Friends, food and fins make a home

#278 in a series of true experiences in real estate
April 1999, Hills Newspapers

Home sweet home. I have two goldfish now. They swim in a large clear glass bowl on the kitchen counter. I find this very cozy. When I get my cup of coffee in the morning, there they are right next to the coffee maker. I don’t talk to them then (too early for talk) but later, when I get home from work, I say, “Hi, how you doing,” and I watch as they swim around, opening and closing their round mouths. Sometimes they rest together side by side near the bottom of the bowl. Their fins move but their bodies remain where they are like they are treading water and dreaming.
I really like having goldfish, and these are mine. My kids have had their own fish, school carnival prizes, that looked to me for feeding and cleaning and, I suppose because I was their care giver, I became attached to them in a way. But they lived in the kids’ rooms; I saw them only as I was putting the kids to bed, and it just wasn’t the same as it is with my fish.

I’m surprised at myself for buying them. I don’t know why I thought I should have goldfish, but a month ago I woke up one morning thinking I should go get a bowl and a fish, and that very day, I brought home “Bob.” It was such a pleasure having Bob, he added so much to my enjoyment of my kitchen that I wanted another fish.

At the fish store I looked at the beautiful tropical fish, the exotic salt water setups with undulating sea urchins, wishing I had space and the know-how to have some of those in my kitchen, then chose another goldfish. Seventy-five cents for my second fish plus $15 for a larger bowl. I asked if the fish was a male or female. No one knew, so I named her Lily. She’s bigger than Bob by quite a bit. Looked small in the big tank but when I got her home, she looked huge.

Home sweet land. From my kitchen window I look out to my burgeoning spring garden. It’s cold and wet outside still but the plants must know it’s spring. New green leaves are fully arrayed. Bulbs are blooming. Plants that seemed completely at rest a week ago are now leaping upward.

It’s my favorite garden look: patches of dirt still showing, plants not yet out of control, almost all of the garden greens and grays – no reds or yellows or oranges yet.

I’ve treated myself to new gravel for my paths. A friend loaded his pickup truck with clean, new gravel and brought it to me, lugged it up the garden stairs in buckets and spread it along the paths. Before he came I thickly sprinkled weed suppressant on the paths and I bought a small bamboo rake, like a child’s toy, to smooth out the pebbles.

I had something else done, too, something big that I find thrilling. I had a whole lot of water faucets installed, placed throughout the garden. I went a little overboard; 14 new faucets were put in, to which I have now attached my numerous water timers and sprinkler hoses, overhead sprinklers and hoses to hold by hand to douse newly arrived plants. With so many sources for water, I even have some bibs left over, unoccupied for the moment but probably not for long.

Home sweet friends. Good friends, fun and supportive, warm and full of conversation, surprised us recently with dinner which they prepared at our house. We didn’t have to do a thing, didn’t have to go anywhere or even change our clothes. They arrived with all the ingredients for a super taco feast including perfectly ripe avocado and two kinds of hot sauce. They chopped and grated and cooked enough for us to completely stuff us. The kitchen was warm and smelled of oil and frying tortillas. While we waited, mouths watering, we sat around the big kitchen table working on a jigsaw puzzle, laughing, talking. The kids were impatient: “Are they ready yet?” they asked. “Ready! Eat ‘em fast” finally came the reply. We each ate several, declared our favorite hot sauce, wiped our hands and chins and sat recovering. There was a little break before our friends mixed up and baked Bisquick shortcakes, tender and browned around the edges, topped with strawberries and freshly whipped cream. There was talk of Alka-Seltzer.

Home, in sweat pants and “tennies,” home full of treasure, what a pleasure.

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