Raking Up the News

I didn’t watered my grass for a couple of days — the first day was too cold, the second day was very warm but I had to work all day. Even though I didn’t notice any difference in the grass, I gave it a good watering today, letting the hose run while I raked up leaves. Odd how I have no trees except a couple of babies, and yet I get a yard full of leaves from all the neighbors’ trees. In previous years, I never paid attention to the leaves, but I need to make sure they don’t damage my sod, so I did the work. I considered giving the leaves back to the neighbors, but despite my blisters, I was glad to get the leaves. I dumped them among some bushes, thinking they will help rejuvenate the soil when the leaves break down. As someone once said to me, “Compost happens.”

I had to unfortunate task of laying off a handyman who was working at the house I’m taking care of. He was in such a panic over the loss of income, that I hired him to do a couple of small paint jobs the contractor has been putting off. I was kind of surprised (but just kind of) when he never showed up, so even though I’d paid twice for those jobs, I ended up doing them myself. At least the raw wood surfaces are protected now.

A friend had some good news today — my contractor is going to work on her house, which was left unfinished when her husband died. It’s a huge job, and they are both glad to be connected — she needs the work done, and he needs to keep his employees busy. I’m not sure what it will mean for me, though I tend to think my jobs as always will be delayed. I’m not really sure I care, at least not all that much and not all the time, because the undone work gives me a sort of lien on his time. When I have an emergency, he comes right over or sends one of his guys. If all the work around my house was finished, perhaps he wouldn’t be as conscientious about taking care of my problems. On the other hand, he probably would especially now that I recommended him for that big job. And anyway, he does try to look after me when he can.

I asked my friend if she minded if I mentioned her and her unique situation, and she said okay. She was born in Malaysia of Chinese parents, and educated by Irish nuns. She has three sisters — one lives in Malaysia, one in Singapore, one in Australia, and she, of course, lives in the United States. Talk about a far-flung family! Luckily, there is Skype. The sisters talk every weekend, which is more than I do with my own siblings, and they live here in this country.

She would make a great character for my book, though I’m not sure how her story would contribute to whatever story I come up with. For now, I’m just collecting interesting characters and waiting to see if they want to engage with one another, literarily speaking.

Well, that’s about all the news I can rake up for you. I hope you had a more exciting — and blister-free — day than I did.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Garage Installation

I wasn’t going to write more about my garage until it was actually being built, but I couldn’t pass on using the title of this piece, which is a perfect title because work on the garage is temporarily stalled. (In – stall – ation. Cute, huh?)

The contractor has a few obligations — contract deadlines he needs to take care of now, so that when he starts building the garage, he can do the whole thing without delays. (Oh, wait!! Contracts. Contractor. Now I get it! Sheesh. I sure am firing on all cylinders today.)

Meantime, he and his workers took time from their weekends to finish the part of the side fence that was hidden behind the old garage. (Though they made sure they were done by noon. Something about the Kansas City Chiefs.)

Breaks in a fence seem to attract the very people I don’t want to attract, so it’s good to have the fence finished. I do feel bad, though — the back fence will have to be redone after the garage is built, and it seems a shame that their hard work is going to waste.

But they don’t seem to mind. At least that’s what they tell me. Who knows what they say amongst themselves.

Meantime, I am completely fenced in. I always liked that song “Don’t Fence Me In,” but now that I’m alone in an ever-scarier world, I like fences. I still don’t like other people fencing me in, except, of course, for the workers who actually did fence me in.

The thing about fences is that they have gates, so I’m not truly fenced in, either psychologically or physically. I can always open the gate and leave. Doors are the same way. After Jeff died, people told me, “God never closes a door without opening a window,” which completely ignores the nature of a door — it closes and it opens.

But I’m getting off track.

In the photo above, you can see the recently installed fence on the right, the fence in the back that will have to be redone, and the place where the new garage will go — left of the trench where the sidewalk used to be, but close to the back fence. (You can see where the garage used to be to the right of the trench. The concrete slab used to be in front of the garage.) The lilac bushes along the back fence will have to be moved, but it should be easy for the men to do so using the excavator they will get to dig the foundation for the garage. (Any extra dirt will go to fill in area where the garage used to be.)

Well, now you know more than you ever wanted to know about both the installation and the in-stall-ation of my garage.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Going, Going, Gone

Another exciting day watching the deconstruction of my garage.

Since I’d never used the video on my phone, I didn’t have time to learn how to take a video before the building came down, so all I have are still photos, which is okay. It was fun being in the moment and seeing the rickety old building go down. At first, inch by careful inch.

A fast scurry as the deconstruction workers got out of the way.

And then . . .

I was surprised by how quickly the old concrete foundation was removed — not only was that foundation barely buried, the ground was sodden. (The only place in the entire yard where there was any moisture of any kind.)

I love this stuff!

At one time (and maybe still today for all I know) lonely women of a certain age would frequent doctors to have facelifts and various other surgeries simply for the drama and attention. If I were rich, I’d be one of those women, though it wouldn’t be myself I’d be constantly reconstructing, it would be my house and property — there is something truly satisfying about watching people giving my place a facelift.

Luckily, good sense, a modicum of taste, and a lack of funds will keep me from creating a monstrosity like the Winchester mansion. And just as luckily, there will be plenty of work to be done for some time to come.

The only problem right now is that the “murder house” — the white building behind the tree on the right of the last photo — is in full view. (Supposedly, right before I got here, two drug addicts got in a fight, and one ended up dead.) The new garage, which will be moved to the left of where the old one was won’t do anything to block the infamous view, but planting a good-size tree would do the trick.

And that means more work for the guys to do! Yay!

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.