It Rained.

06-04 Deck

For some time, I’ve been researching, reading, watching videos and asking questions about repainting decks, as I’ve never done this type of project before.  On Wednesday morning, I finished the final step in the prep work: scrubbing and rinsing.  I was finally ready, and I had big plans to cross the deck off my checklist by the end of the weekend. I planned to apply the primer tonight and spend Sunday finishing the two coats of paint.

Then, it rained.

The weather wreaked havoc on my plans. I looked at the forecast and there is a greater than 50% chance of rain for the next two days. Since the deck needs to dry at least 48 hours before painting, there is no way this project will be completed right now. I was disappointed, and a little angry.  (It’s Arizona… it never rains…. why now?)  It was as if the time spent prepping it had been wasted, and I was devoured by pesky mosquitoes for nothing.

I couldn’t help but notice the parallel between the deck and my life. The “plans” I make keep unraveling at the seams leaving me with only threads to grasp onto. I used to know (or think I knew) what my life was about, but over the last few months, I’ve come to the realization that I have no clue. Funny thing is, I’m starting to accept this. It’s not always easy. I want to revert into the coziness of plans. I long for the stability of being able to anticipate tomorrow based on what happened today.  Sometimes I seek the shelter of “same” only to find it doesn’t exist.

Life is changing me. I’m frantically grasping to make something from the undone plans less and less. I’m learning to let them go so that new un-plans will happen. So, it rained; I can’t change that no matter how much I want to.

I could choose to sulk in a sour mood, but instead, I’m ready to embrace whatever life brings me this weekend.  Besides, there’s a great chance it will be much more fun than painting 🙂

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You may have noticed I haven’t posted much lately- or read others’ blogs as I used to.  The  nearly 500 emails is evidence of my neglect.  I’m sorry about this, and I do intend to get better about both.  It’s a struggle to just wake up most days, but I’m still fighting it.  I think my next post will be a fiction story for Emilio’s photo that he sent me for May.  However, if life has taught me anything, it’s that I can’t plan on that, so I won’t make a promise I can’t keep 🙂

To The Creature In My Attic…

Young pest captured in neighbor's attic
Young pest captured in neighbor’s attic

For months, I’ve

heard your wanderings,

traced your path behind painted walls.

Clawing, scampering, scraping

noises puncture my conscious mind;

you’re stealth when others are near.

Oh, creature in my attic,

I know your game-

your clever maneuvering,

has made me question my sanity.

Stowaway visitor,

my husband discovered

the scattered evidence

of your clandestine presence.

I’m vindicated!

A months-overdue “told you so”

crosses my satisfied lips.

Soon, a baited metal cage

will, with any hope,

further prove my point.

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Inspiration:  This poem is written to whatever has been making itself at home in our attic.  For months, I’ve complained of noises in the walls only to have my husband tell me it was squirrels on the roof. Whenever I called him to hear the clawing sounds for himself, it would stop.  He’d pass me a I-think-you’ve-lost-your-mind look and head back downstairs.  (I don’t know for sure, but writing poetry to attic-dwelling animals could be a solid sign of insanity!)

Well, crazy must be contagious because the kids heard the noises, too.  And the cats began pouncing at walls (chasing noises that up until that point, the crafty creature made me suspect were only in my head.)

Finally, last weekend, my husband heard scratching/scampering and asked me, “Did you hear that?”

A small part of me wanted to say, “no” and play it off like he was nuts.  Instead, I replied, “I told you something is in the attic!”

A good “I told you so” wins every time 🙂

Haiku- Wildlife, 3; Humans, 0

Our humble garden-

Fencing breached by wild piggies.

Salad dreams trampled.

Sometimes it feels like we're being watched...
Sometimes it feels like we’re being watched…

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Friday night, noises outside interrupted my blog reading. I’m pretty sure my heart missed several beats as I sat paralyzed with fear. It was late at night and everyone else was in bed, but I finally got the nerve to peek out the kitchen window to see who was on our porch.

I stared, stunned, as I counted two full-grown javelina and a baby javelina inside the fencing around our small garden in front of our patio. I woke my husband up to tell him our meager garden was going to be even paltrier by the time they finished grazing.

We stood in front of the kitchen window contemplating what to do. My husband tried cursing at them, but that wasn’t entirely effective. The two large javelina vacated the garden, leaving the baby running to and fro trying to find a way out. (I had to laugh at the “save yourself” mentality of these creatures!)

Horrified, I watched the poor thing try shoving its nose through the fencing, chewing the wire, and trampling the garden in a frantic search for an exit. I wanted to help, but I could hear the nearby snorts of the adults that didn’t run very far away. Going outside wasn’t an option.

Finally, the baby squeezed under the fencing and joined the other trespassers.   One of the larger ones approached the window and gave a long look that seemed to say, “we’ll be back.” (Only without the Arnold Schwarzenegger accent.)

Since we moved here seventeen months ago, we’ve learned that the animals really don’t care that we bought the land. We’ve tried to claim some space for our own, but so far, we’ve been outmatched (I hesitate to write “outsmarted”…. It’s a huge hit to my ego to admit that elk and javelina are smarter than us.)

Yet the facts- our lousy 0 and 3 track record – are impossible to ignore.

We need super-duper reinforced fencing!
We need super-duper reinforced fencing!

Birdie (Fiction)

Funky tree in our yard... wasn't the initial inspiration for this post, but well, I'll explain that at the end!
Funky tree in our yard… wasn’t the initial inspiration for this post, but  I’ll explain that at the end!

