Saturday, September 26, 2009

Man, I flopped out this week on the blog. Significant things befell me all week, and yet most of the significant befalling was reserved for me and this blog. What can I say? I built an aluminum patio cover. It was hot. Mrs. Ditchman had to work and there was all manner of child juggling. I got a few runs in. I was busy. I was bothered. Same old stuff.

Then again... I met with a man about installing solar panels on the patio covers. The Little Ditchman started preschool. The Little Digger took his first steps. We finally signed loan documents on our refinance. I moved the boat to a storage facility. I met a new neighbor, another neighbor had a baby, and another neighbor got shipped out to Guantanamo. I got around to installing the new Mac OS Snow Leopard. We got DVR. And I bought a chainsaw.

Also almost burned the house down yesterday when I found that the attic fan had seized up and nearly started an electrical fire. The circuit breaker did not flip, rather, the upstairs was filled with that sickly, burning scent of a frozen motor, electricity pouring into it with nothing to power up but useless heat, fire, and the ensuing insurance claim. I was on my way out the door, and just happened to notice that odd smell of... danger. Went up in the attic and: SMOKE! I did not panic, I did not curse.

Because earlier that morning I was on my way out of the house when I saw a strange pool of water on the garage floor. Upon inspection, I found water coming out of the ceiling, just a few inches to the right of the hole in the ceiling I had made at the beginning of the summer, when there was a plumbing leak from the upstairs bath. So, before I left, I ripped some of the ceiling out and patched the new leak, from a different section of the upstairs bath. Pretty sure I cursed about that one, but I did not panic. "Count the holes in the ceiling: One, Two. Shoot!" (That was a toddler interpretation of the pain, aping yours truly.)

My new chainsaw failed on me. I was going to return the cheaper-than-the-top-of-the-line model, but then had the sneaking suspicion that it was all my fault. It's possible that I had the gasoline-to-oil mixture at a ratio other than the very clearly delineated manufacturer's specs, or some tensioner screw or other was either over, or under-torqued. And then, when the chainsaw hit a hapless, unsuspecting rock, the thing went suddenly and purposefully dull. Real dull, too -probably wouldn't break the skin at full-throttle. (I didn't test this, given how things were going.) So I taught myself how to sharpen a chainsaw (!) and I've been chainsawing things around here, just to relieve stress. And I appreciate how it's loud enough to not have to listen to neighbors' dopey comments. (Neighbor: "Doing some yardwork? Hot enough for ya?" Me, without making eye contact: RHAAAIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!)

What can I say? Summer has left us to go do its good work in Australia, Capetown, and Tierra Del Fuego, and now here it's chainsaw weather, and with all the momentum of a new season. The Christmas stuff is on deck at Lowe's, in the aisle just left of the Halloween items. I was going to get some lights, since last year they sold out of my preferred lights a week before Thanksgiving. And in our cul-de-sac there is talk of costumes, and the house mommy is trying to convince the Little Ditchman that she should be "Little Bo Peep" so that her little brother can be a cute little sheep, but I suspect it'll be all Princesses and Dinosaurs. The kids are waking up before the dawn now, with these shortened days. This would invoke a certain amount of ire, if they weren't so gosh-derned cute all the time. Life is a fun, happy blur, that sometimes moves at speeds that blow your hair back, as you try to catch the view on all sides, and keep the car on the road.

But that's not today's metaphor. Like a tree's rings, events in our lives encircle, unforgettably, one another, and at the end, I suppose, you can count those rings and point out the significant moments. (I have a suspicion, for example, that there will be no rings for spontaneously burning out attic fans, Snow Leopard installs, or "that day we got the DVR".) Autumn is here, and the chilly nights and warm holidays are coming. Out come the old pics, family movies, long dinners, and time together with the people you grew up with, and finally appreciate. If you have a loving family, you put a log on the fire and split open that Tree of Life for a time and gaze serenely, nostalgically, at some of those rings. It's chainsaw weather.