like settlers heading into "town"

I tasted my first fresh Krispy Kreme today (what can I say, I’m the OG Country Mouse). It was a struggle, but I got it down eventually (actually, the remainder I picked up are calling to me now). More surprising than the donut hype around the legendary junk food was the coffee – hot, fresh and tasty – and the fact the retro 50s squeaky-kleen donut factory ambience actually worked on me. I felt pleased and comforted and totally forgot I was sitting in the middle of a square mile of strip-mall concrete in Puyallup.

My fabric trip with my mom (and Nels) was bookended by watching my parents fight about their severely damaged roof, a post-storm saga that does not seem to be winding down to a close (yesterday they had another contractor quit on them). The fighting was kind of surprising because growing up my parents “rarely” fought and somehow the legacy was they “didn’t” fight. Today there was yelling and cussing and later a cell-phone apology (delivered by my mother who, distracted and sad she’d yelled at my dad, pulled over on our way out of Aberdeen in order to call) and then when we got back, a wind-up, more yelling, tears, and stomping. “It’s not my fault,” my father reminds my mother as he angrily saddles up to drive to the roofer’s offices. She doesn’t quite apologize again, still angry about the stream of contractors she’s alienated, anxious to stop the deterioration of her home (the tarping fix fell apart and water damage has started to hurt the insides of the house), and mad that my father isn’t taking care of it in the way she feels he should.

My son and I witness these words. I feel badly for my parents. I am sad they are struggling and fighting over these things while my dad is so sick. I am sad that my parents, who used to enjoy household projects together in their mutual interest and good health, now have a total pain-in-the-ass problem that’s costing money, taking time, and making my mom crazy which results in her picking on my dad. My dad is so thin he has those crazy old man legs they can cross at the upper thigh. Yet despite this, despite a near-skeletal frame (he’s lost an inch to his height, did I tell you that?) and his tests and poisons he still remains my father, the same. I am not all that sorry for him in the sense I think he can still handle life’s complexities. But I am sorry that my mom has this household burden at the same time she’s facing the poor health of her mate. Oddly, or perhaps you understand, it’s exactly experiences like today that make me glad I moved here to be witness, to help if I can, and to participate in their lives through good or ill.

The fabric store itself was great. Mom and I stuck to our small lists (I did not select an underlining for my brother’s coat yet; the addition of my four year old to the shopping experience caused us to cut things a bit short) and found things in short order. I felt joy at the fabrics I saw, more types that I could have pictured, and I did not find myself longing for fabrics I can’t have. This is a good thing. I saw dual-colored zippers and plush fake fur and lovely wools and found four color combinations of the rare-ish bonded sherpa / minkee fleece I’d sought for my baby slipper project. I also was cheered to discover their minimum yardage cut is 1″. It just seemed so sweet and accommodating on their part.

It’s funny to visit “the city” and suddenly realize I could find socks for Sophie, or face wash, or exactly the restaurant food I crave, or the perfect color of sheets, or a tiny teapot from an Asian grocer or whatever. I get so used to being in a small town where your spontaneous creativity is hampered by what you can lay hands on (which does make the occasional inspired find all the more exciting). In cases like today, a list is the way to go. Otherwise I just feel an envious sense of overwhelm.

And now, I have a bootleg copy of Sweeney Todd to finish. I think I’m going to get on that.

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