I understand from my friend Cedar that a young woman in possession of a back porch must use it for coffee in the morning. Or even a middle aged woman, in my case.
Now, for several years, I had a back porch, but it was unusable, having been built by crazy people and being dry rotted and dangerous. It was rebuilt just before we moved, so I had no time to use it for coffee. At any rate, it was at a third floor height, in an area where winds were often strong, and I suspect it would be uncomfortable this morning, when the weather report tells me it’s in the high thirties over there.
Over here it’s supposed to get to the seventies today, and it’s just warm enough now not to shiver out on the porch, with the slight breeze blowing. I’m in possession of a patio umbrella to shade the laptop, as previous attempts at writing out here made me squint at the screen like someone trying to read a crystal ball.
I probably won’t stay outside, or not any amount of time, really, because it’s still a little brisk, and because the shadows on the laptop are still too weird to see clearly. (It’s best out here at sunset, but then the mosquitos come out. Yes, I have acquired a zapper and will install it before the weekend. I’ve also acquired bookshelves, that must be installed around the living room so I can unpack my library, which is after all my tools of the trade. Husband had an idea for a novel and I told him I have the books to research it, but right now they’re in storage. This weekend, younger son will hopefully help with project bookshelves. (Well, it needs help, because everything I build tilts slightly to the left (!) on account of an old brain injury.) I’m also in possession of grapevines “suitable to the region.” weirdly, this micro climate supports the same sort of grapevine that grew in the village. I suspect I won’t grow enough grapes for wine for some years (And I’m going to clobber my husband if he says this is a 5 year house, I swear, though to be honest, we still don’t know precisely where the boys will end up, and if there are grandchildren we’ll want to be within visiting distance of at least one set of them. On the other hand, perhaps we can commute, as I really like this house, and I’m planning to improve it.) But it will smell “right” in fall. I’m going to grow them as a canopy over the patio, or at least that is the idea.
So, this weekend, I have a bunch of things to plant — the person who owned this house, let the flowerbeds go unplanted to the point they lost dirt or became covered with grass. I really want to plant roses, but for now I will probably seed the front with cosmos and the back I’ll plant berry bushes. We’ll see how things grow. Since Manitou Springs, now 22 years in the rearview mirror, I’ve not had a successful garden. This is because where we bought in Colorado Springs, only rocks grew. And then in Denver, our neighborhood was too high and the soil was like cement.
If you see me dithering on my back porch, in front of a laptop, and with a shovel and soil by my side, you’re not wrong.
My problem right now is that I wish to be already settled, with everything unpacked, and my routine established, and at least the minor stuff that needs to be done on the house done. (I need to get the kitchen and family room expanded, and the mind gibbers away fro it. But if it’s to be done, it were better to be done soon.) The minor stuff is stuff like bookshelves, finishes, car repairs…. that stuff.
It seems like it will be trouble enough to become…. accustomed to a new place and establish new routines and social contacts. We did live for most of our lives in Colorado, so this seems very odd, very different. On the other hand–
It must be done.
I suppose I’m not the only one here in this position. Most of my friends moved over the last year. Though to be fair, most of them moved before me, and are now more settled. But in away the entire country — or at least those who are aware of what is going on in the country and the world at large (because of the corruption of our information streams, I don’t even know if we’re a minority or not) — is like this, moving their networks, their sources of support, and preparing for something they can sense but not quite predict.
And of course we want to do everything at once, but time and the physical body have limits.
So, here I am, writing a blog post about two feet away from a bird hopping around on the grass (apparently I’m not threatening at all, yo) and squinting at the screen out of sheer stubbornness, wanting to be outside, but knowing I must go back in and work.
Soon enough things will settle. For a value of settle.
The new normal? I’ve hated the definition of “new normal” from the moment the glitterati tried to introduce it. No. We want a normal/normal.
But are things going to go back to the way they were? Ah. Have they ever?
In many ways, the golden years of our lives were the six (were they really only six?) years we lived in Manitou Springs. That was my favorite of all our houses. We had a writers’ group which met every Saturday, and though it had some troublesome elements, it was by and large harmonious, at least for a while. I grew roses and a big cosmos bed (good for cut flowers) and I had a terrace, where I wrote during spring and summer, while annoying the neighbors with my writing music. (Each book wants its own kind, and some are weird.) And I wrote — a lot — and got published for the first time.
But even that house wasn’t ideal. To stay there as the kids got older, we’d have had to do major remodeling to the second floor (doable, but a mess) and the neighbors would have gotten more annoying as politics became more polarized (Manitou is Boulder South.) The schools were already a hot bed of drug use, and I wonder what legalization did. We moved when we had to. That 9/11 and polarization nuked our writers’ group is…. something else.
More importantly, while I lived there I gained 10 lb a year, because the street was so steep I never walked.
I was never that fond of the downtown Colorado Springs house, but I loved the walks, and being near coffee shops and museums oh, and the art school. But by the time we moved that was …. dangerous due to homeless.
The Denver suburb was in many ways my being a fish out of water. The truth — sad, for someone of my political persuasion, I guess — is that I’ve never been happy in suburbs. I liked our particularly neighbors, but not the neighborhood at large, and being lazy, I found there was nothing nearby to entice me to walk, much less drive, so I became a kind of hermit.
Here? I don’t know yet. There are places nearby I want to drive to (though I haven’t yet. I need to start my “getting used to driving again” thing going.) There’s a nice park Dan and I walk in. The yard needs a lot of work, and at this point I’m completely inexperienced in gardening, because it’s been decades. (But I did do a lot of it as a kid.)
I like the church. And it’s been 10 years since I liked our local church.
Yeah, everything still feels weird and uncomfortable.
We’ll get used to it.
I want to write a lot, but I keep getting sidetracked by health and stuff that needs to be done. I suppose the health, it’s the after-shocks of the stress and moving. It had to come out somewhere, and I suppose my body thinks it’s safe now.
The stuff…. will get done in time.
If this sounds incredibly rambling, it is. It’s a state of the writer, with the writer recovering from being ill and having a mild case of spring fever and wanting to be done moving already.
But as our impatience with the country and state thereof (and of the world) I suppose there’s no way out but through. Keep pushing for better, and things will slowly improve. There will be a new-normal. Let’s make it the one we want, not the crazy “masters of the universe” one that can’t work.
And let’s be thankful every day that we’re not about to have the kind of boring old age where you settle into a routine, and slowly let go of the world until we die. No, our generation is likely to be blessed with innovation, rebuilding and work until our last days.
If you don’t think it’s a blessing, you haven’t seen the alternative.
As long as the days don’t get terminally interesting.
And it’s our job to make sure of that.
Let’s get it done.