Friday, November 18, 2011

...why the desk won't be painted for Thanksgiving


Look out the upstairs front window and check for clouds. 
Repeat process at back window. 
If sunny, clip clothes to line. 
Turn on the kettle and put tea bag in cup.
Reach for the biscuit tin. 
Run to back door as rain arrives unannounced. 
Unclip clothes quickly. 
Hang them in front of windows. 
Hang them in the hall. 
Hang them in the kitchen. 
Drink tea, eat an extra biscuit because rain has stopped. 
Repeat next Monday.

We'll get to the laundry part in a minute. First things first. I have a head cold. For the most part all I want to do is lie under the down duvet. I would sleep but the hacking and sneezing are winning. So I’m blogging. It helps to keep my mind off the pity party I’m dying to throw. A pox on “three days coming, three days with you, three days leaving.” Adrienne and Scott are arriving in two days and I’m on the path to wellness. I may be delirious but I’m sure that I’m feeling better.  Either way, this makes me happy. If mainlining Vitamin C and swilling Airborne dissolved in orange juice works, then nominate me for the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Delirium. Definitely delirium.

In my world, I feel that certain rules should apply when one is cold-ridden. A box of White Cheddar Cheez-its followed by a box of Wedding Cookies - washed down with ice cold caffeine-free diet Coke - would be the definitive cure. Thank heavens, I don’t have any in the condo. My diet du jour is chicken soup and hot tea. I once liked Barry’s Tea. But frankly, my dears, I’m beginning to loathe the sight of the box.

Two loads of laundry that I separated when I rousted myself out of bed to get more Vitamin C are staring at me. So far, neither has moved. When I brew the next cup of tea, I’ll load the machine.Then repeat this for the second load when I heat the last cup of broth.  At some point, I’m going to take a shower. Before Bill gets home. My hair now looks as if I stuck my head in the Cuisinart. 

I can’t complain about the laundry. Wash day in Ireland was a far cry from my usual routine. For that matter, “wash DAY” was - for decades - an unattainable dream. Laundry was an ongoing event, with late night rush jobs for school jeans suddenly “discovered” in the walk-in attic (don’t ask). And I confess that on more than one occasion I forgot a load in the dryer and re-washed rather than iron everything. This may be illegal in conservation-conscious California. Shhhhhh.
In Kinsale, a clothes line, a drying rack and hangers replaced technology. A limited wardrobe also simplified the process. Two pairs of jeans, tees, turtlenecks, lingerie, and a pair of indestructible black pants cycled around the glass door of that front-loader more times than the pack lapped the Indy 500 speedway.
As my Kinsale laundry instructions indicate, weather was the only complicating factor. Jane and I watched the BBC weather report. The Republic of Ireland was omitted. We watched ITV Wales. The Republic of Ireland was omitted. We asked several locals where to get a decent forecast. They said - to a single person - the same thing:
“I just stick my head out the front door.”
So each morning, I swung open the bedroom window, stuck my head out as far as possible and called out to Jane, “This is a one [or two or three] undershirt day.” We were confident in our system. Until a Sister from the convent warned us to watch out for the east wind. 
“When does this usually occur?” we inquired.
She answered quickly, “You’ll know.”

Today I do not have to face the elements or walk more than twenty paces to wash the dregs of my contamination. But recalling those days in that lovely Irish village is a nice thought at the moment. At any moment.

And one more memory has returned. When I joined Adrienne in Venice during her study-abroad semester, I was over-joyed. I slept on the plane and arrived ready to hit the ground running. Except for the headache that resulted from my neck flopping over while sleeping on the plane. I had forgotten to pack Advil so I headed toward the Grand Canal where, surely, one pharmacy would be open. Not a one. Only the kiosks were doing business on this most holy day. I stopped and inquired with my best broken Italian (twenty three words, most of which referred to food). "Per favore, farmacia, where?"

“Ah, signora, no, no farmacia, uh, ....”, he searched for his English words, and finished with, “up.”

“Per favore, when?”

“Ah, tre, quattro. Maybe cinque?” [translation: 3 p.m., 4 p.m., perhaps 5 p.m.]

Back at the B&B, the host asked me if I had found my medicine. I told her what the kiosk owner said and she laughed. “Oh, no, no. No open today. Italian men, they like to give you hope.”

She must have also wished me the same because she didn’t tell me that Easter Monday is also a holiday. But Venice trumps a headache just as good memories and this lovely spot diminishes a cold. 

By the way, take a look at washday in Burano, Italy.  We need more color here.  They elevate laundry to art.

Good health is returning in time for the joy of family and good food. But there will be no chicken broth or hot tea on the T-Day table. And that desk in the bedroom isn’t going to get painted either. Get over it, Martha Stewart.

Bill just called and told me to get off the computer and rest. I seem to have a low boredom threshold that is inversely proportional to my viral state. When I explained that I am writing this lying down, he explained what this is doing to my neck. And offered to do the laundry. 
And, just so you can relax, kiddoes, everything will be cloroxed, decontaminated and ready for you Sunday!!!

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