The house I grew up in is an amazing one; I’d been told this so much growing up I never thought much about it. It’s 110 years old, 2600 square feet, and occupied first by my great-grandfather and down now, I suppose, to his great-great-grandchildren. Every day if I’m out in the yard I see people driving past and staring at it, pointing and talking. This was such a typical experience growing up that I think of it as normal to have people gawk at your residence.
It’s also, for my children coming from our previous more minimalistic homes, a complete fantasy of a playground: garden tools hanging in the back porch breezeway; kitchen and canning accoutrement toppling over itself in two kitchens; drawer stuffed with every kind of paint, tape, scissors, glue, fancy paper scraps; closets crammed with fabric; a large yard loaded with flowers and food; and a huge, huge shop that is so messy it’s almost unworkable. The kids love it, but in some wayas I’m having a hard time. The house positively exudes clutter at every turn. I’m doing my best to keep the two rooms allotted the four of us (actually there is only one room that is totally ours; the living room is regularly invaded by my mother and her boyfriend, The Old Rooster) in tidy yet working order.
This evening our room is cluttered with my bike and my daughter’s; littered on the floor are bungee cords and sleeping bags, a wrench and bike tire tubes, changes of panties and socks. We are preparing for our bike-camping trip tomorrow. It’s one of those very warm afternoons where I’m coping by drinking scalding cups of coffee and cooking a hot meal in the kitchen. I have such a soft heart for my family, so tonight I’m preparing Sophie’s favorite dinner: spaghetti and meatballs, butter-baked broccoli, and for Ralph and I, pan-seared mushrooms. Even after washing them my hands feel unpleasant from the meatball rolling (the end product will be delicious: beef, pork, silken tofu, egg, garden garlic, salt, and pepper) and I move steadily in a heat-induced stupor, fervently glad Ralph will be home within the hour. Nels moves his clothing out to the porch and sets up his own “house”. He tells me he will “live there forever” – but I’m foreseeing him crawling into bed with us this evening.
Now: off to the store to buy s’mores supplies, then bike-packing and a B-movie before bed.