Worth Keeping

So the other interesting thing about moving to Hawaii is that it necessitates a total, unflinching scrutiny of the things we own, all the way down to the last safety pin.  

I’ve done moves before where you start out with good intentions but then you run low on time, and suddenly you’re just throwing shit in boxes and promising yourself you’ll sort it out on that end.  But you don’t.  

With this move, though, we’re only doing one U-Box, because they’re $5k each, and Nick figured out that each cubic foot of space in there is worth roughly 8-10 dollars, or its equivalent in sentimental value.  The other options are regular shipping — it cost my brother $200 to ship his VitaMix blender and it cost Nick I think $700 to ship his extremely light electronic drum kit.  So the moral of that story is, shipping stuff to Hawaii is like punching yourself in the balls.  The other way is extra checked baggage on the airline, which I might avail myself of.  Anything within the 62”x62”x62” dimensions is an extra $150, after the initial like $80 or whatever they charge for your first two checked bags. 

Anyway, the point is, you simply cannot throw shit in a box and tell yourself you’ll sort it out on the other end.  And honestly I love that this is happening, at this point in my life.  Like everyone in my family, I’m sort of a minimalist in most areas and then an off-the-rails maximalist in like one or two areas.  Markedly different for each of us, but definitely a trend.  Nick, who truly is a minimalist but due to circumstances has been saddled with most of the heavy lifting relative to this whole project, has been…pretty amazed.  Amazed at how many dresses I own and amazed at what a stockpile of x y z survival/apocalypse/prepper things my dad accumulated, and is currently de-accumulating whether he likes it or not.  (My brother’s maximalism is less tangible and mostly takes the form of restaurant patronage, which as a restauranteur himself makes sense).  Poor Nick.  But on the other hand I’m like, Whatever babe, you were a heroine addict for ten years, none of us are perfect lmaoooo.  Anyway, dresses travel better than kerosene and lard (??! somehow that’s thing) and if I can’t finally live my girly-girl dream life in Hawaii then I give up.  

Oh speaking of not-that, we do have at least one good trucking connect on the Big Island, which is hopefully plenty, and Nick and I had an excellent first session with the CDL manual last night, over Indian food.  We started with the Air Brakes chapter, and he grasped the concepts with exquisite speed and clarity, right off the bat.  Probably being around the truck and helping me connect, disconnect, all the things, all summer, was a big help, although we really blew it on using the equipment to genuinely practice when we had the chance.  We were too busy barbelling.  

In CDL trade school classroom, we always start with General Knowledge, just because it’s first in the book, and I’ve frequently doubted that’s the best approach.  Talking about Air Brakes first really connects all the important dots in a much more efficient way.  Like, you can’t talk about them at all without exploring, peripherally, all the things that really matter about both General Knowledge and Combination Vehicles (the triune tests required to obtain a Class A driving permit and move on to the skills test).  So I was really happy with Nick’s ready grasp of the concepts, and my freedom to start him off where *I* think it makes most sense.  And the Indian food was incredible, and we have leftovers.  

We returned to our house-on-the-market, which is mostly empty but somehow still a fucked up shambles, and watched most of a movie called “Vivarium”.  It merited completion but we were both so sleepy after our full day of storage shed heroics, craigslist sales haggling, and continuing Mortal Kombat with the Hawaii Dep’t of Agriculture, which is in charge of taking our money and fucking us over in our attempt to emigrate our little dogs to Hawaii without a 4-month quarantine.  They sent us permits with the wrong travel date on them, and when Nick followed up, they sent an email back saying they would re-issue permits with also the wrong date as well, but this time they’d charge us additional money.  We are currently at Threat Level Midnight in what has become the most outrageous bureaucracy fail either of us have ever experienced — and I was in the service for 12 years, I know what a red tape forest feels like — and we’re rounding third base on all our other logistics, but it’s groundhog day on this one, key aspect which absolutely must be resolved in order for the whole thing to work.  

