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Why Can’t Denial Just be for Bad Things?

July 14th, 2017

Heart Refuses to Believe I’m Blessed

I feel like I’m rehearsing for a play that will never open. I am packing for a move, and I can’t fully accept that it’s truly going to happen.

A few days back, I went to Home Depot and bought 40 small boxes. Home Depot sells moving supplies at acceptable prices. Since then, I have been stuffing boxes with books. I take a box, open it up, tape the bottom, put a big number on it, put bubble wrap in the bottom, and start putting books in. While I do this, I keep a list in outline form on a laptop. Each box gets a numerical heading, and the list of books goes under it.

I have filled 21 boxes so far, and I would guess I have 15 to go. I’m kind of disappointed in my dad’s books. There aren’t a lot of great ones, and some have plastic on them. He must have joined a book club at some point. Here’s how they worked: they offer you one book a month at a good price, and if you don’t make a choice, they send you garbage publishers need to unload. Looks like my dad didn’t make a choice every month.

I have a big collection of math, physics, and engineering books. I have books relating to tools. I have a certain amount of literature, and it’s not John Grisham or Barbara Cartland. It’s real literature. I don’t buy much junk.

My dad has some solid history books. He always found history more interesting than I did.

Maybe 45 years ago, he bought The Great Books of the Western World. This is a big set of books containing every piece of writing a bunch of academics thought a person needed to read in order to be considered educated. My dad wanted to throw them out a few years ago, so I took them. You never know when you might want to get up to speed on Marcus Aurelius. I also have the Encyclopedia Britannica I got for winning my area’s spelling bee. I can’t throw those out. The books remind me that I wasn’t a complete washout as a kid.

If you don’t make a list of the things you move, and you don’t label the boxes, you will be in for a treat when you arrive at your new home. You will have a colossal mound of boxes with contents you can’t identify. You won’t even be able to move them to the correct rooms before opening them.

Every box has five numbers on it. One on the top, and one on each side. No matter which side of a box is exposed, I will be able to identify it. Very exciting.

I read somewhere that movers charge $35 per hour to pack things. It must be great to turn strangers loose in your house, have them box everything up while you sit by the pool, and not have to lift a finger. Unfortunately, it’s expensive, you don’t know what goes into each box, your stuff is packed by people who don’t care if it breaks, and you don’t get a chance to throw out or give away things you really should not pay to move. For me, packing things myself is the way to go.

I am being ruthless with the furniture. The Salvation Army and the dump will be receiving a number of items. It may seem like furniture you hold onto is free, but when you’re paying someone to move it, every article has to justify its existence, because you are paying for it all over again.

My family is dysfunctional. That means familiar possessions aren’t always heirlooms. Sometimes a couch reminds you of the time one of your mother’s friends gave her furniture because she felt sorry for her. A crappy desk can be a reminder that someone always made do with junk instead of making reasonable investments in a pleasant home. There are quite a few things I will be discarding for purposes of catharsis as well as economy.

New questions keep popping up. Example: if the movers take our beds to the new house, what are we supposed to sleep on while the move is in progress? Maybe I should get a couple of air mattresses. Good things to have anyway. You never know when you will have guests. I was thinking of putting a convertible couch in the new house, but I decided against it. They’re heavy and expensive, and they’re terrible as beds. Air mattresses are cheap, and when deflated, each one takes up as much room as a suitcase.

Too bad they don’t make air tables, chairs, and houses.

Air families. Blow them up, enjoy their company, and when they start to get on your nerves, release the air. Actually, they do make something like that, but it’s not quite that wholesome.

The more I know about the new place, the more it seems tailored to our needs. Today a concern hit me. Will the bathroom situation work? I didn’t remember what all of the bathrooms in the new house were like. It would be bad to have only one full bath.

I looked at the ads, and they said it had one full bath and two half baths. Uh-oh. My dad will have the master suite, and that means he gets the big bathroom. I will not want to have to share it with him and anyone who comes to provide care for him. And overnight guests? Forget it. Not workable. Have to put a bucket in the woods by the workshop. Yes, we will have our own woods.

I found the house plans and checked. The upstairs has two real bathrooms. Thank God. Why weren’t they in the online ads? There will be total bathroom separation. I won’t have to push through walkers, hand rails, and other equipment that might pop up in the future, after making an appointment with a nurse.

