I believe I admitted in that last post over at OutsideIn (re: pre anesthesia true confessions) that I have a little “money hiding” neurosis going. This isn’t anything new with me; I’ve been hoarding pennies forever. As a child I coveted my brother’s safe that he got as a Christmas gift one year. Frankly, in retrospect, that’s an odd sort of gift to give a 12 year old boy: a 14 inch cube of flimsy steel with a simple combination lock. I spent a good two months sneaking into his room, honing my lock tumbling skills (there may have been some relationship between this persistent curiosity about my brother’s business and why my mother gifted him the safe in the first place, now that I think about it). You cannot imagine my horror, when I finally cracked the combination, to discover that the safe contained (nothing but) well over a thousand Lik-a-Maid and Bonamo’s Turkish Taffy wrappers compacted into a solid block of paper waste. I was stunned. Stunned and horrified. Where was the MONEY??? I was so offended that I immediately ratted him out to my mother who promptly disciplined me for invading my brother’s privacy. Oh, the inequity of my childhood!
I still don’t know what I would have done if the safe had been full of cash. Probably just admired it and put my brother on a higher pedestal still. I certainly wouldn’t have taken it- I was a sneak but not a thief- but I surely would have admired a hidden stash of cash. By the time I moved away from home at sixteen I was already hoarding dollar bills in books. I did this for about two decades until I realized that my system wasn’t organized enough to a) insure that I didn’t forget which books had money in the pages and b) avoid the risk of discovery as people perused my extensive library with interest. When we moved to a new house, I tried to locate all of those single bills and discovered I had amassed quite a bit of money over 20 years. I vowed to refine my neurosis with all new and ingenious hiding places. This has worked with greater and lesser success, lesser in the sense that now another twenty years have passed and my memory can go blank without warning every once in a while. After I stop hyperventilating and do a little yoga, I always remember that I moved the stash the previous Tuesday; I’ve been known to pop right out of shavasana and head for some remote corner of the house where I squeal with pleasure at rediscovery. Nevertheless, the risk of forgetting completely rises with each passing day.
You cannot imagine my delight when we moved in here and the non-English speaking carpet installer came and snagged me by the sleeve, “Venga y mira etso!”, to show me a combination safe he had discovered in the floor beneath torn up old carpeting. Then (this was like divine support for my dysfunctional behavior!) he showed me a spot 10 feet away where a series of three numbers were penciled on the plywood subfloor. Through a series of hand gestures I feigned nonchalance and indicated that he could put new carpet right over all of that, with just an invisible seam for access.
See what I mean? This is a neurosis. Plus, if I reveal any more of this nonsense I’ll have to come up with an alternate plan for stashing cash. Here’s the real nonsense: It’s not, at this point in my life, all that much money. It’s not more than I could go to the bank and withdraw on any given day. It’s not enough to protect us in case of disaster. More importantly, it is not enough to protect me from the things that really could threaten my security. Colony Collapse Disorder. Drowning polar bears. Violations of privacy that bear no similarity to prying little sisters. The health, safety and happiness of my family.
So what do I get out of a secret stash? Symbolic things, such as a little sense of independence. The knowledge that, if we wanted to fly away to some distant place to gather our thoughts, I could pay for the plane tickets. A new instrument or wet suit for someone. Not so much, but still…
(Remind me to tell you some time about my brother, the Civil War gold dollars and Lik-a-Maid – it goes hand in hand with this story.)
The children have headed to Ann Arbor for a couple days and then Abby is returning tomorrow. The break is good; they were wearing me out. All that laughter. It’s endless and goes late into the night. How can any two young adults find that much to laugh over? They really get rolling with late night editions of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report or YouTube or whatever. Rich and I would be drifting off on the middle floor and up on the third floor- hysterical laughter. We would be quiet, trying not to disrupt the path to sleep but then one or the other of us would start giggling and pretty soon we were laughing, too, at absolutely nothing more than their laughter.
Plus, they exercise too much. Abby trailed me at the zoo on Monday but then I was completely bushed on Tuesday so I was on the sofa while Rich played volleyball and Abby and Dan were running 8 miles and swimming laps in the lake. In 96 degrees, with high humidity. That’s just wrong. Then, all that exercise makes everybody too hungry. And thirsty. Gallon lugs of Trader Joe’s tea, lemonade, and 312 beer just poured out of this house for a few days.
I was struck again at how different these good friends are in personality. It’s hard to believe they are from the same gene pool. They are extremes. Dan lives on a 100% internally driven clock so every day is different in tempo and intensity. Music defines his life -practicing and composing- and it happens when it happens so he is rarely eating or sleeping with the rest of us. He also continues to be cautious about change and anything new, while interesting, requires a period of study. Abby is headlong into her day early with a cup of Starbucks and the New York Times. She reads the paper and does the crossword puzzle and then she’s ready to get up and out. She doesn’t need to know her route before starting out on a two hour run and she has complete confidence that she will be able to find her way back no matter where she gets to in Chicago.
They were heading out to run the other day and Abby kept saying, come on, come on and Dan said “I just have to check something on the computer first.” Finally they headed out the door and I collapsed in my chair to catch up on blog reading and here’s what was on my desktop:
The Bull Shark is found all over the world in many different areas. The bull shark has been known to travel long distances. The bull shark is common in the coastal areas of warm oceans, in rivers and lakes, and in both salt and fresh water. They are found to a depth of 150 m, but does not usually swim deeper than 30 m. The shark is found in the central Amazon River, and has been recorded as far up the Mississippi River as Illinois. It is also found in the fresh water Lake Nicaragua and the GangesBrahmaputra rivers of West Bengal and Assam in eastern India and adjoining Bangladesh. It can live in almost any water including water with a high salt content as in St. Lucia Lake in South Africa. Although rare, bull sharks have made their way through the Great Lakes as far as Lake Michigan. The Lake Michigan encounter occurred off the coast of Chicago, Illinois in 1955.
Hey, let’s be careful out there.