House of Straw

“You make a list of your must-haves,” I said to my husband the other day, referring to what each of us wanted to have in our future house. “And I’ll make mine.”

An hour later, he sent me an email. Number one on his list: Plenty of land to contemplate life.

* * * 

The doorbell rang in the middle of the day last week. It was my neighbor. “Do you want some grapefruit?” She held up a bulging plastic grocery bag. My aunt sent it to us for Christmas and we don’t eat it.”

We chatted for a bit and she made to leave. Then she turned back. “Hey, are you having trouble with…”

She looked behind her. She leaned in towards me. She lowered her voice. “…dog doo on your lawn?”

“Oh, yeah. All the time.”

“Any idea whose it is?”

“I have my suspicions.” Doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a Great Dane isn’t leaving those raisins in my yard.

She nodded down the street, towards the house where a couple of Shih Tzus live. “There?”

“That’s my guess.”

“That’s so rude,” she said. “We pick up our own dogs’ doo. Why do we have to pick up after her dogs, too?”

“It’s disgusting,” I said, “especially when I find it in my perennial bed.”

“What are we going to do, put a sign up?”

I laughed. There’s a house not far from ours. In the flowerbed, the owners planted a sign: An outline of a squatting dog with the word: NO in bright red. “I’ve been tempted to put a bag of our dog’s doo on her front porch. That’ll get her attention.” Labs, obviously, produce more than raisins.

“Maybe we could wrap up her dogs’ doo like a present and put it on the front porch with a note: I believe this belongs to you.”

We giggled, enjoying making plans for something we knew we’d never do.

“We’ve got to get out sometime,” she said, taking her leave again.

"Yes.” But while she wants to get out to—to a movie, to the mall, to dinner—I want to get out of. I want to get out of the suburbs.

Because it’s hard to contemplate life when you’re picking up after the neighbor’s dog.

* * *

Last night, I handed my husband my must-have list. At the top was listed barn. A barn to house a goat, a cow, chickens, a horse and maybe a pig or two. And then I had to laugh at myself: Cows and chickens and horses made a lot of doo, a lot more than the Shih Tzus at the end of the street.

But my husband didn’t notice. “What’s this?” He pointed to the second item on my list: Composting toilets. He looked up. “Are you kidding me?”

“We could at least learn about it…”

But he’d stopped listening because he’d gone on to number three. “Straw bale house?”

“No, it’s not…”

“I’m not living surrounded by straw.”

I tried the name-dropping tactic, the same one I’d used successfully with the dental hygienist the other day. “One of the three little pigs built a house of straw.”

But my plan backfired. “My point exactly. One stiff wind and it’s all over.”

“You cover the straw,” I told my husband. “With stucco or wood.” I brought up a picture on the internet. “Think about it at least.”

He squinted at the screen. “All right. I’m willing to learn more.”

I smiled. Land and barn. We were agreed. And perhaps a house of straw.

But the composting toilets?

I really don’t think that’s gonna’ happen.

This post has been linked to Just Write.  Check it out and post your own freewrite.

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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: House of Straw

Monday, December 19, 2011

House of Straw

“You make a list of your must-haves,” I said to my husband the other day, referring to what each of us wanted to have in our future house. “And I’ll make mine.”

An hour later, he sent me an email. Number one on his list: Plenty of land to contemplate life.

* * * 

The doorbell rang in the middle of the day last week. It was my neighbor. “Do you want some grapefruit?” She held up a bulging plastic grocery bag. My aunt sent it to us for Christmas and we don’t eat it.”

We chatted for a bit and she made to leave. Then she turned back. “Hey, are you having trouble with…”

She looked behind her. She leaned in towards me. She lowered her voice. “…dog doo on your lawn?”

“Oh, yeah. All the time.”

“Any idea whose it is?”

“I have my suspicions.” Doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a Great Dane isn’t leaving those raisins in my yard.

She nodded down the street, towards the house where a couple of Shih Tzus live. “There?”

“That’s my guess.”

“That’s so rude,” she said. “We pick up our own dogs’ doo. Why do we have to pick up after her dogs, too?”

“It’s disgusting,” I said, “especially when I find it in my perennial bed.”

“What are we going to do, put a sign up?”

I laughed. There’s a house not far from ours. In the flowerbed, the owners planted a sign: An outline of a squatting dog with the word: NO in bright red. “I’ve been tempted to put a bag of our dog’s doo on her front porch. That’ll get her attention.” Labs, obviously, produce more than raisins.

“Maybe we could wrap up her dogs’ doo like a present and put it on the front porch with a note: I believe this belongs to you.”

We giggled, enjoying making plans for something we knew we’d never do.

“We’ve got to get out sometime,” she said, taking her leave again.

"Yes.” But while she wants to get out to—to a movie, to the mall, to dinner—I want to get out of. I want to get out of the suburbs.

Because it’s hard to contemplate life when you’re picking up after the neighbor’s dog.

* * *

Last night, I handed my husband my must-have list. At the top was listed barn. A barn to house a goat, a cow, chickens, a horse and maybe a pig or two. And then I had to laugh at myself: Cows and chickens and horses made a lot of doo, a lot more than the Shih Tzus at the end of the street.

But my husband didn’t notice. “What’s this?” He pointed to the second item on my list: Composting toilets. He looked up. “Are you kidding me?”

“We could at least learn about it…”

But he’d stopped listening because he’d gone on to number three. “Straw bale house?”

“No, it’s not…”

“I’m not living surrounded by straw.”

I tried the name-dropping tactic, the same one I’d used successfully with the dental hygienist the other day. “One of the three little pigs built a house of straw.”

But my plan backfired. “My point exactly. One stiff wind and it’s all over.”

“You cover the straw,” I told my husband. “With stucco or wood.” I brought up a picture on the internet. “Think about it at least.”

He squinted at the screen. “All right. I’m willing to learn more.”

I smiled. Land and barn. We were agreed. And perhaps a house of straw.

But the composting toilets?

I really don’t think that’s gonna’ happen.

This post has been linked to Just Write.  Check it out and post your own freewrite.

Labels: , , ,

6 Comments:

At December 20, 2011 at 8:15 AM , Anonymous jaum said...

You forgot one thing on the "must have" list, then you need get the priorities correct. The thing you forgot to add was an industral grade pooper scooper. (We call those front loaders in the country, Then fit it in after build barn but before you buy a herd of cows goats, pigs etc. Without that, a lot of the romance goes out of the living on land concept.

 
At December 20, 2011 at 8:22 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

You know, if I borrowed that front loader for my lawn and used it to scoop up the neighbor's dog doo, I think she'd get the point. Oh, wait. The tractor won't fit on the lawn.

 
At December 20, 2011 at 8:42 AM , Anonymous KathleenBasi said...

That sounds like a really fun thing to be making lists about! As for the dogs, I feel your pain. :/

 
At December 20, 2011 at 1:51 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

It is fun, actually. Thanks for reading.

 
At December 20, 2011 at 9:28 PM , Anonymous Galit Breen said...

Love the conversations, wrapped around BIG dreams.

 
At December 21, 2011 at 3:58 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Eight years in the making. Thanks Galit.

 

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