Yesterday I was seized with a fit of inspiration as fit is the only
way I can think of to explain the madness that led to me wrenching my
back while moving furniture. For some unknown reason I thought it would
be a good idea to move our couch out of our fairly good sized living
room into our much smaller TV room. Ages ago we procured a small wheeled
cart that is a wondrously helpful device when stationary heavy things
need to be moved, but I eschewed Roll-E cart as we affectionately have
named him. At first things went well. Our couch is not that large, and
we were able to transport thirty percent of the couch without mishap.
Getting the second portion moved was more difficult. We were more than
halfway down the hall when the leg in my left hand twisted.
That morning I had visited the chiropractor. He saw me riding my bike
to my appointment, and in a Secret Life of Walter Mitty manner I
immediately saw myself forty pounds thinner with a bronze glow that
practically guaranteed I had recently consumed my share of energy gels
on a thirty-five mile fun run. Naturally cancer was cured, there was
peace in the Middle East, and even the lively hotbed of political unrest
in the Midwest had settled into a more mundane Ferguson with various
clergy members banding together to prevent further violent police and
protestor interactions. We set the couch down, and I saw that the room
was smaller than I had thought it would be with the couch in it.
Several years ago my daughters had given me a set of three pound
weights. When I hefted the orange duo, I felt resistance. A sticky
residue accompanied my pull, and I felt sick to my stomach when I saw
the finish on my cedar lined nightstand form spidery filaments. My
brother has a reputation for saying few words that pack a punch, and as I
stared out at the coffee colored stain on a mattress we owned, his
comment about people storing their wordly possessions on their porch
resonated deep within me. Back in the living room I found that the
lipstick red loveseat didn't look half bad in a room that size.
Then I saw the picture I had purchased at a local thrift shop. It's
large. A black framed Oriental piece with gold edges, the glass covering
a vase of stunning proportions with a graceful bird perched atop of it.
Two corpulent figures go with my vase, and I had to save to get my
berobed dignitary with the turquoise beads and his wife. They went well
with my chianti colored L shaped sectional, and clashed horribly with my
loveseat. Nothing went well with it apart from a black and gilt framed
picture of two people dancing on top of a phonograph that I hung where
the vase had been.
When I saw the vintage tube radio at Goodwill I thought that it
might work at home if it didn't in the store, and was gratified to hear
the crystal clear airwaves in my room. I have an alarm clock whose
reliable tick-tock comforts me, and its only quirks are the inability to
keep time accurately, and it will stop altogether unless it faces
downward. My white iron bed set me back ten whole dollars, we have a
Westinghouse fan that lacks a cord, but goes well with my clock and my
lifeless radio. At another thrift store I found a redhead and a dark
haired girl wearing a sailing cap along with a blue bikini top and red
My desk has no drawers at the moment. Yesterday I sat down with my
ten cent notebook, three for thirty cents at Office Max, and I wrote
with disregard for trees, ink, or my hand that trembled as my pen from the bank spewed
crude fountains of ink. I want to write a book. I am writing a book.
But I never set the book aside and say, now it is time to edit. Instead I
start afresh, utterly convinced that this time, what I really want and
need to say will appear on the screen of the laptop that has seen better
days. My carpeting needs
to be replaced. We talk about adding on to our garage when we don't
have health insurance. But I have a nice car that's fun to drive.
This morning I tackled the dishes on my
countertops, seeing them not as cluttered and filthy, but as cool matte
black slabs of concrete since a teller at the bank told me she's getting
new countertops and now I'm envious of her kitchen that I have yet to
see. My sister is getting married. At a private ceremony in New
Hampshire. Were I to be invited, I could not afford to go. My foreign
exchange student whom I love and miss is also getting married. In Japan.
I have been invited, but will remain in Wisconsin with my strange
amalgamation of art work that possibly goes together only in my head,
and never on my walls.
