Archive for September 22nd, 2006

T Minus a 12-Pack

September 22, 2006 @ 8:11 pm | Filed under:

We have a move date. This is really happening. In less! than! two! weeks!

This week was a blur of packing, tossing, sorting, taping, head-shaking, nail-biting, laughing, crying, neighbor-thanking, baby-kissing, Dr.-Pepper-drinking, mover-interviewing, medical-records-getting, trash-hauling, and (no surprise here) chocolate-eating.

About the Dr. Pepper. See, officially? I don’t drink soda. Except in restaurants, because that’s different. Or at someone’s house if they offer, because that’s polite. Or if Scott opens a soda and doesn’t finish it, because that’s thrifty.

Conveniently, Scott just happens to open a soda at least once a day and then suddenly decide he doesn’t want it after all. Conveniently, this soda always happens to be a Dr. Pepper, which is my favorite, instead of Coke, which is his. Conveniently, he opens this soda (which he will suddenly decide not to drink) at EXACTLY the moment when I am sitting down to lunch every day.

At least, that’s how it was when he lived here.

Since he left for the new job in July, I’ve been forced to (horrors!) put my own sodas in the fridge, and take them out, and open them and everything. In short, I’ve had to admit that I really am a soda drinker. In fact, it seems I have quite the little Dr. Pepper addiction going on. I mean, only one a day, but still. Soda. Sugar, caffeine. Nursing mom and all that.


But okay, fine, I admit it. I drink Dr. Pepper. Wait. I mean: I drink Dr. Pepper and I’m proud!

But I’ll fall off my high horse only so far and no farther: the whole time Scott has been gone, I haven’t BOUGHT any sodas myself. Nor have I put them on the list for the nice neighbors who have helped me with my shopping. Somehow that has seemed to be a line I wouldn’t cross. Scott stocked up on DP before he left for California, and I told myself that when it was gone, it was gone. And then WHEW, he came back in August just in time to restock before I got the DP DTs.

But that supply ran out three days ago.

By yesterday, my craving for the bubbly goodness of Fizzy Pepper, M.D., was powerful strong. My body needed carbs, and by that I mean carbonation. As an official out-of-the-closet Pepper and Part of an Original Crowd, I am supposed to be PROUD, right? But I’m not too proud to admit that I actually called my neighbor, Jenn, to ask if she had any Dr. Pepper. (I would have settled for a Coke. Or an Orange Crush. Or, what the heck, Pop Rocks in cherry Kool-Aid. Anything for that fiiiiizzzz.)

(But preferably the Dr. Pepper. And not diet. Because I am HEALTHY! I do not consume aspartame! Only real sugar! And corn syrup and caramel coloring!)

Alas, Jenn had no soda, diet or otherwise. Because SHE is really healthy instead of just pretend healthy. But she offered to pick me up some when she ran to the grocery store. For a moment, I hesitated. But she offered, right? That’s different from my asking for it, right?

So I said yes, please. And then a little while later, a DIFFERENT friend, Sarah, appeared before me with a 12-pack of Dr. Pepper in her hands.

"How did you know?" I asked, restraining myself from lunging at the box and opening a can with my teeth.

"A little bird told me you were out," she said, her eyes twinkling.


"No—your husband. He emailed me."

(Pardon the delay while I give the Internet a great big hug. Oh, email! How I love you!)

And yes, yes, this means I am so pathetic that I actually lamented to Scott on the phone that I was out of Dr. Pepper but was stubbornly refusing to just go buy some, and it also means that I am totally clueless, because even after the chocolate thing IT NEVER OCCURRED TO ME that he would take matters into his own keyboarding fingers to solve my completely ridiculous non-problem. Because he is THAT sweet a guy.

And Sarah is that swell a friend. And when Jenn (also a swell friend) dropped by later with another 12-pack, I could only laugh in chagrin (between delirious gulps of fizzy, vaguely-cherry- flavored-or-do-I-only-think-that-because-I-read-somewhere- that-Dr.-Pepper-is-supposed-to-be-black-cherry-flavored-and-at- the-time-I-was-shocked-because-I-had-no-idea-I-just-thought- it-was-Dr.-Pepper-flavored goodness).

And now I have twenty-four whole sodas mine mine all mine. Except that I drank TWO today. Which leaves twenty-two. (See how good I am at math? Now you can rest easy that I am qualified to teach it to my children.)

Twenty-two. And it just hit me that I will only be here twelve more days.

I will be here for just one more package of Dr. Pepper.

It’s all happening very quickly now.

At least I know what to give as parting gifts to my ten best friends* in the neighborhood. Don’t you know? It’s the original taste that I love so.

*If you are one of my neighborhood friends and I leave without giving you one of my Dr. Peppers, don’t think I was dissing you. I am probably definitely going to keep them all for myself, for the trip.

Poetry Friday: Moving

September 22, 2006 @ 11:25 am | Filed under:

I wish I could post this Randall Jarrell poem in its entirety, but it is of course under copyright, and I can’t find it anywhere online. If you want to see the rest, you’ll have to look it up at the library, I guess. It would be well worth your time. I’ve never read anything that more poignantly captures the emotional wrench of moving. In this case, we’re experiencing the move through the eyes of a very young girl who knows that nothing will ever be the same again.

by Randall Jarrell

Some of the sky is grey and some of it is white.
The leaves have lost their heads
And are dancing round the tree in circles, dead;
The cat is in it.
A smeared, banged, tow-headed
Girl in a flowered, flour-sack print
Sniffles and holds up her last bite
Of bread and butter and brown sugar to the wind.

Butter the cat’s paws
And bread the wind. We are moving.
I shall never again sing
Good morning, Dear Teacher, to my own dear teacher.
Never again
Will Augusta be the capital of Maine.
The dew has rusted the catch of the strap of my satchel
And the sun has fallen from the place where it was chained
With a blue construction-paper chain…


There is so much more. When the girl thinks about how someone else must draw the Thanksgiving decorations for her classroom, your heart might break.

Even more moving are the lines:

Never again will Orion
Fall on my speller through the star
Taped on the broken window by my cot.

This is what makes Jarrell a master, this ability to capture with perfect clarity the point of view of his speaker. The little girl obviously lives in poverty, and for all we know she is going to a better house, a better life. The poem doesn’t tell us whether this is an upward move or a downward one.

What the girl knows is that everything she knows is changing. A child, like a poet, clings to small pieces of beauty wherever she finds them, and this child has found a piece in the cracked glass of a window. The tape covering the glass makes a star, and stars shine through it.

She studies her speller by starlight, and her strongest attachments are to her school and her teacher. Wherever she is going, for better or worse, she is leaving those things behind, and we can only hope that the stars will continue to shine on her efforts.

Unearthed: My First Story

September 22, 2006 @ 6:57 am | Filed under:

While going through boxes in the basement, I found my baby book. My mother had tucked this piece of paper inside:


I don’t know how old I was, but I had to have been pretty young. (Mom, do  you remember?)

If you click to enlarge, you can just barely make out that: 1) I had yet to master the lower-case a; 2) the spelling of the word “cousin” had me completely flummoxed; and 3) my understanding of story structure has come a long way. “Look! Look! A bird nest. We will have to take care of it. If we don’t it will die.” “OK. Let’s go to the store and buy a big Ice-Cream.” “OK. A big big big one!”

So much for the poor little bird. But, I mean, come on! Ice cream!

At the bottom of the page, my mom wrote: “She wrote this story completely by herself. Maybe we have a budding author on our hands.”

Aw, Mom! Sniffle…