It’s quiet in the Yellow Sub tonight, as it is most nights, Maycee covered in polka dots on the top bunk, Louisy snuggled up in the blanket of her doggy bed, Percy finding his way completely burrowed beneath, and only the hum of the dryer finishing the second load. I just took a sip of cinnamon-apple tea, herbal, slightly sweet and just warm enough to soothe the sting of a pending sore throat. But, I’ll ignore it. There’s no time for “sick” when you run the ship alone. Swimming in front of me are the fish, two goldies and two stripies, checking out the water’s edge and back down to the bottom of the tank for left-overs. To my left, as I sit at the kitchen table, is the glow of the stove light, and that’s all I need as I write.
In about a half-hour I’ll get ready to batten down the hatches of the Yellow Submarine. I’ll head into my little room with a twin bed perfectly fitting for a single working mom. When I bought this place I really had no idea what to do with any of it. I bought it out of desperation and made a semi-rash decision (as opposed to a fully irrational decision). I felt overwhelmed the more I looked at all of the work that had to be done. In one of my favorite movies (that I’ve watched, ohhhhhh, maybe about 23 times so far), Under the Tuscan Sun,Frances, a woman in her early forties who suddenly finds herself divorced and depressed (I’m not saying I relate) heads to Italy and on a whim buys an old, dilapidated Italian villa. Experiencing every feeling in the book from insanity to buyer’s remorse, she says to herself, “You have to go slowly through the house, take it one room at a time, and make it your own.”
A three-year-old grandson to the woman who owned this place before me slept and played in what is now my room. The grandma, an artist of sorts, painted a mural covering every spec of the space adorned with black streets, stop lights, and decals from the movie, Cars. When I did the walk-through I was amazed at the detail, and I even surmised that Maycee might enjoy the playfulness of the scenery, but I was wrong. She told me immediately that she could never sleep in that room because of all of the shadows. Duh. Mom. Duh. Once settled in I realized that the area would be too small to hold all of Maycee’s belongings (aka: toys)…the bedroom directly across would be much better-the biggest bedroom in the house. The master bedroom would make a perfect guest quarters for my mom and others to come visit, which I desperately needed and wanted. Thus, I was left with what was behind door number three.
My room was the first to be made “my own”. It took an entire Saturday and allowing Maycee to pull out every single thing from every single drawer and every single toy box out onto her bedroom floor for me to finish covering the mural with a light sage green. Two coats of primer and two coats of paint with celery stick for the trim. Even the ceiling had to be done, as to match the city-street theme the grandma painted a blue sky with white clouds. As I prepared to roll over all of it with more celery stick, I suddenly stopped. The stars. In a few short weeks of dwelling in this strange, old/new place I had grown to love the glowing stars chosen by the small, pint-sized imagination of a grandchild-every size, placed in patterns, sparkling when the lights went down. I couldn’t do it…so I carefully rolled the brush around each and every one.
My half-hour is up, the dryer has stopped with its last load of the evening, my cup of tea only has the tea bag left in it, and I’m certain Maycee is dreaming vivid tall-tales she’ll share in the morning. I’ll head to my little alcove, neatly arranged with the bed, two night stands on opposite sides of the room with lamps, a mauve pink comfy rocker in the corner, and a dresser in the other. The pups will follow me, wait for a bedtime treat, and Percy will curl up in his doggy bed under a baby quilt of Maycee’s, hand sown. Louisy will wait to be hoisted up onto pale green sheets where in just a few minutes Mommy will climb in so she can nestle close for warmth. I’ll turn off the lamp and lay there, looking up, under the starry ceiling, which makes me smile most times as I try to fall asleep, and eventually do.
In making things our own, there are occasions we adopt what others have left behind, as-is, and pausing we soak in how sweet it feels.
Enjoy sleep tonight, Readers. Life is short. Be happy, and give a chuckle at the end of the day.