I swear, Y'all---if you coulda seen my house before I went into this cleaning frenzy, you wouldn't eat my cooking. But it's all better now, with things in place and LOTS of things out of place, moved from their vulnerable, tempting spots (to two toddlers) to The Room downstairs---the one that you go in looking for a quart of mayo or the Scrabble set or your Winter hat, and you come out with a bag of Easter candy, year unknown, and the last quart of those pickles you'd lost track of.
And tomorrow will bring gift-wrapping---I love that part, and have been so wrapped up in getting everything that HAD to be done, done, before doing the really fun stuff---well, there sit the bags and sacks and boxes, naked and unadorned. But we have lots of pretty Christmas bags this year, since so many of us will be together. You can't mail in the things, and Heaven help the ones that have to go into the car for that long trip---they emerge tattered and wrinkled and sporting holes wherever a corner or edge could poke through. We get out of the car bearing gifts that look like we not only GOT them at a garage sale, we did it on the way over.
And now, I have a quiet moment. I've worked so hard, and now the house is quiet, all the mail opened and the Christmas cards lined up in the pass-through on a pretty damask cloth. Our silly breakfast table has a pink cotton underskirt, a red plastic overlay (stored from last year, when all the children ate at that table and painted and colored---it's just one of those flimsy 99c picnic things). That's centered with a huge white doily made by my OTHER Mammaw, then the big round glass from the wicker table (bottom basket-thing stored in the garage for the Winter). It's kinda funky, especially with the four cushy ORANGE burlappy chairs, but the gorgeous gingerbread basket, all cellophaned and curly-red-confettied and filled with all sorts of chocolate goodies, which arrived from our LA kids this p.m. just pulls everything together so beautifully.
And looking the length of this room, with the little buffet tree, all white and silver, reflected in the glass top of the dining table. It's magical, in the way that the bubble-lights on our family tree were when I was growing up. Caro got me a string of those several years ago, and I've enjoyed watching them SO much. There's something about the Kool-Aid colors of the liquid, and the beginning of the bubbles, and they even seem to give off the same scent that I remember, but that was probably just TREE---our living room always smelled of pine, from the paneling and the tree, and the always-closed-off dining room was VERY cold, with the scent of apples. Always.
So I'm awaiting Chris. He knows how much cooking I've done, so he suggested Taco Bell. He'll be bringing me some Nachos Bell Grande and a small chicken quesadilla. And I'll make the pink sauce---he's the only one I know who prefers homemade 1000 to salsa. I hope for an equally-quiet evening, with the warmth and scents of a freezing-outside Christmas night. I like to enjoy the quiet peace of things before company arrives, when all is ready and the unaccustomed order is a quieting thing in itself.
I felt myself being neater in the kitchen, somehow. today, as I made and stored the cornbread for Thursday's dressing, as I poured from kettle-to-pot for our tea, as I wiped counters and washed up the last few dishes by hand. I could be June Cleaver, I think, living in a really neat house with everything in its place, going about the days in a calm, orderly fashion as I kept everything just so.
Nah. Frayed denim shorts and a Clorox-spotted T---with pearls? I don't think so.