Friday, September 14, 2018

Work in Progress

Week 3 of not having a kitchen.

First world problems - I know.

My dream fridge is in place (and is dispensing water and ice with a merry twinkle) and I've already (impatiently) stocked the pantry with spices, baby food pouches, Cadbury fingers, mango chutney and more ...

... but ...

... it's this view that's been making me smile every time I walk through the front door: by replacing the window that was previously there with this a single-leaf steel-framed door, we're now greeted by this glimpse into our garden instead of a sad-looking washing machine and sink.

And, my neighbor has given me a set of keys so I can use his kitchen whenever I need to ... we've been cooking and eating together, which has been lovely (he holds and entertains the baby while I eat!). I know. What did I do to deserve such amazing neighbors (they also nearly performed a citizen's arrest on John's brother who came to check on the house for us while we were away, as they thought he was breaking in - ha!)?

In any case, this work in progress is teaching me lessons in both patience and gratitude. Patience ... well, that's self-explanatory. But gratitude for the things we have and can hold and can press a button to operate and can open and shut ... but gratitude, also, for the things we can't immediately see: friendships, kind neighbors, beautiful views, and this life. 

Sunday, September 2, 2018

The End of Summer

It was the kind of end to summer that felt unreal.

The kind where we sat out on the deck and ate watermelon chunks so cold and sweet, they hurt my teeth. The kind where crickets began to sing as the sun descended into the horizon, like an orchestra reacting to dipped lights in the theater.

It was the kind of end that saw us driving miles to Anacortes, stopping at Five Guys for milkshakes and burgers along the way. We packed our car onto a ferry to Friday Harbor; drivers turning their side-mirrors in before meandering up the metal stairs in search of stale pretzels and views of the Puget Sound. Some just slept.

California's wildfires brought a haze to the island that made everything grey and muted. Even the sun. I squinted and looked up, but didn't see blue for days. It was the end of the summer, but could it be the end of the world?

Because if it was, we were enjoying the best of the best: orca sightings just a few feet from where we stood; dolphins teasing us with their fins at sunset; seals doggy paddling to shore. Oysters so creamy, they tasted like nuggets of sweet butter; sandwiches that cost a fortune but were worth every penny. Birthday cake ice cream and spot shrimp and seafood Cobb salad with Ranch dressing and excellent table service.

Mornings spent watching the sun rise outside with a coffee in hand and a baby asleep in my lap, both of us wrapped in a blanket. Afternoons spent casting fishing lines into the water over and over again without success and crabs caught instead. Evenings spent marooned in front of the TV watching Jurassic Park and Disney films.

And because it was the kind of end to summer where I looked up one day and saw a baby I'd never met before - one who rolled from his back to front before looking to me for praise and approval - and I saw parents who looked older and a dad who just looked more tired ... because it was that kind of end, my heart seemed to escape its place in my chest and shoot through my throat, because it had nowhere else to go.

It hurt.

A lot.

But it was also exciting, and lovely, and bittersweet.

And it was the kind of end I wouldn't forget.
© angloyankophile

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