This coffee shop reeks of pungent soap suds as the floor gets mopped. I think that was going on last time I came here, too–3000 miles ago on the odometer. I commented on it then too, hoping this customer could always be taken as right, and they’d buy some less offensive soap. Still, the shop also reeks of humanity, and intelligent good humor. Every time I sit here clicking away at the keyboard as the techs renew my Honda’s fluids, that strikes me—that the customers (and their dogs) are called by name, news is exchanged in specific terms, the baristas don’t deal in the fluffy generic “how’s your day going,…(consulting credit card)…Bill?” hoping he’ll just be glad to get a friendly glance from those long lashes and leave a nice tip. A young man with Down’s whom they know from down the road comes in for some signatures, and is treated as neighborly as anyone could wish.
Savoring the clear skies and winter sunshine, trying to envision living in that house on acreage. Today we laid out a print of the aerial view and sketched over it on tracing paper what would have to be fenced for the dogs, the garden, the future livestock, where the shop and barn would go. My husband wants a donkey, like the one we saw being chased around a pasture by bigger cousins the other day on our walk. I’d like to raise a dairy animal or two, an annual beef steer, and chickens for eggs and meat.There’s lots of room for space-loving crops like corn, pumpkins, dry beans and green manure crops, as well as a handy kitchen garden.
This is the stage where it would be painful to hear that the house was under offer by someone else, so we should probably limit such specific planning, or put our money on the table. The conversation has become more balanced and peaceful, as we consider what would be getting traded–this for that, the possibility of these for the certainly of those, and so on. Our youngest son is all for it, oldest two are open, and younger daughter is the only one who pipes in to object—citing her beliefs that this or that unpleasant consequence are sure to follow, that it will not be an improvement. The three years until she graduates seem so long to her, the prospect of one year having to commute to her high school, or switch, so significant. But she has the most to gain, we think—the house is a few blocks from the community college where she’ll spend two years and also from the barn where she rides almost daily. We listen, acknowledge that change is always hard and that this will be no different, but subtly communicate that this is about our long term plan as a family, and that everything will work out for her. I think she’s reliving her childhood memories of the stress she went through when we moved to Israel, and forgets that this would be a comparatively mild transition.
Out there there is a frantic day of shopping going on, but this coffee shop is away from all that. Sure is nice not to receive the local paper on this day in particular. No one has managed to communicate the urgency to us this year of hitting the sales. Seems, and this could just be an effect of the lack of ad flyers–that the Black Friday idea is losing appeal, as people realize that if they don’t shop now, they can always watch for a sale later, or even make presents of give Heifer International livestock to families trying to make a living in some tougher part of the world. Or that they don’t really need anything much anyway. Is that why all the car ads today promise up to thousands in “cash back”? Really? Is that what it takes now?
Still, sometimes I feel that irrational urge to buy, the call of the sparkling new things that just might brighten my life, make someone else cheer up, symbolize some kind of renewal as the days get darker, or tide me over the darkest. I manage to pass by the exit into the local Fred Meyer, as the sky glows with its last golden light behind the blink of red tail lights and green for go. Picturing the snow about to fall. It’s definitely a season-induced feeling. The catalogs are arriving, the UPS trucks stop and go around the neighborhood more frequently, and at home I do my best to resist the urge to shop online. Maybe just a little, since Amazon will set aside a certain percentage for my chosen school… Now that’s what it takes.