A man and his wife on moving day.
|His wife was yelling at him again. “Nag, nag, nag, that’s all she ever does. No wonder I hide out here in the garage.”
Grace was nearly in tears. “Jed! I’m going to need your help getting the house packed up. People are arriving soon to help us move and we have barely started.”
Jed stepped out of the garage into the nine-a.m. sunlight, and hollered: “What do you think I’m doing out here? Twiddling my thumbs? Somebody has to see to this garage. All this has to be moved too, you know.”
Hearing the screen door of the house slam in response, Jed turned and poured his third cup of coffee as he surveyed “his man cave”. Most men would have recoiled in horror at the sight. But not Jed. He loved the disordered mess he had created. He saw it as a thing of beauty. Large for a garage, Jed’s man cave was a 25’x50’ pole building filled with myriad projects in various states of completion. Tools splayed about like shrapnel, left where they were dropped. An old Harley Davidson of indeterminate year sat in one corner, the inevitable pool of oil puddled beneath it. A fiberglass sail boat, a hole punched in the hull, sat heavily on its keel. And a log in the process of becoming a bespoke dugout canoe sat off the right. Several engine blocks, and outboard motors were piled against the side of a rusty old, fifty-something Nash. Cats padded around a fifty-five gallon drum overflowing with garbage, food wrappers, and oily rags, looking for mice.
“I still need a sprocket for the Harley.” Jed thought. "If only I could get over to the swap meet today, I could get this project moving again. Maybe I could make it back before everyone gets here.”
Taking a long, slow slurp of his coffee, Jed sighed. “It was hopeless. He wasn’t going to get away today. His wife would see to that.”
Just as he was lighting his second cigar of the morning he heard the garage door scream on its hinges, begging for oil. It grated on his ears, but not as much as what he heard next.
Grace had entered and stood looking at her man in his “cave”. She’d been told it was his sacred place and she was to NEVER mention it’s contents or state of disarray. She walked up speaking softly, knowing she was on dangerous ground.
“Honey bear, we really do need to tackle the basement. It’s floor to ceiling down there. I don’t know where to begin.”
As she spoke she looked around, tears coming afresh. “Good gracious, Jed! Where did all this stuff come from? You promised I would finally have a space for my car this winter, but I see now, that was never going to happen, was it?”
Jed was perturbed. Grace was always complaining about something:
“Why can’t I park my car in the garage, for once?”
“Why can’t we plug the refrigerator in without an extension cord?”
“When will you put the cabinet doors back on the kitchen cabinets?”
“The shower won’t work.”
“The washer rocks when it spins.”
“The oil light is on in my car.”
Well Jed was sick of it. He fired back. “I told you I was gonna build you a nice garage for your car, right up close to the house someday. But, right now I gotta get this pole barn packed up. We’re moving! Or have you forgotten? I’ll be durned lucky to get this done. Don’t go bothering me about the basement. When your brother and sister-in-law get here I’ll send them down to help you."
Grace turned to go. They’d been married 16 years, and for 16 years she had scraped Minnesota ice and snow from the windows of her car. A place to park, out of the weather was always promised, but never quite delivered.
As she pushed through the screeching door of the garage she saw a line of cars and trucks coming up the drive to help with their move. Embarrassment at what they would see crept up her neck like hot lava, threatening to engulf her.
“Maybe I can just get in my car and drive. Leave him to his tools, his projects, and his unbelievable mess.”
Instead she walked to her brother’s sparkling clean car, greeted him warmly, and hugged his pretty wife.
“Jacob! Marilyn! I am so glad to see you!” Hugging them each in turn she led them toward the house.