December, 2012 Archives

A tragic day yesterday at Sandy Hook Elementary. Little kids. Little sweet kids. Lots of debate about gun control laws running rampant on Facebook and the news. I don’t know. I’m not a huge fan of guns, but it seems there is a much deeper problem afoot than gun control laws. What’s wrong with us as humans, community members, family members, friends? Why is there so much mental illness, disregard for human life, loss of care for oneself or anyone around oneself? What’s happened to us?

Lots of grey area

I haven’t greeted friends at this door in several years now and the depth of the front stoop has changed since I lived here, but that 126 year old doorknob still wobbled in my hand in the same begrudging way it always did and I knew exactly what the sound of the door closing would be. A solid thud, with a slight rattle that followed.

The awkward wood shelves and mantle were covered by a layer of shiny white gloss paint now and the windows peering into the neighbors yards viewable from the toilet seat were recently frosted over but I still knew what the view was. I know where the aspen tree used to be before it was cut down with a near miss. I knew where the dogs cornered the squirrel that didn’t get away. I knew what the pears tasted like and what the yard used to look like before plants were moved and then moved again, and again (Maura Plants Twice) and sandstone re-laid and hundreds of pavers laid in an alternating pattern that still never took care of that one 4″ spot I couldn’t solve on my own. The two trees that came with perfect hammock hooks already inset, grown into their trunks still stand proudly though missing some of their bigger limbs that used to cover the yard with speckled spots of light and shade. The “new” deck and little garden and fresh paint job, I worked a summer on hanging off the roof with the hornets and clamoring up ladders, have already begun to peel and curl in the sun…how time moves so quickly.

The gap in the bedroom window was bigger still. The same 2nd story window a friends dog jumped out of, a burglar jumped into, and a raccoon peered in defiantly from. Maybe they will have better luck with this window. The carpet that was a resignation in the fight to redo the bowed wooden slat floors still has the burn from the heater. I still feel guilty about that one. There is the basement where I started RedCamper, a 8×10 dusty space underneath the stairs with a single bulb and the warm hum of the heater. What it lacked in cleanliness it gained in warmth. The kitchen with the handcrafted cabinet fronts and track lighting that never quite got finished. I don’t miss the olive fridge, white range and antique dishwasher we replaced, the garden trellis or the stairs that gave way under Pauls bounding leaps. The months of stepping over tool chests and living amongst sawdust and drywall were worth it. The way that forsythia bush blossoms in the spring….if you doubt the pure joy of spring, drive by 3219. The hens & chicks stretching and growing across the dirt and over rocks. The bushes that never really shaped right. The damn peonies I tried to keep alive but ended up killing. The day lilies and the grapes that weren’t really grapes. The kids we shot with water jets and hired to pull weeds. The neighbors whose houses were broken into by Halle. The rush to get out the back door leading to a torn shoulder, only one of several house induced trips to the hospital. The scratched cornea, and then the other. The blood spilt by back yard tinkering. The summertime parties and Jan’s Sunday night cosmos leading to Monday morning hangovers. The fire-pit where friends confessed secrets, later to be acted upon, and the seasonal switch from the door not closing to not opening properly. There was much cursing at these seasonal junctions. At least they filled in the scar behind the fireplace. I never could figure out how to fix that. The diagonal tile and the plaster wall and concrete sink that replaced the carpet, worn wainscoting and 1970’s sink and fun-house mirror, I hope they like it as much as I did. The orgasmatron bathroom in the middle of the house was always a good indicator of friendship potential. Or of need for privacy as the door never locked. So many things about that house. There were good times, good friends, good memories. Good lessons. And bad ones too. I’m sure the house had seen it all before, several times over. But it was all new to us.

The stone sill at the back door worn 4″ down from the thousands of passes to and from the back yard will continue to wear down under new footprints. I feel fortunate to have been one of those sets of feet and wish 3219 and it’s new keepers many happy days and nights to come. Watch that back slope to the alley in the winter’s a doozy.

Goodbye 3219 W. 23rd Ave