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Trash Day Gone Wrong
DING! The six a.m. reminder clanged on my phone. Trash day. Time to roll the can to the curb. Couldn’t be late, because the truck comes through our neighborhood around seven. You snooze, you lose. The prize was not having to keep trash for another week.
Some of you might be wondering—with such an early pickup—why we didn’t take the trash out the night before.
The rascals will empty the contents into the street to sift for tasty morsels. Rolling the can out in the morning dark was much better than picking up trash before sunrise.
The problem last week, though, wasn’t dark or bears. Or, at least, I couldn’t see if any bears were hanging out because it was pitch black. They were probably snoozing because it was raining.
That rain was the real issue. Not a drizzle. Torrents, buckets, and sheets of rain. Cascades of cold water falling from the sky. We received about four inches of water that morning. Four. In the time it would have taken me to move the garbage to the street and return to the house, I would have been soaked.
Umbrella to the rescue. All I needed to do was walk down the driveway with a rolling barrel of garbage in one hand and an umbrella in the other. What could possibly have gone wrong? As long as I didn’t run into a bear waiting on the breakfast buffet, nothing. Right?
I stepped out onto the driveway. The rain pounded the fabric of the umbrella stretched over my head. I hit the perfect fulcrum point of the can and rolled it behind me down the pavement. I couldn’t see a thing and could only guess where the the asphalt ended and the woods began. My porch lights didn’t reach far enough to be able to see and the city hadn’t gotten around to repairing the streetlight. Without any chance of the first hints of sunrise piercing the thick clouds overhead, it was pitch black.
I inched my way down the pavement, feeling with my feet to ensure I didn’t veer off the path. The tilted can rolled behind me. If I had slipped, the can would have crushed me. I would have been found sprawled on the ground, the wheeled bin crashed on top and burying me under a mound of garbage. The bears would have emerged and sorted through the rubble for tasty morsels. Imagine their surprise when they discovered the prize at the bottom of the box.
And you think having a writer’s imagination is a blessing.
Through the gloom, I spied the concrete curb. Stumbling through the dark on slick asphalt, I had somehow successfully hauled rubbish to its anointed spot. Just needed to spin the container so it faced the right direction. I stepped off the curb—and into ankle deep, icy cold water.
The storm drain just below my driveway had clogged with leaves overnight. The back up of water extended three feet into the street. My rapidly filling shoe attested to the depth.
I bent over to clear the leaves, but another vision came to me. A snake, a nest of spiders, Pennywise from Itˆ—or all three—waited for my hand to descend into the darkness. As a writer, I needed my fingers to type. Thinking only of you, dear readers, I decided I needed a rake.
I had the best kind for this type of job—a fire rake. With its sharp, serrated, triangular steel blades, it was a terrific tool in the battle against brushfires. That same strength and shape made it perfect for removing debris from a clogged drain.
I trudged back to the garage, my water-logged shoe squishing with each step. Step. Squish. Step. Squish.
Once back inside the dry confines, I spied my target hanging from its hook on the wall. I lifted the fire rake quicker than I should have and hit the snow shovel beside it. The snow shovel fell from its hook and hit the hoe in the next cradle. The hoe tumbled into a spade and dislodged a pair of pruning sheers. A veritable domino of yard implements tumbled from the wall and clattered at my feet.
With a mental promise to fix the mess when I returned, I trudged down the dark drive to the flooded road. Step. Squish. Step. Squish.
With the rake in one hand and the umbrella in the other, I attempted to loosen the wedged leaves from the clogged grate. They had developed a consistency not unlike concrete. Earthquake-proof structures could be built from them. The suction from the water working into the drain was like a powerful magnet. The only way I could obtain enough leverage to dislodge them was to use both hands.
That, unfortunately, meant putting down the umbrella. As this point, I stopped pretending I would remain dry.
The cold rain soaked my clothes within seconds, but with both hands on the rake handle, I made quick work of the clogged drain. Soon enough, the water flowed freely and my flooded road drained. Since I was already wet, I crossed the pavement and cleared my neighbor’s drain as well.
With the situation under control and the trash waiting for pickup in its proper spot, I grabbed my umbrella and sauntered back to the house, though it was probably more of a wet slither. Step. Squish. Step. Squish.
I hung the fire rake back on the wall and replaced all the other tools. I removed my shoes and emptied water from them. The last step was wandering to the laundry room and stripping wet clothes.
Within a few minutes, I settled in the kitchen wearing dry clothes and sipping hot coffee. I had a few quiet minutes to relax before the day began.
Then I heard a whine. The dogs were awake and ready to go out to the yard. Did I ever have bad news for them.
The reminder ding I mentioned in today’s story comes from Amazing Marvin, the project and time management software I use. Over the years, I’ve tried dozens of such programs but rejected them all because they ultimately want to make users do things their way. I loved the flexibility of Bullet Journaling and did that for years, but really wanted something connected to my electronic world. When I discovered Marvin, I knew I had finally found the ultimate combination of flexibility and technology.
What makes it different is it has dozens of “strategies” that you can turn on and off to combine and create your own system. That allows it to be both a project and a task management system that can integrate with your calendar (or not if you choose) and handle both stand-alone projects and repeating projects. Just like a Bullet Journal, no two people set it up exactly the same way.
If you’re curious, they do have a 30 day trial. That’s important because the sheer flexibility makes it somewhat intimidating to start. My advice is start with the basics and when you run into something it doesn’t do for you, look at the strategies to see if they have a solution. For the rare things they don’t have, their very open development approach let’s you know when it’s coming.
I’m not an affiliate, have no connection to them, and don’t get paid in anyway by them—just a fan of their software after years of frustration with everything else.
Gratuitous Dog Picture
It rained every day last week leaving us with a soggy yard and lots of muddy paws. We’re promised sunshine and gorgeous fall weather for the next several days. His Royal Highness Little Prince Typhoon Phooey prepares for his rough week of napping in the sun by stretching.
Liars’ Table – Launch Is A Week Away
With the release date just a week away, I’ll be focused on the thousand details that have to happen with a book launch.
I did notice that Amazon has the paperback up for sale and am waiting to see others add it. Many more sites picked up the ebook in the last week as well.
In country stores, old men gather over breakfast and coffee to swap tall tales. The fish are bigger, danger greater, and adventures wilder in the stories told at a Liars’ Table. No harm in stretching the truth when nothing exciting happens in their small town.
Until someone steals Purvis Webb’s car. Life is hard enough without thieves. A wife in a nursing home. An estranged daughter. A grandson he didn’t know existed.
Unable to accept one more indignity, Purvis takes matters into his own hands. His pursuit of the thief leads him to places he never thought he’d go and to decisions he never wanted to have to make.
In this rich, layered story about life spinning out of control, past and present entwine seamlessly with engaging characters. The reader will be eagerly flipping the pages to see what happens next.
Background title image is courtesy Pawel Czerwinski
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