By the time I finally got Mitch loaded up and in the car it was 11:30am. We discussed the route and decided to take I-29 north to I-90 in South Dakota and head west straight through to Washington. The drive was pretty boring until we crossed the state line into South Dakota. The people in South Dakota know how to keep drivers entertained.
We passed many road signs touting the many sights to stop and see along the way. One road sign in particular was really entertaining. The sign read, “24 hour toe service” for a tow truck company. We laughed long and hard over that one. The other phenomenon we were really surprised at was the amount of pheasants walking along the side of the highway or in the grassy area between the east and west bound lanes. We saw quite a few along the side of the road as road kill. As pheasant hunters, we wished we could have this problem when we’re out in the field hunting.
Because of the late start, we didn’t get as far as I wanted. We stopped in Wall, South Dakota to spend the night. Friday night we went to sleep with temperatures in the seventies and woke up Saturday morning to a cold rain and temperatures around forty degrees. Huge shocker! I didn’t bring anything heavier to wear than a light jacket. Mitch loaned me one of his sweater vests to wear under my jacket for added layers
Mitch turned on the weather channel and got even better news, a winter (oops spring) snow storm with a forecast of five to eight inches on Saturday and another foot forecast for Sunday. So much for sightseeing, the firebird is made for the beach, sunny skies and the top down, not snow skiing. Time to load up and head west. The weather map made it look like we should drive out of it in Wyoming. Guess what? They got it wrong, we didn’t drive out of the snow until we got to Montana. I could not believe how hard it was snowing and in May!
It could only happen to us.
Friday morning we got up around 4:30am normal for a day off. I know, normal? This was it, the big day. This was the day we load up the firebird with as much stuff as we could cram in, stuff that Mitch will need for the short term and head west. Mitch was to have all of his clothes washed and packed. But as is always the case, Mitch was behind. Thursday afternoon he was to pack and load the car. Didn’t happen. Friends and family realizing that Thursday was his last day here for real and not “just fooling” came by to say good bye. He spent a large part of his afternoon catching up and saying good bye to longtime friends, friends he grew up with, friends he made along the way.
Friday morning Mitch “The Snail” poked along, finishing up laundry, ironing and deciding what to take. He was able to fit two totes in the back seat of the car (with the seat back down). He filled the totes with of his uniforms. He filled one of our largest suitcases with street clothes; slacks, shirts, underwear and socks. I filled a milk crate with all of his vitamins, four bags of Milky Way candy bars and cappuccino mix. What is more balanced than vitamins, candy bars and cappuccino mix? Of course all of these were absolute essentials because everyone knows Seattle is some remote little dinky town without benefit of Walmart or a grocery store. Yes I know I was going overboard, but what else could I do, it’s my job to take care of him.
About 10:00am I could see the signs, Mitch was poking, the longer it took him to get loaded up, the longer he could forestall the inevitable. If I let him, he would stand in one spot and not move all day. Of course this was making me crazy. I had wanted to be on the road by about 8:00am, not that I wanted to be rid of him but this was also my vacation and I wanted to spend part of the trip sightseeing. Once again a case of the whirlwind crashing into the brick wall. I walked up to him and said something really hokey.
I put my hands on his arms and said, “The journey starts with a step.” Pretty lame, huh?
That’s when he looked at me and said, “I don’t want to go. I don’t want to go and leave you here with all of this.”
I told him that it would be fine and that this was going to be an adventure. This was something we’ve talked about doing, not Washington, per se, but going somewhere else. We just hadn’t pulled the trigger. Change is hard and taking that first step is the hardest. I guess fate decided we needed a nudge.
One week gone and one week to go, the Mitch List has two items completed, new tires and an oil change for the station wagon, but I don’t have much hope for the other items getting done. I don’t know how to sharpen the mower blade so I guess I’ll just keep whacking the grass, not that we have a showcase lawn anyway, more like a poster child ad showing why you should go with a bulldozer and start over. On the inside of the house, we have one last wall in the kitchen that needed a decision, sheetrock or wood planks. Sheetrock won out because we thought it would be quicker. Mitch got the sheetrock hung and started on the mudding, but has not had an opportunity to start sanding, so I guess I will learn a new skill or maybe I’ll just leave it bare, splatter paint on it and call it art.
