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Could It Possibly Be That I'm Growing Up?




Someone told me the UPS code for "Adult" is "A" for signing authority.
"You mean to tell me it's not G?"
"What's a G?" asked that person.
"Grown-up."



Last night, my beau phoned me. I like to think of him as a beau for the sake of this blog posting because I rarely use that term; it's more like, "boyfriend." Although the word, "boyfriend" really doesn't suit a guy his age; it doesn't suit where we're at at this relatively new stage, embarking on a relationship borne from a friendship. We're still in the adult version of a courting state. Using the term, "boyfriend," also makes me sound like a pedophile. Seeking a right word to coin, a word that adequately describes someone who is in your life, building some sort of groundwork, finding commonality and discovering who we are in the scheme of things isn't in the cards.

I used to call guys "lovers." That word relegated a relationship to strictly sex. And those relationships were strictly sex. Well, some of them weren't. It took a friend to say to me years ago, "It always sounds sordid when you call him your lover."

I liked that. But, moving along, my beau must have patience of a saint for I'm a handful. He knows all about the FedEx guy. Given he also has a sordid past, we're kinda equal in that regard. The frequency with which he texts me while at work shows he's bored. I provide entertainment value even in the midst of my mundane situations.

The past few days, I underwent some household drama outside of the usual sturm und drung. I've a mountain of paperwork to fill for FEMA assistance. To new readers of my blog, I underwent a true emergency disaster during Hurricane Sandy which I underplayed in the blog postings. My insurance doesn't cover the cost of a half-assed repair. Hell, it only covered the tree cutting after the deductible.

Which left me with some decisions: with the remaining balance, should I address minimal work done on my personal electric wires, stretched all the way out from tree branches trampolining on them during the hurricane so that anyone can walk into them OR minimal work to redo the shed structure after a 120' tree fell on it?

The shed was built onto my pump house. Living in the country, I've my very own well. The pump house houses the well, water tank, hot water heater, propane tank, electrical main boards and washer/dryer. On the surface, everything seemed operational even after a 120' tree smashed into the connected building. When I used the washing machine 1 1/2 weeks later (after power was restored), it sounded like a squirrel in heat. Then, I noticed the spin cycle no longer functioned. In the midst of a heavy load early in the morning, it sent out a huge Bronx cheer, the whiff of a possible fire and died.

Just my luck. Inside was a heavy load consisting of sweaters and towels filled to the brim with water. Peering at the swampy mess, I groaned. I left it alone since I had to get my car to the garage for a long-overdue oil change, an appointment I had to keep.

The good thing about small towns is the care and concern of the community. My town features a terrific mechanic who employs almost a dozen people. Because of his popularity, an appointment is necessary. He's professional, he doesn't price gouge and is a prominent member who participates in philanthropic events. One of them is me.

He and his wife (who does the business end) knew me before I went neurologically deaf. I explained, "I hear all sorts of weird things now and can't determine whether it's in my head or it's the car. Not only that, I've no idea where it comes from if there is something to hear."

Those few times I've been right on target. For I learned early on to identify sound by each setting. I know the strange noises I hear in the car, a closed environment. Anything outside of those noises could possibly mean that something's wrong. Although I didn't hear when the passenger side rear tire blew up while speeding on the highway. In my cottage, I've lists of sounds so I can identify what they could be. Any sound, should I hear it, could be someone at my door, a potential fire or a tree falling on top. Insofar as a tree falling on top, I didn't even hear that occur during the hurricane, only a few feet from my cottage! Strike THAT off my list.

During my wait in the garage, I sat babbling to the wife until I was interrupted by a spate of texts from my beau. We proceeded to have a text fight. I enjoyed it in that, as he complains, my writing's far more aggressive than my speech. Exasperated, he phoned. I mangled an ear bud for my good ear just for those momentous occasions. Since I don't capture all his words, he has to repeat himself ad nauseum. That's where the patience of a saint kicks in.

I learned early on the value of a person in the way they argue. And I like the way he argues with me. Despite how he feels at the moment: livid and fuming (and, I imagine, a strong urge to strangle me), he behaves well. That behavior induces me to try to listen to his point of view. It also calms me down because I'm the loose cannon here. After we resolved this situation in a very amicable way, he asked, "Where are you?"

