Accomplishments

I was out pulling weeds, battling grasshoppers, and feeding mosquitoes (albeit unwillingly), when a when a white pickup pulled up to the house. The driver got out and started questioning me about my garage. He looked familiar, so I wasn’t unduly concerned, then it dawned on me — this was the building inspector.

He’d been checking on the garage occasionally, even after all the structural elements were in, which is where I thought his authority stopped, but apparently not. So I showed him the garage. To be honest, even if he was a stranger, I might have shown him the garage anyway — I do like that little building! In fact, I was talking to a friend the other day and when she asked about the garage, I said, “I love my garage.” She laughed and responded, “I bet twenty-five years ago you’d never have been able to imagine yourself saying that.” I had to admit she was right. Even as little as two years ago — or even one — I couldn’t have imagined saying those words let alone meaning them.

Well, that’s not true. I mean, it is true about my fondness for the garage, but I doubt I’d have let a stranger in to see it. Too many felonious fellows around here.

I was amused by the way the inspector studied my fake window. I’m not sure what he thought — that the builders had changed the plans after his last inspection? I told him it was just a decoration, a bit of artwork. He didn’t seem impressed, but he did say that a fake window was one sure way of keeping out thieves. (So see, I’m not the only one who is aware of the way things — tools especially — go missing around here.) He questioned about the electricity since he hadn’t inspected it before the walls went up, but the state had inspected it, and state supersedes county. I didn’t have a printout of the inspection report, but I offered to send him one, but he said he didn’t need to see it.

He also studied the framework of my gazebo. There was a fairly new concrete pad in front of the old garage, and after the garage was torn down, there the pad sat, screaming out for a roof. So I’m obliging. The lumberyard had overestimated the amount of materials for the lumber pack we’d ordered to build the garage so basically, the gazebo is free. Well, except for the labor.

The inspector questioned me about my plans for the gazebo, so I asked if we needed a permit since my understanding was that we didn’t. “Not really,” he said. Whatever that means. Maybe that if he decided we needed a permit we did? He seemed satisfied when I told him the railings were all the walls there would be, and that it just needs a roof. (Apparently, it’s the enclosing of a space that makes it a building rather than simply something that is built.)

He might be back to inspect the gazebo when it’s done, but I don’t see a problem. I’m sure the contractor will make the roof windproof, using the hurricane connectors as he did with the garage. Because, yes, winds up to 90 miles an hour have been clocked around here, and yes, people do lose their roofs. (Rooves? As in hoof/hooves?)

Oh, I almost forgot — he said he was signing off on the garage and would be sending me the signed report.

There are still a few things that need to be finished, such as the gutters fixed, gravel poured in front of the garage to bridge the gap between the alley and the apron, and hangers need to be hung on inside walls for my tools, but apparently, for all practical and official purposes, the garage is done.

P.S. As I was writing this, one of the workers stopped by to move the counters I rambled on about yesterday. They really are too heavy for one person, even a strong person, otherwise he would have already moved them, but my knees are healed enough that I was able to help get them inside the garage. Yay! One more thing accomplished.

***

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

What Happened to May?

April seemed to linger forever. The days themselves passed at a normal rate, but when I woke each the morning, I thought for sure several days had passed rather than just one. It could be due to waking several times extra each night because of pain in my knee, or it could be the dozes I fell into while reading. (As interesting as it is to study a work, such as I am doing with The Wheel of Time series, the passages I remember clearly, especially the dreary ones, tend to get boring so I skip them or fall asleep, which negates the purpose of deconstructing the story.)

For whatever reason, April did pass, and now suddenly it’s the middle of June. Huh? What happened to May? I don’t remember May at all. It must have gotten subsumed into The Wheel of Time, either the story or the Tibetan wheel that gave the series its name.

More probably, though, I was concentrating on moving things along that didn’t want to move — a knee that didn’t want to heal quickly, plants that didn’t want to grow (there aren’t many living things that can deal with a drought, freezing temperatures one day and ninety degrees the next, and an ignorant caregiver through it all), as well as a garage that is being built at an equally slow pace. Which made for a strangely unmoving experience where every day was the same as every other day.

