To read an excerpt from the book, please click on the following link:

ashaveilbook.blogspot.com


Thursday, August 07, 2014

Tasks

I got a call from an old boyfriend tonight which was gentle and reassuring; he'd heard I was having a hard time from a mutual friend. I have not heard from him in a long time.  Friends are coming out of the woodwork. I really do have more friends than the few people who choose to feel another way about me!

 I mentioned to him that I was very sad still about one thing: I was so ashamed of my little house in the mountains here when I was with the person in question that I could not bear for him to see its smallness and run-down-ness (I live right now in CG's house and am not sure how I am going to work things now that Thistle is here--we do not know yet because her stability is primary).  I do plan to use my little house as a refuge, as I have always done, a place to work, have tea with neighbors, and write.  I go up twice a week to work on things, though it seems really endless...the more I do, the more there is to do.  I was to get help financially for this from someone, but it did not pan out.  That is okay because the person is elderly and forgetful and I can't bear to accept help from someone in that state--it is not right.  CG, for all his good points, promises things and just does not follow through, so fixing my house is on my shoulders still.    CG does clean off the roof from time to time.

"Whaaat?" he said.  He told me he loved my house--but he is the kind of guy who moved out of his parent's house and lived in his friend's garage, with a hammock to sleep in.   He didn't grow up in one of the wealthiest communities in the Bay area; his parents were immigrants and his dad worked as a sheet mechanic.  He never judged me for being poor, and when we were together, he was extremely good to me.  He took one look at my house and came back with tools, and fixed things.

"Well, why the hell was there no offer to FIX THINGS FOR YOU instead of having you struggle all by yourself to do everything, or tell you to go to family?"

"I never asked. I was too afraid the answer would be no," I said.

"That was problem number one, sweetie.  How do you know he wouldn't have called a handyman the minute you asked?"

This is true.  But if I had, would he have really helped?  I don't know, anymore.

However, if I had to do it all over again, I would invite him up in a heartbeat, no matter the peeling paint with kid scribbles on it that I can't scrub off, and the linoleum with missing patches, and the wooden floor with missing tiles (which I cover with a rather nice old rug).  The living room and kitchen are one big area; the kitchen's layout is the best I have ever had, a U shaped kitchen that is wonderful to cook in.  I cooked many wonderful meals there, and still do when I can.  I need a refrigerator and probably at this point, a new stove.

My little bedroom is nice; it has a peach and white curtain I made to block the window, which looks into the woods.  I have a big desk in there that is scarred on the top, from kids and age, so I have a cloth over it, burgundy red.  The beautiful stone Buddha I was given keeps watch here on the desk.  He has always lived here, nowhere else. Over the desk, a bulletin board with kids' pictures, another of my sketches (of a box printed with shells), and some ribbons the kids won for various things.  There is a painting my youngest son did for me, with his first sentence: "I love you."

 I have a full bookshelf made from cinder blocks and boards.  My closet does not have a door; right now there is very little in it except for some vintage silk dresses I can't yet bear to cut up for the silk.  There is a blouse with beads all over the collar that I kept because I want to harvest the beads.  On the closet shelf are hats, straw ones and a beautiful black fedora.  I keep my charcoal rubbing of Emily Dickinson's gravestone here; a friend had this made for me. There is a dresser with the bottom drawers missing, turned into bookshelves.  There is a queen-sized bed with no frame (I kept bumping my feet on the frame), with three pillows and a handmade crocheted afghan in many shades of brown, tan, rust.  On the wall, glow-in-the-dark stars and planets....I have taken a lot of them off, though, because I need to paint here.  Two of my sketches are on the wall, not framed: a couple (sans clothes) melding together in a sort of teardrop cloud; the other one, a red poppy (not very well done).  Not much else; it is a simple room.  The whole house is so.

The kids' old room: old things I am boxing up and giving/throwing away.  One twin bed left, with an oak frame.  Probably I will get rid of the mattress and get a new one; the frame is okay.   Really need to paint this room, badly.

Bathroom: small, simple, the usual.  Paint is peeling there; I am scraping it off so as to paint it.  Need a new fixture; the old one does not work.  There is shelf that has soap and extra toilet paper, and rubber ducks and silly squirty fish on it for decoration.

Living room: again, very simple.  Big redwood hutch against the wall.  I don't like it, but there you have it; it is too heavy to move out right now.  Books in it.  A brown couch with pretty crappy cushions; right now, some of the couch is sheeted.  White wooden coffee table with some books on it, even a couple of coffee table books.  A white dresser near the door because I moved it from the kid's room.  A small white table under the window (which is a nice window, with a view of the canyon and mountains).  On the table, a bird's nest I found one day.

Heating: a cute little woodstove which I have to replace.

Kitchen table: maple, antique (neighbor gave it to me when she moved), with matching chairs.

Small hole in the living room ceiling when the roof leaked and the drywall fell out.  Apparently it is not hard to fix, but it has to wait right now.

I wish with all my heart you could have come here, and I am sorry I was so ashamed of this place that is my home.  It is not a bad place.  A terracotta angel guards the door.  Maybe you would have felt less of me, but maybe not. It is a sadness I carry now, always.