March 27, 1999
Ooof. Already sore, tired, and we're not even out of King County. For all that we said, yesterday, that we'd take off today, we only got as far as John's parents' house, which, I guess, is an accomplishment in and of itself, but it's been a really full, exhausting day. Got a whole lot done, but it all feels so weird, like everything is now thrown in the air and there is no solidity to anything anymore, no real balance, no grounding. Maybe, in ways, it is because that is exactly what's happening.
The party was surprising, last night. It shouldn't have surprised me, but it did, as dozens and dozens of people showed up, with the shorter notice, there weren't the out-of-towners, or at least, not all the out-of-towners, that Fezzik's party had. Johanna and John did come up from Portland, and a few of John's Land Rover folks showed up as well, but the bulk of the folks that showed up were Data I/O folks, nearly all of them ex-employees, either of the hardware groups that John and I had worked for and with or of the Synario group, scattered or there. It was a lot of folks.
A few of the Internet folks showed up, including Jon Singer and John and Johanna. One of John's Land Rover folks showed up as well, and was bewildered and impressed by the sheer number of folks that showed up. It was pretty insane, all in all, as John and I tried to make some time for everyone that appeared. It was kinda hard to say good-bye to everyone in a meaningful way, but... well, there it was.
I don't really think it hit me even then. It was just getting together with all the familiar friends and drinking, eating and talking with them again. Around 9 p.m. Redhook had a band come in and that drove away most of the folks as the music was so loud there really wasn't a way to talk much after that. A handful of folks went to the Holiday Room in Redmond, a smoky little dive in a hole next to the Hotel restaurant under the last great poker game in the state, and we sat and drank and talked for a long while longer. Dave Kohlmeyer, John and Johanna, Fish, Bob, Ginger and Stacy all came and we got smoked and had a good time just talking one last time. We said bye to those folks around midnight, turned into pumpkins and went home to sleep.
Oh... right... around 3:30 pm, between appointments and the party and meetings, we managed to get home, yesterday, and found the house echo'ingly empty and Umit and his men on one last round through the house to pick up anything they might have forgotten. It was astonishing. We'd hoped to get there at 3:30 to help with the last bits of getting things into the van, but as it turned out the timing was all perfect, and they'd gotten everything in already, and were just finishing up when we got there. We wandered about the echo'ing house and it was filthy with mud from outside, but otherwise, every room was utterly empty. They'd done everything in eight hours.
Carl points out that I should point to Graebel's web page because I was so happy with them. I'll probably point to it some more when we arrive and get things unpacked to see if anything's actually been smashed, broken or abused. But from the packing up side they were fast, efficient and utterly professional. I was very pleased.
So when we got back from the party it was to a cold and echoing and empty house. Fezzik was bewildered when he finally got in the house and wandered about sniffing everywhere as if to try and find the things that were missing. John and I got out the sleeping bags that we'd saved away and put them up in the loft as the upstairs was warmer than downstairs, the heater worked just fine, but with all the rooms so empty the warm air seemed to flow up much more readily. Fezzik first slept against John then against me, waking me up in the middle of the night when he tried to burrow under my bag and then finally sighed and lay on my arm to fall asleep there and nearly put my arm to sleep.
It was a hard floor. I didn't sleep all that well, but in the morning was cheerful enough at getting up and starting to pack the last things in the last boxes that we were taking with us in the van. As John pointed out later, each successive box took longer to pack, as it was just getting harder and harder to get the energy up to finish. John got me McDonald's for breakfast as he went out to dump the last of the recycle stuff at the recycle center. His dad said that he'd take all the hazardous waste stuff we were throwing away out to West Seattle when he had a chance, so all we had to do with that stuff was get it to John's parents' house.
I took the morning to get all the cleaning materials into boxes and then get all the plants watered and then all the rooms vacuumed. Finally, I got everything out of both refrigerators and freezers and dumped them into boxes. There was a lot of stuff, eventhough we'd eaten most of what we could eat. Then there was lunch with Jon Singer, Bob and Mai and their son at Yea's Wok.
I'd actually had the bright idea of having the three of them, plus Billy B. out to dinner at Yea's Wok when John and I were still thinking about leaving on Sunday. But I gave up on it when we thought we'd go earlier. Singer snagged on the idea, though when I brought it up as a side bar on Friday night's party, and he really, really wanted to do it, so we decided that lunch might be possible. So we met there at lunch time, and it all turned out really well. I liked it because it gave us a chance to say good-bye to Mai as well, as she couldn't make the party the night before, and what better Chinese way to part than over a meal?
