A little trip

We’re in the Holiday Inn in Sacramento, you are asleep on my bed, daddy is pecking away at his computer and me silently at mine.  It’s very late. We are here at the same place for different reasons.  Daddy needs a big soothing dose of his own mommy, you’ll go anywhere with your Grandma and I am here fora few meetings; getting back on my horse. Your mommy is agitated, lonely, set adrift without Daddy there and ill-prepared to be on her own with a baby. Ill prepared. She forgets to smile some days.  Liza can help, but mommy needs to help her too.  It’s a hard time; a growing time.  Last night she wrote on facebook that she was in the hospital.  A medical emergency gets immediate attention from other people. She may be needing that.  She’ll be okay for a day or so, then she’ll ask Daddy again to come get her.  That’s hard for daddy, too. He can’t go yet.

I watched you in the sprinklers on the lawn before the cold weather returned.  I watched you sing in the sand box, dig, pile sand, and scoop the soft gopher hill soil into your cupped palms. For more than half the day you were outside in the sun.  You brought a beetle in to show me the shiny skin on her back.  The dogs lay nearby, Georgia one eye on you at all times.  You pee your pants once or twice a day, forget to take off your sandy shoes when you come into the house and brush your teeth ten times a day now that you have Tom’s strawberry toothpaste for kids.  You are delighted, loving, enchanted with every moment.

I was able to get the kitchen, bedrooms and bathroom organized while you played. You are an “on your own” self-occupied player.  It makes me happy that you can be content. You are mostly fine. You even play with angry shouted language, “Get off the couch, do you hear me?  No kids on the couch, you say, as we snuggle up to read a book.  Your voice growls with pretend anger, growls with an intonation that tells me much. You cope. Daddy less so. He’s silent and dismissive.  He jokes, talks too much and paces as he smokes out near the driveway.  He tosses his hands in the air when he talks on his buy-it-by-the-minute cell phone.  He got a new job at First Alarm security company starting on Saturday. This is his tiny vacation.

Today you will go to the Train Museum across the way from the hotel.  You’ll hold daddy’s hand, walk under the tunnel to Old Town and go to the museum that daddy loved when he was a little boy.  He still loves.  I will go to a meeting all day then Grandpa will pick up our things, your carseat and me. Daddy will take my car back home, and feed the dogs and horses until Sunday. You and Grandpa and I will go to a special event called Californios.  Horses, cowboys, girls, and another hotel.  The new old house is there waiting.  We will see what is going on, look around and find places to play.  We will sometimes just sit together and be happy wherever we are. Soon sissy will join us.  And mommy too.  That will be interesting.  For now all this is plenty interesting. gma

Out of Sorts

Today I’d say I’m out of sorts.  You may be feeling similarly.  We walked together to feed the horses and it started to rain.  The wind is terrific and very cold.  You couldn’t even make it without a rest back to the house.  You need a physical development intervention, buddy. I have to go to teach tonight at Cabrillo and I hope you and Daddy have power.  It’s so windy.  I told daddy to start a fire, to use the lantern, to hang out here and make burger patties for dinner with ketchup and broccoli.

They took the sink and the dishwasher and the washing machine, dryer, clothes hanging rods from the closets and some of the carpet sections for the remodel. I have heaps of hanger clothes, dirty clothes, dirty dishes and messy floors.  Its getting a bit harder each day to stay here.  But they aren’t done yet with the new old house, so after the bathroom fan, blinds, fireplace slate, finishing the plumbing and moving our satellite system, telephone, DSL and getting our beds set up, we’ll be there.  Probably Friday and Saturday.

