Monday, May 4, 2009

"Chapel Time" (Making Progress)...

Pretty much all of the sorting and packing for our move is finished in the kitchen, living room, and dining room. Most of the stuff I'll take with me is coming from these three rooms, so even though I've got a lot of house yet to sort and pack, I feel like I've conquered the biggest part of the job. In these rooms, I've got empty drawers and cupboards everywhere (and a lot of stacked boxes) except for a few things I'm still using and will pack to take with me when I leave.

Furniture that is going with me (like this pictured antique pine sideboard/dresser from England) is shoved up against the walls at one end of the living room. The lamp made the cut. This Hummel clock-- it's called "Chapel Time"-- has been wrapped and placed inside a box a few different times, but for some reason I keep pulling it back out. So, here it sits in this spot on the sideboard-- telling the wrong time because the battery has been removed-- while I consider for a bit longer what to do with it.

We lived in England in the mid-1980's, and it was during that time that this limited edition Hummel clock showed up in the shops. I hadn't collected any Hummel figures during my time in England (I know. Hummels are German, but they were in so many of the shops in our area of the UK), but I was continually drawn back to this one. All Hummels are sweet, but the clock struck me extra well for some reason (I still can't really explain it). I thought I'd like to have the clock, but I put it out of my mind because being drawn to something is no reason to go ahead and buy it.

A few days before we left England to come back to the United States, Mike, big bag in hand, walked through the door of the furnished flat we were temporarily renting. He smiled and handed the bag to me, and when I looked inside, there was the Hummel clock. I was touched by Mike's thoughtfulness, and I've loved the clock ever since.

Bringing "Chapel Time" back to America was a bit of a challenge because our household items had already been packed and moved home. I had to hand-carry the clock, and this wasn't particularly easy to do on traveling day because I had four very young children (ages 6 weeks, 1 year, 3 years, and 4 years) to mind, as well as my luggage and theirs and my carry-on items and theirs (diapers, snacks, dolls, toys, books, surprises, distractions) and my purse. This wiggly mound of people and stuff moved around from place to place as one for hours and hours and hours.

It started when we rose early in our London hotel, bright and chattery and eager to get back to friends and family in America, where we hadn't been for over three years. It proceeded by herding children and lugging baggage down five flights of stairs (no elevator in the old hotel) and down the street to the underground (and managing to get people and paraphernalia aboard the train in the morning work rush), making our way to Heathrow airport, waiting in a little airport cafe for our flight, being suddenly hurried outside by airport officials because of a bomb threat (we stood in one spot in the chilly air for what seemed like hours), finally boarding our plane, keeping everyone busy and content and in one place on the plane for more than nine hours, disembarking in Seattle (with all of the little ones and our stuff intact), making the long trek to customs (at least it seemed long) while I continued holding a baby and hauling bags (luggage had no wheels in those days) and keeping three little ones beside me. Whew.

Thankfully, the kids were very good kids, but they were tired, and I was dragging a lot of stuff with me. By the time we moved through customs in Seattle (a nice man took mercy on us and eventually moved us to the front of a very long line), my brain was numb (think zombie) and my arms were aching.

But our entourage arrived in good, mostly cheerful, jet-lagged form, thanks to what had to have been a wonderful army of helping angels and the very grace of God.

This little Hummel clock went through it with me that day. And I think I've just decided. I'm taking the Hummel clock with me.

(And, so, another spontaneous post has been written when I should have been packing instead...)