Yea's Wok didn't disappoint. It was marvelous and delicious and Singer was in ecstacy over the quality of the food. Mai and I got to talk for a while, which is always good for both of us, and it was well worth the time. What's best is that I actually managed to snag the check, this time, for the whole thing, and I was very happy about that. Yeah, I know, I'm more Chinese than I sometimes think.
Afterwards, we invited them to go through the fridge boxes and take what they wanted. Singer managed to make off with a whole box of stuff. That was really good, made it much easier to stow the rest at John's parents' house. The view from the house was just gorgeous, mountains backdropping Seattle because the sky was clear. I wanted a picture of it badly, but didn't have my digital camera with me, and at that time, I thought we'd get back there in the daylight anyway, so I could get it then.
We then went back and started packing all the boxes and stuffing them into the van. First, two layers of boxes, then we put up a cardboard barrier between two rows of boxes, then we had gotten down to the last things, and we went through the house a room at a time to make sure that we hadn't forgotten anything.
That was when Fezzik ran off for a while. John went out to hunt him down, and took a little while. I just sat against a wall, feeling just a touch shell-shocked. This was the last of the things. I don't think it really had hit me, until then, that everything realy was going and that everything really was being moved and that we were leaving. Really leaving.
So, it took a while, but we finally finished the upstairs and then did the downstairs, the bedrooms, the livingroom/dining room, the odd room with the fireplace. When John walked into the laundry room, he hit a puddle of water. Uht oh. We didn't know what might have caused it, so he looked around and then found out that the water heater was leaking. Badly. The leak was fast enough that it would likely have flooded the laundry room hallway if we'd left it overnight. So it was good that he found it. He then called around to see if anyone could come and fix it tonight, but it was a no-go.
Given the serial number off the heater tank, though, they found out who sold the tank to us, and we were then able to call them. The shop that sold it to us had it on record and so they knew that we were under warrentee and said that they'd send someone out on Monday to fix it all for free, with the labor covered under the warrentee, so that worked out well. John, therefore, shut off the water to the house, drained the hot water tank with the half-hose we'd planned to leave with the house so that the new owner could use it to empty the hot tub. That small bit of generosity saved our butts because we had nothing else to empty the tank with. Then John decided to take me out to dinner.
He could tell that I had really low blood sugar and I was feeling really depressed. On the way to I Love Sushi, I just started crying. Not really sad crying, not really bad crying, just crying and letting it all out. All the pressure that's been building for the last month from all the activity. Nervous and crazy.
I mean, yeah, there are good things that are probably going to happen with this move, but I don't really know those yet in a concrete sense. They are just possibilities with high probabilities, but I'm leaving everything that has been concrete and real to me for the last ten years. The lakes, the grey skies, the rain, the water, the trees, the people, and all the food that I've discovered in the last ten years. I can feel the parting, the grief of going. I think that the trigger was having to move the plants into the van. Ever since Mom gave me my first philadendren, the plants have been what made a place home, and now they were getting moved with no guarentee that they would survive the experience. So I cried on the way to the restaurant, then dried my tears and enjoyed my dinner thoroughly.
Soft shell crab crisp and hot in tempura, then the I Love rolls with sweet, tender eel, salmon skin handrools and other things that I've now associated with comfort and stability. It's an odd combination and realization.
I felt better after eating. We stopped off at Larry's to buy desserts for when we were through and we went to Eagle on the way home, bought a thick, plastic drop cloth to protect the boxes from the water in the plants and then set to work doing the last things that needed doing. Moving the last boxes, getting the last items into the van, turning down the heat and finally one last walk through to turn off all the lights.
And then we were on our way.
Our only goal was John's parents' house, as the passes were closed with snow that night. The rain that was everything I'd probably remember of the place was thick snow up in the passes, so we weren't going to try that at night. But if we got to John's parents' house, we'd have done the hard part, which was pack everything and get it all ready to go and out of the house and down some road. We knew that if we got that far, we could go much further in the morning.
The house itself was cold and silent as his parents are off in Italy this month. We turned on the heat, boiled some water just for heat to warm ourselves up and to drink with the desserts. We watched the news and the weather to see how the next day would be, and ate our desserts. Then we went to sleep on the beds his mom had made up for us before she left, and I slept dreamlessly.