Change of place, change of luck

Today was my first time working with the home organizer we’ve hired. I’d been so impressed with the work J did with her. But this morning I woke up feeling like death, after a very bad night of sleep due to congestion, a sore throat, nothing cancer-related at all

By 10 a.m. I wondered if it even made sense to go through with the appointment, even though I’d emailed last night to say I was going ahead. She came into my bedroom and started emptying the Problem Bookshelf. It has been the place I stuff things when I don’t know where else to put them, and over the past 8 years it has gotten overstuffed, and not just with books. Old birthday cards, boxes with old journals, my notes from English 453 (Literary Theory). I read part of the kooky mimeographed syllabus to D, the organizer, and we both started laughing. I had told D I needed to lie down but she’d actually put the entire contents of the bookshelf across my bed. I was going to have to work for a rest. I managed, somehow.

Four hours later, we’d unclogged the bookshelf (which now has books on it in neat piles depending on which library they come from) and even moved on to tackling my desk in the living room. The truth is, I’m pretty sure I’m going to give that desk up to Young J and Young A as they learn to do useful stuff on the computer, and I want to set up camp with my laptop in the bedroom. A few logjams remain, like my file box of “broken books” (mostly damaged pop-up books) which the kids still want access to. (Or do they? Hmmmmm.)

I picked up my shoes from the shoe guy, ate ramen (which tasted perfect in spite of my congestion), then came home ready to move into my new wallet. Almost immediately, I was met by this:

From my grandfather, Zalmen (z'l)
From my grandfather, Zalmen (z’l)

My grandfather brought me the quote in German one Friday evening when he came for dinner. The following week, he brought me the translation, written on the back of a grocery receipt and glued to a piece of cardboard. Ive carried it in my wallet ever since. It turns out to be a pretty standard, classic quote in German, something people use in tributes or obituaries.

But it certainly means more than that to me, at this stage. I love that my grandfather chose to change the gender in the translation. And I really am a girl with hers contradictions. And these days, I really miss having grandparents.

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