I went to Home Depot last night to get some paper to protect the floors on the move in to the house in Pittsburgh. There was a woman about to bite into a big potato chip when I approached the information desk to ask where I could find floor covering. She put a napkin in front of her mouth, hid the potato chip and put it away. Then she asked what she could do for me. I said, “Welcome me home.” She happily obliged.
I went to the best fish market down on the strip. I had met the guy who runs his knife along the spine of the most beautiful fresh tuna, but have never introduced myself. I told him I was moving back to Pittsburgh and having access to his amazing fish was one of the reasons. “Well….the same characters as ever working here…my name is Tim.”
The movers emptied both trucks today. “Mister George, where does this one go?” I asked them to kill the mister part, but it didn’t work. Movers, like the hospice people who were here last year at this time, are strangers entering my life at the most stressful moments. They are all going to be in my life for a short time. They are seeing me at my most vulnerable and overwhelmed. They are pros at doing what I am clearly an amateur at – yet…I am in charge. I try to access their experience. They want me to make all the decisions – knowing they are really the experts. It is an interesting dance.
When I arrived at the home in Pittsburgh it was not ready. Floors getting done. Painting. Plumbing. Dust. Lots of dust. There is no grass in the backyard – just dirt and grass seed trying to take hold. Bathrooms missing toilet paper, and a small drip from a pipe in the basement. In the freezer an old pint of pistachio ice cream, a half package of turkey bacon and some frozen waffles.
After the movers left today I took the deepest longest nap. I slept off the marathon drive east and the crazy unpacking. I slept off “Holy shit! Did I really take all these pictures in all the boxes??” When I woke up I finally got to do some really normal things. Take the garbage to the curb. Talk to the neighbors – there are two sweet little boys next door so ready for us to land….they don’t know yet how well documented their lives are about to become. Take out the porch furniture. It was a magnificent glowing evening after a week of cold rain. Joy was all around me.
My friend @ericaogrady says my hashtag for everything should be #wherejoylives. I never thought of my life as a hashtag, but searching for joy has definitely been my mission. That I find it in such unexpected ways every single day is something I love. Joy lives in everyone I meet. It lives in everyone I photograph. Joy is sitting right there before I even open my eyes in the morning. Joy lives in the places I think are going to be the most boring. Joy lived tonight in Asher reading jokes to me over the phone and Jackson telling me about going 1 for 2 in his Little League game.
Stephie is breathing joy with every breath – even when it is crazy like today. Revealing joy is like letting the light in. Coming to this house where I had so much joy as a child and bringing it back to life is something I still cannot imagine…but joy will definitely be living here coming June when the doors swing open again.