Bernadette Thibodaux stood in front of the house she’d just purchased, key folded in her palm.  “This is it,” she exhaled.  She turned to her best friend, Chris, to read his reaction.

“Well.  It’s a nice place.”

“But?”

“Who said anything about a ‘but’?”

“Come on, after twenty-two years, I can tell.”  She didn’t have to mention their years as high school sweethearts and their failed marriage; that always lingered in the back of her mind.

He shrugged.  “Birdie, don’t you think four acres might be a bit much for you to maintain?”

Birdie.  No one else could get away with calling her that.  “I just bought my first place.  Don’t ruin it for me.”  She grabbed his elbow.  “Let me show you the house!”

He nearly knocked her over when she came to an abrupt stop at the wrap-around porch.  While she fumbled with the key in the lock, he shook the railing.  “Sturdy support,” he mumbled.  “A porch swing would be nice over there.”  He pointed to the right.

She glanced over her shoulder.  “That’s exactly what I thought.”  She pushed on the door but it didn’t budge.  She thrust her hip against the door twice and it popped loose with a creak.  When she entered the foyer a new wave of excitement rippled through her.

Chris opened and closed the door several times and rubbed his fingers along the door jam.  “I think a little sanding right here and a re-paint and it’ll be good as new.”

Thunder rumbled overhead, shaking the windows.  Intermittent rain drops pelted the glass.

He peered at the track of the large window to the left of the entryway.  “Might need some tightening.”

She threw a playful punch at his shoulder.  “Critical much?  You talk like the house is falling apart.”

“I just think the place on Church Street would’ve been better for you.”

“It was sweet of you to look at it for me, but it was a condo.  No privacy at all.”

“But it was in town.”

“This is only twenty minutes away.”

He opened his mouth, but then closed it again.  “May we continue the tour?”

She nodded.  “Follow me, then.”  She led him into the kitchen.  She expected him to comment on the worn finish of the cabinet doors or the discolored laminate counter tops, but he said nothing.  When he saw the guest bathroom, he let the missing drain stopper go without comment.  The smallish guest bedrooms drew not even a murmur of criticism.

“So what do you think?” Bernadette asked when they circled back to the front door.

“It’s perfect for you, Birdie.”

Something in the smile he gave her, or the wistful tone of his voice, made her cheeks color.  “You know I want your honest opinion.”

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The Power of Zero

For a number that results in nothing when multiplied by another number, and is often skipped in the counting sequence, zero wields more power than many realize.  Of course, we recognize the power of zero when they are printed on greenbacks… if given a choice between a $10 bill and a $100 bill, Ben will win every time.  Sorry, Hamilton.  (That must sting, being the first Secretary of Treasury and all.)

The number zero has highlighted a difference in thinking between my husband and me.  The Mars/Venus thing has been done to death, but I’m not going for the gender difference angle here.  This is personal(ity).

Some things around my house drive me absolutely nuts.  Like the cup rings on my wooden dining table.  Despite the 7 coasters scattered around (2 of which the kids broke and Scotch-tape repaired, as if I wouldn’t notice), cups still end up on the table- sans coaster.  This launches me into the “Why can’t I have anything nice?” tirade, which garners dazed stares, much like what I imagine seeing after a zombie apocalypse.

Kids' handiwork.  To them, they are "fixed"!
Kids’ handiwork. What cracks?

As I walked by the kids’ bathroom this morning, I noticed the broken towel rack (for the 59th time.)  It’s been broken for two months, since my eight-year-old decided to use it as a pull-up bar.  My husband couldn’t figure out how to get the anchor out of the wall, so he tossed the bar in the closet and closed the door.  Fixed.  Now, I wasn’t born yesterday.  I know very well he could get the anchor out of the wall- if he wanted to.

What's left of the towel rack...
What’s left of the towel rack…
The missing, er, hidden link!
The missing, er, hidden link!  (Out of sight, out of his mind.)

Last week, I found out what does crawl under his skin:  when zero goes missing.  Specifically, the loose zero on our TV remote control.  He loves his TV and the fact he can’t click directly to channel 10 is driving him batty.  He didn’t notice my amused smile  as he stuck his hand between every couch cushion (I wouldn’t advise doing that,) felt underneath the couch (I really recommend avoiding that,) and practically lifted the couch up with me sitting on it to locate the zero.

Zero, where are you?  I'm lost without you!
Zero, where art thou? I’m lost without you!

He’s done this for four nights now, and he’s still zero-less.

Me?  I’m not bothered at all.  I don’t watch TV much, but if I want channel ten, I press the one twice and channel down once.  I type a lot so my fingers aren’t taxed by the extra button press.

You might wonder why he doesn’t just buy a new remote.  Good question.  Obsessions are rarely rational.  I would suggest it, but frankly, I find the nightly ritual too entertaining.

I have to admit, zero has given me new appreciation of our quirks and differences.  Knowing he has a button that can be pushed (not zero 🙂 ) makes me feel more normal in the things I fixate on.  We may not have a zero to press or a rack to hang a towel on, but at least we can hold hands and commiserate over the common thread of the things that drive us to distraction.

Ah, the uniting power of zero.

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If this passes through moderation, I plan to link up with Yeah Write #147.  I haven’t linked there in a while so I thought I’d give it a go! At 513 words, this post comes in under the 600 word limit.

Thanks so much for reading.  Have a beautiful day!

challenge147