wiping grot and oily grime from
cobwebbed garage shelves, now mine,
I tamp down irritation at the time
it takes to clean another house. “it’s fine.”
my old house was scrubbed spotless. no token left
behind, nodding at our decade there. no broken
things, no artifacts, no remnants. all was taken
clean away. I felt an obligation, though unspoken,
to erase all traces of myself, and so I did, at length.
but in this new place, there’s a story in the dank
and mildewed corners, and taped to a crumbling plank—
“have a good one. you are my strength.”
Damn you, supercheap Groupon for eyelash extensions. You promised me a flirty new set for $35. Instead, you made me look ridiculous, and for what? The unforgivable crime of coveting ladylids? And when I told the girl that I did NOT want to look like Tammy Faye Bakker, and she said “Who?”, I bet you laughed, didn’t you, Groupon? And when the girl held up a mirror and I opened my eyes after an hour of being tortured by her Tweezers of Fire, instantly perforating the skin under my eyebrows in a hundred tiny pinpricks of blood, it was no more than I deserved, right, Groupon? And when I said, “Oh, I look like Mr. Snuffleupagus,” and the girl said “Who?”, that was your moment of victory, wasn’t it, Groupon? WASN’T IT?
But the last laugh is on you, Groupon, because I have a half-price coupon for refills.
I feel like we’ve been moving for a year. The life of a professional vagabond lost its charm when we started buying things like mattresses. Now it’s just painful, pinioned as I am by side tables and children and such. Staying put is part of growing up, arguably. So it may be time to send out some tentative roots. I just never thought it would be here. In Zion. So many of my people are here. And to be amidst one’s people, here in Zion, is to have the water close over one’s head. (I mean, not in a bad way. And only sometimes.)
I’ll miss the door knocker to our little rental. It wasn’t until I read the “as for me and my house” business that I realized how deep we were in it. Up to our knees, at least! Then it was revealed that this was the home a former Stake Patriarch had built for himself and his wife once their nest was empty, where he’d given over 800 blessings (in the room occupied by my son). And when I learned that little fact, I knew we were in it up to our waists. But I tell you what, there was a darn good feeling in that room. If you had asked me which room in the house had been the venue for almost a thousand patriarchal blessings, I would have picked that room with my eyes closed. I’m not kidding.
Now we’re home owners again. As for me and my house, we’re in it up to our necks.
forbid her name, deny her grace,
turn your back while they displace
the mother from her sacred space
and pull her down till every trace
of her is gone. and then erase
the record of her power in case
her daughters ask to see her face
and restore wisdom to her place.
Here is Grandma, arm in arm with my brother, Daniel, who is possibly entering a fugue state. They are somewhere in Egypt, I would guess. I don’t know. The parental unit stopped lavishing international airfare on me at some point after college (although for a while there I had a pretty sweet thing going). Anyway, look at Grandma. Do you think she stares, vacantly, somewhere into middle space? Hardly. No, she is hatching a plan, or brewing up a joke. Perhaps she is reciting one of the seven million poems she keeps on permanent rotation inside her brain. Or maybe she’s relishing the sight of hirsute, galabia-clad locals. I wouldn’t put it past her. I wouldn’t have put anything past her. Gosh, she was formidable, and I miss her all the time. And I know I was her favorite, even though she went to Egypt without me.
File this under “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?” Back in the day, we were expected to do two things in k-garten: (1) not pee on the floor, and (2) distinguish our right hand from our left. I very clearly recall mixing up my hands, but that was because I was testing my teacher. She failed. A tale for another day, perhaps, but the point is that if some freaking posse of parents had gotten it into their tiny heads to ask for the privilege of overseeing more homework, another larger and quite violent posse of parents would have arisen to thrash the first posse of parents. And my mother would have led the charge, I guarantee it.
I think I’ve been pretty candid with zillow.com. I ticked all the boxes between “Not Baroque” and “Not a Hovel.” So what algorithm matched me up to a monthly mortgage payment of $20,000? See the above bit of real estate that was just flagged for my urgent attention. Someone, somewhere, is messing with me.
Anyway, if you’re interested, here’s the link: http://www.trulia.com/property/3131777985-65-Denali-Cir-Lindon-UT-84042
(We won’t be neighbors.)
Are we down to the wire, then? Is it really time to call it a day, chalk it all up to experience, put it out of its misery, remember the best and forget the rest?
I have what I am beginning to recognize as pre-nostalgia as I wander through my yard at sunset, trying to calculate how many jobs there are left before our property is worthy to be listed. The house has suffered the usual indignities from having been lived in by actual people, but the yard is a different creature than it was when we acquired it seven-plus years ago. I’m not saying it’s anything grand. It’s on the same life-support system that keeps the rest of our subdivision humming along. But nearly every inch of it has been replanted. By me. The same person who used to be too nervous to hack off withered branches because what if they were just playing dead and I actually murdered them with my clippers?
I’ve become someone who, unable to justify buying a new pair of shoes for three solid years, was nevertheless compelled to acquire a number of rather costly peonies to see if they would perform their magic in my yard (they did, spectacularly). More obsessively than I document my children do I take pictures of the same plant day after day, just to watch it change over the season. Yes, I am “that” woman who has a personal relationship with every tree in her yard, even the giant cottonwoods which will someday topple over and crush her house to the ground.
Please let it be after we move.
My people, in preparation for our imminent departure for greener (and far more expensive, if memory serves) pastures, I’m holding a virtual garage sale. This will happen by and large on craigslist, where I have flogged many an item and will flog many more. In honor of the oral argument regarding same-sex marriage that is being heard by the Supremes even as I type, I’m putting a wonderful painting of two lovers of indeterminate sex on the auction block. There might be a third lover in there–I’m not sure. Actually, I’m not even sure what species these lovers are. Let’s agree to call the painting “Two Aliens In Love.” I had the canvas custom-framed by an adorable boy who set up shop right in my driveway, and let me tell you, that guy was NOT straight. No, not by any stretch of the imagination. And he did a beautiful job with the frame, which cost me almost as much as the painting. What am I bid?
I do remember saying at the end of last year, in all seriousness, that I was sure 2012 was going to be a “break-out year” for me. Break out of what? Left brain prison? Who was I even talking to? Probably myself. I must never put ideas like that out into the Universe, which likes to have a laff as much as the next guy.
And here we are again, winding up another year. I have the same cold-slash-flu that everyone else in Idaho has, which means that I am the same as everyone else. Oh my gosh, the same! I put on my flu-pants one leg at a time, just like you do. Except that when my flu-pants are on, I realize that I’m more of a skirt person.
Anyway, absolutely hideous year. However, 2013 is going to be a break-out year for me. I really believe that.