Last year at this time we were in Ohio. It was the day before Laura's wedding.
This year we are in Illinois. I guess it's actually our first Fourth of July here in Illinois.
Also, we are alone, just Shawn and me. We may or may not get to see Jon.
I am struggling with this empty nest phase. I don't like it.
Back in Syracuse, on the Fourth of July, we never really did much. School was finally over, which was a great relief and a blessing. The pool was open, sparkling blue and usually quite warm. The Fourth of July often involved sleeping in--a late morning to celebrate no school and a day off work for Shawn. After a lazy breakfast, we would swim, relax, bask in the heat of mid-summer and the luxury of not having a schedule to keep. On Memorial Day there was always a parade, but on the Fourth of July we stayed home and played, all six of us.
At some point, we would pull out the grill and cook up some hamburgers, which we ate with everything we could pile atop them, especially cheese, tomatoes, pickles, lettuce and condiments. Hamburgers, often corn on the cob, nasty salad, potato salad, watermelon, a veritable feast.
After sunset, we'd scramble to figure out where we could go to see some fireworks. Usually we parked at the Liverpool library and watched the show at the Fairgrounds from our side of Onondaga Lake, lugging lawn chairs up the parkway and drenching ourselves with bugspray despite the futility. Sometimes we'd finish with root beer floats back at home after the show.
Traditionally, I stand at the sink and eat a quarter of a watermelon all by myself on the Fourth of July. That's the only tradition we've been able to retain this year. Slightly depressed, I didn't get my usual full quarter of the melon down; I barely cracked an eighth.
With the extra day off work yesterday, we should have gone to see someone. Shawn's parents, my parents, and Matthew and Laura all live about an eight hour drive away (in completely different directions).
But. There is stuff to do here, and a vacation day is awfully good for getting stuff done. Ugh.
Clearly, this is why I am writing on my blog.
We've needed to repaint the laundry room ever since the disastrous kitchen remodel, because the electricians dug a big hole in the wall around the laundry room light-switch when they were wiring the kitchen. I was not enamored of the color of the laundry room anyway (it was green). So we decided that this was the weekend to tackle it. We will paint it "Berkshire Beige" to match the family room on the other side of the kitchen.
Yesterday we started priming.
Now, I can get a nice line when I paint. It is not the particular line that I am working on that is the problem. No. The problem is all the paint I dollop elsewhere in the process, the paint that somehow finds itself randomly running down the middle of the wall in gooey globs while I am working on edging the baseboard. The paint that dribbles onto the floor, under the dropcloth, that I then step into and track into the kitchen: that is the problem.
It reminds me of the time I tried to dye my hair. I always wanted brown-black hair. One day about ten years ago, I decided to do it. I bought a box of dye to darken my locks and took it into the kids' bathroom. I read the directions very carefully. By the end of the process, I had ruined a bathroom rug and the jeans I was wearing. Splashes of dye had hit the wall behind me and run down next to the towel bars, brown-black stains on the sky-blue walls, and Mr. Clean could not get them off. Like the cherry on top of everything (only not really), the next time I showered and washed my hair, it fell out in handfulls, thinning by at least 50%. Ever since, I've been thankful to have any hair at all, regardless of color.
Ultimately, Shawn sent me out of the laundry room and did the priming himself yesterday. By leaving, I did get the dogs out of the way, since they go wherever I am. All four of us in the tiny laundry room, trying to climb in behind the washer and dryer where they stood pulled out from the wall, was too much of a crowd. Can I blame my clumsy ineptitude on the lupus?
I retreated to the living room where I laid on the sofa and prayed for my family while my husband painted. Then we went to bed. We awoke early, to bright sun and the sound of Piper vomiting bright yellow stomach bile onto our bedroom carpet. The laundry room being in disarray due to the painting project, we had to scramble to find the things we use to clean the carpet. By the time we'd exerted ample damage control and obtained a couple of cups of strong coffee, there we were on the Fourth of July, 2015, all alone with only a painting project to keep us busy, and I can't even paint.
So I made a ridiculously huge potato salad and stuffed myself with watermelon for old times' sake.