At this point in our sojourn in the Dark Heart of America, one could almost be forgiven for thinking that the only way to make it back to the New York City of the Ozarks is in our dreams.
From dealing with folks who do basic repair work on homes who let three to four weeks to go by until they can get to you, high speed Internet which suddenly resembles dial-up to buying food from stores which is highly suspect . . .
No, really - should all the Ritz crackers in a package crumble like they have been in a C ration pack since the battle of the Bulge? I don’t think so, Walmart.
And discovering that the cans of food you have been buying your dogs are over a month out of date? We aren’t those idiot Doomsday Preppers TV likes to lionize so much who will stock up an anything; we’re just simple folk who aren’t all that much into piles of dog vomit around the house.
This week, though, we had a turn of good luck, which means that we can return to civilization briefly in time to get our early voting in, and get some essential stuff done around the place we actually live, and then return later in October for the estate sale.
Our chief good luck came in the form of an auctioneer who instilled a great deal of faith in us. Tracy liked him right off hand because he dressed like a Texan - since she hails from them thar parts - though to be honest, that wasn’t his chief selling point for me, or for Tracy either, come to that.
It was that he actually seemed to know what he was talking about.
While we were still in Fayetteville, our Realtor showed one potential auctioneer through the house, who gave everything a cursory look, and pretty much decided it wasn’t worth his time.
And since we are almost literally out here in the middle of nowhere, auctioneers, good or bad, are kind of hard to come by. And even though I can’t go to sleep in this damn town without having bad dreams which aggravate my depression no end, I still believe in the power of positive thinking . . .
. . . as in, we will get the hell out of here in a reasonable length of time!
And so it was that one morning, as I ambled down to buy a cup of coffee and a couple of newspapers at the local version of minimart, I found an ad for an estate sale. Eureka! my mind exploded. Was salvation within our grasp?
Most auctioneers I had spoken to, even before leaving Fayetteville, told me that this particular place was just way too far for them to come, unless there was at east a mall fortune in the house - which there ain’t.
Hell, an electrician who lives ten miles away told me over the phone it wasn’t worth his time to drive over and fix a ceiling fan.
But a our Texan-dressing auctioneer came in, walked slowly from room-to-room, asked many questions, and agreed to hold an estate sale on October 25.
As they used to say about a certain Asian land war, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Of course, they were saying that in 1969; god forbid our timing is as off as the Pentagon’s was.
When a “Handy Man” . . . well, just isn’t
Once we finally got an electrician to come and look at the ceiling fan in the living room - the light wouldn’t come on - we discovered that the reason we needed to call one in the first place was because the guy we had been paying to work on the house hadn’t wired it up correctly.
Cuz who needs to read directions, anyway.
I took Shop Class (Industrial Arts) in Junior High school; I think I might have figured that one out after a few hours, but not our handy-dandy man.
We also had a persistent leak in the backyard, which I assured the yard guy was a fault in the sprinkler system. Our handy man, who claimed to have some basic plumbing skills, had turned off the sprinkler system, though, in an effort to stop the leak . . . some weeks ago.
And that was it. Evidently, he never checked back. Because if he had, he would have discovered that no, it wasn’t the damn sprinkler system, but a water pipe that was leaking.
Already one feels the panic rising.
But hey, the guy who fixed the ceiling fan can also do basic plumbing, and he narrowed down where the leak was - under a row of bushes which someone, in their wisdom, had planted over the water pipe.
But where was the leak? Under the house, which could run several thousand dollars to fix? Or under the bushes. which had to be removed?
As digging went on, I was saying in my mind, “It’s not under house. It’s not under the house.”
Okay, I was shouting in my mind.
And, hey, guess what? It wasn’t under the house. $170 and a discarded row of bushes beats a few thousand dollars, any old day of the week.
As the work went on, I discussed our now former handy man with our new handy man.
“Maybe he thought he was just supposed to babysit your house,” he said.
“Well,” I said, “if he thought his job was to make sure nobody came over in a truck and drove the house away, I guess he did a bang up job.”
North to Alaska!
No, not really, I just like to use movie titles whenever I can.
Today we are driving over to Shamrock, Texas, where I will get the last of my footage for my little documentary about that once thriving community.
Quote of the Day
Take your work seriously but yourself lightly. - C.W. Metcalf