Affairs in order
Welcome to 2017. Hope it’s the best year ever!
Christmas 2016 is disassembled, boxed and stowed on assigned shelves in the basement.
New Year’s rocket canisters, raveled streamers and silly party hats have been swept up and dumped.
In a few more days Donald Trump will be King of America.
There’s a thought to give you the cold shivers, eh b’ys? It’s a time of new resolve. “Harry, my New Year’s love,” said Dearest Duck on New Year’s morning, “why not make a resolution to put your affairs in order?”
“Affairs in order, my Duck?” said I.
“Yes. Tidy up the litter you have around the house.”
“Oh, those affairs. For a second I thought you might know something I didn’t about putting my affairs in order,” said I.
“Don’t be silly. Just clean up your clutter. Start with where you are,” said my life’s controlling force. “Where I am? What?” I was in my favourite place in the world — foreign lands included — my Lay-Z-Boy, with a mug of Tension Tamer lodged on a wobbly tower of books on the end table beside me.
Dearest Duck pursed her lips — whatever that means.
Feeling somewhat impose on, I shuffled the assorted remotes scattered around the foot of the tower and lined them up in military order.
“That’s a start,” said Dearest Duck. “Don’t stop.”
Levering the chair’s footrest into sitting position I leaned over and hauled out the end table’s drawer. Then using the edge of my hand I raked a logjam of pens and markers into the drawer and shuffed it shut.
Like a pup, I raised my eyes for assurances of love from Dearest Duck only to find she’d gone away. Satisfied with my start, I s’pose.
After centering my reading light on the table I collected my iStuff, and dropped it into the Lay-Z-Boy’s pocket. I was ready to depart this site of freshly organized affairs.
Goddess Sees-It-All, called from the kitchen. “Don’t forget your office.”
Sarcasm dripped from “office” to remind me I worked [?] in the spare bedroom, comfortably ensconced at a computer desk among bookshelves, a couple of printers and a throwaway laptop.
My office was a disorderly affair. There were no visible flat surfaces. Reams of stacked paper leaned against each other in loose leafed [!] embrace. Volcanic bookshelves had erupted and spewed volumes of novels into corners. Books oozed beneath the bed and into my desk’s knee-well like cooling lava. Goddess driven, I fisted in. At the end of an exhausting day, affairs in my office were in order.
“Lovely,” said Dearest Duck after a glance.
Peacock proud, “Thanks, my Duck.”
She slipped a pat-patting arm around me. “Tomorrow, the basement,” she said. Never an end, eh b’ys? By basement Dearest Duck specifically meant my feeble excuse for a workshop.
I confess it was a shambles. All quiche-starved men know what it looked like. Assorted bits and bobs of boards with unevenly sawn end; a workbench littered with mysterious power tools, cords tailing from them like worms fleeing fishermen; something dark and dirty — a torn piece of tarp? — peeping from beneath sawdust heaped like a haystack.
Like a cowpuncher riding herd, I freed my Shop Vac from a dark corner, cut it loose from a collection of machinery — a lawnmower with a limp pull cord; a snow blower rusted and angry-faced; whipper-snippers tumbled like pick-up-sticks.
Shop Vac stogged to the gills, I snagged the tails of power tools, hauled them off the workbench and hoisted them like a skiver of trout from an alien world.
With glacial haste, order took form. Screwdrivers, wrenches, two hammers, vice-grips and something arcane — maybe a plumb bob, whatever that is — found places to live on a pegboard wall.
At one point during the two days it took to clear up my workshop, I peeled a ruined I said, handsaw from a congealed smear of grease and oil. Pappy would have whacked my noggin for mistreating a fine tool in such a fashion.
Finished, my chest pumped up like a banty rooster, I invited Dearest Duck in for an inspection.
“Good job, my harassed honey,” she said. “All affairs in order.”
Still on topic — truly: If God spares me until my next birthday, I’ll enter a new decade. And guess what? Poisoned, I’d hove out yesterday’s mail. You’ve seen the like, I bet — a postcard-sized promo from some Shield — blue or red or purple — announcing with words to this effect:
AFFORDABLE FUNERAL COVERAGE. PROTECT YOUR LOVED ONES. PUT YOUR AFFAIRS IN ORDER. For frig sake! Thank you for reading. Happy New Year!
By basement Dearest Duck specifically meant my feeble excuse for a workshop. I confess it was a shambles.