I tried on a pair of jeans that cost $187. They were free to try on. The adorable redhead who rocked those jeans chattered on to me about their qualities and benefits the whole time I struggled to pour my fifty-one year old body into them. I ask you: “Should one have to pour, pull, push, jump, suck, hold breath in, yank, and sweat to get into a pair of the correct size jeans that cost one hundred and eighty seven dollars?” The fabric felt weighted and silky, drapey and stretchy. Supposedly, they would not leave baggy spots where you bend (if you could bend), after hours of wear. That’s the benefit of such a perfect denim made sustainably, produced scientifically, ensuring rich quality. When I looked in the mirror, I thought the jeans looked painted on. Can a woman over fifty wear painted on style jeans without embarrassing her daughters or herself? If the painted style pour-yourself-in jeans had been marked down from $187.00 to $18.70 would it be a good idea to wear those in public? I asked myself this in the dressing room. My answer and the knowledgable twenty-something answer were completely opposite. She said the jeans looked fantastic on me. Ha…of course she would say that. Shes PAID to say that. I did not agree.
Two weeks later I took my pants off. Not the expensive jeans – I did actually get those off in the store and left them there, I mean I took off my long-legged pants that do fit. The temperature outside was 70’s warm after long months of 20’s cold. Suddenly everyone had on completely different clothing. Including me. I exchanged the pants for capris – or ‘caprants’ as re-named by my friend Heidi, whose daughter thinks capris are silly. Well Miss Mackenna, they are NOT silly, they are necessary for the greater good of humanity when one has leg skin that needs constant ironing. It it much more appropriate to wear ‘caprants’ than short skirts at this stage of life in order to maintain personal modesty and public decorum. You’re welcome.
Two days later, I put pants back on.
My new state of Michigan has a lot of surprises up its sleeve. I’m not certain I will become fond of the morning surprise of sunshine. I would prefer that to be reliable, a regular occurence not a rarity. This is the first spring I’ve been a resident and I am gathering you go outside and do outside things when the sun is outside for tomorrow it may not be. Today I tried three times to go outside when I saw the sun. We started a neighborhood walk to peruse the garage sales, but it ended at block two with sudden rain and dare I say hail; possibly MI spring snow nuggets? I’ll ask around to confirm. By the third time I went out in a car, the garage sale hosts had given up and gone inside. I did score a crooked floor lamp for $15. Looks great in the spare room standing mostly straight in the corner. Beside garage sale shopping, I wanted to get in the dirt. My goal all week was to go outside and reduce the amount of mint that is growing and tame the fern in my gardens. One week I had no fern. Next week, fern farm. I have no previous experience with mint or fern. What I can confidently say after one partial spring, is they are both fast and hearty growers. Clearly, they don’t need the sun like us humans do. I’m not sure I will meet the plant reduction goal today. Unless…I go out in the clouds with long pants, coat and mittens.
Ants. Michigan, I need to ask you, do ants thrive here too? I keep a relatively clean house. Not “dutch clean” like my mom, but pretty clean. One time in Florida we had a rat. In My Kitchen Cupboards. I discovered the rat before I discovered its feces in every single solitary drawer in my large kitchen. I came undone, unravelled, repulsed, devastated that such filth touched the things I cook with. And I kept a clean kitchen. We also lived on the water and the rats apparently lived in the roof of the building with occasional drop downs into human dwellings. I threw our cat in the cupboard where the rat was and shut the door. Crickets. Fifteen minutes later (that’s long enough to take care of a rat right?), she sauntered out as if she was done using the bathroom. She did not choose to pursue the rat. Worthless cat… The rat clean up project required the man of the townhouse; and later, flowers in all the drawers for therapeutic reasons. No more rat ever. But now I have MI ants. I’ve tried several removal tactics including letting them go outside. When I opened my sugar bowl to scoop the raw sugar into my first cup of morning coffee and there is an ant flailing around I put my foot down, picked up the phone and called my mom. She poo-pooed all previous ant removal systems and said get Tero. 24 hours after Tero tactic, no ants. I hope ants are like the rat and not one of Michigan’s ongoing surprises.
Wooden shoe dancers, tulip lined streets in Holland, Fricano’s pizza, the Cone Shops soft lemon twist cones; the pure sound of Calvin Alumni Choir, Stella’s burgers and chronic fries, Grand Rapids Opera, Marie Catribs, Fulton Heights neighborhood, the people of Art Of The Table, solid-friendly, healthy-growing Encounter Church, Women and Wine, Grand Rapids Main Library, the acoustics of Cathedral of St. Andrews, generous beauty of all that is colorful and blooming are some of the Michigan surprises working to convince me to stay, belong, engage. The increasing list of good surprises far surpasses the unpleasant. The sense of settling down is happening. I may weigh more than I want, battle fatigue more than I like, and am more conversant in grief than I’d prefer. Those things accompanied me here. But this new state is kindly meeting me with a sweet place to heal and renew. Ants, clouds and tight pants, you might live here, but despite you I believe some really great new is happening.
Better than being surprised, I am so very thankful.