I gave blood again on Thursday afternoon. The whole day was a busy one for me.
I had several chores to accomplish on our one unrainy day this week (if the forecast was going to turn out right for yesterday and today). First, Janetʼs sister, Diane, was coming for a visit yesterday. With temperatures hitting 90º and the humidity nearly that high, it would be not just rude but cruel to force a visitor to attempt sleep without air conditioning. As our house has hot-water heat and survived a continuous succession of owners before we glommed onto it in 1984, it has no central air (pause for the shocked twenty-first century gasps of horror and amazement: “But— but …how do you live in Iowa in the summer in that case?” With difficulty, ladies and gents, with sweat and discomfort. And room air conditioners). If we were going to be humane and polite, it was time to install the air conditioners, a chore which usually takes a couple of hours each year (more if we install in more than our bedroom and the guest bedroom; here in the office — so far— I just bake and sweat).
I gave the grass about an hour to evaporate its dew once Janet left for work before heading outdoors, but I did want to work while the day was still cool (and it got hot and humid). I got the guest-room device in first (itʼs much lighter than the one we bought for our room, in August many years ago) and sealed the many gaps with packing tape. (Does anyone know a good solvent or soap that removes tape scum in the fall once I remove the air conditioners?) then I moved right on to our bedroom (a further carry of a heavier object), sealing it in place from the outside with towels behind the plastic expansion wings and the bagged towels covered with cardboard (gotta love Guinness boxes) covered in packing tape. I was all done not long after 10:00 — even taking time for liquid consumption.
Then I gave myself a little break for a while, reading some and drinking a little more coffee. The next job was mowing the lawn, and I knew from experience this day that the lawn required more drying time before I tried scything the hay (choking the poor mower on long, wet grass). I waited until somewhat after 11:30. And I enjoyed the read very much indeed.
Mowing for me has evolved into a two-and-a-half to three-hour job. First I have to remove all the objects in the yard — Janetʼs decorative chair-holding-a-potted-plant (her only mobile decoration, yet, this year, I am grateful to report), the downspout extensions, the birdbath… Then I get the weed whacker out and trim the edges of things (the house, the yard, the trees, the bushes (biweekly with hand shears, thus extending the whole operation by another forty minutes), the weeds that grow in the cracks of the driveway and the “patio,” the godawful chain-link fence that keeps Gasser at bay (but not I am very sorry to report its cancerous creosote fumes; I will be glad to sleep enclosed from that miasmic fetor in air-conditioned comfort, even though I breathe it now in the hotbox office) and which the guys they hire to mow their strip of “yard” between the fence and the thirty-foot dropoff do not trim along, and… Then I gas the mower and start it and mow. The actual mowing procedure has lengthened with each tree and bush we have planted in the yard, and now itʼs always at least ninety minutes just for the basic round-and-round through the yard. Finally, because the grass on the north and east grows so lushly verdant, I have to rake up the clippings into usually five medium-sized piles and then go around stuffing the grass into a garbage bag for delivery to the city yard waste site (and I donʼt count the time it takes to go there in the mowing time). Finally, everything must go back where it started before I removed stuff to mow.
When Iʼm all done, generally the day is gone. On Thursday, it was about 3:00. I was going to give blood in Andrew sometime after 3:30, so I showered and shaved (for the first time that day) and dressed comfortably to go get vamped. As I left in the truck (having already visited the waste site once), I noticed a huge branch from one of our trees had mysteriously appeared on the edge of the yard. I knew it had dropped from the eastmost tree in front (supposedly — shudder — an ash, like its partner on the west end), but it was placed so tidily parallel to the curb that I wondered if someone had walked by while I was in the shower and placed it off the street or something for me. I picked it up and more or less got it into the truck bed and hauled that to the waste site before heading on up to Andrew.
The actual donation went smoothly. I was about the fifth person to arrive, no one was waiting ahead of me, so I went straight through registering, having my vitals taken, answering their computerized important-but-nosy questions about my sex life (thus avoiding issues with AIDS and such bloodborne diseases) and travels (although the one about any trip ever to Africa had gone away, so I no longer had to explain our quarter-century old, week-long vacation to Morocco in 1985). As I have been shunning the aspirin to perchance reduce the tinnitus, I could even say honestly that I had not consumed that substance in the past two days (actually much longer).
I took my place on a bed, got stuck without significant discomfort and no pain, and bled freely (actually in a very controlled manner, closely observed) for about ten minutes. I sat and talked with a former Andrew substitute who had also worked for the Census for ten more minutes and headed home, arriving with newly purchased milk about 5:00, with just enough time to write this and then cut grapefruit for Fridayʼs breakfast before Janet got home from her workout after work.
There you go — a summery day in the life…
As I mentioned the stench of creosote for sale, feel free yet/again to inform both our inimitable (whoʼd want to?) city manager and boffo/bozo Gasser manager of the importance of good neighborliness and necessary removal or at least diminishment of deadly fumes:
- Brian Wagner (phone: 563-652-2484; e-mail by name at firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Dan Schmidt (phone 563-652-2446)