I mean, Nick and I were already there on the Big Island in March, during the beginning of the lockdown, and seriously considered buying a used van and living on the beach at that point.  The only reason we came back was for our animals, and so we’re damn sure not relocating more officially this time without them, let alone having them quarantined.  I mean, if these people can’t be trusted to do their own jobs, at a bare fucking minimum, how can they be trusted to remember to even, like, feed our dogs?  The whole thing is so maddening I can’t even blog more about it, because I’m already freaking out on the inside, but it does bear mentioning.

If you’re reading this, please take a moment and send some prayers our way, specifically that the Hawaii Dep’t of Ag can pull its organizational head out of its organizational ass to overnight us, finally, the correct permits, even by accident.  Just something resembling the right information.  

Meanwhile, I’m feeling high confidence in Nick’s ability to obtain his CDL permit sooner rather than later, and it looks like our company’s Flagstaff-based mobile shower unit is returning home from Idaho and we can use it to practice skills.  Our company is being pretty cool about this, considering it’s only returned home due to a staffing shortage — there are still plenty of fires and plenty of resource orders floating around, and they’d like to put it back out and can’t because, um, one of their main teams had to bow out for the season, and that’s us.  So they’re losing like tens of thousands of dollars because of us, sort of, plus letting us practice on that equipment anyway.  Hashtag blessed.  I did at least replicate myself once, this season, adding another CDL driver to the team on my way out, and she’s still out working (in the rain in Oregon, trying to keep the pilot lights lit on the hot water heaters, ugh), so hey — I tried.  

A recap of Wyoming events, as per my last blog: thank fucking god we escaped.  It started snowing there, as of like noon yesterday.  And you know, for all my belly aching about the cold and wind, I’m actually okay to operate a fuel truck or, whatever, something else, in the freezing cold.  Something I can get in, and mostly stay in, that isn’t miles of vulnerable RV hose with water that will instantly freeze.  But these mobile shower units are simply not set up for freezing temps.  Last I heard, our replacement guy was down in the snowy mud on his back, under the trailer, putting heat tape everywhere and setting up little propane heaters and installing half-assed skirting, so basically an easy summer job just became a nightmare of a winter job.

Following posting of my last blog, in which I expressed interest in leaving the fire camp post haste, there was a very frightening drama involving the misplacement of the rental car key.  We needed that key to get ourselves to the Denver airport, and the sequence of events around the key’s misplacement was really unbelievable.  I put in on the tractor dashboard, it somehow got caught up in my raincoat, the raincoat was moved and thrown on the ground during packing and just manhandled around all over the place, and they key never fell out, and it was only after we’d looked eeeeeeverywhere else, five times, that we began tearing apart our luggage and found the key sort of tangled in the raincoat.  I felt panicked the whole time, to a worsening degree.  The gray water driver came, during that time, to suck out our bag, and was all, “Hey there, folks, how’s it going?,” and I was like SHUT UP I’M TRYING TO THINK.  Not really but essentially.  

Anyway, obviously, we made it out of Wyoming.  The drive was nice — Wyoming is beautiful as viewed from the protective bubble of a vehicle with a heater.  Buffy took her place on the doughnut bed in the backseat like her life depended on it, channeling my truest feelings as usual.  The whole time we were in Wyoming, she didn’t want to be outside.  When we made her be outside (to pee?), she’d just stagger up to me staring bullet holes, with her pitiful chicken legs and 2 liter coke bottle body just collapsed in on itself and shivering miserably.  It was the only rational response to the situation.  

So we made it out.  We had to throw away two perfectly good pillows and some other stuff just to get fire season luggage transformed to airline luggage, and I had to change out of my hapless, janky long-johns outfit into something presentable right there in the rental car return line, and who cares.  Yesterday was my first official post-fire season day, and even with all the storage shed heroics, it felt absolutely magnificent.  I haven’t been “off work” since June, so this is a real treat.  Normally this time of year, following my last fire, I book a bunch of beauty appointments in an attempt to mitigate the aesthetic damage inflicted by the season, but I don’t have time.  My hair :-/  My skin :-/  My hands and feet are like talons on a bird of prey.  Sigh.  I want to really treat myself, but I’d settle for someone, anyone, in the Hawaii Dep’t of Agriculture deciding to do their fucking job for five minutes.  

