CURAD Ouchless

My fiancé, Julie, finally sold her house.  We moved her out this weekend into a temporary place in Charlotte.  Now, it’s my turn.  It’s like dominos – one step forward puts the next in motion.  When we finish, the plan is marriage and ONE house.  After five years of dating, it’s probably time.

I’ve had workmen at my house shoring up odd jobs, and I’ve been cleaning out like a crazy person.  I’ve watched Julie do the same.

It’s interesting what you find – it’s fun, it’s dirty, and sometimes it pierces a heartstring.

Last night I was shoring up the Rubbermaid band aid container.  Does everyone have a band aid box with various shapes and sizes of stick ‘ems and gauze?  In my quest to clean out, I came across an old tin of CURAD Ouchless Bandages.  I started to toss it without looking in.  But that’s not my style.  No, I look in everything to see if there is any feasible reason I might want to save something.  I hate to throw things out – what if I could reuse it?  An old towel could become a new rag.  What if someone else could use it?  My junk is another’s treasure.  What if it conjures up a memory that I might otherwise lose?  A hand drawn card from Michelle dubbing me the “best father” of all time!  That’s like an Oscar for me.

I opened the can and there were no boo-boo strips.  Instead two bills, one dollar and a five.  On the dollar, my grandmother had written:  This bill was in my father’s wallet on the day that he died, July 30, 1965.  On the five the same message but for my great-grandmother, This bill was in mama’s wallet on the day that she died, June 21, 1970.  Also rolled up with the money was a note in my great-grandmother’s writing saying keep this bill always to remember your dad.  I was not yet 1 when my great-grandfather died and only five when his wife passed.  But how cool to have a physical remembrance of their love and our family history.

It is hard to move out of a house that you’ve lived in for nearly thirty years.  The laughs that we’ve had.  The tears that we’ve shed.  The victories and losses.  The weekly totes in of the groceries.  The fall nights on the screen porch.  All are special.  Comfortable.  Warm.

And yet, the danger of gripping so hard to the past is the possibility of foiling the future.  We have to pack our CURAD tins in a cardboard box, and take them with us as we move forward.  Our past can stagnate or add delight to what comes ahead.   I choose delight all day long!

Found the Marketplace

It’s just full.  So, so full.  My house.  Brimming.  You can’t walk into the attic.  The basement storage room is storaged out.  There’s a pathway to get to the old kitchen cabinet filled with… NAILS.  Nails and nails all kinds of nails, big ones, skinny ones, sharp ones too.  Why do I have so many nails?  Because I build a lot of stuff?  No.  That’s not the reason.  I honestly don’t know.  I haven’t nailed anything in sixteen years.  But there are thousands of them.

Julie had a friend who got rid of some stuff on Facebook Marketplace.  So I figured, what the heck!  It’s a pandemic.  What else I got to do?  I’ll try it.

I pulled out the old stuff, jammed in closets and hidden in giant Tupperware.  Julie took the pictures and created each item’s description:  Antique Tray with Pair Artistry (i.e. old tray with kid Decoupoge); four sturdy stools for a great painting project!  I think someone already painted a couple of them – so this would actually be a re-painting project.

But people love my junk.  I sold two Pier 1 vases from 1985 for like $30!  I bet they didn’t cost $30 dollars three decades ago when I bought them.  Ap-pre-ci-a-tion!

One annoying guy had me hold an old cabinet for 48 hours and then didn’t show to pick it up!  I was irked!  I lost THREE other buyers in the process.

I had these really old dusty topiaries that had been cluttering the fireplace hearth for twenty years.  Leftovers from a school auction.  I bet I had 35 people after them.  One woman hit me up and immediately drove to my house to get them.  I blew the dust off before she arrived.

I put the item on the porch; they leave the cash under the front door mat.  I fear the neighbors think I’m dealing drugs.  Lots of strangers at my front door.  They drive up, grab their stash, leave the money, and poof, they’re gone!  I haven’t met one of them in person.  I sort of like it that way.  Feels like a mafia deal:

“You want the goods?”

“Yea.”

“$45?”

“Yea.”

“Pick ‘em up on Bellwood Drive.  5 PM?  On the porch, over by the fern.”

