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Priceless

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Dear Ann,
Can you believe that we went all the way to Portland and Newport, Oregon, that we met the Super Chicken and the Angry Eggplant and even went Cat Bordhi-ing together, and that I have remained silent through all of it? It only goes to show the stress I’m under. Moving is very stressful. Even, or perhaps especially, if you’ve spent the last six-to-eight months screaming and stomping and threatening your husband because you want to move NOW. It is going to be hard to break the habit of starting every conversation with Hubby with “when are we moving?” I will try my best but I think sometime in May is the earliest we can hope for.
One casualty of the move has been the disappearance of the thingie that makes the pictures go out of the KayCam and into the Blogotron 2000. I’m going to go to Staples this morning in search of a new thingie. Until then, let me just share the Top Ten Things That Are Making Me Happy To Be Back In My Own Apartment Even Though It Reeks of Paint and Carpet Glue. (For those just joining us, for the past eight months we have been living in the apartment of my late-mother-in-law, who lived — and collected things — in it for almost 60 years.)
10. Not opening a closet and saying, “What do you suppose THAT is?”
9. Not being afraid to open the closets.
8. Having closets.
7. Being able to comply with automated voices telling me to “push the pound key” (although I did grow fond of the Rotary Phone Experience).
6. OMG OMG. There is this AWESOME machine in the kitchen. You put the dirty dishes in it. Then, after a while, you open the door and–get this–the dishes are CLEAN. GET OUT! I am NOT making this stuff up.
5. Fun fact: you can make ice in your own home.
4. Not having to unplug the fridge in order to use the hair dryer.
3. Not hearing the sound that means that the hair dryer just blew up.
2. The only mirrored surfaces are actually mirrors. (If anyone is looking for proof of a mid-20th Century fashion for mirroring things–a trend that seems closely connected to the use of Lucite for everything from furniture to jewelry–see me for documentation.)
1. Not drying my hair in the kitchen.
OK. I’m not that shallow. As time goes by, I am going to have sweet memories of looking out every window at the Hudson, the Palisades, and the George Washington Bridge. I am going to be glad that I spent some time getting to know, through her belongings, someone I barely knew in life. I am going to be very glad that the kids spent part of a year living in the (historically preserved) bedrooms that their dad and uncles shared as boys, falling sleep and waking up to the trucks rumbling across the bridge, and coming home from school to a door that still has their long-gone grandfather’s name on it. (Although Hubby’s dad died decades ago, if I were to call you from the apartment, your caller i.d. would say he was calling. It spooked me the first time I noticed it, but perhaps it’s a sign of my adaptation to the family culture that I’ve started to think that love means never changing the phone listing.) It’s been good. It’s a relief to be home, but it’s been good.
Knitting: there’s been some knitting. More later, when I’ve located that picture-loader thingie.
Love, Kay

38 Comments

38 Comments

  1. This post really spoke to me, Kay. I “inherited” most of my grandmother’s kitchen utensils, pans, etc. several years ago when she passed away, and I was getting ready to move into my first apartment in college. Although I have replaced some of the mismatched pots and lids and the super-decrepit carrot peeler, I just can’t bring myself to replace her dishes, although they are really unattractive. There’s something so comforting about using her stuff, and as a lady who lived through the Depression, I think she’d appreciate my continuing to use them even though I could now afford to pick my own.

  2. Mm, yes, I have my grandmother’s Revere Ware soup pot, and it is a mighty cauldron. It must be 50 or 60 years old! Uh, grandma also filled many drawers in her house with used kleenexes toward the end of her life, but I only ended up with the pot!

  3. you met the “Super chicken” and didn’t tell me?

  4. About a year ago, my husband and I moved into the house owned by my grandparents–my grandfather had died about six months earlier and we planned to buy the house when it came out of probate. Naturally, it came “fully equipped” with all of their things. All of them. I found a box of pay stubs dating back to the late 1930s during the cleaning of one particular closet…. Although, my grandmother was a knitter, so my sister and I have been fighting over needles.
    Cleaning has been much more difficult than I ever could have imagined. Lots of things just need to go–I will never need as much cut glass as my grandmother collected. Ever. But there are so many things that I just remember from…well…forever. And I can’t let them all go. It’s thrilling to think that my children will grow up in a place where I have so many happy childhood memories.
    We just celebrated our first big family get-together in the house since my grandfather’s death this past weekend. Apparently, we’ve managed a good balance as the house was clean, but held enough familiarity to make everyone feel as though it was still “home.”
    Good luck with the picture-loader thingie. I hate it when those things run off.

