Tuesday, August 30, 2011

a brief note of explanation

I am interrupting this week of 'Ber Love for an underlining note about my displeasure with late July/August.

It started when we were on the Epic Summer Trek through Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Colorado.  First there was the obvious discomfort from all that traveling: the constant pressing drag of the unpack / sleep / repack / drive long tedious distances in a car with a three-year-old who has developed the fine art of being entertained by something for exactly three minutes before insisting for sumfing else, sumfing else please.  On top of this hot mess was the day leading up to leaving for the trip, which should have been full of laundry and packing.  Instead, there was an emergency run to Alice's doctor and the fantastically-timed diagnosis of walking pneumonia (both lungs, y'all).  When the doc handed me the prescriptions for the nebulizer treatment and the antibiotic, I should have noticed her shaking hand.  Shaking because when I got those prescriptions filled, our bill was in the TRIPLE DIGITS.  After insurance.  I am convinced, to this day, that that antibiotic was made with melted gold and the nebulizer could only have been manufactured using bits of ACTUAL DIAMONDS, because seriously---DUDE.

By the time we got to my parents' place we were happy to sort of melt into the woodwork.  But that was not to be, because we got a call from Amanda who had bad news.  She and her six-year-old Zander were looking in on the cats while we were gone, and because of all the time we'd spent doing a doctor visit and having prescriptions filled (paid by SIGNING OVER OUR HOUSE)--- we hadn't had a chance to give Amanda an actual key.  To the house.  But not to worry!  Of course!  Brilliant Whimsy just said HERE IS THE GARAGE DOOR CODE!  YOU CAN GET IN SO EASILY!  NO KEY NEEDED!  

Amanda's phone call was along the lines of, Um--- I can't get into your house.  I've tried the garage code about five times and it doesn't seem to be working.

And of course, no one has a key to our house.  Not a soul.

There was some discussion of overnighting a garage door opener to Amanda, or even the key on Chip's key ring.  That option was denied because it was Friday night and nothing was open, and even in the best of circumstances it would have been Monday before she'd get the package - leaving the cats without water and food refilled in six days.  

We ended up calling a locksmith, who met Amanda at the house Saturday morning and then proceeded to explain that he would be charging us over $300 to drill through our locks and get inside.


Chip talked him down to half that and then we just hung up the phone and gulped.

Meanwhile, Amanda watched him drill through our deadbolt, rendering it unusable.  She made plans to have her husband come over later to install a new deadbolt.  You know, so no one else could get inside the house.

This is a really long story to illustrate something along the lines of how tired we were of those kinds of surprises.  But there were several more in store.

Ten minutes inside Arches National Park in Moab, Utah, dear Alice Bean threw up all over the backseat of the car.  I didn't know it could come out of a person's nose like that.  That one ended in a four-hour detour of washing every article of clothing, fabric, and upholstery in our hotel parking lot.

There was the time that I got sick, also in Moab--- my body had the good taste to wait until very late at night, when Alice was already asleep in our bathroom, of all places.  I had the pleasure of attempting to deal with my situation a little more discreetly.  Inside the public hotel bathroom, downstairs.  AWESOME.

Then there was the small matter of Chip getting laid off when we were only one day from returning home.

A week later, our house presented us with a belated welcome home present: a broken hot water heater.  Replacing it, the only option.  The plumber quoted us $1,300.  Luckily, our dear friends Kate and Abram came through (yet again) with the far cheaper solution of doing it ourselves--- we bought the water heater, and Abram and Chip spent that Saturday installing it.  We were only out hot water for about 36 hours, which left me feeling immensely grateful for Modern Conveniences and Very Good Friends.

Since then, Chip has found a new job and things have normalized a little--- but we have had to buy a new lawn motor, replace a light fixture, install new shelves in Alice's room, and buy a replacement laptop for Chip.

Then, last night we got locked out of our house.  Not because of a broken garage door code - but because of a broken door knob, the one leading from the inside of the garage to the house.  Try as we might, we couldn't get it unstuck.  We finally got back inside thanks to some masterful window climbing by yours truly (helped by Chip's sturdy back).  