“Got it.”

Other than cleaning out, which sort of feels like a household enema, the thing I like the most about this project is the moollah!  I once had a yard sale, stuff in the carport for days.  I sold $170 worth and hauled three minvans full of leftovers to Goodwill.  Last weekend I made $370 on about six items.  My phone dings when someone inquires on Marketplace.  It’s the sound of cash!

I’m cleaning out baby!  I’m ready to go!  Anywhere, actually.  Please…  Anywhere…

The Colonoscopy Chronicle

Just waiting for the cranberry to kick in…

Tuesday, May 21, 4:45 PM

Colonoscopy scheduled for 8:45 AM tomorrow.  Let the games begin!

I just drank a bottle of Clenpiq.  It is supposed to clean out my colon.  Actually mine stays fairly clean – if you know what I mean.  The box says it is cranberry flavored.  Is that what that was?  Maybe cranberries that were eaten and thrown back up.  Mixed with rotten cabbage.  And raw beets.  Dis-gusting.

At work today, they served make-your-own deli sandwiches at our Board meeting.  I drank water.  In fact, I haven’t had solid food since last night.  I fear that out of desperation, my stomach will eat my spleen.

I am sucking a lemon cough drop to rid myself of the “cranberry” taste.  It is embedded in the crevasses of my mouth.

7:11 PM

Ooops.  Forgot to take the laxative at noon.  Well, forget is the wrong word.  I choose not to take it because I work.  Someone told me I should have taken Tuesday off for the prep.  What would I tell HR?  I need the day off to poop?  I’ll take it now.  Better late than never.  I guess.

7:42 PM

The laxative is working.  Thank goodness for Spider solitaire.  I wish I had a TV in my bathroom.

9:22 PM

I am now peeing out of all orifices.  This is unreal.  It is as clear as Evian.

10:56 PM

This must end.

Wednesday, May 22, 2:00 AM

Henson and Fuerst Law Firm.  Who advertises on local TV at 2 AM??  Who is watching this except people prepping for their colonoscopy who also didn’t take the laxative until 7:11 PM?  I think those attorneys need a new marketing director.

6:00 AM

It continues but how?  I think the fluid from my brain is coming out.

8:45 AM

I am nude save a cotton gown with a slit up the back.

Me:  “Can I get the IV in my hand?  I don’t like you digging in my arm veins with that teeny little needle.”

Nurse:  “You can if you have good veins in your hand.”

Me:  “I have the best hand veins your eyes have ever seen.”

9:12 AM

“We’re gonna give you some medicine that will make you drowsy.”

10:01 AM

“Mr. Tanner, it’s time to wake up.”

Honestly, I have no idea what happened in that 49 minutes of my life.  They could have shot me out of a cannon at the circus.  Who knows what they did to me?  I feel so clean.

Doctor:  “You have a beautiful colon.”

Me:  “I KNEW it!”

I also had an endoscopy.  They stretched my esophagus so I could eat larger amounts of food more quickly.

10:50 AM

Chicken salad bagel, salt and vinegar chips, coffee.

Free and clear.  Ten more years til the next.

 

My wife died nine years ago at age 39 from colon cancer.  We take colonosopying very seriously at my house.  My daughters will start theirs at age 29 due to family history.  If you are 50, don’t delay, make your appointment today.  If you are any age and are having significant issues with your digestive system, please go get checked.  If you have a family history, you already know what to do.  Many forms of this disease are treatable if caught early.

Sunday Post 56: Dead Van Driving

Posted by Danny

I remember buying the green Honda minivan.  Lisa was pregnant with Michelle.  I spent the previous Saturday in the driveway trying to squeeze three car seats in the back of our four-year old Honda Accord.

“Honey, I know you don’t think we can afford a new car,” my wife with the big stomach reasoned, “but you can’t fit a booster seat, a car seat and an infant carrier in the back of that car.  We have to go bigger.”

“Does DJ have to have a booster seat?  Or, could we just squeeze her between the other two?”

“Why don’t you just bungi her to the hood?”

“I guess that would work as long as it didn’t snow.”

Somehow we managed, a new baby, a new car and we still had enough money to buy beer.

