Thursday, July 28, 2022
Back At the Old Stand
I have been living in my parents' house now for almost two months. We moved here when I was about eleven, and it's a little strange to be back. The house was built in the 1940s; family lore has it that it was based on the blueprints of the home featured in "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House," an old Cary Grant movie. I have never attempted to verify this, but it might be fun to research.
It's a five-bedroom house, currently featuring one resident: me. After the years of caregivers, when there were never fewer then four people here, it feels quite empty. That sensation hit me again when I came home late last week after a two weeks' trip to Europe and walked into a dark and silent building. This does not bother me unduly, as I am a major introvert, but it has been cheering to feel that the house has cheered up since my return (if such a thing is possible).
I hadn't lived here for forty years, though I visited often. I haven't been plagued with constant childhood memories, but I sometimes look out into the backyard and visualize my sister's wedding reception, which was held here; our beloved family dachshund, now deceased many years; and my nieces and nephews exploring the house on their visits. My father loved this house and spent hours renovating it when we first moved in. He did much of the electrical rewiring himself to the point that no one else really understood which wall switch did what. He replaced and stained the wooden floors.
My assignment is to get the house cleaned out and ready to be put on the market. That is going to take a while - I've made a little progress but not a lot. I am hoping to hold a garage sale at some point. That project, though, will need to take a back seat to my studying to recertify for the medical boards test which will take place in a little over two months.
When I finally move, it will probably be into a condominium in Florida, which will be very different from here. I am looking forward to living there but the project has not yet broken ground. For now, I will get back to studying and thinking about what part of the house to address first.
Tuesday, July 05, 2022
Per my brother, the fish my cousin gave him was a combination of trout and walleye (walleye is a kind of pike). Both freshwater. As for the preparation method, he emailed me: "The walleye was the best. Dipped in panko crumbs and fried. Delicious!"
Friday, July 01, 2022
"I Need You to Take This Fish,"
...said my brother as we drove to the Pittsburgh airport. It was early November and we had traveled to our father's home town in Pennsylvania to give him the funeral he wanted. His ashes (to be precise, half of them; we still have the other half) had been interred in his parents' grave. The trip gave us a chance to spend time with my father's older sister and our cousins. Our aunt is the only one of the three siblings still alive; thankfully she is still completely alert and was very happy to see us. One of our cousins, a real outdoors type, gave John some frozen fish he had caught for the trip back across the country.
"It'll be fine!" he had said cheerily. "I have an insulated bag for it, just pack it in your suitcase." Not without misgivings, my brother had accepted the gift. But now we were running late and my brother had just remembered, first, that he only had a carry-on bag with him; and second, that he wasn't going directly home but to a sports function for his son.
So guess who got stuck with a bag of frozen fish in her suitcase? But time was short and we had no choice, so into my luggage it went. I had visions of ruined clothing all the way back to Los Angeles. But luck was with me; the early morning Pittsburgh temperatures were below freezing and I changed planes in Denver (pretty cold there as well). When I landed at LAX it was a cool, foggy day. As I stood in the rideshare line, my brother texted me: "How's the fish?"
"Not home yet," I responded tersely. As soon as I made it home I hauled my bag into the dining room, put it up on the table and began digging through it. To my relief it was still frozen solid. I don't know who manufactures that insulated bag, but I need to get one.
The fish was stored in my freezer for a few weeks, at which point it resumed its journey to my parents' house for Thanksgiving. My brother and his family took it home with them after the holiday.
And that is my epic fish story.