Monday, August 07, 2006

measuring tape


measuring tape
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
We are expecting a special guest on Tuesday and Annabel is all atwitter. Asking each morning upon awaking, "Who's tumming, mama?" just so she can hear me say the name. "I dotta do fis the bed," she says, pointing her finger in the direction of the guest room.

Instead of wanting me to follow her she demands I get the measuring tape, the tool she needs to fix the bed. I can't find the one she wants -- the heavy, square metal carpentry one her father lets her play with -- so I get the minature cloth tape from my cosmetics kit. The one I incessantly use to measure my waist, though I like to think one day I'll use it to measure housewares and furniture (before I buy on impulse).

It occurs to me as she runs off to the place I refer to as The guest prison -- a 7' x 10' room with a trundle bed, a dresser and a child's chair standing in as a bedside table -- that she may have innkeeping in her blood, at least from her father's side.

Jed spent his early years at The Captain's Walk in Kennebunk, an old seafarer's house his parents had bought and his mother ran as a bed and breakfast.

To this day 'Ama Linda' makes common meals taste decidely uncommon. Tasty fish encrusted in slivered almonds and breads pressed with pumpkin seeds. The corners of her sheets are always perfectly creased and her whites are always bright white.

In the room, she wants me to hold the measuring tape while she "fixes" the bed by drawing the line up to the pillow. She smooths it out and says: "There! That's perfect now."

A wrinkle appears in the sheet and she crinkles her brow. She pulls at the edge and it disappears. Now it's perfect.

I turn my head and look at the tufts of dog hair carried along the hallway floor by the breeze of the fan. I am reminded: This is yet another trait she doesn't get from me.

2 comments:

Her Bad Mother said...

This is just beautiful, really. Just beautiful.

I envy your ability to capture the moment so precisely.

Be Still said...

What an evocative story! Makes me want to press my sheets with lavender water!

Regarding itty-bit: I wonder if fastidiousness is a temporary two-year old thing.

Jude had a tantrum the other day when I stopped him from cleaning the floor of the public restroom.