Bee balm


These are the amazing flowers blooming all of a sudden in our front yard.

I should have left well enough alone — they’re really better in their own colors than in this odd instamatic thing. The bees love them — they are buzzing around like mad, and I hope my neighbors are not worried about getting stung as they get in and out of their car.

Anyway — summer has shifted again. M is home alone these days, which she loves. She’s been re-reading Sarah Dessin books and drawing things and otherwise hanging around the house. I’ve gotten her to water the yard and empty the dishwasher. She’s walking to her friend O’s today to pick up more Sarah Dessin books. I’m just getting used to being home again and we’re already planning our next trip. We’re taking M back to school and staying on a while to help clear out K’s mother’s house, since she’s not living in it and it’s clear will never care about the contents again.

She cleared out a lot of stuff when she moved from Ann Arbor to Pittsburgh after K’s father died. One thing she probably got rid of then was a game she brought out once for the girls when they were small. Amazingly, in a house of three uber-competitive and combative boys, they had some game that came with plastic flyswatters with which you were supposed to hit your opponent. I can’t remember why. I had to quickly put it away before N and M, who were probably 3 and 5, started attacking each other. Who thought it was a good idea for those boys, and how it ever survived to be handed down, I cannot say. Really, after the stories of how B nearly took K’s head off with a ping pong paddle — a game where you hit each other with flyswatters?

Anyway, I think all those treasures may be long gone. Now it’s going to be a matter of persuading my sister-in-law that it’s okay to throw away the laundry detergent that is insufficiently pure for her tastes. And the furniture — K’s parents have the most amazing 50s furniture. It really is all very beautiful, but I think all of us have all the furniture we need, and also, it’s not really our taste. Should we sell it? Save it for the grandchildren? I don’t know — I guess that’s what we have to figure out. None of us, though, have the same carefully curated collection of furniture as they did. They certainly already had it by the time I knew them, which is when they were the same age I am now.

I used to feel, when I was 30 or so, surprisingly unfit for grownup life in that I’d never managed to acquire a lot of grown-up things like decent furniture and highball glasses. I don’t really feel that way anymore. I’d like to have actual furniture that was not threadbare and did fit our house, but I guess I’d rather send kids to college or someday buy a new car or even travel first.

I will probably get it just in time for my kids to worry about what to do with it, having decided that while they admire it enough in my house, they don’t want it in theirs . . .


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