Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Bear with me while I fan the fires, or tune me out if you so desire . (Just no lectures, please. I gotta run this stuff through its paces.)

Awaiting my arrival home from work yesterday was a big sloppy, falling-apart box, opened at the bottom, the slim strips of tape performing only what their paucity allowed: next to nothing. Affixed to the box was a nearly illegible customs declaration form, as well as this stamp:

Let's see....70 euros is equal, at today's exchange rate, to $95.06. Or 35.78 dinars. Or 606.69 yuan. And what does that get me, the Ex-W. (W. stands for wife)?

Well, in this case it got me:

1. Four books of poetry (Sean Lysaght, Ger Reidy, Lorna Shaughnessy, Knute Skinner), a book of stories by John F. Deane, as well as a hardback book of stories and illustrations by Tess Gallagher and Josie Gray. Fair enough -- all books I'd purchased in Ireland and had kept at the house there to peruse on future trips. (But, alas, not all the books I'd left there.)

2. Three very worn out (and several sizes too big) pairs of pants.

3. An equally unwanted shirt.

4. Assorted art supplies, including three vials of dried-up glue.

5. A bag of white ribbons.

6. Five Q-Tips.

7. A plastic cutting board.

8. Two packages of tampons.

9. Scraps of paper.

10. A package of pastels and a package of colored pens.

11. A cardboard box which originally held six wine glasses.

12. A tube of antibiotic cream.

13. Three vintage tablecloths.

14. A poem, "Our Lady of Flotsam", that I'd hand-written on the back of a brown envelope, and that stood vigil beside a plastic Virgin Mary holy water bottle on the kitchen windowsill, along with assorted flotsam & jetsam gathered on beach walks. But why only the poem, and not the beach glass, shards of porcelain? Why only mail me the brown envelope? (Because it contained more of me than a bit of broken shell.)

15. Assorted "other", as was specified on the customs declaration. (Exactly what is specific about "other", anyway?) (I can only imagine the postal clerk saying, "What's in the box?" And the Ex-H. replying, "Other.") (I think I know what I want for Christmas this year: other.)

Well. Wasn't sure what to make of all of this. I'd specified in the Final Pleadings just exactly what it was that I wanted returned from the Carrowholly house, and the only things from the list that were in this box were the books & tablecloths. Perhaps I can look forward to yet another sloppily-patched-together package? Filled with broken crystal and pottery? One would not wish to be Held In Contempt Of Court. An agreement is an agreement.

I'm just kicking myself for not specifying that I wanted the pie pan, the cupcake pan, the rolling pin, the salad spinner, the salad bowl, the marble cheese board, the cheese knife and the three small glasses that I bought at a charity shop for 25 cents each.

But tell me, who spends 70 euros to ship two packages of tampons and 5 Q-Tips 6000 miles?

It defies logical thought, and just might have its own chapter in the DSM.

Maybe it's time for a conflagration in the fire-pit out back, time to light up the darkness.

(The last time I conflagrated in the back yard in this manner was several months after my first husband's death, a cold winter Sunday afternoon and ream of cancelled checks that had to burn. In the midst of my not-at-all-sorting, I plucked from the stack a life insurance policy that I hadn't known of -- surprise! -- and submitted to Those In Charge, who rejected it. A brief lawsuit followed, in which a California judge denied me the meager benefit that should have been guaranteed me. My attorney told me that this was so very, very wrong, and that the attorney for the other side was in the back pocket of the insurance company. Inside information. A whole lotta good it did me.)

Otherwise, life is good.


  1. Yesterday I had a demeaning morning. My employer is changing to another health insurance company, and we all had to go through an assessment that was something like airport security to the power of ten. Anyway, in the online quiz about our whole medical history, in which we were supposed to click the buttons of maladies we had experienced in the past, the last one was "Other" and I just had to select that one. I think you would have preferred not getting that box at all. sp

  2. Life in boxes.

    That's about all I have to say about it, myself.

    Cheers to you and to conflagrations.

  3. Take this story, and replace 'ex-husband' with 'parents' ...

  4. As if you needed further evidence of derangement.cones

  5. I have a feeling you would rather have had the 70 euros. Who does that?? is right. Someone is a few bulbs short of a string.

  6. Was-band...pffffft. Or if you could see my index finger zig zag wagging, "Oh no , he din't." You are good to be shut of this nonsense. Sorry that such a shabby reminder showed up to darken your door. Take heart and move quickly away from that which disturbs your waters.xoxo P.S. my captcha word for this is POGROT.

  7. sussah, after reading your comment yesterday, the notion of "other" occupied my thoughts continuously. (I even started a poem on that theme.)

    Sorry that you have to deal with new health insurance. I'm a single-payer proponent, something I don't think I'll see in my lifetime.

    Thanks for commenting.

  8. Elizabeth, your "conflagrations" made me chuckle. Good play on words!

  9. Bill, I hope you're not speaking from experience, but it you are, my heart goes out to you.

  10. sEAN, I'd be happy with no more evidence. The End.

  11. Cynthia: POGROT!! It always amazes me when the WV's are so apropos.

    And yes, it is good to be shut of this nonsense. Enough is enough.

  12. Really the TRUE man cometh out.....and he should be aashamed! You are well rid of rubbish, on all counts.
    Ima Disgusted