We're tied in a knot
They never can sever
I don't need sunshine now
to turn my skies to blue...
I don't need anything but you!
When I was ten years old I belted out these lyrics as Little Orphan Annie in our local summer stock theater's production of Annie. Now, twenty five years later I'm motivated to sing them again (just to myself this time...no need to torture my community again, got that out of my system the first time) BECAUSE after a sad, sad, sad year and a half I finally found what I've been looking for.
At the beginning of summer vacation, not this past one but the one before, Ariel and I decided that we do not negotiate with terrorists and we left our home of six years for one of Ariel's rental houses that was empty. I'll be honest, I was excited. I was against the purchase of our old house from the beginning because I loved the house we were in (except for Ann the Ghost-I could have done without her). Also, I'm a firm believer in the home. I'm no nomad. I was forever traumatized by my idiot parents' decision to move from our home when I was twelve...Now that those words are out of my mouth they seem small and petty, but these are the facts, so stick with me.
Anyway, I agreed to move from "home" to "Ariel's Big Mistake" because I knew that if I put my foot down over this Ariel would look at me for the rest of his days and think, "If only my wife wasn't such a b!%@h I'd be living it up in the house of my dreams". It turns out that this wasn't a hysterical or irrational fear. It was a distinct possibility because every time I looked at the nasty carpets and exposed sub flooring, every time I wiped mold off of our furniture, every time Ariel wasn't around because he had to work around the clock to pay that massive mortgage, I thought, "If only my husband wasn't such an A$$h@!e I'd be living it up in the house of my dreams".
When the time came to abandon ship the house I considered "home" was being rented to a family I adored and I didn't have the nuts to ask them to leave. We had a rental house empty that I was pretty sure if we gave away every thing we owned we might be able to cram our family into (The baby due in the fall would be totally tiny for quite a while...right?). And thus began The Great American Downsize. I waddled up and down my driveway for months, my pregnant belly getting bigger with each trip, piling things that had been our life under a spray painted sign that read FREE. At the same time Ariel was up at our new "dollhouse" exchanging windows and the heating system, refinishing floors, and painting the walls, ("Lora, what colors do you want in there?", "Paint the entire f@(%ing thing white. Fourth house...can't go through it again...can't care, Help me drag this box of books down the driveway, will ya' Sugar?")
On moving day we had no idea what would fit in this place that was half the size of our current home so we decided we'd fill the new house until nothing else fit and throw the rest out. There were a few boxes of things that we decided we couldn't part with that we put in the barn behind "the dollhouse". In our certifiable mania we envisioned ourselves as Buddhist Monks and snorted and sneered at American materialism. What a weakness the dependence on stuff is! We've got the sun in the mornin' and the moon at night. (Someday I'll declutter my brain and get rid of all the show tunes that are taking up space in there.)
As time marched on at "the dollhouse" I often found myself rattling off a string of curse words that ended with, "Where is my__________?". Truth be told, I didn't know what I had convinced myself I could live without in those final days at "The Mistake". "Where are my mud boots?" "Do I have mud boots?" "Where is my slow cooker?" "Do I have a slow cooker?" but most of all...most of all, "WHERE IS MY COOKBOOK????!!!!" I made a million trips to that barn and a million more into the attic. Every time I craved, MY hummus, MY spinach soup. MY banana muffins. Rip, tear, dump. Box after box. There was also the nagging, "Ariel, have you seen my cookbook?" time and time again. I guess I was destined to be a b!%(h wife after all. I was really terrified I threw my precious out because I imagined I'd never need to eat again at the new house.
The days turned into weeks, the weeks into a year...and a half with these periodic raids until this weekend, when the craving for hummus was nearly crippling. I put on snow boots (with my blue nightgown), grabbed Ariel's ladder and marched across the back yard to the barn (backyard neighbors, you're welcome for that show) and tore apart some shelves that were way too high for me to reach. I found a delightful board book about ballerina babies, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, My entire Alcott collection and...wait...wait...what's this???