Later, standing in line at Home Depot as we purchased a new door knob fixture thingie (technical term), Chip rolled his eyes as I reminded him that August hadn't killed us.


Truth is, somewhere inside all this misery is humor.  I think it's pretty funny, how everything sort of just happens at once like that.  At least in my life, for some reason, the misery is always dumped together in one moldy heap.  I think it's that way because it forces me to keep moving through it, to never stop and fully digest one part of it.  If I hold on to a single bad thing for too long, it will poison me from the inside out.  But the Revolving Door of Misery has this Zen gist to it--- that things come and go, ebb and flow, even in darkness.  August didn't kill me.  And I have a sneaking suspicion that the cooling days of September have something really great in store.


Monday, August 29, 2011

only the highest quality discussions here today

I write to you as Chip luxuriates on our bed, watching Big Trouble in Little China.  Doing such a thing (me writing as he watches) has me thinking about the August Television Doldrums.  Does anyone else feel this way about now?  When you don't think you can stand another round of flipping channels just hoping for something interesting, something funny, something even mildly entertaining?  When you've exhausted your entire library of DVD's three times over and simply don't want to contemplate how it can be to access something like 100+ television channels and THERE IS STILL NOTHING TO WATCH.

Lately, we've been watching The Great Food Truck Race on the Food Network.  It's a bright spot in the late August yuck; as is Project Runway, but in that I'm just speaking for myself.  When Chip sees it's on, his eyes roll into the back of his head and it's possible he goes into a walking coma.

But September, dear September brings with it NEW TELEVISION CONTENT.  Or, at least the promise of it.  Somehow I can stand waiting until the end of the month, just knowing that there will be something new to watch.

Not to say that we live for television, but there is something so necessarily restful about turning on the Box in the evening and just forgetting about the stresses of the day.

So.  That's my first Good 'Ber Thing: television.  (And that's what you've come to expect from The Creamery: QUALITY CONTENT.)  And I think I can say this safely, even for those of you in the outer reaches of Texas and South Dakota (hello Alicia & Tearese!)--- it doesn't matter how hot it is outside, new TV is pretty good.

Now tell me, and let's not be proud: are you looking forward to watching anything in particular this Fall?  What about that new thing from the people who did Lost?  (And so help me, if you tell me that you simply don't watch television, you are dead to me.)

Friday, August 26, 2011

what to do with August

Here's the thing: after ten days of blog silence and countless stops and starts in writing, I've figured it out: I hate August.  Hate it.  There is a long drawn-out yuck to August that marinates my muscles until I can't move without feeling an August squish.  And it's gross.  Gross, I tell you.

I am sorry to all of you perfectly lovely people who celebrate a birthday in August, or (shockingly) profess to love this late-summer season of languor.  I wish I could join in the love, but I'm done being fake about it - I can't love this month, I don't love this month, and I'd like to be done with this month as soon as possible.

To that end, in the next week I am going to tick off the things that I do have to look forward to, once the drawn-out dog-days of AUGUST are behind me.  You know what this means?  NEW CREAMERY CONTENT.  I know, you're shocked.  And dubious.  Maybe even dubiously shocked, because this is coming from Whimsy, and Whimsy has been on the absent end of blogging lately.

We'll see.  This is my call to fall, my love letter to the coolish days of autumn that hold promise even on the very beginning fringes of September (first of my beloved 'Bers).  I don't think I could let the 'Bers down by not celebrating their very existence with little blog entries.

Tell me: what things do you want to hear from me?  Any special requests?  I'm open for requests, even in the lanky lunk of August.  Would you like to hear about upcoming sewing projects (I have some planned)?  Or how we celebrate September?  Or our favorite recipe for pumpkin bread?  Let me know, I'll see what I can do.

