Wednesday, April 29, 2015

lost and found

adventure seems to follow any major appliance debacle.  more than just melting meat in a tired freezer or a flooded laundry room floor, both of which i lived through. it seems that as i am forced into the process of replacing any square hunk of white metal that rules my domestic life, mysteries appear, hair is pulled, teeth are gnashed, heart is tugged, and ultimately...eventually...peace is restored.

this happened years back with the whole i-keep-concert-tickets-in-my-freezer-event, which i wrote about somewhere on this blog.  if i was a snazzy tech type i might even have a link or a hashtag (which at five in the morning makes me think only of sausage links and hashbrowns) but i am fearful that if i navigate away from this stream of writing, to try some tricks of modern writing to get you to read more of me, the magic may be broken.  and while i do love that you are reading this and i am so motivated because of that, let's just remember that writers write for themselves, first and always.

so, yes, jack white tickets were found in a plastic bag in the garbage.  there were maggots.  and happy chickens eating maggots.  that happens.

what also happens is that spiders break.  you may be a person who likes to think you don't have spiders in your house.  perhaps you scream and scuttle at the sight of eight thin legs crawling across your kitchen ceiling.  not me, i adore spiders. (once in college i had a large spider in my house, her immense web stretched through a houseplant in the living room.  i learned how to stun flies so i could feed them to her then watch as she knitted them up faster than any waldorfian-knitting-mama-blogger ever could.  it was like "wild kingdom" but oh so much better.)

turns out the most adorable spider in the house is the one inside of your washer machine.  it's a metal brace of sorts, with many arms, that holds your tub together to let it shimmy and gyrate and agitate and clean your dirty, nasty clothes.  when the spider breaks, everything stays dirty.   the tub does not nicely spin, but wobbles and grinds and sounds like maybe someone is killing your neighbor's noisy geese which makes you only feel mildly sad for those bad-behaving fowl.

when the spider breaks, you need a new machine because fixing a broken spider costs $500 and your washing machine's boot (black rubber seal thingy) has already been patched with an bicycle inner tube and bottle of gorilla glue. you measure your tiny laundry "hall" and look for options.  they are few.

you contemplate used verses new, local appliance store verses big box store, pick up verses delivery, all the while the laundry grows like the killer blob from that ridiculous movie from the 50's.  You visit stores, tape measure in hand, and sales people size you up in seconds flat and once they realize you are not going for the cherry red, steam enhanced, pick your own tune to play when your laundry is ready to be folded, kind of gal...they steer clear.  there is no money to be made from you.  you have so little of it to begin with.

however, you have a generous dad who offers to help and you have new job that came with a raise. you find a machine, scratch/dent special.  good.  the pile of jeans and underwear shudder with,ti, shun.

except, you know what happens when you give a mouse a pancake?  yup.  translate that story to washing machine replacement.  here's how it goes.

  1. broken spider.
  2. find new washing machine.
  3. have to disconnect gas line, which is behind old stand up freezer.
  4. move old stand up freezer., smash finger in process.  swear in new creative ways that scare/amuse children.
  5. move it out into the kitchen so you can move the washing machine far enough into the hall to disconnect the gas line.  be careful not to blow up house.  that would suck.
  6. oh wait, moving the washing machine reveals torn-the-hell-up linoleum floor with water damaged particle board sub-flooring that disintegrates when you stab it with a flat head.
  7. contemplate how your husband planned chaperoning a youth conference in Idaho at same time all this shit would go down.  damn, he's clever.
  8.  ok, find scrap of flooring to thrown over that mess like a band-aid and just make mental note to add that fix it to the list of "stuff that will never get down but will wake you up at 3 am to think about."
  9. buy new washing machine from guy who sweats a lot and talks too fast.  drugs, no doubt.
  10. have new washing machine delivered and watch in glee as they take away the old broken spider and all the treasures stuck in the coin trap that you will never know you are missing.
  11. install new washing machine with help of awkwardly awesome 12 year old son who is way more patient with missing tools and swearing mothers than anyone else on the planet.
  12. realize old stand up freezer is gross as hell.  bodies may have been stored in there.
  13. find new home for old freezer (don't share dead body theory with happy new owners found via facebook).
  14. find new freezer.  be awed and amazed at how light they make those things.  rejoice that it doesn't have a lock- cuz that is creepy.  locking freezers? hitchcock plot for sure.
  15. decide what items you want from old freezer.  not much.  put that in new freezer.
that should be about it, but no. because something is lost.  something you put in the freezer over a decade ago (then added to a few years later) cannot be found.

now, this is where it's no longer hypothetically YOU, but is actually me.  i do this as a favor because some of you will not be ok imagining YOU doing this.  it's all me.

the placentas are missing.

yes, the two placentas of my children.  the organs that i grew.  the literal trees of life that sustained my spawns for hundreds of days.  freezer burnt though they may be, cannot be found.

