Sunday, July 1, 2007

Returns and Departures

After a very quiet week, I picked N. up in town after his week at Boy Scout Camp in Texas.

The camp was in the Big Bend area, not far from Fort Davis. My boy came home tired and dirty and was regularly 109 degrees F down there. And very happy about his successful week.

He completed these merit badges while at camp:

  • Horsemanship

  • Riflery

  • Archery

  • Swimming

For horsemanship, he had to learn the parts of the horse, the names of the tack, how to groom the horse, muck the stall, feed the horse, and care for and put on the tack, as well as riding. He had to get up at 5 AM and muck and feed before eating his own breakfast. What a great lesson in responsibility for other living things! In swimming he learned water safety, as well as getting advanced instruction in free-style (crawl), backstroke, sidestroke, and breaststroke. For riflery and archery, he had to demonstrate care of the weapon, and safety, as well as marksmanship. He had written tests to complete for each badge, before he rode, got in the water, or used the weapons. He learned that if he was to complete all four badges, he had to use his free time for practicing the skills he was learning. What a great learning experience. And he had great fun and came home with a great sense of accomplishment.

N. will be home all day today and tomorrow, and then he will be flying to Chicago on Tuesday for a three-week visit with my parents, sisters and their children. He is really looking forward to spending a lot of time having fun with his cousins!

And that led me to a frantic search today for his birth certificate! We need to get him a state ID so that he can negotiate the airports and get through security by himself.

And you know how it is...I knew right where all of the legal documents were--in the old house! I ventured into the cave of Bruce's office. Because I knew the documets were in the file cabinet in Bruce's office. No dice. I looked again. Still not there. I found a copy ofour marriage certificate stuck in a very interesting set of documents...but that's a different story.

Then I asked MLC:

Me: "Didn't I give you your birth certificate when you applied for your passport?"

MLC: "Yep. You got it right out of the file cabinet and handed it to me."

Me: "Which file cabinet?"

MLC: "It was about "yea" high (she gestured) and white. You went right to it."

Me: "Where was the file cabinet? Was it in this house?"

MLC: "Yep. You went right to it and handed it to me."

So I went out to the garage. Our garage should park three cars. Our two cars are parked outdoors while all three bays are full of boxes, half-opened containers with the contents leaking out, empty boxes, and the flotsam and jetsam of the move. The one we made last year.

Ahem! Embararrasing, isn't it?

So I went out to the garage--well shod in case I step on a lizard--and climbed over the Christmas lights the previous owner left on the house that we took down because we don't use them; the ones that were deposited between the refrigerator and the stack of astronomy stuff boxes. The file cabinet was next to N.'s old desk, and a stack of boxes of yet-to-be-unpacked books was square in front of the drawers. I moved those boxes, after first clearing away some of the other stuff sitting there to make room--and opened the top drawer of the file cabinet.


I frantically moved the box in front of the bottom drawer.


MLC, opening the garage door: "By the way, Mom, you took the file to put it somewhere safe and accessible."

Me: "WONDERFUL! I wonder where THAT would be?"

MLC: "Try your office."

Hmmm. I cleaned my office before Pesach. I looked in the obvious place--the small file box near my desk. I found:

  • The expired warranty on my 5-year old Focus

  • Pay stubs from my teaching job at Rio Rancho High dated 2000.

  • Blank greeting cards for all occasions.


OY! Vey iz mir!

I looked in every notebook on my bookshelf. No dice.

I checked in the desk in the kitchen. Nope.

Then I opened the closet in my office. I had put several boxes of photos and mementos on the shelf. So I got the step-ladder. And brought down the first box. It was full of photographs. I pulled out a few: Counter-clockwise from bottom left: MLC taken 20 years ago, one of N. and his friend Jon-Jon, from 1998. A photo of MLC and N taken in 1995. And one of our cat, Binky, when he could fit into the palm of your hand, taken back in 2002. NO BIRTH CERTIFICATE.

