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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Sweet Home of Mine

The move is over, is over, is over; And, I feel like crying.

Tired, like an empty barrel with legs that shake underneath me.



The move itself was horrendous, a lesson in abject incompetence. Being Good Friday, there was nothing to do but grovel at the feet of the bully with the truck and entreat him to complete the job with as little damage to our possessions as we could manage.

Having come through to the other side of the great tumbling cyclone, I am changed.

But the home is lovely, is lovely, is lovely; It makes me want to sing.

I have been twelve years homesick for Southern California. Every day desiring for her sun bleached, boulder strewn hills and the rolling thunder of the deep blue Pacific, and night blooming jasmine, and archways trained with fuscia, sand squishing beneath my toes and salt in the air.

That was then.

But, my how things have changed. Now I own a classic California ranch in the heart of country that speaks comfort to me. Laden with architectural detail and pretty, elegant, with a good dose of artsy-fartsy thrown in, this home fills me.

I feel like God has given me a piece of my heart back.

At the walk-through, I opened what was-not-yet-but-was-soon-to-be my front door to see four boys, one of them in his pajamas, and two men on the front lawn going through the trash. It seems the owners were throwing away some good stuff with the move. They were casual, unhurried, and very relaxed, smiling and waving.

I thought: There are little boys running all over my lawn. What a gift!

"Hey, you look really familiar." I said to the one guy, my soon-to-be next door neighbor. "Are you a doctor? I think you gave me a couple of cortisone shots in my shoulder."

Turns out he was.

His wife joined our circle. She's tall with dark hair and eyes, olive complexion, trim, very beautiful and giggly. We told her of our connection.

She said, "Great. For our first get together you can bring the main course, we'll bring the steroids."

I liked her immediately. Turns out she's a dermatologist. Dr. Mom and Dr. Dad.

Three of the boys belonged to them, including the one in pajamas. Our home is on a cul-du-sac and it seems the street belongs to the neighborhood children. They ride their bikes, play ball, chase eachother.

I thought: I'm going to love it here.

We discovered that one of my daughter's little friends lives only a few doors down from us, a delightful bonus. Her parents had a barbecue on the second night of our move and invited us. When I declined because we were still getting our furniture into our home, they told us to send the kids over anyway. They could play with the gazillion neighborhood kids, they'd feed them, and then send them home.

I thought: My neighbors are awesome.

Later, as I was hiding out in my car, hair wet and in my pajamas, waiting for my mother to retrieve my children for me from the barbecue, the father of my daughter's friend sauntered over to my car.

I rolled down the window.

"Hi." I said sheepishly. "I'm just kind of hiding out here waiting for the kids 'cause I changed into my pajamas already." I crinkled my nose, trying to look cute instead of incredibly stupid.

It was late. We had been moving for two days. I was beside myself with exhaustion. That's my excuse.

"Well, they're in there having ice-cream. It's gonna be a while." He warned me.

"That's okay." I said, feeling like a big jerk. "I'll just kick back here. It's just a good thing you don't have a digital camera with you." Ha, ha. Nervous laughter.

Just then, the neighbor across the street joins him. Now I'm looking like a jerk in front of two guys.

"Hey," He asks the neighbor as he pulls out a digital camera, "what's the hazing initiation for new neighbors?"

I screamed like an animal caught in a trap as he snapped dozens of pictures of me looking like a felon trying to avoid the camera. I should have just posed but I freaked out instead. I'm sure he and his wife laughed themselves to sleep that night. I know I did.

I thought: What a great welcome.

They are going to do something artful with the pictures for the progressive dinner being held soon.


by C. C. Kurzeja
2005 All Rights Reserved