… on u-hauls and de-nesting


One and a half down, two to go. Stamford, CT August 2014

It occurs to me that champagne glasses full of bubbles (and glee… I always think that, in addition to lithium (a natural byproduct of the magical champagne creation process and no I am not kidding), champagne contains small amounts of glee (which, come to think of it, could be one in the same with the lithium)). Anyway, it occurs to me that photos of champagne glasses and toasting with it might actually outnumber the photos of anything else on this blog.

Except Marshal Dillon Dingle, of course.

And now you know for certain that I will be trying to capture Marshal Dillon Dingle with a champagne glass at my earliest possible convenience.  Oh, you know me so well.

So aside from the realization that champagne and Marshal Dillon Dingle are probably my two most favorite things to post photos of, you will see that the shot above is champagne and red wine… toasting.

This is because the Nearly Perfect Husband, em-PHA-sis on ‘Nearly’ once again, prefers wine over champagne.

The only other major disagreement in our marriage has been Mac vs. PC.

But we don’t toast with those because things tend to break – expensively – when you yell “Cheers!” and crash your computers together.

But anyway that toast up there? That was our quiet wahoo at a table full of laughter and stories on Saturday night, after we had loaded a U-Haul rental truck in chic and trendy Dunstable, Massachusetts and driven it for three and a half hours (because U-Haul rental trucks will not let you drive them above 65 miles an hour no matter what because the U-Haul corporation is big on control and I’m not sure but this practice might be an off-shoot of fascism or maybe some other form of government that I am uncomfortable with, like in 1984.)

But I digress.

Anyway, we drove hours to Stamford, Connecticut (which I do not have slogan for yet) and unpacked many things into their first apartment, and then we showered and went out to dinner to celebrate before Mac and Jack and Gabe went back to the apartment for a sleep over where, in total adult-y-ness, Mac and Jack and Gabe removed the mattress from the bed we had just put it on hours earlier, and slid it into the living room so they could all sleep in one place in sort of a new-apartment fort.

And for this, I applaud them, because when you start to think you are too adult-y for a fort, things start to go downhill fast.

And, of course, there is the whole launching-a-kid-and-a-half thing.

I have said before that I see it as my job to launch my kids, hopefully somewhat well prepared, into the world.

That’s just biology.

If I screw that up, I have really not done my part in helping continue the human race.

Mostly because kids hanging out in my basement waiting for me to feed them probably won’t survive well when I’m, you know, dead.

So my ‘job’ (and my contribution to humanity) to prep ’em and launch ’em.

And, actually, right before we clinked the glasses you see above, I actually did the Houston NASA countdown launch sequence… T minus 10 seconds, 9, 8, 7… and John and I laughed and smooched that we were there, having dinner and talking about work and life and our kid-and-a-half’s new apartment.

But I also recognize that I am Mission Control.

For, like, ever.

They will be checking in, sharing information in the form of what they’re doing, what they’re about to do, what they did.

They will contact me (just call me ‘Houston’) when they have a problem.

Especially when it’s a very expensive problem… of the wallet (or the heart).


There is no guarantee that they will do this on a regular basis, or willingly.

This is how my job now shifts.

Because I have always been Mission Control.

But when they were on the ground, in training, I saw them every day.

They slept here, ate here, and trained here according – pretty much – to my schedule.

And now they are ‘out there’.

And I was thinking of being Mission Control, and my mind wandered (shocker, right?)… well it wandered over to the movie, Apollo 13, and the scene when the astronauts are up in space, after the explosion, and they are freezing and floating and Fred Haise has a fever and they are just miserable and trying to figure out what to do to just flat-out survive.

And I remember that the flight surgeon is down on earth, warm and cozy and secure in the command center, and closely monitoring the astronauts’ health based on the readings conveyed by the electrode type leads attached to various spots on the astronauts’ bodies.

The flight surgeon is constantly, and somewhat frantically, checking on what is going on with them. All the information he can possibly get access to.

And he is reacting to every, single, little thing.

Every time an astronaut’s blood pressure dips or rises, the doc reacts.

Pulse slows? Surgeon has a recommendation.

Urine output decreases?

Flight surgeon lets them know he doesn’t like it.

Eventually, the astronauts – fully trained and competent adults – rip off their bio sensors and, to the horror of the surgeon, will not put them back on.

The surgeon can no longer monitor them.

By focusing on the details of what his job had been before everything changed, he blew it.

The surgeon never adjusted, never shifted his focus.

He never recognized that the astronauts lives were, literally, in their hands now.

And,  and this is the important bit, that it was their decision whether to allow him access to their information (their lives) or not. And whether or not to ask for his input and/or help.

Being the flight surgeon would be exhausting.

I don’t want to worry every little detail of my kids’ lives, or try to own or control their problems (or the solutions).

And the thing is, if I tried, it would make them crazy.  Which would, in turn, make me crazy.

Vicious circle.

They can call me if they need me.  It’s their choice now, not mine.

There is no ‘should’ at play here (‘they should call x number of times per week, we ‘should’ see each other every other weekend, I ‘should’ supply them with copious amounts of sour patch kids when (well… maybe that one makes sense to them.)).

It’s a pretty basic tenet, that we humans tend to choose to spend time with those who make us feel the most comfortable.

Familial love just isn’t enough to guarantee non-obiligatory proximity or contact.

We want to be with those who accept us. Who let us be us.

I opt not to be the flight surgeon of my kids’ lives.

But I am Mission Control.

Someone to call back to when there are problems.

A tether to the ground when they occasionally feel like they are floating alone.

That, I can do.

But I also hope I remain someone they can talk with, laugh with, and share with.

And, perhaps more importantly, someone they want to call and celebrate with when things goes spectacularly well.

Especially if they have champagne.

That’s my new and improved version of Mission Control.

And I’m stickin’ to it.

Thanks for readin’.

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