Spring Cleaning in October

Spring CleaningI mentioned on Friday that there’s been some work going on in our building and in our unit. It’s all too boring to go into, but it came as a surprise this week that significant work needed to be done in our home. Boy howdy, has it been a busy week. Everything is fine, but we are definitely in a state of upheaval, and we’ve been doing lots of prep work and cleaning and such, and finally getting to some now-or-never-type cleaning. Like, “Ah, this would be a good time to scrub the baseboards and finally wash the comforters” sort of stuff. I can’t remember the last time I was this tired, and things like this are never convenient, but there isn’t anybody I’d rather be doing this with. This whole thing has definitely brought us even closer than we already were before, and Eric has made me laugh so many times in the past few days. He is a treasure. We spent a very large chunk of the weekend at the laundromat, where I was charmed by these city light designs. I love laundromat themes so much. Perhaps I should do a photo series of them.

Spring CleaningThere weren’t very many places to sit at the laundromat (but! it was so very spacious, and we never had to wait for a machine!), so I savored every little fifteen-minute break, during which I’d devour more of my book. To give some idea of the scale of things, we’ve been sleeping in our office all week, and most of our stuff is in the living room. It’s kind of like moving. Exhausting. But I have been so buoyed by the breaks and the little pleasures, and that makes me happy. I don’t know when I’ve ever looked forward to coffee and the Sunday paper more. Being this busy has definitely made me more aware of the present moment, and I am grateful for that. This morning before we got up, we were turning our thoughts toward the attack plan for the day. Groggy and bleary-eyed, I smiled and said, “You know, I don’t want to talk about it yet. I just want to enjoy this.” And enjoy it I did.

DaddyMy dad called this weekend from Baltimore, where he and my mom are spending the weekend, and after we made several jokes about The Wire, we talked about the house situation. (I don’t have a picture of this Facetime conversation, but this is the wifi hotspot they used to call me, seen here in Seattle with my dad’s beautiful smile). He was calling to check on us. I told him the whole story, and I emphasized the funny parts, because you just have to laugh when you can. My dad’s laugh is one of my favorite sounds on earth. It bursts out like an ocean of joy splashing out of a tiny saucepan, unexpectedly and always radiantly. It raised my spirits so much to hear it. My parents can commiserate–they spent the summer re-doing their bedroom, so they are no strangers to living out of plastic bags and sleeping in unusual places. They started calling the room they slept in their summer home, and that just makes me smile every time I think of it. We are in our autumn home, I guess.

Party HeartyThe best thing that happened this weekend was the birthday party of my favorite five-year-olds! Vital information: since I read a Star Wars book to the girls on our Oakland trip, we have all taken on a Star Wars identity–the girls are Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, and I am Darth Vader, of course. We were a bit late to the party, but when I got there, the birthday girls threw their arms around me and gleefully yelled, “How’s it going, Dark Vader?!” It was the greatest thing ever. The party was a blast, and we met so many great people. It was the shining star of the weekend, for sure. We all jumped in this bounce house, and Hillary told me that before the party the girls were trotting out the raise-the-roof move we did on the way on the way to Malibu and chanting, “Push the roof up!” I laughed so hard on Saturday and smiled so much I thought my face might break. What a Godsend these sweet friends of mine are. I love them more every day.

CaliforniaAlso, this map of California was drawn by the sweetest little boy, and I fell in love with it. I especially love those teeth at the bottom.

YumAfter more laundromatting on Sunday, we headed out for a quick dinner, a little treat for all our hard work. All I wanted in the world was a hot tortilla full of refried beans, and I got it. We were talking over dinner about how going through all of our stuff has made us realize how much stuff we have…and how much of we don’t really want or need anymore. There is going to be quite a reckoning of my wardrobe, I think. I realized that I have been just been keeping a bunch of shirts around that don’t fit/are really worn out/I don’t like. But then I never buy new shirts because I tell myself that I have shirts. (Am I the only one who does this? Send me encouragement from your post-purge closets.) My life is different now than it was in Berkeley, and we live in a different climate. A lot of the stuff I have either needs to be stored or passed on, perhaps even some of my first (terrible!) alterations and sewing projects that I have been hanging onto for sentimental value. I hope that paring things down will encourage me to wear the things I like more, the ones that have been hiding behind things that don’t fit (ahem, silk dress that I hemmed way too short). If there’s anything that I really can’t part with, then I’ll save the fabric and make something else out of it. That seems like the wise thing to do. I am trying to pull the threads of this post together, but maybe they should stay loose. By way of summary: busy, busy, busy, lots of revelations, the greatest birthday party ever, major gratitude. Pretty great. Pretty grateful.

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