Claudio Sanchez and the Switch Witches
I’m rather disappointed in myself. Mom had an excellent part-of-the-day yesterday. She woke me bringing me a drink of water, took herself to the bathroom, and admitted to raiding the cookies during the night. We had a pretty rational conversation or two; she confessed she could not remember where daddy’s grave was, and made me promise to take her to it one day this week when the rain moves out and she feels up to it. She also scolded me for not having a will made yet, and wanted to know all about my plans for getting health insurance once my Cobra from my old job runs out the end of this year. She knew where we live, and where we used to live, and that the old house was rented out.
It was great. So why was I so tense? Because I knew it would end, and end abruptly and without warning. It makes me mad, mostly at myself, that I can’t enjoy these increasingly rare moments when she is with me, because I’m bracing for her to leave in a flash. And sure enough, at 3 PM, she took her meds, I walked out of her bedroom and into the kitchen, got her a fresh glass of water, and walked back into her room. I was literally out of her sight for maybe 90 seconds. And there she was frantically flipping her pill planner box open and closed, trying to make sense of the simple written schedule, and calling me an SOB when I tried to explain. Back to paddling.
I remain determined to have fun when I can though. Hence, the secret pal swaps I mentioned last week. For several years a group on the Black Phoenix perfume forum have had a swap we call Switch Witch. It’s great fun stalking your Witchee and pulling together things they like. I can’t spend as much time on it as I used to, but I still manage. Right now I’m making a faux-leather box, and trying my hand at newspaper basket weaving. Hey, I warned everybody: I’m not working anymore, so my Witchee will get handmade stuff by and large. (one year, a lot of us were financially embarrassed, so we had a separate swap with a super low spending limit, and called it Broke Witch. Hehe)
The other swap is with a group on Ravelry, the yarncraft site I belong to. A couple of years ago, a member posted that a mysterious package had just arrived on her doorstep addressed to her boyfriend. The return address was a business in Chicago and the name Claudio Sanchez. She said she had texted her boyfriend and he wasn’t expecting anything and had no clue what it might be. Her only theory was that his birthday was coming up and he had family in Chicago, though nobody by that name. she got everybody who was online at the time thoroughly hooked and then said her boyfriend gave her the okay to open it. While she was gone all sorts of wild theories were floated, many of which involved that meme of Brad Pitt going ‘what’s in the box?’ from the movie Seven.
The original poster came back laughing herself silly. Turns out the box was from her boyfriend’s absent-minded aunt, who apparently remembered he had some kind of occasion coming up, but wasn’t sure what. So the card inside just said ‘Happy Fall’. The box itself contained what appeared to be a collection of stuff she had found around her house, most notably a package of 3 caramel apples with one gone! As for the address, aunt had taken the box to her work place and asked the mail room boss, Claudio, to mail it for her. He ran it through their postage meter which automatically put the business and his name as return address.
Mystery solved, we all got a good giggle. Then one of my best friends in the group had to say it. “you know, this makes me want to stuff a box with random crap and mail it to somebody”. (If y’all knew her, you would know why it totally did not surprise me that she said that.) That’s all it took. Within 36 hours or so, over 100 people had signed up and the first Claudio Sanchez Random Box of Awesome swap was underway!
The current iteration is like the fifth one, I think, and it’s amazing how much cool stuff you can get from what somebody else thinks is junk. Among other things, I’ve gotten rubber stamps, a gold Homer Simpson, Japanese coffee cups that now house teeny succulents, a redneck wine glass candle holder, and a tiny gold poop charm (yes seriously). The first round, my package came in a huge plastic cat litter bucket; I love it and use it to store candles and wax tarts to this day! One time my Secret Sanchez sent me a half-knitted sweater, which I bound off, stuffed and sewed shut, to make a gorgeous pillow. Another time, totally at random, I got a little squeaky Buddhist monk with a cell phone and a latte—which nearly brought me to tears, because I had had one years ago, and lost it in a move from a job.
I’ve sent everything from used books to a preserved alligator foot (taxidermy is strongly encouraged). Mom used to help, enthusiastically tossing through her closets and drawers for strange stuff to send. The only sort-of rules are: you must include some nice yarn (so even if the rest is crap, your Sanchezee will have something good); you can’t buy anything specifically for the swap; and if at all possible, you must include a package of 3 somethings with only 2 in it (the ‘holy ratio’ in honor of those caramel apples, which I’m not sure we ever did figure out) This year, I sent a pack of 3 Chapsticks with one taken out.
My Switch Witchee still doesn’t know who I am, so no more details on that swap. My Sanchez package was supposedly delivered the other day; I’m awaiting confirmation and hope she likes her box of Chapsticks, miscellaneous kitchen tools, and gourds.