I went through another box that contained my high school diploma, and among other such stuff, my ex's high school diploma. No file!

Finally, I pulled down a box labeled: Hebrew Teaching. And textbooks and my notes for teaching were on top. Then I found files of papers such as "The Lonely Man of Faith" by Soleveitchik. I found copies of Rosh Chodesh Services and Women's Seder Services I had written in the 1990's. And then, toward the bottom, I found my legal papers. Below that were the papers for the purchase of my first house in 1999. And, at the very bottom, a file labeled in red sharpie: IMPORTANT! RE-FILE AT ONCE! THIS MEANS YOU-E! Love, E.

You guessed it. It contains my birth certificate, the children's birth certificates, our original marriage certificate, and all of the other seldom-used-but-very-important-when-needed documents of life.

Later, as Bruce and I were eating some lunch, N. wandered in.

"Did you find it?" he asked.

"N., I am not sure you were actually born," I teased him.

He stuck his tongue out at me. "Where was it?" he asked.

Smart aleck!

O.K. maybe I should follow my own, capitalized, exclaimation-pointed, written -n-red instructions with love to myself.

Bruce is out in the garage now--tidying up a bit. Ya gotta love that guy!

And it's nice to find all-but-forgotten pictures.

I guess I know what I can occupy my lonely days with while N. is in Illinois.

The papers? I've got them somewhere safe and accessible until I need them tomorrow.


Lill said...

Ah, very familiar looking photos, Elisheva. We have a two car garage and consider it an accomplishment when we can fit the lawn mower into it. Our cars and plow truck live outside year 'round. We've had many frantic searches for important documents, so now I keep them all in the magazine rack under the table next to my side of the bed. I figure if there's a fire or other emergency, I can just grab them and run. Plus, they're really accessible. I'm so glad N. had such a good time at camp. He's having a really full summer, I must say. I remember visiting my cousins for part of the summer and we really had a good time.

Shine On,

Kaber said...

YEAH! He completed 4 badges! awesome!

109 is HOT!!! I hope they kept those ids hydrated!

Flying to Chicago! ishe flying alone? what a neat experience!

glad you found the birth certificate..... How frustratng!

Kaber said...

don't see the other comment I left....

anyway, I said :Thanks for the comment....

It's amazing what one can do with ugly paper when one puts their mind to it..LOL

steph said...

Wow! Now I know why Boy Scouts are still going strong and Girl Scouts has struggled to scouting camp experience was apparently for pansies! Good for him and congrats on the hard-earned badges!

What does it say about me that my house looks like your garage? Can I use the fact that I don't have a garage as an excuse? (Previous owner ran out of money; also gambled away half the water rights to our next property over neighbor...*sigh*) You have beautiful kids!

Melora said...

Wow! What an amazing week for N.! All those things learned, in terrible heat. I'm glad he enjoyed it.

I lose important papers too. The last time I Really needed my birth certificate, I was too embarrassed to ask my mother Again and figured out a way to do without. I don't know what happens, except that our house looks rather like your garage. I should send a picture of our garage, so you can see what a really Bad garage can look like a year after a move. We also started with a whole lot of stuff from the previous owner. With the rain we've had lately, we also have a river running through it. Actually, I prefer not to think about it.

Have you gone three weeks without your son before? Oh my!

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

I'm glad to know that we are not the only people with a garage problem! LOL!

A friend from Chicago sent me an e-mail that said; America is the only place where we park a vehicle worth $20,000 outside in order to make room for junk that might bring in a few bucks at a garage sale.

Lill, I am getting a fire-proof portable box that I will keep close by so I can "grab and run." :)

I AM going to miss N. I have never been away from him for three weeks. When Bruce and I took our honeymoon, it was two weeks--but we were traveling and he was at home.

Beth: said...

Reading this post brought back a veritable flood of memories involving me searching -- spitting and swearing -- for various paper items. Bless.

So glad you found the documents; congratulations to N on his badges; three weeks (!) oh my. I hope he has a wonderful time :-)