Our beaches on the island are full of rocks. And they are one of my favorite places in the world. Especially when I need a break to relax.
Sometimes I spend hours there. Sifting for pretty rocks, shells, and pieces of sea glass. (The white ones are my favorites.) I carefully pick out each one individually. It drives Bryan crazy, but it helps me focus on something else and clear my head.
When we moved across town last summer, I was excited about our new surroundings. I was excited about a chance to create better space for us. Something happier and more relaxing than that creaky old blue house that gave me nightmares. It's not too hard to do here. This place is secluded just enough to be quiet and relaxing. It's surrounded by pretty trees and flowers, with an awesome view of the harbor and Mt Baker, and the yard is always full of squirrels and bunnies and little birds and bald eagles.
The outside was taken care of in terms of happy. I added a furniture set, oil lamp, some potted flowers, and a bird feeder to the patio. I can lay on the patio sofa and watch the tiny birds play in the feeder and fall asleep listening to the calm silence of the harbor.
The inside took a little more work, but not too much. I just arranged the furniture to take advantage of the bigger rooms, and then filled the rooms with things that make me happy. The living room has a fish tank under a giant photo of a sunset I took in Colon. The kitchen has framed drawings from high school and a fridge full of pictures from my mom's school kids. The extra bedroom was set up like an art room but with Andy's music stuff thrown in the mix. Our bedroom was kept simple with lots of space and some framed pictures of us.
The hardest part was the bathrooms. I hate bathrooms. I hate the nightmares and two years of sleepless nights caused by bathrooms. I had to put some extra thought into making them happier. I'm the only one that uses the master bathroom so I put a few framed pictures, including my favorite picture of me and my sister, and some bright flowers in there. I put my beach stuff in the other bathroom. Some framed pictures of various beach shots. A mason jar full of those colorful rocks. And a display of random pieces and treasures.
I spent a long time working on this last display. There were rocks and sea glass. Drift wood. Tiny pieces of bones. Some coral looking stuff. Some shells. A pine cone. A random penny. And a tiny, perfect red crab. I carefully arranged them, making sure that each piece had the perfect amount of space, making sure that each piece was complimented perfectly by the pieces surrounding it, making sure that nothing was gonna come loose and crush anything else. It was a lot of time on a pile of random stuff, but it made me smile. And when you've been through hell, something that can make you smile is a pretty damn big deal.
First. When they got here, Bryan gave them a quick tour of the house. The hallway, which I didn't mention earlier, is lined with things relating to my babies. Some paintings. Some pictures of their names on a beach. And pictures of them. The look on his mom's face when she noticed them was like a hard punch to the gut. As was the overwhelming silence for the next several minutes. I saw the same look on her face when she heard that we kept the urn in the house.
I'm not sure what the look was. Horror. Disgust. Sadness. A good mix of all three. Whatever it is, it was seeping with "disapproving mother-in-law", something that I'm more than familiar with. I've never had a problem with those pictures in my hallway. I've never had a problem with people coming over and seeing them. It's my house. They're my babies. If it's something you're not comfortable with, you don't have to come over. That's pretty much how I see it. Except this time, those looks made ME uncomfortable being in my own house. And I don't know how to feel about that.
Second. Bryan's little sister is 7 years old. I haven't been around kids in a long time. I don't have a problem with kids. I didn't have a problem with her jumping around the house. I didn't have a problem with her antagonizing my dog and then screaming when he didn't play how she wanted. I didn't have a problem with the way she was mean to Bryan when she didn't get what she wanted. I didn't have a problem with her eating all my cherry tomatoes from my salad drawer. Sometimes that's just how kids are, especially kids in her particular situation.
But today, three days after they left, I have a problem. That display in the bathroom that I spent so much time putting together? I noticed it looked different. So I looked a little closer. My tiny little crab was turned upside-down. And his legs were crushed and scattered. I looked it over again. Everything was shifted and moved around. She wanted the penny that was in it. So she moved everything to get to it and get it out and then left everything a jumbled mess. A jumbled, broken mess.
It's just a bunch of random shit from the beach. It's just a broken dead crab. It's not a big deal. But I worked really hard putting it together. I worked really hard creating pretty, happy spaces in my house. I worked really hard making the bathroom a place that I didn't feel so imprisoned in. And it was smashed to hell over a damn penny. One damn penny. If she really wanted a penny that bad, all she had to do was say so. There's probably $10 worth of change scattered around the in-dash tray in my truck, and I would have gladly given her all of it.
It's taking all I have to not drop to the floor and cry. And realizing that I'm at the point of crying over a dead crab makes me want to cry even more.
Maybe I just need to sleep.