But for now I absent-mindedly dumped a half cup of cold tea into the hole where the sink was-so I set up the wash tub, towels and drainer in the bathtub.  It’s confusing to remember  not do things that I do habitually.  Gathering laundry for another day, tossing it in the washer, washing off the table, rinsing hands and hanging my jacket in the closet.  That’s okay, but you and your daddy are here too.  And he keeps leaving to get air, he says, more like get poison in his lungs.  Yes he still smokes.  I think he thinks he’s fooling me.  He moves so slowly.  He is a slow unfocused worker.  He thinks he can sit and watch TV in the daytime.  UGH.  I got him outside moving things from the shed, stacking, and raking gravel after the neighbor brought a load for the leveling of the tent area. He isn’t very energetic about any of it.  It’s so hard to watch him dragging around.  It reminds me of his teen years.  But he just turned 29 yesterday.  Oh, dear.  maybe I have to stop being a teen mom.  Maybe I just tell him what has to be done and a timeline and let it be.  Not daytime TV, get a vasectomy, get a job, clean your feet, brush your teeth.   I need a break. Off to town, leaving Daddy and you to yourselves.  I should stop and get a massage!  Ha.  I love you, buddy and so glad to see you.  I am running on empty today.

The kitchen sink

I pull the draw knife around the dull white porcelain sink in the kitchen so the plumber can ease it out tomorrow. He’ll move it to the new old house where we will wash, soak and play like we always have.  Your first bath, and the backwards chair pushed up close blowing bubbles with straws; on your nose a peak of suds.  I drag through a scratch of grit, perhaps fresh spinach from the garden, lettuce from the market, and sandy hands soiled from drying the dog’s muddy feet. The pull of a thready line of silicone, like Elmer’s peeled off the fingertips in sixth grade. Memories wash through. I am three bathing in grandma’s iron stationery tub, the place they clean the fish, at five bent over drinking from a school water trough, twelve, fifteen and a move across the valley to fiberglass enclosures, in college the old farm sinks were stained and chipped with use, a 1930s bungalow in Oakland, then Santa Cruz- its 1972 and a farm sink, stationery tub and concrete shower, then Bonny Doon was stainless; the hollow drip, clattering pots and I rubbed a patina with soft scrub.  We take this sink with us.  This was the sink I chose for daddy first baby, Mia.  It was to be a bath, to slip her from my arms, softened back, arms and neck, rigid legs, onto a warm, sopping towel there for traction.  She’d have cooed, smiled, rolled her head from side to side.  And I’d have lathered my hands, warming them first to wash her pale as porcelain skin.  Our newly installed quartz countertop has a hole sized for this sink, rounded at the corners.  It’s not in perfect condition, but still, it is just perfect. It’s the place we all prefer to wash our hands, chatting together over the day, and the place we’ll hang out at the new old house. love you, gma

Planning for Tomorrow

Grandpa just drove off with the Echo Lake boat.  It needs to be serviced to get ready for a summer of driving across the lake.  Summer is just around the corner (Maybe the same corner that Frog and Toad took a peek and couldn’t see a thing). But now the boat house here (hoop garage that you used to play in) is nearly empty.  Geoff, the neighbor, can move in the pea gravel floor in so that we can set up water pipes, tub and shower curtains for our tent city.  We’ll do that when you and daddy get here.  The sleeping tent is in two big boxes in our garage.  The sink is outside your old house and will be used in our house’s old counter if we can get it out in one piece.  You can have our old stove for the mess tent (haven’t found that tent yet) and the sink from the bathroom for hand washing.  The tent city (sleeping, mess tent and bath storage) will get a start this week and probably take a couple of weeks to finish.  You’ll get to see it constructed.  Maybe you can help scoop gravel, ride on the tractor as I smooth it all out and paint some plywood!