There must be two hundred moving problems I haven’t thought of yet, but they will be handled. I will…will…WILL escape Miami. My blood pressure will drop fifty points. I will be able to sleep without earplugs. I will not hear salsa thumping on my windows at night. I’ll be able to understand almost everyone who speaks to me. People in restaurants will talk instead of yelling. People in movies won’t talk continuously in Spanish. Episodes of other drivers risking my life in order to save three seconds will drop by 90%. Other drivers may actually use their turn signals sometimes. I will be able to drive 10 miles in 12 minutes instead of 5 miles in 20 minutes. My car insurance will cost less than the car is worth. I’ll be able to take pleasure drives again. The air won’t smell like damp laundry. A McDonald’s breakfast won’t cost 10 dollars. I’ll be able to hire contractors and tradesmen who know how to do their jobs, instead of greedy slackers who promise the world and perform like monkeys in Army LSD experiments.

No leaf blowers! How about that? I can’t imagine life without leaf blower noise.

Cool nights! Miami doesn’t have those. Tonight it’s supposed to be 80 degrees here. Where I’m going, it will be 74, and that’s July. If you live in Tennessee or Missouri, that may not be exciting to you, but 74 sounds wonderful to me. Granted, Marion County is hot during summer days (4 degrees hotter than Miami), but the summer ENDS, and even in August, the average temperature at night is under 72. Hot nights are disgusting. Besides, the sun is less direct up there. The sun here is noticeably less bright than it is in the Keys, and it will be somewhat less bright 300 miles north.

Check this out: I’ll be able to get real barbecue without making it myself. Marion County has a bunch of Sonny’s restaurants, and one is very close to me. It also has one-off barbecue joints. More good news: I’ll be less than ten minutes from a Cracker Barrel. Filled with real crackers.

Miami is a funny place. The traffic is so bad, you defer short trips. If you need something from a place 5 miles away, you may put it off until the weekend in order to avoid killing 40 minutes in traffic. I avoid driving between 7 and 10 a.m. and between 2 and 7 p.m. It’s that bad. Miami has a lot of stores and restaurants, but what good are they if you can’t stand to drive to them, and you can’t stand to call them on the phone because they don’t understand anything you say?

Store Guy: Yo, dica me.

Me: Hi. I’m calling to see if you have Seastar hydraulic fluid in stock.

Store Guy: Yo, whatchoo say?

Me: Seastar hydraulic fluid. Do you stock it?

Store Guy: No meng, no stockeeng. Mareeng sooply estore.

Me: No, I don’t want stockings. Is there someone there who speaks English? Ingles?

Store Guy: [angry] YO peekee Englee! No stockeeng! Comprendes?

Me: I am sorry I made you angry by trying to do business with you. I will now try Amazon Prime, which is what I knew I would end up doing anyway.

You could change that last bit to, “I am sorry I tried to live in this area. I will now move north, which is what I knew I would end up doing anyway.” English speakers have fled this place by the hundreds of thousands. They have a popular bumper sticker here: “Will the Last American Leaving Miami Please Bring the Flag?”

I guess it’s not as popular as it was before everyone left. And how many Miamians can read it?

When I came here, Miami was full of Yankees, and most people were rude. Then it filled up with people from other countries, and people were still rude. No one ever came and improved the place. Haitians are nice to Americans, but they treat each other like dirt (one of their favorite things to joke about), and they drive as if other cars were invisible. When I arrived in ’69, the nice old Florida people had been moving out for decades . I knew a few. They were great. I wonder where they went. It’s like the Atlas Shrugged of nice people. Maybe there’s a nice-person compound in Colorado, made up of Florida crackers.

We are now filling up with a new crowd, and I don’t know where they came from. They look very, very ghetto. I think they must be South Americans. Not good. Call me intolerant, but no intelligent person wants to live in a place like Brazil or Venezuela. South Americans share my feelings. I know South Americans, and they are glad to be out. They came here, didn’t they? What more needs to be said? The problem is that when too many of them come here, their problems come with them, and Miami turns into Rio and Caracas. Also, it’s one more group for Cubans to not get along with. Cubans don’t like any Spanish-speakers or Latins except the Spanish. And they don’t like black people. Or people who look partly black. Or partly Indian. They are not easy to please.

I better get back to my many boxes. Closing is in 2-1/2 weeks, and the move will not lag it by much.

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