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The time is fast approaching for Mum to return to her own home.  It’s been nine months and the experience has been rather like a pregnancy.  The first three months were not terribly remarkable.  Sure, there was the queasiness in the morning.  Mum was in the habit of rising at an ungodly-early hour, such that I was sure I would ralph daily that first few months before the nausea abated.   The second “trimester” changes became even more noticeable and intrusive.  In lieu of an ever expanding waist line, I dealt with the escalating encroachment of Mum’s “things” into my space.  The past ninety days the discomfort and annoyance has grown daily.  At this point, not unlike a pregnant woman, I’m counting the days . . . the hours . . . the minutes until the blessed event. 

The preparations for sending Mum home are in full swing and it’s going to require the precision and coordination of a military maneuver; ergo, I have taken to referring to it as Operation Relocation.  How can this possibly be such a behemoth undertaking?  I’m glad you asked.  Now, I wouldn’t classify Mum as a hoarder exactly.  She just likes her stuff and never gets rid of any of it.  In rebellion of growing up in such an environment, I tend to be rather Spartan in my decorating style.  I’m not much for knick-knacks or an over abundance of furnishings; thus, providing Mum the opportunity to bring more and more and more and more shit to my house the longer she stays.     

It started small, but then it always does.  Mum arrived with one large suitcase and enough “creature comforts” to fill to capacity the back of my Kia Soul.  I know it’s a small car, but it has a significant amount of cargo space with the rear seats down.  Really, it does.  I have no idea why they don’t make a bigger deal of that in their sales pitch, but then I guess rap hamsters have a greater appeal to the car buying public.  “You can get with this or you can get with that, but this is where it’s at” is a powerful argument for choosing your next vehicle.  I bought mine for the retro red and black interior and the great gas mileage long before the rodent campaign was launched.  Anyway, Mum’s house is only a two hour round trip, so we made regular runs in the beginning each time filling the Soul.  Mum needs a copious collection of chattels to console her.  She is also a faithful practitioner of retail therapy.

I know you’re thinking, “Why doesn’t dim Dee just start taking the junk back a little at a time starting now?”  I would LOVE to.  The problem is that Mum can’t part with any of it now that she has it.  The portable air conditioner is a perfect example.  The overly large contraption is forever in the way.  October has now ended and we’ve had a surprisingly mild summer only reaching 90˚ a couple of times.  I figure this is a great candidate for a return load.  Mum doesn’t want to let it go yet.  “You never know” when we might have a freak heat wave.  The story is similar for the port-a-potty, she never used (thank God).  I only have one bathroom and “you never know.”  There is also the new vacuum cleaner she bought during a recent Costco visit.  “You never know” when both of mine may break.  Did I mention she wears the same shoes whether they match the outfit or not? She has at least ten pair as backups; because, “you never know.”

I believe I can do it in one trip with strategic packing, use of a full-size pickup along with the Kia and Mum’s Buick.  The now-not-so-new recliner – a powered model that motors up to a standing position for easy egress which Mum bought and had delivered when she first arrive – will necessitate the truck.  Should I be unsuccessful in conscripting one, I checked and, though I’d rather not, I should be able to strap the gargantuan beast to the top of the Kia.  Truck or no truck, I should be able, with adequate preparation, to complete Operation Relocation in a single weekend and proceed directly to my Relocation Celebration.  What’s my Relocation Celebration plan?  Nothing fancy, I think I’ll sleep in my own bed until noon; drink milk straight from the jug; eat Chinese morning, noon and night; turn the volume on my music up to 11; sit at my laptop writing for as long as I like; dance bare-ass naked through my half-empty house; and, oh yeah, burn the baby monitor.  I’m a simple woman.

Seattle Skyline view from Queen Anne Hill.

Image via Wikipedia

Today I looked like a native, no tailored wool trench, three-inch stilettos, pencil skirt and low-cut sweater.  No . . . I am transformed to fit into the landscape of this place in a tan leather jacket several sizes too large . . . heavy, beat and worn.  It was given to me by a friend, nothing I would ever buy.  My big brown boots, always comfortable to walk in, are the perfect compliment to my khaki pants and beige t-shirt.  The only concession to fashion is a fitted vest, rust with a bit of the ideal shade of green to flatter my eyes.  Ahhh yes, let’s not forget the most important accessory of all in this town, the stylish cup from the expensive latte stand at the train station.  Don’t tell anyone, its cocoa.  I still can’t stand coffee, but it makes a great hand warmer and a steal on a bitter, cold morning for only three bucks.

 

Exiting the train tunnel, I escaped from the herd of commuters by racing across the street against the traffic light right in front of a Metro bus.  I lengthen my stride to reach that same bus before it leaves the next stop.  The smiling driver scolds me for playing chicken with him down the road.  We chuckle and chat for the few blocks to my stop.  It’s a short ride and an easy walk, but it cuts through the park where the homeless sleep . . . the “bad” part of the city.  Was it that long ago I laughed at those fearful to travel on foot through the little makeshift camp?  Faded from my memories, are the days of my youth when I would crawl over drunks and vagrants to open the office each morning in another metropolis I loved and called home.  There the bums were part of the scenery, either nothing to take note of or someone you greeted by name.

 

This particular bus drops me at Madison.  It is a steeper climb up to Ninth than either Spring or Seneca (the next two stops), but it’s a cold morning, the exertion feels good and warms me up.  I note the progress of the many construction sites I traverse.  If you look out across the city at this time of year, you can’t count the cranes piercing the sky with their phallic, steel frames.  Crews work long hours, at a frantic pace to take advantage of the limited production season.  I start to come alive as my blood pumps faster and the chill air fills my lungs.  I pick up the pace enjoying the awakening of my body to the day.

 

The skyline is a compilation of structures I have somehow come to know by name . . . Columbia Center, Two Union Square, Washington Mutual Tower, Wells Fargo Center and the Westin Towers, staid old-timers to the newest architectural wonders like the WaMu Center, IDX and Madison Towers.  I’ve become acquainted with the urban trails that shortcut through and between these monoliths.  I make my way past cookie-cutter, drones lining the streets waiting for the next bus or sitting in their cars stuck in grid locked traffic.  I’ve learned which streets run one-way and their direction.  I can make my way in this human habitrail without thought or notice.  I have been doing it that long now, almost a decade.

 

My smile reflects the haughty attitude of my indigenous fellows, scoffing at those suburbanites and tourists still totally dependent on motorized transit to make their way through this conurbation with much the same scorn bestowed on useless umbrellas with their inane holders peppering these wind-blown, rainy streets.  More each day I become one with this city that I never believed held a place for me.  Today, it seemed just a little like I might feel at home here . . . someday.

 

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