Thursday, April 21, 2011

what if...

What if you wake up to a smell of new wood construction, even as you are in a house that’s nearly 100 years old? Your first morning in the farmhouse. You are fifty-eight today. Intentional symbolism?

It’s a cold morning. Unusually so. Frost on the fields and on the cars parked outside. But sunny, nonetheless, which is a surprise, although not really. I associate my birthday with sunny skies. Yes, I know that weather is what it is, but we all stray from reason every now and then.

Morning. First shower in a stall that is so darn fresh! First use of hot water, first this, first the other.

What if, after a hurried breakfast, you coaxed your landlord, who also happens to be your occasional traveling companion (wait, what is he really?) to take you to work? Just this once (or maybe twice. On special occasions like today). And in the office, the cupcake bakery had already made their delivery? There, waiting for you -- preordered, one hundred cupcakes for my classes today.

So Polish. (There, the birthday person brings treats. Joy comes with obligation.)

What if, after classes, after meetings, after all those cupcake runs, you made your way back to the farm and you said to your landlord (or some such) – we need to confront the couch situation? And he hemmed and hawed and finally said – later. Like really later. Later next year, later never.

I say now. Because later, meaning the next step, will have to be the installation of the stove. Right now, I have nothing to cook on and daughters are coming down for Easter. Of raw foods, at this point.

And besides, the living room is a mess. I have to put order into it because it makes my head spin to walk through it now.

But the couch is heavy and it will only fit if we jointly try to both lift and manipulate it through arches and curves. What if you can’t lift it? That’s not a thought process I care to confront.

I grit my teeth and stumble along half lifting half dragging and frequently dropping the damn thing. Ed asks – must we use a couch at all in the farmhouse?

Ed likes comfortable floors over furniture. I think – the farmhouse is a funky mix of spaces and places that make no effort to please those who will never step through its back doorways. It’s for us and it follows no set rules, except that in my mind, it must, somehow, retain the character of a farmhouse – which, in this size, surely had to have been a hodgepdge of affordable and livable spaces.

We succeed getting the couch in! But I say to Ed -- we'll skip the coffee table. It'll give you more space on the floor.

The day quickly passes to its final hours.  Dinner out. Daughter, traveling landlord (eh?) and I.  But no memorable photo to post. Wait, there's the one from early in the morning, when I stepped just outside the farmhouse door and inhaled a breath of fresh air.