Knowing Mitch as well as I do, I know he always waits until the last minute to start anything whether it is a project or even get ready to go somewhere. He just moves at a slower pace than me and it makes me insane. In order to shorten my list I started a hundred different projects at once and ended up with a hundred different messes and nothing completed. I started sorting through some of the accumulation of decades of stuff dividing it up into three piles, the toss pile for trash items, the goodwill pile for salvageable stuff for someone to take, and the keep pile to pack away so I can unpack in the future and go through this again. The toss piles are easy, as soon as I get a good size pile I throw it in the trash can. The goodwill pile is a little tougher. I have multiple goodwill piles ready to go to some charity, I just need to call the charity to come and get it and I haven’t had a chance to do that. I need to add “call charity” to my “To Do” list.
Poor Mitch, I feel so sorry for him. He walks from room to room looking at the chaos I’ve created with a shell shot look on his face. I think he’s gone around the bend and is in overload mode. I’m pretty sure that nothing more on the Mitch List is going to get done and I’m almost to the point where I’m ready to sell the house lock, stock and barrel as is for a fire sale price. I’d even be happy if a hurricane came along and blew it away. I’m just not really sure a hurricane can make it to the Midwest. Oh well, I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
As soon as we found out that Seattle would be our new home and we only had two weeks to get him out there, panic set in. The first thing I did was to start making lists, one list for all of the projects that Mitch would need to get done before he left, one list for all of the stuff that Mitch needed to take with him and one list for me, listing all of the things I needed to get done before I can put the house on the market and sell it. Needless to say, my list is much longer than his.
We decided that Mitch would take the firebird with him and I would keep the station wagon (for the dogs) and the truck. Because of the limited space in the car, I couldn’t send all of the really important things you need when you move, dishes, silverware, a bed, etc. His idea was to only take his uniforms and necessary toiletries.
You should have seen the look on his face, when I set out a pillow for him. He asked why he needed a pillow. I told him that when he finds an apartment and is not staying in a motel, he’ll be glad he has a pillow. He looked at me with a blank look on his face for a moment then the light came on. Oh, yeah, that will come in handy. You can sleep on the floor for a couple of days if necessary, but a pillow comes in very handy. Men, they don’t think like women at all. I’m thinking of all of the stuff he’ll need for the short term and what will fit in the car until I get the house sold and move out there. Mitch is only thinking of his very immediate needs, clothes, how to get to work and what he has to do to get up to speed at work.
As each day ended, marking the countdown to loading up the car and heading west, I could see that the Mitch list projects were not going to get done. That means I’m going to have to learn how to do some things I’ve never done before. Good thing I have a whole bunch of power tools to learn on. I just hope the house survives.
What’s the worst thing that can happen?
She lies on the bed looking up at him above her
Her pale blue eyes open wide glowing in the dark
Sexual desire and hunger fill the gap between them
She draws him near locking their eyes.
Lost in the depths of her gaze his desire builds
Knowing that death awaits still he draws closer
She arches her back to meet his thrusts
As the crescendo of desire builds
Their bodies move faster fighting against each other.
She moves her body upward pulling him to her
Turning her head her mouth open
Kissing him hard and long, staring into his eyes
She smiles for the first time
Knowing he’s hers forever.
Monsters are everywhere. Some are large and some are small. Some are mischievous and some are evil. Some monsters are tangible and some are not. Monsters can have great strength and tremendous power. But monsters can only do great damage if we let them. This is a short tale of a woman with a monster of her own. Below is one of her journal entries of her monster.
I am so tired of being in limbo. When will the monster free me? No matter what my head decides to do my heart sometimes is the stronger of the two. I have always thought of myself as pragmatic, but the monster, “Indecision”, won’t release its’ grip totally. I have moments when the monster is sleeping that I can accomplish many things in moving on, looking to the future. Then Indecision arises and I’m back where I started. Hoping and waiting for the impossible to happen.
I travel through the maze of my mind turning left then right trying to find the open door to the promise of the future. One turn looks promising and I can see the future through the veils of Indecision as he teases me by alternately lifting and lowering them. Asking me how much am I willing to give up to be able to move on? What is the right choice?
Sometimes the first step is the hardest. Indecision mires my way with leaden shoes and steep hills to climb with the faint glow of hope just out of reach. Indecision knows that until I quit asking the same questions over and over, he still has the sharp talons of fear deeply imbedded in my back. Talons tugging at my heart, never quite letting go. Indecision teases me by giving me moments of great inner strength and just when I think I can break my bonds and cross through the portal, he slams the door in my face.
