A Timely Wind-Down

Tim Zurowski Photography

This weekend was domestic, pony-tailed, picket fences bliss.

I cleaned my house – really cleaned it.

I mowed the yard, pulled weeds, chatted with a neighbor who edged my part of the sidewalk just because he’s nice.

I spruced up the garden and planted fall annuals. Purple aster, yellow pansies.

Built a fire pit out back with the help of friends. “Dual-burning”, with sides for both hotdogs and s’mores!

Bicycled Williamson County’s mega hills and music star farms: Lynnwood Way, Hidden Valley, Moran Road, Del Rio Pike…

(My lovely riding partner was patient when I almost died on monstrous Lynnwood.)

Read a book on my patio, Billie Holiday tunes in the background.

Watched college football at my girlfriend’s parents’ house while our children played in the yard. (Both our alma maters lost, but the company compensated for it.)

Let my daughter hold a bake sale with cookies she made herself.

Ate Chinese delivery on the screened porch when I burned a pot of bean soup. The little group who ended up at my house Sunday night minded not a bit.

I watched hummingbirds – two of them (male and female) – flit around my backyard. I don’t have a feeder; they like the wisteria tangled through the fence.

I saw deer, twice; once on the street behind my house, and again on a pot-holed lane at the bottom of a giant bicycle decline.

I was softer, more patient with my child and her gaggle of neighborhood friends.

I shrugged off small disasters – the burned soup, et al.

I didn’t take the interstate anywhere. I didn’t stay up later than 10. I didn’t shoot any tequila.

My bike ride into the country was as far away from Franklin as I ventured – a first in more than a season’s time.

After a busy summer, it was a gentle reminder of how much I love my home, how nice it is to slow down, and what peace can come with a well-timed wind-down.

A wedding anniversary on Sept. 11

My grandparents in 1996, on their 47th wedding anniversary

Today is Sept. 11, 2011. I want to write about my grandparents. They were married Sept. 11, 1949.

My grandmother is an over-doer. She re-vacuums after the maid, wanting the marks to be in straight lines. She’s up until wee hours baking cornbread for Thanksgiving dressing. She serves on maddeningly political and bureaucratic church and community boards out of duty and loyalty.

She had it easier when her beloved Bob Hall was alive. My funny, gracious grandfather never overthought a thing. One summer at their South Alabama lake house, the two of them bought a new pontoon boat on a Wednesday afternoon rather than repair the one my teenage friends destroyed by pulling too much weight on skiis.

“We didn’t want you to be here the rest of the week without a boat,” he said. He didn’t want her to be boatless, a house full of teenagers.

He created fun and lightened tense moods.

He joked about the Great Depression and his plane being shot down over the Pacific in World War II.

He had no sense of direction and stopped constantly (for picnics, for Donuts, for roadside attractions) during meandering, detour-fraught road trips. He ignored her audible frustration from the passenger seat.

She was good for him, too. Continue reading

Reworking the Idea of Perfection

Perfection is a considered workaround to a problem, less so the solution.

It is instinct, but edited for style and adapted for the circumstances at hand.

Some examples:

Sangria from crap wine, peach fuzz, cherry pits – drunk from red plastic, fraternity party-style cups – while bobbing on pool noodles in the lake…

We’re talking about the guy she dated between the first and second divorce, who was 20 years older than her, whose shorts were obnoxiously revealing. We’re laughing, and her mother (my grandmother) is in the house recovering from gallbladder surgery. We’ve been trying to coordinate home healthcare, and to plan meals, and to fix up the bathroom so she’s not afraid she’ll slip and fall. It’s hot as hell.

Continue reading