Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Run of the House: Day 1

Yesterday, a little after noon, Mom and Dad started out for Las Vegas and Henderson, what we fervently hope will finally be the promised land, a new life that lets us enjoy life instead of trying just to survive it day after day as it generally has been the seven years we've lived in the Santa Clarita Valley. They stopped at a McDonald's in Victorville, which Mom said was the dirtiest she had ever seen (Understandable, since Victorville is mostly for just passing through on the way to other places from Southern California), and at the Grewal Travel Center in Baker where they did get the weekend section of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (It's called "Neon", as I learned. I either must have not noticed before what it had been called or I forgot), but I'm still not sure if they got me a Las Vegas Weekly. There's plenty of time for that because first, I wouldn't expect to find it in Baker, just Neon, and secondly, it'll be somewhere in Las Vegas. And if they don't find it, well, with luck, I'll have a lot of years to enjoy it as a resident, and actually read it, not skim through it like I do with the L.A. Weekly, in which only a few pages each week interest me. Everything in the Las Vegas Weekly interests me. In the late afternoon, they reached Fiesta Henderson, where they're staying. Mom was keyed up about Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen, in the food court there (they also have a Denny's, a steakhouse, a Mexican cantina, and a casino buffet) because they sell pizza by the slice and she hasn't had that in years. However, Mom seemed a little disappointed on the phone when Meridith asked her about it. I'll get the full details either later today or when they get back.

Meanwhile, all this activity means that Meridith and I have the run of the house. But with responsibilities of course. Yesterday morning, even though it was the start of the week, I decided to laze about in my bed and watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, since I read Julie Dawn Cole's book, I Want It Now!, about the experience of making the film (She played Veruca Salt), and I wanted to see it again to remember the details she had revealed. Right now, having slept about an hour and 20 minutes longer than yesterday (The dogs woke me up at 5:55 to let them out in the back, but I told them to let me sleep a little longer. No luck since my body had had enough of sleeping, so I rested until 6:20, let them out, fed them, then went back to bed to read until a little after 7, when I have breakfast), I've determined that I'd rather leave movies in bed for the weekend. I didn't feel like it this morning. Sure I want to rewatch the entire series of The West Wing, with as much as I can take of seasons 5 and 6 (the worst of the series because the production team never really regrouped after Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme were fired. Of course without Sorkin, the show will nosedive in quality, but the only writer to come close to Sorkin was Debora Cahn, who wrote the late season 5 episode "The Supremes", which guest-starred Glenn Close and William Fichtner, and she let the series save face with that one and a few others she wrote, in order to let it stand up wobbly and then regain some footing for season 7), but I don't want to lay there for most of the morning.

Meridith wrote down a list of what Mom wanted us to do while they were gone. Dust Mom's bedside table, dust around their bedroom, pull weeds, throw out old food from the cabinets and from the counter at the right side of the oven (expired stuff), scrub the toilets, the microwave, the tubs, the mirrors; put lotion on Tigger and Kitty's pads, brush Tigger and Kitty, put the bug repellant on their necks (It's done every month), and clean their ears. Also on her list is to clean her room and her closet.

As soon as Mom and Dad left, I got out the broom, and the dustpan, and a white garbage bag, put on gloves and went out to the patio to sweep around there. Dead pine needles fall on our patio, and so do these red things that crumble into the pebbles when you touch them. They can be swept up, and I did just that, sweeping it all into one big pile. The whole thing, since it was only on one side, took about half an hour, but it was quite a round of exercise.

Meridith did the dusting while I was sweeping, we had lunch, and then we threw out the old food into a white garbage bag so we could put it in the bin. Usually, the bins are picked up on Tuesday, but because of Memorial Day, we were told that if we had pick up on Monday or Tuesday, it would be the day after. I decided to roll them out anyway just in case, because you never know with this garbage company.

Fortunately, the day wasn't all chores. I spent part of the day and evening reading Cornbread Nation 1: The Best of Southern Food Writing. I still intend to embark on that crash course in Nevada history, either later today or in the morning tomorrow, but yesterday just felt like a day to bask in loving writing about Southern food culture and traditions. I wish the Oxford American had a food issue every year, since I became hooked on it with the 2005 issue, but missed out on the 2010 issue since it was sold out.

Dinner was unique for Meridith and I. It'd been so long since we got dinner from anywhere in the immediate area, and the first thought was Pizza Hut's Ultimate Stuffed Crust pizza, with the toppings also inside the crust, but we found out that the Pizza Hut nearest to us doesn't do that, even though that concept has only been around for a few weeks. We thought about Papa John's, and Meridith called to ask something, and found out on the recording that they had a deal for a medium pizza, four 20-oz. drinks, 10 wings, and a dessert pie for $20.99. So that's what we did, and we walked there to pick it up. The pizza was good, the wings were, too, and that dessert pie (called a cinnapie, cinnamon all over, along with white icing) was fascinating. They must have used pizza dough for that, too, but it didn't taste like pizza dough usually does afterward. I liked it all, but was also reminded about why I don't do this often anymore. When I was overweight and didn't really care, I ate like that all the time. But now, I know I can't, and I felt it.

I also found out that I can walk the hill up to our place much easier. I didn't even notice the hill was there and my legs didn't hurt after we'd reached the top. That is a major, most welcome change.

Today, Tigger and Kitty have to get brushed, then we have to put that bug repellant stuff on their necks, clean their ears, and that's it for me. The whole list is done on my end, and Meridith has to clean her room and closet. I'll probably finish White House Diary by Jimmy Carter, along with some time for the rest of Cornbread Nation 1. It's my ideal day.