Archive | January, 2011

Tiny 255

20 Jan

I could write about how sad it was for me to lock the door of our house on 11th for the last time, tears streaming down my face. But I’d be lying. If there were tears involved they were joyful ones. I don’t think I realized how unhappy I was there. Not that we didn’t have happy moments, we definitely did, but having given up my career to become a stay at home mom I didn’t realize how important “home” would be. Now having finished unpacking our new house to the point where I don’t wake up and feel swallowed by brown packing paper and corrugated cardboard boxes Abigail and I have time to do fun things like see salamanders at the library and play endless amounts of peekaboo. We have our space back, not exactly as it was before, but dare I say it? Even better than it was before.

I can look back on our time at the house I affectionately call “tiny 255” and even smile at our experience there. But a month ago the things we now remember while laughing were once a source of stress and a lot of low moments for me. Time is interesting in the way that it sweeps things right along and what feels like forever can quickly become a billboard you pass on the highway – so big and urgent, then quickly gone and forgotten. And through it all I find myself wanting to remember, not just the fact that it was our first place in Oregon, but the little things that took some getting used to. My generation typically doesn’t have many stories of hardship, you know, the ones involving snow and hills and folding up aluminum foil. And those stories are important. Very important for keeping snarky teenage attitudes in check. Now, I can proudly draw from my own little bag of hilarity thanks to “Tiny 255” when my kids, ahem Abigail, start whining about the unfairness of life (perhaps an unfairness like being 16 and not wanting to drive the minivan to school.) This is all hypothetical of course. Abigail will be perfect. Kidding.

But kidding aside, there will come a time when I don’t remember exactly what it was like at “Tiny 255” with only flutters of things coming to mind as the wind blows them my direction.

The next door neighbors that so graciously saw their bathroom window as the perfect place to shout out greetings to me whenever I was in the back yard. The other neighbor that Ryan fondly referred to as “What was that lady’s name? Rainbow…Sunshine…” (10 minutes later) “Peanut!” The single gas heater that was perfectly positioned beside our sofa and was so loud that we had to turn it off to watch a movie, with double socks, a sweatshirt, and a blanket. The ghost that I swear took Abigail’s navy pants, enjoyed watching me look for them all over the house for weeks on end, and then neatly deposited them on Abigail’s dresser one morning. And the attic, that beautiful master suite where I spent many very cold evenings listening to the wind whip around the house praying a simple prayer that involved the words, “Get me out of here.”

I’m proud that we made it work, some people do with a lot less for a lot longer, but I’m also happy to know that part of our life has blown on by.


The Sweetest Thing

13 Jan

Sometimes you get the exact right thing at the exact right moment and life just somehow feels exactly right.  That is what happened to me on the night I ate “The Best Crab I Have Eaten in My Entire Life.”  We had just gotten back from a fantastic visit back East where we were fortunate enough to have spent 10 wonderful days pumping our own gas, enjoying the  bare trees and brown grass, and taking Abigail around to see her long lost family and friends.  I hadn’t felt this good in a long time.  Although maybe it was all the Vitamin D I was getting.  I couldn’t go outside without my eyes instantly tearing up which resulted in a lot of eye rubbing, squinting, and looking down.  Note to self: Pack sunglasses next time.

But it seemed that somewhere between Atlanta and Portland all of the sunshine was just sucked right out of me.  We were back and who knew when our next trip East would be.  Ryan went back to work and I was alone.  Well, as alone as one gets with a baby and a dog. With  Abigail playing on the floor and Hank pretending to be mad at me for his extended stay at Dogport my brain power was freed up for all kinds of negative, Oregon hating thoughts.  I was having a grand ole time wallowing in self-pity when I heard a knock.  Hank woofed and ran to the door.  Oh boy!  Nothing is better than a morning visitor when you are still mourning in your pajamas.  I opened the door a crack as Hank’s huge head came barging out behind my legs.  “Oh hi, I’m your neighbor.  Wow that’s a big dog.  I was just out in my driveway and noticed you had a flat tire.”  (Super!)  “Sorry I haven’t been over here to introduce myself, but I’m a fisherman and I just got back in town.  Would you like a crab?  I just brought them in last night.”  I thanked him for the tip about my tire and told him that a crab would be awesome.  He promised to bring it over later in the afternoon.  I called Ryan right away and told him about the tire and the crab.  I spent the rest of the day unpacking and slowly getting used to the fact that talking to my family on the phone is no where near as fun as being with them, but hey, at least I didn’t have to send a letter with the pony express to get in touch with them.

Ryan came home early to deal with the tire situation.  It seemed the tire was so flat it had come off of the rim and we needed to take it to a shop to be patched.  Ryan got back with a repaired tire and the crab.

Now if you have never had a Dungeness crab before let me just say something.  They are delicious.  There is no question about that.  The thing that is rather extraordinary about them is the fact that there is SO much meat inside!  We have had Dungeness crab many times in many different forms while we have been here, but the crab that we got from our neighbor was definitely, “The Best Crab I Have Eaten in My Entire Life.” It is crab season around here and I knew it would be good, but as I sat down next to Ryan with our butter warmer, mallets, and Oregon wine I had no idea that this crab just might turn my life around.  Okay.  I know you think I am going a little overboard here, but hear me out.  The crab really was the most delicious crab with the jumboist meat I have ever had in my life, but it was also a lesson in appreciation.

Take a walk on the bayfront and you will most likely travel over the Memorial Walk.  Stones come at regular intervals with the names of fishermen, a date, and even sometimes the words “lost at sea”.  Leaving your family behind for weeks and even months at a time to harvest and fish cannot be easy and is often dangerous.  That is what our neighbor, Rick, does.  I thought about that as I enjoyed “The Best Crab I Have Eaten in My Entire Life” and I felt appreciative.  For my family, my life, and even good old Newport.  Home Sweet Home.