The place where I live in Soudan was purchased with Bill Stone in 2017 and consists of a house and two lots... with a good-sized lawn to mow. Shortly after we moved in, I ordered us a wedding present …
The place where I live in Soudan was purchased with Bill Stone in 2017 and consists of a house and two lots... with a good-sized lawn to mow. Shortly after we moved in, I ordered us a wedding present that still humors me when I walk past it. It’s a nice plaque on the outside of the house, next to the door, resembling a historical or hysterical marker…whatever you want to call it. It says, “HOUSE OF STONE -Established in 2017.” The house has asbestos siding that covers a wood frame so there is nothing stone about it. Bill, who lives elsewhere now, but is my friend... jokes that I took on his last name and kept it, just to have fun. This is most certainly true. I also figured putting family and friends through yet another name change in my life after the “BIG-D”...divorce, was just too much to expect from the human race.
So let’s get back to mowing the lawn. With the exit of Bill from the HOUSE OF STONE, maintenance dropped in my lap. I do like a nicely-kept lawn and intended to keep it that way all summer until the sweaty workouts hit me on those eighty-five degree days. I admit I wavered. Towards the end of June, as I trudged behind the mower, I was giving myself the regular pep talk, “Well, now you don’t have to nag him and it’ll be done! AND...exercise is a great thing, Scar, even if your face resembles a big ball of dewy watermelon in a summer fruit salad...” followed by, “Maybe it’s time to sell the place, euthanize your beloved kitties, and ease into that small dingy apartment on a back street of Tower, become a sloth, depressed and stumbling back and forth to the bars with one bushy eyebrow and an unshaven chin.” Oh god, the visuals...just too much. Well...you know how a person has self-talk? Just get a grip and finish the lawn hey!
To make the mowing easier, I would lock my elbows, extend my arms in front of me and with my gripping traction shoes, force the rig through the lumpy grass. I made many stops to wipe my brow with a towel I carried on the handle. During one stop, as I was tucking my towel back between the two horizontal bars on the mower handle an awakening occurred. I raised that lower “handle bar-dealy thing” out of curiosity and the mower blasted forward, pulling me with it on a fast trot. “Weeeee,” I squealed, as I sped around the lawn completing the entire project in record time. How proud to know I’d discovered I was indeed self-propelled, even if one entire month of summer had already passed! We had purchased the mower the previous year, but who remembered its features? It hadn’t been in my job description.
There were many things that I dealt with here at the HOUSE OF STONE. At first, I worried about paying all the damn bills on time, so I sold a bunch of stuff I didn’t need on Facebook’s Marketplace site. Items like benches, chairs, shoes, a vintage picnic basket, antique glassware, a dress form-mannequin and more were easy sells. It generated income and decluttered the place at the same time. Fiscally foxy was I. Another thing I did was cancel satellite TV and purchase a TV-Firestick for just under fifty dollars with no monthly fees. Still under contract with the satellite company, I opted for the “pause” feature they offer at five dollars and forty two cents per month, in order to ride out more contract time. This will eat up about nine months and by then I may have won the lottery or made a fortune from writing the Diabolical Divorcées’ Guide To Making Ends Meet and can hand over the balance due on the two-year contract and ride off into the sunset. When the stimulus check arrived in the spring, I paid off a couple more bills, then refinanced the house in my name only. I was able to get a three-percent fixed rate, roll in a couple other bills, and come out nearly two hundred dollars less per month on my house payment. I was certainly getting my ducks in a row.
Most situations fall into the “One day at a time and don’t borrow trouble” categories but it takes several decades to figure that out it seems. The “Don’t borrow trouble” adage, meaning....it hasn’t happened yet so don’t fret, came from a now-deceased elderly friend of mine, Rilla Karki. She had been a former Go-go dancer at Superior’s Hammond Club back in the sixties with a stage name of, Go-go Gorilla! I think about her in her prime...white patent leather knee-high boots, sparkly dresses and long blond hair. Being the proud mother of two boys when I met her back in Hibbing in the nineties, she did emphasize the fact that Go-go girls and strippers were not one and the same. You didn’t argue with Rilla....or she’d threaten to put out her cigarette on your knee. In jest, of course, as she laughed her big laugh, then wagged her tongue at you from under her bottom plate. She was a classic, and in the years I knew her she imparted much wisdom to me. I credit her with guiding me through the decision to keep my baby in my surprise pregnancy at age thirty-six. Believing for twenty years that I was not able to have children due to hormonal imbalances or some damn thing, it was the shock of a lifetime to learn I was expecting. The problem was the baby’s father was older, not wiser, and I knew it to be an unstable situation. I often have said, “I got the last sperm in his body.” Rilla said, “Honey, I think you’ve always wanted a baby and you must remember that the child is separate from its father and always will be.” Those were true words and I rolled through the pregnancy in strength and spirit giving birth to my healthy, intelligent son, Keaton, who at age twenty-three keeps an eye out for his ma. So much so, that one day about two weeks ago he was here and said in an alarmed tone, “Ma, you have a big bald spot on the back of your head!” I laughed and told him, “Oh that’s just from stress...it’s happened before and it’ll grow back.”
Just when I got the bills in order, another stressful deal happened. The universe gifted me a major plugged drain that involved snakes, cameras, jack- hammering a hole through the cement in the basement floor and everything short of calling in the National Guard to fix it. This stuff always happens on a Friday afternoon or a weekend to really put the screws to the nerves. It was about a three-day stint and no doubt involved that clump of missing hair from the back of my head. Meanwhile, I moved my kitchen dishwashing station into my small bathroom on the main floor and decided to adjust my attitude and pretend I was camping or something. Somewhere between late June and that awful Presidential debate a few weeks ago I also needed a new Jeep battery and four new tires. Oh well, these are not life or death circumstances and give a gal the opportunity to wheel n’ deal workable payment plans with creditors.
In between the issues, I would sit out on my deck on summer nights looking up at the moonlit northern sky. Above the peak of my garage, extending on both sides, the leafy treetops and pine tree branches pull away to leave a large bay of starry sky with wispy clouds that seem to beckon me to fly up out of my skin and away into the magic of the cool night air and on to a more peaceful state of being. Those moments were all I needed to fill my depleted emotional bank and bring peace back to me. Nature is the best source for that. Some say that the soul leaves the body at night when we go to sleep and until we die there is a thin silver cord that ties our soul to our bodies. Not to mention the mortal reminder of my cat, Lil Bit, meowing through the window screen...“For the bloody love of Purina, quit staring up at the sky and come inside and feed me!” Oh, bless the creatures that ground us, our beloved children and our pets for sure. I’ve moved into a calmer season here at the HOUSE OF STONE and look forward to a self-propelled, creative hibernation very soon.