Friday, February 11, 2011

Little Bumps in the Road

I used my oven for the first time last night.  I haven't needed it.   It's just me, and I chose the toaster oven I did because it's got enough size to cook most of what I would need.   But I wanted a pizza.  I can't find anything like the Central Market brand frozen pizzas I liked so much back in Texas, so I bought a standard brand with "rising crust".   A little too big for the toaster oven, so I fired up the big one, stuck the pizza in for the requisite 27 minutes plus some to make it a little darker than intended (because I like my food with that slight hint of charcoal always -mmm, yummy) and went upstairs to peel off my jeans and slip into sweat pants.  Suddenly I hear a noise all the way upstairs - a humming.  I run downstairs to find out the vent hood had turned itself on automatically, which is fine but it's LOUD.  I couldn't turn it off.  It was on auto pilot.  Which is good I guess because there was smoke coming out of the oven that has nothing to do with me trying to slightly burn my pizza.  Why was it smoking?  I have no idea.  I'm hoping it's because the oven has sat largely unused for a really long time, and it's just dust burning off.  So, I wondered, will it turn itself off as well?  And if it doesn't, how do I make it turn off?  I suppose I could shut it off at the breaker.  I certainly know where the breaker box is because the first time I ran a load of laundry the breaker tripped, and I tripped one twice two nights ago when I tried vacuuming while the TV was on.  It did turn itself off in relatively short order, so that was good news, but I wonder what will happen when I have to use the oven for a large meal, like Thanksgiving - that should be fun...  At least it will keep everyone else out of the kitchen.

So, as I waited to see what would happen with the loud fan making it almost impossible to hear one's own thoughts, I was eyeing the time, waiting for the requisite 15 minutes to expire so I could flush down the Drano in the kitchen sink.  The disposal stopped working the third day I was here.  Actually, I'm not sure it ever really worked because I found remnants in there of something I certainly didn't put down there.  Again, remembering that the house had been vacant for a long while - GROSS.  So, it was with no real surprise that the sink began to drain slowly a few days ago.  I gave in and called the plumber.  This was on Monday.  They were backlogged, so they finally had time for me today.  A new disposal and $400.00 later, they explained that the sink kept clogging up because whoever had installed the disposal in the first place more or less rigged it and the refuse actually had to travel "up" the pipe to be deposited out of the house.   It just wasn't originally designed for a disposal.  Oh the joys of owning a 59-year old house.

Cheyenne watches me anxiously as I worry over these little issues, nearly hyper-sensitive to any negative emotion I might show, becoming agitated herself if I am stressed.  Her eating habits are off, I've noticed.  She will eat only when I do, and she never clears her bowl any longer.  I've actually had her turn her nose up at table scraps I've tried to feed her.  She shadows me wherever I go.  She's happy when we go on the thrice (or four) time daily walks, but the rest of the time, I'm not really sure.  I think she misses her brothers and sisters.  Maybe she even misses the cats, it's hard to say.  Did she pick up on the fact that my tears the other night were for her other canine sister, who is no more?  Will she remember her when she's reunited with the others finally?  I wonder sometimes what she thinks of being whisked away to this strange, cold place.

I miss the other dogs too.  I miss my daughter.  I miss my husband.  I miss my friends.  The great thing about working from home is that I can avoid trying to find my way around these twisting roads, but it also means I'm not out there meeting people.  I spend my days alone with only Cheyenne.  I spend my nights the same way.  Kelsey's dear friend from Pittsburgh has been a God Send, she sent me a link to a volunteer site tonight.  I found several opportunities immediately.  That's my best recourse, I think.  With football done for a while, I'll spend this weekend trying to finish painting the dining room (hopefully with no paint spills this time around) and unpacking, then I can get out there on the weekends and meet people while doing something positive for my new city.  I'm excited about the idea of it - there are a lot of opportunities.  The problem will be to narrow down the choices.

Speaking of unpacking, it has slowed to a crawl because I've got more stuff crammed in boxes than I have room to put it.  When I think about all the piles and piles of clothes, books, shoes, knick knacks, kitchenware, etc. that I got rid of, and then look around out the excess of everything I still have, I realize I am more my mother's daughter than I would have ever cared to admit, adopted or not.  Granted, I live on the street with all the little post-war houses in an area generally populated with stately homes, and this is a house one would term "quaint" if you're being polite.  But, it should comfortably fit my little family - and probably would fit most families of three.  But, not me and all my crap.  My goal this weekend is to make it work.  Somehow.  I want all these boxes out of the way - the scattering of miscellaneous boxes throughout the house just makes it all the more depressing.

All of this would make one think I'm moping around.  I'm not as downtrodden as I sound.  It's a rougher beginning than I had envisioned, I won't lie.  It's lonelier than I had supposed it would be, that's true.  I feel so far away from my daughter when she has a bad day that it just makes my heart ache.  But, I'm constantly and poignantly aware of the chain of events that brought us to this point.  Kelsey is on my mind a lot lately.  For one thing, it's Eating Disorder Awareness Month.  For another, I've had to touch so many of her things lately, not once, but twice, first to pack them, now to unpack them.  All those photos of our lives together, her schoolwork, her artwork (still firmly in my possession despite some rumors to the opposite) and finally the urn that contains her ashes, carried all the way with Cheyenne and me to find its way to our new living room.  I still think of how her dad has struggled to find his footing in the world that doesn't include her.  I still think about what I felt when I walked upstairs in that house where we experienced so much turmoil, or what it was like to drive down MoPac and pass by things that reminded us of events, both happy and sad, that took place over the past tumultuous decade.  Someone cautioned me that I can't run away from the memories.  This is true.  And I really don't want to.  I don't want to forget my child.  Ever.  But, I can create new memories, for myself and for all of us, outside of the shadow of the past.  If this is the price I pay for that chance, then so be it.   (In the meantime, Cheyenne is very upset at my reaction to the Penguins game, so I think I'll switch gears and do something else for a while - Sid, I miss you!)

1 comment:

  1. I don't know if this will help Cheyenne, but I thought it might be worth a try:

    Oven fan: look up model number and google - maybe you can get a hit.

    Also, see if your neighborhood has a listserve - I lived in Rosedale two years before I knew there was one. It is pretty awesome.

    You are going to be okay. I check your blog regularly - so you shouldn't feel alone - we are all out here in cyberspace, thinking of you, pulling for you, loving you.

    V - out.