Mom might curse me with another red tape roadblock (and I would deserve it) if I didn’t mention St. Joseph in today’s entry. Once, while I was still living under her roof, I neglected to wish her a happy St. Joseph’s Day and you’d think I’d desecrated the Italian flag. It wasn’t enough that lasagna and eggplant parmesan alternated as my desert island foods, or that any distant Petrocelli who found me on the street could follow my chin home and know they’d find my mother. I would one day respond, in answer to the question of why I returned to New York, “Friends, family, pizza, and cannolis.” I could pronounce capicola “gabbagole” all I wanted, but if I forgot St. Joseph’s Day it was a full, shameful year of being only (only!) Irish, German, English, Scottish, Dutch, and Cherokee. I had to earn Italian.
So Mom, happy Saint Joseph’s Day. I wish I could bring you zeppoles. I would learn to make them, now that I bake. Saint Joseph, patron saint not only of carpenters but also confectioners, wouldn’t let me fail. Just half a year ago, I was beginning to think of myself as a baker and a runner. How complementary were those two pastimes? Sample sugar, run it off! Carb up and go for a jog! I had just perfected my French macaron and completed my first race….when I lost my kitchen and my boardwalk.
Of course, I had so many dreams—but this simple life of learning and loving two new things was my daily dose of happy. Now my only dream is to wake up one weekend morning, defrost some butter, and pull on my running shoes. Saint Joseph, you’re the guy for me. I know it’s a lot to ask any one carpenter—but I need a new house and a 2.2 mile boardwalk ASAP—preferably before weevils appear in my almond flour. Mom, do what you can. I earned it. I remembered St. Joseph’s Day and am definitely Italian for at least the next year. I’ve really been trying. I almost bought the Bertazzoni range but the oven was too small for your lasagna. I always pick up six zeppoles at the Irish Day festival. And to step up my Italian game, I swear I’ll drop the French macarons for amaretti cookies.
The only thing stopping us from building now is a permit for plumbing. Now that Mercury is no longer in retrograde and I have wished my mother a happy St. Joseph’s Day, the 758th and final roadblock should be lifted. Tomorrow we will receive a call from a plumber and for the very last time I will say what I’ve been repeating weekly since Christmas: We start work in a few days.
Joseph will help me have faith. If this man believed his pregnant fiancée was purer than powdered sugar, I can have faith that a plumber can call back, compile an estimate, and file a permit in a week. I can hold onto hope that we will not be told that there is some other thing we need that no one told us we needed until we completed everything we were told. Joseph, your strength, like Patrick’s, seems impossible. But just a single sliver of it is all I need to get through another day of disappointment.
As long as in the end it leaves me licking powder from my fingers.