Thursday, July 7, 2011

Not Always Interesting

Yeah, that's life. Not always chock-full of fun crafty projects or helicopters landing outside your house (true story!) or interesting updates about the fetus you're incubating. But still, it goes on.

I suppose before I go further, I should qualify that statement about a helicopter landing outside our house. It actually landed in the school field just across the street from us and the BP garage and it was a med-evac chopper. I headed out to drop off some mail down the road at just the right time to see the neighbourhood event of the month: an apparently dire car crash right on our corner. There were little old ladies who corralled the mail man to explain the whole to-do to him after interrogating the police. There were two really classy kla$$y teenagers, one of whom kept screaming to anyone who'd listen that the poor unfortunate soul in the car was about to pop their clogs. (It's only because of listening to the Harry Potter audiobooks that I realised this meant, "to bite the big one" , "to take a dirt nap", etc. Is that sad?) A reassuring thing for the person being med-evac'd to hear, I'm sure.

Anyway, there were little knots of people scattered here and there all over the sidewalks on all sides of the junction, and the fuzz wasted no time in cordoning the whole thing off as they got the fire department to saw the top off the car to better facilitate victim removal. The last time I had a vaguely unifying community experience like this was when the Stables in Camden Town burned down when I was spending a semester in London. We lived right up the road from Camden, so it didn't take long for people to wander out to watch. There must just be something about living in England that lends itself to me witnessing disasters on various scales with crowds of anonymous neighbours/strangers. Though, nothing ever happened when I lived at Penfold Street, or in our last house in Farnborough, so we're only 2/4 at this point.

Now that yesterday's tragic excitement is over (I think they got the person out okay in the end), life is back to boring for the time being. I'm getting geared up to take some driving lessons. Not because I don't know how to drive, but because the test I need to take to get my licence is infamous over here. The Husband passed his test the first time, but then - he's seen people driving over here his whole life and didn't have many bad habits to un-learn at the age of 17. Whereas back in Maryland, if you had to retake the test, it implied substandard intelligence, over here it's not at all uncommon to hear that people have had to retake their practical driving exam. Not the most comforting of thoughts. Basically, I just need to learn what sorts of goofy behaviours they want me to pretend to do during the test and then I can drive like a normal human being again. I mean, really: who shuffles the steering wheel through their hands to turn the car? Hand-over-hand is so much easier...or do the racecar driver turn and keep your hands in the same position on the wheel throughout the curve. Honestly. And the idea that you can only be in neutral if the parking brake is on!? Where did this stupidity come from? If I have to keep the clutch in while my foot brake is on, doesn't that wear out the clutch? Isn't that a bad thing?

Other than that it's just teaching the girls' youth group at church, keeping the pregnancy fat away by religiously going to the gym, and organizing the junk in the nursery to accommodate the day when we buy Baby some more furniture. Since, you know, I imagine the baby would like a place to sleep and all. At this point "organizing" really means "looking at all our crap and viciously thinning the herd." I know there's a bunch of stuff I need to keep, but Seb and I are both packrats by nature. The only difference is that, doing most of my moves either by car or by plane, I've learned to be more ruthless in what I keep and what I resignedly throw away. I'm not heartless and unsentimental! It's not like I'll trash any scribbles the Piggly Wiggly makes if they don't look good enough to hang in the National Gallery, but unless it's the first one, or something insanely impressive, or a specific present for Mommy or Daddy, these things do have a shelf life. I mean, my mom kept the books I took to making in kindergarten, but she didn't keep every doodle I put on paper. I think it's a good rule of thumb to be able to weed through any collection of stuff you have.

Like just before the move: another brilliant time to force a clean-out of your junk. I made Seb go through the drawer I called Stuff You Never Wear and give me, well...all the stuff he never wore! I got a trash bag full of clothes to donate by the end. Really, the big point of that was that it gave me a trash bag full of stuff we didn't have to pack and find space for. As much as I love acquiring and keeping things (I am the person with a shoebox full of cards and handwritten letters my husband made me, after all), there's something therapeutic in having a huge purge of your crap, where you ruthlessly crumple and rip papers and shake the crumbs out of boxes until you can take them all out in a bag to the trash bins.

So on that note, I must get back to my own Giant Purge of Crap: 2011. Wish me luck!

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