Yesterday was Lucy’s birthday. It’s been such a mad week (month!) of rush, rush, rush, I wasn’t sure I could pull it together. We have no stores in less than an hour’s drive so everything had to be mail-ordered, always a nail-biting experience. However all her presents arrived except her new riding pants, which appear from computer tracking to be meandering around New England.
I got up early to decorate the kitchen with streamers, drove Jon to his 7 AM carpool, hurriedly shopped at the grocery store for dinner and birthday cake, and then stood in line at the plumbing store, which also happens to be the headquarters of the local Big Buck contest. The man behind the counter was wearing a T-shirt that said
IF YOU DON’T HUNT
why should I bother to speak to you?
I was as tall as or taller than the half-dozen men standing there in camouflage gear. In my Carhartts and boots, with my hair under a baseball cap, I am often mistaken for a man: my own sort of camouflage. They paid me no attention. I love listening to men under such circumstances. “Only got one shot at the big bastard —” I was almost sorry to get my sewer pipe and leave.
Except that I was late for milking and late to meet Allen. Allen is never late. “Where you been?” he always asks. I tell him whatever I’m juggling. He shakes his head. “You’re a busy bee.” I raced to milk, turned the animals out, then drove home to strain the milk and put away groceries.
In our last days with the excavator, Allen and I were struggling to finish the septic system. Meanwhile an electrical crew had been scheduled to come Thursday to lay the buried power, telephone, and cable lines from the transformer to the garage and future house. Allen had carefully dug all the trenches, everything was ready, but — the electricians were a no show. I called Thursday afternoon and the head of the company (who had been out at the property making plans only three days before) seemed barely to remember the project. “What are we doing again?” I tried to contain my panic. He promised to send his crew at 8:30 Friday morning. Now it was 9:30 Friday, Allen and I were having our coffee, and no one had arrived. “Better call,” Allen advised.
I telephoned. The head of the company sounded harassed. “My crews are all busy finishing up other jobs.” “But the excavator is leaving!” “OK, OK, I’ll come out and do it myself,” he said, slightly grumpy. I thanked him politely. Allen’s comments in my ear were unprintable.
Allen and I drove ourselves hard all day and by 4 PM the big house projects were finished. (I will devote another post to the sewer, power, and water work of the past week.) We were both tired. I did barn chores and hid the other shovel so that Allen could not help me shovel the heavy mud packing the excavator tracks. Twenty minutes later, the tracks were clean. I gave Allen a hug, and headed home to cook dinner for Lucy’s birthday.
Lucy’s “big” family present was a student microscope. This made me smile. Lucy did not request a microscope, but DH thought she should have one. I kept remembering my mother saying, the year Lucy turned six and I bought her a sleepy, aged pony, “Whose childhood dream are you making come true?” DH was as thrilled with the microscope as Lucy was and the two of them sat for hours last night and today, looking at everything under the lens. Lucy is a very generous child.
Happy birthday, dear Lulu Bird!