The apartment (or condo, depending on how you see it) is almost empty.  Today I spent 5 hours there, non-stop, cleaning up, organizing, and getting it ready so John and his friend can go there on Saturday and haul out the heavy stuff.  Who needs a gym when you can just relocate out of a 2nd story condo?  Believe me, it gets your cardio working.  My problem today was going out with bags of stuff for the trash.  Going from the 60-something-degree apartment to the 30-something-degree (and rainy/sleeting) weather, I wasn’t sweating, I was condensating.

I saw the funniest thing.  I was taking out the trash when I saw this furry white butt sticking out of one of the recyling cans (big plastic trash cans with hinged lids), trying to back out but not succeeding.  Finally it fell into the can and the lid shut on top of it.  The squirrels–bless their industrious little hearts–had been all over the place, collecting for the winter, and I guess this one thought he’d found a new source.  (He doesn’t know recycling contains no food products, I guess.)  I dropped the big trash in the dumpster and went to rescue the little guy, knowing full well he could come springing out at me like something from “National Lampoon’s Christmas”, so I tipped the lid over all the way and took a quick step back.  Out from the bottom, this little gray squirrel rocketed out of the can like he was jet-propelled, and the shock of seeing him fly out of there made me bust out laughing. 

As long as I was moving in the apartment, I was plenty warm, but for a while I sat on the bedroom floor to go through a bag I found with old cards and mementos my mom must’ve saved for me.  What a treasure!  My high school yearbook from 1982 (not the year I graduated; I’m NDA class of ’84), newspapers, magazines, test strips from my photography class.  Among them was a short note from my grandmother (“Nana”).  It took me a while to recognize the handwriting; she’s been gone for 11 years now.  It was signed “Mom and Dad”, though I’m not sure why (unless I’ve been reading my mother’s mail).  Something about touching that note that she touched all those years ago made me cry like a baby.  I loved Nana and Grandpa so much but it wasn’t until that moment that I was hit, full force, with a reminder of how badly I miss them.  And for a moment, it was like she was there in the room with me, smiling. 

I’ve been doing a lot of knitting lately (Laura inspired me) and knitting always connects me to her.  She was such an amazing knitter, I know I could never be that good, but I do enjoy it and it relaxes me tremendously.  When I pick up her needles, I feel like I’m holding her hand, in a way, for all the years her hands touched those needles to make something wonderful.  For a few moments, we can be together again. 

Something else I found in that bag was the birthday card from my high school buddy, Wallis.  For some reason, that that card stuck with me over the years, simply because she wrote on the envelope, “Keep this card; some day you can hock it.”  That was SO Wallis.  For all her bluff and bluster, I’m pretty sure she was just as nervous and anxious as I was to get the future started.  I hope she understands just how proud I am of her.  All those years she signed everything, “Wallis A. A—-, Esq.”, and dammit, she’s a lawyer now.  She really did it.  She amazes me, the way she put her mind to what she wanted and she made it happen.  She’s my hero. 

I found cards from friends and relatives I haven’t talked to in years, and some who’ve been gone for longer than that.  Opening up that bag and looking at everything, I touched the past for a little while.  Of course, because I sat still for as long as it took to read through the cards (and yes, I threw some out), I froze my fingers off, but it was worth it to share some time with the people I loved, and especially the ones I lost. 

I can’t wait ’til the move is over and everything is in the house.  The future starts now.


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