My friend, who sometimes comments as Mrs. Grizwald, said to me the other day at the pool, “I think it’s time you stop mentioning your unmentionables.” or something along those lines. Seems my statute of limitations had run out on my quest and it was time to move on.
Agreed. But the the thing that happened next was what was interesting. Once I’d peered long and hard into my lingerie drawer, it was as if I began to see all of the Dream House clearly. My life, and more importantly, my home, gentle reader, was a wreck.
Oh, on the surface things were fine. If you came in with the buoyancy of an evening out and the gentle haze of a cocktail or two it might look OK. But the sort of thing that can wear on your soul was clearly out of control. I had started with the boys’ dressers and moved on to closets and under the bed. This is not of note. This is survival.
Twice Mr. Blandings has packed the boys’ silver baby cups into a box and moved them stealthily from the cupboard to the basement. And twice I have looked, head cocked, brow furrowed into his bewildered face and demanded they be returned. Never mind that they have never been used. They belong on the top shelf. And even after the purge they will remain, but other things, as they say, “must go.” What stared almost 16 years ago as a pure and pristine collection of dishes and glassware has become somewhat of a jumble of stadium cups and paint-your-own pottery. Breakage has taken its toll, and while I’d love to blame the boys, it is mostly the dish washer (not the dishwasher) that has wreaked the most havoc.
I did replace my daily dishes a few years ago. Traded in the Botanic Garden for Kate Spade’s Summer Circle. Ironically, I could still be replacing my Portmerion, while the newer, chicer pattern is already discontinued. Seems I was the only one who swooned. Still, I need a few pieces and ordered them at Replacements this week. The glass ware is beyond beyond, so twelve new glasses in each size, per Mr. Gambrel’s suggestion, should be arriving from CB2 any day. For under $100, a steal.
The towels were disgraceful. I’d say my mother would be rolling in her grave, but she was simply not that kind of housekeeper. A woman who colored her own hair (and, boy, did she, almost any shade known to hair and a few that were not) using the same brown towel for “processing” as long as I could remember, she would have ante-upped for the bottle of Youth Dew before replacing towels any day of the week. As I had been, but now my eyes were open to the squalor in which I was living.
The electrician has been called to hang the three fixtures that have been sitting on my dresser for the last six months. OK, nine. Months, not fixures. A new dishwasher has been installed to replace the “interim” dishwasher that was to tide us over to the kitchen remodel that is still five years away. My only words here are “You get what you pay for.” and the old model was a very bad idea indeed.
Jeff Chaney, our beloved painter, is on his way to hang the basketball goal that Mr. Blandings, the elder, bought the boys last year for Christmas. Fine. I admit it. Two years ago. In my defense, the old one was up until the house was painted. And he is fixing the damage from the July 4th water leak. Also, two years ago.
In addition, with the exception of Mr. Blandings, Blandings are readers. One of my finest childhood memories is my father’s establishment of my own account at Lewis Meyer’s bookstore in Tulsa. We could go and charge books once a month. Stacks and piles of books, some of which I still own and I can see the inside of that shop as if I had been there yesterday. Mr. Meyer always remembered us and I was thrilled when he took notice of what I was reading. So it is with this in mind that I march my crew into Rainy Day and Reading Reptile; I love the feeling of owning books. Of having them and caring for them. But, as we all know, not every book strikes a chord. So, the bookcases, literally straining with volumes sometimes less than a 1/4 inch thick, needed some attention.
My middle child, always insightful, noticed that my pool hat and Mrs. Grizwald’s were nearly the same. I told him, “That’s why we’re friends; we like the same things.” “Does she like old, rusty things, too?” he replied. Not really. Not as much. But she likes me. And books. And she will listen to me talk about my hair and my underwear and my dishes and my children. And she will call me if I get mentioned in the local paper; but she will also call me if I don’t. And she will love me if my dish towels don’t match as I love her in the same situation, because we are not magazine editors, we are friends. But we will also sit at the pool as our children come to us asking for towels and books and goggles and snacks and the verbal salve that heals the wounds of childhood and say, “Have you tried Prydes?”