Answer: It’s in storage. Question: Do you have . . .? After five months, my unusual living situation has started to feel normal. I’ve gotten used to going without a lot of my stuff. I have the basics, and while I miss some of my personal possessions, I think about them less and less. Sometimes, of course, I need something that I can’t get because it’s in storage. This came up several times over the summer. My daughter was home from college and wanted some of her favorite foods. Now, most of them I can just wing it, no recipe required, but there are some dishes that I make just a few times a year. That’s when I need my recipe box or my cookbooks. Turkish lentil soup? Sure, oh wait, that cookbook is in storage with the page carefully dog-eared, so I can find the recipe without consulting the index. Maybe next time you’re back home, sweetie. By then my stuff will be out of storage.
Once Sarah returned to college, I began to get more recipe requests. She and her roommates share a kitchenette in the dorm, so she wants to cook some familiar foods. Recipe for favorite cookies I know by heart, more or less. Honey cake that I make only for the Jewish New Year, I need the cookbook. Sarah is resourceful, however, and sent me several online recipes to compare. Pick out the one that looks most similar to the honey cake you always make, she asks. That I can do, but it’s not the same. My son is now living at a co-op in the campus area and he has signed up to cook once a week. His dad and I often receive desperate texts and e-mails asking us about ingredients the day before it’s his turn to cook. I can give only estimates of ingredients, which is made even more difficult in that Jacob is cooking for 25 people. Both kids cooked growing up, but it’s different when you’re completely in charge. It’s kind of like changing from the passenger seat to the driver’s seat. You better know where you’re going or something may go wrong. Or in my son’s case, a lot of people in your co-op may decide you shouldn’t be cooking anymore.
What else do I miss? My books, of course, but I comfort myself by visiting bookstores and buying more. I’ll be glad to get some more clothes back, too. I also look forward to unpacking my pretty teacups. Most of my stuff will stay packed, though. After all, I still plan to sell the house and move into a new one as soon as possible. I’ll keep most of the boxes neatly stacked in the garage until then. I’ll check the boxes to see what survived and note down what didn’t. My insurance man will hear from me then! I’ll take out some personal items and a few kitchen things I need. One thing I won’t unpack – the scale. It’s been rather nice not seeing a scale or weighing myself whenever I go into the bathroom. When I saw my weight at the doctor’s a few weeks ago, I noticed I was down about 8 pounds, a pleasant surprise. Come to think of it, my jeans have been feeling a little loose lately. Could it be that weighing myself so often was counterproductive? Maybe the scale will stay packed. One advantage to having all my personal property packed up is that I won’t need to search for boxes. Almost everything will be boxed up, nice and neat. By the time I totally unpack in a new house, my stuff will seem new again – another silver lining in my post-fire life.