The Retiree: October 23, 2013


There was a wind blowing in from the south as I wadded screening under the door to my crawl space. That would keep out the creatures that try to inhabit my basement for the winter. I was also trying to find a folding knife that disappeared while I was painting near that door.
Some people look at the bands on caterpillars to determine how bad a winter we will have. Some judge muskrat houses. I count the small animals that try to sleep under my roof. Without screening, the door is only tight enough to keep out badgers and most woodchucks. One year a feral cat came in and had kittens in that crawl space, but she might have come through an open basement door.
While wadding, I noticed three things. One was that my baseball cap kept blowing off. Second was my wife, who had been trying to find me. Third was the neighbor, who evidently was unaccustomed to seeing people stuff screening under a crawl space door.
“How's your wife doing?” said Wife to Neighbor. She has a high level of concern for people.
“Doing well,” he said. “Visiting nurse said she's progressing. Skin doctor's happy. Tomorrow we see the leg doctor. Then we go to the arm doctor. Then the family doctor on Friday.” I bet she wishes she hadn't had that car accident at all.
“My cardiologist today told me he's happy with me, too,” I said. “Of course he didn't lose his knife and there was no gale blowing in his face.”
He said, “Haven't seen a knife. Looks like you're jamming screen under your crawl space door.”
“Just trying to wedge it shut to keep the animals out.”
“I don't suppose you have to jam screen under doors in your new house,” Wife said.
“No, but I need to cover those two boats up there, and tie down some other stuff. I don't like wind. I suppose you're going out for a boat ride, since your shore looks like you don't expect winter to come this year.”
“The boat's coming out next week,” said Wife. In desperation, she'd asked for a price from the marine store but Son is going to bail us out.
“I have to go,” said Neighbor. “Wind is catching my pontoon boat and might blow it across the road.”
“My horseshoe stake is starting to blow away,” I said, “so I better forget the knife and screen and go inside.” A concrete block blew off the step.
Each year the tasks get a little more complicated. I'm beginning to see why those people down the road moved away—Sam and Janet Evening, I think, were their names—but so far the effort to stay here is worth it.
Hawaii is nice, though.