Friday, April 18, 2008

Day 9

Today I spent at home in my pjs just relaxing with my parents. We just lazed around eating and snacking, chatting and playing Mexican Train (which, if you've never played before, is pretty fun). It was the perfect way to wrap up my trip to Bakersfield and the best prep for heading back out onto the open road.

As a tribute to my time here in Bakersfield, I have decided to compile a top ten list of the reasons why I love my home in Bakersfield.

#10-Our house is on the corner. I always loved this about my house. We had a huge front yard, and for my whole childhood, a long side yard that was all lawn...perfect for slip 'n slides, water balloon tosses, and running through the sprinklers on a hot summer day.

#9-My parent's new pet...a stuffed cat. 7 years ago when our family cat, Cinnamon, passed away from a sudden and massive heart attack, a friend of my folks gave them a stuffed cat who pretty nearly resembled Cinnamon, who was a 30 pound long-haired Calico. I remember more than once walking into the living room on a visit home and seeing this stuffed animal on my dad's chest. He was petting it while reading a book and said it's been the best pet they've ever had. Never eats, poops, scratches or sheds. It cracks me up every time I see it.

#8-Steve and Gladys, our lemon & satsuma bushes. Both my paternal grandparents passed away when I was very young so I have very few memories of each. A number of years ago, my parents planted a citrus bush in each of their memories in our backyard...a lemon bush for my grandfather Steve, and a satsuma (orange) bush for my grandmother Gladys. Each year they yield a lot of fruit which my folks are able to enjoy with fond memories.

#7-Ceiling fans in virtually every room. I know that ceiling fans aren't aesthetically pleasing, but they sure are practical here in Bakersfield. Yes, the days are hot, but even summer nights can cool down considerably and I really loved having my window open at night to feel the cool breezes and hear the crickets and having my ceiling fan on low to circulate the air. Sometimes, even in Seattle, I wish we had a ceiling fan as I am always lulled to sleep by the low hum of the ceiling fan motor and a soft breeze on my cheek.

#6-Cinnamon's marker. When we moved to Bakersfield in the summer of '88, I was mourning the loss of my cat Mikey. We had had him in LA for a number of years until we began to pack for our move north and he suddenly disappeared. I was heartbroken. So once we settled in to our house, I pleaded with my parents to get me another cat. I remember the day I looked through the newspaper classifieds and was disheartened to find cats for sale for upwards of $100. I couldn't fathom paying for a cat! As it happened, the same day our new next door neighbor had found a small calico kitten that had gotten stuck on his roof and needed a home. My parents had me do the responsible thing and take the cat around the neighborhood to see if she belonged to anyone. No one claimed her and I was thrilled to have a cat again. We named her Cinnamon for her coloring and I loved her instantly. She, however, didn't take to us, well, ever. She was difficult, fiercely independent, and a real bully...but I loved her nonetheless. When I was a junior in college I got a voicemail from my parents saying Cinnamon, who was quite old and had arthritis in 3 of her paws (in addition to being at least 25 pounds) had, what they believed, to be a massive heart attack. In her honor, they placed a marker in our backyard so that we would always remember her.

#5-My parents' master bathroom. *swoon* This room is one of the reasons my parents bought our house in the first place. You can't tell really from the picture I've uploaded here but their master bathroom is HUGE. It's easily as big as, if not bigger than, our bedroom in Seattle. Tons of closet space with mirrored closet doors, a long bank of cabinetry with 2 sinks, a separate little room for the toilet, a shower that could fit 3 people easily, and a vaulted ceiling with a skylight. They just don't make 'em like they used to...

#4-My bathroom. My brother and I shared a bathroom (gross) for 6 years and almost immediately after he moved out I begged my parents to let me paint it. It was originally off white, everywhere. They resisted. In fact, I'm pretty sure they had their Sunday school class pray about it. They finally gave in. I was super into celestial stuff. So I picked a really pretty shade of blue for the walls and painstakingly hand stamped tiny cherubs and stars in gold paint on the walls. I found other cherub knick knacks to hang on the walls and pictures of cherubs that I framed. What's not pictured here is the dozens of tiny picture frames I made out of cardboard and painted gold with pictures of all of my friends which created a frame around the mirror. I loved being surrounded by my friends when I was getting ready for school in the morning and getting ready for bed at night. I can't believe after all this time (13 years later) that the bathroom still looks the same. Maybe they're waiting for me to paint it back the way it was...

#3-The big kitchen. I'm ruined for life because I grew up with a HUGE kitchen. My parents have updated the appliances, replaced the countertops and flooring and restained the cabinetry, but it has always been this large. I used to dance around the kitchen with the music blasting while my mother was cooking dinner (I'm sure, much to her chagrin) and during the holidays we could comfortably fit 4 people in there all cooking at once. There's a small bar on the other side of the stove which I think I ate breakfast at nearly every day of my youth. It is definitely the hub of the house and one where I have many of my memories.

#2-The pool. Ah, the pool. I used to live in this pool when I was younger. My dad would jokingly check me for gills and webbed fingers and toes at the end of each summer because I spent so much time in the water. I'd have to get a new bathingsuit every summer, not because it was fashionable, but because I'd worn it so often that the chlorine was starting to disintegrate the material. Oh, and my hair! It'd start to lighten up from being in the sun all day and then it would start to turn green from all the chlorine! We even had a ridiculously large floating mattress which had to have been the size of a queen bed which I'd lay on at night, covered with my towel, watching the stars. Though the thermometer today said 73 when I dipped my feet in the water, it was still too chilly for me to take a full swim. But I do love this pool and miss it in the summertime.

#1-My folks. With all the great things about this house, though, the thing I love most about coming home to visit are my parents. I really value our relationship now that I've grown up and we've become friends. I golf with my dad and shop with my mom, get advice on how to invest my money, and appreciate their partnership as I've begun my own marriage. I wish we lived closer so that we can be a bigger part of each others' lives and definitely when Erich and I start our family. I only got to see my grandparents a couple of times a year and I want desperately for my children to know their grandparents...the wonderful, generous, caring, compassionate, loving, funny, and wise people that they are.
*aren't they adorable?*
Tomorrow I head off to Truckee to spend a couple of days with my good friend Melinda and her husband Michael. We'll laugh a ton, no doubt, and enjoy their new home.

Then it's a quick pit stop in Portland before I head home to my husband, whom I miss desperately and love completely.


Darryl said...

We love you, too, Stacia. Thanks for spending the week with us. You and Erich are in our prayers!


KathyLBC said...

What a marathon drive all by yourself from Seattle to Bakersfield! Thanks for honoring us so much to come and hang out with us for the week. I love you, Stacia, and thank Erich for sharing you with us this week. Love you bunches, Mom

Scott and Lorie said...

are you home yet? are you with melinda and michael???