Rooms Cleaned: .66
Eight Hundred Pound Sofa-Bed Monstrosities Moved: One
Tylenol Taken: 2 (One for me, one for John)
Contractor Bags Filled: Eight
Number of Terrifying Mattresses and/or Box Springs Removed: Also Eight
Number of Loads Of Plague Laundry Unsuccessfully Attempted: One [Wait ‘till next week for this story]
Unintentionally Comic Quote of the Week: “I didn’t notice that mattress has camouflage sheets!”

It is good to be back into our regular routine: holidays completed, family visited, an indeterminate-but-almost-definitely-embarrassing number of pounds gained; much fun had and rest achieved. And so, I joyfully sit in our upstairs bathroom, laptop open, waiting for my boy to fall asleep according to our Pact, gleefully banging out another update.

[Have I told you about The Pact? It has two parties, my boy and myself, in which I, the parent/sleep guardian agree that if the Boy Goes To Sleep On His Own in His Bed(!) then Parent/Sleep Guardian will: sit in the bathroom next door, before checking in to see how he’s doing in “Six Short Minutes”. This is when I get all my blogging done, some of which before editing, has a more than metaphorical connection to the fixture I’m currently sitting on.]

It takes a village to fix a house. At least, it certainly has this last month.

Specs Eaton (recurring character alert!), lumberjack turned teacher turned high school principal turned real estate agent/contractor/tree expert, volunteered to help us take down a couple fifty foot tall trees that had been planted a cushy five feet from the house, including one that was definitely leaning in what could only be described as a domicidal direction.

This involved him bringing his tractor, which is perhaps better described as a high-powered Swiss army on wheels, making a precarious climb up the tree, risking (bad pun alert!) life and limb to tie a rope around the trunk, which we then attached to said tractor. He then gave me a two minute tutorial, and said, “When I start waving frantically, throw the tractor into reverse if you’d still like a house.”

Accessing the perfect trigonometry possessed by every professional lumberjack, he made a bunch of careful cuts around the tree trunk, and began waving frantically. Bucking my long history of mechanical ineptitude, I successfully backed the tractor into reverse, and the tree toppled down perfectly, saving both my house and about a thousand dollars of professional tree work. Afterwards, I had my second lesson on the Usage of the Chainsaw, in which I managed a solid C+, managing to get it pinched twice, before deciding that exhaustion, sharp power tools and a badly overdue lunch were not good for the long-term future of my limbs.

This brings me to the next resident in our village, where my apprenticeship is going far better with Kim Boehm, Master Electrician, whose answering machine message still opens “You’ve reached the intergalactic headquarters of Island Electric…”. I’m now the proud owner of a State of Maine Electrician’s Helper’s License and a bag of tools, which will give me the opportunity to work very slowly under his very careful supervision, with the hope that I’ll soon be roughing out my own lines without posing excessive danger to myself or to others. Kim has been a remarkably patient teacher so far, which is most likely due to the fact that I appear to be a far more naturally talented electrician than I am a lumberjack.

And finally, there are all those online presences which also populate my house-raising village.

A month ago, I went to the Almighty Google to look for a good prayer to start my workdays with. I believe that work like this is holy, although we don’t tend to think of it as such, and at any rate, I find that all good days hauling trash can use some judicious sanctification. I ended up turning to the Facebook for help and received a bunch of great responses, but the one that took the cake was by Wendy Hudson, former guest on my podcast, who volunteered to write me one.

This is what she wrote; and this is what I pray at the beginning of every workday on Firehouse Road.



  1. Steve Hill Reply

    Specs Eaton is from Cape Elizabeth…. must count for something???

  2. Steve Hill Reply

    We are both old time Capers… he is older than me!! Think he has a son or daughter living in CE.

  3. Wonderful! I’ll have to mention to him that we used to counsel at summer camp together! Of course, I’ll also make sure to highlight only your very best qualities! 🙂

    • Steven Hill Reply

      Yes…. only my best qualities and I’ll return the favor!!! Best wishes.

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