Posts Tagged ‘Family’

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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Look, I know this is weird and there are probably many good reasons why we haven’t talked in the past thirty years, but I’ve got five–that’s right, five–dead ex-boyfriends.  I’m surprised by how much it bothers me.  It’s made me sad.  Genuinely sad.  I wished I’d had the chance to talk with them just once more, for many reasons.  I can’t do that now.  But you’re still here, so even though we went our separate ways, and even though there were probably some excellent reasons for that, I’ll talk to you once more instead.

Take good care of yourself.

Please. (more…)

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My mom’s Uncle Hans, the one who was in the SS, was the ranch foreman for a wealthy family in Bavaria after World War II.  It’s thanks to him that his wife’s family members had a place to live and work after the war had ended.  By all accounts, Uncle Hans was a short-tempered bigot.  I met him when I was ten.  He had a round, red face, and he allowed me to use the typewriter in his study to entertain myself.  He looked, I thought, like a Nazi.

Despite the fact that no one much liked him, it’s also true that no one ever crossed him, or asked about his involvement in the war.  No one asked him how much he knew.  I can only speculate about the reasons why.  Was it out of respect to him for offering his  wife’s five nieces and nephews a home?  Was it because there were former Nazi soldiers everywhere and it wasn’t fair to single him out?  Was it because he was the head of the household?  Had my mother’s relatives agreed one day to put the war behind them and not discuss it?  Could it have been because once he understood just what the Fuhrer was up to, he felt a deep sense of shame and had begged everyone to avoid the topic?  I don’t know.  I know of only one person who challenged him to explain the extermination of the Jews.

That person was my dad. (more…)

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Twenty Nine Years

When my husband and I travel to Palm Desert, we do something that reminds me of those early days when we were first dating.  And it’s not what you think.

We buy groceries.  Our first stop after landing is the Costco at Monterey and Dinah Shore.  We eat most of our meals in the condo nowadays.  If we eat out, we do it at lunchtime, to save money.

This means we’ve got to buy groceries. (more…)

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Too many posts for one day, I know.

But I’ve been wondering how to address the subject of the Steubenville rape.  How to share my frustrations with the crime, the aftermath, the trial.  How to put the case in context.

Turns out I don’t need to.  Turns out a blogger named Ann Voskamp has done it already.


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I recently got to watch my electronic odometer blink to 100,000 miles.  I was alone, driving home from work, and felt lucky to have seen the moment.  So often these milestones–and others far more important–pass us by without making themselves known, particularly where family is concerned.  I think our daughter’s first word was “Ba,” but only because I wrote it down somewhere.   Ba meant bottle, cat, up, ball, give me my pacifier, and stop that.  Our son’s first word was probably, “Are you gonna eat that?” because I didn’t write it down and don’t remember his early syllables.  More likely, it was “Da,” his favorite person.  One walked early, the other late, and both visited the doctor for stitches when I was out of town on business.

Yet what I see in our children is that recording these moments wasn’t what mattered, anyway.  What mattered was that we played hour after hour of word games in the car on long road trips, asked them their opinions at the dinner table, read to them nightly, and visited with them long into the night on weekends after SNL ended.

If we had seen the odometer turn over as a family, I imagine it would have gone something like this.

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