I have been listening to Sondheim all morning as I pick up the house, put the down quilts with the light dovet covers on the beds, fold clothes, put breakfast dishes in the dishwasher, and make a shopping list for tomorrow’s soup cooking. Julia is with Ellen, our weekend therapist, and they are spending a lot of their time making a dollar map. It must be 8 feet long -- I found old computer paper in my clean out last spring, the kind with sprocket holes along one side and perforations between pages. Julia thinks it is magic paper. I can’t say how long it has sat in some box and we’ve carried it around from place to place as we moved, but I can’t even remember when we got rid of the printer that used that paper.
Back on task, Julia and Ellen are mapping a dollar, making paper coins, coloring them, glueing them onto the map. Pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. It is going to take them days. Julia is having a great time. Julia can get into this kind of task, crafty work that is painstakingly mundane and repetitive. They glue some coins on the map and then count and glue and count over and over. This is how she will learn.
We will do More work later and then a reading puzzle. Very similar to the way that I feel about my fallow year, I (And is this also ego?) wonder and want to see the end, the result. Patience is a good deal of my learning for this year. Trust and patience. My eternal talk of the process more important than the product has a chance to get learned. Oy, I need repetition as much as Julia.
It is time for down comforters. We had a light freeze last night. I closed storm windows on the second floor -- the first floor is all wood and needs be changed by Ed, not me. I even turned on the heat a bit yesterday. It didn’t go on much in the evening, but it takes the chill off. Down comforters. I love them. So does Julia. When I bought a few comforter a few years ago, after the move to Madison, and because the one we were using was a wedding gift and more than 20 years old . . . so, when I bought a new one, I bought a very warm one. David complained and I loved it. We used separate covers for a winter, but then with a heart with reduced effectiveness comes cold extremities and we shared it again. I brought it out last year and shared it with Julia. Now, it is all mine. For now, at least.
Ed, handyman and contractor, and I are getting down to kitchen plans. Pricing cabinets, picking colors, refining the design -- some of it drives me crazy. I do/do not want to be bothered by the decisions. I want it all done. But as this is the first time I will have a kitchen built for me, I am trying my best to stay focused and on task. Oh, I feel very ADHD about this, constantly needing to visualize and constantly having my attention directed elsewhere. Maybe this is not what Julia feels, but it is as close as I can get.
If all goes well, cabinets will get ordered in the next two weeks and the gutting of the kitchen will begin in late October. I tried to convince myself that I didn’t have to gut the room, but there is at least a layer of dry wall and plaster and lath on the walls and ceiling. Maybe more. And virtually no insulation in the walls.
Julia and I worked in the back garden after she came home from school yesterday. I divided peonies, dug up some overgrown cone flowers, moved some daisies. I gave up on a hydrangea that I planted in the spring and that has limped along ever since although it has had constant care even during my vacation. I dug it up and returned it while the 6-month guarantee was still in effect. It almost killed me to do it. It was not completely dead. I wanted to nurse it, but a rough winter could have done it in. Gardening is usually of my heart, that decision was of my head. I will probably buy another shrub or so before the month is out and plant in the front and more in the new back beds. And then I still need to mulch the back, but the end of outside work is now in sight. I do itch to start putting books in the bookcases, and start the sorting again.
But it is good to garden again. I have cleaned some, minimal upkeep, but I also let much go. Years and years ago, when I was really sad, I would not comb my hair. Not gardening for the last two years is the same. I feel like I am coming back to myself -- digging and moving and probably spending way too much on plants. Its a very nice vice. (Like a line from “Into the Woods.”)
Tonight, I am going to a Forward Theater fundraiser -- dinner at the director's house. Interesting concept -- different people host dinners at 6 and then later in the evening, there is entertainment at a central location. The director usually entertains higher powered guests for this event, people who write the big checks. I had heard about the events of the night during the summer and forgot about them. Then, this week a friend mentioned that she was going and I thought it was time that I got out. I emailed someone else who was hosting a dinner and she forwarded my email back to where I am going tonight. I have even put on make up for tonight -- such a rare thing for me. Julia may actually notice. And so, a coming out of sorts. I just hope I have something to say -- I can be an awful bore.