All I want for Christmas

Unlike you — or should I say unlike some of you — I did not go shopping today. I did get a burrito at a taco stand, though I don’t think that actually counts as “shopping.” Instead, I again spent the day at my storage unit, clearing out more of my things. After getting rid of three carloads of stuff, the storage unit looks even fuller than it did before. (Admittedly, a Volkswagen Beetle carload is not the same as an SUV carload, but there should have been some obvious indication of all the work I did.) I still haven’t gone through everything — I only managed to get to about a fourth of what’s in the unit. The rest is packed in tightly, but little by little, I will find a way to get to it all.

Next I have to clean my room. Much of the stuff I need to sort through I brought here, so the room looks like a mini storage unit. So unattractive, and such a mess!

But that’s a project for tomorrow.

Tonight I’m writing this blog and drowning my sorrows in sparkling apple/peach cider.

Not that I have any real sorrows at the moment other than the very sore muscles and aching ex-broken hand from all the lifting. There’s nothing I particularly want. (Lucky you! If you were thinking of getting me a Christmas present, you are now off the hook.) And, considering the amount of stuff I still have, there is apparently nothing I need.

The few things I do want are more for the future, and I am making a concerted effort not to worry about things I cannot (or will not) change right now. When the time comes to worry about money or . . . anything . . . then I will. So even though someday there will be things I need, I don’t need them now.

Of course, there’s still that impossible dream, but that’s not about wanting, either. It’s more about doing. Striving toward a goal. To that end, I got my backpack out of storage, and beginning in January, I plan to stash a gallon bottle of water in the pack, and see if I can walk around the block. (A great tip I read once — use water to weight a practice pack, that way, if you get too tired or sore, you can dump the water to lighten the pack. There will be no dance classes that first week in January, so if I destroy my feet carrying that extra weight, I’ll have plenty of time to recuperate before I need to use them again.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Being

I don’t know if you will find this as amusing as I do, but I’m sitting in my storage unit, taking a break from digging out stuff I need for the coming week, and rearranging boxes to make needful things more accessible. I feel perfectly comfortable here, as if I’ve always been unanchored without my possessions a constant presence in my life. Maybe I’m finally learning to be at home wherever I am, unanchored or not.

I called myself unanchored because although I don’t have a place of residence at the moment beyond the grace of my friends’ hospitality, calling myself homeless doesn’t fit with the current meaning of the word, or at least the current implications of the word. I am not destitute, not dysfunctional, not addicted to anything. I am merely in a state of transition, learning to go with the flow of life, experiencing whatever comes my way. And apparently what has come my way is my sitting in a storage unit, smiling at the ridiculousness of the situation.

(Actually, now that I think about it, it’s not so silly. The photo at the bottom of this post is what I am seeing. Is your view as lovely?)

When I left the house today, I made plans to meet up with my friend in four hours. She seemed concerned about what I would do with all that time. I suppose what I am currently doing is simply being. Not a bad way to spend a sunny afternoon.

Hope your day is as being-ful as mine.

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(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

A Home for my Stuff

Wow! According to a recent slew of emails, I’m rich! I just need to send a bunch of money to a widow somewhere in the Middle East so she can come and share her fortune with me. I’ve won a half-dozen sweepstakes. And google wants to share its profits with me. Is that all? Hmmm. No. There was the gentleman who . . . well, never mind what he wanted.

It’s a good thing I have all these riches coming to me by email. I just found a home for my stuff that will cost about as much as my first apartment. It’s a nice place, lovely views, close to a garden, far from the highway, with good neighbors. Mostly seniors, or so the manager said. Too bad my stuff is inanimate and won’t have any idea how well I’m looking out for it.

fearI chose a space, smaller than I wanted, but with better insulation, and facing away from the wind and summer sun. It was also more than I wanted to pay, but the cheaper indoor storage units were downright creepy. The first one the woman showed me used to be an outside unit, but because of problems with rain, they had to build a wall to enclose the spaces. It was dark and oh, so dungeony! I could almost see hear the clanking chains and raspy calls for help.

The second space she showed me was bigger and brighter. Too bright. The narrow hall was covered with something that looked like white enamel, the expanse only broken by the cracks delineating the doors. I had to hold my breath when she unlocked the door lest the smell of formaldehyde from the rotting bodies within would assault my tender nose. No bodies, of course. At least not in that unit. I have no idea what was stored in any of the other units, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of illegal operations of the medical variety being performed within.

If this were a fairy tale, the third space would have been just right, but as grim as the adventure was to that point, it wasn’t one of Grimm’s. Although this space had a drive-up entrance, it had no insulation and faced the summer sun, and the resulting heat would have melted my china. (If I had any china, that is.) Wind blew dust into the space as we stood there, her looking expectantly at me, me trying not to look at the shady fellows lounging by the pickup three doors down.

Luckily, there was a fourth option.

So now my stuff has a home, or it will be when it’s safe inside. I’m not so settled. I do have a couple of offers of emergency bivouacs, but nothing more permanent than that. Some people are still trying to find me a place because they don’t want me to leave. Others seem to be rushing me on my way so I can fulfill their dreams of wondrous adventures. Even the songs that follow me in grocery stores and restaurants seem to be nudging me to leave. “You say you want to start something new . . . take good care . . . It’s a wild world . . .”

Even though I have but two weeks left in this house, I’m still taking it a day at a time, enjoying the comfort and luxury available to me while I’m waiting for all those sweepstakes and wealthy Middle Eastern widows to pay off.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.