Today was the day we needed to accomplish two things. Especially since Emilie is still here and she’s a driver. If there is something that needs doing, she’s all over us to get it done. It’s a great trait when we have a hard deadline – like we do now.
The first thing was to tackle what Jeff has in his closet and drawers, and to pitch with extreme prejudice. This included the suit he wore at our wedding, and the list goes on from there. He’s a big souvenir t-shirt guy. Some he actually wears but most he acquired as a remembrance that he went some where or saw something. Usually, it’s an experience he had on his motorcycle. [Deep breath. Heavy sigh.]
Then there are all the old ski pants and hiking boots that he’s kept over the years, for whatever reason. He’s still fighting the last remnants of the plague I gave him, so he laid on the bed sniffling, while Emilie and I ‘helped him make decisions’. Spinning it like we were doing him a favor. I took things out of the closet and then we voted. The hanging things were easy. The drawer things were harder.
‘Wait – I got that in XYZ when I went to ABC.’ he pleads.
The shirt is truly hideous. Em and I try to avoid eye contact.
‘Yeah, but the tags are still on it. It’s been 3 years.’ says Emilie logically.
‘You guys are killing me.’ he grumbles.
‘I’m fine if you want to pay money to move it more than 8,000 miles away.’ I say generously, knowing this will be the downfall of this item.
He points to the ever-growing donation pile and Emilie gives me a little smile and a knowing nod.
Two large lawn bags later and we’re down to three piles. What he’ll move with him in a suit case when we leave. What he needs now for work. And finally, what I’m putting in space bags to ship in boxes that will arrive at our new home in 8-16 weeks. Progress!
The second thing we need to accomplish is setting aside what he will wear to the interview at the consulate. I had already put aside a couple of outfits for myself, which Emilie had judged to be suitable for public viewing. She immediately went to work from the ‘Ship it’ pile and had him trying on nice jackets, dress shirts and trousers. She started with the shoes and built the rest of his options around it. She is my daughter – whether we share DNA or not.
After getting Jeff to patiently work with her, she came up with an outfit that is coordinated with mine.
‘You want to look like you’re together. You know – like you thought about it, but not too matchy matchy.’ she coached us as though we’re children who can hardly dress ourselves.
Em really should be a celebrity stylist. She’d make a zillion dollars doing it. She has a crazy memory and can pull things out of your closet that you forgot about or didn’t even know you owned. When she was little – like 5 years old – I would come down the stairs to take her to school and she’d look me up and down and make suggestions.
‘I think you need to wear the other shoes. And you have a handbag that will go better with that outfit.’
And I would got back upstairs and do what she said. Once, I took her to ‘Take Your Daughter to Work Day’. I worked at the Corporate office of a large retailer in Seattle and they had the kids come to see the what the buyers were contemplating buying for the next season. Emilie had chosen her outfit (she was 8) very carefully that day. Complete with accessories.
The buyers had all the merch on rolling racks and the shoes and accessories out on tables. The other kids were running around and screaming. Emilie walked the racks quietly like a pro and then headed to the tables. She picked up product and felt the hand of fabrics.
The buyers asked all the kids to sit down and then asked each of them to tell them what they thought of what they saw. Emilie had taken notes. I watched as she got up from her chair and started organizing the clothes on the racks.
‘Yes, Yes, No. Definitely No.’ as she flipped through them while standing on a chair.
She went through all the racks in the room and moved on to the tables. Everyone else was now taking notes. She had the entire room eating out of her hand as she concisely answered questions as to why she did or didn’t like something. She wasn’t fooling around and took it all very seriously. Afterwards, they pulled me aside and asked me if she would be willing to come back and look at samples for future seasons.
So we are lucky to have our own little, ‘Devil Wears Prada’, Miranda Priestly in our family. It’s Em’s super power and she’s definitely made editing a lot easier. We can leave here with the confidence that everything we’re taking is Emilie Approved.