July 05, 2005


I am back at work today for the first day in a week (feels like a month) and back blogging for the first time in a week (feels like a couple of months).

Thanks for all the lovely comments you all left on my last post regarding the move. I'll try to update below. But since this isn't really a journal, I'm just going to do it in a series of random observations and vignettes, as is my wont, rather than tell a blow by blow account.

*We got packed up and moved out. I learned a little something about myself during that process. I packed over 50 boxes of books but only 2 boxes of DVD/Video tapes.

*I did buy a bottle of Champagne for the buyers of my house. I couldn't not. Karma, etc.

*Watching all your stuff disappear into boxes and then loaded on a truck is both scary and liberating. All the important stuff is with me: my family. The rest could just totally disappear and, sure, there would be times I'd have pangs of regret for certain sentimental items, but by and large I think it would not be a big deal. That's the thing about sentimental items. You have them because they evoke memories and the memories are the things that are precious, not the items in and of themselves. I have always opted for the things that evoke memories and not just the things for having things.

*I am a sentimental person. I don't do change well. I really don't. And yet, I have nothing but relief and happiness to be out of that house. Really. Couldn't be happier. I always like to be the last person out of whatever place we're living in. I like to be the one to lock the door for the last time and savor the poignancy of saying goodbye to a place. No poingancy here. Except for a moment. It was Wednesday. The movers had loaded everything out. I was alone in the house waiting for the cable guy to come pick up the cable box. The heavens had opened up. Rain was pouring down and all I could do was sit in the little window seat, waiting for the cable guy, hoping fervently that no new leaks would appear and that this damn house would let me go. I sat there, happy in my no sadness about leaving state, and then I noticed that the glass on the front window overlooking the street was smeared with marks. And then I had a pang. The marks were made by my children as they would wave to whoever was leaving. They would kneel on the window seat and blow kisses and wave and lean against the glass and smear it and streak it with their palms and fingers. I looked at the rain falling through the smears and listened to the rain echoing in the empty house and just for a moment, I was sad about leaving. After all, we brought our son home to this house. And then I remembered, I was bringing my son with me. No need to be sad.

*Almost every day last week I got to peek in, while the movers took lunch break, at my daughter who was at camp at the local beach club we belong to. It was her first summer there. I visited her life every day. See, as a working parent, I don't share much of my child's life. She lives her life -- at school or camp or play -- and I live mine at work. Our lives intersect for a couple of hours a day, at best. So observing her at play at camp, without her noticing on one occasion, was like a really sinful dessert. I savored it. I ate up the expression on her face as she took in the fact that I was where she did not expect to see me. I also stumbled on a truth. Science has said that the most attractive, the sweetest sound to any person is the sound of their own name. Untrue. The sweetest sound is someone else calling the name of my child. I loved listening to her counselor call her name while they had beach play time.

*The close on the house we were selling was easy. It was nice to feel rich for an evening. The lawyer for the other side was an hour late due to a flat tire.

*The close on the house we were buying was not easy. Our closing statement required 45 minutes to review to make sure it was correct. The lawyer for the sellers was on time but was a slime ball. We found water in the basement in the utility area where water had not been seen previously. That made me unhappy. I had, happily, thought to bring with me my digital camera and took a picture of the seepage. This became important later. We argued about the water. The closing took 5.5 hours. I wanted money in escrow in case it was a serious problem. The sellers did not want money in escrow. Then the lawyer told me that the basement may be covered by a warranty from Basement Systems (“BS”). Fine, I said, check with the seller. And then we had the following conversation when he (Charley) returned:

Charley: I checked with the sellers. The basement is covered by a 25 year warranty from BS.

Me: [thinking it over] Charley, would appear to have left an unfortunate ambiguity in the conversation. Did BS do work in the utility portion of the basement such that the warranty runs to that portion?

Charley: [long pause] No. [bullshit, right? I mean, that was the impression he was trying to finesse his way into, to mislead me into believing, right?]

Me: So, now I have to ask, with respect to the remainder of the basement, are we now in year 26 of that warranty?

Charley: [offended] No!

Sellers’ Broker to me: What do you do for a living?

Me: I’m an attorney and I do complex corporate litigation. [turning to Charley]. But Charley already figured that out, right Charley?

Charley: [nodding his head] Yes, I did.

Upshot? Money is being held in escrow pending my satisfaction concerning the water.

We were exhausted at the end of the close.

*Our contractor was in by Saturday and the painting has started. I think, tentatively, that I’m going to love the new house. Remember, not big on change, me. So I am kind of shocked I can’t seem to locate any buyer’s remorse. I think my wife is more shocked.

*Picked up a nasty cold right in the middle of this. I think it was from the stress just breaking my body down.

*The weekend was spent at the beach. I swam out to the float the club keeps in the middle of the Sound and lay out on it for 15 minutes or so while it rocked in the waves. I felt safe and protected out there. Odd, no? I think it had something to do with the motion and the sound and the light. I heart the ocean. Deeply. I used to think I preferred the mountains. I was wrong.

*We have all taken up residence at my parents. My wife and I are on an air mattress in my old room and the kids are in my sister’s old room. The Boy Child chatters at night and the Girl Child complains that his noise is “disturbing” her. I can hear her at night telling him to be quiet.

*The Boy Child is 110% stubborn mixed with the terrible two’s. He is unmovable and willing to push every single issue to the brink. I admire this “damn the consequences” attitude. He stands there, refusing to listen, and when the tone of my voice gets more serious, the thumb goes in his mouth and he starts sucking furiously as he continues to defy. The trick I face is how to get him to listen without doing anything to break his spirit. This requires more thought than I ever anticipated.

