1.10.2012

OF THINGS (OF IDAHO)


while we were in idaho for poppy's funeral, we managed to sneak away to the basement for an hour to look through some of our things from our old house in idaho that we'd boxed up when we moved to new york. 

our idea was to leave all of our things in utah until we knew where we'd be living after the holbsattorney graduated from nyu, and then come back to take whatever we needed. if we ended up in the suburbs, we'd take all of it. if we stayed in the city, we'd take just what we could use in our small space and put the rest in a paid storage unit. for an entire year i thought wistfully of my mismatched china collection, my cake plates, my sewing machine, and my wedding album, and of the day we'd all be reunited. oh, my things. it would be such bliss!

some months ago my father in law moved most of it to poppy's house in idaho. and so it was that we were reunited on the evening of poppy's funeral. for a scant hour. it was terribly romantic. 

in my dreams we'd have had the time to sort through each box right then, remove what we could use in new york, repack what could be left until later, and feel some kind of peace that things were where we needed them. instead, with just an hour to work, we listed our priorities:

1. find the kitchen aid so we could ship it to our apartment
2. find my wedding album so we could ship it to our apartment
3. find my guitar and fly home with it as a carry on
4. find my wedding dress, just so i could know it was there (silly)
5. leave the rest to be sent to a paid storage unit so we could deal with it someday

when i ripped into that first box marked "kitchen items" my heart nearly broke. there we were, our life in measuring cups and pyrex dishes. pots and pans and hot pads and teaspoons. our own little idaho in the middle of poppy's little idaho. and i cried. the insides of the boxes still smelled like our house, like our puppies, like our lives. it washed over me until i couldn't breathe. and i felt so defeated. there were so many boxes! boxes full of photos and journals and books and clothes, boxes of me, boxes of brandon. and i just wanted to be us in one place again. those things were just things and most were easily replaceable but some are so priceless i feel like they hold my whole soul. my horcruxes (nerd). but where were they? in which box? where were they and where was i? 

we found our kitchen aid, we found my wedding dress. we found my guitar. we couldn't find the wedding album (worrisome). but we did find an old scrapbook with these old photos of me inside looking very much like the huckster.



huck, i am your mother.

and then we packed it all back up.

storage is so funny. here comes the obvious statement of the year, but storage stays just as you left it, doesn't it? so that when you open it back up you can almost see yourself as you were in it. your movements and your packing decisions and what you were thinking as you stuffed newsprint in the corners. it's a time capsule of items both tangible and not. of the space where we once existed, of the air we once breathed. as we taped those first few boxes shut again i realized i was replacing that space with a new space. with poppy's space. and i realized i didn't want to open any more boxes. 

a few nights later i had a dream. i was in my little apartment in the city with my husband and my baby. the doorbell rang and there were my furbabies, my petey and my barney, come to visit me. their new owners explained that they wanted to make sure we were doing alright without them.

barney sat by me on the floor and rested his giant black head on my knee. he looked at my henry and my henry looked at my barney while i stroked his giant black eyebrows. i was glad he was there. i glanced over at peter pan, who was sulking in the corner having just peed on the carpet. he didn't want to be there, and i realized i had made the right decision for him. it was such a relief. a terribly sad relief. i patted barney on the head and got up to see my baby petey. i scooped him up to give him the proper goodbye i never got the chance to have. i buried my face in his neck and i inhaled the scent of his fur. i scratched his ears and i rubbed his back and i sang him our song. i told him how much i loved him, and how grateful i was for my time as his mommy. i told him he could go back to his life in the grass with the big yard and open sky. i told him i understood. i told him i was sorry. 

and then peter pan left me. out the door and into the sunlight. and i was happy for him, and glad that i had done the right thing for him that summer.

barney chose to stay. 

barney really needed a hair cut.

35 comments :

  1. oh tanner and i did the same thing.... we moved here to ca 6 months ago and the place we were living was owned by my parents. well his internship turned into more than 3 months and i thought we'd have a place by now.... so we had to move all of our stuff out last weekend, we just kept thinking...how did we ever get this much crap. living in a one bedroom place will let you know how much you really can get by on!

    take that wedding dress back to ny!

