No sooner did I complain about how hard it’s been to clean this house (again, my apologies for venting) help arrived!Carrie Teninity (pictured above left) is many things. She is City Clerk for the City of Eldon. She is caretaker of the American Gothic House grounds, where she can be seen weekly maneuvering her John Deere mower around the green acres. She is mother to the adorable and feisty nine-year-old Chloe (that’s Chloe below, climbing my flag pole). But she is also rescuer of whining pie bakers with hands rubbed raw from scrubbing the 130-year-old wood floors. Carrie showed up this weekend like Xena the Warrior Princess hauling along her mop, broom, bucket and rubber gloves. Her supplies, sadly, came from one of the Salvation Army flood kits the city gave out to this summer’s riverfront residents. (You see? I have no right to complain about a little grime in my house. Imagine what it’s like cleaning out a whole river that’s swept through your living room!) I’m claiming Carrie as my new best friend for helping share the load of the cleaning. Not only is she a hard worker, her idea of clean is as anal as mine. Amen to that! Then, as if her Emergency Maid Service hadn’t already qualified her for sainthood, she added to my rapture over the clean house by inviting me over for dinner. (This is of note because I had been living off of peanut butter sandwiches for days. Also of note, the only dish in the house was a coffee mug left behind by the former tenant with the inscription: “I’m a Real Blond. Please Speak Slowly.” An item that is now on its way to the thrift store.) Carrie replenished my depleted calories by serving hearty burgers made from the (hormone-free) cow her parents butchered for her. I love Iowa living — and will be vying for more dinner invitations in the near future!One of the reasons Carrie’s help was so needed — and appreciated — is that we were scrubbing against a deadline. The moving van was arriving Monday morning. All of my furniture — my couches, my desk, my dishes, my winter clothes, everything — would be filling my new house at last. Best of all, my Tempurpedic mattress was coming. No more sleeping on a borrowed air mattress!
(PHOTO: Man, my house looks dwarfed by the moving truck! But it’s about ten times bigger than the studio apartment in Portland where I was just living.) Here’s the thing about coming to my new house. If you come, you WILL get your picture taken. That’s why the house is still here. That’s why there’s an elaborate sprinkler system inside to keep the place from burning down. That’s why there’s a brand new visitor’s center and museum next door dedicated to it. That’s why the visitor’s center provides pitchforks for posing. That’s just what you do. You get your picture taken. Even if you are the truck driver from United Van Lines who delivered my furniture.Thanks, Dave! I’m still impressed — only one broken Champagne glass out of all that stuff. Amazing.
The American Gothic House is officially my home now. Or as I like to call it, the International Headquarters of The World Needs More Pie. I am so grateful — and feel so privileged — to be here. And even more so, I’m thankful for the kindness — and the heavy lifting — of those who have helped me get moved in. At last, I can sleep in my own bed, bake pie in my clean oven, and….stop complaining!