Saturday, March 15, 2008
Yesterday Kurt’s guy came to fix the siding that had blown off the house in the last storm and put up the gutters. These are things that Kurt has the expertise to do himself, but with working all the time, he couldn’t get to it and so he sent Randy over.
Randy and his helper were here for about five hours. When they arrived, I was sitting out on the front porch smoking cigarettes and talking to my girlfriend on the phone. Since I’m a loud talker, I believe he heard my entire conversation. I think he heard about how big mine and Kurt’s feet are, my opinion on the chances of Kelly having clodhoppers like us and the emotional damage inflicted upon me when my mother made me wear huge black oxfords with my red-plaid school uniform even though all the other girls were wearing loafers and how they made my feet look even bigger especially since my legs were like bean poles. I knew I looked bad, but now that I’m thinking about it, I probably looked like Betty Spaghetty. I’m sure Randy heard all this.
And I know he heard me complain about the stray hair I found on a certain part of my body that I never noticed before because my eyesight is going and I’m still buying the Wal-Mart glasses. But then I got out the magnifying mirror and discovered a whole array of horrors that no decent person should ever have any idea he has. It’s not right. (That’s the bright side of losing your eyesight as you get older—you are blissfully unaware of the wrinkles, hair, suspicious discolorations and humungous pores that you’ve acquired since the last time you had time to examine yourself in a magnifying mirror, back before you started having kids and got horses.)
And he surely heard the juicy story, and perhaps even stopped to listen, about how Helen Chitwood allows ducks to live in her house since she kicked the husband out and maybe she’s a lesbian, not that I have anything against lesbians, but maybe she is one because she and her BFF have taken to shaving the back of their heads Rosie O’Donnell-style and there’s never any men around. They are out there in Helen’s yard in suits and masks like Hazmat people doing something with the bees. There’s a sign by the mailbox that says, “Honey 4 Sale,” and the BFF always answers the door when you knock to get some.
At any rate, Randy the Handyman heard all of this as he was hammering and sawing on the side of the house. He got a good earful all right. Then I went out back and got the pony. It must have been a wonderful sight. It was a beautiful, sunny day, just perfect for messing with horses. There I was in my long blond hair and cool cowboy boots with the metal tips on the toes. There was the pony in his black-and-white patches looking like a circus pony he’s so pretty. But pretty is as pretty does so I threw him in the round pen. I sent him around and made him turn and change gaits so that he knew I was the boss and he better respect me. Then I hopped on him and rode him all around the hay field where he had acted up the day before. This time he was an angel. A little workout will do wonders.
After I got done fooling around with the pony, I went in the house and ate lunch. Then I stuck my head out the door and asked Randy if he needed anything because I was going to take a little nap. Later when I was reviewing my day, I imagined that this guy must be thinking, “That chick has some life.” He was probably thinking that I live the life of leisure, gossiping and playing with my horses, taking a snooze when I feel like it. And I have to admit that I do have some life. However, I also realized that I just make it look easy. These are all the things that Randy did not see:
I got up at 5:15 and threw a load of laundry in while I read as many e-mails as I could and had a cup of coffee. Then I got Kelly up and going. I fed her, brushed the knots out of her hair while she screamed and accused me of child abuse or at the least, of being a mean mother. I fed the dog and cat, climbed upstairs to hit the snooze button on Kurt’s alarm three times because it was giving me a headache, shook him twice and told him it was fifteen minutes later than it really was. Then I weeded the flowerbed in the front of the house while we waited for the school bus to come.
After Kelly was off, I fed the horses and picked up three wheelbarrows full of horse manure. I straightened up the barn, swept the aisle and filled water barrels. I moved some bales of hay from the back of the hayshed to the front. I emptied out the buckets under the leaky skylights. I fixed some wire on a fence. I fed the barn cat and picked up a half digested wild animal she regurgitated. I pushed the dually wheelbarrow with a flat tire down to the manure pile to dump because it was filled with rotting weeds and rainwater and I couldn’t stand looking at it anymore getting deeper and deeper. (The air compressor is in the house and too heavy for me to bring outside and the bike pump is mysteriously missing. So I pushed it with the flat.)
After I was done with the barn chores, I moved the pile of lumber that was in front of the barn that Kurt was now finished with and that had been sitting there, rotting, (more rotting) in the way, since last summer. I put on my gloves and loaded it all up into the bed of the pick-up truck. Some of it was too heavy to lift so I had to get one end up on the gate and then push it up the rest of the way. Then I backed up as close as I could get to the side of the garage where I unloaded it with all the other junk lumber he doesn’t know he has and where it will continue rotting until my nagging kicks in.
I cleaned the house from top to bottom including sweeping and washing floors and vacuuming. I folded Kurt’s gym clothes and put them on the shelf where he packs his gym bag. I wrote out some bills. I took the garbage cans to the Dumpster. I went to the post office. I made phone calls to the insurance company, the dentist’s office and the school. I wrote, including a piece for someone’s website. I made supper. I helped Kelly with her homework. I kissed one boo-boo and made two threats. I carried firewood in the house and filled the wood box. I cleaned out the ashes in the woodstove and carried the ashcan and a bucket of water out to the gully where I dumped the ashes and poured the water on top. It sizzled even though the fire had been out for two days. I got kindling while I was out there. I cleaned up all the leftover pieces of wood and plastic gutters that Randy left behind. I swept the front porch. I picked up two buckets of dog poop. Then I helped Kelly saddle up her horse and I watched her. I got inspired and decided to work with Kurt’s horse. Which now we’re getting into the fun part again. But you see what I am saying. I only make it look easy.