I ask why, “Why can’t you let me go?” I rant and rave.
Indecision calmly answers, “You’re not ready to meet the promise of the future.”
Now the panic sets in. So much to do, so little time. Isn’t that always the case? We found out in January that the airline Mitch works for was going to start vendoring out twenty eight stations across the country. At that time it wasn’t defined yet whether or not United was going to vendor out both the above the wing and the below the wing employees in all twenty eight stations. The plan was to seek outside company bids in each of the cities affected and pay people to come in, load and unload planes, work the ticket counter and gate for wages ranging from a third less to half of what the airline employees are currently making. Such “good” news right after Christmas was definitely not well received.
My first instinct at hearing the news was to go into survival mode, cancel the paper, cancel cable, sell almost everything we own and eat only every other day. After a couple of days I calmed down enough to realize that I might be over reacting just a bit, we could probably eat most every day. The waiting game started, which stations were for sure going to be vendored out, and was it going to be both upstairs and down or just one side? Rumors started flying, so we didn’t know what was true and what wasn’t. Were the employees affected going to get any type of severance pay or was it going to be “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.”
Word came out in February that our station was going to be one of the twenty eight stations hit and it was going to be the ramp agents going away. The next step was the options selections. The airline was going to open up the unaffected stations to allow agents to transfer to granted they held enough seniority to move there. There was also the option to retire and take an enhanced severance pay, if the agent met a myriad of requirements, age, length of service, etc. If none of the above fit then there was always furlough with recall rights. Yeah right, first they’re told to hit the road and then they might get called back.
Finally April 10th the airline published the list of cities that were available for the agents to bid on to relocate to if that was their choice or severance or furlough. Those choices were required to be turned back in no later than April 14th. Then the airline promised to return the result of each agent’s choice on April 24th. We actually received our notice on Thursday the 23rd that Mitch will go to Seattle. He has to report on May 17th, not much time.
That was when I started “The Mitch List”, all the projects that I cannot physically do, like finish the trim work, hang the last pieces of sheetrock in the kitchen, install three sheets of plywood on the outside of the garage so I can have it sided to match the house. Then it’s all up to me to do the finish work in and around the house so I can get it on the market and sold soon.
Can you imagine what lies ahead? There is so much stuff to go through and get rid of, landscaping, and just the prettying up so it will look nice for potential buyers. I’m just really glad I have a well-stocked wine rack, because I’m going to need it.
I had planned my whole day Easter Sunday, from the time I dropped Mitch off at work to dinner. I was going to take the dogs hiking just after sunrise, yard work in the afternoon and for dinner; I was going to grill a rack of lamb. I had been looking forward to my early morning hike all weekend. The weather forecast for Sunday was perfect, sunny, lows in the morning high forties with a high in the sixties. Perfect for an early morning hike, not too hot or too cold. Well as usual things didn’t go as planned.
I dropped Mitch off at work and drove home, pulling into the driveway. I got out of the car, let Orso out, he always rides along, headed to the house to get ready to go hiking. That’s when everything went horribly wrong. I’m not really sure exactly how it happened, but I know how it ended up.
Our house sits on the side of a hill with the garage above the house and concrete steps down to the house. There are two concrete retaining walls lining the steps growing taller as you walk down to the house. The two retaining walls end up about four and half feet high at the base with a three foot concrete walk from the door to the side of the house and winds around to the front of the house.
Orso was standing on the landing at the top of the steps waiting for me. I took a couple of steps toward him and for some reason I was going to bump a solar light that had a dragonfly on the top, one of those that turn different colors in the dark. Very pretty, super cheap, only cost me $3.97, also very fragile. I bought one a year ago and bumped one of the wings with a shovel and broke it right off. I knew that if I hit the light, I would probably break it, so I did the only logical thing I could do under the circumstances, I stepped around it. As I stepped around the solar light, I saw that my foot was going right for the Autumn Joy Sedum planted along the edge of the landing. I couldn’t step on the Sedum, that wouldn’t do at all, so I planted my right foot past it in the dirt below the Sedum and the solar light, completely throwing my whole body off balance. I tried to right myself with my left foot by stepping wide left and down two steps, bad idea.
