Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Yesterday, after a little over a month of what seemed like the longest days ever, days in which I spent more time at Kinko's printing and copying and faxing than I did at the copy center when I was in college, and days capped by night after night of being unable to sleep from my excitement, I closed on this house.


It has been a while since I sat at a conference table but there I was yesterday, pen in hand, signing and putting my initials on piece of paper after piece of paper.  Finally, after my hand was numb from initialing that and signing this, and then more of this and more of that, I was handed these.


And then? After hands were shaken and hugs were given, it was time for a little celebration.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Glorious Sunday

From the day I was old enough to do so, my mother taught me to make my bed when I got up in the morning. She liked a clean and orderly house and this included her children's bedrooms. If I grumbled, she would tell me that when I had my own home I could live by my own rules. I took that first step in personal responsibility, that small act of making my bed, and I brought it out of my chidhood and into my college years, from dorm living to my first apartment, my second, my third, and into every house I've lived.

It's a rare morning when I do not make my bed before my coffee and reading the newspaper, before setting out in my day.  The flipside is that I enjoy it being made when I return in the evening.  But every now and then, there's a weekend morning where I get out of bed and think, Go on, leave it undone.  

Sometimes, I listen to that voice.  And oh the heaven it is to leave my bed a welcoming tangle of where slumber once was! 


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Two things toward the positive

There is not much that I enjoy about having my house on the market.  In fact, there are only two things that I consider pleasurable about the experience.  One is that my house is spotless, white-glove-test clean ALL the time.  It has to be that way since I've only requested one hour's notice before a realtor shows the property.  The other thing I enjoy is the flowers.  I keep fresh flowers throughout the house now, as their scent and their presence aid in its appeal to potential buyers.  Living in an immacutely clean house with fresh flowers?  Very enjoyable indeed.




Sunday, July 11, 2010

Between sisters

I answer the phone, Hello? She begins right away, she jumps in before I can catch my breath. This is familiar, her need for me to hear her. 

Alison? I didn’t drink for quite some time.  And then all of a sudden I did again.  That’s when I got my babies taken from me.

I’m not sure where she’s going with this, but I know she's hurting and she needs to defend herself.  My upper lip trembles because I am little sister again and also the bad guy, the one who stole her children. I remember the time, I remember the reasons. I skin my knee tripping over her words this morning, all of a sudden I did it again. I'm picking up every scap, every clue, I'm throwing away the cans, emptying the ashtrays, folding the clothes, putting the babies to bed. I'm asking for my parents to hear me, for my friends to help me.

She skips over my voiceless thoughts, like the chalk we drew on damp sidewalks, like our stories washed away in the rain.  It's her turn. When she starts, I don't stop her.

I remember the church where she was baptized. I still remember that. And all of a sudden, well anyway, it just happened. I can’t remember now, well, anyway, it happened. I remember that, we were sitting in that bathroom in the church and it meant a lot, you and me talking. We were together then, and it ended up that you were with my children. I’m glad that you were the one because if something ever happened, I wanted to be you and something did happen and it was you. So, I meant it. Well, that’s what I meant. Here it is. Of all the people in the world, I’m so glad that you’re the one with them. I hope you don’t mind. I’m so happy you were with them. Of course I hated it then, that I was so sick inside of me. But pretty soon, it’s going to be your birthday.  I remember, do you remember?  I drove all the way to, oh gosh, I don't know, I was in Dad's car, and I was like 14 years old. I guess that old, and I took Dad's credit card and took off and went all the way to, all the way to Oklahoma.  That was crazy, I just want to say that was crazy. 

I wrangle the memories and force them against a wall, into submission.  I tie them together and place them on the floor where they can't hurt her, or me. I choke the breath out of them and let them go to the sky.  I push away the fact that I am her little sister and I step back into the shoes of her protecter.

That's how they go sometimes, our conversations.  That's my sister.  My beautiful, damaged, pure, messed up big sister.  No one knows her like I do. No one loves me like she does.  After all the crazy shit, it's still our truth. 

Thursday, July 08, 2010

For a price

A couple weekends ago, two friends and I had a garage sale. They had moved in together and, while combining two households, needed to unload about half a house.  And me, I'm also moving.  Into a house that is smaller than my current house, and also out of not one but two storage units filled with this and that.  Some of this and a whole lot of that had to go.

Why do I somewhat habitually participate in garage sales in the unbearably hot and humid month of June?  Why doesn't someone just drop a safe on my head the next time?

Garage sales always sound like a good idea at the time the idea arises. Visions of cash ran through our heads. Visions of more space ran through our heads. It's the vision of all that work and the heat and the negotiating over prices that escaped my mind.  The week before, we painted signs. The night before, I advertised the sale on Craigslist.  That morning, I eagerly got up before the sun, filled myself with caffeine, reposted the sale on Craiglsist, hammered colorful signs in the medians and stapled them to telephone poles. The sun barely up, we unraveled tarp and unpacked box after box after box AFTER BOX of stuff.  So much stuff, collected in our lives like the accumulation of dust on the shelf or in my life like Cheyenne's hair under my bed.  We had shoes, boots, clothes, mirrors, frames, vases, dishes, books, bed linens, towels, appliances, speakers, glasses, Christmas lights, etc. Boxes and boxes of etc.  Not to mention the furniture. We set up four tables and hung clothes on heavy line strung along the fence. We also set up a tent and offered ice cold lemonade for fifty cents a cup.  For seven hours in the blazing sun, we worked our garage sale and sweated ourselves into filthy, stinky messes barely resembling the people we were at 6:00 that morning.

During the morning, we met a handful of nice people, in particular the father who bought the chess board for his son who collects them, and the mother and daughter who were shopping for items for the daughter's first apartment.   

We also had our fair share of the not so nice people.  More than once, someone stole from us.  Who does that?  Well, I could point both women out in a crowd and those are just the two that I know.  Although, happily, I caught one in the act and upon confrontation, she was all too happy to pay for the earings she'd just put in her purse and the necklace she thought she'd just wear on out of there. 

Lastly, we had the something for nothing crowd.  Our prices were not only below reasonable, they were great deals.  $30.00 mirror?  Five bucks.  $40.00 dress, never worn and with price tag still attached?  Two bucks.  But whatever it was we were asking, more often than not our customers started their negotiating at fifty percent.  Whether it was a dress for $2.00, a pair of boots for $3.00, or an antique dresser and two nightstands for $250.00.  I can appreciate someone who asks if we'll take $18.00 for something priced at $20.00.  That's a decent offer and the answer was usually yes.  But $10.00 for something priced at $20.00?  Or worse, $1.00 for something priced at $2.00, or oh yes it did so happen, fifty cents offered for something on the one dollar table? No, No, NO. Come back later and if it's still here, then we can negotiate. 

Garage sales have a way of temporarily making me angry with the human race in general, except for that nice man and the mother and daughter. 


Thursday, July 01, 2010

Oh July, you lovely girl

I love it when people pause after hearing my last name and ask me if by any chance my mother was Betty Groth, or my father Edward Groth.  It doesn't happen all the time but when it does, a story usually follows and I get to learn just a bit more about the two wonderful people I knew as Mom and Dad.

It happened this afternoon.  I'm smiling.