Monday, November 21, 2005

A day's chores - extended version

I think most of my friends can't get their heads around my house and this upstate life I've proposed. (Days of water-softener, Scrubbing Bubbles and storm windows.) Novelty of rusticating for a city-wise/country-foolish being.

I think some imagine me against a backdrop of extreme ruralness. A cabin so remote, I hike/canoe/trek into it with non-perishables hoisted on my back. Kerosene, survival skills, Jack London.

Or

Others might see a far flung suburbia: malls, mini-golf, cloned houses on cul-de-sacs, mini-vans with DVD players for the backseat.

Both scearious scare me (latter more than former). My new upstate house/life/land/context sits between the two.

I have 3 acres, racoons, snakes in the stonewalls come summer, a well and a seeping septic field (I think). My life requires: a car, rakes, a mower with a seat and a "contractor's account" at Williams Lumber.

A day; reconstructed from notes.

November 18, Library
(watching Hank Williams Story on TBS, my current background station)

Today:
Indoor Chores
Unpacked boxes in library.
Organized CDs – recognizing the futile (but driven to use part of the brain in-active from box cutting/collapsing and grout cleaning.

Outdoor Chores
Swept seedpods, and last vestiges of gravel, off the driveway. Lacking leaf bags (or a plan), I raked onto the lawn and mingled with existing piles.
Tried raking flower beds, so the holly might shine out for the holidays, but ended up finger-combing dead plants and moving about leaves.
Knocked down, pulled out and cleared long stems of plants I don't recognize. (Seemed incontestable and not requiring consulting book or local friend.)

Cleared deer path to the brook. Discovered it, their droppings and the tramped down areas and, seeing the hoof marks at the stream's edge, felt proprietary and proud. Like with the birds: welcome to my land creatures of nature, let me make some space for you and make it comfy. First guests.

Moved seed pods around back lawn. Split down the middle of whether they're good for the lawn – should be left to rot or cleared. Did some of both.
Collected dead branches and put in a pile.
Cleared off stepping stones with my rake.

(Enjoy having a tool).

Discovered compost heap. Felt guilt for not using or knowing how to.
Cut back big mound tree/bushes that live left of the front door. Attacked (with clippers) as if they were topiaries - pruning to round – then thought they could use thinning. All the while, nagging feeling I should have a larger plan for their look.
Added my green pine boughs and cut back stuff to the gray to-be-burned pile below the barn.

Lost smaller of two tools. To be found in the spring, in the spokes (blades?) of a lawnmower.

Wore rubber-palmed gloves and felt a pioneer.

Barn Chores
Organized barn, picked up trash and sorted Circa from me/house and thought about carpeting and bringing in lamps. Two things I know how to do.

Break: wrote emails, drank coffee, might have moved some clothes around.

Indoor Chores (con't)
Pledged pieces of furniture I'd managed to drag from barn.
Added to 2 lists: Hardware and Groceries; new items springing forth as I clean (small rake, baking soda).
Around 2 realized I'd been putting off car-errands and heading into last half of second day without leaving the house, or re-exhausting the weary credit card.

Into the Subaru and off to Williams Lumber and Super Stop & Shop with lists.

Bought too much, finding something I might need – in the name of stocking – in every aisle. Frozen foods, kitchen implements, pie crusts.

At Williams: plunger, 4 (all different) utility knives, 6 more rolls of contact paper, replacement clippers, baby rake, replacement bulbs for the infernal spots on the first floor's ceiling, water softener.

I walk the Williams Lumber/Hardware aisles poised between anticipation and dread. Rounding unacannily well-stocked aisles, scanning menus that anticipate any households need, I fear there may be nothing in this store, that I will not (if not now, soon) require. My home chains me to a hardware store. Its siren call of drill bits and mailbox reflectors will draw me back.

(As long as I shall own my house.)

Awed by adult-hood and this responsibility of grocery shopping with a car and retrieving mail from my roadside box. (I feel I'll die there.)

C - understanding a little more with every day

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