Saturday, July 07, 2012

At Persnickety Cakes

Today I had a book signing that no one attended.  It was 104 degrees outside with a heat index somewhere around 110.  I almost cancelled because I thought, who is going to come out to a book signing when there's a heat advisory and the soles of your shoes can melt just from standing too long on the sidewalk?  No one, of course, and I was right.  But it wasn't a wasted day.

For four hours, I sat inside Persnickety Cakes, a comfortable sweets shop with original antique tin ceilings and chandeliers.  I read my most recently purchased Sheri S. Tepper novel, jotted down words I didn't recognize so I could look them up later, sentimentally sketched out a poem with paper and pen, caught glimpses of SpongeBob and Fairly OddParents  on the shop's t.v. and marveled at the owners' kids' whose good behavior would put many adults to shame. I got to ogle amazing cakes, cupcakes and glass serving dishes without worrying I would eat anything unhealthy because my lap band prevented it.  And I let my mind wander through the front windows, across the street to a little home decor shop where I once bought these light blue tin bins that matched a beach theme I had going in one of our bedrooms.  Then I took my eyes up to the second story cemented with an authentic Victorian era facade that made me think, "apartments."

In one window, a set of blinds was pulled halfway up, the left bottom hanging lower than the right, like a face that has lost muscle control on one side, a gap between the slats like an unhinged jaw, and it reminded me of old buildings I used to live in, buildings with wear and age but charm and ghosts and hand chiseled beauty.  I wondered what the inside looked like, if the ceilings were high like those in the cake store and if the original fireplaces still stood.  Were there built-in shelves?  Window seats?  Curio cabinets cut into the wall corners?  I once lived in a circa 1790 home that had tiny closets and the most marvelous glass china cabinet with a set of drawers that were part of the dining room wall.  The fireplace was marble and the cornices original, ornately scrolled by a once steady hand.

The uneven blind reminded me we have two of our own to replace in our townhouse built in 2002.  One blind in our bedroom has a slat being held together with tape.  Another just can't be pulled up--the cord has been cut.  We've got paper shades in the kitchen, something I've heard people call cheesy, but they do a fine job of keeping out the sunlight and besides, you can fold and clip them so they look like Chinese fans hanging in the window.  I'm rather fond of them.

Sometimes I think when I get rich I will buy an old Victorian renovated with the kind of care the original builders took with it.  The tub will be huge and clawed and the bannisters will be made of polished cherry and the fireplace will be in a library with shelves up to the ceiling.  The beds will all have canopies and yes, there will be ceiling fans, but they will be carved to match the molding.  And some floors will be ceramic, some a deep wood, all with thick throw carpets that can easily be tended to by our lovely cleaners whom we can afford just every other week right now and not for everything in the house.  But when we get the Victorian I've discovered in my mind, we can have those ladies every week if they agree, have every detail cleaned, and we can give them much more money.

I don't know where this fabled house is or where my wealth will come from or whether or not the house will come fully furnished, but that's what I imagine, anyway, and it's one of the daydreams I had today.  There are very many worse ways to spend an afternoon. 


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