Saturday, May 22, 2010

Unpacking, An Unfortunate Simile, and Lost in JC

JUNCTION CITY, KANSAS — I have unpacked after my migration from Texas, except for setting up the woodshop, which is this weekend’s planned activity — along with yard work and other domestic chores to make this place feel as if it belongs like home on the outside. It already feels that way inside, with great help from my fiancé, aka the Beautiful Mystery Companion, who alas won’t be arriving here for some months to come. Thanks to her the household was unpacked quickly.

I admit to OCD tendencies on most matters. Unpacking brings out the worst of them. My mover — a gentle, semi-retired rodeo cowboy from Gladewater, Texas — showed up here with a 34-foot gooseneck trailer on Saturday, May Day. James drove nonstop from Texas and hired local folks to help unload. I followed behind with a 14-foot U-Haul truck filled with the stuff that didn’t fit in the gooseneck, pulling my little hybrid SUV on a tow-bar.

By Tuesday night, the new house looked as if I had lived here forever — not counting the shop. My BMC, who heretofore has not endured a move with me, was ready to kill me, or at least cry calf rope. I strongly suspect the former. She’s not prone to cry calf rope.

In a brief interlude of male stupidity, I informed my BMC after the third 14-hour day of unpacking that moving to me was akin to childbirth. After a few weeks, the painful memory just sort of wore off, and it didn’t seem all that bad. What remained were the good images — for example, now I’m walking around smiling because nearly everything was put up in this house after four days of you-know-what. Sorta like bearing a baby, I said.

This didn’t go over so well, being as how obviously I have never given birth to anything and didn’t have any idea what I was talking about. Poor choice of similes, I immediately realized, and suggested it was time to go grab a bite of Mexican food.

I have been trying to establish a new walking route, leaving from my house as soon as first light arrives to get in the three-mile routine that starts off my day. Luckily, I have a lot of choices in the neighborhood where I leased a house, because it is filled with side streets and hills. Hills are good for working up a sweat. I walk briskly while listening to Kansas Public Radio on my iPhone, getting my first news fix of the day, as the sun begins the peep over the Flint Hills. (Be patient with me. I’m trying to learn the geography.)

Being OCD, I need the same route each workday morning. It should take 45 minutes, because that equals three miles at the pace I walk. It should have variety yet familiarity, so I don’t get lost. I am still experimenting with side streets interspersed with vertical climbs. There are some really nice views from fairly high up, looking south across the interstate from a few points on this walk, especially in early morning light.

On the third day, as I was still tinkering with my walking route, I headed out into a blanket of fog. The view across the interstate was gone, obscured in a white haze. Soon I realized I didn’t really know where I was exactly, at least in relation to my house.

I know. Being lost in Junction City does seem to be a bit of an oxymoron. I have learned how to get around here pretty quickly. I am appreciative of the city planners, whoever they were, naming one set of the city’s central streets after presidents and almost-presidents, another set after trees, while a third set are numbered. I appreciate this kind of logic.

So I was walking on a ridgeline in Junction City — at least that is what I would call it — and didn’t know how to get back to my house, because in the fog all my newly learned landmarks were shrouded. After several false turns, I finally recognized a remodeling sign in front of a rent house and made my way back to the street on which I live. I was just a few minutes late to work.

I haven’t gotten lost since, but I’m still trying to perfect the walking route. Maybe I’ll start dropping bread crumbs when the fog sets in, just in case.

Originally published in the Junction City Daily Union, May 22, 2010


  1. It's good to read of your new situation. I'm sure you will soon feel as at home there as you did down here.

    So, how's the Mexican food?

    Jay, still in the PW

  2. It's nice to know that I came by my OCD tendencies--as well as my tendency to get lost--honestly. Of course my lack of directional common sense is more from Mom's side.

  3. The Mexican food is passable. Not great, but passable. There are a couple of places I have yet to try out. And yes, xymarla, you are far better at getting lost than me, though I'm pretty good at it.