It’s amazing how attached you can get to an inanimate object.  It was eleven years old, I hadn’t driven it in months.  Jesse took it when he moved back to town from DC where he didn’t need a vehicle.  And last week, as Jesse headed up the last hill to drop the kids off at school, it died – for good.

I had it towed to a salvage yard and traded my precious memories for a $350 check.  I almost refused the check, it was insulting.  Like selling your dog.

I headed through the lot to find my car for the clean out.  I spotted the back of the van.  I could picture following Lisa home from church on Sunday nights – I could pick out those tail lights in a midnight parade.  As I approached, I grabbed the bar of the luggage rack.  There were many trips to the beach, the girls’ red wagon strapped on the top along with the jogging stroller.  Lisa was always afraid they’d fly off on I-40 – a warranted lack of trust in my mechanical abilities.

I dug out the Disney CD’s we’d sing to as we drove home from preschool each day.  There were road maps we’d accrued from trips up and down the east coast and Lisa’s handwritten directions to Capon Springs.  I know how to get there now, but I didn’t throw the scrap of paper away.

The car Bingo game –

A hair clip –

As I shut the automatic door for the last time, I thought of how quickly time passes and how silly it was to equate life to a ton of dark green metal.  Losing the car is not re-losing Lisa.  Her memory isn’t in stuff – there is a part of Lisa in me, and in our friends, and especially in my girls. 

That’s the fortunate thing – I get to see her everyday.

A Cleaner Closet and One Step Further

Posted by Danny

Lisa’s things have been fairly untouched since she died 22 months ago.  The closet, in particular, has been crammed full of her tailored couture.  I still have her makeup.

I was visiting my parents at Thanksgiving in Fayetteville and spent an hour with an old high school friend who lost his wife 13 years ago when she was only 32.  As we talked, he asked about her stuff.  I told him I hadn’t done anything about it.  He said, “It’s time.”  The words resonated.  I knew he was right.

I’d been feeling for a while I needed to tackle that project, but I found a number of excuses not to.  This week, I faced my fear.

I decided to make three piles: 

The items I thought the girls might want to keep, and the things I just could not part with.

Clothing that I am going to have made into quilts for each girl.  Most of it colorful – I tried to choose items that represented a strong sampling of Lisa’s style – or something with strong meaning, like her favorite pajamas.  These blankets will have to be dry cleaned.  I couldn’t find a ton of meaningful cotton.

The third was the give away stack – lots of black pants and white turtle necks made it there.

It seemed that each item had a story.  Near the top of the pile were the clothes she’d worn the last six months of her life as we trekked back and forth to Duke for treatment.  Those jersey pants and long-sleeved pullovers were the first to hit the giveaway pile.  Those are not memories I’m fond of keeping.  Each article took me back to a different waiting or examining room.  A doctor’s face seemed to be stencilled on each sleeve.  The gauzy underwear for after surgery – straight to the trash can – but even they brought tears.

The white jacket she was wearing the day she told me she had cancer.  It may leave the house, but it will never leave my memory.

The dress she wore at Michelle’s baptism – the picture in the bedroom stands as the reminder. 

The skirt she wore when she volunteered us to work the coat closet at the Governor’s inauguration.  An hour of work in return for rubbing elbows with Jim Hunt – a fair trade.  I’ll have to admit, she looked so good I would have liked to “inaugurate” the closet.  I asked – she wouldn’t.

Only once did she hire a personal shopper – and she did so without my preshopping knowledge.  It was for her 20th class reunion.  She proudly told me that although the outfit was expensive, I’d be glad to know she didn’t buy the $600 pair of shoes that her advisor suggested.  The pants, blouse and the shoes she did buy, I kept.  My favorite picture of us was taken that night.

The hardest part was her underwear.  Isn’t that funny?  Maybe it was the intimacy of those items.  I kept my favorites.

At one point, it dawned on me the dollar investment of all of these things.  Thousands of dollars I’m sure.  And now, 60% of them will be given away or cut into flower pedals. 

It’s just stuff I tell myself.  Lisa doesn’t live in items – she lives in our hearts and minds. 

Yeah – keep telling yourself that buddy.  You still buy her brand of conditioner and sniff it like a cocaine addict.

But this is progress – yes, this is progress.

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