Sunday, December 30, 2012
Day one or I would've been fine if it I hadn't seen the gloves
Ok...before I even start, I have gotten so many e-mails asking about Sven. I will write about him soon. Hurts too much right now. So, yeah...you can guess what happened.
I'm hyper-vigilant. I recall this from when Bing left for Africa and Liv left to spend the summer with her father.
I recall that first week as being very, very hard. And humbling. I had always been the woman who said that she loved being a pot without a lid. And then suddenly, there I was lidless and lonely.
After the first ten days, I did much better. In fact, I did so well that when the summer was over and it was time for everyone to come home, I had cold feet. I was enjoying my solitude. My life seemed so quiet and comfy. Now Bing would be coming home with her constant music on, annoying television watching and....needs.
So, I was prepared for this. But, preparing for something and actually doing it are very different. And being alone in the long days of Summer is quite different than feeling like I'm a cold little hobbit in my lonely house on the shire in the dead of Winter.
I watched the sun rise this morning. I was up at 4:30, wide awake and feeling the vastness of my empty house.
I thought about making coffee and then became sad thinking about only making enough for me, so I skipped it.
I took a load of laundry downstairs to the basement and it seemed to me that the boiler was awfully noisy. I noticed that our Sunday paper is delivered by a large fat man in a hummer at 5:45 in the morning. Bing was usually the one to get it when she got up around 8 and went out for our weekly indulgence of Starbucks eggnog lattes. I had always envisioned in my mind a wily junior high boy with freckles, a big sack of papers and a hat with flaps.
I drank a glass of orange juice instead, ate a yogurt, and sat watching the sun rise out of our kitchen window. The last time I saw the sun rise was when Liv was an infant with colic. And I remember it as a quite different experience. Watching the sun rise when you are nearly sick with exhaustion and holding a screaming baby is very different than sipping orange juice and taking delicate bites of a lemon burst Yoplait yogurt while you scan the Sunday paper.
I witnessed a domestic bluejay dispute. We have some gorgeous birds in our back yard, courtesy of our neighbor who has about ten bird feeders in his back yard. Bing has banned them from our yard, says that they draw mice. So, we get the ones who like to nest in our huge oak tree in the back yard or nestle into one of our evergreens (and although I hate the snow, I admit that they are beautiful with their little ermine coats of snow on their branches). They live in our yard and go out for dinner in his.
We have a cardinal couple who are fiercely devoted to each other. Several pairs of meadowlarks, bluebirds and purple martins are common nesters in our yard. But our cardinals are the most prone to PDAs, nuzzling and gazing adoringly at each other. We see the bluejays now and again, but frankly, they are such schoolyard bullies to the other birds that they aren't my favorites.
But, there they were today as I ate my yogurt and watched the sun rise. Things were obviously not well in bluejayville. They looked like an old couple quarreling. The female kept stepping away from her male partner and when he'd try to cozy up to her, she'd squawk, bat him once with her wing, look away as if she couldn't believe how rude he was. Finally, a black squirrel wandered across the sidewalk and in frustration, the male bluejay dive bombed him! I was so surprised that I said, "STOP that immediately!" loudly, which made Socks look up at me from his curled up ball on the floor as if to say, : "It wasn't me! I swear it!"
I would have missed all of this if I hadn't been up so early.
I sat shivering in my bare feet, my robe tucked around me. Decided that I missed my hot cup of eggnog latte, but not enough to venture out into the single digit cold. Instead, I did a load of laundry and chewed on a pencil, making a grocery list.
A grocery list with some contraband products on it. Might as well just admit it. Ok. I had blueberry pop tarts on that list, one of my all time favorites that Bing bans from our home. She is a label reader and tells me that they are BAD for us. I also picked up a few other usual no nos:
Maple flavored sausage.
Cap'n Crunch (with crunchberries!)
