This is it!

Friday morning we got up around 4:30am normal for a day off. I know, normal? This was it, the big day. This was the day we load up the firebird with as much stuff as we could cram in, stuff that Mitch will need for the short term and head west. Mitch was to have all of his clothes washed and packed. But as is always the case, Mitch was behind. Thursday afternoon he was to pack and load the car. Didn’t happen. Friends and family realizing that Thursday was his last day here for real and not “just fooling” came by to say good bye. He spent a large part of his afternoon catching up and saying good bye to longtime friends, friends he grew up with, friends he made along the way.

Friday morning Mitch “The Snail” poked along, finishing up laundry, ironing and deciding what to take. He was able to fit two totes in the back seat of the car (with the seat back down). He filled the totes with of his uniforms. He filled one of our largest suitcases with street clothes; slacks, shirts, underwear and socks. I filled a milk crate with all of his vitamins, four bags of Milky Way candy bars and cappuccino mix. What is more balanced than vitamins, candy bars and cappuccino mix? Of course all of these were absolute essentials because everyone knows Seattle is some remote little dinky town without benefit of Walmart or a grocery store. Yes I know I was going overboard, but what else could I do, it’s my job to take care of him.

About 10:00am I could see the signs, Mitch was poking, the longer it took him to get loaded up, the longer he could forestall the inevitable. If I let him, he would stand in one spot and not move all day. Of course this was making me crazy. I had wanted to be on the road by about 8:00am, not that I wanted to be rid of him but this was also my vacation and I wanted to spend part of the trip sightseeing. Once again a case of the whirlwind crashing into the brick wall. I walked up to him and said something really hokey.

I put my hands on his arms and said, “The journey starts with a step.” Pretty lame, huh?

That’s when he looked at me and said, “I don’t want to go. I don’t want to go and leave you here with all of this.”

I told him that it would be fine and that this was going to be an adventure. This was something we’ve talked about doing, not Washington, per se, but going somewhere else. We just hadn’t pulled the trigger. Change is hard and taking that first step is the hardest. I guess fate decided we needed a nudge.

Oh Poor Mitch

I really have to get Mitch out more. That in itself is a challenge, because Mitch is a man of routine. I mean serious routine. His day consists of, get up go to work, come home eat lunch, do whatever chores he does, like laundry or ironing, feed and walk the dogs, eat dinner and go to bed. He is also antisocial for the most part, a hermit, he is perfectly happy sequestered in the house never talking to another soul as long as he can. As a severe form of torture, I make him to go the grocery store with me on Saturday morning. I talk to everyone, store employees and total strangers alike, eliciting comments from Mitch like, “Is there anyone you don’t know or won’t talk to?” To which I just smile back at him with an evil look and say hello to someone else. To make matters worse, since I have taken him with me for so long, now the store employees now talk to him too. Even the former store manager would ask where my partner in crime was on the rare occasion he didn’t go with me.

Every time we go to the store I always ask him if there is anything he would like to eat for the week, and I always get the same response.

“No I’m good.”

Can you imagine how frustrating is to buy good food and a variety too, when I always get, “No I’m good.”? It makes me want to pull my hair out. I finally got him to admit he wanted Milky Way fun size candy bars to snack on during day and that only took three years. He treats himself like he doesn’t deserve anything special. You would think he had taken a vow of poverty. This morning at the grocery store there was a sale on Keebler/Kelloggs offering all of their cookies and crackers for sale at half price. I asked Mitch if he would like something different from what we normally buy since everything was on sale. He stood there staring at all of the choices with a blank look on his face. I picked up a couple of boxes of crackers that I wanted to try and looked back at him to see what he wanted. He just stood there.

I asked what was wrong and he said, “Back in the day there was only Saltines and if you wanted something exotic you bought Ritz and you were happy. There weren’t all of these choices then.”

To which I laughed out loud and said, “You also had toilets out back and not in the house, back in the day, but isn’t it much better today?”

That’s when he got indignant and said, “That’s a totally different genre, not the same at all.”

I just shook my head and looked at him waiting for him to choose something; he finally acquiesced and picked a box of flatbread crackers. This is one of the reasons I drink.

Down to the Nitty Picky

This is what our remodel has been reduced to. Because of previous battles and total opposite styles in taste and décor, our never-ending long suffering remodel of this money pit called our home, Mitch is now consulting my opinion on even the minutest detail. Believe me when I say that when we first started this arduous journey, I didn’t think our marriage would survive. We argued constantly about everything. The biggest stumbling block to our relationship was the master bath. We totally gutted it down to the studs and started over from there. The only fixture that stayed in its original spot was the toilet. And that was only because of the difficulty in moving the drain. We, meaning Mitch doing the labor and me being the creative genius, have moved from room to room bringing this hodge podge house into some kind of homey updated house.

