Saturday, February 16, 2013

Window Treatments

Today I cleaned for ….let’s see what name should I give my friend with all the little chairs around her house.  I’m tempted to call her the chair lady.  Sandy-that will be her name.  Oh I was so determined not to clean a window today and I ended up cleaning two.  Sandy has some of the coolest decorating ideas.  One of my favorites is paper taped to windows.  Or leaves.  I don’t know where she finds the paper, the edges are soft instead of clean as they would be if the pieces were cut with scissors, and there are usually specks of something mixed into the translucent fibers.  The windows I cleaned today had paper on the lower full sized pane, and a whole leaf taped on each of four long skinny panes for the upper window.  Sandy lives in an old house in the same neighborhood where the Anthony’s used to live. 

Ok I just remembered, I already gave Sandy another name.  I’m off to look that up.  Ok Liz Hunt is now Sandy Hunt.  I like Sandy better.  I started cleaning for Sandy not too long after she moved from the hood near the Guv’s Mansion, where we (more about ‘we’ later) used to live, into the other old neighborhood where the Anthony’s used to live.

I think I write better when I don’t feel good.  Today I felt great cleaning Sandy’s; that’s why she got two windows cleaned.  But I did skip dusting downstairs and cleaning one of the bathrooms that never gets used.  I never used to leave anything off.  If I took extra time because of a project I still stayed until I got all the usual things done that I would normally do.  But I’m getting so much more relaxed.  It took more than 25 years to break me, but I am definitely now leaving things undone that I would never have walked away from 10 years ago.  I used to turn around and go back to a house to finish something I realized I had forgotten.  Now I just send an email.

So now Sandy lives in the more scrappy historic neighborhood.  I’m getting into the local politics here which I know nothing about, but that won’t stop me.  There are two historic white (as in Caucasian, not the color of the houses) neighborhoods, one has a candle lit tour of houses decorated for Christmas every year and the other has an Art Walk where local artists sell their wares from porches and yards of the houses.  I don’t think I’m the only person who would call the Art Walk hood scrappy compared to the Candle lit hood.  The Art Walk neighbors can turn out an excellent party and get some serious music going.  The Candle Light neighborhood suffers from being too close to the governor’s mansion.

Oh.  I’m going to regret this.  Both neighborhoods are way too fixed up for their own good.  I could certainly never afford to buy a house in either of them now that they have become such popular areas to live.  They used to be great for low rent dumps- old houses that had been divided into apartments.  That had always been my style.  But then I’ve got no ambition and no desire to fix up a house like the people in these neighborhoods do.  It is amazing these houses. 

Yes, feeling good today and full of myself.  Some days I wonder why I can’t be more like my customers and fix up my house and wear nice clothes and cut my hair and take care of the fleas eating my dog, like exterminate them take care.  But today I just wonder what drives people to have such big houses and put so much work and money into making them so beautiful.  I’m glad they do, because it is a pleasure to clean them.  It just seems like an awful lot of work and I go back and forth between feeling like a slug and feeling like a slug.

Now I am thinking of the snail in Pinocchio who took FOREVER to answer the door when he was desperate for some kind of help.  I guess that’s how I feel in my own home.  The house I live in will probably be rotting from the ground up with the roof sagging and leaking when they find my body a few days after I die.  Why do I think this is so funny?  How many days do I cringe at the thought of what a failure I am because of the pile of tree trunks in the front yard and the paint peels about to fall from the ceiling?  But today it is funny.

Will I have the guts to hit the publish button on this post? 

Back to Sandy’s cool decorating ideas.  The theme for today is windows.  In her main bathroom she has three frames that look like they came from beside an old door-they each have four small panes of glass.  Each frame is just one set of these four small panes from bottom to top.  There are three of them hung side by side from a pair of hooks screwed into the top with a wire run through them attached to hooks in the casing of the fixed bathroom window.  These are old frames with generous thick wood trim.  Then on each little pane Sandy has taped cut outs from a collection of pictures of front doors.  Each frame has a picture of a completely unique door with its own bit of surrounding wall and landscaping.  There might be ivy, or potted plants, or flowers in bloom, or just bare brick.  Today I dusted each little ledge of trim between the glass panes and did not even look at the pictures. 

Now that would bother me if I had not gotten so much delight from each well preserved leaf that was encased in some kind of laminate and attached to the slender upper panes in her bedroom, and the delicate paper that covered a lot of the lower pane but did leave several inches open to full sunlight at the bottom and had fair margins on the top and sides.  Sometimes I take the paper down and then replace it.  Today I just cleaned up under it a ways, and did not worry with the rest.  What had bothered me was the black ook that deposits on the storm windows and frames from condensation.  I had to get rid of that.

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I stopped writing at about midnight and went to bed.  I still feel good this morning and eager to return to telling my story.  There were so many things on my mind to write when I was putting peanut butter on toast for my son before he goes off to school.  I offered potatoes and eggs because I wanted to finish off a pot of lentils; my husband builds meals around beans, but I tend to use them more as a compliment with grains or potatoes.  When I imagine myself in front of a bowl of beans with a spoon in hand I just loose all desire.  Now if it’s a pot of beans my husband has cooked that is a whole other food experience.  He puts things like apple juice and raisins in his beans so they have a lot more flavor than what I put together.  So I offered a lettuce and tomato sandwich or eggs and potatoes (I didn’t say lentils, I was just going to put them in there with the onions) and ended up making the quickest – peanut butter and homemade raspberry jelly from Anne, who actually contacted me yesterday to offer a Christmas tree that had been banished from the house for giving her a rabid allergic episode.  I said “no thank you.” 

How do people write novels?  How do they decide what to say and what to leave in their mind?  I just want to dump it all out there like a kid emptying the toy box so they can get a good look at everything, including the toys buried at the bottom.  Ok I might leave a few in the box and close it and stick it in the closet while we’re playing.  But this concept of being a thought dj and stringing things along according to some kind of theme is a skill I sorely miss.  I need an inner editor.

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