i make a quick inventory of contents of old standing freezer that i have not chucked out: roughly one gallon of beef stock made over the course of several days, strange brick of duck parts from son's hunting season, loaf of breadfarm goodness via free box at work, two dead owls, pint of cuban beef stew - also via free box. my inventory is so quick, that i barely touch the plastic bags and bins because i am scanning for the mental image i have of the placentas.  tin foil wrapped, tape wound about it with "PLACENTA, DO NOT EAT" written as cross, using the N to intersect the two words in the center of the package.

i am at a loss.  in a panic, i review possible placenta misplacement options:
  1.  they got thrown away when i lost the jack white tickets.
  2.  they go thrown away when my mom cleaned the freezer.
  3.  aliens came and stole them for genetic testing.
  4. ....that's all i got.

now, good reader, perhaps you are asking yourself "why save placentas?"  well, i had a plan.  i had many possible plans (none of which involved eating them...unless, i was diagnosed with something really, really bad then i would have considered cannibalizing myself by eating my own organs that i grew inside my uterus which maybe would not have cured myself, but i just think if you can eat your own organ for the potential of curing yourself that the universe should recognize you are the kind of person that either should be able to stick around longer or gets a fast-pass to a better existence).

the main plan was to plant them under a tree, in our yard.  even thought this seems like a simple plan i never carried it out for two reasons.
  1. i couldn't decide what type of tree or trees.
  2.  i couldn't decide where to plant them.

these two obstacles where kept afloat  by a superstitious fear that the tree/trees would die and this would feed my morbid view of life and worry about my own children's well being (which i owe to my mother singing horrible, really gruesome, songs to me as lullaby.  i kid you not, one of the lyrics says "husbands and wives, little bitty child lost their lives, it was sad when the great ship went down.") 

as i tried to reason my way through this mystery, i found myself so disappointed with my procrastination. (which i have mostly come to terms with since i am an optimist and in love with potential and projects, but cannot achieve so much of what i imagine because of limitations like time, money, and lack of mind control abilities).  i imagined my placentas in a land fill somewhere, just rotting away and it felt like the most disrespectful thing i could have let happen to the most magical piece of my body.  i felt myself grieving over the loss.

i started reviewing all the placental memories, like a power point slide show at a wake with soft music humming softly, completely cheesy but so darn authentically cheesy, like when a hallmark card makes your cry in the aisle of a grocery store.

looking at my first placenta, held gently by my midwife in a towel while i sat on the bed.  my son snuggled on me, our skins warming each other, i saw the iridescent shine on the twisted cord, leading up and branching out and around this canopy of deep purple and red.  it was full of beauty and mystery.  it was perfect in it's strangeness in a way that my spleen just probably would not be if it happened to pop out of my body someday and land next to me on my bed.  

i remember, as we readied to move back to Washington, having to leave that placenta in my mother-in-laws freezer, amid elk ribs, deer roasts and buffalo steaks, and really hoping she didn't mistake it for any of those and report back to us about the experience of eating it.

i remember my husband, months later, pulling a ziploc bag full of blood out of his luggage after being picked up from the airport.  me, gazing at it in confusion as it dawned on me that, post 911, he had managed to carry on a human organ to an airplane and fly it across several state lines...without arising suspicion. as a big, brown man he found pride in this. i could tell.

i remember the second placenta, sloshing out into the water.  Being only a little less impressive cuz.., well, we had seen that trick before.  

i remembered all the placenta people made smoothies from them or encapsulated them or sauteed them or sold them to cosmetic companies so wealthy woman could ward off wrinkles for a few days more or mistakenly referred to poinsettias as placentas when commenting on christmas tree decorations to my endless amusement.

i grieved for all the ways i had not shared any of this with my children.  how i had not followed through with the simple plan i had for trying to stretch out some of that placental magic into the ground, the roots, the branches of a tree where happy birds could sing.  and eat the bugs in the tree. make a nest in that tree.  hatch baby birds in that nest, in that tree, from those roots, from my placentas.

cirlce of life, indeed.

i was only mildly relieved when my husband wondered aloud if a friend had maybe mistaken the placenta for some of the grass fed beef we were storing for her.  i found it comforting, if not disgusting, to think she had feed it to her ailing cat, believing it to be liver.  this felt like a better use of my organs than being picked from a trash heap in the county dump by a startled worker in an orange vest, him calling out to his supervisor, "hey trevor! what the hell do you think this is?"

all of this flashes through my mind at a manic rate as i sort the remaining frozen items, sending the dead owls off with my mom.

that's a whole other story.

i grab the miscellaneous duck brick, wondering what my child is going to do with this (plant it under a tree?!) when i look closer and see that it is not duck gizzards.  


it's my placentas. 

red brick of human goo that is not so different than duck guts.  i promise to honor you this spring and put you in the ground so a tree can take root.  

or maybe throw you into the skagit river so you may feed the salmon.  

of course, i am getting older and if i decide to do that genetic testing, and it's positive maybe a little placenta pot pie would just get my cells back on track.  

i mean, this freezer is going to last a long time. so i got time. 
and lots of placental potential.