Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Our New House

I'm pretend moving. I'm undergoing some Significant Life Stress and I can't focus. So I've decided it would be in my best interest to move from my tiny 1,300 square foot cluttered, lived-in home to an adorable sparse little cottage filled with nothing but charm... and happy kids... and warm comfy beds. You get the picture.

And I'm tired of stuff. Stuff, meaning, papers on my dining table, shoes scattered across my living room, cabinets filled with Useful Items we don't use, and hidden piles of things that go crunch underfoot at night. Stuff. And at the end of a crappy day, dramatically flinging myself on top of an unmade bed covered in laundry lacks the emotional release I am looking for. So-over-stuff.

I'm taking this pretend move thing quite seriously. "Honey, do we want to bring these chipped coffee mugs to the new house? What about the waffle maker?" My husband Lee is playing along. He has either resigned himself to living with a delusional writer, or he's a little afraid of me. Or both. I'm truly doing a massive throw-away of our belongings. Of course, I have to secretly throw away my kids' stuff while they are not looking. They haven't noticed. Or they've resigned themselves. Or they're a little afraid.

I bought paint. Three cans of interior semi-gloss "barefoot in the sand" color paint. My new house is going to be a bright beige and a little shiny on the inside, like me.

I'm framing family photos. I will hang these photos on my newly painted walls one day soon. I'm liking this new house already. My new house is going to have freshly painted white baseboards and no footprints on the walls. I don't know about the people who lived in this house before it became new. I mean, I can see how hand prints on walls would come about. But footprints? Rumor has it that a gymnast once lived here. Rumor has it that the same gymnast will be living in the new house, too. Sheesh, I'm not giving away everything. Kids and husband can stay. 

We don't have an official moving date, but the new house should be ready for occupation within the next few weeks. Already, I've marked our territory with a single freshly painted wall. Bright beige and a little bit shiny. Barefoot in the sand.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Tween the pages of books...

I've been diligent with my summer reading and I've prioritized acquiring new books over acquiring new anything else. I'm wearing last year's T-shirt collection but I'm still having a pretty darn good summer. My bookshelves are overflowing. My brain is evolving. My children are left to fight things out without my bothersome interference. I'm busy reading.

It's not until I lend a book out, that I realize I have not been entirely kind to my books.  To lend it, one must first find it. And as I dig it out from under my bed or retrieve it from the floor of my car, it invariably dawns on me that I am a horrible book owner. How was I to know banana slugs eat books left out in the garden overnight? No harm done, really, the book was still readable and thoroughly enjoyed. And I'm sure David Sedaris would forgive me.

Between the pages of my books lies an untold story. MIDDLESEX attended two weeks of soccer camp and has the grass stains and popsicle smears to prove it. Good book, but I was having trouble focusing. Could have been all the artificial flavors and sugar from the popsicles. Or all the Greek heredity stuff. My own family on my grandfather's side descends from the island of Lesbos. I checked my daughter for an Adam's apple about three quarters of the way through the book. Silly me.

THE HUNGER GAMES traveled to some of my favorite local coffee shops, and the pages are rippled and browned from latte spills and jammed with crumbs from a spontaneous pumpkin muffin splurge. I was going through a manic phase and actually cleaned house while reading. Great book, with enough action to double the effects of an ordinary caffeinated beverage. Great book, a little freaky, but good. Did I mention, great book?

Nothing like a dose of reality to bring you down to earth. Especially the kind of reality only good fiction can serve up. THIRTEEN REASON WHY never left my bed, and the only stains you'll find are from tears, splattered over the last thirty pages or so. I felt like a different person for days after reading that one. Outstanding book. 

I'm in the middle of THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY and I'm finding that the enjoyment factor goes up significantly if read while nibbling a Hershey's Almond bar while curled up in a certain favorite comfy chair. Already, there's an embarrassing amount of chocolate crumbles between the pages. Hopefully the next reader won't mind.

So, friends, I am apologizing for all the strange and tasty things you'll find between the pages of my books. Next time I sit in a waiting room and watch a toddler scribble and tear the pages of a picture book I spent years writing, I'll try and remember that books are to be enjoyed as well as cherished. And that tackling two-year-olds is strictly forbidden.