Friday, July 30, 2021

I slept so badly last night. I really have no idea how I'm going to last through the morning. Maybe I'll feel more functional after I finish this cup of coffee because I need to take my exercise class, I need to finish editing an article, I need to wash sheets and haul trash and mow grass and help Paul move stuff into the basement. I guess I'll manage, but, ugh, what a miserable night.

The rain was part of what kept me awake--hours and hours of pounding--and now everything outside is sodden. Earlier in the day a wind-burst tore a big branch off one of the Norway maples, so there's that to deal with too, once things dry out a bit.

Send me a few gentle thoughts, if you have any to spare. This week is not getting easier.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Well, yesterday turned out to be not so great, as my mother called first thing in the morning to tell me that she's probably going to need heart surgery this fall. So that news colored the day . . . a shadow for us to crouch under for the foreseeable future.

But I did my desk work and I made bread and I mowed grass and I rescued a friend stranded at the Subaru dealership (believe it or not, a mouse ate her gas tank!). I even slept decently. And now a cool Thursday morning has arrived, air fresh and chilly, a whiff of September in late July.

Let us take our solace where we may.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

 Today my older son, James, is 27 years old. He began life as a fractious, unconsolable screamer, grew into a superstar chatterbox, lover of backhoes, Mr Fix-It Junior with a room-filling smile, bossy big brother, tease and prankster, social smooth-talker, lover of house pets, the boy who attached a camera to a remote control truck and followed the dog around the house, indifferent to high school, a college whiz, devoted friend, moved to a new city on the strength of a six-week internship, said confidently "I'll make myself indispensable" and did, and now six years later has risen to have his name in the credits of a major TV show, loving son, supportive brother, engaged citizen, scraped-up mountain biker, at the mercy of a spoiled cat . . .

It is a privilege and a delight, to be his mother.

* * *

Rain seems to have broken up the cloud of smoke that was hanging over the city. The air is much fresher this morning, and my throat is no longer full of scratch and cough. Not much else new to report--just another day of editorial tromping. I'm feeling a bit jaded about my work prospects. It looks like I won't be teaching in Monson this fall, given the complexities that schools are facing with masks, travel, and unvaccinated kids. Maybe the program will be able to relaunch in the winter; maybe not. So I'm entering the school year pretty much in the way I entered it last year--without a teaching job--and this doesn't make me feel great.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

This morning's air is heavy with smoke. A pall from the western wildfires sags over the windless neighborhood, smelling not of campfire but of an unpleasant cloying perfume. I hope a breeze kicks up and carries this shroud out to sea.

Yesterday I finished up a manuscript consultation, which means that, for the moment, the academic journal is the only work-stack on my desk. And I also did the grocery shopping, cleaned floors, and cooked a big company dinner (roast chicken and mashed potatoes, with mushroom gravy), so now I almost feel like I'm on vacation. Later today, after my editing stint, I'm getting a haircut; we'll have fried mashed-potato cakes and a salad for dinner; and I intend to spend a chunk of my off-hours flopped on the couch with Wuthering Heights. Such nasty characters. They never cease to amaze.

Monday, July 26, 2021

This morning's fog is like a cloud squatting on the house. Branches and windows are running with moisture, and the air has the clarity of glasses covered in fingerprints. Who knows what's around the corner? Possibly the street has broken off from the mainland and is floating out into the Atlantic. 

The day will be packed with stuff-to-do. I'll undergo my exercise class first thing, and then I'll be back to my desk work, trying to concentrate on manuscript files as Paul barges around the house packing and unpacking. He is so excited, so eager to jump headfirst into adult life, so tired of being a well-behaved semi-child in limbo.

Tonight our northcountry-diaspora friend Lucy is coming over for dinner: I might make lasagna; I might roast a chicken; it all depends how the grocery store treats me.  And I've still got those peaches to deal with: as of yesterday, they weren't soft enough to process, so that will be one more chore to shoehorn into my schedule. I'm working to keep my energy up, as I know I will need it over these next few days. This is going to be a draining week.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

I did some transplanting yesterday, a first step in planning for the garden's autumn look: pulling out most of the sprawling oversized broccoli plants and replacing them with fennel seedlings, moving some kale seedlings among the cabbages. And I spent a long time pruning and tying up the tomatoes, tying up peppers and eggplant, training the cucumber vine up a trellis . . . my attempt to keep the wild growth as compact as possible. Meanwhile, in the house, Paul had emptied boxes of his stored dorm-room stuff onto the living room floor and was sorting through them in a whirlwind of loud snap decisions. I tell you: this week will be chaos.

We've got rain on the way today, and I won't be able to escape into the garden. However, I'm going to have a lot of ripe peaches to distract me from the moving turmoil. My neighbor is picking up a box today, shipped directly from Georgia, and wants to split them with me, so I've got to do something with them pretty quickly. I foresee an afternoon of blanch/slice/pack/freeze and a fat peach pie for dessert. Yesterday she picked up a couple of boxes of wild blueberries for me from the farmers' market, and most of them went into the freezer too. Unexpected bounty: every year there's something!

Tomorrow I'll be back to work . . . juggling an academic journal with a poetry consultation, trying to get back into my exercise-class routine, dealing with house uproar, hosting a dinner guest in the evening.

Someday I'll write again.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Paul got back last night, and we have now entered into our final week as a household of three. Next Sunday he'll take the bus back to the city, saddled with as many bags as he can carry, and move into a bedroom in Park Slope. At the end of the month, when his sitting room becomes available, he'll return to Portland, load up Tom's truck with his desk and chairs, and they'll drive the furniture to Brooklyn. Already, he's cadged a job interview for a theater tech-assistant opening, so maybe, maybe, things are falling into place for the boy.

This week will be an uproar as P packs for Move A and breaks down all of his larger stuff in his/my room for basement storage until Move B. The three of us are pleased (i.e., relieved, emotional, elegiac, grateful, eager, nervous) that a version of what he hoped for actually seems to be happening. But this double move means that the transition will stretch out for at least a couple of months, the Alcott House does not have a whole lot of flexible storage space, I am going to have almost no furniture left in my study after he takes what was originally his . . . which is to say: we have work ahead of us.

But I'm not going to think about furniture today. Instead, on this rare day without rain, I'm going to finish mowing the grass, pull out broccoli plants, tie up tomato plants, dead-head sunflowers, yank up weeds, and such.