And Now for Something I Should’ve Done Ages Ago

Posted: September 21st, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Housewife Superhero, Misc Neuroses, Sisters | 2 Comments »

My sister Ellen rented a house in San Francisco for about six years before she went downstairs one day to find her house guest cutting into a huge avocado from the tree in her yard. Ellen was about to tell her they weren’t edible, when her friend gushed, “You are so lucky to have these right here for the taking! I’ve been eating them all week. I think they’re the best avocados I’ve ever had!”

Upon learning this Ellen was confused, delighted, and understandably annoyed with herself. Back when she’d first moved in, a neighbor, or the landlord–it was hard to remember exactly who–mentioned something about the avocados not being good. At least she thought they had.

And of course, in all her years living there, she never thought to try one.  

As mean as it is to admit, I’ve always found that story hilarious. Just so funny that she was overlooking something so good that was right there under her nose.

Well, karma’s a bitch. It seems like lately I’ve had my own slew of small missed opportunities. So I guess Ellen can have the last laugh.

The other day in a fit of must-feed-the-family-but-cannot-summon-energy-to-cook, I decided to try out a somewhat dumpy looking Thai restaurant that’s just two blocks away for take-out. Mark picked it up and said the place was packed. And when we started eating we saw why. Great chicken satay. Delicious pad thai. And cheap!

How maddening. The place could not be closer to our house. So we’ve missed out on three years of cheap-easy-yummy Thai food. Argh.

Then when my frienda Brenda arrived dirty and tired from a long road trip on Thursday, I ushered her into the Pink Bathroom, explaining that for our first couple years in the house we disparaged its shower. The stall seemed small. Mark found the shower head low. But then for some reason I used it one day, and realized that the water pressure and even the heat was far better than the shower we exclusively used.

I guess the only other time I’d used the now-favorite shower was when I was in labor with Kate. Probably not the best time to make a judgment call on something. Now, of course, I won’t set foot in the White Bathroom. I guess I’m somewhat of an extremist. For me things are either pink or white.

Back when I first moved to San Francisco I wrote a story for the free weekly paper about dream analysis, and interviewed a bunch of herbal-tea quaffing, poncho-wearing Marin hippie dream experts. One woman asked me about any recurring dreams I’ve had. There was the UFO abduction in the driveway of my childhood home dream. (Hey, don’t laugh.) But I haven’t had that one since I was a kid. The one I was having at the time of the interview was that after a long time living in a particular house I’d realize that there was another room, or a whole wing even, that I’d never been to.

And of course, it was decked out and fabulous or packed with young hot studs and fifty-dollar bills. Well, not really the money and men part so much. But it was distressing nonetheless since these unknown-about parts of my dreamworld houses sent me into repetitive head-thumping V8 moments. Why oh why hadn’t I ever just opened that door?

The hippie dream lady told me it meant that I was looking for new unrealized things in my life; paths not yet explored. And that I was lazy about not opening doors that were right there in front of me.

I’ve got to think that there’s some of that being played out in my world right now. I mean, the shower, the Thai place, and then the other day I go downstairs to dig up some of Kate’s old clothes for Paige and find a trove of forgotten but adorable outfits–many of them Oilily or French designer baby duds that my sister Judy manages to send our way as often as the Sunday paper. Of course, half of them were either already too small for chubby Paige, would fit her for about a week more, or would have been perfect for this past summer. Drat.

Of course I can’t bear to have her not wear them, so the next time we go anywhere I’ll have to do several costume changes for Paige, like she’s a mini Cher in concert. (I’ll likely skip the wigs and make-up.)  It’ll be exhausting, but oh so worth it to get one more wearing out of these crazy cute little numbers.

And frankly, the Paige clothing is one thing. But we’re getting ready for a yard sale. (Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Packrat are actually planning for a public purge. I mean, Bravo should be sending Dr. Phil and a camera crew over here because the pain, anguish, and eventual victory of the whole endeavor will no doubt make for brilliant reality TV.) So, here I am last week spelunking though toys, baby gear, clothing–you name it–and dumping it into the yard sale pile.

Maternity clothes are difficult to let go of only due to my lingering desire to have another baby. I made it doable by thinking I’ll just buy all new stuff if I ever need to. Besides, how sad can you get about letting go of immense mumu-like shirts and elastic waistband pants? Even if you did pay a king’s ransom for them.

And in the midst of digging with both arms like a dog through one of those huge plastic tubs, I unearth a pocket of non-maternity duds. And I see my jeans. My cute pre-preg Lucky jeans, some dark DKNY jeans I think I bought mere moments before the pregnancy pee stick turned positive, and even my faithful faded old Levi’s. In a fit of sentimental fashion fervor I step out of the skirt I’m wearing and right there in the basement start trying on my pre-Paige clothes.

And the heartbreaking mind-blowing thing is, they all fit. No wrenching the zipper up or stretching them over my thighs. No thinking I can wear a long shirt cape-like over my ass to conceal it. These clothes all legitimately fit like, well, like they were mine.


But then I also find some nice linen shorts, a bunch of little skirts, and a navy silk shirt with white polka dots (which sounds horrendous but believe me is darling) that I bought last summer in, of all places, a little boutique in Bristol. Who knows when all these cute clothes started to fit again! For all I know, I could’ve been wearing these things all summer instead of my restricted post-partum wardrobe which included, ashamed as I am to admit it, a couple pairs of Mark’s Patagonia shorts that I’d borrow when I was desperate.

So all these missed opportunities can’t help but make me wonder how I avoid things like these from happening again in the future. Frantically sample the food in each and every local restaurant to ensure we’re not missing out on some easy-to-acquire gastronomic treat? Obsessively taste the fruits in my and my neighbor’s yards? And conduct tests on the efficacy of household appliances–pitting one burner against another–so as to know I’m using the best ones and won’t suffer any future regrets?

Perhaps I should just give into what I’ll call the Parents’ VCR Approach to Life (TM). I mean, back in the day, whose parents ever performed any other function on their VCRs other than Play and Rewind? Sure there was other stuff it could do, and they were even aware of that, but it didn’t ever seem to bother them. They never seemed to lose any sleep over the thought that they were missing out.

Maybe as parents get older so many of these little things they could be doing but are somehow missing out on keep piling up until they get to the point that they just have to throw in the towel and become at ease with it all.

And so, tomorrow perhaps, I shall work on embracing this new philosophy. While strutting around in my brown wedge sandals and my cute little pre-pregnancy jeans.


2 Comments on “And Now for Something I Should’ve Done Ages Ago”

  1. 1 joanna said at 5:29 am on September 25th, 2008:

    Lucky you, fitting in to your post-Paige clothes. I fit into my post-Ben clothes already, too. Socks count, right?

  2. 2 kristen said at 8:13 am on September 25th, 2008:

    Socks, yes. As do earrings.

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