Sorting and Storing and Stewing

I’ve spent the last couple of mornings sorting through my stuff, disposing of some, repacking the rest.

It’s hard because I need to be hard on myself. Do I really need three sets of pots and pans, a dozen assorted knives, and two sets of flatware? (His and mine.) Do I really need six lamps? (All ours.) What do I need to pack for long-term storage? What might I need in the next few months?

And it’s hard because I don’t know what life I am packing for. I plan to stay in this vicinity for a while longer, though I have no idea what that “stay” will involve since I don’t know how long I will be allowed to live in my father’s house, and the very thought of renting an apartment and settling down for the duration of a lease gives me the willies.

[Just spent an hour looking for the origin of the phrase “gives me the willies.” Apparently, it’s been around for hundreds of years since it shows up in print in the nineteenth century. Though there is much speculation about the origins of this particular phrase, no one knows for sure. One possibility comes from William Morris, the Word Detective, who speculates that willies might come from the name of a Slavic sprite called a vila (plural vili “sprites”) sometimes translated as wili.]

Nor do I know what my life will be like a few months from now. Will I give in to the need to be mobile and deal with the discomforts and dangers of being a nomad? Will I give in to the need to be warm and comfortable and deal wstewith the stagnation and entropy of being settled? If I opt to be a nomad, will I get a camper, or set out on foot? If I opt to settle down, will I find a place here or in Colorado?

Still, despite the difficulty of sorting through my stuff (and despite detours to look up unfamilar etymologies), I am making progress. I figure several months after the house is sold and the new people have moved in, I’ll be ready to leave here. I wonder if the new people will mind that their guest room comes with a ready-made guest. I’m thinking yes, they’d mind, so I’d better get back to my sorting and storing and stewing over my future.

The way I figure it, though, however things turn out, I’ll be okay. It’s the uncertainly of getting to where things have turned out that gives me something to try not to stew over.


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.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.