July 2, 2014; Cohasset Ma, usa. approximately ten days before departure

Stream of consciousness blogging

I’ve been hoping to post something inspiring, amazing, heart-uplifting and lovely. Well, this is probably the most ridiculous time to start a lovely, intentional blog, because we’re – just a teensy bit busy around here getting ready to head off-the-grid. There are no long spaces of time to get contemplative.

My organizer (I HAVE to tell you about Lisa, as soon as possible, she’s amazing, she needs her own separate post and will be referred to often in the future. But for the moment, I’ll just briefly introduce you: I have frequently called upon and hired an organizer named Lisa since we moved to Massachusetts. I would probably be continually sobbing in a dirty, disorganized corner of my bedroom if it wasn’t for Lisa. Lisa is like having a friend/sister/secretary/savior/manager of your life except that she is incredibly good at holding back her judgments, not gossiping about the EVERYTHING that she knows about our lives, and generally being available but only when you ask her to be. Everyone, in a perfect world, would have a Lisa. We couldn’t go off-the-grid without her – not coming with us, but basically picking up all of our lives and ongoing mail and figuring out wtf to do with it all before forwarding the remnants to me (to an as yet undetermined po box type of situation somewhere near the farm, if we are lucky).

Anyway, today Lisa told me that she read my blog and likes it, yay! (She knows I do well with positive encouragement) She agreed this is a complicated time to start a blog. She explained that with a blog, instead of trying to go for perfection right now, it’s a good time to just go for stream-of-consciousness, quantity is ok right now to get it going. Friends might want to see new posts here and there or it gets boring very quickly. Lisa also gave me permission to write about her here:)

On that note…this is a super fast stream-of-consciousness piece, totally not edited or “sat on” or anything. Wheeeeeeeee, just like these days are starting to feel!

In addition to what I’ve already streamed, above, here is what’s happening in this moment, ten days (or nine, I’m confused about counting) pre-departure off-the-grid:

We rented a van on Sunday and loaded up Mom’s favorite coconut Nigerian table, and her ashes (Mom was cremated. My sister was cremated too, and buried in Kaneohe cemetery. When my Mom died, I exhumed my sister, added some of her ashes to Mom’s, and we had a ceremony on Kailua Beach, using an outrigger canoe to paddle out past the waves and fling some of Mom and Jenny’s ashes out to sea. Some remaining ashes of both were buried back in Kaneohe, and the rest came in a very heavy box with me, minus a period of time when they were unfortunately in storage in Yuba City, California for about four years.). On Sunday, our family of four drove in the rental van up to Auntie Brenda and Uncle Fred’s house where the coconut table is now happy in its new home in my recently deceased Grandma’s room. In the cabinet next to the coconut table, are the remains of Connie and Jenny in the box that we brought in the rental van.

Driving up and back to Pittsfield in the rental van was somewhat stressful. Driving up took approximately five hours on Sunday (normally, less than a three hour drive. Not gonna explain why it took so long.) It was very emotional and sweet saying good-bye to my Aunt and Uncle, their house where we’ve spent some wonderful times, Grandma’s room. On our way home on Monday, we planned to stop at another very dear place in our hearts, Cousin Auntie/Cousin Uncle/Cousin R’s house. Cousin Auntie will have many posts dedicated to her (if she gives me permission; I haven’t had the chance to ask her yet, so for now, I won’t yet use her name), as she is truly like a sister to me. We’ve been through so much together (and apart), and we have a good tendency to behave insanely, regressing to some kind of adolescent stage of silliness whenever we are together, which is enormously healthy to do. Anyway, we were in the van driving to get to their house and it became clear that everyone in the van was going emotionally downhill fast. Somehow this van was just NOT meant for the four of us to travel comfortably (or legally!) in. Did I say it was stressful? So halfway down, I remorsefully texted Cousin Auntie that we won’t make it. She understands us enough by now that she understood, bless her heart. They’re all going to come over Monday night, here, instead.

I don’t know what happened to yesterday. Oh, wait, yes I do! We raced to the bank and got the safe deposit box, then raced home where a somewhat fastidious, yet well-meaning British gentleman drove from far away to look at one of our cars for sale. After very thorough (think of someone about to buy a thoroughbred horse for racing, it felt like!) inspection, he decided to buy the car! Lots and lots of papers, details, who knows exactly what the DMV needs these days and you certainly can’t call them to ask. Anyway, he was very nice and we had a great car so it’s all perfect. Raced to the bank to deposit the Bank check he had prepared as he said, “Once I spoke with you, I felt that it was going to work out.” I take that as a compliment since I did my best to be honest and clear with him the night before about everything I could think about the car before he drove a long distance. I explained, “Well, we have two young children..so..if you’ve had children, you probably know what I mean? The front seats look great, the dashboard, everything…the back seat, we had it detailed but you know, there might be the imprint of a car seat or remnant of chocolate milk stain..” I think he could tell I try to be detailed and up front about things, not a Sheister, I think he said. Kind of like how I will be blogging – I’m fairly out there.