All of this a little too exciting for my stomach this morning. So I am drinking your tea.  Ahhhh.  Want a cup?  I will go to the store today to find a ladder for you to get to the loft bed and also get you some food.  I will get cheese for daddy, beer and dinner and toastie O’s, bananas, yogurt that’s not as sour as mine and some more peanut butter. You like ham, so I’ll get some sandwich meat and daddy likes quesadillas, so we’ll be all set.  Tomorrow is daddy’s birthday.  Remember to make him a picture or give him special kisses and attention. You’ll have plenty of time hanging out all day on the flights and at Logan and Seattle airports.  You won’t see sissy for a bit, so I hope Daddy sets up the SKYPE so mommy and sissy can talk to you while you are here. I’d better get back to work making the beds for you and daddy and a few other things.  Love you, buddy.  See you tomorrow!  YES…TOMORROW. gma

Only a Handful of Days

Only one more hand of fingers to count until I pick you up at the airport on Tuesday.  You and daddy will be flying all afternoon and arrive here about dinnertime.  He wanted to bring Pogo the kitty.  I asked him not to. It might be nice for you, but Pogo cannot live in our house, Georgia eats kitties and outside Pogo would be eaten by coyotes. I am sorry, buddy. We’ll go out and eat dinner when you guys arrive.  It will be daddy’s birthday. We’ll sing for him and he will blow candles.  He will be very happy to be back in Santa Cruz.  He said he packed 5 suitcases.  We should have flown on Southwest air, the first one is free.  Then he said that Tommy is coming for a visit the very next day.  Can’t he bring a suitcase or two? Five suitcases is 15 pus 30 plus 45 for each of you. That’s $180 for suitcases.  Yikes!  Silly daddy.  No way.

Today I painted a cabinet in the pantry.  I wanted it to be green, but the green paint I bought was too shiny, so I added a layer of glazed mixed aqua, now it looks better, but it took all day.  I wanted to do other things too.  Like clean out some kitchen cupboards. The cabinet is the white one that was very dirty and sat in the kitchen at your old house.  Its in the laundry porch now and will be the pantry shelf. That room is still messy but my-o-my you should see the kitchen! (pic)

I made a book about the garden today and wanted to share it with you, but I haven’t figured out how to do that yet.  On Tuesday morning, the kitchen sink will spout water.  The stove works today and the refrigerator still is over at my house.  We are getting close!  I think you will sleep here for a few days, daddy can help me move stuff and we’ll sleep in the the new old house on Friday.  In one week.  Its going to be very nice to get settled again.  But it may be hard to find all the things we need…your toys, books and jammies….those things are in a box for you.  You can help move them.  And your toothbrush, too.  I’m tired tonight.  Ready to sit and relax.  Maybe I’ll call you.  Okay.  Talk soon.  Then off to Sacramento for work for two days. Love gma

Grown up things

Every so often I realize that I am a grown-up.  I mean I really know that what I am doing is what mature, responsible grown-ups do.  Like tonight as I am tired and ready for bed, I am thinking about tomorrow and what I need to do.  That’s a grown-up thing to do.  Plan for the next day.  I am trying to figure out how to plan for our move over to the new old house.  And maybe we sleep over there Tuesday night when you arrive.  Or maybe not?

It’s been a thought of mine for sometime that we will be moving over there by the end of the month.  Grandpa was never sure.  I got very sure when I heard you wanted to come and I planned the trip.  You will be here Tuesday evening.  Should we all be ready to sleep in your new old house? If we do; then here’s what I have to do…

Get the refrigerator cleaned and moved, the stove retrofitted for propane and turned on, the heater going, all the lights working and safety covers on them, the water working in bathroom and kitchen, the hot water heater moved over and hooked up, the sink removed and put in over there in the kitchen and the food, too.  Then we have to finish your loft area, move the beds, sheets and clothes dressers.  We’d have to have coffee, toast and oatmeal in the morning and some yogurt.  Then we could go back to Grandpa and Grandma’s old house and move more things.

Oh my gosh.  That’s just the beginning.  Such grown-up concerns, right?  I’ll have to think about all of this in the morning.  maybe talk it over with grandpa.  We’ll make it good for you buddy.  We will.  I love you, gma.


