A Third Anniversary, And Why I Thought I Had Mystical Powers
Posted on August 9, 2016
Yesterday was a day of anniversaries. The big one, though, was the third anniversary of my spending the first night in our house after moving in. My father-in-law, whose house it had been, passed away five months earlier, and we’d gutted and redesigned the kitchen, had the whole inside repainted, and put in new carpet. The moving everything around so we could do these things is why I ended up with a hernia. But, we moved in on time after my surgery with a whole lot of help from my friend Jeff, and I began to settle into the home where my husband and his brother grew up. It was not the easiest transition.
Stepping into my father-in-law’s shoes in terms of keeping up the house has been no easy task. Not even close. This was a man who served in the Airforce, who never accepted defeat in terms of a home project, and if there was a tornado standing between him and something he needed or wanted to do, that man reasoned out a way around it or through it, and he succeeded. He had a wonderfully dry and pleasant sarcastic sense of humor. I can see where his kids got theirs. And he cared about people. He may not have always known how to show it in terms of affection—my husband takes after him this way in spades—but he cared.
That’s the kind of man he was. That’s the kind of man he continues to live on in our memory as. But he knew shit I still haven’t been able to figure out. There’s a back-up to the back-up on the sump pump. This puzzles me. He had a way of—and I’ll use this term extremely loosely—organizing his garage. It puzzled me. I have since reorganized it. Twice. It’s making a little more sense now.
A shingle blew off the roof two years ago. Fortunately, I was able to find it in the yard, buy something at Lowe’s, and put it back on. I couldn’t find any shingles in the garage at that time. It was during my second reorganization attempt I did find them. He hid them. I’m convinced he was hiding them from the world, but I found them! One point for the mortal still on earth.
There’s a small generator in the garage that, when the power gets knocked out, can be started and plugged directly into the house—AFTER the breakers have been turned off, thank you—that will power a few areas. That little bastard is loud, though, and even if I’m able to watch a little TV or run a computer, forget sleep because it’s just bloody loud. And I don’t understand how certain areas were selected when he set it up. It’s a mystery. Score one for the man in the afterlife.
I missed the apartment my husband and I lived in for thirteen years. It took about a year and a half for me not to think about the old place anymore, and I no longer miss it. The minions, or ‘residents’ as I’m told the cellar dwellers living in the apartment complex were officially called, were annoying. Like really annoying. My neighbors now are SO much better! And they have dogs. I do love having dogs around me again. I help look after the dogs and my neighbors look after me in ways I never anticipated.
My husband yells at me because my neighbor will get up very early during the winter months, like 8 a.m., snow blow his driveway, then zip up and down and snow blow ours. Why I’m getting yelled at for this is beyond me. I didn’t get up early. I stayed up late. But, if the snow falls again while my neighbors are at work, I clear out their driveway too. It balances out.
This did confuse me in the beginning because I’ve always been told if I wished for something hard enough, it’ll come true. Well, I’d lay in bed during a snowstorm and chant “Snow be gone…snow be gone…snow be gone…” I’d get up in the morning and the snow in the driveway and on the sidewalk would be gone. I thought I’d finally developed mystical powers! Because, you know, I’d been with an Asian for two decades, and he says he’s “all powerful”. Surely it must have rubbed off.
It didn’t. I just have really good neighbors.
The only other thing I haven’t been able to fully get a grip on yet is cutting the hedges or replacing the tarp material under the stones along the side and in front of the house. My husband tells me that his brother used to come over and help their father do it. Do you think my brother-in-law would do that for me? No. So I still flounder a bit with this whole “living in a house” thing.
It’s been three years, and the house hasn’t collapsed yet. I must be doing something right. Or my neighbors aren’t telling me everything I’m missing while they pick up the slack. That could very well be.
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.