Saturday, April 22, 2006

What's That Got to Do with Anything?


Causality, linkage, logical relationships between seemingly unrelated things and events. I can stitch it all together in a heartbeat and I don't even work in the State Department.

You can blame the old man for that one. Well, you can blame him for a lot of things Like my insisting on drinking out of glasses instead of two liter soda bottles and then not wiping. Not that I still have issues. Well, Ok, I do. Thirty years on and I do. You try and make a Coke appetizing knowing you're pouring it over a heap of Dad goop around the mouth of the freaking bottle. Geez, I learned the potential of aggitating a carbonated beverage trying to shake soda out of the bottle, hopefully pouring it straight out of the center of the thing, not touching the plastic sides at all. My buddy handed me a water bottle during soccer practice last week and I almost projectile vomited on his coach's shirt such that it read "Upper Chowblow Athletic Residual Chunks."

But snatching corelation from the jaws of randomness is a talent Dad instilled me with simply by making me help him with his projects around the house. Like wallpapering the hallway. He loved to wallpaper and would extol its virtues over paint at dinner conversations. This is why I still have potato markings on my forehead from falling over asleep into the damn things. He also hated dirt. Any kind. Inside is inside and out is out and you could probably operate or construct microchips in our house given how clean he insisted it be. So every project, in this case, wallpaper, started with a good vacuuming, dusting, wall washing which led us to short out an outlet by getting it too wet. Which led to a circuit breaker tripping. Which led to the basement and the piles of laundry not done. Which led to the laundry being sorted into the two bins he constructed so as to relieve my mother of the burden of deciding white versus colored shirts ever again. And since these were the seventies, he could have further built the colored bin the size of a closet and left just enough room for a matchbook and what white laundry we owned. Even briefs had to be of the garishly tinted variety which may explain my shyness during gym. But now that the laundry sorting system was constructed, it was time to find a use for the patch of carpet he had cut up (trashing it is NOT an option) so we sought useful things like a padded underlay for the aquarium motor that was always vibrating and, yes, long as we're at it, we need to clean the aquarium. This is why two p.m. rolled around, we had been at it since eight, and not a postage square of paper had yet been introduced to the wall.

But it was all connected and one couldn't happen with the other.

The old man once took this to its apogee when building a pool in the backyard. Yeah, you heard me right. We built a pool. It was one of those above ground things you normally associate with trailer park communities. It was small, shallow and the neighborhood kiddies would turn it into an ersatz pisspot for a month while their in ground that we never got invited to was built.

Funny how the Volvo wound up in there eventually when we discovered the magic of beer in our teenage years.

But back to the construction of the tin box that doubled as a pool. It was just touching seventy degrees and the right kind of day that made a swim as tempting as Maureen was a few years later on. The parts for the pool were delivered and set out and sorted through. Clearly, it was time to start constructing. The first order of business was to dig a hole six inches deep that we would then fill with sand as the foundation of the thing. I brought a shovel. Dad brought an edger.

That was valuable turf there, boy. He took my shovel and wandered off to clean some of the pool parts Don't you go just digging it up. You edge out even squares of grass and we'll cut them out and place them on all the dead parts of the lawn around here.

And so it was, Sisyphean-like that I would edge out squares of lawn, Dad would load one on a wheelbarrow and wander around the yard, looking for just the right little muddy spot where grass refused in seven years to grow so he would dump it there and show nature a thing or two.

At this rate, we'll have a working pool by Thanksgiving.

We sold the house and pool a few years later. I understand that the folks that bought it had no use for an above ground footbath with a thyroid condition so they took the pool down and then bought several rolls of turf to cover the circle the thing left in their back yard. Dad would have harvested instead.

My projects have linkage. Taking down wallpaper means a bucket, a sponge, and water. Move the furniture and get to it. Blown circuits will get taken care of later unless they cut out the coffee maker. Oh, and I paint. Any printed on paper graphic that adorns my walls better have deep blue eyes and cleavage. No peonies and laurels here.

Bunny on.

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