Posted by: jeannineatkins | July 3, 2008

Making New Homes

My daughter and I both got aisle seats on our direct flight to L.A. Em did well playing trivia on Delta’s computer screen, coming in second to three people who formed a team, and who merrily congratulated her at the flight’s end. I sat next to a boy about eight who amused himself with a Ziploc bag of Sculpey and Fimo clay, making tiny serpents, dragons, and many-legged beasts. He spent thirty minutes shaping a row of eyeballs or eggs. I went back to my Chronicles of Narnia or Meg Wolitzer’s The Ten-Year Nap, with its lovely similes and satire and touching moments, when I felt a shadow over me. The barefooted boy was crouched in his seat and spreading his arms, about to pounce over me and into the aisle. I swiftly got up while his mom, sitting behind us with other children, alerted him to the protocol of a tap on the shoulder and “excuse me.”

We were lucky to have a direct flight, but not so lucky to be in the back, so that the only supper-ish food left was cheese and crackers. Our hotel doesn’t have room service, but there is a 24 hour grocery store next door, so we got some midnight vegetables and hummus and bottled water. I went back this morning to buy cereal, milk, and coffee, and the sweet clerk gave me the Ralph’s discount while telling the bagger to stop complaining, and telling me, “He’s young, he’ll grow out of it.”

Then Em and I were off with heavy suitcases for her to move in. One roommate is missing, through there’s a dressmaker’s mannequin and stuff, but we met the other two who are friendly, chatty, stylish, and just a bit nervous, with another making the move from Massachusetts and one from Kentucky. I’m the mom with the rental car so maybe I’ll get to do the kind of eavesdropping I used to enjoy before Em got her license as they make rounds to Target and Best Buy, to set up wireless and their kitchen – one’s girl grandma already supplied her with probably as much kitchenware as they’ll ever need.

Thanks for the supportive words! I feel calmer seeing the new home starting to take shape and look like a happy one. And, you know, I could get used to this, too – writing under an umbrella on the patio of a café with palm trees and wireless, eating frozen yogurt with blueberries in that perfect L.A. weather.



  1. Yay for sane roommates. That was always the dread–who WOULD they put you inside the same four walls with? How great that they already want to go shopping together. I feel so far away from this–years back for my own trip there and still many years away for my son’s. But it still feels so familiar.
    I love that boy–so fun that he wasn’t going to push through but just jump right over you. 🙂

  2. True, that is what you want, some sanity. Yes, I, too, thought it was great that they ventured out together and are chipping in on things.
    And, yes, everyone should have a guy with sculpey beside them to make a flight relaxing (though the attendant was not happy about the drop-down tray turning red- napkins appeared). I’m not sure whether Jack planned to leap or dive — his arms seemed poised as if above water.

  3. Sounds like you’re finding your way to sanity in L.A. Who knew? Have fun helping your daughter with this (and fortify yourself with your favorite treat when you get back home!).

  4. wishing Em much happiness with these girls. Enjoy them all while you’re there. *hug*

  5. Oh, I’m fortifying now! I found a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf near my hotel where it seems I can swipe wireless, too! So far, so good re the transition. She loves L.A. but I will be glad to go home even if it rains most every day!

  6. Thanks! That roommate gamble is stressful, but it’s looking good for her this time around!

  7. Jeannine, I am jealous. Hope all is well with Em. Let me know her decor as I still need to buy her a present. See you when you get back. Enjoy the weather.

  8. Yes, things look good for Em. We will have to get here and do the art thing! Em’s apt is within walking distance of the LA Art Museum. And yes you would love the weather!
    Well Em has a pale pink spread, then stuff in wicker and lots of pictures, so frames are always valued — as are things with a Disney princess motif (do some things never change?)

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