  5. I too am still using many of my Grandmothers things, what you wrote today brought back memories of moving her house and wondering how she lived “that way” this was 1967, she NEVER even had a phone!I still use her pots to this day along with newer ones. My Mother didn’t excatly like her and tossed everything she could, all quilts, knitting etc. What I’d give today to have it back! Welcome Home!

  6. My grandpa died 9 years ago, but if you call from grandma’s house, his name shows up on caller ID. Grandma doesn’t live there anymore, either, but until the house is sold later this year, that will happen.

  7. Strange how discomfiting living in the setting of another person’s life is, isn’t it?
    Welcome home!

  8. Yea, I have my Grammie’s little cast iron skillet and, even though we have lots of her finer things, that’s the thing I use almost every day, and glad to have it. Your dishwasher story reminds of a joke I heard years ago (It’s OK, I’m a BIC – Boston Irosh Catholic – so I can tell this story.) An Irish family immigrates to America some years back, and writes back home, “Mickey, ye’ll scarcely believe it. We have our own washing machine, right in the house! I put yer father’s shirt in it yesterday and pulled the little handle, and I don’t know where it went.

  9. Moving back in is soo exciting! Can’t wait til you get one of those picture cordy thingys!

  10. We are friends with an elderly woman in her nineties whose husband died in the 1960′s. He still gets all the bills and makes all of the phone calls. She still lives in their family home. There’s something about that kind of thing… it’ll disappear like old fashioned phone numbers and manual typewriters, even though it’s a behavior of sorts. It’s the indication of a generation that’s nearly extinct. Kinda gives me a lump in my throat.

  11. God help me if my father ever leaves the house we grew up in and doesn’t take the phone number. I love the phone number. So much so that sometimes I still use the letters instead of the numbers. ;-)
    Can’t wait to see the paint and carpet. Old new digs are the best!

  12. Kay, get a card reader.. that’s the easiest way to go. They are about $19.
    My father is still listed in the white pages online and he’s been gone for almost 20 years… before computers… yet, there he is.
    Hope you get settled in soon.

  13. Dutch Bros coffee! Woo hoo!

  14. When I moved into my current apartment, there was no dishwasher. We also had no desk, no adequate seating, no bookshelves, no table. But the first purchase? One of those roll-around-and-hook-up-to-the-faucet-porta-dishwashers. Yep. We sat on the floor, ate dinner on the floor, put the computer on the floor – but by God, we washed the dishes!

  15. I volunteer to set up the Lucite and Mirrors MDK ancillary website. Will there be Bakelite, too? Sounds to me like you just left heaven. xo, c.

  16. what charming material for your kids to write about for school assignments. perhaps carrie keeps a diary?

  17. It’s kind of a long story, but my daughter and I know share my mother’s home–my childhood home. Deja vu around every corner–sometimes eerie, sometimes sweet. But what is it with the dishwasher? They stopped using it sometime in the 70s, and there is sits in it’s Coppertone glory. “We stopped using that thing, it doens’t work” is the most I can find out. Someday when I’m alone I’ll have to sneak a load, and see if the house blows up!

  18. And someday I’ll figure out why I can’t post without typos. Sigh.

  19. Wow. You’re going through a Very Big Time. One that will, as you can already tell, be soooo much better in retrospect. Like that road trip I took with my Dad and my Brother and my Boyfriend (now the hub)? We were all a little anxious and miserable and bored and not sure what to think AT THE TIME, and now we all think it was the best times ever.
    It all reminds me that the only recording I have of my father’s voice is from his voice mail. I called in (after he was gone) and recorded it (from a rotary phone) and the husband used one of those thing-to-computer-things and now he’s in iTunes with the rest, telling us that we’ve reached his voice mail.
    The only other stuff I got away with from dad are his cowboy boots and his jeans.
    As ever in the scenario of moving, dealing with family, dealing with in-laws, bless your heart. It’s all trauma, especially the moving. Drop me a line if you could use an extra pair of arms and legs.

  20. So this means that the move has HAPPENED and that you SURVIVED??! You moved twice in one year–and are still vertical and above ground! and even better, so is your spouse (aside from that “when are we moving” ringing in his ears)!
    Congratulations are in order!

  21. I just moved in my apartment the first of this month. We went from a drab brick apartment building in the burbs to a creaky, big multi family in the city. We are so much happier.
    We miss our garbage disposal, but now we have the luxuries of all luxuries- sidewalks outside and a washing machine inside the apartment. heavenly.
    I seem though to have lost my sock pattern. I haven’t knit anything proper in days because I have this poor half done sock waiting to be finished. Makes me twitchy.

