Sunday, July 6, 2008

full body reboot

It's a beautiful day here in Lake Wobegon.

OK, I'm not really going to write that. But it is a beautiful day, sun shining, light breezes, temps in the low eighties, pretty much the epitome of a summer Sunday. And, though I was indeed outdoors for an hour or so and will be again, I actually missed half of it! Yes, I somehow managed to sleep a full twelve hours last night, utterly shocking my senses when I came to grips with it.

Twelve hours. Half a day. And half of such a beautiful day!

This began on the Fourth of July. My husband and I had been thinking about going up to Wisconsin for the day, but decided against it, and the weather was so perfect that I thought: this is the time we finally ought to get around to staining the deck! Temperatures in the low 70's, sunny: how could it be more perfect to work outside? Actually, I thought originally that I would do it, as my husband was not thrilled with the idea and he has all sorts of physical limitations anyway, but it needed to be done and I was up for it, so on with the show!

The deck is cedar and wraps around the back of our townhome. It's nicely sized but not huge; how difficult could this be? Two hours or so into it, I knew the answer: hard. Maybe it was due to the fact that I am dieting and might not have as much energy as I usually do. Maybe it was just the sun. Maybe it was all of the bending and reaching and brushing. Maybe it was just that the whole thing was such a pain in the...well, actually in just about everything! And it did not help that I was suffering horrendous acid reflux, the pain so awful that I had to stop every few minutes just to let it pass. I was aching and exhausted, and it was going to be a very, very long day.

I called in to my husband. "Dirk, I need your help."

He replied, "I wondered when you were going to ask," and within minutes was by my side. Together we tackled the project for the rest of the day, and after six long hours had the first coat finished. Shocked at how tired we both were at what seemed such an innocuous little job, we were more surprised to find ourselves falling asleep for an hour on the couch in the living room, where we had collapsed after the job was complete.

That little sleep revived us, and the fireworks were lovely. I watched them from my balcony, as I usually do--the view is perfect, as the lake that the town uses is a direct line from there--and Dirk, as always, pretended that he could not even hear the loud kabooms and bangs and whistles. He does not like fireworks. "They're all the same," he says. I can never talk him into coming out to watch with me, though our town has fireworks three times a year.

I got to bed late and was up pretty early--I am a night person and often find myself up until the wee hours but I have been determined this summer not to allow myself to sleep later than 8:30 for a variety of reasons--so we were able to get an early start to the second coat. The second coat, it turned out, was a lot easier than the first one, but it still required about four hours to do, and once more I was completely wiped out when I was finished. (I had told Dirk to pack it in an hour or so before the end because quarters were getting cramped on the deck.) Once again I found myself dozing on the couch, but this time my nap was quickly interrupted by the arrival of my children, who had been with my ex for the holiday.

Watch Twilight Zone with us; watch Howl's Moving Castle with us; watch this; watch that...I convinced them that this was not a good night for me and, fortunately, they decided to watch things on their own. I actually ended up collapsing into bed far earlier than they did, far earlier than is my norm: 11:30.

Which brings me to this morning.

I know that the alarm went off as usual to awaken me at 8:30. I remember Beatles tunes--Breakfast with the Beatles was playing--in some vague recess of my mind. But I did not process them, did not process the time, did not process the whole notion of waking up. And the next thing I knew, my cat was nuzzling my toes and it was 11:30...again. But it was twelve hours later.

There is a simple pleasure in accomplishing something like staining your deck. People do it all the time. But in this hectic world, it is so darned easy to pick up a phone and call someone, pay him a few hundred dollars, and voila! the deck is all stained! You didn't have to lift a finger after you put the phone down until you sign the check. Hell, it probably looks better, too, given that these guys are professionals and all. But where in that equation is the sense that you actually did something yourself? Where is the feeling that you took the brush into your own hands and, with your own effort, did this work?

There are lots of things I pay others to do. My townhouse association hires people to cut the grass, to plow the snow, to trim the trees. I have a cleaning service come on every couple of weeks to make sure that my house doesn't go completely to seed. Today, enjoying the beautiful weather, I took my car to a car wash; it needed a very thorough cleaning and vacuuming. I pay professional people to do these things, as I pay plumbers and electricians, as I paid people to paint my walls and ceilings two years ago because the job was simply too overwhelming. I really don't think of these things as luxuries; in a rushed life you need to prioritize things.

But once in a while it is important to slow down and take the time to do something yourself, even if you do it imperfectly. So what that there will be places on that deck where the excess stain is noticeable or where drips did not get wiped away? So what if it is a bit uneven? We did it ourselves, and frankly I think it looks damned good.

And if the price I paid for that was a full body reboot, so be it. I suppose that, after several weeks of late, late nights and (relatively) early mornings, it was bound to happen eventually.

And that's the news from Lake Wobegon, where the deck is now red and the birds still are not coming to the feeders...

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it's your hair that i notice first
streaked with morning
it frames your face
you lying there eyes closed
soft breath not quite there
i follow its path as it bends the sheet
and i can touch you there
touch what i feel is you
in the spark of daylight
you'll rise
pull on the wrinkled shirt from last night
say something you think is beautiful
drink some coffee
from behind my paper
and drive away,
leaving a kiss on my lips
and a hole in my heart
where a fire ought to be

Favorite Films

  • The Wizard Of Oz
  • Amelie
  • The Princess Bride
  • Casablanca
  • Annie Hall
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • All That Jazz
  • Citizen Kane
  • Love Actually
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Big Fish
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Almost Famous
  • Bull Durham
  • Notting Hill
  • Apocalypse Now (Redux)
  • Magnolia

All-Time Favorite TV Shows

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Gilmore Girls
  • M*A*S*H
  • The West Wing
  • The X-Files
  • The Daily Show
  • Ally McBeal
  • Picket Fences
  • All In The Family
  • Seinfeld
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • Star Trek
  • Firefly
  • Wonderfalls
  • Northern Exposure
  • Get Smart
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show
  • Twin Peaks
  • The Larry Sanders Show
  • Monk
  • Felicity
  • St. Elsewhere

Current TV Shows I Enjoy (in no particular order)

  • Perception
  • Major Crimes
  • American Horror Story
  • Louie
  • Suits
  • The Newsroom
  • Falling Skies
  • Franklin and Bash
  • Veep
  • Scandal
  • Fairly Legal
  • Girls
  • Don't Trust the B---
  • Justified
  • Portlandia
  • Psych
  • The Middle
  • Person of Interest
  • Happy Endings
  • Hart of Dixie
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • Nikita
  • Raising Hope
  • Castle
  • Drop Dead Diva
  • Covert Affairs
  • Elementary
  • Rizzoli and Isles
  • Revolution
  • The Last Resort
  • Alphas
  • SNL
  • Revenge
  • Community
  • Suburgatory
  • New Girl
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Grimm
  • Nashville
  • Downton Abbey
  • Smash
  • Homeland
  • Fringe
  • Glee
  • Haven
  • Community
  • Warehouse 13
  • Modern Family
  • Vampire Diaries
  • The Daily Show
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • The Colbert Report
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Leverage
  • Rachel Maddow Show

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