In an effort to rescue my dignity I went to a discount store, hey, it
wasn't a thrift store, and bought an off white table that is cheaply
made. We have two television sets. My dreams of a yoga studio where I'm
zen af collide with the reality of my discolored carpeting, 70s style
paneling and a horrific wall of what could be sidewalk remains that
border my fireplace. It has never been used. There is no sheepskin
before it and the steamy prototypical sex scenes where the people leave
wine glasses for each other is a figment of my overly active
imagination. Today my therapist called me.
I blurted out that I had been reading about psychiatric disorders.
They're fascinating so I read about schizophrenia instead of squirting
soap into my rubber bucket and scrubbing my depression away. I went
through clothes yesterday and condensed my ill conceived wardrobe into a
single basket. I have no athletic socks. Not a single pair. This
distresses me. I am anguished, forlorn,
inconsolable. I bought school supplies that are still in fabric totes
because I know how to buy bags that last. This brings me small comfort. I
have a red, white, and blue comforter that is not organic cotton, but
the color scheme is cheerful and matches my bed.
There is new paint in cans, a ceiling fan to be hung. Our windows are
relics of what low budget glass could be installed for during 1962 when
our home was built. In my mind I have a patio outside of my dining room
where birds gather. A heated bird bath can provide water for drinking
and bathing when my feathered friends are desperate. I have no plans to
put in a patio since I don't have a door, but I yearn for this space
where I can walk outside and sit there like I'm a genuine nature lover
instead of someone who fancies themself an enthusiast. Today I ate
carrots, green beans, and sardines for lunch. I made my own dill dip and
it was good. My daughter likes it better than the store bought variety
which is thick and too salty.
Saying goodbye to furniture you've become emotionally attached to is
difficult. My plants were overwatered so I set them outside. My blue
agave has never been happier. The Wandering Jew has feathery white
spikes that I think may be mold. The pot is so heavy I have trouble
moving it towards the sun by myself. The orchid that I thought would die
appears to be growing. My bougainvillea is full and lush, without any
of the blooms it sported last year. The branches are thick and I marvel
at the five foot tall plant that I had hacked at last fall. Things are
alive, green, growing, my home is full of possibilities. I get along
better with my daughters.
The girls each have their own towel now. We have too many towels, but
none of them are the towels of my dreams. Thin seersucker in cheerful
stripes that would transform the bathroom that was tiled in pale blue
way back when. I have black rocks in a clay pot, a shower curtain I
bought at Goodwill, ditto for the liner. There is a travel sized bottle
of shampoo and conditioner in the shower that smells like Ylang Ylang,
geranium, and lemon. When I can't breathe we use essential oils of
lavender, eucalyptus, and tea tree that my daughter tells me eases her
congested chest. Today I put out plates of lime, grapefruit, lavender,
and basil. Always, I feel better after the oils diffuse.
Life is not as bad as I think it is at time, nor will it remain as
joy filled as I believe it can be when things are going well. My plan is
to replace the off white carpeting in the living room with a diamond
pattern of black and white tile that is interrupted every so often by blue and yellow squares. There are several vintage Perrier ads that I
can purchase and have framed. They are reproductions. I don't care. The
colors make me happy. What am I really afraid of? I'm not sure. The fear
billows up, I tell myself that nothing I can do will be right, but
rooms can be repainted, and pieces rearraged.
This morning I took a nap. I had a strange dream that a friend of
mine who may or may not really be my friend was heir to the hotel that
her mother runs. She showed me the bath products and I was enthralled
before I went off in search of my sheets. We passed a man, another man,
we found sheets that were red, white, and blue, but none of these sets
belonged to me. They were faded, floral, or the wrong size. I wanted to
go to the store I saw in my dream. I've seen it before, yellow-gold
walls that pulse with light. Baskets of earthy vegetables, bright
fruits, the store is sun drenched and I want to pick the mood up to take
it home with me. When I woke up and I was back in Wisconsin. But
the vision remains. There is help for me. That is what the dream says. I
smile, grab my pillow, and drift back to sleep.