A Day of Shoeburyness and Lawn-Care Mutterings

If you have ever wanted to cut off your own piece of the bleeding edge of American literary greatness, this is your chance.

My house is for sale. The culmination of what feels like (and, by now, I guess actually is) months of cleaning and fixing and tearing down walls and repairing pipes and hauling off trash and more than once considering simply setting fire to the whole thing. But of course, the work isn’t over. Now that we have it clean and “show ready”, we have to keep it that way, which has us doing all sorts of things we would never do ordinarily, though my wife insists that normal people do these things all the time.

Taking the trash out once a day. Keeping the sink clear of dishes. Vacuuming the floors every day. Keeping laundry out of the floor. Mowing the yard at 8pm on a Friday because it’s literally the only chance we’ll have to do it.

Madness. My wife, somehow, has a reservoir of patience and sense for this sort of thing. I do not. While circling my yard with the mower last night, thoughts of murder circled in my head like swarming crows. What the hell am I doing out here? It’s getting dark, for crissakes. Primeval man survived for tens of thousands of years without mowing the damned grass. It’s all gonna grow back when global warming wipes us all out, and the kudzu will consume the country. Why fight it?

lawn-mower-938555_1280

I may have mentioned, here or there, that yard work is a dirty word with me. I’m not exaggerating. My mind goes to some dark places when I’m holding garden tools.

But it has to be done to keep the house show-ready, so mow I did. Just part of the deal of trying to sell the place.

Also part of selling the place? A sensation that I don’t have a word for: The vaguely disconcerting , slightly unsettling feeling of knowing there have been total strangers tromping through your house, peeking in your closets, judging your choices in counter-toppery.

Douglas Adams once wrote a book full of words like this, and I’m sorry to say that I have not yet read this book — The Meaning of Liff. But from the liner notes and offhanded comments found in The Salmon of Doubt, I know that within that text is a word that comes close: Shoeburyness, the uncomfortable feeling you get when sitting on a seat that is still warm from somebody else’s bottom.

This is stronger than that, but less extreme than the real discomfort and terror that, for example, my sister-in-law is experiencing, having been the recent victim of a break-in that did not apparently result in any theft — somebody just broke in and skulked around.

It’s somewhere in between those two extremes. Odd. Definitely not pleasant. But not actually disruptive or traumatic in any way.

Again: nothing to be done about it. Just part of the process. And, hopefully, the beginning of the end of the all-consuming task that selling our house has become. I don’t quite see the light at the end of the tunnel yet, but I can’t see the light from where we entered either at this point. There’s a comfort in that — in seeing how far we’ve come — even though this mushy middle part is bleak.

At least I’m writing again. Words on the page. The concrete evidence of progress.

The light at the end of the tunnel has to be up there, somewhere.

This weekly remotivational post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Every weekend, I use Linda G. Hill’s prompt to refocus my efforts and evaluate my process, sometimes with productive results.

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About Pavowski

I am a teacher, runner, father, and husband. I am an author-in-progress. I know just enough about a lot of things to get me into a lot of trouble. View all posts by Pavowski

6 responses to “A Day of Shoeburyness and Lawn-Care Mutterings

  • bikerchick57

    I LOVE yardwork! Too bad I live in an apartment…

    I hope you sell your house soon so that the murderous thoughts can end.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Laura

    You and I are kin when it comes to yard work. Unfortunately I tend to apply the same philosophy to things like dusting (it doesn’t kill the dust, I’m only pushing it around until it covers the furniture again!) and fingerprints on glass.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Glen Donaldson

    Not to put a macbre twist on things but the break-in at your sister-in-law’s house sounds vaguely reminiscent of the ‘creepy-crawlie’ neighbourhood missions Charles Manson’s Family used to partake in around California in the late 60’s,

    Story has it the Manson girls, clad in dark clothing, would enter a house late at night (back in the days when some folk still slept with their doors unlocked), noislessly move around the position of some of the furniture and then leave. Apparently they wanted the owner to make up the next morning and realise that something ‘witchy’ had been afoot the previous night.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glen available

      Not to put a macabre twist on things, but the break-in at your sister-in-law’s house sounds something similar to the famed ‘creepy crawlie’ missions Charles Manson’s Family used to engage in back in the late 60’s around California.

      Story has it the Manson girls, dressed in dark clothing, would enter an unsuspecting house late at night (back in the days when some folk still slept with their doors locked), noiselessly change the position of some of the furniture and then leave.

      Apparently they wanted the owner to wake up the next morning and realise something ‘witchy’ had gone on the previous night right under their noses while they’d been asleep.

      Like

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