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ralph robert moore
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the tragedy of very expensive scrambled eggs
october 11, 2003
There are of course many enjoyable simultaneousnesses of couplehood, and this past Tuesday morning Mary and I enjoyed one of the quieter such serendipities, waking at the same exact moment from separate dreams; mine a dream in which I was speaking a language unknown to me, and in fact a language whose teeth-to-lower lip positions are generally not used in English, although an example of the odd positionings can be felt in the pronunciation of the word 'sphere'; both of us arm-stretching at the same time, my left hand above Mary's nose, her right hand above my nose, when we suddenly sat upright in bed, saying the same word. "Garbage!"
Our garbage pick-up days are Tuesdays and Fridays.
The past Friday, about eight o'clock in the morning, we were sitting at our breakfast nook table, mini-blinds hoisted so we could watch all the birds, bunnies, butterflies and squirrels in our backyard garden, at the moment in question Mary flipping through a clothing catalog, me looking down at my half-empty coffee cup (and by the way, I find the whole up-beat attitude professed by the 'is it half-full or half-empty' life lesson to be inane and rather irritating (much like all the other truly stupid 'insights' American businesses grab hold of, viz., "There's no 'I' in 'Team'"), as if describing something half-full or half-empty really says anything meaningful about someone's approach to life, and indeed irritating enough to where if I were to come across two people who were thirsty and only had water for one, and the first told me his glass was half-empty, the second, with an air of correct-speak, his glass was half-full, I'd give the water to the half-empty guy, explaining to the other, "Your glass is still half-full, but his is half-empty. He needs it more."); anyway, looking down at my half-empty coffee cup, deciding if I should add just more coffee, or coffee and milk, we both heard that far-off, heavy gear change that garbage trucks make.
The different waste baskets throughout both floors of our home were still full, we hadn't emptied them yet into 30-gallon Hefty bags (I hadn't even had my second cup of coffee yet), but as we rushed through the kitchen, through the utility room, into our garage, and looked out the little windows near the top of the garage door, we saw all the other curbs were now bagless.
The thing is, our garbagemen keep no regular hours. Years ago, they used to come around eleven o'clock in the morning, but since the new millennium, they've been arriving according to a schedule that is impossible to discern: sometimes as early as ten; often, as late as six o'clock at night.
The problem with leaving bags of garbage outside, of course, is that if you set them out too late you'll miss the pick-up, but if you set them out too early, you increase the chance of them being discovered by dogs, who rip the bags' bottoms open with their fangs, paw out everything, egg shells, squashed Kleenex, wet coffee grounds, empty cat food cans, AOL sign-up CDs.
So this Tuesday morning, after both shouting, "Garbage!", we looked at the clock on the VCR, saw it was seven-thirty already, and staggered around the house in our pajamas, snatching up all trash can contents by their inner white bags, me jumping into pants, climbing into a shirt, dragging the big, black Hefty bags out to the curb in my mis-matched outfit.
Seven-thirty is actually the latest we've slept in a long time. We normally get up about six o'clock, which even then is late considering that when we both had to drive into Dallas each day to our offices, I'd rise at four-thirty, and gently shake Mary's shoulder at five.
Even after I started working from home, and Mary stopped working because of her stroke, we'd still have to get up according to a schedule at least a few days a week, so Mary could attend her speech therapy at Baylor.
As I mentioned in a previous entry, our healthcare coverage for speech therapy, unfortunately rather limited, ran out a few months ago. Originally, we intended for Mary to continue to receive therapy under a free program Baylor offers, but after a month's break from therapy, waiting for the free sessions to start up again, Mary decided she'd really prefer not to go back. Her decision had nothing to do with Baylor- it was just that by then she had had a year and a half of therapy, and was tiring of it. Her therapist, too, had suggested she might like to stop for a while.
Because Mary no longer has to go to Baylor for therapy, we stay home most days now, seeing only ourselves, which is fine with us. We go out about twice during the week, to buy food and run errands, and occasionally on Sundays, to rent the latest DVDs.
It's a nice life. We're unusually close, and had always wanted to be able to spend all of each day with each other, thinking that wouldn't be possible until retirement, but that sort of insular world is exactly what we have right now.
I wouldn't trade it.
I also mentioned a couple of columns ago I ordered a product known as Skin Zinc for Mary, hoping it might prove effective in treating her eczema. I brought up Skin Zinc to Mary's dermatologist, who condescendingly suggested it was a waste of money, but in fact it's worked far better than any of the expensive ointments he prescribed. Her outbreaks started clearing up in about a day, and she's been, for the first time in several months, relatively itch-free. So if you have a skin condition problem, you might consider it. Although the product is advertised as Skin Zinc, the actual name on the package is Skin Cap. We bought it over the Internet. It took about two weeks to arrive (it was shipped from Portugal).
Our master bedroom is now completely painted, and looks beautiful, better than when we moved in, but we've got two new hitches.
After we had the walls painted white, we were planning to use a painting technique known as frottage as a final finish on the walls. What frottage entails, basically, is rolling on a mixture of glaze and, in our case, gold paint, crumbling up a square of plastic about one mil thick, so it gets a lot of wrinkles, then pressing that plastic square over the wet glaze and gold mixture. You wait until the wall dries, then peel off the plastic. Underneath, you've got an interesting pattern, which is described as 'leather-like'.
The truth is, we tried the technique on a test wall in our master closet, and it just didn't look that good. The gold looked kind of brown, and the over-all effect was too dark. We reduced the amount of gold, which made it look better, but the more we studied it, and we studied it a lot, it just wasn't an effect we wanted. Instead of looking like a rich, gold-veined texture, it looked like a bad water leak.
So we're not sure what we're going to do.
Another problem was with the two black bureaus we ordered.
The website we got them from didn't say they required assembly, and also didn't let on they were made of composite material, rather than solid wood.
We started assembling the first of the two yesterday, on the living room rug, but a lot of the pre-drilled holes for the screws didn't quite match up, and once we got around to putting on the six-foot glossy black bureau top, we saw there was a large ding right in the center of the top, exposing the composite material underneath.
I turned to Mary. "Is it better sometimes just to admit we made a mistake, and walk away?"
She shot me a sideways glance, nodded.
So we're going to visit some of the local furniture stores.
Something we did do which gave us complete satisfaction was go out into our backyard garden and weed for an hour.
This time of year, the weeds aren't that hardy, so they're easy to uproot.
After being stuck on the pin of Summer for so many months, with its heat and brightness, being out in the coolness of Fall, with the first orange leaves of the season, was like ending a walk across the sand with a dive into the ocean.
The air was crisp and tactile, by its pureness suggesting the imminence of that most wonderful of winter smells, smoke emerging from chimneys.