It has been a wretched 24 hours at Camp Sterling. My charmed “Oh Bunny” sighs have turned to “OH, BUNNY” squalls, and really, Bunny, I would like a word.
In the ’80s, Bunny decided to enclose his patio, turning it into what our Realtor named the “Bad-On,” because it is an add-on, and it is all kinds of wrong. The ceiling slopes so low that my 6’3″ husband skims his head. There is no A/C. The walls are, of course, faux wood paneling. The window goes into the hall bath shower (?!@$%?!).
The Bad-On is coming off.
But in the meantime, Bunny didn’t get a building permit – or build the Bad-On to code, and that is causing some serious headache and heartache this week at Camp Sterling.
Last night, in an effort to calm our sad hearts, I thought I’d make dinner. It has been weeks of take-out, and the thought of another paper sack made my stomach turn.
Our stove is still not functioning — and neither is the washing machine — but I was determined.
When I was little and in love with all things Little House on the Prairie, my brother and I liked to play “pioneers.” We’d turn off the lights, get flashlights, and make tents out of sheets. My mom would bring us sandwiches. It was heaven.
Playing pioneers as an adult is, um, different.
I noticed yesterday that our barbecue grill has a burner we have never used, and thought, “Oh, yes. Laura Ingalls wanted me to notice that.” So I drove to the store, grabbed the groceries, came home, and went to work preparing tacos — the 10-minute classic kind my mom used to make, because yesterday, I really wanted my mom.
I heard my husband in the back of the house, chipping out the last of the carpet tack strips. While dinner cooked, I stood in the spot in our backyard where there is a small view of Camelback Mountain.
The sun was setting, and the mountain was pink. I felt like I’d won the day, just a little.
I came inside and set the table with real dishes, for the first time.
There were even flowers in the center.
On our dining room wall, I’ve hung this framed quote from a Roald Dahl book, and last night, before dinner, it felt so very apropos.
I called my husband to the table, and he walked into the kitchen.
“I ate dinner before you got home, Jaimee,” he said, still very, very angry at Bunny, this house, and all parties involved.
So I spent dinner in the company of my phone, looking up prices of fantasy airplane tickets for this weekend.
Later that night, in bed, I paged through my old paperback copy of “Under the Tuscan Sun,” in which author Frances Mayes survives a house renovation in Italy.
These days, I find it very encouraging.
She had scorpions – and we don’t (yet), so at least there’s that.
On Frances Mayes’ worst day, she took a shower, put on a white linen dress and went to town for a shopping spree.
I think I should do that in San Diego.