No More Hustle: All Flow


The research papers were graded; the discussion posts logged. The nine day slow-motion swoon of goodbyes and “short visits” was drawing to a close. In the fridge, the crisper drawers had been emptied and washed out. At midnight, the windowsills received a vacuuming. Blessedly, the kids had sleepovers at friends’ houses, so we’d been able to make thirty uninterrupted trips to the basement, carrying fans, chairs, baskets, tubs, Legos, balls, bedding.

By two a.m., I’d entered my grades for summer classes with the registrar and wiped off three years of dust from the molding behind a bathroom shelf.

Nearing packing completion, paperwork in order, a salutary sunset run through the trees completed, torso covered with dried sweat,

I eyed the house’s one remaining in-use mattress and marveled at the peace that accompanies lack of stuff. Spartanism charms.

A simple pan downwards, though, reveals the barely-contained chaos

of a family’s possessions, massed,

enjoying new intimacies.

May the next year for them be as it will for us–

peppered with new friendships–

daring the unexpected leap–

realizing the interconnectedness of all things.

I sagged into the mattress and marveled one more time at the stack of luggage, staged and ready to be loaded into a trailer, pulled behind a mini-van, and driven south for a few days before ricocheting much further east.

Sleep evulsed consciousness, but not before I noted to the congregated suitcases, “Wow, you boys are hecka lotta stuff for a family of four to be dragging around. Are you sure some of you wouldn’t rather go have a nice, stimulating year in the basement, maybe join a fraternity, hit a few parties?”

Taking their stolid silence as a vote for enriching world travel over beer bongs, I faded to black,

arising a few hours later to push the mattress down the stairs, mop the floors with vinegar, and help my husband sit on and compress our overflowing garbage can in the alley.

When we pulled out of town some hours later, tshirts still wet with perspiration, we kept our eyes glued to the double yellow line of the road ahead–

resolutely refusing to glance back and see if the ravens were already pecking through our leavings.



By Jocelyn

There's this game put out by the American Girl company called "300 Wishes"--I really like playing it because then I get to marvel, "Wow, it's like I'm a real live American girl who has 300 wishes, and that doesn't suck, especially compared to being a dead one with none."


  1. I'm so envious that you are bold enough to do this amazing thing. It will be fantastic and I will live vicariously!

    Also, you're damn lucky to have a basement.

  2. My gut clenched in sympathetic anticipation, possibly mixed with a tiny bit of apprehension.

    Emptying out a house on a deadline is a very stressful experience, but what a compensation awaits you! Not just a year in Asia Minor, but a return to a familiar and empty house, and a new appreciation for the fine art of living minimally, perhaps.

    I have to hand it to you, Jocelyn et al, you're not afraid to jump in with both feet. My thoughts and very best wishes will accompany you on your journey and I can hardly wait to see those posts from Turkey. Bon voyage! A Bientôt!

  3. What an amazing thing. What will you do if you find you have not missed the things that are downstairs?

  4. I think you packed very well for a family of four going away for a year. Have a wonderful, wonderful time, send periodic updates (please?) & don't worry about the stuff in the basement. The "frat party" isn't until next week 😉

    Bon voyage!

  5. Europe definitely welcomes The One With A Great Way With Words and Observations included Groom, Girl and Paco !! Hooray! and off they went!

  6. If you are reading this, you must be in Turkey! Yay! you made it!!!
    Can't wait to hear how the trip went and all of the first impressions. Is it as hot there as it is here??

  7. I think that you are the Queen of the multi-task and yet a very wise simplifier.

    I wish you and your family a wonderful journey and the experience of a lifetime.

  8. for a second there, I thought I saw something in your basement that looked like a coffin. But it wasn't. See? It could be way, way worse.

  9. This reminded me of when Flip and I sold our home in TN and moved to CA with a giant U-Haul truck, crammed, and one cat. The accumulation of many years was unbelievable, although it developed much later that he had left many of my most treasured possessions in the pile for the garbage collectors and brought lots of garbage instead. At least you know where your things are, and hopefully they will benefit from their sabatical as well.

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