But anyway, back to the point: the move necessitates a total overhaul of all our personal belongings, down to the last safety pin, for each of us, and what a blessing.  I mean, there’s space and money for the things of true importance — it’s not like fleeing a political coup, or not yet anyway.  So this is happening for my dad at age 77, my brother at age 47, me at age 44, and Nick at age 31.  Most adults have too much shit to begin with, and then they get saddled with their aging parents’ shit as well, and it’s just junk on junk, storage sheds full of junk.  We are going to roll into Hawaii with…honestly very little.  Like, not even things to sit on or lay on or cover up at night with.  Not even things to eat out of or stir food with.  

I told Nick, last night, as we were hanging laundry on the folding racks — because our house had a perfectly good dryer but my dad insisted we get rid of it, when he moved here in 2015, because he’s fundamentally opposed to dryers, simply to their very existence; and as you know, only Nick’s strong intervention prevented him from hauling off the perfectly good, almost brand-new fridge — anyway, I said, “You know, we can get so many of those household basics at Goodwill.  I mean, I assume Hawaii has Goodwill.  Linens and plates and silverware, all that.”  

Nick physically broke out in a rash, I saw it happen, but he casually said, “Well — let’s be choosy.  We have this great opportunity to deliberately accumulate exactly what we need, and not just throw a bunch of extra shit back into the equation.  Let’s just get the minimum and then buy stuff that’s *really* nice, that we *really* like, as it’s *necessary*.”  Lol.  He’s right, of course.  I think there may be minor clashes between my brother’s magnanimous sense of life as a cornucopia — his ascendant is Leo and he lives his life as if he’s perpetually hosting a wonderful dinner party, plying his guests with food, beverages, and media entertainment — and Nick’s physical aversion to excesses of clutter.  

I mean, many couples who opt to live in sin, as Nick and I did, must reconcile their domestic preferences in close quarters.  Nick likes to live in a model home, perhaps because his mother keeps a model home.  He doesn’t expect me, as the female lol, to do all the work to make it happen, but he also doesn’t want to live with a saboteur.  I mean, we’re pretty compatible.  But there was this one phase where he would get home from work and be frustrated that x y z was “dirty”, so he’d clean it.  I told him I was happy to step up the cleaning, I just literally couldn’t tell x y z was dirty.  I mean, we lived in the cleanest, nicest house ever.  So I said, this level of cleaning feels arbitrary to me, but if it feels important to you, then just give me a list of what I should arbitrarily clean as my contribution.  It all worked out okay.  And it is so nice to live in a perpetually neat, organized, put-together space.  

So yeah, there might be some friction and Nick might bear the brunt of it.  I’ll try to be on Team Clean, which is really Team Model Home, to the extent that feels helpful, and — whatever, we’re moving to Hawaii.  Nick is a lot more relaxed when his entire body isn’t trying to kill him because of its reaction to the Southwest.  I am frankly excited about all things domestic.  We’ve been “camping”, in one form or another, for almost eight months now, and we were all emotionally twisted up before that, so I’m feeling really ready for the “karma yoga” of housework, as my dad calls it.  

Uncharacteristically, Nick didn’t want me to donate any of the cook books.  “Let’s make a lot of food!,” he said.  I have phenomenal vegan cookbooks, and two others by a French monk, an entire year of soups cookbook broken down by month, an entire vegan tacos cookbook — ah, just the best.  The best recipes.  So exciting.  It’s so exciting to think of sweeping.  “I live here!  I’m sweeping!”  Grand.  There can’t even be overnight trucking trips there, I would’t think?  The island is simply too small.  We drove across the whole thing in 2.5 hours.  If I had a nickel for every different bed-confabulation I’ve slept in, the last eight months, I’d have a couple dollars.

I have this good feeling, too — like all the important connections and rendezvous and coincidences and friendships and ideas will just flow, more quickly and easily, as a result of this move.  I mean, it’s already happened.  I made a good girlfriend, two fires ago, and that hasn’t happened in…it hasn’t happened in — it hasn’t ever happened?  Can that be true?  Since college, I guess.  My last girlfriend break up, with a childhood friend (and we’ve always been on the rocks, it was inevitable) left me with the final parting message that it’s no wonder women don’t like me and I don’t have any women friends; I’m all wrong and I should really get my shit together.  “You don’t laugh with me, you don’t cry with me,” etcetera something like that.  I do want women friends, but I don’t want to have to act a whole different way just to get them and keep them.  I don’t like performing emotionality all the time.  

