It was early. The sunlight was barely beginning to peek through the Master Bedroom windows. She turned over, leaned up on one elbow and spoke.
“Guess what I heard this morning?” She asked me.
I squeezed my eyes a little tighter closed.
Yes. I got to sleep in the big bed last night. I’m not sure how that happened. I’ll bet Eightball was lonely.
“Sorry, about the ass-bomb, honey.” I mumbled. “I’ll try to remember not to eat nachos and jalapeños before bedtime again.”
There followed a protracted moment of silence. It was so deafening, it woke me all the way. I lay there like a thief in the shrubs with my eyes wide open.
That kind of long silence first thing in the morning is never good.
“I’m talking about the honking …”
I sank in shame a little deeper into the quilts.
“I know, I know…” I grumbled. “I’ll take a Tums™ next time…”
“…geese that flew over the house about an hour ago.” She finished.
I sat up and looked at her. I blinked once, and then twice.
“Geese? We don’t have any geese.” I simply replied.
She heaved a sigh of frustration.
“Did you even go to school?” She asked me. “The geese! Migratory birds! They fly south for the winter?”
Oh, a game- this should be fun. I buzzed in: ding, ding, ding!
“What is Florida, the Mason Dixon Line, and the War Between the States, Alex?”
She kicked me.
“No! That means it’s time to clean and treat the roof, and to hose out the gutters, or our basement is going to be flooded again this year!”
For such a petite and little woman- she has a memory like an elephant!
How could a day go so wrong so fast, and before I had even awakened, or had my first cup of coffee? She must lay awake at night thinking of stuff for me to do!
“And no power-washer on the shingles this time!” She called to me as I made my way down the stairs. “You blew those things for three and-a-half blocks last year, and the roofing company added us to their Christmas Card list!”
Hosing the roof off is no big deal, although it would go a little quicker, and be a lot more fun with the power-washer, even if a shingle or two got blown off in the process; and cleaning the gutters is no big deal either- if disgusting- but that means I also have to check the Christmas lights.
I don’t take them down every year. I have them strung on hooks just behind and under the gutters so that when I plug them in, in December- actually, the first weekend after Thanksgiving- they highlight the house, but otherwise you can’t see them January through November the rest of the year. I’m not lazy, I just don’t believe in working harder than I have too.
It’s a funny thing about Aluminum ladders, water and electricity- they don’t work and play very well with others.
Let me back up here… (And stop laughing! I didn’t even get there, yet!)
I got the roof all hosed off and treated- I only fell off once, but it’s okay, because the garden rake broke my fall- and I got the gutters all cleaned out, and the exterior walls all sprayed off. In the process, I had about two inches of standing water in the yard, but I knew enough to wear rubber gloves when checking the lights.
Now, if I had only waited for the water to drain, or the sun to come out and dry everything, or grounded the aluminum ladder and had on a pair of rubber boots, I would have been fine!
I switched the lights on and saw right away that several of them were burned out and needed to be replaced. So far, so good. On about the third bulb- I really don’t remember for sure, but the Emergency Room Doctor said short-term memory loss isn’t unusual in a case of Massive Electrical Trauma, and that my powers of recollection should return in a few hours. The facial tick and spasmodic left hand might last as much as a couple of months, but that I could probably stop wearing the Depends™ Adult Diapers within a couple of days- I noticed that when I tried to unscrew it, I got a little tingle.
Nothing big, just a playful little zap.
“Hmmm…” I thought to myself. “I must have a short, or exposed wire here somewhere.”
I took off my glove and began to run my nimble, wet fingers along the line to find the break.
I found it.
It went something like this-
*° Sssszzzziiittt ° * °* Ttsszzt- ° *grackle ° * °* pop! (YIKES!)
In the big book of the DHMF, (Doghouse Manifesto) Chapter 69-A: HOME MAINTENANCE FOR BONEHEADS– Rule # 4967(b) and 4967(C) state respectively: “Village idiots who insist to perform home maintenance tasks will rarely get severely injured and/or die. They will however, sustain multiple bruises, contusions; scrapes, scratches, broken bones and burns that will require medical attention, and it would be cheaper in the long run if they did, in fact, die.” and, “The severity of injury for your village idiot, who insists to perform home maintenance tasks, will be predicated on the following formula: height and/or distance times speed, velocity, gravity and general over-all costs, multiplied by your insurance deductible and yearly home owner’s insurance premium.”
I landed on the rake again, but this time it did not break my fall, so much as it dug its dull, rusty teeth into my ass.
And, then the handle snapped up and hit me in the face.
And, then the smoldering ladder fell over on top of me.
When I woke up- in a puddle with no eyebrows and my hair steaming- Eightball was licking the blood from my face, not because he was concerned, but because he was hungry, and she was standing over me, with a scowl on her face.
“I’m glad you’re not dead,” she began, “but it would sure be cheaper if you were, because then I could pay the electricity bill with your life insurance!”
I think she asked if I was okay and told me that she loved me, but I’m not sure ‘cuz my ears were ringing.
“The Power Company Supervisor is on his way over.” She shouted.
I nodded my head in agreement.
“I’m glad it’s over too.” I said.
The young Power Company Executive with the clipboard and the nametag was actually concerned this time.
“You know, sir, if you’re going to keep doing stuff like this, you really ought to go to Electrician’s School, or we need to add you to our ‘Frequent Flyer’s Purchase Rewards Program’, ‘cuz you’re racking up quite a lot of expenses here. Or- and this is just a thought- next time you might want to call us first?”
He marked an ‘X’ on his form and handed me his clipboard.
His team of extra electricians; the line crew, the overtime crew, the two pro’s working the sub-panel in front of my neighbor’s house; the two guys working the subterranean lines under the street, with two more flagmen directing traffic around the open manhole, while the High Tension Line Team replaced the transformer and the scorched pole, we’re all hard at work, and he assured me that they would be done before morning, and that power to the rest of the neighborhood should be restored sometime before noon the next day.
I signed his requisition form. (At least I think I did. My hand was trembling.)
He studied me for a concerned moment.
“Sir?” He asked me. “Are you sure you’re alright?”
I turned around and looked at her. She was still scowling.
“Nope.” I answered him.
* sigh *
My Dear Readers- my book, A DogHouse Manifesto, is now available for purchase and is listed by title at PublishAmerica.com, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com and other fine book-sellers worldwide.
A DogHouse Manifesto © by Mitchell L. Peterson.
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