So maybe I dozed off as it rained

Not every day, he said to himself in the sort of conciliatory fashion that usually comes with hair being tossled, or a sweet jab on the shoulder or the word “Slugger,” is meant to be the most productive day of the week. And in a week of slow productivity, that day was today.

I returned to Lowe’s to pick up the garbage can lid I forgot yesterday. It’s a fair drive over there, so I had time to work up some material. And I had a tight four minutes of poor comedy ready for the person at the customer service desk. But here’s the thing about the person at the customer service desk: they don’t care.

That’s not fair. This woman seemed perfectly fine and approachable. She’s just been trained, either by corporate decision or reasonable experience, to not be bothered by anyone that walks through that door and the story they share.

She did explain the corporate red vest policy. Apparently, they aren’t allowed to take them home. So they’re never clean. That’s a long way to go to avoid Halloween photos on the ‘gram. I said, because it was obvious she caught herself saying something that was too much. She agreed. And she let me get that garbage can lid. And she also rung up a few extra purchases. I got some specialty bulbs for some recessed lighting. I picked up some new air filters, because we have a lot of air to filter, and I also got some packing tape, because I need some crispy, sticky, prrrrrrrrbt! PTSD in my life.

I made two other fruitless stops, which built to a nice little mood. Then I hit an upscale UPS store. I say upscale because this place was built for a certain clientele in a certain part of town. You could tell by the “light fawn” shading of the stucco out front. Our last UPS store was in a tired little strip mall. Twice, within the last year or so, someone drove through the store. Going there for more than a few seconds at a time felt like a gamble for that very reason. Today, I was given two things to drop off at the UPS store. One was going back to Amazon. No problem. The other, the young man straight out of Disinterested Young Clerk Central Casting, vaguely assured me he didn’t want the package.

“Uhhh, these instructions usually mean they’ll pick it up?”

Who is they?

“The UPS driver.”

Well see what brown can do for us this week then.


I got back to the house just in time for the heavy rain to start. Some of our flowering flowers haven’t recovered from Sunday’s rains. This, then, made for a demoralizing scene. Maybe in a week they’ll pick themselves back up, the flowering flowers. Maybe they won’t. This is the headspace I’m reaching for.

After all, I have to simultaneously deal with things like this. This is American fireweed. It’s fire.

As in burning. It’ll burn the flesh right from your bones.

(No, it won’t. — ed.)

It’s actually named that because this is one of the things that first pops up in great abundance after forest fires. It’s a broadly indigenous plant. It has some medicinal uses. Mostly, you forget about this stuff and then wake up in August and this thing is interfering with air travel lanes.

It can grow up to eight to 10 feet, almost over night. I pulled up a lot of it today. All of it in a hard-to-reach spot. I am wondering if it was nature or a person that thought this was a great practical joke.

I looked in some storage for a few items I can’t put my hands on. Still can’t find them. But I did pull out some good thread, high quality envelopes and some thank you cards. I am sitting on some weird, arbitrary fine line of “Will this be useful? Or should this be stored and forgotten until after it would have been useful?”

Which is to say, how many times have I purchased a batch of thank you cards while six other blank cards sit in a drawer and I’ve forgotten about them?

The next thing to do — that’s probably not true, but this is on a long list — is to make sure that all of the things are placed in rooms and drawers and shelves that make sense for when and where they’ll be used. All of that tape I picked up today was placed in a cabinet in the mudroom. Because it doesn’t need to go in a kitchen cabinet, and we might forget it if we put it in the basement somewhere. There are dozens of these little decisions.

And why is that large nail protruding from the wall at almost eye level? I spent a few minutes solving that problem, because the nail is in use, but it is inelegantly applied. Martha Stewart would just cringe.

Also I disguised a bit of floor under the stairs in the basement. This is the area where things with no daily demand will go. But you can build a little box fort around that area, so that, one day, when you are cleaning up down there, and you find the old seashells that would have been useful for that one project, and the extra wood flooring and such, you’ll smack yourself in the head remembering that you did have some walnut-shaded maple, and a bunch of broken bits of ocean life. And you’ll wonder why you built up this box fort. Because it made sense on a rainy day in 2023.

Oh, I changed the air filter, and added an innovation. I wrote the date on the air filter, so I’ll know when to replace it. (Don’t worry, there’s a notation in my calendar, as well.)

The best part of the day is that my in-laws arrived safely this evening. They’re going to spend the weekend with us. They sampled our peaches.

Like that new basket, don’t ya? I surely do.

Anyway, they said the peaches are delicious. And they are! I had a few after dinner tonight.

If fresh fruit is involved in the best part of your day, no matter how productive the day was, it was a pretty good day, Slugger.

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