14 July 2005

Today I have learned an important lesson: I have the power to end droughts! Or at least to make it get really windy and spooky and WINDY oh my god. It's like a desert hurricane.

... just had to run through the house and close all the windows....

So how, you ask, do I know that I have the unique power of summoning the rain? Well. Today I bought two wicker bookcases at the thrift store. They're just about perfect for the space I have, and I was *JUST* thinking this morning that if I didn't get another bookshelf soon I was going to go crazy from too many piles. One day, I will have a house with a whole room of just BOOKSHELVES, and then I will be the happiest girl ever. But for now, I make due with the... well, my recent acquisitions brings me up to a total of seven. SEVEN. Most of them are small, though, and/or formerly gunracks. So.

My new bookcases are kind of a half-hearted white color, like they were spray-painted white several years ago and then never cleaned and then enhanced with kool-aid stains. Immediately after loading them in the truck, I drove up the street to the hardware store for paint. (I love small-town hardware stores! I don't know why, but I always have. I loved the one in Grinnell, and the one in Oregon... and the one in Cedar Crest has its very own store-dog, a big foofy muppet dog.)

I came home and started painting immediately, with several problems. One, my back patio is a major ANT SUPERHIGHWAY and I soon had ants in my pants, quite literally. Two, the paint I bought is a latex blend (because I'm thinking of putting one of the shelves in the bathroom for towels and such) which makes it very very sticky. Sticky isn't too much of a problem until the DESERT HURRICANE starts and every miniscule speck of dust blowing through the backyard instantly adheres itself to my new shelves. Sigh. Also, I had to scrub my hands like crazy to get enough paint off to eat. That is, to eat without getting paint all over my food... not to eat paint.

I got all five shelves of one bookcase washed, stripped, and painted (tops only -- tomorrow will do bottoms and then a second coat on tops). Yay me. Until the wind started blowing, leaving my poor defenseless shelves at the mercy of the elements -- because they're too sticky to come into my pretty house with its newly refinished blond wood floors. The unpainted cases got to come inside, but there are still five shelves in the middle of the Ant Autobahn, collecting dust and bugs and leaves as I speak. Le sigh.

What does all this have to do with my power to summon the rain, you ask?

Well. Four years ago, when Ali and I lived in the house on High Street with Jamie and Nancy, I felt the need to paint a bookshelf I'd inherited from Quance, which was painted the most unfortunate combination of McDonald's Red and Yellow. Ali and I spent an afternoon out on our porch, using several coats of white paint before we could completely cover the red and yellow. On the back of the shelf, we painted "Molly & Ali, June 2001," which made me laugh a year later when we moved it out of White House and up to the Brand, where it lived with Ali.

We left the bookshelf out on the porch to dry in the Iowa summer sun, along with the paint tray and paint. That night, it rained (of course!) and the not-quite dry paint in the tray turned into white-paint-water.

Then the raccoons came. For weeks, I'd been telling my housemates that a family of raccoons came to our house and tapdanced on our porch all night. I should know, I said, my room's adjacent to their dancefloor. My roommates were skeptical. The night of the rainstorm, though, the raccoon family came to dance and dipped their little feets in the paint-water before dancing a pattern of little rodent feets across our porch like an old-fashioned dance instruction sheet.

And that's how I know that I have the power to end droughts: let me come and paint bookshelves under your hot summer sun, alongside your wilting crops. The rain will come, to ruin my bookshelves and reveal the nocturnal secrets of tapdancing raccoons.

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