Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Debbie - Part IV

Settling In

So here we are, a month and a half after the "weekend visit," living together. We arrived with Debbie's car loaded to the roof with her clothing and other things.

The house was a raised ranch and had an attic with a drop-down ladder, and three bedrooms, one in use as a guest room and one as a combination library and computer room. As we unloaded her car I told her "Put anything anywhere you like. Move things out of closets or into different closets, whatever makes the most sense to you. Just tell me what you've done so I'll have a shot at finding things."

I did get to keep nearly half the master bedroom closet, which was perhaps more than fair, given the quantity of clothing each of us owned.

Several times during the first couple of weeks she asked "Is it OK if I . . . " and I told her it was the same deal. It was her home and she could rearrange anything at all. I had boxes and bags full of things that had not been opened for a couple of years and told her she could poke around in those, examine anything she chose to. She did, and from time to time I would hear "I didn't know about this" and "Tell me about this."

One of Debbie's practices in life was to stay on top of *everything* regarding neatness, organization, and cleanliness in the home. Cigarette in the ashtray? Time to empty it. Chair a quarter of an inch away from its station? Fix that now. My own tendency, to borrow the concept from the comedienne Rita Rudner, was to live like "a bear with furniture." But this caused no tension between us. I had a job and for the first few weeks she stayed home. She did decide to get a job when she got bored, but even then I had a maid coming in periodically, a substantial housekeeping relief.

The first few times I lit up, I offered her marijuana, but she declined. She had only smoked it once and had not enjoyed it. She told me about the experience and I suggested to her that she had smoked way too much for the first time and if she ever tried it again she should just do a little. Eventually she smoked it with me and we found we had a common trait - one little hit and we were gone. After that she would smoke with me perhaps half the time.

Incidents from the first few months of living together:
  • We sometimes took walks around the neighborhood in the early evening. On one such occasion we passed a tree that had good solid limbs beginning perhaps two feet above the ground. I pointed to it and said "That's a good climbing tree." A moment later, perhaps wishing to continue that happy line, she pointed to a tree and said "That's a good climbing tree too."

    Now that tree's lowest limb of any consequence was perhaps five and a half feet above the ground. I laughed and said, "No it isn't." "It is too." "Well, let's see you climb it then."

    She was perhaps five foot two, max, and she jumped up to get a grip. She swung her feet up and was now hanging there upside down, ankles crossed above the limb. She took a moment - I don't know, perhaps to ponder her next move - and I began laughing so hard it was difficult to keep standing. In that position she looked exactly like a sloth, bedded down for the night.

    Eventually . . . "Get me down, you fool."

    She'd been wearing shorts, sneakers, and a short-sleeved blouse, and carried the scrapes and bruises from that little experiment for the next week or so.

  • Debbie never minded telling stories on herself. One spring evening I arrived home and she told me about her curiosity regarding the rotating sprinkler at the end of the hose. What, exactly, powered it?

    She decided to pick it up and hold it at eye level, then turn the water on but with very low power. She did, then watched it for a few seconds before experiencing the splash! splash! splash!

  • Before we picked up her car and brought it back, she would drive me to work, keep my car all day, and pick me up at night.

    During one of her very early excursions on her own, she couldn't remember exactly where we lived. She eventually found the street, then drove up and down it, trying the garage door opener on likely candidates, oblivious to the fact that the address was on the registration in the glove box. It worked eventually, though.

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