  22. You mean I’m not the only person blowdrying her hair in the kitchen (and wishing to not be!)?

  23. Congratulations on being home. I agree on the rotary phone, when we were between apartments we had 2 in the new place. The cable guy came and said he had never seen one before — and then I felt REALLY old.

  24. I think women are not supposed to be listed in the phone book, as it announces ” I am single, there is no man in the house, please come harm me.” At least that is what my mother always told me. Personally, I have not used a phone book in years, if you aren’t located on the internet, I’ll just call someone whose number is.

  25. Congratulations on the move, again. I’m sure all the dust will settle soon. Really the rotary must have been interesting.
    I have may grandparents table and chairs- where as a child and a college student I ate many fine meals. At one point my grandmother started a blue willow collection which was never completed that I now have. And I have the mantle clock they got for a wedding gift in 1930. It is electric. So I can sit at my table and drink tea out of blue willow, gaze at the clock, and even though my house is quite different in appearance and design than theirs was, I am instantly transported to grandmas house. It’s very comforting. And when I do the occasional sewing it is with grandma’s Viking; even in her absence she helps me sew. I will never part with that machine…even if it breaks and I buy a new fangled model.

  26. Advice please! :) I’ve got the itch! I would like to knit mitered blanket, coverlet, throw, for my queen-sized bed. I know that cotton is the rage but it absolutely kills my hands when I knit with it, and… wool will be much warmer. Do you have any advice, thoughts or suggestions? It’s a huge undertaking and expense and I value your opinions.

  27. I hope you still have the awesome brooklyn heights view! how ever could you move otherwise?

  28. Welcome home, Kay. (And I bow to you … I only lasted three days without that dish cleaning gadget before crying uncle and running to my local appliance store.)

  29. Oh, your kids are soooo lucky they got to live in their grandparents’ place, even if they hardly remember them. I was lucky enough to have not only grandparents, but great-grandparents when growing up. My great-grandmother, Grammy Reed, lived on the route home from school, and I spend many afternoons and overnights at her house. She’s been gone over 35 years and I miss her still. When I have trouble sleeping, I mentally “walk” through her house, remembering as many small details as I can; it makes me so comfortable, I’m asleep in pleasant dreams in no time. I had grandparents until well into my 40s, and when their house was abandoned years later and scheduled to be torn down, my brother snuck into the house and took glass doorknobs for each of us grandchildren. Mine is now proudly mounted on a weighted block of wood and I use it as a paperweight on my desk at work. It’s a wonderful reminder of a much simpler time when Grandma and some homemade cookies solved all problems!

  30. so glad to hear that you’re back and so much closer to Knitty City …heeheehee

  31. God Bless You- I could have fond memories of the Hudson and the Palisades but any good mojo about the GW- nope not a shred. Now the Tap I can get worked up about…
    When we put my grandmother in a home because of her dementia- we found the missing bar- she’d been stashing all of the alcohol in her closet because she was afraid my mother had taken up drinking. Actually she did- when we found the missing booze!

  32. What a dear story! I didn’t get anything from my own parents’ home (older sister took care of details) but I was permitted to share when my DH and two sisters-in-law went to dismantle their childhood home. I have some crystal and other things – and a darling tea kettle and tea pot which I cherish. My in-laws were the dearest people I ever knew (their son excepted) and to have some things of theirs makes my home happier. *I* am the Grammy; wonder what my grandkids think about coming here? (We’re living history interpreters, I bet they think it’s interesting!)

  33. Welcome back, Kay!
    I also got to know my parents better after they were gone and I went thru their stuff when breaking up the house. It was sad, but it also felt like they left me a very special gift.
    My blog today is about crocheted mitered squares that were in my Mom’s stash. I wasn’t into knitting when my Mom was alive. It’s only now that I’m beginning to know and connect with her as a knitter.

  34. Congratulations Kay! I trust we’ll get a post someday about the really important part of the move — moving and reorganizing the stash and the knitting library? Second only to organizing my kitchen in nesting satisfaction.

  35. Congratulations on moving home!
    My MIL still has FIL (d.2000) on the voicemail message, maybe it is a generational thing.

  36. Welcome home!

  37. Oh, your post gave me a much needed laugh on a very woeful day. (Knitting injuries suck). I hope you enjoy the new apartment and its glories and that you find the thingie.

  38. Moving sucks. Having moved (as in past tense) is rather nice, once you’re settled in. I wish you joy in your settling. :-)