Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I'm back

First things first: I'm back. I arrived at 10:30pm last night after a bit of a bumpy descent and a landing that caused my otherwise silent seatmate to remark, "That wasn't subtle!" But it was safe and I am sound and back home.

Second, my outfit (black skirt, white button down shirt), taken directly from my suitcase, was not worn for the entire trip. I over packed. Not in the extreme, but mildly. It was too many work clothes and not enough "play" (or moving) clothes. Not a huge deal, but annoying. I hate over packing.

Next, my head is all over the place today and I feel a little tingly. I'm about 2-3 hours behind on everything (going to bed, waking up, eating lunch), just as one would expect. But I have to get my ass in gear and quick since I need to leave the house tomorrow NO LATER than 8:00 AM for an all day meeting/training. Yikes. That means no more 2am bedtime for me.

Speaking of which, I was up until 2am last night and wide awake at that.

I read something in the paper when I was away by this interior decorator fellow and he said that when you walk into your house you should feel happy and calm. I wondered how I would feel walking into my place after being gone—would I smile? Would it feel cozy? Was it clean? It helped that Miss Tabitha (the cat) is still away (thank you a million times over, dear Los Os), but when I stepped in the door, a big smile plastered itself on my face. I don't have to change a thing—my place is perfect for me.

I had tons of mail piled up, including bills, so instead of unpacking, I got right to work sorting the mail and opening packages. Some things went directly into the recycling bin, the bills got paid, accounts were balanced and now things are mostly in order. I have a bit more work to do, but not much. It seems crazy to me that the first thing I did when I got home was take care of bills, but it helps me relax to have it done. One less worry. Sleep was pretty hopeless anyway and it was better to spend the time on bills than just glued to the tv (though the tv was keeping me company throughout).

Tonight, I will reclaim the cat and unpack the suitcase. I only took one suitcase (and my small backpack) for the entire trip (I was able to carry on the suitcase for every flight—thank you helpful flight attendants for always finding a place for my slightly too large bag). It was packed tight, but had the advantage of keeping Mom from sending me home with lots of stuff, as is her wont. Not that I returned empty handed.
  • My purchases:
    • Travel size can of shaving cream
    • One disposable razor (from a pack of 4—the other 3 were disposed)
    • Travel size spray perfume
    • Tiny tube of facial moisturizer
    • Small bar of Neutrogena soap
    • New digital watch (it's nifty)
    • Large box of Red Vines
  • From Mom:
    • Funky Japanese handbag (I chose to take it; it was not foisted upon me)
    • Silver plated small ladle that goes with my set of silver plate flatware
    • Wooden handled butter knife (part of the set I have, but stopped using in favor of new stainless steel dishwasher safe set)
    • 4x6 inch picture of Jerusalem on some kind of metal—a present from my brother years ago. Mom actually snuck it into my suitcase, but I discovered it when I had to repack the bag on Monday. I still took the picture.
This may have been the least amount of stuff I've acquired on any trip ever. It's not rare for me to come home from Seattle with a new pair of shoes, but not this time.

The big picture is that while Mom and I snapped at each other a few times, we handled the stress well. I am more comfortable being in her house than having her in mine, where I feel constantly judged. Instead, she got to feel judged by me—and I knew it and tried not to do it.

The low point was the morning of the move. I lost it when I could not find my tiny, perfect digital camera. I didn't just grump about it, I yelled. I swore. Not at Mom, just in general. But I did ask Mom if she'd seen it or moved it. Mom promised she hadn't touched it. I believed her—sort of. I was afraid the camera made it into one of the innumerable boxes, even though I knew that thought was completely irrational. While still angry, I managed to pack up Mom's computer (still not packed the morning of the move!) and yell at her that she wasn't helping me look for the camera. She said, "Did you check your backpack?" Yes. "Did you check the car?" I didn't take it in the car. Finally, I did what I didn't want to do and started flinging all the clothes out of my suitcase. I had checked the suitcase, but I didn't want to unpack it. But, as soon as I got one layer down, there was the camera, which had insinuated itself, clad in its black case, between a couple of pieces of black clothing.

I told Mom I'd found the camera. "Where?" In my suitcase, of course. She came over and patted me on the back and I said, "Just leave me alone. Please. Leave me alone." Later, she would accuse me of acting crazy and freaking out about nothing. Ok, maybe that wasn't so much an accusation as "the truth." But, at least I didn't freak out and start yelling at her about something she'd done. When I was actually angry at Mom, I would just walk away. Maybe the yelling was in her general direction and my frustration was aimed at her, because she was there. But why was I frustrated? I was in her huge house, full of lightly packed and unsealed boxes and the movers were coming in 30 minutes and WHERE WAS MY CAMERA?

Well, that was the low point, and even though there was some additional bickering, it never escalated into actual fighting and we managed to pretty much allow each other our respective neurosis with no commentary or critique. She can hardly begrudge me mine when this particular activity so glaringly highlighted her as the source of so many of mine. (She is very messy; I am hyper-organized. She is not fanatical about cleaning; I must have clean, non-sticky surfaces at all times—but we both abhor vacuuming. She has bits and pieces of different things scattered all over the house; my collections of things (pictures, mementos, etc.) are also scattered, but only in two places at most.)

Mom definitely appreciated my presence and feels in my debt now, which is totally unnecessary. She didn't ask me to come, I volunteered. I knew it would be hard. It's not like she didn't do the same thing for me, many times, when I lived in Seattle. I am glad she appreciated my help and actually found it helpful. I think with all the implied judgment and grumpiness going on, it might have been better to have a different helper. Yet, there is no denying that I am good at a few things—such as packing boxes, organizing kitchens, and reconnecting stereo systems.

Mom's new place is really great, too. It's a loft-style condo, but brand new. All the appliances, switches, everything is new. I actually think it will accommodate Mom's mishmash of furniture of many different styles much better than the old house. The place is all hard surfaces and angles, very sleek, so it needs to be warmed up by an enormous Ficus plant (of tree proportions), a beautiful antique dresser with mirror, loads of books, old (but not antique) rugs, and a lovable cat. (The cat was most adorable and made me wish Miss Tabby was more of a lap girl.)

Mom also proposed searching for jobs for me in Seattle. That idea was roundly rejected. I know she means well, really, but the pressure. The pressure. It's not that I'm completely adverse to moving to Seattle. Not at all. I still have friends there and I'm sure I would make new ones. I would certainly miss DC. I would miss the people here most of all. I would miss my boss. I don't have any particular reason to be in any particular place, which is more than a little sad, but I have to be the mover of my life—not my mother. That's really too much—probably at any age, but definitely at any age over 30.

It is good to be home.

Grateful for: home.

Drop me a line.

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