02 March 2015


I arrived on Orcas on Friday afternoon with the front door to our Orcas home, after completing my last Wallingford tasks, readying the Taylor Inn for its next proprietors.

Friend L and I had a delightful time Thursday afternoon hanging staging pictures from the picture rails, to keep the stagers from hammering nails willy-nilly into the 94-year-old plaster walls (it looks great!).

Friday morning I stopped briefly by the house to put something heavy on top the box covering the deep sump-pump well in the strip of north yard; Marsh, thinking back to the youth of his own son, had suddenly worried that children left to wander during a crowded open house might come a cropper with an unintentional head-first visit into the deep hole they'd uncovered. I alarmed the photographer, who was in the kitchen taking the brochure pictures, when I clomped, unannounced, up the back stairs with bricks in my hands.

Bricks successfully deposited, I stopped in Shoreline at /Frank Lumber: The Door Store/, to pick up our front door, which needed to be canted into the bed of Nublu, and which was bagged against the drizzle ("How far are you going?" asked an employee, assiduously surveying the weather. "Orcas Island," I replied, and he pulled out the bag.)

One of the employees tied it in for me--I haven't yet internalized Ian's good knots--and off I went.

<I'll take a moment here to remind readers that we've been involved in this multi-step move process for several loooong months now.>

I was anxious getting on I-5 with something tied in the back of my truck. As we've approached the finish line in Wallingford, I've been more and more wary of catastrophe derailing our goals--to sell our house for enough to finish our build; to cut our homes by half; to move successfully to paradise. And to still be alive, and healthy enough to enjoy it. And also, to not have any felonies on our records, such as might appear if a door leapt into freeway traffic at 60 mph, and decapitated someone in a modest sedan.

I glanced regularly in the rearview mirror as I drove along through Mountlake Terrace and Mukilteo and Lynnwood, and relaxed a little as I approached Everett. I began looking around at the scenery, and allowed myself to think of other things.

Suddenly, partway through Everett, I glanced back, and the rope tying the door in, angled across one corner stuck out over the tailgate, *had moved,* just a little. I realized that I had given the door a shove when it was all tied in, *but I had not actually looked at the knots*. Oh god.

I decided I would get off at the rest area about ten miles on, but as I continued up the road, every glance in the rearview mirror showed a little more movement of my door. I realized I would have to stop ASAP, which meant Marysville, which, unfortunately, was *four miles on*. I was already in the right lane, and I put on my hazards, slowed slightly (to just under 60, as if those last two miles per hour were the ticket), and exited as soon as I could.

I pulled into an Arco, leapt out of Nublu on shaky legs, and tottered to the rear.

NOTHING HAD CHANGED. IT HAD ALL BEEN MY ANXIOUS IMAGINATION. The knots were exactly the ones Ian would've used, and they were holding perfectly fine.

Jittery and panting, I went into the AM/PM for the bathroom key (where I piddled a gallon), then I bought myself a turkey sandwich and sat in my seat wolfing down calming protein and tryptophan.

As I relaxed, I realized that if I were going to continue north with any semblance of calm, it would have to be on a different route. Google maps showed me that Route 9 was only a mile or two east, and it teed with Route 534, which I was planning to take through Conway and Fir Island anyway. I headed out, and had a beautiful drive through the late-winter, glowing-moss hinterlands. 

In the event, I arrived in Anacortes early enough that I was put on an earlier boat than I'd reserved for; there were builders to help me unload the door on Orcas; Ian arrived from a work-week in Vancouver, BC at 8:10pm instead of 10:30pm, and all was right with the world.

Lying in bed Saturday morning, I realized that I felt like only the wrappings of myself: like a well-loved dog toy; eviscerated and barely recognizable as its former self; the squeaker silenced except for a desultory clicking when bitten; no more than an inch thick. Utterly spent.

I have very slightly more stuffing today.

one-fingered on my phone

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