Tuesday, January 18, 2011

the one that takes all day

(this is a journal entry. this is not a blog post. I read blog posts about what not to do if I want my blog to be successful. I don't even know what this means. This place is a log of thoughts and things. I have no special knowledge I mean to share. I have only my experiences, my process. I suppose I don't really care if anyone finds any of this valuable. It's of value to me.)



We write emails, back and forth, back and forth, gentle, just foam touching beach then backing off again.

He invites me to lunch.

I am not hungry, so we put it off for another day.

"I'll come with the Girl's things at 11:30," he writes.

"Perfect," I write.

I do things in the house, write a little, read some news pages online (try to watch Sean Hannity's interview with Sarah Palin because I keep thinking I need to be aware or something, but I can't stomach it. I'm sorry. I'm sorry), take a shower, haul out the Sharp vacuum.

I have just enough time after my shower to vacuum the living room before he is supposed to arrive, before the Girl's things begin to multiply on the dusty carpet.

Seven minutes.

I am tying my left shoe when he knocks on the door, early.

No time to vacuum.

"Hold on! Hold on!" I holler toward the locked back door. "I'm coming!" I pull the laces tight and stumble to my feet.

"You're early," I say when I open the door. "I guess I can't train you not to be early." I smile.

He wears his warmest winter coat. I step outside without even a sweater. He has already hauled everything out of his car trunk. The bags, totes, camera case, suitcase rest against each other, against my house.

"Am I that early?" he asks.

"Seven minutes makes a big difference when you're me," I say.



I chop the tiny onion fine, sauté in olive oil, add minced garlic, add ground beef, brown, drain, break apart the whole tomatoes from the can between my fingers, add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce. The paste is funky. Has a thin, brown liquid layer over red. Have never seen paste react this way to air. I sniff. Smells ... off. So I dump it down the drain, grateful to the universe that tomato paste was on sale a couple of days ago, so I bought extras, add the new can of paste, bay leaves, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, a cup of red wine (a pinot noir).

Sauce begins to simmer. I shift things around in the living room, shake carpet deodorizer on the rug, vacuum. Take couch apart. Vacuum, spray Febreze onto cushions. Decide a little too late that I don't like the smell of Febreze today. Oh well.

I come in here to my study, find a text from my daughter. She has a 3:30 drum lesson, must be at school at 6:15 to clean her bass drum, which she will play in the pep band during the basketball game tonight. She and her best friend want to go to Bob Evans for dinner.

I sigh.

The sauce will save. It's better frozen and then thawed and reheated, I tell myself.


The Girl's best friend was hoping her boyfriend would join them for dinner tonight. He doesn't want to go to Bob Evans, wants to go to Chipolte. There is minor contradiction, conflict, confusion. Plans shift. My Girl may just eat here, she says when she comes into the house after I retrieve her from school.

"I love the way it smells in here, like clean house and spaghetti sauce," she says.


The Girl and I eat at 5 p.m. At 5:50, I drop her off at Chipolte. Contradiction and confusion shifted to compromise. A whole batch of my Girl's friends, all in pep band, sits at a table together, laughing. My Girl doesn't eat Chipolte food but loves these kids.

"I don't like real Mexican food. I like refried beans! I like ... heck, I admit it. I like Taco Bell's kind of Mexican food."

I stop at the store for a few things I keep leaving off my list. It rains. It feels warm out there, and the rain is the kind of rain that oozes out of the sidewalk cracks as if it's raining from below as well as above.

Temperatures will drop again tonight.


I feel like I'm casting runes every time I type a new sentence. Will this sentence tell me some secret about myself that I've forgotten? No, no, not this one.

Not the next one, either.


I write dialogue for the young adult novel that is the sequel to my "Lily" novel. It satisfies me.

Once the pasta sauce has cooled, I will fish out the bay leaves, ladle sauce into storage containers for freezing.

I will toss one small load of laundry into the wash, then I will keep writing dialogue. The teen characters tell me things I didn't know about them, about their mothers, about me.

Later, I will go back out into the rain to pick my daughter up from behind the band room. She finished her homework but has three tests tomorrow. Life of an honors student.

Even though this could be a long, long night, everything makes more sense now that she's home.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful. Honest. Riveting. I'm glad you don't follow the rules.