Tonight I leave for a week-long trip with my students. We are going to New Mexico where we will visit Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands National Monument, Bandelier National Monument, Los Alamos Labs, the Georgia O’Kefe Museum, Jemez Pueblo, and much more. Before I leave, though, Geoff and I have to go over to the old house and close it out. I think the saddest thing on earth might be an empty house.
In my mind I had allotted three hours for the remaining tasks that needed to be done at the old house. In general I am an excellent estimator, but I neglected to take into account the amount of closet and storage space that still needed to be tackled. The three-hour project turned into a six-hour project, which on any other day would not matter, but since I am leaving for a weeklong trip with 124 teenagers, I was hoping for a little more down time. The time cleaning out the remainder of the house was well spent though, because I learned about several items that are a part of our community property that I was not previously aware of.
For example, do you know what you call a nine-foot bamboo pole with a four pronged spike at the end. Naively, I asked Geoff, “What do you call a trident with four prongs? A four-dent?”
“That, my dear, is a frog gigger,” said Geoff as if it was the most normal thing in the world.
“ Are all frog giggers nine feet long?”
“The good ones. You don’t want to be out trying to gig a frog with a short frog gigger. Let’s say for example you had a six-foot long frog gigger and you went out frog gigging. You would be severely disappointed with the quality of frog you could gig with that short of a gigger. In fact, your frogs would be so small, the legs wouldn’t even be big enough to eat.”
Well there you go. I officially consider myself schooled in frog gigging. For the time being anyway.
Another farm skill that I am deficient in (if the gigging of frogs is in fact a farm skill) is knot tying. Geoff, and I am not exactly sure why, is an excellent knot tie-er. This skill has come in particularly handy during the move. Although I am an excellent packer (I stowed the nine foot frog gigger comfortably in the interior of my 2005 Toyota Camry) I am not good at tying knots. In fact, each time Geoff has asked me to tie a knot we’ve barely avoided disaster. The only knot I know is the square knot to the nth power. Meaning, if I need to tie my shoe, I use square knot to the first power. If I need to tie my hiking boot, I use square not to the second power, also known as the double knot. When Geoff asked me to tie the doors of the giant entertainment center that we sold closed, I used square not to the third power, just to be safe.
I expected to be a little emotional today when we finally got everything out of the old house. I know when I sold my old house and moved in with Geoff I was very emotional. I remember the look of panic on Geoff’s face as I stood crying in my old driveway holding the last of my belongings. Fortunately I eventually quit crying and was able to explain to Geoff that I wasn’t crying because I was sad about moving in with him, I was crying because that house meant a lot to me in addition to being a symbol of my adulthood and my independence, it was also just a kick-ass really fun house full of memories from countless parties and special moments. After all, Geoff proposed to me on that porch (the same porch on which he told me he loved me promptly followed by me slamming the door in his face, locking the deadbolt, and slapping off the porch light–I’ve come a long way). So today, as we were leaving the house that Geoff has owned for over seven years, I paused, and asked him if he was going to cry.
“Naw. A house is just a house, the people who live in it make it a home.”
Anyone can know that is true intellectually, but that doesn’t mean that the emotional terrorists known as feelings, memories, and hormones don’t kick in when you least expect it. Evidently my emotions operate in an Al Qaeda like fashion, and Geoff’s are more like girl scouts, if you don’t want to let them in, don’t open the door.
Despite the lack of waterworks, we are finally fully located in one dwelling just in time for next week’s closing. I am relieved to be over yet another hurdle in our steeplechase of prospective farm ownership. Now I will abandon Geoff to manage all real estate transactions for the next week. I know he’s just the man for the job. Although I am secretly hoping that an emotional sleeper cell erupts during closing and he cries like a baby. One can only hope.