Go to Your Room

Well, our boarders moved out the second their power came back on. They went home, even though trees still litter the landscape over in their town. They were up before 7 and gone within the hour.

Word is they spent their day mopping up the puddles from their long-thawed fridge-and-freezer; I spent mine washing all the linens from the beds they slept in, and the towels from their many baths and showers. It was fun actually. And with all the mindless work of the Tide and the Bounce, the smoothing of sheets and the stuffing of fat-lady pillows into their corsets I realized a few things:

(a) It’s easy to have house guests who go to bed right after supper.

(b) It’s equally great and easy if there’s a ‘no-TV-on-school-nights’ rule. The talk was excellent.

(c) I found it wonderful that I could exploit the two younger boarders, in a Child Labor kind of a way; turns out little kids like nothing better than to clean out a closet. They can’t get enough of the task of pulling things out and examining them. Someplace over the last few days I saw the bottom of one closet for the first time in 25 years.

(d) Old Dave and I turn out to bicker less with houseguests around even when one of them is our own child. Not that we ever argue that much; still, these last few days we were acting like a couple of people lobbying for sainthood. I know I don’t want to be seen as some witch in front of that sweet little family. I don’t want to come across like the yammering wife in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

I want my kids to miss me when I’m gone, not be dancing down the aisle behind my casket. I want them to remember me as the placid ventriloquist’s puppet David wishes he had married. (Click there to see me perched on his knee that week we went to Paris.)

So that’s all I wanted to say here. Good houseguests have many qualities, but that going-to-bed-right-after-supper is possibly the awesomest. If we all had a bath and a book and Lights Out just after supper, there’d be a lot less grouchiness in the world — and that’s the truth, pbbbbt!

Today It’s All a Lovely Blur

I’m sleeping like the dead now. Our little guys and their parents have been here since Sunday morning and it’s lively times all right. Their power went out at 11 the night of that freak October blizzard. There was a kind of pop! and then that eerie silence.

No clunking of the ice-maker in the fridge.

No purring furnace.

Just the shrieking  wind and the ticking of the slowly-cooling house. They said it was freezing by morning, yet for hours they couldn’t get out: fallen trees across both ends of their road. Finally they did get out, and came here with bags and boxes of food rescued from their fridge. Also, play clothes, work clothes and – of course! – costumes. 

So Sunday we ate their food, did loads of wash fluffed a whole bunch of pillows, and were all IN OUR BEDS by 8. Then yesterday the day bloomed and faded and Halloween came and as the picture shows, it was all a lovely blur.

Two gangs of kids came to our front door and then immediately afterward, to  our back door. (We live on a corner. They thought it was a different house.) Our little guys got asked to a pre-trick-or-treating pizza-fest by the nicest neighbors in the world and by 7:30 we were all sitting by the fire, divvying up the loot.

Whew! I myself was up  until midnight last night, finishing all the work I hadn’t done by day – that’s me below – but it’s been one swell time all the same!

Spirits Abroad

The funny thing is it felt like Halloween was coming, freak blizzard or not. I lay in our bed as the wind howled and slept not a wink all Saturday night. At one point, a picture in our bathroom suddenly jumped off the wall and crashed into the tub, its glass exploding all over. I turned on the lights and swept up every last shard, then went over the whole surface of the tub with a cotton ball moistened in Baby Oil just to be sure I got it all

I went to the guest bedroom then, hoping for better sleep- luck there but the wind howled even louder in that room and sleep eluded me. I stayed anyway and dreamed a waking dream of my sister Nan though, I swear I wasn’t asleep. I saw her dressed all in white, and young again, with her long thin track-star legs.

Were there spirits abroad as uneasy as the wind? Poltergeists even?  I lay there worrying, first about our one girl flying home from Italy in the midst of all this, then about our other girl and her family on their heavily wooded street they seemed sure to lose power in this freak October storm. I threw in worry over our boy in Brooklyn, up all night as I guessed, at that Halloween party he was having with his friends.

I startled into sharp awareness at 3:00, just in time to see the branches of my favorite tree break under the force of the wet snow and swoon down toward the ground.

When, two hours later, David and I woke for real, he said, “Did you set a mousetrap in the kitchen last night? Because I heard this loud SNAP! at one point.

“Nope,” I said and turned my head to look out the window. 

“Whoa there’s your mousetrap!” The light was still dim but I could see what had happened: the pane in the upper sash of our wiggly old window had cracked all over. My heart sank…. 

But then this amazing sun rose and the night had passed and we still had power, lucky us. The trees shook off the snow and I told myself “there are no spirits,” then stepped into my morning bath  –  and yelped as a fine needle of last night’s glass drove itself into the pincushion of my thigh.

A message from Beyond it might have been, saying “Child, you have NO idea what really moves the world.” And that I can well believe.