Saturday, February 26, 2011

two months of cardboard, transition and joy

On December 23rd, I found an ad for a house rental on Craigslist. I was looking for something else entirely, but I knew the name of the realtor who was showing the house. I phoned at 9 p.m. and set an appointment to see the house at 9 in the morning, on Christmas Eve. As soon as we opened the door, we said yes, and drove home hoping our deposit check wouldn't bounce. We celebrated Christmas, saying nothing to the kids. We signed papers to sell our condo, three days later. And I started packing, first, and buying stuff on Craigslist: bookcases, a sofa, a bed that can fit up a spiral staircase, a five -dollar push-reel lawn-mower, a four-drawer lateral filing cabinet, a free skee-ball game.

Our lease began on the first day of February, after weeks of heavy snows and storms, after my weekend with the stomach flu. I painted for the first two days. Scott rented a truck for the weekend and hauled furniture and boxes through the snow, while I fed children and helped keep them to as normal a life as possible. Snow days (three), and kids home with fevers (five days), and then me, down with a respiratory flu and 104 degree fever. Then an out-of-town speaking engagement in Pittsburgh, February 17, 18, 19.

I returned to February break and a blessed mix of moving-in and laziness. We have ROOM!

Each day I wander around with a box, finding the right home for objects I may not have seen for a decade or so. Today I found my poster collection from my days as a college residence director—20-some years ago. Concert posters from Dan Fogelberg, John Micheal Talbot, and an opening-night poster from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Prints from museums, of Tiffany windows and Monet paintings. Another life, all of it. I will take photos, then most will go to the burn pile.

After the poster box came a box of doll-house furniture, all rejected by my children now. Somehow with this move, we have left an era behind. We are in the teen years, now, and I don’t know where the stuffed animals will go.

I noticed yesterday that I’m itching to get my writing desk set up. I’ve built a homework desk for everyone in the house but me, and I will need to concentrate on my own little nook, soon. While I don’t have a dedicated writing room, mine is a nice corner with a view.

Not bad for eight weeks of work! We have a burnt orange living room with purple furniture (it looks GREAT!), and a purple kitchen with cabinets worthy of a bonfire. We have a red woodstove in the den and Bonanza-style wood trim from the 1970s. We have a whole-lot-of HUGE in all of the rooms.

I will tell you more as we go. For now, we’ve made the move and we are charmed by the wind, the views, the sunlight, and this funny-enormous house on the marshes.

Friday, February 25, 2011

the new view

We will be trying to snap a photo that does justice to our view from our bedroom window. So far, the beauty remains ethereal, but we will keep trying.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

winter rose sky

A pair of boys are playing nerf basketball in the bedroom, and I hope no one gets a concussion from all the possible hard surfaces. The dryer drowns out most of the thunderous footfalls, and I’ve not yet looked to see if my downstairs neighbor is home. Me, I’m sitting in my comfy chair watching the last-of-the-last of the sunsets over Gloucester Harbor. Pink winter sky paints alpenglow on the snowy rooftops and house fronts across the water, and the windows across the way flare with gold. The prettiest light, today.

More than ever, the condo is full of things that need repair or cleaning or sorting or just packing. My hands are spotted with white latex paint from my morning move-in project, and I need to a) figure out dinner and b) figure out what to wear to a play tonight, with a gaggle of 7th graders.

Pink turns to that blue-lavender, periwinkle edged with magenta. Why is there only one grey gull out there tonight? The rest must be napping.

Tomorrow, I paint again. Then I lead my last class on “recycled wool garment design for sixth-graders,” then I throw myself back into The Big Move.

The sky is still beautiful, though the light will go fast, now. I wish I could sit here longer.

The next place is beautiful, too. Nothing like this view I’ve been watching for 13 years. But truly, truly beautiful. I’ll write you from there.