Big Boxes

March 8, 2012

Wonderful ones, here’s a little story just for you.

A short time ago our friend  visited us on her way back to her adopted home in Indonesia.  Her mother had just passed away (in Florida) and, naturally, she had inherited a few things.  As she was leaving she asked if her mother’s dishes could be shipped to us and stored, “for a while.”  We said that would be fine even though my wife and I live in a small bungalow with a rundown single car garage, both of which are seriously filled up with our belongings.  It was just a box of antique porcelain, right?   How big a problem could that be?

The answer arrived a few days later when we came home from work to find seven large cartons stacked on the front porch, almost blocking the door.  Right away,  my wife and I were mad and a little scared.  Where in hell were we going to put this great pile?  Already our friend was safely back home in Bali, on the other side of the planet, and we had promised to care for her precious crockery until bloody whenever!  I felt then as though the friend was a  Dr. Suess Mayzie Bird who had flitted off about her business, and we were Horton the Elephant, the generous naif  left behind to sit on her nest and keep it’s egg warm in her absence.  Only in this case there were several eggs, each about the size of a compact refrigerator.

For twenty-four hours I glared at those boxes.  They were imposing, all fitted together like an ancient Inca stone wall.  And they were packed cunningly too.  Each one apparently had just a few items inside, well embedded in some cushioning material like bubble wrap.  The individual boxes were bulky but generally light enough that they could be lifted without extreme effort.  By the second day, the passivity of simply being angry started wearing thin.  I was still annoyed and worried, but I decided I should at least put my initial reaction to the test.  Was it possible there actually was someplace in our snug home where these dishes could coexist with us?

For instance, the dining room is relatively large, and even though the table might be put beyond our use, how much entertaining do we do, anyway?  Not enough, but it could actually be convenient most days to eat plates-on-knees in the living room (with the TV)….all the more so once it’s clear of distracting large shipping cartons.

An alternative is the breakfast nook….here, cozily filled with big boxes.  While the nook IS lovely to have, dedicating it to storage wouldn’t hurt so much because there are scads of other  spots where a simple breakfast can be eaten….sitting on the bed, for example, or standing in the kitchen.   Oh, right, and there would be the dining room table again!

The bedroom has an obvious negative in terms of bulk storage.  The dishes appear comfortable enough, but how in the world would we make our bed in the mornings?

MM’s study shows some promise as a valuables vault.  Certainly, it’s dry and the air circulation is good.  What is problematic, though, is making the folding futon available to overnight visitors now and then.  Certain guests may not mind sharing their bed with dishware, but that is really not the type of hospitality we want to be remembered for.  Our friend stayed in this room during her recent stop-over.  If the carton cache had been here at that time, she might not have been a very happy camper.

The bathroom?  Hmmm, what is that word?  Noooo?

The kitchen is the last of our seven rooms, and this reminds us that there are seven boxes of dishes.  Is it merely coincidence?  Perhaps not.  One thing is for sure, in this storage scenario our  family would be eatin’ out and takin’ out.  As they say, “If you can’t stand the squeeze, stay out of the kitchen.”

Several days of living together helped us feel more at ease with the boxes.  After all, the situation wasn’t their  fault and they were clean and quiet enough.  Except for the 26 cubic feet of space they denied us in our home we might even have learned to enjoy their company.  Fortunately our relationship was brief, because about this time I suddenly, finally realized that a work associate had warehouse space in North Oakland with a vacant corner I could borrow.  Such, sweet relief!

When I began loading the big cartons on my pickup for the trip across town it was clear I was not Horton the Elephant at all.  He was a steadfast  fellow who never went back on a promise.  His motto?  “I said what I meant and I meant what I said. An elephant’s faithful one hundred percent!”  Far from being faithful, I couldn’t get those Mayzie-egg-boxes out of our nest quickly enough.

In the warehouse I felt a twinge of remorse.  The dishes would be totally secure there but they would not be looked after, or counted occasionally, or handled with care.  And they certainly wouldn’t be warm.  That would have to wait until they were transported some time, some way to tropical Bali.  In the meantime the boxes looked inoffensive, even diminuative, in the corner of that large room.  What had all the fuss been about, anyway?  I could have given this question more thought….but instead I turned out the lights and locked the door.

There’s a postscript to the story, Wonderful Ones.  When our friend learned we were besieged by her big-ass boxes she called us right away.  She got that there was a problem, and her regret was sincere.  What’s more, she began to work out a plan to have the dishes shipped on to her in Indonesia ASAP.   That plan is still being hatched and she is keeping us posted.  So, there ya go….we may lack the virtue of Horton the selfless elephant, but at the same time our friend is not such a thoughtless Mayzie Bird after all.



5 Responses to “Big Boxes”

  1. Ah, dad, thank you for starting my day off with laughter. This was awesome.

    • Kiddo, that’s music to my ears. It’s a privilage to bring a little comic relief into your hard working life. It undoubtedly aided my cause that you know the friend in question as well as you do.

  2. ruchapowers said

    OMG. Classic Ripley! I laughed and laughed. Great photos!

  3. Freda Powers said

    It was worth trying to get the blog on my %$&?& computer! But do remember that old saying about slips between lips, so it aint over til its over!

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