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We are sawdust


So, I take my second and last cup of coffee of the day and head out to face the world about 7:30 a.m. Where do I go? Work? Office? School? No, I go to the garage.
It’s not heated, but I don’t care. It’s actually a benefit of having hot foot syndrome: too cold is more comfortable than too hot. I mentioned I suffered from the malady in last week’s column and was surprised to learn others have it also, namely, Charlie Whetstine of Solon. Charlie told me he has a more severe case of the malady than me. It’s so wicked he has to have a bucket of water next to him in the evening for emergency cool-offs. I wanted to ask him if he ever set the bed afire but his spouse Susan was along and I thought better not ask.
I tinker around in the garage for an hour or so checking email, social media and finishing my coffee, which I keep hot on a cobbled together coffee cup warmer made of a travel iron turned upside down in a metal pail. Every once in awhile, I get ambitious and get something done like jig-sawing Christmas tree ornaments or building birdhouses. But mostly I just hang out enjoying a cigar while looking out a small window and thinking about things like, well, curling.
In case Sabra comes through to feed the chickens or toss bottles into recycling, I try to have my skill saw at hand and some old stick of lumber clamped to the workbench. Over the years, she’s learned my motto while woodworking: measure once and cut until you get it right. Not only does it make me look busy, but the noise of the old saw keeps her from walking over and asking what the heck am I making now or worse, giving me something to do.
Did you know the origins of curling go back to the 1500s when Scottish men, probably retired like me, gathered at the local pond and slid rocks around? The sport is also called “the roaring game” because of the sound of the boulder sliding on ice. Perhaps the men liked the pastime because they didn’t have power tools back then?
In the 1600s, Scottish men working in the weaving industry improved the game. They used the stone weights from their looms to kick back after a hard day of tartan making. About this time, they figured out how to attach removable handles to the stones, and the golden age of curling dawned. It’s reported many a wife kept her husband’s brass curling stone handle on the mantelpiece, brightly polished until the next time it was needed. Could it be she was happiest when the husband was out on the lake sliding rocks around?
Anyhow, the other day I forgot to have my saw ready and Sabra asked me to take care of a chore. It all started a couple weeks earlier when she, for no apparent reason, decided for the first time in our two decades together, we would keep our butter on the counter instead of the refrigerator. I think it had something to do with us running out of the softer margarine for a while. But I’m a guy; I never know what’s going on. Whatever, it was fine with me and even better with Conan.
At the age of 10, we’ve been worried about the cat since he’s been off his kibble and losing weight. Sabra thinks it’s irritable bowel syndrome or maybe, heaven forbid, the big “C.” She’s tried finding tastier food and stopped just short of buying sushi-grade albacore. I chipped in by encouraging him to sit next to me in the evening and hand feeding him one chunk at a time off the top of my belly. But nothing worked and we noted he was becoming skin and bones.
And then he started getting better.
Long story short, while Sabra and I each thought the other was using a lot of butter lately, Conan was slurping down a stick every other night. No wonder he was gaining weight.
Anyhow, that’s how I got the honey-do of shopping for a covered butter dish for our household. And it hasn’t been easy. I had to visit Goodwill, Stuff Etc. and the Crowded Closet before scoring the dish. I hope she doesn’t like the one I got so I don’t have to do it again next week.
Got to go now, there’s a lot of sawdust on the garage floor that needs sweeping.