“I’ve finally gotten that minimalist look I’ve been hoping for” — DiploDad, after packout

I figure that this was my 23rd packout. That’s a pretty impressive figure, I guess, but after yesterday the number felt way too low.

We had an awesome team. The packout guys (and Scarlett, the token chica) were great. Professional, speedy, and polite. They showed up about 10 minutes early at about 8:50, which was a HUGE difference from the usual SOP. Normally, they tell you they will arrive “sometime between 9 and 11 a.m.” and you know that you can just sleep in late, make a giant pitcher of bloody Marys and you’ll still be sobered up by the time they get there. Which may or may not be a good thing. The sober part, I mean. Of course, I never, ever actually DO that and sleep in or begin with a bloody Mary, because the moment I did that, they’d show up on time. So I was pleasantly surprised when they showed up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, eager to pack up all my worldly possessions.

Byron, the team leader, led Manuel, Byron 2, and Smiley through the first day to formulate a plan of attack. Suddenly, behind me, the temperature in the room dropped a few degrees and the chitchat dropped to a whisper. I turned around, and Manuel had a Germany FIFA collectors’ card from the World Cup in his hand, whispering to the others. Oh, Scheisse. I was in a house with a bunch of breakable items that I truly loved, and my South American Packout Team had discovered the boys’ shrine to Die Mannschaft. Uncomfortable silence, the weight of the World Cup Final of the night before upon us all. Germany 1 – Argentina 0. Finally, Manuel looks up at me and says, “You Allemagne?”

“Um, no, I -”

“Estadio Unis?” he asks, before I can bumble an answer. “Si”, I hear myself squeak. Exhale from everyone – “Yes, Estadio Unis GOOD!” Later on, Manuel tells me he is from Costa Rica and so it is OK. Whew.

The packout moved along really well, and in the afternoon the Obligatory DOS Rep came by to insult and demean us, and tell us not to worry about anything, because the packout was “coming from the U.S.” Ha. I’ve had more broken things from the going out direction than the coming in, and you can take the stats for that to the bank. This ODR was especially annoying, to the point of reaching out to pat me on the head. DiploDad saw it coming though, and prevented the intended contact before his arm was ripped off. Seriously, do I look like a labrador?
They finished about 9 p.m. last night, and wow is the place empty. Just dust bison to deal with. No, not bunnies, BISON.

It’s quiet too, but at the same time filled with the echo of the memories we’ve created in the house over the last three years. Twelve birthdays. Three anniversaries. Two jobs. An NDU and a Kindergarten graduation. Countless dinner parties with friends. Playdates and Beerdates. Looking around, breathing in the silence, and hearing the echo of laughter and happiness from the near-distant past, I smile, knowing that the imprint remains on my soul of all the love this house has held.