Monday, April 18, 2016


     Contrary to countless books, shows, and movies these days that wrap things up so that everything makes sense (I picture a present neatly wrapped with ribbon and bow on top), life can be messy with all-too-many loose ends. So that when something comes to a neat and tidy close, it often feels like a pleasant surprise.
     The months leading up to present have had added tension due to a number of open items. With the resolution of some of them, that tension has eased some. Specifically:
     I, with the kids' sometimes help (I did 90+% of it) completed a wickedly difficult 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle that had way too many teeny tiny, almost indistinguishably shaped pieces of dull green and black. Braden chose it years ago from Goodwill at a cost of three dollars. It took about a year-and-a-half to finish. The box it came in had already been opened and thus at the end we discovered it had one missing piece, which we found two weeks later under the dining table rug during a thorough cleaning. It's now mounted on Pene's old science fair tri-fold display board beside that table. (I mounted it using white glue. A cookie sheet and spatula lifted sections in turn, starting from the center, while glue was spread over the waiting cardboard surface.)
     I finished reading The Lord of the Rings to Pene and was amazed by how moving it was at times for when I'd read it to Braden three years earlier, he and I were both bemused and much more detached. Perhaps it's because Pene is emotional like me. The tension kept mounting and mounting—especially in the second of the three books.
     Our office had been in transition—very unpleasant and stressful—almost half a year now and the situation is now nearly resolved to a mostly satisfactory conclusion. Some things are better than before, some are worse, but mostly things have restored to “normal.” No complaints for now.
     The mouse issue (see my prior “One Smart (or Lucky?) Mouse” essay) is settled. Deanne bought glue traps which were sold as a pair. I set them both out with peanut butter and cheese bait in a neat cranny in our carport two weeks ago. A week passed. Nothing happened. Then one of the traps disappeared. I searched for evidence of the rat escaping with the 3” x 5” cardboard trap stuck to its fur (think flypaper), but found nothing. I told Deanne, “If it can't free itself, I doubt it has long to live.” But I kept the remaining trap out just in case.
     Four days later, I came home from work and there it was, stuck by what turned out to be its tail (at first I thought it was its foot). It squeaked when it saw me and struggled to drag itself (and the trap) away under the shelves where I store scrap lumber, but didn't get far. I changed and got our landlord's old metal rake and dust bin (made from an old tin gallon shoyu (soy sauce) can cut at an angle in two, one half of which had a wood stave attached for a handle) and since the rat was hidden beneath a board by then, I hauled the trap into the dust bin with the mouse trailing behind by its tail. I then mercy-killed it (quickly) and disposed it.
     A wood nightstand that I found months ago roadside that I sanded and refinished just finishing off-gassing, so I brought it in from our carport. (The chemical odor from the polyurethane finish took months to fully dissipate.)
     I'm four-fifths through the Septuagint (the seven additional books incl. Tobit, Judith, etc. included in the Catholic bible, but excluded from the Protestant's)—my first time. I'd been curious about it and am only reading it because it was included in the bible given to Braden on his baptism (which is curious because ours is a Protestant church).
     It's been a relief, then, to have each of these items, in turn, taken care of. But guess what? I've started a new puzzlealso included in the newly finished one's boxdescribed as “Very difficult—irregular borders.” But it's only got 550 pieces, so how difficult can it be?

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