pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: 1000 words

20 January 2014

1000 words

The daughter
January 2001

Cute kid. Mine, of course. Just before her 4th birthday. Rather hard to believe that we were registering her for the ACT, the SAT and talking about college plans today. I don't think her psyche is helped by the fact that I'm almost but not quite counting the minutes until she graduates next year. Not that I want to rush her (really, I don't), but the siren song of the empty nest is becoming rather alluringly loud.

(Three semesters. THREE semesters. *She does a small jig in her office chair.*)

My kitchen hadn't been remodeled yet. That was still a year off. It was a galley kitchen, about 9 feet wide. Our house was built by retired people and Mrs. Retired Person obviously had no intention of cooking. Gated to keep the kids out and the dog in (when she was in). I had no storage at all, which is why there were rolls of TP tucked under the pass through (which the previous owners had converted to a sort-of island with an overhang of granite that we were all constantly banging our heads on). Bottles of water, the large economy size cranberry juice. I'm not sure why there would have been Coke. We don't drink soda.

The 12-pack of Corona. It took forever to get through one of those. We don't drink much. What's funnier is that you won't even find beer in our house these days. Over the holidays, the spouse finally used up the bottle of gin we've had in the pantry since 1991. That is not a typo.

(The previous owners "remodeled" the kitchen, meaning they put in granite counter tops, a new cooktop and painted the cabinets. There was an ancient microwave, probably one of the first ones manufactured, that I was terrified to use, certain that it must leak radiation, and a wall oven that was probably original to the house. When we bought the house, a dead cockroach was lovingly nestled in the clock that was part of the oven. There was no way to get it out without dismantling the entire oven. Believe me, I tried, not feeling overly fond of an inherited dead cockroach.  When I remodeled the kitchen, I took it down to the studs and blew a wall out. The demo guy noted with interest that our house showed no sign of cockroaches at all. Except for the dead one in the oven clock.)

It's possible that I was preparing for a party. Both children have birthdays early in the year.

I can't explain the white sneakers. They look like the spouse's. Why they would have been sitting in the dining room rather than the laundry room is beyond me.

The daughter always liked Play-doh, so I suppose it's no surprise that she's in a ceramics class this year. At Back-to-School night, the ceramics teacher handed us all a hunk of clay to shape into a small gift for our kids. We had about 10 minutes. I made a cat face. I'm not terribly artistic, but it was fun.

The ceramics teacher is a hoot.

And look! That's real, honest to God newspaper. The sort you don't see anymore because we all read newspapers on screens. What do parents do for scrap paper to keep the Play-doh off the floor? Surely they don't use the iPad...

I still have the same rug in the dining room, much the worse for wear thanks to the cat, the dog, the children and my in-laws. The only thing I have ever spilled (and it didn't get on the rug) was a Yule log. I blame the box.

(It was spectacular. The family still talks about it. My mother-in-law threatens me with Yule logs every Christmas, grinning ear-to-ear. "You never spill anything," she chortles with glee.)

My dining room chairs still have the same upholstery, much the worse for wear thanks to the cat, the contractors, the children and my in-laws. They really need to be reupholstered. And refinished. Time (and cats and contractors and children and in-laws) is not kind to furniture.

(It is 20 years old, or thereabouts. I, of course, still think of it as the "new" furniture. As opposed to the "old" furniture which was mostly mismatched oddments from my mother-in-law joined in unholy matrimony with my thrift store belongings. Except for the bed, which my mother bought me when I graduated from college. And there's my "new" wedding china, which has now reached a quarter century. Largely unused, I might add.)

This must have been taken in early January because the old Christmas tablecloth, the waterproof one with penguins that is perfect for children as well as adults who spill (my father-in-law, followed by my husband), is on the table. I don't remember precisely what happened to that tablecloth, but I think it finally got used up at one of the interminable parties that I had to throw at the kids' school. I was so happy when I was done with that stuff.

Wait. I'm still doing that stuff (like this weekend). But without the tablecloths.

Some of the Play-doh brick-a-brack, like that green spoon in the foreground, turned up not long ago in the shed.  It just proves that childhood never really ends as long as the bits and pieces live on in the garden shed. There is still a lot of childhood in the shed: scooters, bikes, old helmets and sporting good pieces.

There are a lot of spiders in there, too.

Tech stuff: probably taken with a Canon S110. This picture did, in fact, only merit 916 words.

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