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April 15, 2000

I didn't need it to rain on the last weekend before I'm moving. At least David and I didn't get wet when we took a load to the dumps this morning. He brought the pickup by around ten, and the bags and boxes I'd set aside just about filled it. That was a big relief, getting the garage cleared out. In fact, my car is parked inside tonight for the first time in about two weeks.

My only regret is that I didn't take my camera, so there are no pictures of David and me at the refuse disposal site. What a piece of work is a landfill, with lines of pickups backed up to the edge of the cliff, and representatives of all facets of humanity standing on the truck beds heaving unwanted remnants of their lives into the same pit with everyone else's, to be ground to paste by the oversized tractor. It's a marvel of all types of engineering, including the social kind.

I'm glad one of us can party all night and still be a fully functioning human the next morning. Of course, one of us is eighteen, and it's not me. I'm lucky to have David's willing help when I'm so befuddled and bewildered by some of the simplest processes. One of us is competent, and that's not me, either. He's also agreed to patch the hole I kicked in the wall ten years ago, when my neighbor of that era played his car stereo at full volume in the driveway at two in the morning one too many nights in a row. I wouldn't know how to begin getting that hole filled, which is why I literally stuffed a sock in it, then hid it behind a bookcase.

Everyone in the family has been generous with their time. I think they really want me to move, because they've been behind me all the way during this ordeal. Without Mom's and Suzanne's encouragement, I wouldn't have been able to get this far along this quickly. And even tonight, when I've spent the whole day hauling boxes back and forth and going through the endless debris from the last twelve years, the main reason I'm not tempted to quit is that I know I can count on getting whatever help I need.

So far my packing strategy has been determined by what would fit into the particular sizes and shapes of the boxes I've had. Now, though, it's getting to the point where there are things to pack that don't match the available boxes. I have more boxes coming in all the time, but I have a hard time getting past the foreboding feeling that no matter how many I get, it will be about half of what I need.

It's almost as if the books and tapes and clothes and dishes are conspiring among themselves to fill in whatever dents I can make. I haul ten or twelve assorted boxes to the new place. When I get back, I can't see any difference! There's still just as much to move! How is that possible? Is there some kind of alternative set of physical laws that apply only when you're moving?

Tonight I kept working as long as my back would let me. I'm anxious about not leaving any extra work to be done next Sunday, at least no more than is necessary. I don't need the truck and trailer for most of the things I'll be moving. But the flip side is that if I don't keep working at the little things, pecking away at the nits and gnats, the big things won't be ready on time.

Did I just mix a metaphor there? I must be tired.

All along I've been concerned about the common wall between my family room and the one in the unit next door. I've grown used to playing music until past midnight, and I didn't want to be intrusive on my new neighbors, a family with two children. I was assured by the landlord that the wall wouldn't be a problem, but he wasn't there today. I was.

And the music coming through that wall was loud. It was the kind of loud that rattles windows in an old place like that, and makes the floor vibrate all through the house. I wasn't prepared to complain, and I don't mind an occasional brief concert in the middle of the day. I've learned to tolerate extraneous noise better than I once did. But damn! That was loud!

It made me wonder whether I might have made a mistake, jumping into this situation so quickly. So far I've never been there at night, or early in the morning (when I really like it quiet). I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, but after this I'll be anxious every time I think of what I might be getting myself into.

When I was worrying about my own noise disturbing them, I didn't consider how much their noise might impact my life. Talk about feeding my insomnia. I'll be obsessing about this all night. It's going to take a few peaceful days of living in close proximity to these folks to convince me that I can relax about it.

On the other hand, if these punks think they can pull that kind of crap on me, they don't know who they're dealing with.

Excuse me. That should be "with whom they're dealing."

So there.

Summer of 1952While I was digging around in stuff I hadn't looked at for a long time, deciding what to pack and what to toss, I came upon a box of old photographs in the back of the closet. They were loosely packed, and few of them were labeled. This was one I found in a cigar box. On the back someone had written "Summer of 1952," and below that "Mike." I didn't recognize the handwriting, but it wasn't my dad's, and he was one of the few people who called me Mike. Anyway, I would have been three years old, and obviously thrilled with life at the moment.

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