Home, and other imperfections

Places around the world have such an array of imperfections. Buildings that crumble, but in a charming way.

Brasov, Romania
Brasov, Romania

Efficient multi-purpose intersections.

apartment above bazaar below cars anywhere
apartment above bazaar below cars anywhere

 

Landscaping misadventures.

Kherson, Ukraine
Kherson, Ukraine

Sand you dare not tread barefoot.

Fiji
Fiji

As I see more of the world, I’m always impressed with ingenious ways people deal with their environment. Pipes on the outside of buildings, as if an afterthought for indoor water. Or heat. Tri-paned rectangular windows, because even in frigid winter, you may need to vent the smallest pane. Buildings that match the hills they are built on, their bricks slowly melting back into the ground. There is so much variety, and so much that makes sense, even if I can’t quite see it at the moment. It seems apparent that if there was one perfect way to do things, it would have been done already.

Which brings me home. Along the famous Hwy 1 on the California coast, many people would consider this place perfect. Why would anyone take a vacation from this place of perfect weather, perfect health, perfect views?

Because I’ve never seen the lovely imperfections of China.

The Fickle Finger of Favorites

My pointing finger pauses above the flower, then wanders to the next, more beautiful specimen. I had decided to pick my most favorite bloom, and was allowing a loooooong time for the decision. After all, it was a perfect day of sunshine and clear skies and cool warmth and clean air. I chose this one:

#1
#1

A Fire Poker, my mother had told me. It had opened with an intensity that seemed fiery, and very orange.

I circumnavigated the garden and chose again. This one, I decided:

Surprise!

Then I remembered I had just started a small, almost-secret succulent garden, and succulents had rapidly become my new, realllly, really favorite:

The New #1
The New #1

Beautiful.

But I was right the first time.

Fire Poker, it is
Fire Poker, it is

The fickle finger of favorites swings back to the first, the best. For now.

Bungalow Done-galow

Once upon a time, there was a small bungalow in a beachside town on the prettiest stretch of Highway One. It had a for-sale sign and promise. Perhaps we were the only ones who saw the potential, and perhaps we took on a bit more than was wise. But with the last bit of flooring in the laundry room, our bungalow became a finished product.

Stanley's Labor
Stanley’s Labor

We hadn’t thought our new home would change that much. A new door here, a new floor there, a lot of cleaning. But as we grew to love this little place, we decided it deserved better. And so began a year of one better thing after another. After another…

I picked one shot to sum it all up. We started with this:

won't open, can't close
won’t open, can’t close

and ended up with that:

same view, new everything else
same view, new everything else

…and here we are, happily ever after.

Wink, Blink and Nod

“Winkin’ and Blinkin’ and Nod one night
Sailed off on a wooden shoe
Sailed down a river of crystal light
Into a sea of dew”  (by Eugene Field)

the best medicine
the best medicine

If you know this song, then you know the whimsical side of the truth. Some things in life are real, some are imagined, and most are a splendid mixture of the two.

Take the paint I have planned for the bathroom. Sometime, when I am good and ready to make a decision, my bathroom will be a soft mix of green and grey – or maybe yellow and coral – or some other creation that will occur to me when the time is right. And I swear to you, that paint will be on that bathroom wall one day. Probably after the tiles, those perfect ones I will find on the half-price table, get fastened to the wall above the vanity.

Or the metallic squares that will – honest to goodness – adorn the kitchen backsplash sometime in the not-too-distant future. They will be soft green. Or maybe deep brushed nickel. Sitting, as they will, atop the counter, my kitchen will glow with classy softness after I clean and set things away at the end of an evening.

The steps leading to my roof-top viewing deck will wander a bit. A zig, and then a zag around the cottage door will lead you with nearly effortless steps onto the platform that will let you watch the crest of the wave, a blow from the whales in March, or the lilt of a boat passing by. I can almost see the view now if I stand on my tip-toes and make a wish for the wind to blow the tree branches.

Yes, this will all happen in real life. Why wouldn’t it? As sure as Stanley is my husband and Sadie is my dog. I am Marsha. Why would I lie?

Run, Sadie, Run #2

not her usual pose
not her usual pose

Life for me is not my dogs’ lives. I like to sit and watch, blend in, observe without much hullabaloo. But I am doomed to cavort with noticeable dogs.

First: Reina, the almost-collie. So beautiful people would cross the street in the Texas Hill Country just to be closer to her multi-colored fluff. Then they would look at her face and notice she had but one eye.

Then Patch, who stuck to my heel like that lousy piece of discarded gum on a hot summer day. Misunderstood and determined to let you know it, she would growl and let her ridgeline hair stand straight, all the while with her soft warm nose attached to the skin above my tennies.

Ace, the noble full-bred pointer, came running at me from the SPCA and never let up the pace. Except when he spied a bird, or rabbit, or critter. Then he would stay stark still -pointing – until every inch of him was a-quiver. He would drag me on our very long walks and people would comment, “Who’s walking who?” until he spotted a creature and the show would begin. On one walk, I counted six people stopped, watching his virtual hunt of a prey he would only once in his life claim.

Sadie follows this lengthy tradition. Ruler of the house and yard and dinner table and seemingly our life in general, she has opinions on everything. She is not allowed inside during meals, so she finds a way to look at us from every window in the house. She is a camouflage dog: coat like a cheetah or leopard, reminding people of that “wild dog, the Australian dog, the African dog, that Dingo.” People can’t help themselves. She elicits comments like the finale of a fireworks show – oohs and ahhs. She gives more love and requires more attention than all my former dogs put together and multiplied by ten.

Sadie has been running ceaselessly from one side of the yard to the other, scaring the workers who come to renew the bungalow. First, we closed her off from the back of the compound, where the workers gathered nail guns and dry wall. Then, we chained her, hoping that would remind her of her manners. Sadie appears to love all this activity. Nothing discourages her enthusiastic romp, or loud comments. Me, Marsha, I’m ready for some quiet time.

The Cost of Keeping Warm

Figuring the cost of all this reconstruction has melted my otherwise logical brain synapses into a tangled mush. I should attempt a budget. I should. I’ve done them before.

But the mild weather along the Central Coast distracts me. It must also have distracted all the former owners, to the point that no one had insulated the bungalow. Who needs to insulate against a low of 50 degrees F?

Me, Marsha. In the process of spending a long day scrabbling on his belly like a lizard between the low roof and the high ceiling, Stanley made only one mistake. As he painstakingly lay out the 4-inch deep sheets of insulation, one of his elbows slipped. A hole in the ceiling ensued.

ensuing hole
ensuing hole

So the insulation didn’t cost all that much. But shouldn’t we have to figure in the cost to repair the ceiling? You tell me. My brain cells are tired. But no longer quite so cold at night.