Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Great Condiment Challenge


In exactly 35 days my family is leaving Philadelphia. Life has been so hectic, I have barely had time to think about the significance of this move. There was the baby’s three month birthday, Mother’s Day, Elizabeth’s bridal shower and my husband’s birthday. And now that I have time to breathe, it hits me. Philadelphia will no longer be our home in exactly 35 days.

I moved here reluctantly. My firm wanted me to work with a Philadelphia based client so I dragged my overnight bag down on the Amtrak. Well now it’s been four years. And in those four years, I’ve grown up so much.

In the last four years I took the time to really get to know some good people, I fell in love, matured professionally, made more money than I ever thought possible, got fired, lost my first mature relationship, started my own company, survived on less money than I ever thought possible, fell back in love, got pregnant, got engaged, had a wedding, found out my husband got into Anderson’s MBA program, nurtured my women friendships, and had a baby. That’s a lot of shit in four years.

At moments, it seems more than I can process. These are the times when I focus my energy on the logistics of the move. Instead of thinking about the women that held my hand on my wedding day and my baby after she was born, I’ve taped off the living room to present the measurements of the Penske rental truck. Instead of walking down all the alleyways filled with memories of stolen kisses and clacking high heels, I’ve ordered padded boxes for my mirrors. Instead of being present in all the AA meetings that got me though the highs and lows over the past four years, I’ve made 'to do' lists. It just seems easier to linger on the things I can control.

It seems like every time I move, I painfully shed a little more weight from my past. I trim down my furniture, I clean out my files, I send bags of clothes and memories to the Goodwill. But after ten moves in the past ten years, I’ve whittled down my belongings to the essential and the 'too meaningful with which to part'. How much more weight from my past am I ready to shed? And where do I even begin?

My husband looked around the house and said, “Let’s just throw it all away and start fresh.”

I held back tears and reminded him, “These are MY things. I know they don’t mean much to you, but I’ve been collecting them for years and they are special to ME. I’ve already thrown away so much of it since we met.” He sighed and rolled his eyes.

"You can start with the fridge!" He said.

I opened the fridge and stared at all the condiments we had collected. My husband leaned in closely, “I’m not moving anything that requires refrigeration.”

He stepped out of the kitchen and I remained behind to stare at the jelly's that my husband and I bought at a farm while visiting my Aunt and Uncle in the Berks, fish Sauce for that time we tried to replicate the soup from David Mae Law Wah’s, six kinds of dipping sauce that we bought for the nuggets we served at my husbands 32nd birthday party.

“Use it or lose it,” he called from the bedroom.

I hate to waste things. So the condiment challenge begins. My family is leaving Philadelphia in exactly 35 days. How many bottles can I empty before we depart? And does anyone have any recipes for horseradish jelly?



Rachel said...

that IS a lot of shit in four years. way to go, Ingrid...and best of luck on your cross country move! xoxo

Shawn e Laura de Belgique said...

Does anyone else think two canisters of whipped cream is excessive?

Cori said...

Sounds like you are enjoying life to the fullest! Having not been fired yet I don't have much to say on that subject, but heart being broken, that I know. It has picked up for you now which is good, need some highs in life.

We, Erik and I moved 4 months ago on our own from one city in Sweden to a slightly smaller city. It was HELL! -16 degrees celcius (sorry, don't know F) and snowy. I did most of the packing on my own because my darling man was already in Jönköping studying. Took us all day plus one friend to move everything 3 floors down (no elevator) into a truck, then drive for 5 hours in the snowy dark to our new very small apartment.

I took all the condiments because I to hate to waste things. Since it was soo cold out they were fine.


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