Thursday, October 04, 2007


So I start the day with a good head of steam and charge out to the side yard to pick up all the limbs I sawed off the other day and jam then into the pickiup. Mission accomplished, I go to drive to the dump. Hmmm. Pickiup keys inside the house.

Double Hmmm. Back door locked. Oh, well, no biggie -- I keep a backup set hidden. Triple Hmmmm. They’re not there. Must’ve taken them inside with some files and boxes. Now what?

I’ve done this twice in the eight years I’ve been here. The first time I lost my temper, jangled the flimsy knob hard, and it opened. But I’ve replaced that knob now and it won’t jangle open. I tried. Hinges are on the inside of both doors -- can’t get in by unscrewing the hinges.

The second time Rick the hippie handyman was still in town. He came over with a pocket full of keys -- turned out that every time he installed a new lock on anyone’s house, he kept one of the spare keys. Took about seven tries to open the door. He looked carefully at the key and put it back in a separate pocket. I was highly suspicious of his motives. But he made me promise to hide a key somewhere, cross my heart and hope to die. He made me actually DO that: cross my heart but said he wouldn’t force anyone to hope to die. And he didn't stay to see where I hid the key.

This time I discovered that I’d luckily put the reversible slow power screwdriver back in its cabinet in the garage -- unlike the drill, which is floating around the bedroom waiting for me to install the door framing woodwork, which is that fancy composite stuff that you can’t drive a nail into. So I just took the storm window off of my office window and climbed in. Squibbie was the next one up the ladder and in. Crackers came to investigate and was the first to go back out. Squibbie went, too, then both came back. Then I had to convince a yellowjacket that this was NOT the place for her to winter-up. The storm window has to come off in order to really clean the window anyway and I hadn’t done it for a couple of years. Flies get trapped in there in summer and make a mess.

Since I was outside dragging my ladder around, I started on the gutters which are primitively installed and at the moment full of yellow poplar leaves. I thought I’d get my dandy gutter shooter out and sluice all that stuff out in minutes. Too bad. I had hung my gutter shooter up in the garage last fall without making sure it was empty of water -- it never occurred to me that it had water IN it without being hooked to the hose. But it was burst clear down its length. So now, gloves and scraper, which will work but not as well. The best move I made was in 1999 when I bought a house only one story tall, though I have a tendency to sit around and wonder if I could get a second story out of it. Loretta next door managed that in her house, though it meant installing a steel beam and lowering the ceiling.

Anyway, good time to take a break and drive out to the dump roll-off at the edge of town. Pick up some gossip, throw some political stones, and share diabetes ideas, since the manager’s daughter is struggling with gestational diabetes that won’t go into remission. They live in Pendroy, which is one of the smaller towns around -- a school, a dinner club, a lawyer, and a few houses -- and they are beginning to be suspicious of the water. It’s the same as the Valier water. How much should we worry? Where can we get facts? Would filters work? The state has just imposed new requirements on the sewage lagoons out by that roll-off and the cost shows on our bills. Our infrastructure bills are climbing steeply.

The forecast is 28 degrees, rain and possibly snow tonight. I already brought in the geranium window boxes but they crowd the cats out of their favorite window. I’d better put them in pots. That means down to the hardware store for potting soil. In this town we all use Miracle Grow. Now some searching around out in the back garage for pots... I once had an assortment of white ceramic pots that I loved but they’re long gone. Wonder if I could replace them around here. Not until the book sells.

Check the email: message from the U of Calgary Press: “Please take a look at this back copy for the book and see if it’s okay.” Well, they have me living in Browning instead of Valier. Maybe we should say “near the Blackfeet Reservation.” We’ve got to decide whether to say Blackfeet (Montana-side) or Blackfoot (Canada-side). Blackfeet is the same as Amskapi Pikuni in their own language -- if we say THAT, most people will be baffled. Blackfoot is the whole Confederation on both sides. That’ll baffle’em, too. Am I Bob’s wife, his ex-wife, ex-wife now bereaved, third-wife-of-four, once-wife, wife in the Sixties, ex-wife and friend. Oh, the hell with it. WIFE. The other three are dead anyway. (Art McKnight used to come up to my van at service stations, lean on the window and say, “I don’t care, Mary -- you were his BEST wife.” Guess we can’t really put that on the back of the book.)

Back to the gutters. Loretta calls over, “Workin’ hard?” I know my lines: “Hardly workin’!” It’s like call-and-response in an African American church. Someone else goes by, “Don’t fall now!” I have no comeback. Shall I fall later? “Heck, I was planning on falling and sueing the homeowner!” Too complicated.

The weather is supposed to be rotten until Sunday and wet for a couple of days. I could go back out there and finish some more gutters. First, take my blood glucose: 85. Work is good for your blood! Cuppa coffee, maybe a bran muffin. Then back at it. The cats are bored and have gone back to sleep.

1 comment:

Barb said...

Mary, you're wonderful! Barbara Kingsolver has nothing on you (except a mainstream publisher? They're over-rated.)