Sunday, September 7, 2008

Debbie - Part VII

Still More Vignettes

I guess I'm posting a lot of Debbie stories, but you acquire a lot when you actually live with someone for several years.
  • We moved to Maryland and stayed there a few months. Debbie got out there ahead of me and looked for a place to live, settling on a nine room house (!) in Upper Marlboro. I think the movers got there a day after I did, and the unloading was accomplished without incident. The unpacking, however, . . .

    Debbie was positively driven to get everything unpacked and in its proper place no later than yesterday. I tried and tried to get her to calm down and slow down once we had the essentials unpacked, but we had some kind of left brain - right brain experience going or something. She actually exhausted herself and it did put a strain on our relationship. We got through it and in the next several months even had guests for weekends, Jeff and Cassie from Illinois one weekend, Debbie's daughter and her boyfriend on another, and my Dad on yet a third.

    A few months after arriving we both found jobs in Falls Church, Virginia and soon moved there. We needed to save as much as we could on the moving. The company for which I worked had a vacant office and I acquired a key to it. Every morning I'd throw several boxes of stuff into the car and store it in that office, and the day we moved there was little other than furniture to deal with. There were about sixty boxes in the office, however.

    Sadder and wiser this time around, I laid down the law along the following lines: "Every day I'll bring three boxes home from the office. You may tell me what the boxes of the day are to be and I will find them. Saturdays and Sundays are 'off days.' No boxes."

    I do believe there was some reservation visible in Debbie's eyes, but she bought in without a murmur. Every work day she gave me a written description of the three boxes she desired, and I borrowed one of the company's two hand trucks to haul the boxes from the company to the car and from the car to our thirteenth floor apartment. It took a month to get unpacked, but seldom in life has a plan worked so well and with such an obvious payoff. There was no stress at all, not even for Debbie.

    In hindsight, I speculate that the first move's stress for Debbie was not due to any sort of compulsion concerning the contents of the unpacked boxes, but simply the fact that there were unpacked boxes in the house.

    As for leaving Illinois, Debbie commented that our friends were the "best group of people" she had ever known, a sentiment I second.

  • Did you know that Coca-Cola is not subject to the laws of physics?

    For the first couple of days in Falls Church, every spare minute of Debbie's time was spent cleaning our new apartment. It looked sterile to me, but not to her. She spent a whole day on the kitchen alone, a kitchen not much bigger than a shoebox.

    A day or two later, our three boxes unpacked, dinner eaten, dishes washed and put away, we were amusing ourselves with some game or other on the PC when a thirst for a cold Coke hit me. I asked her if she would like anything from the kitchen (nope) and headed for the refrigerator. Taking a can of Coke from the refrigerator door, I somehow lost my grip on it. It fell about two and a half feet, popped open, and sprayed everything on the eastern seaboard. If in the fall of 1992 it rained Coca-Cola in your neighborhood, it may interest you to know that the center of the storm was in Falls Church. Cross that off your list of unexplained mysteries.

    I grabbed the paper towels and began cleaning frantically. By my estimate I was about two thirds done when her voice drifted down the hall: "What are you doing?"

    I was six years old again, doing something I shouldn't be doing, and my parents wanted to know what I was doing.


    A piece of advice for younger adults: That didn't work when you were six and it's not going to work when you're fifty-one either.

    Hearing her push her chair back, I spent the next few seconds vainly hoping for an earthquake, or perhaps a lightning strike. No luck.

    She took it all in with one glance. I said, "Go back to the PC. I'm almost finished and I'll be right there."

    Now came the real surprise. She knew about this and I didn't.

    Without saying a word, she opened one of the cabinet doors. Now this door was behind me, six feet up, and off to the side of Coke Explosion Central. Nevertheless, the inside of that door was dripping Coke.

    Still silent, she opened the oven door. The inside of that door was dripping Coke.

    More doors. More Coke. She opened the silverware drawer and there was Coke in there.

    Do scientists know about this? I swear, there was more Coke inside these things than outside. There was more Coke dripping in various places than was contained in the damn six pack we had bought, and we still had five cans left.

    How does it *do* that? How did it get inside these areas?

    She wanted to finish cleaning it herself, but I couldn't have lived with that. We cleaned it up and returned to the PC, but for her the pleasure had gone out of the evening.

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