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  2. I so understand the boxes of stuff. We moved from the UK to California a year or so ago for a few more years, and i kind of miss my stuff. Like you, there are pieces of me in my parents' loft, my inlaws' house, my brother in law's garage. I miss my books most of all. And my wedding dress too, isn't that weird.

    I agree, it would be nice to have all of the pieces of me in one place.

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  3. omg huck is so your baby...identical! How cute!

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  4. Oh Nat, I cried when I read about your dream. You express yourself so beautifully x

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  5. I left a lot of stuff back home when I moved to Italy, when I went back I was amazed at how little those things mattered to me, I guess I got used to do without :)

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  6. That was beautifully written. I don't know if anyone could've explained those feelings experienced better than you. Thanks for the post.

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  7. Awh. This is wonderfully written. I haven't really had to go through an experience like this, but once I start looking for graduate schools I know it's going to happen (even if I don't want it to).

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  8. You are such an amazing writer. In reading this, I felt like I was there going through boxes with you. I have done the same thing before, going through boxes that instantly transport you back to when you packed them away. Storage can do funny things to a girl.

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  9. This was beautiful. I've been in a few transition phases myself where my belongings were in storage units in different cities. It's not fun. And I remember breaking down numerous times over the fact that all of my stuff (and myself) weren't in one place for me to feel organized in life. But eventually everything fell into place for the better. :)

    Oh, and let me just say... HOLY CRAP! Baby you and Huck look IDENTICAL!

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  10. I'm not gonna lie, I love, LOVE, when you blog about your Huckleberry (and especially the identical pictures of you two???? crazy!). But, as the mother of a furry person myself, I love even more the dogs. Oh the dogs.
    I have cried for you a few times, Natalie, over those two dogs. The one with emotional issues and the dumb one.

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  11. Oh man, I know exactly how you feel. My family's house and so much of my childhood was boxed up in storage for years while we renovated our house and got rid of mold. There were so many memories in every box.
    We lost a lot of unnecessary clutter along the way, but now I've added to the pile by bringing home my grad school apartment in boxes. One of these days I'll get a permanent home.

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  12. wow, the pictures of baby you in the top right corner of that scrapbook page look EXACTLY like huck. and is your mom wearing wedges? stylin'!

    also, when I was living in switzerland I could only bring 2-suitcases back and forth with me, and could only afford to have 3 boxes in storage (kitchen stuff, school books) whenever I came home to the states (summers). It's so funny how little we can live with, and yet, when we see all our stuff again, how much we missed it.

    p.s. I cried reading about your dream with the dogs.

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  13. such a bittersweet post - thanks for sharing all of these memories. thinking of b and pp made me teary!

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  14. yes, bitter sweet indeed. and YES huck IS your child. he looks just like you! I'm amazed and slightly jealous since my kid looks mostly like my husband.
    haha... horcruxes...
    Lindsay

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  15. Oh, the puppy dream broke my heart, but it sounds like you're at peace with it, finally. And all of my stuff is in boxes at my father-in-law's, and we thought it would only be there for a few months and here we are 7 months later and still without a permanent home, and I have the strangest collection of items and clothing because we hadn't planned on it. Then I wonder, our last place was rather large, and at the moment I've forgotten half the stuff we own, would I be ok if we just started over? Maybe? Especially if we have to live in a tiny little place? Hm.
    How much does it cost to ship a KitchenAid? My goodness.

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  16. Oh my, I cried the whole way through this post. I cried over the boxes of 'you' (I've been there too...), and I cried over your furbabies dream.

    As the lover of one very spazzy, goofy, neurotic, trouble maker dog, it breaks my heart to know you're missing your puppies. I still miss my first (grown up) dog that I adopted at 22 and who died a few years ago, and I just long to sniff his head and pull him up into my arms and burrow my face into his neck. I'll never stop missing him.

    Yet another beautifully written post, Natalie... you are just so good with words.

