Sunday, April 25, 2010

Starving Parents Moving Company

Forget the Starving Students Movers, they would have charged $1200 minimum to move Yael from San Jose to Ukiah. Ron and I drove down to San Jose, rented a U-Haul truck, bought lunch for a few of Yael’s friends to thank them for helping out, and with their help we had that puppy loaded up and ready to roll in an hour with all her earthly possessions. Then Ron drove it to Storage in Oakland, I picked Sudi up and took him down to the Storage so he could help us unload the furniture that Sudi is inheriting from his sister for his summer sublet that begins in June (and later his own place with friends in the fall), and then we took Sudi and his girlfriend out to dinner. The plan for Sunday is to drive the U-Haul truck to Ukiah, where Yael will unload with us at the house, then return the truck (one-way rental). The one-way truck rental plus the storage unit (together) cost less than one month’s rent in Yael’s old apartment in San Jose. Ron dubbed us the Starving Parents Moving Company. Truthfully, we have never starved, but we were plenty hungry by the time we had shifted all that furniture and done all that driving; and we have been plenty damn frugal in order to put these children through college. We are still trying to figure out how to break the news to Yael that we can’t afford to pay for the propane gas to heat our house and pay Sudi’s tuition (it’s either/or), so she will have the privilege of joining the Starving and Freezing Parents Moving Company as an honorary member. We’re smiling all the way to the poorhouse. Those beautiful children are worth all the trials and tribulations. And the warmer weather is just around the corner, so we’ll be forgoing the air conditioning instead of forgoing the heat any minute.

Starving Parents Moving Company

Forget the Starving Students Movers, they would have charged $1200 minimum to move Yael from San Jose to Ukiah. Ron and I drove down to San Jose, rented a U-Haul truck, bought lunch for a few of Yael’s friends to thank them for helping out, and with their help we had that puppy loaded up and ready to roll in an hour with all her earthly possessions. Then Ron drove it to Storage in Oakland, I picked Sudi up and took him down to the Storage so he could help us unload the furniture that Sudi is inheriting from his sister for his summer sublet that begins in June (and later his own place with friends in the fall), and then we took Sudi and his girlfriend out to dinner. The plan for Sunday is to drive the U-Haul truck to Ukiah, where Yael will unload with us at the house, then return the truck (one-way rental). The one-way truck rental plus the storage unit (together) cost less than one month’s rent in Yael’s old apartment in San Jose. Ron dubbed us the Starving Parents Moving Company. Truthfully, we have never starved, but we were plenty hungry by the time we had shifted all that furniture and done all that driving; and we have been plenty damn frugal in order to put these children through college. We are still trying to figure out how to break the news to Yael that we can’t afford to pay for the propane gas to heat our house and pay Sudi’s tuition (it’s either/or), so she will have the privilege of joining the Starving and Freezing Parents Moving Company as an honorary member. We’re smiling all the way to the poorhouse. Those beautiful children are worth all the trials and tribulations. And the warmer weather is just around the corner, so we’ll be forgoing the air conditioning instead of forgoing the heat any minute.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Home Alone

This weekend I have the house to myself, a rarity. (Ron went to a union rep training in San Jose.) I am making the most of this solitary weekend since the hordes will descend starting Friday. Yael was laid off at her job so she gave notice on her apartment and she’s moving in with us until she finds a new job and new direction (been applying and exploring her options while collecting unemployment). She moves in with us on Friday. The following Friday Sudi’s college housing closes and I’ll be driving down to Oakland to pick him up and move him back home for one month until he returns beginning of June to go to summer school. Ron said, “uh-oh, look out, soon all the children will be moving back in.” I replied not to worry, Akili says he would rather live under a bridge than move back in with us. Which reminds me, we are all driving down to San Diego for Akili’s graduation in May and shortly after our return my dad and brother will be coming for a week-long visit. (My brother has been gluten-free for years and I’m hoping to get a gourmet gluten-free vegetarian meal out of him while he’s here.) It will be mid-June before things settle down again.

My home alone weekend has been tame and terrific. Writing, gardening (preparing veggie garden beds for planting), reading late at night with the cats in my bed (Ron refuses to sleep with animals), a glass of wine at twilight. Picked Lilies of the Valley and oregano from the garden. Pasta for dinner three nights in a row. My favorite. Heaven. Ah yes, I remember this life. Civilized. Quiet. Uncompromising. I wouldn’t give up my family for anything in the world of course, but every once in awhile, I admit, I love having a stolen moment of peaceful solitude.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Paranoia

I’m blaming it on the Patriot Act. My accountant was recommending to me that I file an extension on my federal taxes and submit them in October since I’m self-employed and the conventional wisdom in accounting is to recommend October filing for folks who have a greater chance of being audited. I was resisting. Wanted my taxes done and out of my house, out of my brain, out of my life. I hate taxes, finances, accounting. Blech. My accountant is my therapist and he’s very good at it. So in the middle of this conversation, he suggests abruptly, “Can you come into the office and sit down with me for a chat about this face-to-face?” I assure him that I’m comfortable with our phone conversation. Later, after I hung up, it suddenly dawned on me that he didn’t want to discuss it further on the phone. Why? I wondered. Then it hit me. My phone might be tapped. I thought that maybe accountants were told not to discuss certain things over the phone as a precaution, to protect themselves and clients, just in case the phone is tapped. Not likely, but what if. Just a precaution. All the hair on the back of my neck stood up. I couldn’t call him and ask him if he was worried my phone was tapped because what if it was tapped? Why would my phone be tapped? I have no idea. Was the FBI following my politics in my online writing? I flatter myself. I’m not that important. I called my accountant back and said, “I could come to your office tomorrow afternoon.” He said not to worry, never mind, he was satisfied with the phone conversation. Long pause. I confessed that I thought he was being careful in case my phone was tapped. He laughed his head off, “Amy, you are so cute,” he said. Cute? Nah. Paranoid. I am getting old, lived through too much, seen too many scary things. It could happen. Remember those librarians who refused to hand over information about patrons? Patriot Act. Watergate. I’m not that important. But what if I were?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Pesach at the White House

I was pleased to read in the paper about the White House Seder, a new tradition that Obama has started. Apparently when he was on the campaign trail in 2008, he got wind of a little seder that was being held by a trio of low-level Jewish folks working on the campaign who were stranded out on the campaign trail with him on the first night of Pesach. (One of them was a baggage handler.) As the trio sat down to their seder, Obama appeared and joined them. At the end of the seder, when they proclaimed “Next Year in Jerusalem,” they added “Next Year in the White House.” And so it was. Last year, during his first spring as President, Obama had a small private seder at the White House. He invited friends, not dignitaries or celebrity rabbis. His Jewish friends who attended gave family recipes for traditional foods to the White House chefs. Apparently there was a bit of a ruckus when one friend turned up at the gate for the seder with macaroons brought from Chicago. No outside food is allowed into the White House, for fear of poisoning. Official policy. When Obama threatened to go to the gate and walk the macaroons in himself, an official was sent to bring them in. I presume someone tasted them first to make sure they weren’t poisoned. (We do that at our house too when we bring in treats.) When I first read the reference to the “macaroon controversy” in the newspaper, I thought there had been a debate about whether chocolate or plain were tastier. (Chocolate, all the way.) I love the White House seder. I confess that it means a lot to me that the President sits down to a seder. Pesach is my favorite holiday and the one that is most meaningful to me. Glad to see that it means something to the President and First Lady too.