I got home yesterday afternoon from Sharon’s house, who was helping me with makeup and costumes for Saturday’s performance, and saw that Ian and Katie had come over for dinner and discussion. They lived in the cloud room long before the cloud room became the cloud room, and when I leave, they’re going to move back in. (The clouds in the cloud room may or may not stay). Barely pausing to show off my new shirt from Target, I jumped right into what turned out to be one of those house meetings I hear people who live in group houses are supposed to have. We’ve had them once or twice, I think, although they’ve mostly been party-planning oriented.
It was chaotically fun to talk about everything. See, I end my job in about a month, and then we have the as-yet-to-be-determined going-away party. And then I go to New York to visit my family for a couple of days (have I bought the tickets yet? No I haven’t). And then Katie and Ian move in while I’m in New York. Which means I have to have all my stuff out before I go, which means directly after the party. And John and Treasa leave for a trip on a red-eye the night of the party. And then I’ll be sleeping on the purple futon my last two nights in Seattle before I drive the car down to Portland. And I haven’t even planned Portland. Or the Bay Area trip. It all began to get very complicated during this discussion, especially since we were trying to make dinner at the same time.
Katie Okay, so we’re going to be able to move in on the 16th.
Chiara: Yes. As far as I’m concerned. Do we have any more broth? Treasa, check on my shelf for broth, would you?
Treasa: I don’t know what I’m looking for.
Sarah: Can I go upstairs and see if we want to take your chest of drawers for the year?
Katie: Can we use your bed frame while you’re gone?
Chiara:Yes and yes. It’s on the far right, one of those vegetable broth package things.
Treasa: Got it. Don’t forget we’re leaving on the ninth, so if I’m going to help it will have to be before then.
Chiara: Maybe you can come with me to my cousins next week to take some boxes of stuff to his garage? We have to wait until after the weekend so we can have enough blankets for Peter and Tracy and Rob and Anna though. But, like, the FiestaWare I never unpacked, and the art supplies, things like that.
Ian: How far away are we from being ready with the rice? Are we ready for the grill yet?
Chiara: Oh, I should let you know that I’m going to leave copies of the itinerary, the passport and the visa and everything here. I’m leaving a copy here, a copy at the ABL, and a copy with my mom. Just in case. Two of the three houses can burn down as far as I’m concerned.
John I’ve already suggested leaving a copy of her dental records for when she gets eaten by a shark.
Matt: We’re putting together a press packet with glossy photos in case you get involved in an international scandal.
Chiara: What do you mean, “in case” I get involved in a international scandal? Don’t you mean “when” I get involved in an international scandal?
After we ate and John and Ian had entertained the rest of us for three solid hours and we cleaned up the couches from where we all peed laughing, it was very suddenly time for bed. “July is going to be…” I said to Treasa. “…challenging,” she said back to me. I’m not leaving for Fiji until the 31st but I’ll actually start traveling three weeks before then, although all that travel will be with friends and family. I am already a little afraid of July
In fact, June is already getting a little scary. I’ve got the performance this weekend and of course everyone’s coming into town and then the weekend after that I may be going on an overnight camping trip and I have to train my replacement at work and I still haven’t figured out what to do about this going-away party thing, which is mythical in the sense that I don’t know where I’m going to have it or what we’re going to do. I want to have a barbecue and a volleyball court and Twister and bhangra dancing and many many desserts and root beer floats and perfect beautiful weather and Dance Dance Revolution and I even have enlisted my friend Calin as a party-giving consultant and I know something will have to go, but I just keep thinking about how much I want to see everyone I love and care about before I leave and how I want it to be really really fun. And also how many trips to Archie McPhee that will entail.
Already in June I have been to an incredibly water-wasteful five-star resort in Arizona for a work conference where I spent a lot of time in one of the three pools, when I wasn’t going to the talks about drugs and talks about sex. I’ve worn a lovely pink dress to a wedding that involved Swedish meatballs, one of the most beautiful brides I have ever seen, and my new favorite band, who, I’ve learned, are going to be doing a 80s prom in a couple of weeks right when my sweet friend Miss Dawn is going to be here, which has necessitated a nationwide search for a Boy Toy-era Madonna costume. And in general I have Post-It to-do lists on what feels like every conceivable surface. In my head is constantly “Call the dentist. Call the doctor. Call the guy about the car. Remember to have someone pick up Peter and Tracy. Make the reservations. Take the library books back and figure out what to do about your hold list. Write a journal entry about something else other than the trip. Break in your shoes. Break in your other shoes. Call the airline. Call Dad. Make sure to make copies. Savor every single moment with your friends because who knows who’ll you’ll be hanging out with in a couple of months. Make sure to go to Value Village with the old TV that you haven’t used siince two houses ago yet insisted on dragging with you through five moves in seven years. Get the iPod fixed. Email that person about that thing. Fold your laundry. Go to the cupcake store.” And so on and so forth, the gears ratcheting up a little more every day.