Yikes. I hate to disappoint those of you who have been thinking my time away from blogging is due to my hot-air balloon trip across the Alps or the Sahara.
We’ve been getting rid of the yucky green stuff that covers decks, porches, sidewalks, houses, driveways, fences and small children here in the South. I have power washed the living bejesus out of every inanimate object on our property so that A could spend the last several days on his knees painting the deck, the porch, and two sets of stairs….
We’ve been blasting the house into decent shape before the hot muggy weather arrives and the only thing we’ll want to blast is our way to the beach.
That’s pretty much what I, queen of the power washer, have been doing lately instead of buzzing around Chamonix Mont Blanc in a balloon. And working on grant proposals. And writing meeting summaries.
I’ve missed you, too.
The guy in front of me looks like a lot of people around here – thin, wiry, long grey hair tied back in a skinny ponytail, skin crinkled from lots of time in the sun. He’s the kind of person I tend to start talking with in parking lots or checkout lines, and so that’s what I do. He’s in the middle of painting something ‘oyster white’, or maybe ‘sand dollar’, judging by the paint smudges covering his arms and t-shirt.
There’s only one person working the paint mixer and so we’re standing there at the paint counter for a while. He tells me his name – Jake – and that he’s painting every room of a big house along the Intracoastal so the owners can put it back on the market: ‘They’re gonna ask a million four – but I say they’ll be lucky to get eight, maybe nine.’
He knows without asking that I’m not from around here. He tells me how back in ’89, when he moved here, this was just a big field and the six lanes out in front of Lowe’s was a narrow two-laner, even dirt in some places. He tells me that I don’t miss being up North.
We talk about power washers. I say I’d never heard of power washing before moving here. He tells me not to put a sealer on the deck, no matter what it says on the back of the Cabot’s can.
Finally his paint’s ready. ‘Oh, I thought you were together,’ the clerk says when he starts to leave and I stay.
‘Well,’ Jake looks at the clerk. ‘We were together while we were standing here, and now we’re going our separate ways.’
He smiles; I smile. I notice his feet. He’s wearing sandals, Tevas maybe. His toenails. His toenails are carefully cut and polished.
They’re bright red.