Diary of V continuedTuesday
The billboards are going up next week, at a cost of
$2,880. I spent the morning writing press releases and calling reporters, mostly radio people, to try to drum up some publicity.
It's almost noon. I'm going to grab some lunch, then
head over to the Platter to help Audrey and Lynnette
finish painting. Carmen -- my savior -- is busy downstairs,
reorganizing the kitchen. She's cooking dinner
tonight, a Mediterranean feast. As for housekeeping, the place looks like something out of a magazine. Except those houses always look as
if kids and pets never crossed their threshold; even
Carmen can't erase the evidence that a boy and two
big dogs live here, but I'm not sure I'd want her to.
There's a lot of life in this house, and I like that.
Anyway, Carmen has completely cleaned out the garage --
dropped off five big cardboard boxes of old stuff at
Goodwill and cleaned away all the icky cobwebs and
bug carcasses. Now she wants to repaint the garage
walls. She also wants to paint the garage floor;
apparently there's this great epoxy concrete paint
that gives the floor a colorful, speckled look. Am I
the luckiest woman in the world or what? I keep
telling Carmen to slow down. I don't want her to burn
herself out. But she insists that she's fine. In
fact, she's better than fine. She says that working
for our family is the most gratifying work experience
she has ever had. I hope she feels that way two
months from now.
By the time I got home from the Platter, Dan and Pete
had finished dinner and were starting on Carmen's
baklava. I felt tired and paint-splattered and
sweaty, and so happy to be home with my family. "Sorry
I'm late, guys. I totally lost track of the time."
Dan looked at me quizzically. "I'm sorry. Do I know
you?" Then he looked at Pete. "Does she look familiar
Pete played along and shrugged. "Nope. Does she look
familiar to you?"
Dan looked at me again and squinted. "She sort of
reminds me of your mom, Valerie DeLuca. But I haven't
seen her in so long I've forgotten what she looks
I didn't like this. Roger used to tease me this way,
pulling Pete into his little grudgefests. I felt
myself getting defensive, then angry. "Like I said,
I'm sorry I'm late." I came around the table and
forced myself to kiss Dan, who surprised me by pulling
me close for a long one. Then I realized that this
wasn't my ex-husband, and he wasn't triangulating with
Pete the way Roger used to. He was teasing
playfully, not maliciously.
"You've got to taste this
food, Val. I put everything in the oven to keep it
warm for you."
I started moving toward the kitchen, but he stopped me.
"You sit. I'll serve."
I lowered myself into a seat and smiled at Pete, who
had eaten only a little bit of the baklava. Pete won't
eat walnuts. I should have mentioned that to Carmen.
"How was school today? Did you get any homework?"
"I already finished it. Carmen helped me before
I checked the clock. It was after 7. "Wow. She stayed
late tonight. I hope you fed her."