Unpack, Repack…repeat as necessary.

Got back from the PS4 Reunion weekend around 7pm, which wasn’t much later than I’d hoped, despite it all. What’s “it all” about? Well…

Mom & dad and I got up at 7am. When I opened my eyes, dad was in front of the open closet, pulling out a light blue shirt, saying something like, “This shirt is not a man’s shirt! This blue is not for a man, this is a girl’s blue! Why do you buy me stuff like this?” We all got dressed and headed down to the lobby for breakfast. Roz and Marty were there so we had coffee and visited with them for a while. Dad continued to grouch about his shirt down there. Roz wasn’t sympathetic, saying that Marty wears pink and light blue all the time and he’s “all man.” Hysterical. That reminded mom of when Karen and I played softball and our team, the “Leopards”, wore pink. Dad, the coach, wasn’t happy about also having to wear pink, so the next year our uniforms were brown. Wah-wahn. No one liked that. So, the year after, we were back in pink. I think we were undefeated and most of us went on to be on the fast-pitch team, the Nuggets (we appropriatly wore yellow) where we also won a lot of games. I was the catcher. I think Karen played third or shortstop, but I can’t remember.

Federer in the French Open...honestly, his shirt was the same shade of blue as Dad's. I don't care what he says about how he "knows his shades" from sorting pieces at Mema's dress factory. Oye.

Federer in the French Open...honestly, his shirt was the same shade of blue as Dad's. I don't care what he says about how he "knows his shades" from sorting pieces at Mema's dress factory. Oye.

So…breakfast dragged on because we were waiting for Bob W. to come down. Roz wanted to say good bye (they were sweethearts in the 4th grade and lived on the same street). The French Open tennis match started. Federer vs. Soderling. Mom noticed that Federer was wearing a blue shirt that was the same color as the one dad was wearing. We thought that was funny. Later, I pointed this out to Dad. He stood next to the TV in the room and held his shirt sleeve up to Fed’s body. “It’s not the same shade,” he said. Anyway…eventually at 11:30, after hugs goodbye to Roz and Marty, second breakfast, the end of the tennis match (Federer won, handedly), and a nap…Bob, Nancy, Mom, Dad, and I piled into the car and headed out for the next round of driving tours.

But first we stopped by Bob’s second house–they moved there when he was in the 6th grade. We snapped a few photos in front of the house. Bob pointed out where his old bedroom was–which window. He said that his room was so small that he had to kneel on the bed to open the dresser drawer.

Next we went to Dad’s old house. On the way, he and Bob both said how surprised they are that its so close–it seemed far when they were kids. Everyone said this all weekend, actually, that the neighborhood, the buildings, the streets all seemed to have “shrunk”. Dad’s street is longer now than it used to be. It used to be a dead end. And there are houses packed all along both sides where 60 years ago there were woods where they used to play. He pointed out a house with green vinal siding that Grandpa (or Grandpa Pagano, I’ll have to check) bought. Pauline and Ralph lived downstairs, Bennie and his wife (what was her name?!?) lived upstairs. Dad’s old house was one of those places that has a roof like a barn. It was on a big lot–with a driveway leading to an off-kilter 2 car garage, a peach tree, and a yard. Dad explained that there used to be a big apple tree in the back, a victory garden, and some chickens. After the war, the chickens and roosters were dispatched, because the backyard neighbor didn’t like the early-rising, none-too-quiet roosters. He explained that one of the lower windows was a coal shoot where heating coal was delivered to feed the furnace. Down the other lower window, he said, went grapes! What on earth?!? Yeah, grapes. They had a press and Grandpa Pagano used to make barrels of red and white wine down there. I had no idea. Dad told all kinds of stories about the house and the neighborhood. I got them all recorded. My favorite was the one about how this one time an older kid who lived across the street was shooting a bb-gun in the street and Dad got hit in the face–almost right in the eye. Pauline was out there with him and she was so afraid that they’d get in trouble that they told Dad if he stopped crying and wouldn’t tell, they’d let him do whatever he wanted…so he stopped crying and shot that kid like 5 times in the ass with the bbgun!!! We all cracked up. It was great.

After a few pictures in front of Dad’s house, we drove around the neighborhood a little more, past the pizza place where the “slice of hot pizza” episode happened, past the church, past the old seminary. We headed out to the Yonker’s Stew Leonards–yay! I had considered stopping at the one in Norwalk, so this was great. I was pretty hungry and headed straight to the soft serve and got a cone. Mom got one too–fat free vanilla. Yum. We enjoyed our cones as we wandered through the store, snaking past the rows of produce, bread, meats, fish, and all kinds of other foods. It was nuttier, busier, and more crowded than I have ever experienced at the Norwalk store. There were fewer animated farm animals–only one group of singing cows. There were several of those stuffed people flipping over bars, almost one in each section. There was one little girl who thought those things were wicked funny. I picked out some bread, couscous, and the makings of dinner from the hot bar. I wanted more–fruit, mussles, clams–but I won’t be home this week, so there wasn’t much point. Next time…

I finally got on the road around 2pm. It was a tearful goodbye for me. Its always hard to say goodbye to Mom&Dad. I love them and sometimes it seems like we never get to see enough of each other. Now they are talking about moving to South Carolina to live at the “Fun in the Sun” farm or whatever its called where Roz lives. Honestly, it sounds really nice. Mom explained that there are a lot of benifits–one story living, lower taxes, lots of people to hang out with, easy walking access to activities, people, and amenities. She is very good at thinking rationally about the probability of life without Dad. I don’t know what to make of it. Mostly I’m proud of her.

Ted talked me home. The whole way. He’d just finished a ride with Brian. I was tired, cranky, under-caffinated, and sad. He told me jokes, told me about his day, asked me questions, and helped me navigate to a diet soda and gas, and later dinner. We spent the whole afternoon on the phone, just talking about whatever. He was amazing. I’m totally lucky to have him.

So…like I said at the start, I got home at 7. Unpacked, laundry, repacked. I’m off to Burlington for the week for a workshop. I’m probably overpacked. Its hard to know what to wear to these things without being over or underdressed for the occassion and the crowd and then I’m always cold in meetings too, so there’s that to consider. Its supposed to rain so what shoes. And my cheif fashion consultant is at the movies with his best friend leaivng me with “just wear kackhi pants and a button down shirt.” What am I, a guy? Jeeze.

So, now that I’m unpacked and repacked, I’m going to watch the rest of this episode of Biggest Loser couples and finish my tea and call it a day, a great weekend, and a new adventure around the corner.


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