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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Projects, perseverance, patience and pasties

Scarlet Stone
Posted 10/6/21

Time flies between my weeks for column writing and the thought that I have nothing of value to say generally crosses my mind ahead of time. Usually my pieces are about humorous and sometimes shocking …

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Projects, perseverance, patience and pasties


Time flies between my weeks for column writing and the thought that I have nothing of value to say generally crosses my mind ahead of time. Usually my pieces are about humorous and sometimes shocking things that happen in life. I rarely delve into political, social or environmental issues. My head and heart are mostly elsewhere.
There are still projects going on here at the House of Stone. The clogged pipe from that upstairs bathroom has been located but isn’t fixed yet. We got busy moving my office from its temporary setting in the middle of the dining room into an enchanting kitchen nook that doesn’t get used like it could. Then Bill decided to drag all our large rugs and runners outside and clean them. He draped them over boards propped between our raised deck and a tall stepladder and beat them with an old rug beater he took off a display in my hallway. Many rugs have now been beaten, hosed, and sun dried and we will finish every one of them if this great warm weather continues. This method has worked beautifully except our driveway looks like a garage sale in full swing with rugs and other things from the messy garage pouring out. Construction projects and creativity will do that, and knowing messes will be present until the project or piece is finished helps with patience.
Speaking of messes, last week my son and his fiance moved into a cute two bedroom upstairs apartment in Ely, so we borrowed a trailer from a friend and assisted them. They have younger friends but somehow seem to rely on us older ones to actually show up and get the job done. Last Thursday was the designated heavy furniture day. We headed east from Soudan at noon and stopped at the Northland Market Deli for lunch, and ordered a pasty to be shared later for supper. We were standing and waiting for our food to be bagged up when a deli worker asked the two college-age guys next to us if she could help them. One quickly answered,  “Yes, we’ll take two of those “paste-eez”.  Hearing that made my ears tingle with humor. I’d heard of folks mispronouncing the word pasty but had never been within earshot of someone actually saying it innocently. “We cannot have this I thought, young men on the Iron Range pronouncing one of our staple food items wrong.” I figured I better assist in protecting these gents from other busy-bodies who could overwhelm them in the future with teacher-like authority if I did not take it upon myself to correct them here and now. So I did. “It is pronounced “past-ee,” I added. Then without drawing breath said... “paste-eez” are adhesive things worn by strippers to cover up their nips!” For the duration of the explanation I was gesturing with my fingers whirling in a circular motion in front of my chest! Their eyebrows lifted in surprise and mouths twisted in small smiles. One of them uttered an awkward “Oh!” That’s all that was said but I had given them material for their stories and they mine! For me it was a fun exchange and while I don’t want to be thought of as a know-it-all I do like to share my accumulated experiences with others at times.
Years ago I found myself at a Subway and was ravenously hungry. I wanted to tear the glass off the display and dive into the bins. I had to wait my turn and move through the line like civilized men and women do. There was a ditsy boyfriend/girlfriend combo in front of me, giggling, distracted by the cuteness of one another. They were fussing excessively over the creation of their food with a growing string of hungry wolves behind them. I was thinking, “Just let the Sandwich Artist do his job.” Patience finally ran out and I blurted, “For god sake, you’re picking out a bloody sandwich...not a house!” That revelation sped up the line and no doubt left the wolves behind me wondering if I’d find my meds before the next day. I offered no apologies on that day; they really needed the awakening.
At any rate, before moving the kids’ furniture that day we did go into it well fed. Food can ease aggravations... anytime, anywhere. We took our lunch and headed to find a picnic spot, then when we finished it was time to get busy moving the large furnishings and remnants. By remnants I must be referring to the five or so trips to the dump. I did some hauling and unpacking but my main job was to open and close the door and keep track of their two cats.
Being involved in a move always pushes me to the edge or slightly over. It’s a stressful business. I was helping arrange the kitchen in the new place, busy unpacking boxes and I heard my guy Bill and my son Keaton approaching up the back flight of stairs with the couch. I stopped what I was doing and for the next twenty minutes or so I stood in the middle of the kitchen watching two men try to twist and push the couch through a doorway unsuccessfully. I offered a suggestion, which fell on deaf ears, “You need to take the legs off.”  The words flew right past their sweaty heads unnoticed and they continued to do their guy thing...shove, curse, huff and puff. It was so hard on my nerves! “Watch the paint,” I cautiously added... “Careful of that wood paneling guys!” This went on for a couple more lifetimes it seemed, and I wanted to run barreling down the hall and dive through the front glass window, flying on huge wings of frustration... but held back. “Guys, it will work if you just take the legs off,” I chimed. Then my son spoke out in irritation, “Mom, just stop telling us what to do, we’ve got this!”  My nose was bending outta joint after that remark but I decided to pick my battles in order to finish the project, knowing that the art of moving is not an art but rather a pain in the butt. I said no more. It was a rare last day of September with the thermometer touching eighty degrees, accompanied by a high humidity level. Their faces were red, and their shirts were sweaty from hauling previous loads up the twenty stairs from the trailer. I’ve moved so many times in my life it’s probably approaching a Guinness record but still, I wanted to help. Moving and packing belongings into boxes, car trunks and new spaces over the accumulated decades gives a person great spacial-relation skills, but they can be unappreciated at times, so I opened a box of glasses and started plunking them in the cupboard, but I was irritated. I kept half-watching them struggle. My mind raced....”What if it won’t fit, it has to fit... they can’t afford another couch now, it's the bloody legs!” Persevering with the regularity of Big Ben, I again chimed... “Geez guys, I can see it from my angle and if the legs were off it’d go.” No comment. I walked some item to another room and came back and Keaton was standing quietly at ease. “What’s up?” I asked. “He’s taking the legs off,” Keat replied in a monotone voice. I thought, “What a great idea, why didn’t I think of that?” My teeth clenched together, the legs were then off, I sighed and shoved my right shoulder under part of the couch to raise it a bit. Five seconds later the couch popped through the door like an induced baby.
Every time I do a move, and there have been dozens... I think of becoming a minimalist and it occurred to me during their move, too. But, they are busy young people and learning how to get all their ducks in a row for something like a big moving event. Get all the laundry done, make trips to the dump ahead of time, etc. Some ducks were in a nice row and some had flown south on this move, but we did have fun and nobody got seriously injured.
Bill needed Advil later that evening and I had a glass of wine.


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