Monday, July 5, 2010

Hey Babe

All around my hat I will wear the green willow
and all around my hat for a twelfth month and a day
And if anyone should ask me the reason why I'm wearing it
It's all for my true love whose far, far away

Hey babe,

Been quite a year. Not what I expected, but then everyday is an adventure.

I was in shock when I rode the bus down to MCV that morning. The firemen were very professional and did what they do, but they knew as I knew it was over. The doctor asked if I wanted to see you, but I already had. The emotion therapist or whatever she was tried to soften the moment and asked how I was. I replied I was OK, to which she responded “Bullshit.” Nice.

I sat outside for a couple of days getting my thoughts together. I called Chick and Virginia who came up, but there was little they could do. I put a message out on Facebook since that is where most of the people I know are, but did not put a notice in the newspaper. I wrote your parents, not knowing if they were still there, but got no response. I didn’t expect one.

The next months were filled with gathering up “stuff”, making list, and calling charities for pickup. What had begun a few months earlier, picked up pace fired by anger, pain, and frustration.

Summer passed pretty quickly and days were filled with dust and dirt and sweat, but I made progress and space.

Once I made room upstairs, I decided to get a new hot water heater. Or it decided for me.

One night during a heavy rain, the litter room ceiling starting to leak. Great. A hole in the roof. A couple of nights later the dining room ceiling started to drip. The old water heater finally gave up and started to drain downstairs through a rusted out bottom.

I had called a plumber to put a new facet on the outside where water was continuously flowing, so I called him in the middle of the night to have the water turned off. After clearing some more space upstairs and becoming familiar with the Kroger bathroom, I got an estimate on a new gas hot water heater. Of course, it wasn’t that easy.

The old heater, which was 30 years old, could not just be swapped out. New code regulations required additional draining with larger pipes, so walls had to be taken out and holes drilled. It took awhile for the tank to fill, but there it was all bright and shiny. Of course, it wasn’t that easy. There was no gas.

So a call to the city and a guy comes out in a truck looking at the meter and checking the street. He looked around and got on the radio in the truck. He looked around some more then handed me a piece of paper and said, “ Call this number.”

A phone call promised me a new line had to be installed. By this time it was winter and the snows came and the ice came and finally the city crew came and dug a hole in the street and planted little yellow flags in the yard.

To make a long story longer, I finally got the gas hooked up and have hot water. It would have driven you crazy.

Speaking of winter, it was a wild one. This winter was colder with a ton of snow. I moved the little heater into the living room and sat between the two windows basking in the sunlight. Lots of layers and blankets, but I made it through. I guess I’ve grown accustomed to the pioneer spirit.

I also went through all my food cravings last winter. Cookies, cake, ice cream, pie, and all the fast food places were tried, but they all failed.

I go to the store everyday, just like I used to, but I buy less. The major food shopping day is once a month on Tuesday, old folks discount day. I’ve broken my list down to fruit (yes, I have fruit every morning so I won’t get scurvy), grained bread, kidney beans, soup, wheat crackers, whole-wheat pasta, canned tomatoes, and jello for desert.

My cooking skills have become simple. What can I pour into a mug and heat up?

I ride every morning and that gives me some air and time to focus. I even ride Bianci. A couple of crows greet me and the peteies and beau-beaus scurry back and forth while the robins and cardinals do their aerial acrobatics.

And there is a blue jay, that must be you, reminding me when to feed the yard critters. I fed them all winter and they are fat and sassy. Frick and Frack have some new cousins who wander around the tree highway while Beau-Beau’s grand children run amuck through the grasses. And the fish came through the frozen pond winter just fine. I’ve even cleaned the filter a couple of times.

I’ve let the yard do what it is going to do. Cut the crape myrtles on the side to cut down the highway into the upstairs. I also got rid of the upstairs neighbor.

I had to get rid of all the other critters. Too much memories and they needed something better. Buffy was the tough one, but I had to do it.

I went through all your notebooks and papers. You wrote down everything. Things we had talked about, things we didn’t talk about. Pages filled with your secrets and plans and concerns and wishes. I read them all.

And I went through all the photos. I’ve saved a few of you smiling. Those are the best.

30 years of reliving our time together. Vacations to Williamsburg, honeymoons to the beach, walks to Maymont or the museum or the marathons, watching M.A.S.H. or Friends or Quincy, fighting and making up. I spent more time with you than with anyone else in my life.

This has also been a time to review my life. An empty house gives one lots of time for that, but I’m sure you knew that.

I tried to give you everything you wanted and needed, and a bunch of stuff you just liked. I tried to give you the space and freedom to do whatever you wanted. And you always surprised me. Your energy was non-stop and your ideas were unimaginable, but they worked out well. I sorry you didn’t get to complete them all.

Looking back and sorting through all the stuff, I think I provided you with the physical possessions you asked for, but could not give you the emotion you required. Even a diamond ring fades over time. It wasn’t I would not, I don’t think I ever could.


Art said...

Thank you for sharing. Wear the green willow for as long as you need.

Cheryl said...

It has been quite a year with a lot of big changes. Peace.

LoveBug said...

Hang on to the treasured memories and keep moving forward.

Jim said...

Your honesty is so powerful. I admire how you coped that first year. Burd