It's 3:30 in the morning, and by all rights I should be sound asleep. I'm obviously not. Why? Could be the lack of heat in my apartment. (again.) Could be the fact that I've blitzed through the entire first 2 1/2 seasons of The Office over the course of three days, including a solid 4 hours tonight. (Speaking of which, I am finding myself overwhelmed by a burning desire to encase the valued possessions of my bosses, friends and family in Jell-o) But the real reason I'm awake is that I have to finish a list I have had weeks to prepare, and that I need to have to my father by 9 a.m. EST. I even managed to procrastinate by having fun today---skiing for a few hours at Copper Mountain in a blizzard, then rendezvousing with cousins Jon and Meg for a drink at a Communist Bar and awesome gourmet tapas with their friends Joe and Carolyn. (not kidding about the commie bar---hammer, sickle, lots of red, stripper pole. what more could a lonely pinko want?) Back to what I'm so successfully procrastinating--the list. It is a list of the possessions I would like to have from my grandma and grandpa's house. My dad and his three brothers are meeting tomorrow with the unenviable task of figuring out who gets what. Now, I've been putting this off for two reasons. Reason One: I know better, but I can't shake the incredibly tacky feeling I get treating the cherished possessions of my grandparents as my own personal eBay. Admittedly, unlike eBay, rather than reselling the items within week I plan to keep them and hopefully someday give them to my children, or at least a niece, or failing that at least a genial hobo. Still, it feels icky. (scientific term) Reason Two: As excited as I am that Jon and Meg are moving into the house, that house has been the focal point of my larger family life for as long as I've lived. Not only do I miss Grandpa and Grandma like hell, but I miss those times like hell. Friday night dinners, cherry pop, watching Pat dump an entire tub of liquid butter on the scalloped potatoes...I learned a lot in that house, both good and bad. I learned how to beat Super Mario Brothers 3 by getting both whistles, and I also learned what happens when you eat an entire platter of asparagus. I also learned that people get sick and don't come back--you know how some images, for whatever reason, are seared into your brain? Hearing about the JFK assassination? Where you were when Edgar Renteria beat the Indians in the '97 series? Well, when I was 11, I remember my grandfather starting to cough and not stopping. I remember my mom taking me away from the table to the upper part of the dining room, and explaining to me that grandpa was coughing because his health was failing. When I asked what it meant, she said it meant he wasn't going to get better. And she was right. Things change, people get older, people die, new people are born, the lion eats the gazelle and Simba inherits the kingdom. In theory, as life marches on it brings new challenges and new excitement. And that is true. But, as my father says, when you look around a room and all you see are ghosts, it is hard to see the new challenges through the fog.
I bet they are having one helluva game of pinochle up there.