October 20th, 2009



I have work to do and yet I am not doing it. Not yet. Soon. I thought I needed to write something here instead. Something not very profound, something just tossed out there to the wind and the weather and the mental receptacles of anyone who might be reading. It's not work for work, though; club stuff.

Club stuff. It feels corny to say I belong to a club. A women's club. Even though it's not all women anymore. And even though I never go to lunches (anymore) or teas or knitting circles or whatever. Still. I wish we had a clubhouse. That would be cool. When I was in 6th grade and we lived in Montgomery, Alabama for a year, my sister and I were the exclusive members of the Red Bird Club. I can't remember exactly where I got the idea from, but suspect it might have been Highlights Magazine or possibly Ranger Rick. Though I don't think we were getting Ranger Rick that far back. Anyway, the Red Bird Club was cool. We had a clubhouse. It was our under-eaves closet, which we enlarged by shoving all our clothes and things to the sides (which must have thrilled my mom) and spending hours drawing and painting pictures of...red birds. Cardinals, mostly, I guess, since that is the only red bird that springs to mind at the moment. And taping them all over the alls of our clubhouse. Yeah, don't ask me. But it was cool.

When I think of the things my mom let us do in our own space, it cracks me up. I don't remember her ever coming in, standing in the doorway of our closet and grimly pointing a finger at the mess with a menacing growl of "Clean this up NOW!" ...though she certainly might have. When we lived in Nebraska, before Alabama, where my sister and I also shared a room, we used to build extremely elaborate doll's environments (they weren't exactly houses) all over our desktops which usually spread and morphed to include every available bookshelf surface and even parts of the floor at times. We didn't actually PLAY much with the dolls, at least I don't remember us doing so. We had a bunch of Dawn Dolls and Barbies, but it was much more exciting to plan and build and decorate their spaces. We were pre-adolescent miniature interior decorators at heart!

I'm pretty sure those elaborate constructions stayed in place for weeks at a time. I don't know that I would manage that kind of tolerance now, as a parent. I'm all about the keeping things we're not playing with put away and picking up at the end of each day; though I do tend to let that slide when Martin is in the middle of a serious Lego jag.

We used to build forts all the time, too. Sofa cushions, blankets and pillows. Best of all, large cardboard boxes that we could cut windows and doors into with the serrated steak knives that I inherited from my parents and which I mostly use these days for carving pumpkins once a year. We had a fort sitting in the hallway after Christmas last for quite some time because Anders had constructed a cardboard box cover for the treadmill that was my Christmas present. I had the BIGGEST PRESENT UNDER THE TREE! Karin appropriated the box immediately and carved a door flap and windows and Anders helped her rig a string-opener that she could pull tight when she was inside the box. But after a couple of weeks I got sick of it being in the way in the foyer and unceremoniously hauled it out to the garage.

What would have been really, really cool was to have a tree house. I wish I'd had a tree house. When we built and moved into this house 7 years ago, I lamented the fact that the kids would never have a tree house here, since there weren't any trees on any of the lots. Even if we planted some, they wouldn't be big enough or old enough to put a tree house in. Anders built a darling playhouse in the backyard the summer after we moved in, when the kids were still small, but we quickly discovered that the kids never played in it, after the initial excitement wore off. Nowadays, it's a receptacle for pool paraphernalia and Karin's collections of soccer balls, and a home for spiders.

Now, to work.