I get truly excited about the things that excite me, and then I’m pretty passive and neutral on most other things, and most of all I don’t vibe with the “us girls gotta stick together” assumption.  I get that it seems like a reasonable prospect to many women, maybe even most women, but it sounds like signing a blank check on what is possibly a pit of vipers, to me (competing analogy: engage).  I’m not saying women, collectively, are a pit of vipers, but I’m also not saying they aren’t.  I mean, they can be.  And they never wanna talk about air brakes, so fuck ‘em.  My new friend Julie is totally down to talk about air brakes with me, or whatever else; in fact she left me a whole voice memo about how she figured out that the hot water problem on her handwash station had to do with an obstructed propane hose, against all odds, and I loved that!  So I think I’m moving in the right direction.

Abraham Hicks uses the phrase “let the grid fill in” a lot.  That’s the feeling I have.  It’s like, I’m doing the best job I can to create a “grid” that invites the best things, the best feelings, the best moment-to-moment experiences, and I’m happy to exert very little control over how that grid fills itself in, because I did the work to build it in the right place, vibrationally.  I’m sure by this time next year — hell, even next month — I’ll be reveling in the vibrational receipt of a whole new passel of desires, thoughts, feelings, turning my attention to things I can’t even guess at right now.  That’s *if* the Hawaii Dep’t of Ag can get its shit together for one single second, of course.  Otherwise we’ll just be living in a hotel in Phoenix, continually booking flights, sending the info to the Dep’t of Ag, receiving incorrect permits in the mail, postponing our flights to receive new, also incorrect permits, rinse and repeat, while probably a civil war starts and we have to go full ass tactical at the La Quinta, like Red Dawn style.  Sigh.  

Anyway.  This movie Vivarium.  A couple goes to look at a home, #9, in a new housing development, five minutes in the future type deal (Black Mirror-esque) and the very creepy sales agent abandons them there.  They try to drive out of the development but no matter how far they drive or which way they turn, they’re back at #9.  Finally their car runs out of gas in front of #9.  They follow the sun on foot the next day but still end up at #9.  They burn #9 down but when the smoke clears it’s still there.  A package is delivered with food (nourishing but nothing has any taste, there) and later with a baby boy and a message that says they’ll be released if they raise the child.  The child grows very quickly into a youthful version of the creepy sales agent.  The agent-child-thing speaks in actual mimicry of their voices, in between simply shrieking, perpetually, if they don’t pour his cereal fast enough, or also for no reason.  

The tension builds as they boyfriend locks the child in the car, to let him die, but the girlfriend steals the keys and lets him back out, unwilling to kill a child, even a clearly not-human, totally antagonistic it-thing.  So the couple is at odds, fundamentally, and the boyfriend retreats to digging a hole in the yard, deeper every day, while the girlfriend and the child become chums in a way that is super disturbing, yipping at one another like dogs.  Then Nick and I got sleepy and had to pause it.  

The central issue, thus far at least, is the falling out of this couple over whether to let the constantly screaming child thing die or not, and I guess as more evidence that I can’t have girlfriends and no wonder women don’t like me, I was like, “Kill it!  For god’s sake just kill it!”  Nick and I were laughing that most of the psychological tension completely flopped with us.  Goodnight pillow smother time would have come and gone long ago, for me in that situation.  I’ll be damned if I’d pour cereal faster because something was screaming at me, good lord.  I mean, the whole thing is essentially a dramatization of the real-life liberal-left right now, so maybe I’m extra reactive.    

We’ll finish the movie tonight probably, and see what happens.  It kind of reminds me of A Dark Song, where there’s only like two characters, trapped in a creepy house for months and months, and everything gets really bad.

Alright, that’s a wrap.  So many things to do, on this final homestretch of heroics.                      

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