Get set…

Well, tonight the paint’s still drying on the bathroom walls, the trim is still blocked in with blue tape, I’m still measuring for mirror, towel bar, and toilet paper dispenser installation, plus the tile and grout are not sealed, yet… but wait! that’s not all! It seems that in the 48 hours before we leave for Costa Rica, we must move all our belongings out of the house for… a tenant! We appear to have found folks to rent the place for the full duration of the sabbatical trip, but they want their own furniture! So, just when the freakoutometer was pegged, things just got a skosh crazier around here.

I should feel relieved, but something about boxing all my possessions up and cramming them into the garage in 2 days is tamping down my enthusiasm. Boxes, tape, and mattress bags litter the floor while Spy Kids take over parenting duties. And I have to run to campus tomorrow for a eleventh-hour NMR training session with my intrepid students (more on their solo research experience in a future post). Oh, and of course there’s still the packing of actual suitcases. But I am relieved, really — just as the carriage was about to turn back into a pumpkin, my sabbatical fantasy was saved. Perhaps the wonder of this bit of grace will catch up to me once I’m counting jaguars in Corcovado National Park.

Whew! Just packed 10 boxes of books… probably 10 more to go… I guess we’re book people. Then on to the clothes and toys. Then bed.

If I’m to reflect wisely on any aspect of this getting-ready, and not just rattle on about to-do lists, I must mention composure. Somewhere I learned from someone that one’s character is revealed by how one responds in difficult situations. Maybe it was first officer Spock, I don’t know. Thankfully life just keeps offering me opportunities to get that right. I haven’t yelled at kids more than usual, or given in to attacks of road-rage. And maybe it’s just procrastination, but I’m going to read that couple of hours I took to join Ines for the Room 3 goodbye party as shrugging off my anxiety so that I could savor the tiny, trival, vital, beautiful details. So I proved myself. Inside I’m losing it, but at least it doesn’t show.

photo 2

The classmates signed handprints on a special pillowcase (sorry, I’m contributing to the proliferation of crappy iphone photography)…

photo 3

Ines identifies various details about her classmates’ names…

time passes …

The house is all but empty now, and the garage is FULL. Tomorrow’s full, too, and will still involve plenty of home improvement before the tenants arrive. But after sleeping on it, I’m happy things worked out this way… we’re basically rebooting the house after 4 years… I’m glad I got the big dumpster last week, because the amount of stuff we’re discarding is, well… it’s a lot. But it feels good to jettison everything you didn’t need, and when we return after the adventure, it’ll be to a clean slate. Of course, that’s what one’s after in a sabbatical, and though everyone always wrings their hands over work-life balance, I think I am a scientist and a professor because of who I am, so I don’t separate my loves very well… it seems to make a kind of sense to me that the home is getting reinitialized, too.


One response to “Get set…

  1. yay so glad you found a tenant!!! again we are here if you need us – and I am once again amazed at your level of calmness (you probably think you are freaking out but you have no idea what that really means until you have lived in my shoes) but this too shall pass, and you will be off on your adventure soon enough 🙂

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