By COLLEEN LEDDY
I don’t recall exactly how this came about, but for Christmas this past year Maddie gave me a promise to write weekly stories about her life in San Francisco. I’m sure I cajoled her into it, but she was quite receptive to the idea. She gave David a similar gift, but it involved reporting on a tree class she would be taking to become a citizen arborist. I’m sure I’ll explain this endeavor wrong, but as I’m writing this, she’s in a three-hour pottery class so I can’t confirm.
Anyway, I think she’s learning about the trees of San Francisco so that, when she’s out and about and sees a failing tree in need of expert help, she can report it to the San Francisco tree authorities. This is a volunteer endeavor, just one of the things she does for fun in her spare time.
The weekly story commitment fell by the wayside almost immediately, but when the first installment arrived in late January, complete with photos, followed a few minutes later by another e-mail, subject line: “First story Mexico edition,” it was totally worth the wait. Maddie had been in Mexico for a wedding earlier that month and had taken a photo of a bathroom sink. She knows how much I love to explore bathrooms in new places.
“I took this picture for you on your birthday. It's a bathroom you would have liked. It was very confusing to try to actually use it though. You turn the faucet and wait for the kettle to fill enough to dump it out the spout.”
The sink was a real doozy, actually two separate sink bowls shaped like old-fashioned round metal dishpans, with equally old-fashioned blue coffee kettles hovering above them, suspended from some kind of hook devices on the wall.
The story she told, though, involving a lost-in-translation episode to purchase something, isn’t repeatable here without her explicit permission...and she’s still in that pottery class.
Another story followed a week later and then there was a drought for a couple months until a fun one arrived in early April about her housemate Courtny.
Today is Courtny's birthday. She flew back from a work project yesterday so I dressed up as Alf (iI don’t know who that is really, but she has a big furry costume of him) and picked her up at the airport with a box of our favorite pizza.
This morning we went to a free angling and casting class at these big pools in Golden Gate Park and learned how to fly fish. They have a cool little lodge and let you borrow rods and teach you how. I'd go again, seems more fun than regular fishing.
Another story arrived this weekend and involved two of her housemates who are a couple and a life-size inflatable doll named Judy.
When Heather left to go to Vermont for 7 months, we got Graeme a blowup doll to keep him company. She came with the name Judy. I set her up on his bed holding his mail from the week he was gone. She's pretty frightening. He refuses to keep her so she's been passed from room to room, lurking in an expected place, causing many screams.
I put her in the weird hole to our living room coming up from our stairs. I think it's a nice way to welcome visitors and she's less frightening when you can see her from a distance and it's not as much of a surprise. She can also hold very light packages, so she's useful as well.
She's currently in our bathroom, and has been there quite a few days. It's a little odd to have someone watch you shower and [use the toilet] but at least she's not a surprise anymore.
The text was accompanied by photos, including one showing Judy wearing a bright blue dress and copper-colored wig.
David e-mailed back, “I think you should take her out to dinner and converse with her.”
They think alike. Maddie replied, “I was going to dress her up and put her in the passenger seat when I picked up Travis last week but I ran out of time.”
David e-mailed back, “You could take her to your next tree session and try to act normal.”
Hmm, in San Francisco, that kind of thing probably is normal.