Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Now there’s a title that will attract thousands of readers. Maybe I should have written, “You won’t believe what this woman does with her gift wrap!”

Yesterday, my daughter wondered aloud if we should try harder to save gift wrap on Christmas morning. I shook my head and explained that re-using ribbons (I tie everything with wire-edged ribbon) is recycling enough.

As I wrapped presents yesterday and today, I became even more convinced we’re doing “enough” recycling. It’s been ages since I accepted a gift box. And because I usually wrap the presents that leave the house in the nicer boxes, I’m curating a collection of truly ancient boxes. Olive-colored boxes from the Bon Marche? Of course. Shoe boxes? Naturally. Amazon packing boxes? You know it. Lamonts? Yes, even Lamonts.

The tissue inside the boxes? It stays in place and is used year after year, or until it rips. I confess, the tissue inside one very old Sears box was looking a bit yellow this morning. I’ll probably throw it away on Sunday.

We also re-use the tags. Every Christmas morning as I roll up the used ribbon, I collect the tags and store them in plastic bags labeled with our names. It’s fun to see the tags the kids wrote when they were very small. Some tags are marked with as many as three years, showing that we’ve used them more than once. Sometimes we wrote little hints on the tags (“Open me first.” Christmas pajamas, of course. “Look behind the couch.” A print of a Chris Van Allsburg painting.) which help us remember the presents of Christmas past.

And the paper does, after all, go into the recycling bin.

I think I’m doing enough.

What about you? How do you recycle during the holidays?


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On Friday after dinner, we noticed our cat Lulu behaving strangely outside. Dave brought her in and we realized she was A) filthy and B) struggling to breathe. We took her to Aerowood (the 24-hour veterinarian in Eastgate) where the vet suspected she was succumbing to cancer. We got to hold her as she took her last difficult breath. We’re sorry she’s gone.
lulumitLulu was the oddest cat. We got her at the King County Shelter in Crossroads after the Humane Society wouldn’t let us adopt. (We’d said we planned to have our cat declawed. This was somewhat upsetting to the thirteen-year-old boy I had with me.) For many years her favorite toy was the screw cap from the bottled seltzer water Dave drank. She’d get in his lap whenever he opened one, then bat the cap all over the house. We never knew where they went, just knew that dozens and dozens of bottle caps were piling up somewhere. One day we moved the couch to vacuum and found her entire collection.


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Dave and I spent the day selling the car.

The car.

If you live nearby, you know the one I mean.  The 2000 A6, in the color the salesman at Barrier Audi called “comearrestmered.” The one we bought new (!) and ordered especially for us: manual 6-speed transmission, ski door from the trunk to the back seat, heated seats, sunroof.  The one we bought with the stock options granted in my first career, which I spent at Microsoft.

The one that I could drive up and down any hill in the snow, as long as I kept my speed under 15 mph.

The one that took all the seventh grade girls home from Newcastle Beach Park because there weren’t any other adults there.

The one that wore grooves into the pavement between home and Tyee Middle School, as I raced (the kids would say “crawled”) to get the kids there on late mornings, attended and presided over PTSA meetings, transformed the Commons into a sparking skyline one June evening and an island paradise four years later.

The one that went to hundreds of Little League and Mudville games.  Hundreds of girls’ basketball games, boys’ basketball games, football games, sports banquets, playoff games. The one that sprinted from the Little League State Tournament in Auburn to home and back again because someone forgot his cleats.

Sometimes, my daughter and I work at the same school.

Sometimes, my daughter and I work at the same school.

The one in which one child sat and cried before attending the first practice freshman year at Newport.

The one I waited in day after day during Tutorial, waiting for another child to finish up in Honors Freshman English, trying to get from 62% to 80%.

The one we were in after a terrible Apple Cup loss.  The cops who pulled us over (that color…) blinked at the youngsters asleep in the back, the obviously sober parents in the front, and said, “You’re probably not in the mood for a ticket, are you?”

The one that parked outside while I shopped at Bellevue Square and worked out at The Bellevue Club, two other indulgences we had to give up.

The one we drove when my friend from ninth grade visited with her husband, and we took them everywhere you take visitors except to our house, which had descending into utter chaos after our abrupt return to work.

The one I was in when I saw the prongs of my engagement ring, vacant, and realized I must have lost the diamond in the pool at the Y.  The one parked in the garage when Dave said, “I still have what I most want from the wedding.”

The one that carried me to the hundreds and hundreds of hours of volunteer work I did for the kids’ schools, Bellevue PTSA Council meetings, WSPTA Board Meetings and which later delivered me to my second career, this time in teaching, which hasn’t taken off the way I’d hoped.  Yet.

The one I was in when the mileage hit 100,000.  It’s not nearly as fun to watch on an electronic odometer as it was on the old mechanical ones, where you saw all 5 nines roll back while a a 1 followed by five zeroes rolled up.  Or, as was the case with my parents’ 1962 Fairlane, just the five zeroes.

The one that lost its clutch on my birthday, burning out as the valet parked it.  Mercifully, the restaurant paid half of the bill.  We could have never afforded it.

If you look closely, you’ll see an ugly gouge in the center of the back bumper. I did this. I did it because I was excited to see a Newport team play at Safeco in the State Baseball Tournament, so excited I didn’t set the brake. The car rolled back into the garage door as it was closing. This time, Dave almost cried.

The one Kirsten and I drove downtown after Christmas 2014 to watch “The Book Thief.”  Ever mindful of costs, Kirsten guided me to a meter cheaper than those inside the downtown core.  And a block away from a strip club.  When we returned from the movie, my back window was broken, there was a rock on the seat, and my Timbuktu bag was gone, and with it, my carefully curated collection of substitute teacher supplies.  Thought you were getting a laptop, didn’t you?

The replacement is a Volkswagen CC, a sleek silver model with just 20,000 miles on it.  It will not need expensive maintenance.  It will park at whatever school I’m assigned to (still subbing…), and will carry groceries and school supplies. It will visit Pullman for games, Spokane to see my mom, and perhaps Vancouver for a little R&R.  It will get me where I need to go.  It will never take me where the Audi took me.



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