"I'm at the garage. The car needs an oil change. Then, I gotta go to the store, 30 miles in the other direction and purchase a new washing machine. But first I gotta bail it out, wring dry the clothes before I can put them in the dryer. They're sopping wet."

After I finished with that conversation, the owner approached me. "Listen, we're all out of those air filters and waiting for the company to deliver. Sorry to make you wait for three hours."

"It's been three hours?" Time passes fast when you argue with someone mostly by text.

"Let me take you home and we'll pick you up at the end of the day."

At home, I made lunch and then bailed out the washing machine with a device the owner lent me. I wrung out almost every item in freezing cold water in the freezing cold air outside the pump house and tossed the sodden items in the dryer which let out a screech.

That, too, was impacted by the thud of the tree.

When I entered the house, my beau texted me, "What's going on?"

"Fun times. Bailed out a washing machine, wrung out clothes, stuck home. I'm chilled to the bone."

Later that day, the owner's wife picked me up, took me to the garage and I got my car.

The following morning, I woke up early, piled the trunk with my garbage for the dumps which is en route to the store. Right before I tossed the garbage, my Check Engine warning sign flashed and held firm. I phoned the garage, "What should I do? I'm at the dumps en route to the store to get a washing machine."

"Come right back to us." Us was 20 miles in the opposite direction. I drove there and when I entered, the wife asked, "Did you bail out the washing machine?"

"Yes, thank you. May I use that device to bail out my boat engine of the remaining gas?"

They did an exploration of the car, putting me slightly ahead of the overflowing crowd. The owner approached me with a cracked spark plug. "Good thing you returned for this would've killed your catalyst converter."

I have no idea what a catalyst converter is, but it sounded like a very expensive repair job. All in all, it took a few hours and I returned home in time for a late lunch.

My beau texted me, "Did you get the washing machine?"

"Not this time. The car had a problem and I was at the garage again. Hopefully, this time, the 3rd time will work like a charm."

At the store, I chose a washing machine on sale. The guy said, "Listen, in two days we're having an additional sale on top of the sale."

"But I need the machine now. If I purchase it now, I'll get it in two days. If I wait and purchase it then, I won't get it for a week." The closest laundromat was 15 miles away. The thought of lugging all that stuff, the drive and time expended made me groan.

"How about this," he suggested, "you purchase it now and after it's delivered, you return here and I'll adjust your bill."

Standing in silence, I weighed the pros and cons for a considerable period of time. "Should I bother?"

"We're talking about a lot of money."

So, we went ahead with the sale and then found out my address is not in the delivery databanks. According to the store, it doesn't exist.

"How could that be?" I asked. "I'm already in your databanks because over the years I purchased a refrigerator, dryer and tons of appliances from you guys which you delivered."

It took an hour to fix that mess. When the sale finally concluded, I realized that what I spent for the washing machine with tax and delivery was the entire amount of money left over from my insurance after paying the guy for cutting down the tree. Which doesn't say a lot about how much I got from insurance.

Wiped out, I did a few quick errands in the town and, while driving home, my beau phoned me from work. "Did you make it to the store? Haven't heard from you for a long time. Thought your car broke down or something."

"Yes. It took a few hours, what a fiasco, but I got it." I paused to let him say something. He said nothing. I could only imagine what he must be thinking, like, how hard is it to buy a washing machine? Why all the drama? Then again, he's really getting to know me. "It'll be delivered in two days. And I have to return to the store later that day to get a further discount."

Now, all of this may sound trivial and rightly so. Upon reflection, I may even sound like a housewife. But I enjoy that someone's interested in the trite details of my quotidian life. Because I'm not a trick monkey designated to entertain a man despite those fun moments. What I share is my life as tedious as it is. How I share my life and his interest in my life and vice versa are the building blocks which, hopefully, develop into something substantive. Not everything has to be fireworks, passion and romance all the time. There's the friendship and companionship part, equally important.

On a sidebar, I told him of a phone call received very early that morning. A guy from the propane company asked, "Ms. Stone, do you have enough gas to last you until Monday?"

My response: "Is that a trick question?"

Today I'm going to use the device the garage proprietor lent to drain the remaining gas out of the boat engine. Believe it'll make interesting conversation for dinner tonight with my beau.



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