Daddy and Mommy said they are going to stop smoking by May 15.  That is a good idea. They will feel better and you will probably think it is yucky to smoke cigarettes if they stop now.  Its a habit.  A habit is something we do without even deciding.  We just do it because we do, but with some habits, we can’t really stop very easily.  Like smoking.  They tried to stop before.  But you can help.  Tell them you are proud of them, that you want them to live to see your children, that smoking is for chimneys and they are NOT chimneys.

Mommy and Daddy are starting to plan the details of your family’s move.  It sounds like mommy is happy with the plans.  I haven’t talked to you or daddy yet about her ideas. But I can tell you that you and daddy will fly out here on April 20 on Alaska Airlines. You will play while daddy works; setting up your tent home, looking for a job and helping around here. Then he will go back to Montana.  Mommy says she needs a break from daddy and he does too.  It will be his birthday present, she says.  So let’s do our count-down….12 more days!!!!  Right hand pinky day again.  WOW.  That’s pretty soon.  Pack up all your clothes and put them in the biggest suitcase you can find.  I have to get to work here to be ready for you!

Today I am living without. (As if!)  I am learning to live with less.  Many things are up in the garage storage.  That’s the good stuff.  But the hard part is that the light fixtures are missing here- Jim pulled them off and the dishwasher got carted off yesterday.  We are harvesting from this house for the new old house.  So now its a little weird (even though when we move it will be great).  Metro sniffs around inside the cabinet slot where the dishwasher used to sit.  He looks funny sitting under there staring out. He is maybe asking; What happened?  Why didn’t I notice this cool place before now?  And at night the living room is darker.  We removed two wall sconces and took them over there.  We will take the refrigerator, washer, dryer, cabinets for the laundry porch and some of the best carpet for your sleeping loft.  I’d like to be done with all this by the time you get here so you can sleep over there.  We’ll see.  The closet has no light fixture and some of the things like electric sockets are going, too.  Its an organ transplant.  And we wouldn’t want them to get sent off to the dump with this old broken house.

Another thing that I have been planning is your tent house.  I am going to harvest “organs” for that, too. I ordered the tent today.  It will need a stove (ours) and a tub and sink (ours) and a kitchen sink (your old new house) and a countertop and cupboards (ours) Beds (ours) and couch (Grandpa’s) and chairs (ours).  Your daddy will choose what he wants and set it up.  You could use our woodstove, too.  This tent has a stove-flap.  We’ll put it down by the shop so you guys have privacy.  I haven’t gotten the toilet, yet.  I wonder if Grandpa bid on the one at Ebay. I bet we missed it.  Can you be a kitty cat and scoop out a little potty hole and cover it up?  NO.  Can you be a horsie and drop poo as you walk?  NO.  Can you poo in diaper like Liza?  NO.  Okay, I’ll figure something out.  Daddy will help.

Gotta go out to dinner-save water and me washing dishes.  Talk soon buddy, gma

Just can’t wait

I understand that your mom and dad are ready to come back here right now.  They are getting ready to move with no job, no place to live, and accept my offer of child care. I am very eager to see you and rushing like a maniac to clean out the closets and cupboards to move out of here and get into your new old house.  I need about three weeks with work, travel and meetings.  I need to give Jim time to finish and set up a bed for your daddy in my storage area above the garage.  It’s not good for a baby.  It’s chilly and has no water.  Lights and a bed.  It’s supposed to be uncomfortable, so he sets up the family dwelling.  I’m being vague about your home-to-be.  I looked for a Yurt; no luck.  I found a tent, a bit small, so adding another tent, makes a nice two room place to live.  It has a floor, for a bug free sleep.  A real bed for each of you, a stove and a sink, a wood stove and a potty area that explodes your poo into flame.  Its called an incinolet.  Mommy will have to watch you closely near that!  I floated the idea by them. Maybe. They seem up to the adventure! We’ll see.

I can come get you on Saturday, the 17th.  Does that work for you and daddy?  Daddy will stay until he goes through all your things and chooses what to bring in the car.  Then he drives out here and looks for work, sets up the tent village and goes to get mommy.  (Unless he gets a job from Montana and has one when he gets here).  A lot for your parents, too much?

