Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wandering Again

Well it's a lovely morning here in Bristow. The birds are in the trees singing away in that spring tweety thing. The sun is busting through the mist for the second day in a row, and the cats are happy to have more windows open. Ah yes. Cool weather but warm sun. Planting time. I will get around to it and really try this year to keep them alive. It's an annual struggle for me, the official plant killer of the universe.

There's something wrong with our hose spickets (is that the right word?) because when I screw on the hoses, it leaks from the water source, not the hose itself. There's this little plastic-y rubber band that's supposed to seal things up but it's not working. Hubby and I have talked about how to fix this, but I don't know if he really knows how to and I certainly don't. I told him I would duct tape it and he gave me "that look." You know...that look that men give to women who try to fix things by using duct tape.

If worse comes to worse, I might get my be-hind into Home Depot and ask one of those smart people what I can use to fix it. See, I'm the official gardener in the house, which is kind of scary considering my record of killing things.

We could get a plumber, but the last time the plumber came to fix the leak from that same hose from the INSIDE. This pipe happens to be in our laundry room. I don't know if I've mentioned our laundry room before, but in case I didn't, let me tell you. It's tiny. It houses our little tools and our washer machine and our dryer and when we fall behind, a laundry pile the size of Jabba the Hut. Since I was sick and hubby has been working, Jabba has grown into his full ugly self. Baskets of clean laundry trip me all over the family room and there's another mountain waiting to be folded on the couch. I do a little at a time. Laundry is the arch nemesis of a clean house, or at least it is mine.

Oh that's right. The plumber. So I empty the laundry room and hide the laundry somewhere. The guy comes and replaces the little leaky pipe. He's there for ten minutes. (OOOPS! I edited that in! See below.) He gives me a bill from something like $200.00. Yes, folks, I don't know why I am in teaching when I could have been a plumber. The problem is, I couldn't REALLY be a plumber. I have zero mechanical aptitude no matter how much I watch those earth diggers on the side of the roads and think, hmmmmm. So THAT'S how they do it.

Ever watch those people work? Or am I still the only adult female alive that thinks those monster machines are interesting to watch? They look like prehistoric creatures eating up the land. Now, I have a problem with all the development here, but those road workers are doing us a service. You know. Traffic and sewerage and those amenities we DO need. No wonder Fred Flintstone loved his job.

Back to laundry. Once the cable guy had to come fix the Internet connection. He was looking for the cable outlet and opened my laundry room door. I immediately shut it. "Don't look in there! It's scary!" Then I told him where the outlet was. Sheesh. He should have asked before he opened the door of death. Not only was I embarrassed, but he could have been smothered if the pile collapsed on him.

Where was I going with any of this? Nowhere particular. This isn't an essay I assign my students to read so I guess I don't care much. I'm kind of brain dumping this morning after filling in for a county class last night (haven't done that in awhile...it was great talking to the students.....a very cool eclectic global mix of people all there to learn) and then I graded this morning for my online class so I'm just letting the stream of consciousness kick in. It's kind of free-writing but not because I'm going to neurotically spell check the thing which you don't do when you are actually free writing. But I am going to leave this as is. No editing at all. No linking or mulling or anything else. I did enough of that, starting my week out with Rilke. One can only delve so much. The brain gets tired.

Today is a hiking day for sure. I call it hiking but it's really a glad attempt at walking the Battlefields again. I used to do it a lot before my health went to hell. I'm back to a point where I can hobble along on a walking stick. It's kind of fun in a way. It makes me feel like Bilbo Baggins. And it exercises my arms. I lean a lot because my knees are disintegrating. Walking in the woods among the history is something I can't give up, though, not only because it gives me exercise, but it gives my brain food.

So let me seg to a story of my first hike alone after more than a year of not being able to do it. I'm walking across a field. I see these birds with the wingspan of sailboats flapping their way through the grass. So I think, wild turkeys. I've seen those in the Battlefield before. They are very cool. But I have to get closer because I don't have my glasses on and I remember why the doctor told me I am near sighted. Of course, no turkeys. Vultures.

Now I don't have anything against vultures. They do us a tremendous service. Besides, they are interesting to look at . But I had a real problem because they were hanging out near a poor skunk who happened to be limping across the grass. "Hey! He's not dead yet!" I told the frothing beasts in my best Monte Python voice. I got close enough to scatter them. Then I turned my attention to the skunk.

Okay, I thought. What's the worst that a skunk spray could do? I was wearing double layers. I had on a scarf and gloves so I was pretty covered. Maybe I should take the skunk to the office and ask them to bring it to the vet. Bad idea. The office is also the visitor's center. There's a Civil War museum in there. They might not like skunk juice all over their blue and gray displays.

I could always pick the thing up, wrap it in my scarf, and take it to the vet myself. "Look, I saved this skunk from a herd of vultures. I don't have any money, but can you fix it up so I can bring it back?"

Standing there watching the poor thing, I was getting sadder and sadder and thoughtfuller and thoughtfuller. I hate to see anything suffer.

So I took out my cell phone and called my friend. She wasn't there (duh...she was doing her job) so I called my husband. "Thank god you are there! I need animal intervention! I need your help making an existential decision!" I explained this serious situation and what I was half considering doing.

It's okay. He talked me through it. I think the rabies argument was what finally convinced me. "Okay," I said turning from watching the poor striped thing edging itself to the shelter of a tree, soon to become vulture lunch. "Okay, I am NOT looking at it anymore. Katherine, walk away," I told hubby. "This is me walking away. This is me not looking at the skunk. This is me allowing nature take its course."

"You'd be terrible in the jungle watching a tiger rip open a zebra," hubby tells me (or something like that).

"No, that's different. That's usually a fast death. Watching something struggle like this and suffer...that's what I can't take."

"Well don't worry. It was probably some evil person in a past life getting his due."

"Yeah," I said, feeling even better about the cycle of life. "You might be right. And maybe it wants to get on to another life...."

"I can just picture you taking the skunk to the vet. 'What?? You took a wild animal out of a national park and want me to do what?' "

"Well, he might do it out of charity," I said lamely.

"Do you have any idea how strong skunk juice is? It takes at least a week to get it out."

"But tomato juice...."

"You want to fill the bath tub with tomato juice?"

"No," I admitted, considering the negative genital affects this might have.

"Besides, it could have rabies...."

Like I said, that's what put me over. That's what made me walk away.

"I have to go," he said.

"Okay! Love you! Thank you for talking me through!"

See? That's real love. When you can call up your husband needing him to talk you out of bringing home an ailing skunk.....yep. That's real love.

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