Unpacking, Still

Here we are, five weeks into our new locale. It seems we’re unpacking more slowly than six years ago. I still can’t find any bedsheets, except for the set packed in the “first box” we packed to open up first at the end of moving day. It seems like boxes are everywhere, but the stacks are gradually reducing. Only two left in the kitchen, and one is filled with bath towels and such that wrapped the cooking breakables. Three small ones in the living room filled with dvd’s because I haven’t found the shelves for their final destination.

My staff colleague Shari invited me to be on Facebook. A good communication tool for interacting with students, she said. So I’m on Facebook. Not terribly different from blogging. But I can get out liturgical ministry reminder notices through it. And sixteen people have already invited me to be their “friend.” Even my new pastor is on it.

The annoyances of moving seem amplified with turning over our KC property to a rental agency and a tenant. My former cable tv company has threatened to sic a collection agency on me–twice. How they can do this when I’ve paid every bill on time–including for the month we didn’t even live there–I don’t know. The phone operator at the collection department was a lot nicer and more helpful than the main switchboard people. Maybe they train ’em for diplomacy there.

The rental agency we hired, initially advertised our property as built in 1856 (not 1956), stated a rental price $200 higher than what we had agreed upon, and included no pictures on their web page until three weeks after they snapped the images. Once the potential renters knew they weren’t getting a Civil War-era farmhouse, we had a good bit of interest in renting the place. Now we’re quibbling by e-mail over what constitutes “reasonable” costs over what they actually paid to market the house accurately. I can tell this is going to continue to be a headache.

On the positive front, the young miss is registered for school. Supplies have been acquired. Clothing has been accumulated–this will be the first time since pre-K Brittany won’t have a uniform code to which to adhere. I thought there was so much variety at the Catholic school, I don’t see how this is much different. Girls could wear white or navy shirts, but the styles could include polos, turtlenecks, blouses, golf shirts, and various other styles. They could wear gray fleeces, red or blue sweatshirts, or school-color sweaters over their tops. From the waist down, long navy pants, skorts, or plaid skirts were all acceptable. When I was in Catholic middle school, it was dark dress pants, white shirt, solid green tie, and dark dress shoes. Period. High school we could wear any color dress shirt and tie, so I guess I did know variety on some scale.

My daughter is very glad not to have a uniform.

Why, I asked.

“It was uncomfortable, Dad,” she said. “Really uncomfortable.”

That I don’t get. This, four months after she insisted I buy her two $48 plaid uniform skirts. (Most of her peers were wearing them, I guess, but my tomboy also “hates” dresses and skirts.)

Otherwise, dress fare for her were nice cotton shirts and pants. I would have loved that going to school. I still remember middle school and the torture I felt wearing polyester and artificial fabric blends in the early 70’s. And wool. God in heaven, I hate wool. If I had been born in 19th century England, I would have died in childhood before I got to tweed. Pretty much everything but cotton makes my skin crawl. Even pictures of C.S. Lewis in a suit puts a shiver in me.

Allergy aside: I remember when I worked in catering. I had to wear a cotton undershirt, even on the hell-hot summer days. The starched catering shirt sleeves would hang to my elbows. I’d get a rash on my upper arms where the undershirt ended and the “formal wear” began. Ick.

Anyway, school open house is behind us and I think we’re ready for Thursday. The young miss is resisting a gradual shift to an early bedtime. My wife and I decided to just let her face the music when classes begin. No half-days here to acclimate the kids. They get slammed with six hours and forty-five minutes on the first day. No pampering in Iowa schools, I guess. No pampering in this household either. The young miss continues to tear through reading material–we have a very good library in Ames. Whenever we call from the living room, “It’s ten o’clock; time for bed,” the response is usually: can I read another half-hour? Then at 10:30 there’s another negotiation offer.

Enough of the yammering. This morning’s task is to sort through the bills and get them filed. I’ve already unpacked two more boxes of things, and reorganized my wife’s sewing area so she can unpack at her leisure. I know I had that box of bills set aside somewhere …

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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