Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Why I DON'T despair

I think I've mentioned this before, but it's worth repeating; while I look outside my home and family and the Northwest I despair for my country.

But my life with my home, family, and my city in the Northwest is pretty damn good. We had a fairly typical weekend this past Saturday and Sunday and it goes a long way to show why I hesitate to throw that domestic contentment to the winds of political strife.

Saturday was rainy and cold, so we didn't drag out everything we had planned to try and sell to the curb. Instead we played indoors and then went to the Nickel Arcade where both my wife and son utterly spanked my ass at various racing games. The sight of my bride hunched over a pretend motorcycle made the losses endurable; nothing like having one's Fast and Furious fantasies lived out. Mmmmmm.

That evening we watched a film and read another couple of chapters of Ella Enchanted. It's been fun taking in part of both kids' increasing interest in reading, and the Levine "Princess" stories have played a big part (even for the Boy though he prefers Tolkien...)

The next day dawned clear if cool, so we set the yard sale debris outside. We were just bit players in the big production our neighbors and our friend Christine from SW Portland (who returned to her old neighborhood to hawk her junk) had planned.

Business was light enough to give us lots of time to visit with our friend and our neighbors, and for the kiddos to make s'mores on the firepit that warmed the cool morning:

It was a truly pleasant way to spend the morning. We visited with our neighbors all up and down and across the street, chatted with the thin stream of people who stopped off to look. And occasionally buy; our friend Christine sold her kid's bike and well as several pieces of furniture. We didn't make any money but at least got rid of the old black plastic compost bins the City handed out way back before they started curbside composting.

Even Fat Nitty Kitty got involved, doing some crucial sniffing and meowing.

This, by the way, was my favorite item:

And, no, that's NOT Mojo's wedding dress (if your wife's wedding dress turns up at a yard sale should you take that as a good indication that the magic is leaching out of your marriage? A cautious husband might well think so...) but a thrift-shop dress she picked up to cannibalize for the fabric and never did. I suspect that there's a sad little coda to someone's fairy tale there, but...

Mojo and Missy also experimented with tinfoil kite-making. This didn't seem to work well, despite the feather attachments that would seem to provide some sympathetic-magical lift (since birds fly, right?). Seems that there's a problem there somewhere.

Mid-afternoon Mojo and I left for Date Night; first, to watch our Portland Thorns women's soccer club play; you can read my observations here. Even the weather cooperated, breaking into a sunny Sunday just as our team won the match.

One of the things L love about Portland is...well, Portland. Everywhere else the new women's league is having tough times as all women's soccer leagues in this country have since the Nineties. Even the good teams have trouble drawing more than five or six thousand people and in places like Seattle and Chicago they're pulling less than 1,000 as often as not.

Here we may not give our gals quite the love we give the Timbers. But to pull 12,000 people on a sunny Sunday? That's pretty terrific.

After the match we headed back to North Portland to have dinner at our favorite little Korean-Japanese bistro Miho Izakaya. Getting there just before opening we strolled down to Overlook Park and found that the two little 1920's bungalows that had occupied the northeast corner had been Raptured, leaving just the basements and random stonework behind:

The effect was truly rather creepy. The garden that the former owners or tenants had kept up was still there out back full of spring fecundity, the old concrete stairs now leading up to nothing. The stonework was clean and crisp and utterly pointless without the surrounding houses. It was like one of those stories you read about Hiroshima where the people are vaporized and a pair of empty sandals or a shadow on a wall remain. Weird.

Still pondering this little mystery we enjoyed the pork belly and sweet egg, the yaki-imo, and the calimari salad at Miho, all rounded off with the firey nip of the imojōchū (sweet potato shōchū).

And discussed the sort of marital small change long-wedded people enjoy; domestic arrangements, future plans, kid quirks, local oddities. We wondered if anyone would buy anything we'd offered for sale. We agreed that we should do something about the old Ford pickup but not what. We talked of the trivialities that are the daily bread of love.

When we got home we were informed that we hadn't sold anything but that someone had taken the wedding dress off the tree and walked away with it.

What can you do?

Well, we went and played with the kiddos. I made a chorizo omlette for dinner. We watched some kidvid, and read some more Ella. And went to bed.

So you see, that despite my conviction that my country is going to hell in a handbasket, my own little world; my home, my family, my city, even my state are pretty damn fine. I live with good people and I know and am befriended by other good people. Our own little community - bar the occasional wedding-dress thieves - is a good one, a kind and generous one. This, then, is what I live for, to "tend my own garden" as Voltaire's Candide would have said. And perhaps it is there that I can do some good in turn.

But you'll have to excuse me; I need to go out looking for a vagrant wearing an old wedding dress.

We need to talk.


Leon said...

I have an alibi...

FDChief said...

Likely story. Homeland Security will be around to look in your closets...

Ael said...

Hey, how is that hay field in the back of your school doing?

FDChief said...

Ael: I had to go weekwhack the thing last week, it had gotten so out of control. But the real story was that it exploded this past winter when roots of one of the garden trees invaded a sanitary sewer line and backed up the effluent into one of the boy's bathrooms and send a flood of sewage down the hallways!

I'll post about that this week...