Browsing Date

May 2017


Loose Fittings

May 31, 2017 • By

Four days of spring rain. I spent them writing. About serious things. My binge started in a place of self-acceptance. That lasted two hours. I tapped on the keys and got sad and sadder. I took breaks, but chose the wrong distraction, MSNBC. I sulked after day one and whined all day two. Day three I yipped sarcasm at my computer monitor and every car that drove past the house. Day four I exhaled obscenities.

This morning was cloudy, cool, and breezy, but no rain. Time to get outside.

First on my list, wash our 2002 Toyota Camry, white. And no (Child #1), it does not have a backup camera. This vehicle was part of the family. I dug out the fancy golden car wash liquid from the back shelf. Household dish soap was not good enough for this dependable beauty.

Bucket, soap, brush, and mitt collected, I turned the spigot. And noticed the leak puddling on the blacktop. I suspected a loose reel-to-rubber-connection was the cause. If I unwound the hose completely, I could press out any kink, rewind the hose and voilà, no more leak.

Water off.

Someone (husband) neglected to tell me the hose reel, looking tidy as ever inside a gray poly plastic cube, did not unwind easily. Or at all. Assuming a squat, my right hand pushed the handle counterclockwise while my left grabbed the next two-foot section of hose and tugged. Did I mention the bone spurs in my right shoulder?

The hose snaked in misshaped figure eights in front of the dirty car. I got a pair of pliers and a small hand towel. I protected the two-inch section of kinked hose with the towel and gently pressed it round with the pliers. I was no novice at DIY projects. I had YouTube.

Tools back in their box, I returned to my squat and reversed the process. My left arm straightened the hose while the right pressed the handle forward. Every few seconds I hit a rhythm. In between I re-positioned the hose on the reel to wind a perfect balance of coils left to right leaving enough hose out to fill the bucket and rinse the car.

Spigot back on. So was the leak.

Fuck it. I had done the best job possible. Obviously the reel, the hose, and the fittings were junk.


Card Catalog Crush

May 11, 2017 • By

Profound discoveries happen behind the wheel of a car and when my mouth is foaming with paste meant for sensitive older teeth.

“I may have a problem.” A meek morning confession began at our common sink.

A problem?” My husband spit.

“Okay, I may have a problem to add to my list.”

“This one?” His gargled monotone was mildly irritating, but he’s had me around nearly forty years.

“I may have an unnatural infatuation with libraries.”

One more spit, a grunt, and he left for work.

I often wondered if there was such a thing as a library craving and if that could ever go too far. There might even be a label for the affliction. Perhaps I harbored latent longings to be a librarian. I didn’t think so, although I had been asked at Border’s several times, “Can you tell me where the biographies are?” Of course I could and accepted the question as a compliment. My husband said it had something to do with the way I dressed.

Teaching undergraduates on several campuses for thirty-one years may have pushed my affection for libraries to the level of problem. What tipped me off?

The final, final exam was proctored early today. Grading began soon after the first was dropped on my desk. Most of the past two days had been spent grading other exams. The rubric was fresh in my mind. An assortment of colored pens ready, I dug in.

Seven hours and twenty minutes later scores were recorded, grades computed on a spreadsheet. Semester over. I was done.



I clicked grades off to the Registrar’s office and inhaled the freshest air in four months. Freedom. Weeks and weeks of blank pages on my calendar. And I had a plan: get to the library and stockpile books. After all, I did have one faculty perk: NO DUE DATES.

Lips lifted to a satisfied smile. I ambled past the faculty room. A couple of colleagues leaned on file cabinets sucking down leftover donuts from their morning exam snackfests. I had forgotten to stop and pick up a positive student evaluation bribe—again. My mind was focused on the book wish list I penned before sunrise.

Every corner of the library was occupied. The final crunch of the last munch of information was being shoved into young minds. A few students had taken up semi-permanent residency on the corner couches barricaded by Monster drink cans and chips that could last the week. I weaved my way through computer clusters with eyes straight ahead to avoid casting unmerited looks of sympathy. Some coeds were no doubt visiting for the first time since the early February thaw.

My feet echoed up the familiar flight of steps to the door labeled ‘Quiet Floor’ where one could sleep undisturbed. I paced my quest and pulled the wish list from my worn tote, now light and roomy. Amazing how much weight dozens of ungraded words organized into essays added to paper, to my life.