• Family Matters,  the sticks,  travel

    Escape from the Chaos

    Sometimes when I visit my mom in the sticks, I need to escape to my other relative’s houses for some peace and quiet. A vacation from my vacation sort of. With my brother moving home and the exponential increase of junk and clutter, I’ve found it difficult to find a place to sleep other than the living room that is right smack dab in the middle of chaos central. But that is not really the reason I need to escape. I’ve been sleeping in my mom’s living room for years. The real reason is: it’s next to impossible to put the baby to sleep with the on-going yammering of my noisy nieces. And please don’t get me wrong, there is nothing I love more than yammering of noisy nieces. It’s just that sometimes I need a little break from it. Sometimes I like the happy smiley baby that wakes up from a nap better than I like the whining sad grumpy baby who needs a nap but doesn’t want to take a nap because she is afraid she is going to miss a minute of fun with her cousins.

    I hate it that I’m constantly shushing my nieces (and my brother or whomever else happens to walk into the living room) because I want Baby Bug to take a nap. I know you are supposed to vacuum and bang dishes while your kids are napping so you can teach them to sleep through noise but after you’ve been rocking and soothing for more than half an hour and then a random exclamation from your four-year-old niece (or a loud slam of the screen door) wakes the baby up again and again, you get a little tired of it all and you don’t care about those old sayings of wisdom. Wisdom schmizdom. I just want my baby to go to sleep!

    SO… after a day of chaos, Baby Bug and I took a little respite at my Aunt’s J’s house aka Auntie Tickle. (She got that nick name because she always tickles clavicles.) Aunt J’s house is the polar opposite of my mom’s house. She still has a lot of stuff (aka clutter) but it’s carefully tucked away in cubby holes and closets and under the bed storage that you never ever see. In fact, my Aunt never throws anything out but this is impossible to believe because her house is clean and neat and very very peaceful.

    Sleeping in my Aunt’s spare bedroom was like a trip to the Ritz for me. Just the quietness was monumental. I never sleep in quiet like that. At home we are next to a highway and a fire station and an intersection that the honking ambulances and fire trucks bellow through at least three times a day and one time at night. I’ve gotten so used to the sounds of Harley Davidson motorcycles spluttering down the highway, I don’t even know what it’s like to watch a movie and hear the entire dialogue at one time. When I take an important business call, I often sit in the shower with the water off just because that’s the quietest place in the house. (And you thought that echo was my speaker phone.)

    The silence was bliss. Just being in a spare room that is not also being used as storage for an entire lifetime was a luxury. I rolled up the window blinds and looked out at the silent night sky full of stars. I let the moon shine down on me and just sighed the biggest sigh of all time. The best part of my Aunt’s house is her view. Her house is in a tract of homes right up against the foothills of the San Bernardino mountains. (is that right? nobody is awake that I can ask if I have that mountain range right… will correct later.) In the moonlight you can see the peaks of the mountains and a bright star that I think is a planet. It’s beautiful. There is nothing like taking in a view when you are tired and the baby is safely tucked in the port-a-crib beside you, snoozing away. Peace sweet peace.

    The next morning I was up at the crack of dawn (like usual) and after a quick cup of forbidden coffee with my Uncle, Baby Bug and I were out the door to explore my Aunt’s sprawling back yard. My Aunt’s back yard is phenomenal. It goes on for ages down a hill and into the river wash that butts up against the hills. It’s like an adventure park. There are paths everywhere and little destination points with covered verandas, chairs to sit in, bridges over a dry stream and of course weeds galore. She’s going to kill me for putting up pictures of her over-grown back yard, especially since a crew of gardeners is due this week to come in and hack back some of the over-growth.

    Personally, I like it best this way. I love the wild sage and the paths that look like time forgot them. I love feeling like I’m out in the wilderness exploring where no man has gone before (for at least for a month or so). I love the jack rabbits that scurry out of site as you traverse across their favorite munching grounds. I love the giant flowering bushes that are taking over the hillside like they own the place. I love the sound of honey bees going crazy gathering nectar. I just plain love it outdoors and there’s no better place to immerse yourself in it than an over grown garden. Not to mention my Aunt’s master planning makes it the ultimate maze of fun nooks and crannies to discover.

    I would have taken a zillion more pictures but I was wearing my Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes and my cheap, uncomfortable but cute Payless high heels.