And because I'd hate to not give August one very well-deserved thank you: this terrible, no-good, uck of a month did give us this: a new job for my beloved Chip.  And job that will have him working LOCALLY, as in, home every evening and in bed snuggling with his very lucky wife.  Every night.  We couldn't be happier or more excited.  Thank you so much for all of your well-wishes and prayers, we felt the support and feel abundantly blessed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

from such great heights

There are things I know, that I've always known: the bliss of a quiet afternoon spent in sun and shade, the comforting presence of a well-loved book, the healing power of a hug, the sweetness that comes when music reaches into your heart to tell you Yes, this is hard, but things are going to be okay.

Somehow, the truth of that last one has the habit of receding like the tide--- pulling so far from my view that I can't hold it in my  hands and make it true until it is ready to come back to me, rushing around my ankles and knees in wave after wave until I am surrounded by the solace of beautiful music, buoying my heart and my body.  And then I'm floating in it: sweet comfort that only music can give.  Music deep and lovely, ethereal and palpable at once.

Such was yesterday's small gift of grace.  I worked quietly at my boss' home office--- he was at meetings for most of the morning and I had the run of his house, the walls echoed quietly with papers shuffling until I turned on Pandora and chose my Regina Spektor station, thinking that if nothing else, I'd be entertained.  Chip tells me my music choices are so melancholy it's a wonder I don't lay down and die.  I like to think of my taste as bittersweet, emphasis on sweet.  And Ms. Spektor and her contemporaries didn't disappoint.  In fact, they soothed and calmed my irritated soul.

As I poured over invoices and receipts, a feeling of longing crept in--- a longing for more sweet, more sass, more hope, more flippy dresses viewed in late-August light, more blue skies tinged with gray clouds (my favorite kind, you are not surprised), and yes--- more music.  I welcome all of that.

Monday, August 15, 2011

where I am

Where I am is pouring an entire glass of water on Phoebe the cat last week because she was doing a repeat behavior that drives me crazy.  There were other options to deter her from her course of action: things like a stern NO, loud clapping of hands, maybe even walking out of the room and just ignoring her for another day.  Instead there was me silently retrieving the mason jar of water off my nightstand and ever-so-calmly dumping the contents on the cat.  Chip was not impressed with my tactics.

Where I am is so quiet I can't scream sound into the atmosphere.

Where I am is forcing Chip to watch City Slickers.  Without irony.

Where I am is dreams of rising water and mud, sure to suck me under if I don't seek higher ground.

Where I am is hunting for solace in familiar things: book jackets so worn they feel like flannel, movie plots I can recite from start to finish, recipes so comfortable they come to the dinner table like very old friends.

Where I am is here, but not for long.  I'm sure of it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

and then you get up in the morning

The numbers run like this:

Twenty-three days.

Twenty-two nights.
Eight hotels.
Five states.
Two time zones.
Several dozen tanks of gas.
More fast food than a person should ever consume.
A pair of very happy grandparents.
One overjoyed Alice.
One brand new nephew.
Several family dinners.
One porch-viewed lightening storm.
A graveside visited and cried over.
Ashes scattered over one lazy curve of the Colorado river.
More hours than were meant to be counted in a car.
Precious handfuls of time spent with the parents.

How many memories were collected in the pages of my mind to be pored over when the sun is not so bright, when time has spent itself, when I am closeted away in the dark winter?

We are home, and so happy to be here. But just one day before reaching our dusty porch, in one last night spent away from familiar bed and roof, one last surprise waiting for us: dear Chip was laid off, part of a corporate restructuring of which Chip wasn't the only casualty--- there are a lot of fancy words used to describe it, words that have become far too familiar for so many of us of late.

But new challenges await us, this is something I know. We have each other, and we have faith. There is beauty to be found even in these pavement cracks. I've laid low for this many days, collecting my thoughts and coming to a place where I am able to share these words with you. In the meantime, life beckons. The days roll on. Alice is growing and wanting more of me to stretch her mind and lengthen the reach of her understanding. She reminds me that even when the daily foundation of my life seems destined to quake - even when I feel like the planet should stop spinning for an hour while I try to catch my breath - even when everything is changing and I can't hold on to a sliding bit of it---- the days still shift and turn, the sun goes down, night noises descend on the house and sleep--whatever small bit of it--comes. And then you get up in the morning.