But now it’s June and somehow things did change during May. The knee is better, the transplanted bushes are alive even if they’re not exactly thriving, the flowers that wanted to bloom did and the rest are resting in peace. And the garage is much further along than it had been. (We’re past the stage of needing an inspector, so my worries of needing to get a second building permit never came to fruition.)

I need a new plan for planting, though. The bulbs did not do well at all, so sadly, I glance at the catalogs full of spring blooms that decorate my otherwise empty mailbox, and toss them aside. It’s possible the bulbs would grow despite the clay soil if I dug deep holes, filled them with potting soil, and then . . . what? Water them? It’s hard to know what to do in a drought, so it’s best if I wait for the wheel to turn to a more propitious time (or for me to learn way more than I know now about taking care of the poor things).

So now here’s June, but it might as well still be May for all the changes that are occurring. The knee still is not well enough to take walks (though well enough to do whatever I need to do around the house without exorbitant pain.) The bushes aren’t growing in this horrible heat and wind. The garage still needs to be finished. And I’m still reading (or rather rereading) the same fantasy series.

I do know it’s June, though it feels more like July, so that’s something. At the very least, another month won’t slip into the same black hole that May did.

Not that it really matters what month it is. April, May, June — they are all just names for that which flows beneath the wheel of time.

***

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.

Plagued by Restlessness

I find myself restless more often than not lately, and the return of dark and dreary days — cold, dark and dreary days — isn’t helping.

It’s time for me to drive again, and I considered doing so, except when I stepped outside, the cold drove me back inside. One of these days, I might have a garage, in which case driving will be a matter of pushing a button or two to get into the car, but for now, the vehicle is still out in the open and blanketed with a car cover. It’s been almost five years since the car was restored, so perhaps it doesn’t need to be babied as much. Or maybe it needs to be babied more. But whichever, it’s still more trouble than it’s worth to unpack the car and drive somewhere.

There’s no place to go, anyway, except to the grocery store, and if I went there, I’d want something more than healthy food. It seems as if this time is one that calls for treats to offset all the restrictions. Although I would really like to have had something to make me and the day feel less dreary, I opted for health.

I made salads for the next few days.

I also made a stir fry and cut up vegetables for dipping. It didn’t help with the restlessness, of course, but I could feel good about what I was eating. Besides, I no longer know what a treat would be. I could get flour and sugar to make cookies or something like that, but then, with being isolated by myself, there would only be me to eat them.

Still, the stir fry was good, and there’s enough left for another meal tomorrow, though tomorrow, who knows — I might give in and go for something a lot less healthy.

Unless, of course, the sun is shining — then I might try to do something out in the yard. That’s different, since it’s not something I can do in the winter. But then, I’d be frustrated at all the building supplies taking up space in my yard instead of being put to use.

Eek. What a life!

Actually, despite everything, I still have it good and count myself lucky that restlessness is the worst of my problems. I wouldn’t even mind being so restless since it’s something that I’m used to, but this restlessness seems to be fueled by the dread of what is going to happen because of these draconian measures and how this whole plague-ridden mess is going to be used against us in the future.

But that’s the future. Today, I’m okay. Today, I’m lucky. Today, I’m grateful.

***

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.

A Taste of Spring

In five days, I will have been a house owner for an entire year. That year sure went fast! I came here just as spring was making itself felt, and today, as if in celebration, spring decided to make a visit. Sunny skies. Gorgeous weather.

None of my bulbs (except for that one intrepid snow drop that’s still hanging around) have put in an appearance, but if, as Aristotle says, “One swallow does not a summer make,” then I’m sure it also holds true that one fine day does not a spring make. So there’s still time for them to make an appearance.

Still, bits of green are starting to peek above the dead leaves that didn’t get blown away last fall. Most of the green, I’m sure, are weeds of some sort, but until I find out for sure, I welcome the color. (And even if I do find out they are weeds, I am sure I will still welcome the color. I am a bit tired of the drab earthen tones of the winter, so new growth of any kind will be nice.)

I also found some green shoots that look as if they might be from bulbs, but I never planted them, and there weren’t any blooms in that part of the yard last year. Maybe they are a house anniversary present from Chloris, the goddess of flowers.

The gift of greenery wasn’t the only present I got today. The contractor came to frame the foundation for the garage and he brought me some farm eggs. Such lovely colors!

Whatever the coming weeks hold, I certainly enjoyed today’s taste of spring.

***

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