Things here aren’t as wonderful as you might think. Following your husband to his business posting is much like being a military wife – you go where they send you and you don’t ask too many questions. It’s not really all that bad here, a little drab, maybe. I do miss the colors of home, though. Looking at it all through the portal is less heartwarming than basking in its glow without barriers.
I don’t get out much, the weather is so fickle, and in my current state, it’s better just to stay indoors. Besides, it’s cold most of the time, and the rest of the time it’s too dark to feel safe. It’s an alien place – and you never know who or what will be lurking about the streets. The baby is due soon, and I’d rather not take any chances. John feels more comfortable with me staying close to home, too. We’re right around the corner from the medical clinic, and he’s always been the pragmatic one when it comes to spending as little time in a panicked state as possible. John has firmly concluded that he will be panicked the day I go into labor. I think it’s good that he’s planning ahead, it reduces the suspense.
I haven’t looked for work yet. I don’t think anyone would hire me right now, and besides, John and I made an agreement that I’d stay home with the baby full time – we both think that’s best, but I must admit, until he’s born, I’m bored… a lot. What I wouldn’t give for something new to do – even taking a crack at my mother-in-law’s recipe book would be better than just sitting around doing nothing all the time… but John packed the books, and I’ve no idea where it is.
Don’t get me wrong… I’m not complaining… being a housewife is a noble choice. I’m proud to stay at home and do what I can to support my husband and help prepare for our impending family. It’s taken us a long time to get here, and now, comfortably, we are walking forward into a future that is both uncertain and exciting. I just wish he’d be more help in clearing out the basement.
I’m nesting, I know… it’s hormonal. It’s also normal; at least that’s what I tell John. But from where he sits, the word ‘normal’ is an oxymoron.
We talked about decluttering and agreed we’d tackle it before having children to make room for the new baby, both physically and emotionally. It’s been almost two years since he took the transfer, and still, boxes remain filled with the memories and mess of the past. Most of it is not mine.
I realize he’s busy with his career, but so much of what’s down there, I’m not qualified to make decisions about what to keep and what to toss, simply because it’s NOT MY STUFF! Not to mention the fact that I know he’d become irritated if I did it without him. But the truth remains, I can’t ignore it any longer. I’ve got to do something before I explode into the wifezilla he never wanted. Either I take on the challenge of going through the mountain of boxes, or he takes on the challenge of dealing with me in a psychotic state as fallout from keeping all the clutter. We’ve only got four months left… there’s no more time left to “get to it later”.
So, finally, this afternoon, in an earnest effort to locate the fabled “Mom’s Recipe Book” and give me something new to occupy my time while John was out on his moonwalk collecting rocks, or performing some obscure scientific research, I ventured into the basement to see what could be done. The room was dank and dismal, as most basements are, but I wasn’t bothered... too much. There was a modicum of light seeping in through the tiny windows just above ground level. It wasn’t enough. I pushed the panel next to the door and illuminated the room with fluorescent wonderment. As I looked around the space, I evaluated the job before me. To my left were several boxes marked “new house-keep”, in my handwriting. I can’t quite remember what’s in them, but I decided to look through those boxes last. Since they’d already been marked as “keep” and in my handwriting, I knew the book wasn’t in there. So, half the decision had been made regarding that stack, at least. As my father always said, “If you do the longer, harder tasks first, you’ll accomplish more in the long run.” My father lived well into his nineties, so who was I to discount his advice? I moved on to another stack.
I looked to my right. In the corner stood a stainless steel, commercial freezer. It was wide enough and deep enough to hold a dead body, but short enough that one probably wouldn’t fit. I decided to clean it out later. John packed it before we left, saying that he didn’t want to waste any food. “Culinary delicacies are a rare commodity up there,” he’d said. “I don’t want to have to live without eating the things I enjoy.”
It made sense. After all, I’d been craving Moose Tracks ice cream the past few weeks of my pregnancy. We didn’t have much of it left, and I was beginning to become concerned we wouldn’t get any more. So, his logic about keeping the stuff in the freezer made sense. There was plenty of room in the kitchen freezer for whatever he’d packed, so I knew we could move it upstairs later. Truth be told, if it were up to me, I’d get rid of the old thing, it makes a loud humming noise that is beyond irritating, and the sound echoes up from the basement whenever I’m trying to read or sleep – it’s very bothersome. Two stacks done.
Just then, a storm hit our area, and sunspot lightning came rushing through the window slits, enveloping the basement in an orange strobe effect reminiscent of my teenage years at the high school dance when I got an evil migraine while everyone else got wicked drunk. I prayed that the storm would pass quickly. They usually do, but you can never tell. So, I crouched on the floor and started going through the stacks closest to me, hiding behind a tower of boxes that shielded me from the window’s glare.
Over the next two hours I ravaged a myriad of boxes, pulling a lot of things out, putting most of them back in, and marking the box “trash” in gigantic red letters with my favorite Sharpie. There was nothing of consequence, nothing John would miss, I was certain of it. After all, if he hasn’t come to retrieve them during the past two years that we’ve been on this God-forsaken grey rock, he most likely never will. I felt confident that they could be easily pushed the fifteen feet into the incinerator – with nary a whisper of discontent from John. Stack number three was done, and after the brief slide into the furnace, was heating the house with a warm glow.
I heard John’s voice from the living room a few moments later.
“Julie, where are you?” he called.
“In the basement,” I yelled.
“What on Earth are you doing down here?” he questioned, descending the stairs, skipping every other step.
“What on Earth? Funny,” I chided. “I’m sorry, I just couldn’t deal with the clutter any longer – I had to get rid of some of this junk.”
John’s amber eyes looked back at me with compassion and understanding. “I know, this stuff’s been sitting for a long time, and I’ve been ignoring it for too long. I know I promised to help – I’m here now, what can I do?” he asked, with a warm embrace.
“Well, I think I’ve got the bulk of it taken care of… if you could just help me move the food from the freezer to the kitchen, I think we can let the rest go for a while,” I suggested.
“Sure, I’d be happy to help,” John said, a broad smile on his face.
As John opened the freezer, I watched as he began to pull various clear, plastic packages out and put them in a carryall to go upstairs. I couldn’t figure out what kind of food it was, and so, being the forever curious soul, I walked a few steps closer to get a better look.
“John… are those ears… and is that a tail… f-fu-fur… W-wh-what is that?” came the squeak from my throat.
“Frozen dog!” he said, with a wistful sigh and a delighted grin.
“DOG?!” I hollered. “That’s what’s been sitting in our freezer for the past two years? That’s the ‘food’ you didn’t want to waste?”
“Well, yeah, what did you expect, alligator?” The scales on his face and neck rippled in disgust.
Diana Kathryn Plopa
I love being in love; writing; reading; mammals of nearly every kind, and especially micro-humans! Come enjoy my world with me - Secret Decoder Ring not required!!