, wouldn’t I be missing some individual relationship the most? But this is what I’ll miss, this tight team of people who’ve gotten together once every three weeks or so (with a changing cast of characters) for more than twenty years, making each others’ work better, giving readings together, and sharing each others’ lives as well. I’ll miss all of that so much and it scares me not to have those regular, in-depth critiques of my work. (They’ve offered to keep critiquing me by email, which I’m definitely taking them up on, but a lot comes out in the course of discussion, so it won’t be the same.)
A fourth Omission, Jana Martin, is due here in about 90 minutes. I think I’ll aim her at the large pile of paintings I originally intended to set the other Omissions on. I’ve seen her efficiency. Those paintings don’t stand a chance.
Sunday September 14 8:49 a.m.
(Yup, wrote this day before yesterday and just making it live now. Got to get better at the timing of this…)
We were up till 2 but I couldn’t sleep this morning. Friends coming tonight to help us pack, movers in the morning to help us fill the giant container now stationed conveniently at the foot of the handicapped ramp we built so that Bill’s daughter could visit and now a handy place to roll furniture and boxes out of the house on.
The container is scheduled to leave again day after tomorrow if we’re ready, which it’s fairly clear we won’t be. We have options. If we need to keep the pod a few more days to fill it, we can, although we don’t know how much extra that will cost. I wanted the large pod so we’d have plenty of room to bring whatever we wanted but now it seems enormous. The problem is inside, sorting, packing. I’ve been packing for what seems like months. It has been months, although in short spurts given my work schedule which Bill describes as “There’s no schedule, she’s always working.” But in all that time, including most of this past week, I haven’t even managed to completely clear my office which is where I started out.
Of course, my office is the biggest and worst problem but…now I have two days for everything else and I just don’t see it.
And then there’s the ASJA board meeting and mini-conference in San Francisco, inconveniently scheduled for October 9-11. I didn’t fight that date when it came up because there was too much powerful logic in its favor. The conference needed speakers and bringing the board to town is a good way to get them and draw attention to the event. (I’m speaking myself.) But the timing is certainly awkward and I’ve held off till now buying my plane ticket because I lacked the confidence to do it from SeaTac. But Bill last night said his goal is for us to be in Snohomish or its environs by our anniversary, October 14. So I guess SeaTac it is. But when will we finally pull out of Woodstock? No clue.