Now we are down to the last two bedrooms, laying bamboo floors and rebuilding the closets. We fought over the placement of the closets and we removed them because of poor original construction. People back then used whatever material was available and no building code was followed. I finally gave in to Mitch’s idea of dividing the one closet into two with a wall separating them and with doors opening into each room. Mitch had a genius idea of making them cedar closets which for those rooms is very practical as well as a unique idea. Those rooms are on the old side of the house, which was originally built in 1928 and added on to in 1934, which means that side of the house is not as tightly constructed leaving room for mustiness and the possibility of mold. So the cedar closet was a stroke of genius. The only thing left to argue about was what type of door to install for each closet, bi-fold or sliding, solid or louvered. Louvered bi-fold won (my idea). I bought wooden knobs thinking simple easy plain, no fuss, no muss. It wasn’t until Mitch opened the doors up to remove the hardware and prepare to be stained, that he found that each door had its own wooden knobs.

When it came down to the stain, that was another dilemma, the knotty pine planks are all eighty years old and I’m pretty sure that the stain used back then is long gone, even if we knew what the color was. Mitch went on the hunt buying about a dozen small cans of stain to try and come as close as possible to the original color. A friend suggested that we go to Sherwin Williams with a piece of one of the existing boards and have them create a matching color. Mitch stained the doors, the knobs (all four of them) and the trim. When it came down to putting the knobs on the closet doors, he called me in the make a decision, which knob did I want on the doors. I looked at the knobs and laughed out loud, they were so similar. The only difference was a slight rounded top on one and a flat top on the other. I asked if he was serious and said that he could pick, to which he said no way, I had to pick.

Which one do you think I should pick, you know they are so very different.

knob picture

Tis the Season

I should have seen it coming. It is that time of the year. Sudden intense storms that blow out of nowhere, with little warning and leave vast destruction in its wake. Yesterday was one of those days. Beautiful morning, cool temperature partly cloudy skies and a nice breeze, a perfect day for yard work and a DIY home improvement project. We had the whole day planned out. Mitch would go rent a jack hammer to dig out holes in the shelf rock under one of the bedrooms on the old side of the house and I would go to the grocery store then come home and mow.

First off I misunderstood where he was going to rent the jack hammer. I thought he said Lowe’s, so I figured he could drop me off at Sam’s Club across the street rent the jack hammer then come back and get me, killing an extra trip for me. But no, he said Home Depot, not even close to where Sam’s is. Strike one against me for the morning. I caused him to have to drive farther out of his way to take me to Sam’s then on to Home Depot then back to pick me up. He didn’t bother to correct me until we were getting off the highway at the exit, so by then it was too late to correct the misunderstanding. It didn’t end up saving any time for either of us, because I had to wait about a half hour for him to come back and get me. The only upside was the looks on people’s faces walking past me standing in front of Sam’s with a cart full of food.

After coming home and unloading food and jack hammer I buzzed off to the grocery store leaving Mitch to attack rock to his heart’s content. I came home and unloaded groceries, made sure Mitch hadn’t jack hammered off one of his toes, changed my clothes and took the dogs outside to commence yard work. I dragged the mower out of the shed ducking for cover because of the growing wasp nest in the door. I keep forgetting that it’s there until I have to mow, then I’m rudely reminded of it when the wasps buzz bomb my head. I pushed the mower down to the driveway, grabbed the gas can and filled the mower. I pulled the cord and the mower started right off then promptly died. I pulled the cord again and again, now the mower wouldn’t even try to start. I thought great, not now, not today.

I was already hot and tired from cutting limbs from bushes and it was 11:30 so I thought it was a perfect time to take a break, eat some lunch then ask Mitch start the mower for me. I walked back in the house to see how much he had accomplished. He had punched out two holes each about a foot and a half square. It was slow going, Mitch had to break up the rock in big chunks, lift the large rocks out of the hole then use a shovel to scoop up the dirt and smaller rocks out of the holes and into a bucket. He then had to carry the bucket outside and down the steps to the trash dumpster. Hard heavy work and he still had many more holes to dig. I suggested breaking for lunch, but he said no he wasn’t ready. I said that I couldn’t get the mower to start and asked that he start it for me, but I was tired and wanted a diet coke and just sit for a minute. Strike number two, since I stopped to take a break, in essence I made him stop what he was doing too. He quickly reheated a leftover steak while I ate a salad and drank my diet coke.

When I was done, he followed me out to the mower. I pulled the cord just to check; it started right up, then died and wouldn’t start again. Mitch pulled and pulled but nothing happened. He told me to push it into the garage so he could work on it. I could tell by his expression, it wasn’t going well. Strike number three, I told him not to worry about the mower that I could do something else and he could go back to jack hammering. He looked at me with that look and I saw the first signs of “Mitch Fit Warning”. I offered again that he could stop taking the mower apart and I would do something else. That’s when I saw the “Mitch Fit Warning, Imminent”. The look that says “take cover things are about to starting flying or get broken”.

He looked at me and said very slowly, “Go find something else to do, right now.” Here it comes “Mitch Fit Imminent” is getting ready to strike and I didn’t want to be in the path of that storm. This had all signs of a major event. He had rented a jack hammer, paying an hourly rate to get grueling back breaking work down and I had just halted the process in order to fix the mower. This wasn’t going to be pretty at all.

So I grabbed the dogs and beat a hasty retreat. An hour later he walked into the house and said, “I got it running for now so go mow right now before it stops.” Thank god we had rocks he could break.