*I hate being back at the office. I miss my kids. This is not new, mind you. It is, rather, a constant refrain running quietly in the background.

*What else do I want to remember about this week? Beats me, right now. If I think of anything else, I’ll update.

Posted by Random Penseur at July 5, 2005 11:58 AM | TrackBack

welcome back, RP! We missed you! Glad the move was relatively painless and hope you get over your cold quickly.

Posted by: GrammarQueen at July 5, 2005 01:18 PM

Welcome back! I have been checking in to see when things would be "winding down", in quotes since things don't sound entirely wound down...

I am in Nashville, and am seriously ramping up! I will have to fill you in on some of the fun details. Like going ot pick up my wedding dress and they hadn't even started the alterations, ha.

give my best to the family, and good luck with the next few weeks of work done on the house! Hope your cold gets better soon!

Posted by: Mandalei at July 5, 2005 01:43 PM

I've missed your posts, RP, and delighted to see you back. Perhaps I'm hormonal today, but your comments about the kids -- the smudges on the windows, and watching your daughter in secret -- had my eyes filling with tears. Even living as a WAHM, spending every day with my daughter, I still get the same thrill from listening to her babble to herself and watching her play when she doesn't know I'm looking.

Good for you on the basement issues, but I wouldn't have expected any less. Hmmm...perhaps I should reinstate my Colorado license.

With your son, the best you can do is to follow your instincts more than your mind -- that, and any time you do lay down the law: love him, love him, love him. Maya is not to that stage (yet), but when she wants something she's not allowed to touch, I tell her no, and tell her why. She doesn't understand yet, but I want her to question everything, unlike how I was as a child!

Posted by: Allison at July 5, 2005 02:04 PM

Glad to hear you are safely moved in, hope the water turns out to be no problem, hope your cold is better quickly, and most of all, I'm glad to be reading GC & BC stories again.

Posted by: nic at July 5, 2005 02:48 PM

Hey, really nice to have you back! I'm glad your move went pretty well and really enjoyed the conversation where it turned out that you are a lawyer.

Once again... weclome back! :)

Posted by: Hannah at July 5, 2005 03:11 PM

"What do you do for a living?"

At that point, I think that was the consummate Stupid Question Of All Time.

Hee Hee. Glad to see yer back!

Posted by: Mark at July 5, 2005 09:07 PM

Welcome Home! So glad you are back, missed you loads.

Posted by: Mia at July 5, 2005 09:45 PM

Welcome back! We missed you!

Posted by: Kathy at July 5, 2005 11:44 PM

Welcome home...back to blogging and to your new house. I can totally sympathize.

I love the bit about how you had so many more books than DVDs/Videos. Same thing here. I'm so glad someone else packed for us last time. It was hard enough UNpacking the books.

Posted by: Linda at July 6, 2005 12:18 PM

Allison and I have the same commentary -- well except for the part about reinstating my non-existent license.

{ hugs } You're such a treasure.


Posted by: Margi at July 6, 2005 01:01 PM

I so look forward to your sharing these glimpses of your life and your often poignant and thought-provoking observations.

You have been missed.

Posted by: Christina at July 6, 2005 01:51 PM

now more fun begins..

just something I read about work:

"Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a
support! group for that It's called EVERYBODY, and they
meet at the bar."
--Drew Carey

Posted by: dr pants at July 6, 2005 05:44 PM

I continue to wish you well on Phase 3 of this move... What a sweet & touching parting memory you had with the old house...what a nightmarish scene the closing on the new. I acted as my own counsel on the closing of my apartment (by default - my lawyer was in an accident) and I swore I would never do it that again.

I'm still glad I bought my apt., but the one area where I knew I was taking a calculated risk came back to bite me. I'm glad you held firm on the escrow, unbelievable how they were trying to screw w/you till the end. I've learned a great many things from you during this process and I will be using them when I eventually decide to trade in for a home.

I'm glad that in the process you had those wonderful stolen moments with the children. You echoed, eloquently I might add, the angst of every working parent. Those that have argued about quality vs. quantity don't realize there are some of us who wish things were altogether different; easier, in terms of having more of those precious moments, and less of the inner conflict that comes at resuming old routines after a vacation. Sigh! I identify/relate completely. Especially, returning to work after two month hiatus.

Glad your back!

Posted by: michele at July 7, 2005 12:33 AM

You sound exhausted a bit, RP. Hope you can find some time to just kick back and relax in the very near future. You're due.

Posted by: Jennifer at July 7, 2005 09:58 PM

...and if yer free Tuesday the 12th: Ted, Stephen and I are gathering for lunch for the second annual New England Munuvian Blogger Bash. Looks like we'll be chowing on Mexican dishes at Baja's up in Milford for an hour (or two). Can ye make it?

Posted by: Tuning Spork at July 7, 2005 11:47 PM

Excellent commentary. Hehe.

On the 3rd to last item - get low. You can't believe the difference in how they listen to you if you take the time / make the effort to get down at an eye to eye level. I'm not sure if it's because you're closer, because they know you're serious or because it shows you can meet them half way. Probably a combo of all that and a bunch more.

For some reason it totally wipes out the eye-to-eye benefit if you hold them in any way or have them on the lap when you try to talk to them. Laps are good for comforting, not so good for talking.

Posted by: Jim at July 12, 2005 12:17 PM
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