Pictures as Promised
Just like he said he would, my dad came home from jury duty and installed a new motion-sensor light in my backyard laundry area. It’s wonderful. When I walk around the corner the lights automatically come on for me and I no longer have to blindly swipe through the cobwebs to find the plug for the existing fluorescent light that plugs into a power strip that connects to an extension cord that runs from inside the house somewhere. I know it sounds Mickey Mouse. It is.
As you may remember, I’m living in my grandpa’s old place and everything has been rigged by him. He was the master inventor and also the original MacGyver. Well, not really but sometimes I wonder. Most of his inventions are very handy but sometimes they leave me scratching my head. Really, Grandpa? You strung a wire from here all the way to there and never worried about fire hazards? But hey, who has Christmas lights in their pantry? I do!
As my dad was futzing around with the wires on the motion-sensor light, he let out a familiar frustrated sigh. When I asked him what was wrong, he didn’t even have to answer. We both chorused the same phrase we always say over any project we do around this house.
“Nothing is as easy as it seems.”
It’s almost a formula for the jobs my dad sets out to do here. He’ll look at something, declare it an easy fix he can do in an afternoon and then head off to the hardware store for parts. Then he comes home and starts working. Right away he finds out the part he bought is the wrong part and back to the hardware store he goes. Half the time the hardware store people give him the wrong advice and the other half of the time it’s just the house’s fault for being old and incompatible with everything new. In the end he always manages to fix everything in the nick of time before he has to go back out on the road but everything always takes longer than he anticipated and he’s always late going back to work. His dispatcher hates me, I’m sure. I should probably bake him some cookies.
Here is the floor my dad painted for me. I was going to take before photos of the water-damaged plywood because it was so awful I thought it might make a good background if I ever needed some stock art for a grunge/punk design job. True, I don’t have very many grunge/punk clients, but you never know. It’s always good to have a big library of background images on hand.
But then my dad surprised me and painted it while I was gone. I had told my mom that painting the floor was on my big important list of things to do. I was actually thinking of painting it something like this but I was procrastinating because the floor was in such bad shape. I knew it was going to take me forever to get it clean enough to paint. So I casually had mentioned to my mom that if my dad wanted to paint the first coat, I wouldn’t mind a bit.
Of course my mom took my casual request as something that must be done right away for their favorite paying renter and had my dad do it the minute he got home. So I’m not going to complain at all about the color or for not giving me a warning first. It’s cleaner and now I can send guests off to the restroom without having to apologize for the floor that might give them leprosy. Eventually I think I’m just going to put some groovy 70’s linoleum in there. The stenciled-floor idea is really fun and I’d love to do that someday but I know I’m not going to get to it. I have do other things, like work so I can keep paying my rent to my favorite landlords. Maybe I’ll let Bug go crazy with some pink paint.
She seems to be in charge of the rest of the decor.
What I really want to get rid of are those hanging-chain light fixtures. But they are not on my big important list of things to do. I’m sure if I fixed them then I’d want to change the counter and put in new faucets too and before you know it I’d be blowing so much money on this place I’d be stuck here forever. For now I am getting along just fine with my mint-green floor and my avocado-green tub.
Mostly because I am still on cloud nine over my oven.
I’ve found that one can put up with a lot of things when one is surrounded by family one loves and an oven that bakes tasty treats. And yes, I did send my Dad off with a great big bag of cookies and homemade dinners that he can eat on the road. He earned them!
hot gritty sweaty
Summer is upon us and the heat has been oppressive. I know I can’t complain since we live at the beach and it’s probably a zillion times hotter in other parts of the country. It’s just that we don’t have air conditioning in our old broken down apartment and sometimes I find myself wondering if winter ever existed. And if it did, why did I complain so much about being cold?!!! I would take that cold any day right about now.
Do you like my makeshift curtains? I knew that crocheted blanket would come in handy when I swiped it from my mom last year. I swear it drops the temperature on the couch about five degrees which is really wonderful when the weather feels like hot dog’s breath.
I’ve been daydreaming about Paris again, as I’m wont to do when the sweat is rolling down my back. It’s my happy place I go to when I’m hot and hating my ugly stained carpet. I like to think about the old broken down apartments I saw when I was there. Window ledges were crumbling, paint was peeling, walls were cracked. Life wasn’t all clean and modern and air conditioned but it was still beautiful in that gritty, these-walls-have-been-here-for-hundreds-of-years sort of way.
My apartment might not be a hundred years old but it feels like it sometimes. So I’ve been trying to see the beauty in it. Not just in my hot sweaty apartment but in life all around me. You know, just ordinary life. Just like that famous photographer said, if you look hard enough you’ll find a picture.
Actually I’m quoting that all wrong. It was Stieglitz who said, “Wherever there is light, one can photograph,” But in my mind I paraphrased it to be something like, “There is a picture everywhere, you just have to find it.” I love thinking that. I love trying to find that picture. Sometimes I have to bend over backwards to find that weird odd angle but it’s there.
Today I tried to find that picture at the laundromat. It made laundry day a lot more fun. Maybe they are mundane photos but life is mundane. Personally, I don’t have a lot of pictures from my own childhood. I’d pay a lot of money to see photos of myself helping my mom do laundry back in the 70’s and 80’s. (Did I even help my mom do laundry? I don’t think I did.) We’ve got lots of pictures of my brother and I at Sea World and camping in Yosemite but not a single one doing something ordinary. I’d love to go back in time and see what that ordinary looked like.
I wonder how much different it is from how we do things now… I find these mundane details way more interesting than say photos of a mountain or a pretty lake. Of course I love photos of beautiful scenery. But it’s the people who change, the fashions, the moments, the little things… that’s what I want to capture. I wonder what Bug will think of all these photos when I’m old and gone. Will there be so many of them that she’ll find it all exhausting? Or will she treasure them?
As you can see, laundry time ran into nap time but I chose to stay at the laundromat and fold my clean clothes there. Why? Because the swamp cooler was blasting out a nice humid breeze and the oldies were playing. I might even say it was pleasant. Which is a first for me and laundry day.