Lately, I’ve been blathering on about all the travel I’ve been doing and I fear I may be coming across like Little Miss Braggy-Pants. But au contraire! I can assure you that I, too, put on my panty hose one leg at a time and in fact, usually manage to snag the pair before I can even pull ‘em up.
So in the spirit of full disclosure, here’s what I’ve been doing lately (and yes, you might want to chug a Red Bull to stay awake during this).
Last week, I drove 14 hours up to NYC (Road Warrior!) to move my daughter out of the off-campus house she’s been renting for 2 years.
That involved hauling about 25 items out to the main street so people driving by could stop and help themselves, shoving a giant sofa out the back door, breaking down a bed frame & then cajoling the darling sanitation engineers of Queens to dump the residue into the maw of the garbage truck.
I also managed to use this tool to decouple about 10 pieces of Ikea furniture, worth maybe $65, that I will doubtless never be able to reassemble – with or without the clever Swedish instructions. I scrubbed multiple cleaning surfaces too gross to mention, washed every fabric in sight (drapes, bed linens, towels, mattress pads, etc.), cleaned out a very scary basement, and took a battered door off its hinges and hauled it into Home Depot to replace it.
On the other end of that venture (i.e. home) I unpacked and washed all of Lulu’s clothes – in the mad delusion that if all her clothes were really well-organized, she’d go through them and throw half the stuff away.
In the meantime, I had an epiphany/horrible realization that I’ve participated in the delinquency of a minor. As I was stepping through literal piles of clothes (belonging to other kids) in the laundry room of Lulu’s new house, it occurred to that all our kids have so many clothes – so many cheap clothes, made by underpaid workers in the developing world – that they don’t value any of them. They don’t take care of their clothes, respect them or treasure them – because they cost virtually nothing. It’s kind of like the food we eat –it’s cheap, ubiquitous and so easy to get, it doesn’t really matter that it’s worthless crap. And that attitude is making our entire country sick, and turning our children into heedless consumers.
Have you noticed the same thing with your kids??
(I read a review about a book on this subject that I’m dying to read: Story of My People by Edoardo Nesi, an Italian novelist who lost his family’s textile factory to the “titanic foreign multinationals” who “sell their heartless, unimaginative rags and schmattes everywhere around the world,” promising “Giorgio Armani at Walmart costs.” Sound familiar?? )
But I digress from my fabulous life. On Friday, I weeded about 200 square yards of scrappy turf at the college (where my hubby is president), drowning in sweat and red Georgia clay, so the returning students would have someplace nice & clean to throw their cigarette butts and beer cans. I slaved in the name of marital solidarity as my husband was also spreading mulch and weeding (something I’ve never seen him do in 17 years of marriage) so that was a kind of bonding moment. Unfortunately, I also managed to pull up a fair share of poison ivy – and now am covered in horrible weeping bumps –requiring serious prednisone and a giant hat to hide under. So yeah, no photos of my frightening face — and I’m on major steroids, so I’m emotionally unbalanced, too.
The funny thing is, (and this is not the result of too much prednisone — honest!) I really love doing this stuff (even weeding)– probably as much as I love to travel. In my bones, I’m just kind of a home girl after all. I love to be with my daughter more than anything on earth (even when she’s crabby) and there are few things I find more satisfying than cleaning up a place, or organizing and putting a shine on a room, a house, or a bare stretch of earth.
And just because, apparently, I am a bit of a Miss Braggy Pants after all, I can’t resist ending with a few pretty pictures. After our week of travail, we did manage to get away yesterday to northwest Georgia, where we hiked the pretty little Cloudland Canyon trail and managed to see some of this beautiful outdoors.