Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bloom Where You're Planted

I don't have any garden space but I've tried planter boxes and pots of every size. I just don't know how to get stuff to grow in this climate, in a pot. My mom and dad have a yard that resembles the Garden of Eden (like I was there) but I can not grow a tomato that you could cut through. Governor Leavitt visited my dad's house one year and he looked out back and said "you don't have a yard, you have a farm." So you'd think after years of mandatory weeding and watering, I would be a genius with some dirt and a pot. Ha!

This year I decided just not to waste money on anything green. I'm so bitter. I want a real garden space. Andy and I have started driving around looking at single family houses...again. And it all started because of our pilgrimage to the St. George Parade of Homes.

We have gotten tickets to attend the "home show" every year. For those of you that are reading this outside of the United States, a "Parade" of homes is not like the kind of parade where you walk down the street or play in a marching band. This is put together by a group of home construction companies that build a house, have it furnished and decorated to the nines, and then open them up for people to come and tour them, like a museum. A museum where people live. Fancy, faaaancy people. This year there are 28 homes on the tour. We visited 19 of the 28.

"To dream! Perchance to wake..."

This year, after miscarriage #8, I should NOT have gone.

But did I listen to my good sense? No. Since we had a blessed Saturday off, we put on some good shoes, filled up the gas tank (choke....) and set off on our little mini-daycation. We ate lunch out with our "Dixie Direct" card - never leave home without a coupon card - and set off to see how the real people live in St. George. Why do I torture myself so?

One home on the parade had a 1950's diner inside of it. Another had a tub that received it's water from a hole in the ceiling. There was a bedroom that had a glass-encased office on one end and on the other end was a wall that could be opened completely to the pool and yard. Almost like camping... at the Marriott.

My favorite thing was the shower that was like a car wash. There were about eight shower heads coming out of various places 360 degrees in the room. I imagined standing there, turning on all eight faucets and waiting for the St. George water pressure to build up enough to reach me in the center of the room. It lacked an automated chamois rub. Disappointing.

Along the bathroom wall of one house were three or four tiled insets like, permanent shadow boxes. There were about 8 inches square. One of the little holes contained a tiny little cactus, growing in a teeny, tiny fishbowl laid on it's side in a bed of tiny purple pebbles. I did write "J + A" in the perfect pebble bed. It was just calling out to me like when I lived in Japan and people would rake their pebble yards...the temptation was too much. I left secret messages all over Japan. Maybe I should plant cactus....?

One house had a big television in the kitchen that rose up from under the counter case you want to keep up with Rachel Ray as you make your dinner. The first thing I thought, when I looked at the cut edge in the granite counter was "if that was at my house, in two weeks it would be stuck shut. There would be so much food in that ditch you'd have to sit on the floor and open up the bottom cupboards to watch T.V."

There was the house with the glass stairs. G.L.A.S.S. stairs. I really thought twice about going down them but sucked my stomach in (like that would make me weigh less) and gingerly descended into a theatre room that sat about 24 people on leather lazyboys all around. A.H.mazing. Andy stayed at the top. He said he'd take my word for it.

There was a secret pantry in one home that could double as a fallout shelter. If there was a nuclear war, I'd want to be in that room for sure. It was huge and shelved from top to bottom. You had to know that it was there, otherwise, you would think the door was just a couple of kitchen cabinets. I loved that they had a circular dining room, practically made of glass that overlooked the backyard. All it needed was a T.V. that could raise up out of the counter...wait...

There were smaller homes. One of them had about four bedrooms in the basement and a small kitchen there as well. Perfect for eight to sixteen Tuacahn students. We could only afford the mortgage if we stuffed that many kids in there. Just call me Miss Hannigan. Could I shut the door at the top and pretend they weren't there?

There was also an entire house that made Andy claustrophobic. His shoulders just skimmed the Newport Beach artwork on either side of the hallways as we went through it. It was beautifully decorated, like Martha Stewart herself had flown in (and maybe she did). Did they forget that they live in a desert? Or were they just pining for a coastline? Whoever they were...they were very tall and thin people. They probably got that way from wallpapering the 12 foot ceilings in that house. Good luck scraping that off in 2014. Do NOT call me.

I forget which house it was that I tripped and nearly killed myself on the stack of rugs in the living room. I guess it's like double or triple-matting a picture in a frame. These people could not choose which rug to use so they used two or three and stacked them up creating that matting effect. That was popular this year as was the wall-paper (here it comes again, our moms will be so happy).

