My younger daughter was all done with school and so this was a fine day to ask her to come and help me with unpacking our things from China out in the garage. “You can play your tunes. Come on. We need to find the ornaments if we’re ever going to decorate this tree.”
I’ve a straight razor that flicks out and in from the tool I bought at Lowes. This is much better for cutting through all the cardboard than the silly scissors I was fooling with before I'd bought this thing. All the cases, all the drawers, all the everything is taped up in cardboard. I cut through endless sheaves of cardboard that someone in China had used liberally to wrap this container full of our life’s goods. The bubble wrap and the plastic are often what’s next and this too must be cut to be separated. In the end, I separate the two, and call the cardboard recycle-able and the plastic garbage, even though the days when China was buying our garbage are over and this all, apparently now just gets dumped into the same garbage heap.
The plastic can just be shoved into the bag as is, but I cut up the cardboard into smaller pieces so it can fill out more of the plastic bags. My little one does a reasonable job of stuffing the cardboard bag for a while, but soon gets distracted and begins culling through all our old things; the painting she did in middle school, her old back pack, the lamp she used to have on her desk.
By now it’s beginning to get dark. I’m more aware of all thing I haven’t yet found. There is a critical beam that holds the critical fourth shelf together. Where are my clothes? Not that I need them, but I still haven’t found all my suits and ties. In one suitcase I find the things I had with me in my stepson’s apartment after we’d moved and when people could still travel back and forth to China. Just before we wrap up for the night, I unzip another dirty white suitcase, one we’d bought in Beijing many years ago, and there is the box we always kept the ornaments in. We leave with a small but important sense of accomplishment.