Photographs: Garry Armstrong
It must be the end of May because Memorial Day in just about here. Where did the year go? And why — considering I’ve done nothing much all year — am I so tired? Sometimes doing nothing feels more exhausting than busyness. Maybe it’s because doing nothing leaves your brain free to wander into dangerous territory.
This has been year four, five or six (so hard to remember) of the “which part of the house is falling apart now?” period. That which can’t be replaced is being repaired. Many things are in their third round of replacement. The well was repaired and upgraded. This is the third new front door. The back door is a replacement. The replacement French doors need repair and we finally replaced the back door. We replaced the bathroom and the boiler. The hot water heater was replaced for its third time and now, with a “lifetime warranty,” it should be the last time we have to pay for it.
Many rounds of air conditioners, though we use a lot fewer A/Cs than we did because the new ones are smaller and more efficient. At least something works better. We’ve replaced the circuit boards for the electrical system three times, pipes in bathrooms and kitchen twice. Toilets are on their third recycle.
Sink and fridge are on their third go-round and need another and I can’t can’t count the number of washing machines and dryers. They come, they go. Somewhere in there we added the lift chair and after 13 years, the TV is now only five years old which seems like yesterday.
The new roof is 20-years old. We’ve installed a couple of new windows. The loss of one old door. Many cars have come and gone.
Many dogs have come, lived a full life, and passed on. That’s a hard one for us. Many friends have also passed — quite a few in the last year. None from COVID. Many from cancer or something medically “idiopathic.”
Star Trek, who knows how many generations, is back. They are making another Superman. I remember seeing the first one in London in 1979. Every time I blink, another year has passed and the only way I know what happened is to scroll through my photographs and blogs. They mark the passing of years, friends, pets, and life. If I didn’t write and didn’t take pictures, I wouldn’t even know when (or what) stuff happened.
Memorial Day seems as good a time as any to try to figure out what year it is and who we are. I know the year by number, but it doesn’t really mean much. And who knows who we are? Do we know? Life keeps rolling along and it makes me dizzy.
What are you most proud of in the last year?
If you see a puddle on the ground, do you walk around it or give in to the child within and splash about?
We don’t have puddles because we don’t have sidewalks. We do, however, have deep, sucking mud. You could call it “quick mud” as opposed to “quick sand.” Unlike the stuff in the movies, it doesn’t suck you in it over your head. It just sucks in in up to your knees or the top of your tires. Four-wheel-drive notwithstanding, you need a tow truck to get free of it. And a month of daily washes to get the mud off you or the car.
I was never big on splashing anyway, not even as a child. I hate wet shoes.
Do you feel free? Why or why not?
Free? Really? First I had to go to school and then I had to go to work. Then I had to be a wife and a mother and go back to work and work and work and commute. Then I spent 15 year recovering from work and everything else. I’m better now, but I’m also 15-years older. If I had felt this way before, I’d be livelier now though frankly, the world has turned out to be a big disappointment.
After four years of raging against the government, I’m not raging any more. What’s the point? It’s a sad world and no one — at least no one I know — is free. Free as long as you stay in your lane and do what you are supposed to do according to whoever recently rewrote the rules. Is that free? You tell me. Doesn’t feel very free to me.
What life skills are rarely taught but are extremely useful?
We found a guy to fix the deck. At first I figured he had to be too good to be true, but I did my homework and there are a couple of hundred reviews saying his company does good work, quickly, at a very fair price. I’ve rarely seen so many positive reviews for any contractor. Maybe we got lucky this time?