Saturday, September 5, 2009

Quiet, so quiet

Our home is never quiet. Except when everyone is gone of course, and even then the little parakeet constantly talks to the bird who lives in the mirror, so there is always some chatter. I spend most of my days in the kitchen. There's the prep-cook-clean cycle for all the meals, and I spend a lot of time working from home, no matter how I arrange desks and office spaces in the house, the kitchen table is usually in service somehow, the laptop often perched on the island to be easily reached.

I also listen to the radio pretty much constantly; public radio. The cycle of my days is shaped by it. It's a habit I learned from my parents who listened to "The Good Neighbor: WCCO" for my entire childhood. We heard agriculture reports and the crop prices were always freatured. So I'm used to radio chatter. I can easliy tune it out when I'm concentrating, and pick it back up when my task is a mindless one. So while I cook or wash dishes, I'm always kind of engaged in whatever's happening in the little radio world.

Fridays are our pizza night. It's my attempt to give some shape and order to the days as we go through all these transitions. And my big huge teenage sons love it. Last night I was at the island making the crust from our favorite dough recipe. But there was no radio, it was totally quiet.

Our middle son started high school this week, and he got some actual homework. Of course he came to the kitchen table to do it. There was a math packet that was supposed to be done over the summer; we've discovered when you transfer into a new school you never, ever get all the information you should have, so he had to do the packet in a few days instead of over the whole summer. And there is freshman reading to be done; Oliver Twist--of course! There are 25 elements to be memorized for chemistry and the six charachteristics of a "Lindbergh Eagle". He had piles stacked on the table, he needed to concentrate. He could not listen to "This American Life" and do this work. No way.


I spread a little pinch of flour on the board, sprinkled corn meal over it and rolled a ball of dough in circles. The dough was still a little cold, so I held my hands over the dough ball to warm it. My son worked. People walked through. Small bits of conversation began and ended "what about the rain, is it going to rain all week end?" "Uh oh, what about mowing the neigbor's lawn?" "What about the party at the park on Monday?" "Did you get pepperoni?" "Can I eat all the doughnuts?" The dough pulled out to a nice round.

I like the quiet.

I think we all liked it.

When we had about five pizzas ready we all came to the table, we had to fight a little about just who was responsible for the calculus book on the table; the person who got it or the person who needed it, but after that we all sat down. My husband came in from one last car repair in the garage, the youngest left his "Mythbusters" marathon from the other room, our oldest got off the phone with the girlfriend. The pizza was delicious. The company some of the finest around. I often cannot believe my profound good fortune; to have such fine men to share my life.

After the pizza we piled into the living room to watch "Seventeen Again". The boys had all seen it on the plane to Japan, but they had really liked it, said we should see it, so even given all our hesitation about a Zach Epheron movie, we did. It was adorable; some of their generation, some of ours. And the adults in the room really did laugh out loud, a lot.

I know that eventually pizza nights will include fewer people, and eventually may mean the old foggies going out to Delancey's instead of cooking at home. And maybe after that, there will be girlfriends and wives and maybe a few extra dogs. Maybe many, many years from now there will be grandchildren. And it will not be quiet at all. But for this week, for this one time, it couldn't have been better.

So quiet.

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