Tuesday, October 30, 2007

View from the Deck

I don't usually keep secrets from K., but I waited for the ink to dry on our mortgage before I told her my real reason for buying the house: I love the deck. I love that it sits directly below the afternoon shadows of the house, I love that it's big, flat, and uncomplicated, I love the gazebo and I especially love the way it frames our view of the yard. The rest of the house is wonderful--no buyer's remorse on any count--but the view from the deck is quite enough for me. I just stand there, leaning on the rails and let the trees speak peace to my soul.K. and I have a polite disagreement about the deck. She thinks the deck is a convenient place to put a sandbox for the kids, and I think the deck is mine, mine, Mine. We had a married couple over the other day and I was doing my usually grousing about how the sand is ruining my deck and the wife asked, "What is it with guys and decks?" I think they represent the male compromise with domesticity--if you need me, honey, I'll be right outside, cooking slabs of mammoth.

From the deck you can see where we've staked out our new garden and have begun to dig. Last Saturday I jumped on a flat-edged spade approximately 100 times, cutting a twenty by thirty foot perimeter for next year's peas and pumpkins. We need to rent a sod-cutter soon before the ground gets too hard, or we'll have to save all our prep work until the spring thaw. Today was already the second frost of the season, and K. went into the backyard to take some photos. The deck is nice, but have I mentioned that I love the backyard?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Lucy's Corner: Special Day

It was three years ago yesterday that I finished a job interview in Elsewhere, walked back to the hotel, and got the message that K. had gone into labor. Never mind that we had carefully scheduled interviews two weeks around K's due date. Never mind that my flight wasn't going to leave for another six hours--Lucy was ready to take the world by a storm.What a storm it has been. It's been only recently that we've stopped calling Lucy "Little Trouble," and I think we stopped only because she somehow got big, and so did the trouble. God made Lucy especially winsome and winning to keep the rest of us from wanting to throttle her quite so often. She's a cheerful explosion, and as the wood and plaster settles to the ground you start to make out the dimples, beaming at you through the dust. I love her dearly and want her to stay small forever.I was at work for most of Lucy's waking hours, but K. reports that the Birthday Girl has been especially happy and bright today. We didn't hire any clowns, but I think she enjoyed herself. What do you think?

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Blue Peter

It's been three weeks since I started my new job, long enough that if I wait any longer to write about it I'll have to start putting "new" in quotes. It would be overreaching to say that my new line of work is everything I could ever hope for in a life's work, but as legal careers go the position feels like quite the coup. The hours are somewhat longer than what I was working for the government, but I have near complete control over my schedule which is amazing bordering on miraculous. I see the kids at both breakfast and dinner, and don't have to worry about opposing counsel ruining my weekends or vacations. The head of our practice group--the partner assigning most of my work--is pretty near ideal as far as bosses go: extremely knowledgeable, always available to discuss questions, but otherwise respectfully hands-off. The work itself should be the subject of another post, but for now it's enough to say that I've found it easy to imagine myself following this path for years to come.

In explanation of the title, the Blue Peter was and is a nautical signal flag--a white square against a blue background--flown from the mast of a ship to indicate that the ship was about to proceed to sea. Sailors in port would keep an eye out for the Blue Peter to let them know that it was time to repair aboard ship, to make haste lest they get left behind, and so it seems natural that the flag has come to represent a spirit of optimism and adventure. In the novels of Patrick O'Brian, naturalist Stephen Maturin is quite taken with the idea of the Blue Peter, the flag bringing to his mind feelings of freshness, new horizons, new life. Happy in my new job, I've been looking to buy a Blue Peter to frame and hang over my desk, a visual reminder of my bright new prospects.

My good fortune must be palpable to others: Today I wore my best suit to work so that a photographer could take my headshot for the firm website. There, under the soft glow of professional lighting, a makeup lady brushed my eyebrows, powdered my nose, and straightened my tie. I'm guessing I looked pretty good, because that evening, while I was waiting for the bus, a middle-aged woman approached me and this is what she said: "Hi, I'm Doris. I'm not a prostitute or anything like that--I just like white men. Are you married?" Oh yeah, the future looks bright.