Posts tagged ‘tidal wave’

March 25, 2013

Post 41 — Surf’s up! (Part 1)

The packing crate is at the end of the house on the right side.

The packing crate is at the end of the house on the right side.

The arrival of the household goods was the last step in the family’s assimilation. Although life before had fallen into a comfortable rhythm, now it felt like home. And while the girls were happy to have new additions to their wardrobes after wearing the same three outfits for the last few months, the most exciting thing was the actual crate itself. It was like an apology from the shipping company: “Hey, we’re sorry it took ninety-eight days to get your stuff to you, so here’s a tiny extra house for all your trouble!”

Once everything had been unpacked, a set of hinges and a cheap padlock turned the box into a useable storage compartment. The crate was built out of two by fours and plywood and looked fairly substantial. When it was new, it also had the advantage of actually keeping things dry since it was completely contained when the side was shut, whereas the house was eighty percent screens and frequently damp. People stored bikes and lawn chairs and any other overflow that might not have fit in the house.

The crates were fine for about a year until the humidity and mildew got a good foothold in the pressed plywood, and then they began to disintegrate quickly. You could tell how long people had been on the island by the condition of their packing crate. If it was standing strong with all the sides intact and kids climbing on top of it, the wood a bright yellow with a whiff of sawdust scent, the family had been there less than six months. A pile of rotting black splinters that meant a sure battle with gangrene should a puncture wound ever occur, next to a couple of rusted lawn chairs, indicated a veteran.

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