Suffice it to say that when Bing is gone, I am not such a great eater. She is adamant that we only eat non processed foods and as all natural as we can. I go along with this since she does most of the cooking and I am smart enough not to bite the hand that feeds me. Plus, she has a point and I know it. And one of her recent texts to me before she left the country had to do with the worry that I would forget to eat and that when I did eat, I would make poor choices. I responded to that text rather snottily, telling her that I was a grown woman, had lived on my own for YEARS without her food guidance and it was time for her to stop badgering me about this topic.
But, Liv did comment to me that she was looking forward to some of our dinners without her. These include breakfast for dinner! nights when we have eggos and bacon for dinner, Mrs. Grass chicken noodle soup with oyster crackers and one of our favorites: Marie Callender fried chicken TV dinners.
We do cheat.
Later in the morning, around 10 a.m. (and seriously it felt like it should be about 4 p.m. by then...how the FUCK do early risers do this?), I went down in the basement to do the laundry and noticed that Tinton had failed to put the new deadbolt on the basement door. The kit was sitting right next to the door where Bing had laid it out for him to do, but he must have taken a break from putting on the FOUR other new deadbolts on the doors and then forgotten to go back to it.
I stood staring at it for a while, contemplating what to do. Bing would be upset that it wasn't done and I was truly surprised that she hadn't noticed this. And, honestly? That basement door is probably the easiest way for a burglar to get into our home. We have a small set of steps in the back of our house that go down to what used to be a rather huge door. But, that door has been in place since 1917 and has battered nearly a hundred winters on the prairie.
I sighed and checked the list on the fridge that Bing had left for me with names of who to contact if the car needed servicing, there was a fire, a tree limb was hanging precariously from one of our many trees, or my smart phone broke or the computer. There was a name labeled for simple handyman problems.
This seemed to apply. I made the call to Hugh. To my surprise, he offered to come over right away. ("We just got home from church and I've changed into my jeans. I can be there in less than a half hour. Will that work?")
Well, now...I suppose that is what is called service.
He came, he saw and he fixed. He also commented on how much he liked the iron bars on all the windows in our basement. I mentioned that I wasn't too fond of them, said that they reminded me of prison bars and he bluntly told me that without them, our house would be a sitting duck for a break in, a Victorian in this old neighborhood?
I had to agree. It took Hugh less than an hour to install the deadbolt. I asked him what I owed him. He smiled at me. Told me that he had retired from his job as a building engineer at a nearby elementary school last week and that this job had made him feel needed again. He said, "Do me a favor. Whatever you were going to pay me, give it to someone who could use a hand up."
I protested but he wouldn't take a dime. Just smiled. He'd mentioned that he was leaving for Joplin, Missouri with his church group in a week's time to help them re-build, so I decided then and there to make a check out to Habitat for Humanity.
On his way out, he gave Socks a quick belly rub and me a warm smile.
Here's the problem now. I can't call him again if I need help. I mean, it would look like I was trying to get something done for free, wouldn't it?
But still...funny how life sometimes serves you up an angel when you need one, huh?
So, I've been doing fine today. Until I got in the car to go grocery shopping. There on the dash, were Bing's heavy gloves. She had worn them to the airport yesterday and then tossed them back into the car as she got out to get her bags out of the trunk.
"Since it is about 87 degrees in India this time of year, I won't need them," she said, cheerfully.
I hadn't paid much attention. I was too busy trying not to cry when I said goodbye.
I copped a line from one of my favorite movies when I said goodbye to her.
If any of you has seen the character of Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild, you may remember one of her lines:
"After you die, I'll go to your grave and eat birthday cake all by myself!"
I said this to Bing after our last kiss goodbye. It made her laugh but she knew what I was getting at, trying to say. I want her to COME BACK.
And I was doing just fine with my cleaning out of cupboards (we actually had pasta with a use by date of April 2009), being a happy pot sans lid and all that.
Until I saw her gloves there on the seat. Staring up at me. I picked them up, briefly held them to my cheek and then took a deep breath and tossed them into the back seat floor.
I can't bear to look at them right just yet.