One night a couple of weeks ago, Spring arrived around Midnight and lasted til about 8:30 the next morning. That afternoon, the temps rose to 80+ and, for the next two-and-a-half weeks, we had June in early April – long enough to put away the winter clothes, heavy comforters, and flannel sheets, break out the tee-shirts, shorts and flip-flops.
As the daffodils burst open and the trees began dropping all manner of pollen, Mr. Fix-It decided it was time for his spring project: a deck on the back of Chez Person. As the lady of the house, it had been my simple request to level the yard a little outside the back door and lay a simple patio so we could enjoy that end of the house.
“What?” Mr. Fix-It queried when I asked about the patio. “You don’t want a patio. You want a deck we can sit on and enjoy the forest.” He always calls the woods around our house a forest. I think of “Forest” as being preceded by Pisgah, Chattahoochee, and Redwood with “National” somewhere in the name. I suppose he’s correct since, technically, we live in Sherwood Forest. Lately, though, I haven’t seen any leotard-clad guys in funky little hats with bows and arrows stealing from the rich and giving to the poor running around over here.
Well, check that last statement: I have seen some funky little guys trying to get us on board with their version of highway robbery, but they live in Washington, D.C. Their merry little band is led by Ma Pelosi with Dingy Harry ridin’ shotgun. But I digress…
The day after the shortest Spring in recent history, I was greeted by the sight of all the shrubbery from the back of the house lying next to the driveway. Somewhere in my recent memory, I was able to make connection with a glancing conversation regarding some new shrubbery, so I reasoned to myself that some new plants were being installed as a part of my birthday month celebration. So I left for school secure in the knowledge new greenery was in the offing over the next few days.
Six hours later, I drove into the driveway and came face-to-face with a structure that rivaled the beginnings of the Empire State Building. I thought that, perhaps, the cloud of pollen was obscuring my vision. Everything was coated in yellow powder – the cars, the driveway, the house. The cats had on little goggles so they could see to use the outdoor litter “box”. And, of course, they all have to roll around in it before they decide to come back in the house.
As my vision cleared, though, it appeared I wouldn’t need to be choosing new plants for awhile. The Empire State Building was being constructed in our backyard. And nobody had said “boo” to me about it.
It had come to my attention some weeks back that we harbored a second house deep in the belly of the house in which we reside. The rising deck was proof positive that my observations were not too far afield.
After coming to a stop just outside my house, I decided to address this new handyman invasion with calm and aplomb:
“My precious, are we building something?” is how I recollect the query floating from my little rosebud mouth.
I am told it was not quite that genteel. Work was halted for about half an hour while the guys peeled me from the garage ceiling. Realizing that raising a protest was futile, so I busied myself with something productive – like the laundry.
Over the next couple of weeks, the deck took shape. My irritation at not having been consulted about this new project was replaced by anticipation over this beautiful new space the guys were creating. Our friend Wayne is a carpenter who brought to this project his considerable talent and skill besides being one of the sweetest guys you’ll ever meet.
I’m a big proponent of the philosophy that it’s easier to get forgiveness than permission. Sometimes one has to just make a decision and do the best you can regardless of what skunk juice gets thrown at you for it. Mr. Fix-It has adopted that philosophy as his own as he has proven numerous times in our years together.
My other philosophy is that what goes around comes around.
Helen Person is a columnist for the Barrow Journal. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.