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Remote Possibilities

The new television came with a remote and the new blue ray player came with a remote. One remote for each resident. That could lead to a channel flipping war with each remote flipper trying to one up the other. No one-up-wars here. If we want to change the volume or pause a movie we grab the remotes in tandem and both give it a go. Eventually one of us figures it out. Whoever does it first is the hero of the moment. When we eventually figure out how to “drive” there is the remote possibility that we will have one-up-wars but for now we are happy to collaborate.

Missing the Mark

We are tired of boxes coming. It is not as bad as it was but there for a while when I felt like I was a teenager again working in my Mom’s store. It was my job to unpack boxes, match the inventories and stock the shelves. I learned to hate packing slips then. What good is a piece of paper with the items packed in the box without prices on it? Without the prices you have to go dig out the original order. Why are there prices on an invoice but not on a packing slip? Are the packing people not supposed to know how much what they pack cost? Maybe the delivery people are not supposed to know how much the stuff they carry cost. Whatever. It is a pain.

Nearly every box, dreaded packing slips and all, held successful purchases. We did not miss the mark on many things.

I did shoot very, very wide of the target on watches. My spouse had a lovely watch collection and I guess I tried to put it back together too fast in an attempt to make things feel like they did before. I found on the internet some fantastic watches with amazing prices. What I did not grasp was that they were the size of a gerbil. I have never seen such large watches. You could hardly lift your arm. I guess that is why the price was so low.

My nemesis, sheets, were off the mark too. We need a second set not just to prevent laundry pileup but because we are having overnight guests. I wanted the bed to look perfect to welcome them. I also wanted the bed linens to be useful for the long term. When we buy things we try to decide if we will use it in our new house-to-be. If we think we won’t, we don’t get it.

We discussed bed clothes. We decided on what would be useful now and in the future. I set out on my usual bargain hunting. I hit all the uber-discount places. I scoured the internet for coupons. I found sales with free shipping. I finally selected a duvet cover and sheets that portended to be great. We anxiously awaited their arrival. When they arrived and I opened the box, I was anxious. They matched perfectly even thought I had bought the sheets at one store and the duvet at another. They were earth-friendly and fair trade. The fabrics were gorgeous. They fit nicely on the bed and matched the items in the room. And, they looked perfectly horrible. I tried to like them. I tried for 2 days. Today we sent them back.

So, we still have one set of sheets and two extra pillow cases. I guess we will have to tolerate one more box before our visitors come.


People spend time visiting with us in town, by email or over the phone. Everyone is so kind. They tell us that they are thinking of us and ask how we are doing. That’s a hard question to answer when you are judging your own behavior but we think we are doing fine.

We are sleeping OK; no nightmares. The worry about things catching on fire is all gone now that the air conditioner man said we were fine. We are not unusually snarky with each other. Our bad jokes still make the other laugh. Our desks are sorted and we are working. In the work department, on reflection we realized that the paper shuffling of Monday and Tuesday was pretty familiar. Anyone who writes grant proposals knows how that goes. Certainly the fire and life disruption made it worse but you don’t need a fire to make writing grant proposals obnoxious. Visiting is a perfect diversion from writing grant proposals.

I feel like we should invite the Fed Ex and UPS delivery people in to visit and have lunch after all the boxes they have brought us. Sometimes we visit about what they are delivering. Last week we got three very heavy, oddly shaped, soft packages wrapped in blue tarps. I did not see who brought them. This week a delivery person brought something to the door and saw one of our new rugs in the entryway. It was an “ah, that is what I delivered” moment. We visited about the rugs and about our old house.

We have a big visit coming up, one that was planned long before the fire. I was painfully disappointed when the house burned down because my guests would not be able to enjoy our home that was filled with so many things that we loved. I got over that pretty quickly, in part because our visitors-to-be were so supportive about the visit. We will have a good visit. Our for-now house is entertaining in its own right. The views are fantastic. Some of the rooms are dramatically spacious but there are comfortable smaller areas too. You can bound up and down the three flights of stairs to examine the two half baths and four full baths all of which are very unique.

We can also go visit the site of our old house. It is getting more interesting and less distressing. Grass is growing here and there. A lot of the ash has blown away so the ground is less black and dirty. All across the burned areas, people are starting to rebuild and the energy is running high. Neighborly visits are easier now. That is something to ponder. When we had houses and saw someone working in their yard we would wave a hearty wave and go on by. Now that there are no houses, when we see someone working in their yard we stop and visit.

Perhaps it is the sense of shared loss that makes it easier to visit. Perhaps it is just downright curiosity about what happened at each other’s houses. Perhaps it is because we now have our eyes wide open seeking the joy of the world. I would like to think it is the latter.