How It Will Be

3 February 2003

If I thought they'd let me on a jury, I'd want to go to jury duty. I would. Even if it was just a jury about some petty little crime. But they're never going to let me on a jury, because I have the magic anti-jury words: "trained as a nuclear physicist." And if that doesn't happen, if they've already dismissed everybody they're allowed to dismiss without cause by the time they hear my magic words, I'm told that they usually ask if you personally know anybody who's had that crime committed against them. Which I do. Of course I do. I also know somebody with every injury and with every illness found in North America. This is what happens when you have a bazillion cousins and keep in touch with all of them.

It's also useful for Mayan blood feud practices, according to C.J., but that's another issue entirely.

So. I called Friday night, and they said I was supposed to call again between 11:00 and noon to find out if I need to show up at all. And it's not very far away, and if I have to go, I'll bring a book and my journal, and so on. It'll be fine if I do. But since I really doubt that they're going to let me on a jury, I'd just as soon stay home and get work done.

I made a potato casserole last night, and it seems that the smell of cold baked poultry is a holiday smell for me. I stood and cut up chicken and couldn't stop thinking of Uncle Rudy puttering around with a sandwich. Thanksgiving evening, I suppose, or some years Christmas -- even though we never had chicken for either one, it was always turkey. But some of the smell is the same.

Worked on Dwarf's Blood Mead, sort of a here-and-there partial-scene work time, but it was fine that way. Books get written that way, too. I'll probably end up doing more of that today. I think I'll write the ending today. That'd be useful. I never know how to do it, so when I come up with an ending, I write it down quickly, lest it flee forever. People have tips on beginnings. Endings, not so much.

And I read Peter Dickinson's The Devil's Children, which bothered me a bit, in ways that it evidently bothers Dickinson now, too: there seem to be inherent racial differences in people in his book. And both sides are roughly morally equal, and intellectually equal...they're just very separate along with the equal, on some fundamental but unnamed grounds. The group of Sikhs in this book is Not Like Us, if "Us" is the main group of British folks. That bothered me a bit, and his webpage seems to indicate that he's not all that thrilled with it either. Ah well. I'll still probably read the rest of the series, and maybe some of his other books as well, just to see where he's going with it all.

And then I read Zakaria Erzinclioglu's Murder, Maggots, and Men, which I liked a good bit. I'd have to qualify a recommendation of it: he's a bit old-fashioned in several ways, and he seems to believe that humanity used to be better than it is, on rather shaky evidence. (He's got Tired Cop Syndrome, is what it is, and when you read about the royalty of the past and then deal with the bug-infested murder scenes of the present, of course the present looks less appealing.) But if you can get past that, the forensic entomology is fascinating, and Wendy was quite right to recommend it. I think I'd like a copy for reference purposes. I think I'd like to do a story with a xenoentomologist detective. That'd be nifty.

It'll go on the list, somewhere.

And now I'm reading The Queen of Attolia, by Megan Whalen Turner, but I've just started, and I doubt I'll read much of it this morning: I want to get work done in case I have to go for jury duty, as I said. And there are plenty of house things to do. There always are.

Someday, I will live in a house with all of its walls independent of other people's walls. Everyone who lives under that roof will be somebody I chose to have there. They will not slam doors. Nobody will come pounding on a related door in the middle of the night unless there is a genuine life-threatening emergency. Nobody will sit outside my front door and honk their horn. If they do, they will not be allowed to date my child, the little punks. And the kitchen sink will have not just one side but two, so that I can draw a sink full of water and rinse things and put them into a dish draining dealie.

I will be the owner of a dish draining dealie.

Someday I will paint my walls with semigloss paint, so that bumps and smudges are easy to wipe off them. I may even paint them colors that are not white. I will be able to choose the color of the outside of my dwelling. If there is a trellis and one of the slats gets broken, I will be able to fix it or ask someone else who lives in the house to fix it.

There will be fresh tomatoes in the summer.

I will have room for my book collection to expand for awhile. I will get rid of some of the white pressboard bookshelves, which have done yeoman's service for far too long. I will have wooden bookshelves, and some of them may even be built into the walls, and if they are, they will go from floor to ceiling, and I will have a little stool to hop up on and get books down. I will get my books from my parents' house so that all the books that are mine live in the same house again.

There will be a front walk, and in the wintertime, I will shovel it. I will moan and complain about how cold it is while I shovel the front walk or chip the ice from it. I will not mean it. I will drink hot chocolate afterwards, or lemon chamomile tea. I will rake leaves from the front walk in the fall, because there will be trees, and there will be something identifiable as fall.

Sometimes I will put cider in a pot on the stove and mull it.

I might even get an indoor plant, a cactus or two, or maybe some rosemary so that I can have fresh rosemary whenever I want it. While I will stoutly maintain my position that cooking ought not to be like gardening, I will not mind at all if some parts of gardening turn out to look a lot like cooking. Or baking. Or even canning, maybe.

There will be rhubarb I cannot get rid of.

I will swear at the previous owners in absentia, and at the stupid things they did to the house and at their inferior taste in decorating. I will make fun of them. I will develop a voice that represents all the worst qualities of the previous owners, and I will use it whenever I find something new and appalling that they did to my house. I will exchange stories of former owner strangeness with friends who own houses. Alternately, I will exchange stories of contractor strangeness with friends who have bought new houses all their own. We will assure each other that our own decorating taste is far superior. Sometimes we will even mean it.

When I am less cranky than that, I will bake things in the house, so that it smells like a house where things are baked, which is how a house ought to smell. Sometimes, especially on weekends and in the fall and winter, I will make soups that simmer for hours and make the house smell like a place where people can leave soup simmering until it tastes just right. I do these things already, but I will keep doing them, because I like them. I will especially do them when we get snowed or iced in.

I will sometimes leave candles on the kitchen table and remember to light them at dinner.

There will be places to store ramekins, which I will own, and also a bread machine, and also another muffin tin, and also big deep soup bowls, and also a lefse roller. There will be a place in the kitchen for me to hang my lefse turner. In the pantry, there will be a little barrel for rice. There will be a pantry.

Sometimes I feel like I don't know anything at all about what our lives will be like after this summer. But really I do. I just forget how much I know about it sometimes.

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