I have never been a cereal eater. My stomach, which continues to have a real affinity for pretty much any kind of food, will tolerate its consumption readily enough but my sense of what is and is not food gets tangled up in what I refer to as
"the mush factor". This basically refers to the fact that cereal turns to goo about four minutes after pouring the milk and that I find this disgusting. I marvel though that those who enjoy cereal seem to have an almost addictive passion for it. In particular it seems to occupy a mental list of favorite night-time snacks for them. It would never occur to me to eat cereal at night and honestly seldom occurs to me to eat it for breakfast.
So it is out of the ordinary for me that I poured a bowl and attempted to eat it this morning. Joe brought it home yesterday. I liked the name of it. "Bountiful". Who wouldn't want to try something called Bountiful? Who wouldn't want a peice of that? Bountiful smells like pancakes. And falls apart even more rapidly. I could not finish my bowl...the soggy mess stuck in my throat, nearly making me gag...an interesting phenomenon given that it actually tasted just fine. I contented myself with drinking the flavored sweetness of the milk and left the mush to its own devices, where it promptly deflated and disintegrated to cold gruel. Yuck. I felt vaguely misled by the name.
Joe and I venture into the waters of change again. We are two cautious but confident travelers it would seem, battered a bit by the harsh blows of life but able to see it is worth it to press onward in a calculated fashion. We decided over the course of this past week to go ahead and put the house on the market as we had been planning to do when Cooper Clinic laid me off. The new job is acceptable and seems to be a good enough fit. The neighborhood we live in has seen a surge in home sales, with the majority of them staying on the market between 9 and 11 days prior to getting an offer. There just aren't that many homes in Allen in this price range, and it is a place people tend to want to live. It is a nice suburb with good schools, low crime and a slightly less frantic pace of traffic than you find in Plano, just to the south. The incentives to buy right now are unparalleled. The interest rate as we got our preapproval last week made me giddy.
So we spent yesterday purchasing things to spruce up the curb appeal. We trimmed back the monkey grass, straighted up the base of the crepe myrtles and sculptured the bushes back to neat, clean lines. Joe edged the sidewalks; I swept along behind him. We had picked out flowers at Lowes and spread red cedar mulch and planted them in the flower beds. "A spash of color, to draw the eye" our realtor advised. It looks better now than it ever has. We played music while we worked - Jimmy Buffett, Jim Croce, mixed songs from the glory days of the 70s. The wind blew like a gale and it never quite warmed to where we'd hoped, but the recent rain made the Texas clay more workable and the smiles exchanged in passing waves of dappled sunlight and ruffling hair felt like punctuation points of pure, unadulterated joy.
I found myself surprised when it was all finished how much my back ached, how tired my legs felt. I retreated to the shower to wash the red stain off my hands and pluck the mud from beneath my fingernails. I swear there are few pleasures more acute than that of getting clean after hard labor. Joe and I met on the back porch, showered and clean, a bottle of crisp white wine and two glasses in his hand, his book overturned on the patio table and Michael Buble singing my favorite songs on the sound system. I curled beneath the red knitted blanket some kind soul gave me at the hospital in one of Joseph's darker days, picked up my latest Anita Shreve selection from the library and smiled, watching the wind blow two recent dress purchases in sizes I have not seen in many years, watching them dry in the sun. We sat there together, we two, for an hour or more, reading, exchanging bits of banter...companionability bringing continued waves of peace and gratitude as the day began to fade. Unseen signals kept us on a timetable known and important only to us two, guiding the preparation of steak and lobster tails (T-bone for him, filet for me) on the grill, the formation of spinach salad with hardboiled eggs and bacon, baked potatoes and sweet potatoes with butter and salt. The light left the outer world and we retreated indoors, talking with animation...something I can marvel that we still can do this many years later, that we still have so much to say. How many lovers has time forgotten who were every bit as much contented and together as we? We love on borrowed time, our lives brief. My knowledge of this enhances the depth of my emotion, giving clarity, sweeping away so much pollution from long ago, the musky shadows of youthful expectations and romantic idealism dissipating like the mist that they are, leaving only that which is true. I am lucky to have found someone. I am lucky I was raised how I was. I am lucky to have such a life.
So we will find another house, something closer to our "dream home", a term that makes me laugh a little bit. My dream home is right here, not defined by windows and walls, but bound up within the understanding between two souls who have both known sorrow, heartache, failure. The dream home goes with us, no matter what building we house it in. I am fortunate to have what I have in my life. I am even more fortunate that despite the life lessons that brought me here, I have been given a spirit of understanding exactly how rare and precious it is.
Yesterday was a very, very good day.