Mid-Life Crisis Trip

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Entry 3: Moving Monday

Monday, April 17, 2006

[Note: Usually, we're pretty scrupulous about sending our trip logs within a day or two of when the events occur. This is mostly because our memories are bad and if we don't send them right away, we'll end up writing trip logs that consist of "Um, we did something, but we're not sure what."

Moving, though, is an exception. Our internet connection was down for most of last week, and we had exactly zero left-over energy to squander on doing anything that wasn't directly move related.

So, this time we're sending our trip logs on a one-week "tape delay" (electron delay?). So, please, don't rush over to help us pack or move boxes. All that is behind us. We hope.]


Ah, what could be more fun than moving?

Let's see--having your eyes poked out with sharp, burning sticks. Being forced to watch The Island 24 hours a day for all eternity. Listening to Rosanne sing the national anthem at 200 decibels. We can think of a few things.

Moving sucks. Even without eight-foot philodendrons and smoking steering wheels. But we get ahead of ourselves...

Today, we're into serious packing and, through some quirk of the time-space continuum, for every box we pack, another two boxes worth of stuff appears.

The other problem with packing is that once we start packing, we're not living anywhere. We're not living here and we're not living there--we're sort of in-between. It's especially weird once all the pictures come down from the walls--not only is there a lot more echo, we begin to feel like we're in somebody else's house.

The Saga of Phil

We have a big philodendron. Well, "big" doesn't quite do it justice--"huge" works better.

Originally, there were three philodrendrons--Will, Bill, and Phil O'Dendron, who were cute little plants back in 1979. Their original owner, a bachelor roommate of Robert's, passed them along to Robert, who, like most bachelors regarded "plant watering" as something to be done when plants turned brown. ("Nature's way of reminding you to water," says Robert.)

Will and Bill didn't last long under this regime of desert-like conditions, but Phil survived. In fact, Phil thrived. Whether being ignored in the corner for weeks at a time, tossed in the back of a pick-up truck and driven down the freeway in the freezing rain, or having leftover beer poured on him, Phil kept growing and putting out new leaves.

When we got married, Phil entered a golden age of actually being watered on a regular basis. We put him outside during the summer, and took him in during the winter. Oh, he still suffered his share of setbacks--like the time we were a little slow bringing him in one winter and he froze and all his leaves fell off.

But Phil is the living embodiment of Nietzche's belief: what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Unfortunately, all this surviving and strengthening came at a price--Phil is now about 8 feet across and 6 feet high. He takes up an entire corner of the living room and requires two people to move.

Because our new place is so much smaller (half the size), we don't really want to give up half the living room to let Phil continue to hang around the house. Besides, he's 27 years old--it's time he left home and saw the world.

But, what do you do with a giant houseplant? Sure, it's impressive, but most people don't have an eight foot by six foot space in their houses, waiting to be filled by a plant. We were seriously thinking about wheeling him out into the courtyard at midnight and hoping that everyone would think Phil was a new landscaping feature ("Look! We have both a gas grill AND a giant plant!"). Or maybe Phil could audition for the role of Audrey in "Little Shop of Horrors."

Then we remembered "Freecycle." This is a place where you can list crap that you don't want any more and you can't stand to throw it away. Other people, who need more crap in their lives, read the list and say, "Golly! That's pure treasure!" and come and get it. We used it once before to get rid of some ancient computer printers (10 years old!) and it worked pretty well.

But would it work for giant houseplants?

Laura places the ad on Freecycle for Phil. We make a point of using the word "gigantic" to communicate his size.

Within 30 minutes of placing the ad, we had three phone calls and two e-mails from people who just HAD to have Phil. Maybe Phil won't be left by the side of the road after all...

At the end of the day, we collapse into bed, dreaming of being chased by giant packing boxes that seem to grow and multiply.

Robert & Laura
Mid-Life Crisis Trip Log