Would you bring your train?  We can set it up and play with it.  Okay?  Well, here I go into the pantry shelves.  How many jars of almond butter does a person really need? Bye Buddy, gma

Can’t ever forget

One time you had maggots in your diaper.  I’ll never forget that.  I wondered how many other times that had happened, how many other times you had such a bad rash that your red and burned skin peeled off as I opened your diaper then I cried as I dabbed at the bleeding tissue.  I wanted to take the hurt, the burn and carefully touched you softly into the baby tub in lukewarm water.  You found a smile as I softly sang a Vicki song.  You amazed me with the way you’d make it through. You learned to believe that my tender treatment could lessen the pain. You learned to trust me.

Trust me now when I say that Grandpa and I will do whatever we can to help you find a life here again in CA-one in which you will be loved deeply and find safety.  I am very sad tonight, worried and full of doubt.  When I awaken, I will probably see things differently.  But for today, I am feeling your pain again and sick with the knowing- the frustration that Mommy and Daddy bring along with them is really, really hard for us.  Looking for what might be; I’ll save for tomorrow.  Today I need to remember really well; walk through what’s hard and what sucks and open my eyes to who your parents really are.

Pardon me, little Buddy, while I turn away for some alone time.  Be back tomorrow.  Happy Easter, hope you and your cousins enjoy the package I sent.  gma

Trail Mix

You are coming back.  Your mommy told me.  She said I should come and get you and Liza so she and daddy can pack up to drive.  Slow down, Mommy.

Now I sure am full of feelings.  The kind that jump, swirl, stick in the crooks of my neck and lodge in my spine. They push out my eyes and make my hands tight, lips pull in and my whole frame gets paced around the room this way and then that.  These are the kind that are hard to sort out because they come all in a sticky mass, like my favorite Trader Joe’s cranberry, almond, cashew mix.  I just have to swallow all together.  I must tell you first and best, that Grandpa and I are thrilled (there’s a cashew for you plucked from the mass) that you are coming back.  We will get to see you, assure ourselves that you and baby sissy are okay (She’s an almond pulled free).

Daddy and Mommy need to get better too. I’m not good at imagining that you are okay.  I have been called too concrete and literal (need to touch and feel things, take it all for what is said rather than what is meant) that’s a problem with being far away and you being unobservable. I don’t need to check behind your ears or anything, (maybe later, but not at first) but I am just sure that Liza needs her diaper changed, a bath and her bottle washed out.  I know it.

I am  a mother dog whose puppies have been given away-restlessly sniffing about, licking any feet that come near and laying close to her master for comfort.

Of course, you and I will finally be able to play, laugh and talk about things; like before.  And I’ll get to know your sister.  Those are the good parts. But, I don’t feel like celebrating quite yet.  Its that sticky mass of other feelings still gagging me.  Right now its sitting between my shoulders, like a headache or pack of stones, too weighty to manage.

How can Mommy and Daddy afford to move back?  Where will daddy work? We will help. But help them do what?  They have to bring a plan. Where will you guys live?  I looked at rents, even if we pay half, or all, a two bedroom place is over $1400. And even if we pay that, what will mommy do? Where will it be?  I want to check you each day.  That’s what I did before you left and many days it was a good thing. You needed help.  So did mommy.  I think I’ll ask mommy and daddy for a better plan.  I want to hear them talk about it to me and what they imagine.  Then I will discuss my questions.  I don’t want them to change their minds.  I just want them to plan better for some parts of it.  Oh, dear.  Its in my tummy.  I used to get bad tummy aches when you were a baby.  One is coming again.  I sometimes feel worry in there.  I feel responsibility and lack of air.  I am sick with it.

We are happy you will be here. Maybe in a month, tell mommy.  After there is a better plan.  After some time passes and some of the sticky things get teased apart and looked at separately, will we all relax into the idea. Teach me. We’ll see each other pretty soon. love and warm baths, gma