Saturday, August 1, 2009

Wife, I mean life, on the bluff...


I would be content being a housewife if I could find the kind of man who wouldn't treat me like one."
-Terry McMillan
My mornings here start early. There is is a lot to do and I get paid to make sure it gets done. This morning it is the contractor at 7am. This may be a “normal” time for some, but I am not really in early morning person. “Can you open the gate, the roofers are going to start early, with the heat and all.” No problem. I sleep walk down the long hallway to the phone, type in the code, turn the sprinklers on while I am upright, and then fall face first back into bed. In case you were wondering, roofing is extremely loud. I know I should just give up; make coffee, start the day. But I don’t want to. I am right in the middle of a dream and I don’t want to wake up. If there was anyone else here, in the 6000 square feet that surround me, I would whine and whimper. But, finally I give in, rising to the rhythm of steady hammering. Stories are being told in rapid Spanish above me. I can hear them talking about whether the girl who lives in the house is home. Yes, she is home, I think to myself. She is home and she hasn’t had coffee yet. She is home and has had enough travel, school and years in a restaurant to understand the dirty things being said about her. She is home and her mood, lack of coffee and early wake up has her tempted to yank on the rope, that I assume is attached to a roofer, that is dangling over the steep edge of the house.
I throw on my idea of "public pajamas": black yoga pants, one of those tank tops with a built-in bra, flip flops and a ponytail. Coffee made and I am out the front door. Steaming mug in hand, cordless phone tucked under my arm. First up is Stephan, dear friend and groundskeeper. We catch up, talk about what’s happening around the property and also a little bit about what’s happening around town. I wander down the sloping hill toward the guest house. Emma, the housekeeper stops me, asking if I know where she is supposed to be. Funny that someone would ask me where they should be. I have spent my entire life trying to figure where I am supposed to be.
The cats. The three cats, whose home is the apartment below the guest house. They get breakfast and dinner served on three china saucers. If the weather is nice, they dine al fresco. If it’s raining, I set up an umbrella for them (kidding). I walk through their apartment, making sure they didn’t throw a big party while I was sleeping in the other house. A dead mouse greets me in their bedroom. I look out the door for Emma. I have changed my mind; I know exactly where she is supposed to be. It’s too late and she is nowhere to be found. I wish cats knew exactly how shitty it is to clean up a mouse that is laying on the carpet, its entire insides sitting about three inches from its corpse.
As I am holding the dearly departed rodent, the phone rings. My boss. Calls every morning at 9ish to check in. In Seattle today, needs me to cancel London hotel reservations and figure out why they are still getting charged electric for the condo that was sold months ago. I listen carefully, trying to ignore the soft, furry lump in my left hand that is threatening to leak through the paper towel I have it wrapped in. I get off the phone, give the mouse a ceremonial throw over the bluff and begin my search for Purell. I have forgotten my coffee on the porch and turn around to see the cat drinking it.
Back at the house, emails are starting to come in and the phone is still ringing. The guy that takes care of the Ferraris hurt his back and is on pain meds. He is asking me, again, to talk slower. I resist the urge to ask him if he could spare a Vicodin.
My shower is quick, made quicker by a three-inch wolf spider hanging out next to my shampoo, threatening to kill me at any moment. I ask Matt, who is working in the yard, to take care of it, insisting that while normally I am not “that” girl, being naked in a confined space with this spider has made me vulnerable. The look on his face is begging me to spare him the details.
Beds made, laundry started and the phone still ringing. I need to pick my five year old niece up, get her to my mom's and drop off the recycling on the way. Bills need to be paid, groceries bought and there is a mile high stack of mail to be sorted. The dryer just buzzed to tell me that there are clothes waiting to be folded. Then the oven timer chimes in to tell me that if I don't get my ass in the kitchen, the scones will be burnt to a crisp.
Out the door again, my bag slung over one shoulder, cell phone pinned between my chin and my other shoulder as I try to listen to a friend discuss the bridesmaid dresses for her upcoming Napa nuptials. Two screenplays fall out of my bag (my other job) and onto the wet driveway. I peel the pages carefully from the pavement and as I stand up, still listening to the details of the mauve dresses, there is a dry waller staring at me, waiting for a time frame for the coming week.
At the end of the day I watch the sun set over the Olympic Mountains. Everything is quiet and everything is checked off my list. Well, almost everything. I forgot to return my library books. I crumple into the oversized couch with a glass of red wine and press play. As the opening music for Weeds begins, I take a deep breath of contentment. I am actually pretty good at this. And what is “this”, exactly?
I am a housewife. Without a husband.
I am a lonely housewife living in a big house on the bluff. It’s an unconventional job, being an estate manager/house-wife-in-training/cat feeder/fire putter outer. But this is the dress rehearsal, and with every night that goes by, alone in this house, I can’t wait for the real thing. Instead of days filled with meaningless chores (and wishing there was a pool boy), I will be running a household and sharing a home with a man who is my best friend and partner. Now I just have to find him.

2 comments:

foz said...

Sort of life like Magnum PI except he gets to drive the Ferrari

Sarah said...

Daaadddd (done in a whiny daughter voice), when you post as "Foz", people are going to think it is me and the only thing I know about Magnum is floral shirts and a mustache. Love, Sarah