That threw my balance and momentum to the left and since I was heading down at the same time, gravity and physics took over. I stepped down missing the next step hitting the step below it with my right foot and gaining speed scraped two fingers on my left hand on the top edge of the retaining wall, leaving skin behind. I twisted to the right a bit and swung my left foot forward still hoping for a recovery missed the next step and whacked my right forearm on the retaining wall. That’s when I spun around as I hit the bottom of the steps and slammed into the side of the house with my back.
I sat there at the base of the steps up against the house, trying really hard not to cry, assessing the damage. My right arm felt like it was on fire, I was pretty sure I was bleeding and hoped I hadn’t broken it. I drew in a couple of breaths to check for broken ribs. I didn’t think I had broken any but wasn’t sure if I had cracked or separated any. I moved around a bit to make sure I hadn’t broken anything else, like my back or hip. At least I didn’t hit my head this time.
I looked up at Orso who was still standing at the top of the landing watching me, not moving. He wanted no part of the carnage below. I called him down so that he could see I wasn’t dead. I very slowly twisted around and got up to a standing position quite surprised that I was still holding my keys. I went in the house to inspect the damage to my body.
Surprisingly, there was no blood, I was so sure that there would be bleeding and gushing wounds, but no just a big honkin bruise that was already forming on my forearm. I decided that I hadn’t broken any bones in my arm or any ribs, I just hurt like hell. Any movement was iffy and painful; there went the plans for the day. No hiking, no yard work, no fun.
On the bright side I saved the $3.97 dragonfly solar light.
A few photos of Spring and not a day too soon!
I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I have learned that being a painter is not an employment option. In fact I suck at painting. The funny part about it is that I actually enjoy painting. Nothing brightens or freshens up a room better than a fresh coat of paint. Paint is also a fairly inexpensive way to update a room or house. The caveat is only if the only thing that gets painted is the walls and ceiling.
My problem is that when I paint I get paint everywhere, the walls, ceiling, floor and me. I’m really good at getting paint on me, every part of my body. I always start off with the best intentions, I am so careful; I remove all of the switch plate covers for the outlets and light switches. I tape the window, door and floor trims. I cover the floor with plastic and newspaper and still get paint on window trim, doors and door trim, and oh how I get paint on the floors. Mitch says, “It’s a gift. You definitely have a gift.” He says that after I cut myself, fall off something, like maybe a ladder or get paint in places that any other normal person would never slop paint on.
I decided to paint the living room to brighten it up and make it look very fresh. I bought two gallons of ceiling paint and two gallons of wall paint just to make sure I had enough. The first mishap happened when I was painting the ceiling the paint roller slipped and whacked the ceiling fan. I had to quickly climb the ladder rag in hand to wipe off the paint before it left a big white smear across the fan blades. After the ceiling was done I cleaned up the roller and paint tray.
The walls came next and that is when true disaster after disaster happened. I thought that if I cut in the top of the walls, window and door trim and the base of the wall close to the floor all the way around the room I would save time moving the ladder around. I still had to go back and start over moving the ladder around the room to get the roller up high on the walls. At first I was doing well, no paint slops, I started to relax a bit and that is when it happened. I climbed up the ladder, lost my balance and fell backwards off the ladder knocking the ladder one way and I went the other way paint roller in hand and across the couch and onto the floor. Luckily the couch was covered in a plastic drop cloth. But in true Susan fashion, I ended up with a nice bruise on my hip.
After that it was all downhill, I bumped the roller against the ceiling, which means I have to go back with a brush and ceiling paint to correct all of the paint splatters. The roller would drip and a paint blob fall across the window trim or the door trim. Paint droplets would mysteriously appear on the floor where a second ago the floor was covered in newspaper. It was like a gust of wind had magically whipped through the room just across the floor moving the newspaper away exposing bare bamboo. I ended up looking like I’d been dipped in a paint can. I had paint on my hands, my jeans and shirt, and even in my hair. I didn’t just have paint down the front of my jeans I also had paint on my butt. I have this ability to bend over to paint low and back into the wall I just painted. I guess it truly is a gift.
It’s not like I’m totally graceless nor have no other skills, painting is just not one of them. The funny part about this is that Mitch hates painting, but is exceptionally neat when painting. He never gets paint anywhere but on the walls that he wants to paint. I’ve even tried bribery but it doesn’t work. There is nothing he wants that will entice him to paint with or for me. I think I hate him.