Solitude

David’s gone to Port Aransas for a few days to help with hurricane cleanup. Originally I thought that maybe, while he was gone, I’d go to Houston to help my sister move. But when she pointed out that, as she’s between homes, she would be unable to offer comfortable accommodation, I chose comfort over being helpful. I’m not like David, who beats me hands down when it comes to helping others.

So, because I was dithering about the Houston trip, I ended up with no plans at all, which isn’t always a bad thing.

I spend the afternoon getting my sewing room in order. The scraps that’re too small to use outnumber usable fabric. While sorting, I watch a movie called Glory Road, about the NCAA championship game between Texas Western University in El Paso and the University of Kentucky, arguably the best game in the history of all games since the beginning of time; and it changed, literally, the future face of basketball. I’m not fond of sports but I love sports movies. One of my many endearing paradoxical quirks.

Ever since a month ago, when David decided to go on this trip, I’ve been looking forward to a period of solitude. When he’s not around I sing loudly, trailing cheerful tunes as I move through the house. It’s not because his presence is oppressive, it’s because my voice is too horrible to inflict on another person. Another thing I tend to do when he's not home is stay up later and drink more. It's good that he's not gone often. 

Also, we’re too much in each other’s business. We comment on one another’s activities to an absurd extent.

“Washing light clothes?” he’ll ask as I carry the laundry basket full of light clothes to the laundry room.

“Going to the gym?” I ask as he stuffs his workout clothes into his gym bag.

After organizing my fabrics I feel the need to get out of the house for a while. Though I recently vowed to stop buying stuff I don’t need, I’m in the mood to walk up and down the colorful aisles of either Dress for Less or Tuesday Morning. Both are jumble stores, with good deals to be had if you’re willing to dig through tons of ugly useless items in order to find treasure. For my purposes, Dress for Less is more about clothes, though they also have household items, perfume, and luggage; while Tuesday Morning is more geared toward kitchen paraphernalia and festive paper plates; although, come to think of it, I found one of my favorite articles of clothing at Tuesday Morning—a white undershirt that’s so soft and cozy that I wear it all winter. I’m wearing it now.

I choose Dress for Less. I’m offended when I take a top to the try-on area and the clerk takes it from me, hangs it on her rack, and tests the anti-theft device to make sure it’s secure. The clothes in this store are so cheap that they practically pay the customers to buy them, and yet they must have had a rash of shoplifting; why else would some higher-up instigate such a petty policy? In the end, Dress for Less renders nothing I want or need. I leave having relearned what I already know, which is that if you want to be treated with respect you should shop at a respectable store. Oh well, it was a place to go.

Later, as I’m walking through the house to fetch a glass of wine, I glance into the backyard. There are six deer out there. I like to see which plants the deer are devouring, so I stop at the window to enjoy their presence for a while. Every evening at this time a fox meanders through, so I’m not surprised when he appears stage left, strolling along comfortably, head held high like he owns the place (it belongs to humans, silly fox). He comes to an abrupt stop when he realizes that he’s surrounded by deer. The deer have halted their munching and are watching him with snooty disdain.

Now I comprehend where the phrase “high-tail it out of there” comes from, because the fox does exactly that. In addition, I’ve learned that foxes prefer not to be surrounded by deer. I decide to include this wildlife incident in a blog so my friends will be equally informed.

Tomorrow I’ll go to the new HEB, which opened its doors for the first time this morning. This store has been the main topic of conversation amongst Marble Fallians for at least a year. It apparently has curbside service and ready-to-prepare meal kits. Over the last month, as the old store emptied out, anticipation has grown to a preposterous level. Some of the women in yoga were there when the door opened at six a.m. They spent the first few minutes of our time praising the layout, the bright lights, the cooking demonstrations at every juncture, and the thoughtful provision of maps.  

Get a grip, people. It’s a grocery store.

 An excellent winter shirt to be worn under sweaters for soft warmth. 

An excellent winter shirt to be worn under sweaters for soft warmth. 

 You can't tell it from this picture, but this shopping cart is twenty feet tall. Things are CRAZY at the new HEB.

You can't tell it from this picture, but this shopping cart is twenty feet tall. Things are CRAZY at the new HEB.

 I got a nice email from a reader in New Zealand today. She picked up  Old Buildings  at the library and loved it so much that she ordered  Why Stuff Matters  online. It feels weird that my work is in the library in Christchurch, but it's not available here; a situation which will be remedied in April. 

I got a nice email from a reader in New Zealand today. She picked up Old Buildings at the library and loved it so much that she ordered Why Stuff Matters online. It feels weird that my work is in the library in Christchurch, but it's not available here; a situation which will be remedied in April.