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  17. This was so beautifully written! I think it really resonated with me because I moved to CA with two suitcases and every time I go back to my parents' house, there it all is, the things I left behind. However, I don't think I'd ever be able to articulate that feeling half as well as you just did! Keep writing forever? Please and thank you! :)

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  18. I've been out of touch for a while...Did you give away both dogs? I thought it was just Petey...

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  19. whoa, you really are huck's mother!

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  20. You are truly gifted with words. I just love reading your blog, and today's post made me meloncholy. Moving, giving things up.... it's hard.

    And seriously?!? Twinners. You and Huck.

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  21. I really love the way you write :)

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  22. oh golly! i have to admit i truly miss your posts about barney and petey. your posts about huck make me smile every day, but i do miss your puppy dogs, even though i never knew them in person. and your storage? it makes me think of my confusing life right now -- living in multiple places while my husband works there and i work here and we have a home, but we also have another home, and i spend the night with my parents sometimes too. i long to find myself again and to organize my things, if even i can find them all again.

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  23. If I'm being honest, I miss your Peter Pan and Barney posts and pictures. And duh! you miss them even more. I suspect a few years down the road you'll feel even more at peace with your decision.

    And ugh, looking through all your stuff in boxes? I would have been in tears, too! :)

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  24. oh my, that huck is undoubtedly your child!! i feel your pain on the storage thing girl, every summer i pack it all away...the smidgen of goodness that come out of storage is that you feel like you have a new wardrobe when you bring it all out!! now get that kitchen aid mailed!!!

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  25. It is so odd how you expect things to be different when you unpack them, only to find they are exactly how you left them. I love the smell of a just opened box from moving. I recently moved and unearthed boxes I didn't know I had. They were delicious.

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  26. *nod* have been there. actually, still in that spot every time i go thru the boxes that i haven't completely unpacked in the 5 years i've lived here... heh.

    and oh my heck, those pictures! i thought the first two were huck. *laugh*

    that was a lovely dream. *HUGS* i know how much you miss your furbabies. dreams are nice when our loved ones visit us - whether we're missing them because of distance or loss.

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  27. horcruxes? Yes! That is so NOT nerdy, I love it!
    And your dream got me all teary-eyed. Pets really do become a part of your fam, ya know?

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  28. When I read your posts that are so honest, so personal, and so easy to relate to, you remind me so much of some beloved character from a book. I do not even know you, and yet, somehow we are kindred spirits. I am so glad that I found your blog and wasted a bunch of my life reading your archives.

    I am glad to "know" you.

    Don't even get me started again on you've got mail quotes. I refrained from 2 during this comment. (one about books being like life and one about all this nothing being something)

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  29. that is a somewhat chilling dream. I don't really know what to think about it... do you?

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  30. I've been sifting through old things lately too, to clear room in my apartment... and I love the comparison to horcruxes. :)

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  31. Oh man..two years ago my husband and I packed our three bedroom house and moved into a studio apartment in Phoenix leaving most of it in storage. From there we put more in storage and moved to Jackson Hole for a Summer. After the four month stint there, we left more stuff behind and then packed our remaining belongings in our car and moved to Portland. We basically we're left with an air mattress and clothes. I was so excited to see my stuff again when we through it over Christmas. It was "me" and man I missed it. Long story short? It toally get ya sista!

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  32. This post really resonated with me because we're about to pack up everything we own and move in with my in-laws, and I'm not planning on keeping much stuff out, due to the fact that we have two babies on the way and we're already going to overload them with OUR STUFF. Plus, the part about your dogs... we have two dogs, and after I realized earlier today my patience has been SO short with one of them (and just how sad he looked)... I am just falling apart. I hope you have peace about your dogs, that you did the right thing for them--but it's still hard. Change is always just kind of hard and uncomfortable, especially remembering the best parts of different chapters of life.

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  33. When I moved from Florida I had to leave so much stuff and when we went back a year later I brought some back and the memories were almost tangible when I was pawing through those boxes. Like you said, I could envision the old life I had left behind. And I missed it.

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  34. If you come back to Idaho...let me know. :)

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