10 August 2011

My Secret Love

So, we're moving.  Out of state.  In two days.

At the end of June, we cleared out our place of four+ years (a one-bedroom apartment in Evanston) and stuck all of our stuff into a 10' x 15' storage space.  We then took those few things that we would need over the summer (read: clothes) and moved in with my husband's family, in Rockford, Illinois.

The summer has gone surprisingly fast.  Granted, we've squeezed in quite a bit, mostly the usual summer fare:  camping trip, swimming pool visits, water play in the backyard, summer camps, and a trip with the entire fam (save two) to the amusement park.  We've made lemonade and ice cream sandwiches from scratch, and visited with far-flung friends.  The girls have run amok with their cousins, which is of course a requirement for a good summer, and I've managed to come down with a nasty flu-like virus, complete with a sore throat.  In the summer.

Well done.

That last bit has really sent me for a loop, and so, with our move looming on the horizon, yesterday I was sent scrambling over the internet to fit the last few logistics into place.  You know, things like when and where we will pick up our moving van, and arranging for the gas and electric to be turned on in our new place.  Being the daughter of a postal worker, I don't mess around when it comes to change of address forms, either.  All of those little things add up to a rather large inconvenience if someone doesn't do them.

Our most sticky bit of logistical work thus far has been figuring out how to tote the few things we have with us (which seem to have multiplied over the summer) to Evanston, where we will try to squeeze them into our 20' truck.  Granted, we have a wonderfully cavernous station wagon, but we were hoping to get a new mattress en route, and so we (read: I) have been looking into installing a hitch on our car so that we could tow a trailer, should the need arise.

The trouble is, we've got a very tricky car.  You wouldn't think to look at our grey station wagon, but it's got quite a few surprises up its tailpipe.  The first being that it's an 8-cylinder.  The second being that it has all-wheel-drive (which you can turn on and off).  Apparently, those two combined make it virtually impossible to find a trailer hitch that fits.  I've found hitches for my '02 VW Passat Wagon W8 (not 4motion) and for my '02 VW Passat Wagon 4motion (not W8), but nothing that meets all the criteria.  Even the dealer, that over-priced purveyor of everything Volkswagen, can't find anything to fit.

Well, you may think, if the hitch doesn't fit... it's probably time to downsize, no?

Your response to my answer will tell you foodies from the flock - it's all because of my tomatoes.

I will gladly leave my clothes here to pick up at another time, my bits and bobs, etc.  But over the summer, I picked up twelve heirloom tomato plants, which I've been coaxing into fruition in buckets in the backyard.  I picked them up at the local farmer's market here in Rockford - they were on sale for $.50 each, which is amazing - and they're organic, to boot.  I asked the tomato man what would grow in a pot, and so he and I had a wonderful seek-and-find time, looking through his beautifully-named jungle:

White Tomasol
Black Plum
Paul Robeson
Gold Medal
Woodle Orange
Green Zebra
Czech's Bush
Angelic Organics Learning Center Yellow
Cream Sausage

With such enticing names (especially that last one - two of my favorite things!), how could I resist?  They've met the challenge boldly, finally getting to the point where there are tiny fruits on most (I did buy them late in the season), and so I am loth to leave them here.  But the fact is, even with the capaciousness of our trunk, there is no way that six five-gallon paint buckets full of dirt and plants and cages are going to fit into our car.  At least, not if we intend to take the girls with us.

Which we do.

So I am feverishly searching (not the sore throat fever - this is a different one), for someplace that will stick a trailer hitch on the rear of our car.  I justify that this is an investment that we can use in the future - even now, we can carry any overflow from the storage unit with us to Bloomington.  In the future, we can put a bike rack on the back, or even haul a camper or a boat.  We'd have to buy a camper or a boat first, but still...

To those of you who are rolling your eyes at this, all I have to say is that you get it or you don't.  For me, there is unmeasured excitement and anticipation in watching a plant come to fruition - it mirrors my growth here in the physical world as well - starting from a tiny seed, enduring the elements of sweltering sun and gusty rain, growing strong from the winds of tests, and finally bearing fruit.  The excitement that a ripe tomato evokes must be rooted in my evolutionary heritage - fundamentally, this is the food that feeds us, and here I am: small, paltry me; and I helped it grow.

So wish me luck.  I have a few options lined up, but if you know of any place in the Chicagoland area that could install a hitch on my finicky car before Friday, let me know!

UPDATE:  We possibly found a match, the only drawback is - $500.  Oh, well.

I'll ask my in-laws to send me the seeds.

04 August 2011

Sour Grapes

I'm sick. 

I hate being sick. 

When I was little, my mother told me that "hate" was a strong word.  I've said the same thing to my five year-old, but I can guiltlessly state here that I hate being sick.

Firstly, because it causes me to stop.  Everything.  Especially right now, in the midst of moving and planning, during the week that I'm supposed to be helping my sister-in-law clear out her house in preparation for a garage sale.  And I haven't finished remodeling my in-laws' guest bathroom.  It's just sitting there, hooks unhung, tile uncaulked, paint un...painted.  And I'm in bed.  I hate that.

When I get sick, I get pathetic.  Usually because it takes a lot of pain to actually get me to stop.  I've had two babies, so I have a good point of reference.  So when I'm the kind of sick that makes me stop, I'm really sick.  And I've been really sick for five days now, with a grossly sore throat.  The kind that you can't help but feel every time you breathe.  And I have to breathe.  All day.

I also get complain-y.  Can you tell?

Of course, I usually get sick when I'm doing too much.  I think that my body has an under-the-table agreement with infectious viruses, which states that whenever it doesn't want to keep up with my oft-full mental timetable, it can call on said viruses to make me stop.

Clearly, I got the message.

But that doesn't mean that I have to like it.

I can put some of the blame of genetics, in that my grandmother is the same non-stop way, but I think that my challenge is balancing this way of being with the chaotic style of our times.

For instance, right now, my internal self is having a war-of the-roses style battle - should I take this little burst of feeling-better energy and help my in-laws finish their house?  I feel terrible because I helped to make the mess, by leaving things undone, but at the same time, I feel terrible because I'm sick.  I think my body wins.  At least for now.

I suppose all of this reflection time has helped me become more aware of how I function in the world, too.  I am very good at doing things, but it is very difficult for me simply to be.  I don't think that either is better than the other, but I think that there must be a balance of the two for sanity's sake.  And by balance, I mean that each individual must find what mix of the two is best for her/himself.  My husband, for example, is a very good be-er, and thinks through things quite thoroughly.  I don't think that he would mind me saying that doing is often his weakness.  I am the exact opposite, which is why we are good for one another.  Each encourages the other to practice that attribute at which s/he is most deficient.

Anyhow, I haven't gone in to clear up the room, nor have I painted even a wall today.  I have sat upon this couch all day, and reflected and distracted and watched Blue's Clues on Netflix with my girls.  It has been rather nice, actually.  I don't know if I could do it every day (in fact, I know I couldn't), but it is nice to do once in a while.

So, thanks, you nasty virus.  I may be sour grapes, but at least I've mulled a bit.