My question there an economic crisis in our country, and if so...where is that happening?

Because it isn't happening in St. George, Utah. Or maybe all the people that kept their cash in their mattresses are finally dipping into it to build homes here.  We could see that the home sizes decreased from years past, but when you are a school teacher, and you see the prices are down from 3 million to 2 million... it still cuts you through to the core. Really? It makes you want to shout "someone taught you! And they are living across the railroad tracks in West Side Story! er...on the west side!"

I don't deny them their American Dream. I'm all about the free enterprise system. I just want to know why I was so attracted to teaching? I knew better! Having grown up with a dad that taught...did I think the pay check would be different for me? He worked three jobs for decades to keep us alive. I went into this teaching thing with FULL knowledge. D.U.H.

Truthfully I never thought I would teach, or would teach for very long. I thought I would get married and all my troubles would be over. In New Rochelle... or Leavittown or some (where that's green)musical theatre place like that. But not only did I become a teacher, I married one! Looks like I might end up running a boarding house full of little girls.

We have our Hunsaker Hotel (see blog #?). It's a townhouse, which I guess is the politically correct word for CONDO...eeeeeeeek. It's an "end-unit" so...we live on the end. Bonus: we only share a wall with neighbors on one side. It has a vaulted ceiling in the living room with three huge windows. I used to love those windows because the light would stream in and the dogs would stretch out in the sun on "Sun"day mornings. But, that was before they built the unit next door. Now we get about 11 minutes of light at 10:30 in the morning which is of no use to anyone because, we're never in our home at that time of day. Except on Saturdays and if we're out of bed by 10:30 on a Saturday morning it's because we have already been at rehearsal since 8. Who scheduled that? ;-)
Our home is warm and comfortable. It holds a collection of furniture from that past 20 years of producing plays. But somehow it works -  it's sort of Broadway Bohemian, if you will. For example, there are three lamps in the living room, one we bought for Black Comedy, one for You Can't Take it With You and the last has a shade from Stage Door and a stem from The Miracle Worker. You get the idea. I'm always fine with it, until I go through the Parade of Homes and we come home "Bitter At the World. Party of Two."

My bitterness today also stems from a pot full of purple snap dragons that I planted in front of our house to celebrate our decision to go on birth control. It was a really traumatic decision for me...admitting that we needed to move on... that kind of thing. I just wanted something to LIVE. So I broke down and bought some gorgeous, half grown, snap dragons. I love them. They were growing like gangbusters in just just a couple of days. Until yesterday. When we drove in after work I noticed that someone had "picked" them all. I hope they took them home and gave them to their mom. I just came inside and had a little pity party. Dang.

I sat right down and fumed. I was mad. Then I looked at the one thing in my house that I bought at the trendy store, just for me. It is a wooden cutout that stands on a shelf, you know the kind. They usually say "Families are Forever" or "Return With Honor." Mine is just as cheesy now and it says "Bloom Where You're Planted." Deep breath.

At first I rebelled against that trite cliche, thinking "I might as well have a house covered in mauve wallpaper." But I kept seeing it in craft stores when I was shopping for shows or in the JoAnn's ad. As if to say "THIS MESSAGE IS FOR YOU JAN!" So when I saw that it was just $2.94 at Tai Pan, I bought it.

So after the Parade of Homes this year, I walked into my little space again, limped around and lamented my lot as usual. Old furniture, small townhome. No yard, fridge door is tied shut. If I'd only gone to law school we might have nice things. Then I dragged my eyes to the little wooden sign..."Bloom Where You're Planted."  Get yourself together I thought. That dang fridge makes a mighty cold Diet Coke I thought. And that yard is mowed by someone else. I can put my feet up on the furniture and not even think about it twice. The best thing is, if there are guests staying at the Hunsaker Hotel, just give me one trash bag and the Swiffer and I'm feeling ready in minutes. Just don't look in the garage. (Two-car garage BTW - Woot!)

I am blessed. What more could I need? We feel safe here. We have incredible neighbors. I don't want to clean a bigger house. I don't want to owe money to a pool boy, or have tiny cactuses growing in pebble beds in my bathroom. Cactuses hate bathrooms! And I don't have time to plant a garden.

Our life is a Garden of Eden. It is a virtual FARM full of blooming... kids. And we... are going to be fine because we are great kid farmers.

I think the world is glorious and lovely as can be
The birds and bees and blossoms bring sweet messages to me
I sing and sing and sing and sing a song of joy and love
I sing and sing and sing and sing my thanks to God above.