Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Elephant in the Garage

An elephant has been living in our garage for five years. Gathering dust, making no demands, bothering no one. Except the OB perhaps,who, every once in a while, has peevishly asked "Can we get that thing out of here?" 'That thing" is the elephant, a white elephant. Doesn't everyone have one? Ours is a very large doll house. Built in California in the eighties by my brother. But it never got finished. Visiting from Ireland, my brother eventually had to go home. We, being an A.F. family, had to move, and move again, and then move some more. Each time "the house" got crated up and carted along. Five years ago it followed us to this house, found a perch on a high, sturdy shelf in the garage and has sat there quietly, gathering dust, making no demands, bothering no one, until this week.

With the OB adventuring in parts northern, I have found myself at somewhat of a loose end. A few days ago I awoke with a plan. Suddenly I knew that our elephant was yearning to be brought inside, yearning for a little respect, a little dignity. Yearning perhaps for someone to take an interest in finishing the job that was started so long ago. In the past the problem has been it's size. A two storey colonial, we usually couldn't get it through the door. If we could there was no place to put it without seriously snarling household traffic. Fast forward to here. Almost empty nest, plenty of room, large doors. And so to the plan. Cunning and sly I am. Never ask a man to work on an empty stomach. So I plied the YB with coffee and a big breakfast preparatory to asking him to lend some muscle to my plan. Between us, mostly him, we wrestled the placid but unwieldy beast down from its lofty perch onto a card table where I carefully and thoroughly dusted and vacuumed it. But not only that. Insects of indeterminate species had, delightedly I'm sure, come upon it and said "Oh, look dear! What a cozy place to set up housekeeping and raise our multitudinous children,"and proceeded to do just that. So a chisel was required to rid the inner walls of their very sturdy nests. Finally "the house" was ready to come inside. I staked out my spot in the living room, measured not just twice but many times, laid down four small pavers as foundation, then called my moving man, the YB.

With front doors thrown wide open to the obscene heat [central Florida in August is for "mad dogs and Englishmen" only] we carefully carried our cargo from the garage, through said wide open doors and onto it's resting place. End of story? Aghhh, not quite! You know the saying "It's a woman's prerogative to change her mind"? Well, I did. But men, in my experience, have no patience with that; not the old variety, nor the young either. So, how to adjust the location, alone? ......Tennis balls--brilliant! The house bobbed gently, like a boat on a placid lake, a little to the left, no, more to the right, a tad closer to the window, and finally perfect. All accomplished without anyone popping a blood vessel--I was so pleased with myself.

On the nightly visit, the inevitable nightly question--"what did you do today?" Pick a white lie to cover my white elephant:
  1. scrubbed the floors until they gleamed
  2. washed all the windows
  3. made 25 jars of fig preserves, instead of letting the birds feast until they burst
  4. redid the living room with new curtains and paint
  5. planted 15 saplings in the north forty, with my bare hands.
......any of which would bring a happy smile---and at this stage it's all about making them happy. Why lie?.......because elderly people from eastern Europe are not equipped to handle the truth, not when the truth involves a middle aged woman, who is related to them, spending/wasting most of a day playing with a dusty old white elephant and then inviting it to live in her house. Such a person belongs properly in an insane asylum. Nevertheless that is what I did, and I had such fun, so sue me.......

1 comment:

Lily said...

I wish I'd had girls so I could have taken the elephant off your hands -- my boys would make firewood of it. So I'm glad you enjoyed it -- now are you going to paint it?