As I roll through the front door…which isn’t the real front door, but the entry from the garage…both dogs emerge barking and expectant. I fuss over them, calling Bixby, Bela. Seconds later we reach the sunroom where one of our two cats is crossing the floor. Bixby explodes in the slightly disoriented way of a rescued border collie…chasing our black cat…or trying. The claws send a rat tat tat as both mammals slip on the polish of the hardwood floor. That is the thing about our new domicile, everyone is trying to get traction.
Upstairs, there is much more sun in the sitting room than in the sunroom. Such is late afternoon in San Francisco facing west. Facing anywhere in the sitting room there is only standing. Why standing room only in the sitting room? The want of chairs, for one thing. The want of furniture, for another. In fact, this particular part of the house is being prepared for a modest bout of demolition. The fireplace and what’s around it must go. Why, I can’t remember. But it’s part of the architectural plan…and the contractor schedule…that this thing must be done. And why it must be done in the second month of our residence here…well, I’m tired of asking.
Something about having a house in disarray makes one see the glass half empty. But look around…and there is so much to delight. The house is beautiful, by any standard. And the garden, conceived as a sort of guess, is quickly becoming. The greenhouse at first slightly alarmed me, seeming something of an excess. But the weather has proven to be in excess of wind, fog and cold. Tomatoes now huddle under glass panes, quite oblivious to meteorological reality. Inside this orangery…or tomatoery…I often huddle myself, drawing out the afternoon watering to enjoy the warm, still air.
Driving, now a daily occurrence, still contains a high fear factor. The other evening, I set out early for dinner with a friend who lives in the center of town. I knew it was rush hour. But I didn’t quite know that I would be inching uphill and downhill as I held my car as stationary as possible behind a red light on Cathedral Hill. Then inching into a turn, as all of San Francisco honked at me. Down a hill, right, then left then another. Then up a hill and a right turn into a parking space. There is a God.
As for my street, only this very afternoon I was pulling directly into a familiar parking space. It’s the one with the crooked sidewalk, roots lifting the sections. I checked for my position, blocking neither driveway fore or aft, hit the button that deploys the wheelchair ramp…which didn’t deploy. My God, the van was broken. Badly rattled, I backed up…into the curb. Surely it was worth trying to re-park, just in case I was dropping the ramp on some irregular part of the footpath. I couldn’t quite get it together. So I drove down the hill into Glen Park village, then back up…trying to park just down the street from our house, but something felt wrong. So I carried on, finally doing a 180° turn…returning to the same space, but farther away from the edge. Yes, it was the footpath, not the van. I breathed deeply. Breathing is important these days.