This week is like a monsoon at our house. It is raining so hard that bringing the cat 30 meters from the barn to the house left Jeff soaked through his jacket. My knight in shining armor didn’t want me out in that. The news here calls it an ‘atmospheric river’. I call it the rain train.
Being from the NW corner of the US, we were prepared for the next few months. Grey skies and rain. Tomorrow it will be in the single digits during the day and night. Jeff has kept the fire stoked as I am bundled on the sofa drinking copias amounts of hot tea and bottles of water. But I had done my winter weather prep months ago.
A Blast From the Past
When we were preparing to move to Spain in late 2017, we had to dispose of most of our household items. This is more difficult than it would seem. No matter how hard you try, friends and family don’t always want your old stuff. Even for free!
That Thanksgiving, Ryan and his partner, Olga, and their cat, Lapa, drove down from the University of Colorado at Boulder to spend the holiday with us in Arizona. And we were thrilled to see them, of course. But we were even more excited because we could fill their car to the brim and send them home with things they didn’t have, and those we needed to swiftly dispose of. We knew Ryan would appreciate it all.
Jeff has always been a video game person. I am not. But from the time he was in high school he has purchased every game system that has come to market. And he and the family would play them. At Christmas, Jeff made sure that every year there was a new system under the tree from Santa. Complete with games. Sometimes, he had to go to great lengths to acquire them. Crossing his fingers that some girl who worked at a Walmart in Atlanta would actually pull it off the shelf on Black Friday morning and send it to him. The last one anywhere in the US. Ryan’s face that year was priceless. Santa out did himself.
The only ones I ever played were the dancing games like Dance Dance Revolution- psst…I was absolutely awful. And Guitar Hero and Rock Band, and Wii Fit. I lost ten pounds playing Wii Fit. And I endured hours of family humiliation with my guitar and drum playing. And singing. Uff! My children were brutal critics, for sure.
That last US Thanksgiving, as we loaded Ryan’s VW Bug – a classic college students car – with a tv and all those video game systems and games, I teared up. This surprised Jeff. But those were good memories. It made it real. We were going. Leaving everything, and everyone, behind. We had to let go of things and people. Jeff even gave Ryan his Atari from 40 years ago. It’s probably worth a zillion $$ on Ebay now, but I know he still has it.
When we landed in Spain Jeff began his re-acquisitions of new gaming systems on European electricity. Our old game systems wouldn’t have worked here, anyway. I understood his need to do this. Part of his comfort zone. And he played these online with friends in the US during pandemic lockdown. It helped him get through it emotionally. I don’t play any of these because I know myself. I’m rubbish at video games. Particularly because you have to care. I don’t. I can’t. But then, it changed.
The Old is New
We were recently reminiscing about sitting in our home theater room when the kids were younger, crushing Rock Band and laughing hysterically. Those were fun times. Especially on gloomy winter days. Where we lived in Washington state got a lot of snow. You needed entertainment when you got snowed in for five days.
‘They don’t make game systems like the Wii anymore.’ Observed Jeff. ‘ so many first person shooter games now. It’s too bad. We used to have a lot of fun with that when the kids were younger.’
But he forgot. This is Spain. In Spain, all new electronics arrive ages after the US. And people in Spain don’t discard stuff like we do in the US. They keep it. This country isn’t as much of a disposable society as we are used to. And, they trade things in for new stuff. I didn’t even know that was a thing.
So, for Jeff’s birthday I found a place in Lugo that sells new and used game systems and games. And I went there to browse. They marked me right away as a fish out of water. A crazy like a fox fish out of water, more like. 😉 A mixed metaphor. Never mind. And what did they have? The entire Wii system universe. Ok, not the Rock Band or Guitar Hero instruments, but everything else. I bought the lot of it for a whole €90, as the guy looked at me funny. Something tells me I’m not his usual gaming customer. And because this is the EU, they have to guarantee a fifteen year-old gaming system for two years. Crazy. I left my details with him, in case they ever get the instruments.
So, we are set for the winter. All the Rain Trains to come. Kickin’ it old school. I’ll be fit. Or, at least Wii Fit. And we can while away the dark hours ski jumping, doing yoga, and the like. Dancing to the hits from 2008. And grudge matching Wii tennis and bowling. All while smiling, remembering happy times from the past, and making new memories for the future.