Thursday, September 27, 2012

My Childhood Bedroom

My beautiful and creative friend Iuliana is doing a "find your voice" blog-writing challenge. I think I have my voice, but I often lack the blog ideas to back up that voice. So although I may not get around to using all of her prompts, I figure using a few of them might help me get back into the swing of things.

Her first day's prompt was "Describe your childhood bedroom."


So, first of all, we moved around a lot when I was growing up. My parents are (my dad was; my mom is) wannabe vagabonds.They moved from upstate New York to Tucson, Arizona, on little more than a whim, and a wish for warmer weather. Then they moved from Tucson (where I was born) to Virginia on the same sort of whim, this time with a desire to live near more trees than cacti and nearer the older pages of American history. Once in Virginia, we stayed put, but moved from house to house to house for various I'm-sure-they-thought-were legitimate reasons. Maybe the "wannabe" part should be deleted.

Wait. I should probably say from camper to house to house to house, etc. I've likely mentioned this before, but since surely no one has read ALL of my posts, I'm going to repeat myself:

When we moved to Virginia, my dad didn't have a job. Or a house. So for eight weeks, we stayed in a truck camper and a tent at a state park that had a lake. We kids (there were 6 of us at the time; my oldest brother was married and had stayed back in Tucson) thought it was a great vacation, swimming every day, getting those strawberry eclair ice cream bars, and playing Olivia Newton-John on the jukebox at the concession stand.

 A family friend informed us a number of years ago that we were actually homeless. Yep. I guess you could look at it that way, but it takes away some of the charm of that summer.

I never minded all the moving though--probably because I didn't have to do any of the packing. I just recall living in one house and then suddenly another. And another.

But the room I remember the most was the one I had in high school, probably because, come on, remembering something that happened at 14 is a lot easier than remembering something that happened at 4.

It was a basement bedroom, and HGTV would be mortified by it. My brother had the bedroom in the basement that had been finished and lived in before we moved into the house, and my dad then erected a wall in the unfinished portion for me. He put down some remnant carpeting--not tacked down and without padding. He put shelves on the wall so I had something resembling a closet. And then my mom hung a curtain across it. I imagine I had paint on the walls as well, though I don't recall. I at least had a window. I remember that much because I was always sure--yes, even in high school--that I heard something out there.

But what I remember most about the room were the racks I used for my books. My parents let me bring home a few wire spinner racks from the bookstore, and I loaded them up with Stephen King and Piers Anthony paperbacks--my two favorite authors when I was a teen. (The Stephen King fanaticism probably has a little something to do with the noises I was sure I heard outside that window at night.) Tacky? Absolutely. Did I realize it at the time? Kind of. But I also thought they were cool, because who else would have wire spinner racks in their bedroom?

 And do you know how much those wire racks cost now? A lot. As in a lot more than a wooden bookshelf would cost me today. In fact, I bet I was just cool way ahead of my time. Not tacky at all.

Maybe I can talk my husband into putting one or two in our new bedroom. The description of the one I found for sale even called it "classy."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Time Keeps on Slipping . . .

I’m feeling the passage of time pretty keenly today. Not sure why. Could be the lack of sleep over the last couple of months. Could be the fact that my youngest will be 8 years old before too long. And then 9 and 10 and 13 and 15, and before you know it, he’ll be more wrapped up in his music and his girlfriend and his favorite sports teams than in my arms. It’s all as it should be, of course, but that doesn’t mean I don’t recognize the years slipping by. 

Or it could just be the hole in the sleeve of my favorite long-sleeved tee, and the realization that the company doesn’t make this style anymore.

I was at the grocery store this morning, and the woman working the register next to the one where I was checking out my $190 worth that fit into 5 small bags said that her register wasn’t working right. It was telling her the price of an item, but was not ringing the item up. Earlier this morning, a customer had complained, because she was in a hurry and the whole process was slowing her down.

As an editor, I come across sentences like that last one all of the time: a “because” that needs a comma in front of it, which is something I grew up believing was never necessary—commas before “because.” But without the comma, the woman was complaining because she was in a hurry. She wasn’t complaining about how slow the process was.

But, really, I think the woman was complaining because she was in a hurry. It’s one of our biggest complaints, and we take it out on others around us: other drivers, other family members, other customers in line before us. We’re in a hurry to get to wherever we absolutely needed to be 10 minutes ago. 

I commented that the inconvenience of waiting for a cash register glitch to get straightened out is still more convenient than growing your own food or milking your own cows. Thank heavens for grocery stores and broken-down registers and for everyone who does the work before me so I can get on with all the very important work of my own day.

Like figuring out how to replace this shirt of mine. The company may not make this style anymore, but that doesn’t make it out of style. It just makes it more valuable to me. Like patience and time and my 7-year-old hugging me before he gets on the school bus.