As everyone knows, we are now midwesterners again. Less than 5 weeks ago I was talking with my dad on the phone, and somehow the midwest was brought up. I halfway jokingly/halfway seriously said, I would never move back to the midwest again...
Once upon a time, in a far away place called Wilmington, Laura and Miles bought a DVD—a movie they had not yet seen. It was entitled Miss Congeniality 2, and promised a good show. Their time was not their own in the last days of North Carolina living. You see, they were in the process of relocating to a distant land called Wisconsin, and there were tasks to be completed...boxes needed packing and dust bunnies needed trapping. It was with heavy hearts that they packed the DVD, still encased in its cellophane wrapping.
One evening in Wisconsin, Miles and Laura had a tiring day. For imagination's sake, let's call it "last night". They slogged toward their plush couch and slumped against the pillows. Weariness became palpable, a canopy draped from the ceiling, the walls, and every other surface imaginable. It weighed upon them, brushing upon their shoulders. "I should do more work tonight..." began Miles.
"Yeah...and I should unpack another box..." added Laura.
Their eyes met and communicated their most secret desires. Their longing spoke louder, more articulately, than any voice ever had: "Let's do nothing instead."
Now naturally, "nothing" entailed the viewing of Sandra Bullock sequels.
Saturday afternoon, Miles and I ordered drinks from the local coffeehouse. I selected a French vanilla cappuccino. I've been drinking French vanilla cappuccinos for about 10 years now. (I may not be overly adventurous with my selections, but I ought to get points for constancy.)
Anyway, as soon as I submitted my order, the high schoolish girl asked, bewildered and wide-eyed, "Do you know it has foam?" (Both her distaste and her abhorrence were altogether obvious.)
Automatically, my 'Midwest Nice', as it is called, activated and I replied, "Yes, that's fine, thank you." However, walking back with our drinks, the sarcastic nature of my being spurred the raising of my left eyebrow. I asked Miles out of the side of my mouth, "Isn't the definition of a cappuccino steamed milk foam mixed with espresso?" Miles nodded and shrugged.
I have ordered many cappuccinos since. Many French vanilla cappuccinos, to be precise. A habit once broken has been remade. Each instance, we return to our cozy table and gaze into the cup to witness the foam. Yesterday, at Border's, I replied, disgustedly, "Aw man! They did it again! FOAM!" I spat and sputtered and Miles offered to trade me drinks. I rejoined, "Not on your life, buster."
Miles. Keys. Bad combination. (see further documentation here and here.)
With loads of help from my aunts and from my parents, we had the U-Haul unloaded and ready to be returned before 10 this morning. Mom and I chattered about something inconsequential as Dad hiked up the hill to where we detached the trailer yesterday. Miles made to move the truck accordingly. "Hmmm," Mom and I heard moments later. This is Miles' favorite word, expression, and response. It unnerves me. It has no defined emotion attached...though, today, I had a pretty good idea what was coming. "Hon, do you have the keys?"
So, we called Debbie and Brenda, Mom's sisters. "Do you have the keys?" We had, minutes earlier, sent them along with the contents of the cab. They were not answering their phone. Miles marched up and down the driveway, "hmm"-ing perplexedly all the way. Mom tried Debbie and Brenda again. She left another message. Miles "hmm"-ed some more.
Finally, we decided to just drive to my aunts' home. They did not have the keys. Miles "hmmm"-ed. We journeyed back to the farm.
As my childhood home came into focus, we noticed something peculiar. The truck was sitting at the top of the driveway, not the bottom where it was when we left. We all found this very impressive for a vehicle without keys...very impressive indeed. Miles "hmm"-ed.
We jumped from the car and asked Dad, clearly the only witness, how this had come to pass. He grinned and laughed, "The keys were in the truck." Miles "hmm"-ed.
We made it! 4:30 arrived, and I was hugging my mother and dancing from foot to foot, eager to use the bathroom ;-) 25 hours of travelling time, and we're still a happy couple! No doubt because of a little bribery on the part of Sir Miles.
We're officially homeless...and Midwestern bound. Yesterday has left me very weary today. I think I packed and moved boxes from 9AM until 9PM...stopping only briefly to trap scurrying dust bunnies here and there. 200 miles down, 1,000 to go!
He gives me joy and laughter....affection and love. He gives me everything he has, and everything I could ever need. Miles just makes life sweeter. I am especially celebratory today, his birthday.
A long time ago, a very young, peaceable Miles raised his fist to another boy—a boy stronger than he. The boy was bullying two of Miles' young neighbors. He defended them and then befriended the bully. This is what I call "the Miles touch". He leaves this mark on people, an indefinable appreciation of his generosity and goodheartedness.
Last February, as my visit with Mom grew to a close, we mourned the end. You could say that Mom and I are close...but close isn't really the right word. Quite simply, we are each other. We are each other's air. Sometimes I heatedly ask my reflection, "How could you? How could you leave her? You've caused her nothing but heartache!" But then I know...I know why I left. And, I know that I would leave all over again.
I cannot put into words the depth of love that these two individuals have afforded me. Mom hugs me tearfully, understanding. Mom loves Miles. She loves whom I love...blindly. "Miles is the kindest, gentlest, most loving person. I am honored to have him as a son-in-law." He affects everybody that way. He is a smile ready to pounce on a downcast day.
It was on this day, at approximately 12:30 in the afternoon, that I discovered the creature. The subdued, gray morning was caressed away by tendrils of golden sunlight, leaving the day energized and wanting for productivity. Miles and DJ removed the dressers from our bedroom.
I have a bit of a neat freak streak in me. The last 2+ weeks of chaos have been nothing shy of maddening, and I'm delighted to announce that the ulcer is coming along nicely. This being so (the cleanliness, not the ulcer), I was not prepared to discover the occupant uncovered in the bedroom. It makes my skin crawl just thinking about it. It's been there, watching us, for goodness knows how long...*shudders*
I was going to work today till around 5pm, and then Laura and I were going to try to wrap up a lot of the packing required. Well................. yup you guessed it, no more of the packing work has really been done and it's nearing bedtime. Who here is suprised?
I photographed the label on the box, along with the receipt, in rapid succession. Marveling at the text capture setting for the lens, I displayed the images upon my laptop. I reread the instructions. I read them aloud to Miles. We pondered them. "I need a printer!" I declared at long last.
I wrestled the LaserJet away from the mountains of packaged debris jutting from our living room walls. Locating the proper cables, I continued our mission. The hiss was whisper-quiet, chiffon against ironwork, as it issued my printed documents. Eyes alight, I waved them eagerly to Miles. He nodded in his unique blend of interest and boredom. "The rest is up to you!" He nodded again, rising from the couch.
"Will you write the number? Your writing is easier to read." Acquiescent, I reached for my favorite pen (a comely Pilot Fine Point!). "Okay, it's ellexayfivefiveohfiveone—"
"Wait!" I interrupted. "Is that five-five-OH, or five-five-ZERO?" He was reading very quickly, with little regard for me or my pen.
"Zero," he replied on a sigh. He tried to administer a little attitude, but I was unaffected. The tensions were high. We were on unfamiliar ground; we would fare better as a team.
I finished writing the number and addressed the envelope. Folding the paperwork just so, I sealed the flap and affixed the stamp. Our eyes were bright as they connected over the upheld parcel. It was a special moment. We had just completed our first mail-in rebate.