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"I cannot wait to be finished with this incessant Gone-ing and simply become a goner again."

The twenty four hours before leaving must be the most productive period in our lives. We're not leaving for good, not forever or anything, but the bustle of putting our affairs in order fills the place. The refrigerator receives the scrutiny it's been aching for and a supper of leftovers emerges. A few forgotten remainders go down the disposal and the dishwasher fills up with skanky Tupperware. A last load of laundry starts grinding away. I'd trimmed and mowed the yard, finally finished raking up the overwinter moss growth and carting it to the compost heap cleverly hidden behind the prickly spruce tree. I even remembered to fill The Schooner's window washing fluid reservoir in anticipation of Prairie bug swarms. I finally set the seeping drip line to hydrate the gooseberry garden and sprinkled a few wildflower seeds to fill in between the larger plants. I even dressed the bed with moist and sterilized soil. My work's almost done here.

The Muse announced that she had a raft of picky finishing work to complete before tomorrow, so she disappeared into her basement lair where the BIG laptop monitor lives.
She insisted upon loading the clothes washer. I started the dishwasher. I read the latest news then fell asleep well before ten, tuckered from my ministrations outside. I dreamed of finally figuring out how to program the drip irrigation system control unit, a continual bafflement through our almost four years here. I almost have the entire yard plumbed now and warmly anticipate the outside watering finally taking care of itself. I'd that day found and patched one remaining leak in the system, surprised at my ability to plug it with only a minimum of confusion. I seem to have collected every possible fitting available, my inventory more disorienting than reassuring, the result of at least a half dozen trips to the hardware store searching for an imagined fitting, only to leave with something available instead.

All those long-deferred chores almost seem to take care of themselves. There will be no tomorrow for us here. By this time tomorrow, we'll be somewhere in Kansas or Oklahoma, searching the horizon for a predicted storm front, hoping the Gods will see fit to spare us golf ball-sized hail stones. Leaving's always risky. Over the last day, I attempted to renegotiate, offering twice to back out, suggesting that The Muse just hop a flight as complications appeared. She'll be leaving work later than I'd expected. Another in an infinite line of critically important meetings showed up on her calendar, and she dare not miss being there. I anticipate the usual slow crawl through town, an extra hour added to our otherwise easy departure due to rush hour(s). I try to calculate how far we might drive before darkness and exhaustion overtake us and cannot come up with any clear answer. We will be playing it by ear again.

I strongly resist leaving, though I know that no superpower kicks in until the day before we plan to leave. I finish a month's worth of work that last day and I will feel more alive than I ever feel when simply staying home, but I still strongly resist. Emily the Plant Sitter's so used to the routine that she declined the necessity of written instructions. Rose The Skittish Spinster Cat's long gone to her reward, and so will no longer pout in the shadows in our absence. The place will be fine without us, a fresh reminder just how necessary our presence here isn't, really. I suspect that Gone-ing amplifies those old intimations of mortality and threatens my sense of essential presence. I try, I guess, to leave a strong imprint behind by finely manicuring the lawn, though it will certainly continue to move toward entropy in my absence. My checklist collects completed chores. A nattering noise in my head chants the usual unwritten list of all I should be certain not to forget, a sure way to forget something I only believe must be essential.

I'm hardly even here by the end of the day and slip off into a well-earned rest. Home never feels as much like home as it does on the day before we leave it behind. Tomorrow will feel like the longest day of the century by the end of it and I cannot wait to be finished with this incessant Gone-ing and simply become a goner again.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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