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Reports from the Island Frontier

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Stats:

Phone Calls Made: 10
Circular Saws Received as Christmas Gifts: 1
Bell Hooks Bent: 8
Chapters Read In ” “: 2
Septic Systems Planned: .5
Trucks Almost Purchased: 2
Trucks Actually Purchased: 0
Trash Bags Filled: 0.

We are in the dog days of January, where I’d need to do twenty minutes of shoveling to be able to drive our extremely ubiquitous Grey Island Station Wagon up our driveway, and where I have three halfway completed projects waiting on God, the Weather, or Someone Else.

At least I survived the Pre-Christmas Toxic Laundry Invasion of 2019. While working on emptying out the Entryway of Horrors, whose aesthetic leans hard towards 70’s Horror Film Chic, we discovered a closet full of vintage LL Bean jackets and clothing. “Score!” I thought. They could be used, at the very worst, as work jackets, keeping me warm while already being pre-hazed by the house they came from.

I brought a bag of them home, stuck them in the washer, poured in detergent and baking soda, and waited excitedly while I made some cookies. As the they baked in the oven, I began to notice that the cookies, rather than smelling like their dependable chocolate chip selves, were carrying an ominously familiar odor.

Sure enough, rather than me deodorizing the laundry, the laundry was odorizing me, and most of my house along with it. I turned on the oven fan, stopped the wash, and dumped the better part of a box boasting “Odor Neutralizing!” into the washer.

It ate that cleaning agent too, and pretty soon the smell had overwhelmed the valiantly struggling stove fan and was making its way into the living room. After remembering I had a a wife and two small children coming home soon; I ran to the washer and cranked it to the spin cycle. Quickly realizing that the smell seemed to be percolating even more quickly, I decided heck with it, stopped the wash; pulled out approximately seven hundred pounds of reeking LL Bean laundry, stuck it in a trash bag and exiled it to the porch.

My wife arrived to the odor of slightly funky chocolate chip cookies, and thankfully no harm was done; but we also agreed that all fabric things in the first floor would be going to only one place: the dump, where they could find equally odorous companions.

There are several other projects all stalled at the midway point. We have a cabin to renovate, once the weather gets warm enough and the electricity gets hooked up. We have a septic system to price out, once I get answers to the Three Pressing Questions that emerged when Dave Chapman, the affable, knowledgeable God of Island Septic Systems paid us a visit on Tuesday. There’s the question of A Mortgage, which would be easier to answer if my credit union would ever respond to my multiple voicemails.

There was also the sad Search for the Truck, where this Buyer thought had two good options to choose from, if he’d ever make up his Damn Mind, only to have his mind made up for him when the first truck ended up decisively being less truck than they needed; and the second truck, a 1987 GMC that he immediately fell in love with, was pulled from the market by a commendably conscientious seller who was afraid it’d become a money pit.

All of this leaves us looking for generosity from our truck-loving neighbors and sacrificing small carburetors to the Island Small Truck Gods in hopes that the right beater will descend to us from the heavens before the serious work begins.

Thankfully John and I (because John is awesome, slightly crazy, and perhaps also masochistic) will be donning our gas masks and parkas and picking up more crap in the cold on Friday because, if the laundry fails and the truck doesn’t arrive, there’s still trash, odors, and other surprises, just waiting for you.

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