Life under a black cloud
this is a little piece I wrote a couple of years ago after a particularly trying period. All the events are true…..
It is just another chapter in…….
Life under a Black cloud.
Ann in my office and I have had an ongoing debated about attitude and outlook. Now let me preface by saying that Ann has also had her share of ongoing opportunities for quality of life improvement and not every day is cheerful and rosy for her.
But she strives mightily to maintain a positive and optimistic outlook on life. She is trusting and carefree and has great faith in humanity and a positive outcome. She says that to look at life any other way would be just too depressing to bear.
On the other hand, I view myself as a realist. Ann views me as a pessimist. I have a sense of humor, but I guess it is a bit warped. But like green lumber lying in the sun in a humid atmosphere, I am warped by my environment.
When I was young, I used to arise every morn looking forward to yet another great day. But over time so many of those days have turned out to not be so great, that I admit the youthful enthusiasm has waned woefully. I have long subscribed to two great truths of our society. The first is Murphy’s law. I have even postulated my own corollary, that “Murphy was a cockeyed Optimist.”
The Second is the “Peter Principle”. Both of these were widely disseminated theories of popular culture of my youth. I leave the inquiring reader to investigate them for themselves if further understanding is needed. Suffice it to say that I firmly believe that both truths are alive and well and exhibited daily in our life.
One of the aspects of Murphy’s law is that “left to their own devices things will always go from bad to worse.”
Allow me to illustrate by not so briefly recapping February to date.
Junior has been lame for three weeks and while I have attempted to treat his affliction every day I can not find a cause or problem. Not having a spare $500.00 to throw at it, I have not called in a Vet to tell me that they can’t find the problem either.
End of January, frame on my livestock trailer has given way from overuse and neglect. It is unusable. replacement cost is several thousand dollars above what I can muster. determined to try to fix it myself and ordered 300.00 worth of steel.
Feb 3. Marie said “I think there is a leak on the back porch.” It was more like the tide was coming in via the hot water pipe. Spent that weekend doing yet another plumbing repair. At least this one did not involve excavating pipes under the house to dig up the leak.
Feb 10 Marie said “I think the hot water tank is leaking”. Feb 11 was spent in acquiring and replacing a new hot water tank.
Feb 14. While I did not forget a remembrance for my valentine, mother nature and brother Murphy remembered me with an ice storm that dropped trees on every fence on the place and cut the power in the community. But the generator started and I got the 120 volt current in the house going. The generator carried us through the day and toward days end struggled and finally died. Fortunately the power came back on for us shortly afterward. the generator will not start and is currently in the shop and they will get to it in a week or two. Estimate another 300.00.
Feb 17 Marie began the day with “I think we have a leak upstairs.” The water dripping through the ceiling downstairs was her clue. I looked and did not find the leak and concluded it must be the upstairs toilet discharge. Still battling to get trees off the fences before the livestock vacated the premises I relented and called the plumber. “I can’t get there til the first of the week.” “Fine.” I said and I shut off the water to the toilet.
Feb 20 awoke to the sound of the ceiling in the downstairs front room collapsing from the water damage. We cleaned that up and proceeded through the day. At days end, still no plumber. Marie called him this time. She reported that it had “slipped his mind”. I thought she was very restrained in her encouragement of him to come and fix the damned thing. After all her trifling husband was content to let water run all through the damned house, while he only worried about the damned cows.
Feb 21. The day at work was uneventful by all comparison. Upon leaving I asked others in the office to wish me luck in surviving, if the plumber had not arrived.
Little did I know.
Let us say it is not a good sign to find a firetruck stuck in your front yard.
Apparently the heating element to the electric range had shorted out and started a fire in the oven. Marie closed the door and shut off the power. I will testify that her unswerving faithfulness to cleanliness had probably saved the day. She keeps her oven spotless and there was nothing in the oven to catch fire save the biscuits she was baking. Had there been a greasy buildup we would have most likely lost everything we owned. The fire expired due to lack of combustible material.
The firemen had checked out everything and were reassuring her when I arrived. Marie is the sort who falls apart after the emergency.
But the fire truck tried to turn around to leave and yep it was stuck. I went and got the tractor. Let me state here that I do not have a big enough tractor to pull a fire truck out of the mud. So I went and got Jacks tractor. Just for the record Jack also does not have a big enough tractor to pull a fire truck out of the mud. Using rednek know how and stick- to- it- ness we hooked two tractors to said fire truck. You guessed it. Jack and I together don’t have big enough tractors to pull a fire truck out of the mud……….
At least one still carrying a thousand gallons of water. Once we made that discovery and drained the water from the truck we were able to extricate it and only turned the entire front yard into an archeological dig and future landscape project.
That done, I returned Jack’s tractor and had supper and fed the stock. Yep Junior is still lame after walking a bit better yesterday.
Came in to find Marie doing something with the small freezer where the Hamburger from the recently slaughtered beef is stored. Upon inquiry she informed me that the freezer was not working, and she had discovered it when getting a pack of hamburger for meat loaf. We transferred all that meat to another freezer and she insisted on throwing away about fifty pounds that she was “afraid of”. Small price to pay….but then I ,……stupidly,…… ignorantly,…… thoughtlessly, reminded her that I had warned her a year ago not to unplug that freezer just because it was empty….Yeah….I know….open mouth and insert foot…….
This was a direct violation of a third undeniable truth of life. I call it Tate’s Truthful Tennant….” When dealing with women, it is always best to keep your mouth shut and your head down.” This is a hard one for a once bold man to always observe, but every time I violate it, I live to regret it. I have observed that women are more resentful than men about having any shortcomings observed…..especially observed by a man. But I digress and the day is not over.
The plumber did come and did repair the toilet……the one that was not leaking after all. But he did determine that there was a pin hole leak in the pipe in the wall and he did not have something he needed to fix it…..so the ceiling was still dripping…..I asked Marie if he determined if it was hot or cold water. She said that he said it was cold. I asked if he turned it off. She did not know. I went to the valve that he must have had his hand on to determine which pipe was leaking and turned off the cold water to the upstairs bath. The ceiling had stopped dripping by morning.
Before retiring, Marie opens the door to the woodstove to put in some wood, and the gasket falls off the door. Now this gasket must be glued on and can not be done on a hot stove. So I put it back in place and got the stove door shut enough to hopefully prevent a fire and have to call the firemen again, as I know they would dump the water before coming in here again.
But when everyone comes into the office …..especially Ann…..I will be smiling and cheeerful……most likely sickeningly so.