After depositing the check, I raced to lunch with a very wonderful Mommy friend that I became close with this past winter. We seriously bonded over the horrendous winter we went through here (This past winter deserves its own post, and will have its day, I promise. Horrendous.), often having spontaneous play dates with our 4 combined children at the worst hour for Mommy’s – often called the Bewitching Hour, somewhere a couple of hours before bedtime. The children are cranky, hyper, push your buttons, bored, picky, irritated. The Mommy’s often begin to feel the same. It was really important and life-saving to become good friends with a Mommy here that didn’t try to pretend that everything is just perfect all the time. We understood what it meant if one said, “Oh, wow, I ran out of milk and had to take the kids to the store at 6 pm to get more.” Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Add all the cranky list I just said above, to the worst icy-snow-blizzard winter ever, to just crazy shit that somehow happens, and we would ominously, sympathetically reply, “Oh, gosh..I’m so sorry!” We don’t pretend that going out to lunch at a charming cafe is precious with our (then) 1 and 4 year olds. (Those cute crayon and draw-on-your-placemat packs the cafe’s give out? They last about 50 seconds at this stage.)

But yesterday, she took me out to lunch, and we realized it was the FIRST time since we met, that we were alone together, without a child near, needing, calling, clinging, playing, singing, crawling, running, breaking..whatever endless assortment of things our children naturally do. We’d never met outside of a play date. It was SO much fun to talk for two hours straight, on our own. We totally like each other, we already knew that, in between the spilled chocolate milk, or Sofia somehow breaking their metal gate into two pieces, or Michelle somehow having the biggest poop she ever had that I didn’t realize until I was in the middle of changing her on their dining room carpet…we already knew, but yesterday we had the luxury of talking about whatever we wanted. Toward the end of lunch, there were several minutes of tears. I know the feeling. When I had Sofia in Virginia Beach, my close Mommy friend moved away right when I got pregnant with Michelle. I was so happy for my friend going off on her new adventure, and I was also totally abandoned and devastated to lose her companionship. So I fully know the feeling of being the one left behind. And I started feeling the feeling: I’m leaving. I’m leaving a life we did create here, in spite of the frequent moves, upheaval, short term experience. We have real friends here. We will miss each them. Tremendously.

So fast forward to today: packing!!!! For real packing. Lisa (my organizer) came over at 9:30 and we went for many hours straight. What a weird decision making process. What goes to the farm? What goes to the tiny storage room? What gets donated? What gets thrown out? What goes to the safe deposit box? Here’s a fast stream-of-consciousness flow of part of the last few hours:

“Okay! Packing time! …Thick sweatshirt – donate – not gonna need it on the farm…Cute sexy jeans with the tag still on them – donate – must assume I will never be thin enough to either store or bring to the farm…Soft, ragged tank top – totally lived it – donate – too slutty to wear in spiritual community…The watercolor painting Sue painted for me, of Kaena Point – must take for wall in new house on farm – wrap in pajama sweats – pack…My junior high and high school yearbooks with “Barry” Barack Obama’s private, handwritten comments to me written in them (Yes, I promise there will be some posts about my old friend and our current President of the USA, a great guy:))– safe deposit box! (Barack, I promise I will never try to auction off these precious photos and awesome personal comments, from you – but if we do go broke off-the-grid, I hope you would understand if I absolutely had to do that for something like food, or my daughters’ college educations? I will not, I will auction off my jewelry first, but just saying, you know if I HAD to, it’s good to know I know where they are. And personally, I believe in you as our President, and as a person I knew with incredible integrity and a great sense of humor, two qualities a good president these days must have)!… Medication – bring! – (I’m totally holistic and health oriented, and also practical, you will discover.)

All right, that’s the stream-of-consciousness post, Lisa. As opposed to nothing posted. You just left a while ago and I got very tired of packing. I stopped. I know you’ll be back. I know we’ll get it done. Even you had to go, “Breatheeee. Take a breathhhhhh” today when you opened the one cupboard and saw the stacks of electronics we haven’t gotten to. Breathe! It’s gonna happen. We’re on it. Happening. That British man is coming to get the car today. The other one will sell. Gonna happen.

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