We have a neighbor – single mom to a four-year-old. She works full time, owns her house where she lives with her sister and the kid. She can install molding. She knows how to demo sheet rock and clean it up proper. Ceiling fan? She could do it.
She made fun of me this weekend because I chose to use an innovative technique to attach the front panel of my deerproof Plant Containment Unit to the body of the thing. She would have used a hinge. I went with the plastic zip ties. Because I moved AWAY from the upper east side, thank you very much, and I don’t need a hinge to open the damn thing. That’s what the can is for. I use another zip tie to close it.
I hope that when Lopsides crashes through her yard chewing on a cucumber, wrapped in chicken wire, the lashings and tomato stakes that make up my garden fence trailing from his farkakte antlers, that I am there to take a picture to share with you, O Internet.
In our town, on May 28th each year, the A/C Man comes through the main street on his great waggon that is drawn by four and twenty white oxen and piled to the canvas with the shiny bodies of sparkling new air conditioners. These his strapping sons heave down to the children of the town who give their tuppence to the sister, a barefooted redhaired girl in gingham who prances along with a tin pot for the money and who always keeps the change. The town children don’t seem to mind; it is the season. Hoisting their massive metal burdens to their narrow shoulders they stagger gamely home up the side streets on the hill, calling to their parents “Mother, Father, come see! It’s the Haier Koolblast ZX90! Do come, and bring baby Zillah, I’m sure she’d like to see her face reflected in its surface!” And the parents come, leading the little ones, who gurgle at the corrugated knobs and who must be chided for trying to lick the glistening side panels.
Then the Dads collect a few choice items and, with a prodigious will and profusion of sweat, take the window sashes out wrong, attach the brackets like a crazy person, slam the fucking thing into the godDAMN window frame, remove it because it’s WRONG, bend a couple of pieces of metal to fit around the projecting thing in the non-standard window, then carefully put…it…backDOWNONTHEIRMOTHERFUCKINGPINKY and finally shove a piece of plywood into the open space above, drive several screws into it haphazardly and assume they’ll figure it out in autumn. Fuck. They need a beer.
The A/C Man eats last fall’s thawed venison with the mayor and they laugh late into the night over a tankard of mead while watching Blazing Saddles on the TiVo. His children tend the air conditioners, making sure each has its ration of freon and straw, before they fall asleep under the wain, dreaming of sunshine and shade.
When the Chattanooga Iron Works closed down, the men walked the high-summer streets forlorn, their denim-ticking overalls picking up the red clay dust, until they came to Herd’s Garage. Clement Herd sat out front on a crate happy as a pig in shit and they stood around and one of them pulled out a mason jar half full and they passed it until finally someone said “Clem, why the hell are you so all-fired happy?” And Clem pulled out the blueprints for the cast iron and steel Char-Griller Super Pro Charcoal Grill/Smoker and all the men threw their caps in the air and they opened the shop that very week.
And, much later, I got one of those and I put it together. And I made this:
May all your parts fit snugly, and may all your washers be included in the original packaging this summer.