My parents visited this weekend, bringing birthday presents with them. As usual, these gifts were thoughtful, appropriate, kind, and Extremely Heavy.

It all started in a few years ago. I had recently moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan for graduate school, and had increased my distance from “home” by about 30 minutes. Ever-supportive, my parents would pile in the car on weekends and we would all have lunch at Zingermans. However, the holidays revealed an unusual pattern. Instead of the usual paperbacks and gift certificates, I started receiving Very Heavy Things. A leaded glass picture frame weighing about 15 pounds. Hardbacked reference books. Anvils.

My latest move to Ithaca has upped the ante. The trip is now eight hours long, and for my birthday this year I received a pair of six ton jack stands and an iron tea kettle. I suspect this will be followed by an armoire and a set of shotputs.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my parents are slowly building an anchor. Soon I will be forced to remain, tethered to my home by a series of carefully-placed items too heavy to fit in the moving van.