“So, how’s it feel living on your own?” asked a neighbour.
“How would I know?” I replied. “I’ve had a man show up here every day at 8:30 in the morning for six weeks.”
I see more of Jeff than his wife does, I swear. He is working on the entire house at once. He writes meticulous lists so he knows what is going on, and I offer to help in ways that are not very helpful. He’ll let me pull painter’s tape sometimes, and use a kid’s paintbrush to get at those little crevices where door jambs meet to smoosh some paint in there. The trouble with painting the dreaded beige over the “artistic” colours is that one missed spot stands out.
I’ve been sleeping in a double bed as the master bedroom gets worked on. It’s getting cramped; the cats look at me each night like, “we’re fine, but where are you gonna sleep?”
I’ve been shifting furniture around as we go, and forgot I’d plunked a full-length mirror across from my bed. I woke up and scared the crap out of myself.
I’m getting tripped up as I come across boxes and boxes of photos from the past, and as much I desperately try to stow them for another time, I can’t help it. There is no end to the revelations you unearth and it takes discipline that I don’t have to look away.
Christer and Ari are receiving a constant stream of messages asking if I keep or toss this or that. When they vote to get rid of once loved toys, I head to Facebook and give it all away.
My niece has moved out of residence and into a house, and I am happily bombing my sister with offers of shelves, dressers, dishes, tables and chairs. I have rooms so empty now, I could twirl around like Julie Andrews in “The Sound of Music” if twirling didn’t make me dizzy.
There’s been a steady stream of people in my now solitary life. A friend came and picked up a truckload full of interlocking brick, with a promise to come back for patio stones. I send Jeff home each night with random finds left over from previous renovations, often brand new tubes and coils and tubs of …. things. If I don’t know what they are, I highly doubt I’ll have a need for them.
But the best wrapping up is taking place outside, where Dad’s garden is blasting forth like it does every year. My message was simple: if you want some of Dad’s plants, show up with some pots and start digging. I already have shovels; I have many, many shovels because Dad believed you could never have too many. There is also an odd array of axes, so useful here in the city.
I have hundreds of hostas, and his beloved tiger lilies are running rampant. April is the month to transplant, and my friends and colleagues have taken full advantage, to my delight.
A wise woman once told me perennials are just weeds that someone decided to love, and to see these perennials go into so many other gardens makes me happy. Many said they feel like they know my dad after all these years, and he’d be thrilled to know his garden lives on in their yards as much as he lives on in my words.
I have a vested interest in giving away these plants, these legacies. Whenever I’m settled, and wherever that happens to be, I’m showing up to these many friends’ yards to take back cuttings and start over again.
I’ll bring my own shovel.