all’s well that ends well – ouch!

I have been dying to make my own laundry soap. Because I get ideas like that and they are like a fevered, psychotic brain-termite and my poor family has to deal with it.

So with this project in mind after swim lessons we rode the bus to Aberdeen. The bus driver dropped us off over a block early, a long city block. I got burnt to a crisp and had to carry Nels far further than I should have, and in bad shoes. I honestly did not realize how far this walk would be, because I am used to it by vehicle. Anyway, after one hundred million steps I fell inside my bank (instead of ATM, for a brief respite of air conditioning) to get cash out, and while there asked for water for my children – the teller said ‘no’. We finally got to Rite Aid and they had ZERO supplies! I now have blisters and if it weren’t for getting sunblock at Rite Aid, we’d all be burnt very badly.

I love that I totally tortured myself for a couple hot hours today by trying to be all low-cost and environmentally friendly – riding the bus and making my own soap. I am dumb.

I’m calling it my eco self-fuck.

On the other hand, on our final, last-leg-of-journey approach I finally got to meet the Queen of the Neighborhood. I’ve been seeing this large, kind of sassy-looking woman in an old bathrobe and dirty braids walking her dog. I’m not sure if she smokes but in my mind she’s smoking and in the middle of the street, like she owns it. Not unfriendly or anything, just present.

She also has this fabulous lawn. Flowers and blooms at random intervals and mini-beds, well-maintained and luxurious, in the front yard. The backyard has a decrepit-looking set of laundry lines that almost look neglected but every day, there’s something different hanging there – a series of windsocks, a large old cotton throw. The house and lawn look so lived in, cluttered but in a very non-stagnant way that shows pride of ownership and a love of life.

So today as we passed her house I noticed she’d set up a large kiddie-pool with a floating blow-up armchair. I was thinking, “Cool”, but also preoccupied because Nels was yelling and crying. He’d been disciplined two minutes earlier after the bus driver snapped at me for allowing him to pull the stop requested cord (he has only got away with this twice; I try my best to help him not be naughty on the bus). So Nels is mad and ashamed and crying and I’m talking to him calmly as we walk down the block (hot, hot, hot). Then I hear a voice saying, “Need a sprinkle?” and it’s the Queen, talking to my son. My children look in the direction of this seemingly mysterious voice speaking out of the hedge. Their eyes are wide, Nels quiets, and they drift toward her property, which smells like good flowers and I can hear some classic rock and roll playing. She tells me she just set up her pool; there’s a hose mister on. The kids and I put our hands under. Nels’ foul mood is cured. We thank her and move on.

I’m going to make this woman a pie and bring it to her. She is exactly the kind of neighbor I want to know.

My feet still hurt, damn.

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