Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Shoot. I Thought It Was Tuesday.

But it’s not. Wednesday is here already, which means I missed doing my weekly book review. Wednesday is the garden, the country, and matters rural. That covers a lot of territory, considering it’s about forty miles to the nearest latte — in Lil’ Kumquat*, that blue, blue town near us. It has the nearest Barnes and Noble, too, but since we have a somewhat shaky internet connection and email, Amazon is better…can’t go into Barnes and Noble in my pajamas. On the other hand, Amazon doesn’t serve coffee. And on the third hand, while browsing Amazon I won’t be meeting any red-faced liberals demanding to know why I’m browsing through David Horowitz and “polarizing the country.” That was a fun moment. Have you ever noticed that liberals seem to have an atrophied sense of fun?

In the winter around here — here being Eden, our estate — the garden tasks amount to raking. Lots and lots of raking. Fortunately, since it’s also my winter exercise, I don’t mind raking a large area only to find it covered with leaves a few days later. There is a wonderful Zen experience to be had with raking for its own sake. Rake, step, rake, step, rake, step. And then down goes the tarp. Rake, step — repeat several hundred times and then haul the tarp to the woods and dump it wherever it feels right.

At the moment I am using the spot where sits an old, dilapidated picnic table. Hexagonal, I think. Anyway, it tilts south and I’ve been busy covering it with leaves. It’s not treated wood so it responds to my treatment by gradually growing holier.

As I am also doing, by applying a modest dose of raking every day. It is good — a good — to do something useful which you will simply have to repeat eternally until you die and someone comes behind you to pick up the rake and continue the task.

But who knows? Maybe the next person will come along and knock down the house and build a bigger one. A few years ago, I got one of my recurring yens for a dining room. I asked a contractor friend to come over and see if he could somehow manage to attach a room to our house so I could have a separate place to eat dinner, away from the kitchen. He had built an addition here once before, when my mother, disabled with Parkinson’s, came to live with us. After walking around, and pondering, and walking around and discussing, he thought it might be a good idea to knock down the house and start over.

Thanks a lot. That desecration will be someone else’s task, not mine. This house was built room by room as previous owners had the money. No one family could do much since they were all so poor — obviously none of them could build square either. Gradually, electricity was added. Then water. Then the kitchen was expanded. That wife must have been so happy to have a sink, not to mention a bath tub.

I love that kitchen sink. You can’t find enamel ones with two sinks and two drain boards anymore. It fits in its little nook so well. When we had the kitchen cabinets put in (before there were just rough shelves) I tried to save the sink by having it resurfaced. But that was a failure. The “enamel” just peeled away. So now I’ll have to find another sink. Darn it….

…soon a professional organizer is coming to help me rename the rooms and reshuffle my life. It’s a sign you need a pro when you’re still calling it the “music room” three years after the pianos and the guitars have gone elsewhere. Leave a room to its own devices and it fills up with “storage”…also a sign you need professional help. My organizer says every time you hit an obstacle, things get more chaotic. Well, I guess so! She is coming with cardboard boxes and lots of energy and we are going to be busy at Goodwill. In fact, it’ll be Goodwill hunting, since that’s what I’ll be doing — hunting for things to give away so there will be room to think.

Meanwhile, I can always rake. Step, rake, step rake. Lay out tarp. Step, rake, step, rake. Pull tarp to picnic bench and dump. Lay out tarp…step, rake. Quit when it stops being fun.

*You know how they call New York City "The Big Apple"? A friend of mine from Westchester said one day that she had to drive into the city for horse feed. When I looked at her blankly she laughed and told me she forgot she wasn't in New York anymore. That's when we came up with the name of our town: "Lil' Kumquat" is sweet on the outside, sour and seedy in the middle.


At 1:26 PM, Blogger Wally Ballou said...

hey, build a media room in the music room. It's about time.

Pretty funny about Horowitz being "polarizing" - I think we can assume Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky are not. I'm not sure what the opposite of "polarized" should be - amorphous? homogenous? isotropic agglomeration? - it should be a word or phrase that means a completely mixed collection of different elements. But that's not what the crabby libs want. What they dream of is an ideological isopole, where the only measurable quantity is relative distance from the perfect goal.


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