The Living Without Series

This is a series of posts that I wrote back in 2006 on living with less stuff. Check them out: liv011Living #2liv031liv04

Coal Creek Farm on Facebook

The Chicken Doctor

April

The Architect

Clay

A story about April written by Clay

**Guest post by Clay

April and I had been married a couple months and April was still in her “I don’t like Clay very much” phase of life, partially because we lived in a small, ramshackle rental house, it was a pit…with a back stoop.

It was a Saturday morning, April was heading out to work at the animal hospital and I was still in my big red bathrobe sporting some major bed head. I said goodbye to April and heard the screen door slam behind her. Then I heard the “incident.” My first indication that something was amiss was when I heard an ear piercing shriek and five or six terrified “CLAAAAAYYYs.” I know that many of you haven’t had the pleasure of April’s spine-tingling, terrified shrieks, but I am the recipient of one every four or five minutes. They usually happen when a bug is within 25 feet of the house, but they also happen when she is in a room and I come in and “scare” her. They go something like this:

April: [doing something and more often than not, having a conversation with herself] “oh yes, thank you for asking, I’ve been a professional blogger for many years now and…”
ME: [bang, bang, bang…that’s me walking into the room, very loudly] “um….April”

April:SHHRRRRIIIEEEEEEKKKKK!!! WHY DO YOU ALWAYS SNEAK UP ON ME!!!”
ME: I’m sorry. [At this point I usually just back out of the room with my hands in a “don’t be mad” sort of way.]

I get blamed for floating in and scaring her on purpose but this has happened to other people as well so I know it’s not just me. It even happened to one poor sap who was walking in front of our house…on the sidewalk, you know, where people usually walk. April was clipping a hedge at the time. It went something like this:

April: [Clip, clip, clip] “oh yes, thank you for asking, I’ve been a master gardener for many years now and…”
Man on the Street: [bang, bang, bang…that’s the guy walking on the sidewalk, very loudly] “Hello”
April: SHHRRRRIIIEEEEEEKKKKK!!! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR DOING!” Man on the Street: I’m sorry. [Man backs away with his hands up.]

Anyway, the hair-raising shrieks happened and I, being a dutiful husband, ran to her aid through the back door and stopped…and stared…and was confused. April was lying high sided on her stomach about two steps down with her head facing downhill and her arms and legs behind her body as if she was a skydiver gaining speed before the chute opens.

There were only four steps. She was high sided on the second step. I stood there and wondered, “Does she really need me to help her up? I mean, all she has to do is put her hands down. Is she trying to slide across the yard? How did she get into that position in the first place? She was only out here for about three seconds. What the heck?”

All the while, the shrieks and screams continued until April craned her head around and saw me standing there, kind of stupefied. She gathered that I wasn’t reaching down to help her so she turned down the volume…slowly and started to rise to her feet…slowly. In those three or four minutes I had the chance to look down at myself and notice that my robe was wide open and my lily white boxers and my lily white skin were gleaming in the sunlight. And I’m not kidding about the colors. I don’t tan a lick and I have very clean underwear. In fact, they were pretty much the same shade of bright, especially for anyone who squints or happens to be standing more than 15 feet away.

I raised my eyes past April as she rolled back and forth enough to gain the momentum to get up and saw our back-door neighbor standing slack jawed and shirtless watching the whole thing. Sigh. This very neighbor also happened to be holding all the materials for installing a new mailbox and was heading for the very spot where his old mailbox used to be. In the very spot where April, two days prior, had run aground with our car sending his old mailbox hurling halfway up his yard. And that happened right before she peeled out and left the scene while I stood there just shaking my head. So what was I going to do? I gave him a pleasant “how you doing” wave, a “this kind of stuff happens all the time” smirk, a “I hope your project goes well” thumbs up, and a “what kind of person would bash your mailbox and not pay for it” shrug. Then I closed my robe, turned and walked back into the house.

I think my wife might have made it to work on time with most of her pride splattered on the back stoop, but I didn’t hang around long enough to check.

If I could go back….

Ever think about what you would do differently if you could go back to high school?  

Man, every time I visit Goodland I go back to my teenage days.  What would I change?
1.  I would never have hid a note in a certain gorgeous boy’s locker telling him his girlfriend was a dip and then undeniably describing myself, but signing the note anonymously.  Lord, have mercy was I a retard.
2. I would not have stolen my parent’s van on a muddy day to go pick up my friend Tina to cruise Maine Street and then get it stuck in the ditch and have to run home in my white penny loafers to call Tina and make up a whopper of a lie to her dad about why I was driving in the first place.   And could he please come try to pull me out?  Oh, I was in 8th grade when I did that and I’d been taking the van out for little test drives unbeknownst to anyone for about a month before I decided it was time to cruise with a friend.   Tina’s dad couldn’t get his truck down the road as far as I drove the van.  My punishment was to pay for the tow truck and clean all the mud out of the van (because I tried digging the darn thing out with my bare hands before I gave up.  I got mud all over the driver’s side) and my dad threatened that I might not drive again until I was 21, which was like cutting off a limb to me.  
3. I would bolster my wit and courage, unfortunately that didn’t happen until I was in college.  But, there are things I would love to have said to people if I’d only had the guts.  I don’t mean being hateful I just mean standing up for what is right and justified and shutting down the loud obnoxious mouths.  Like the time I was in MacDonald’s a couple years ago and this big-smoking-loud-tattoo laden woman was talking on her cell phone and cussing up a storm in the play area.  Not that being forced into a play area doesn’t already make me a little on the edgy, but I looked at her and said, “Hey!  Do you mind?  There are kids in here that don’t need to hear that kind of language!”  and she looked at me and said……oh, sorry.  I know!  I shut her up!  Ooooh, I feel a cheer comin‘ on…  THAT’S RIGHT UH-HUH SAY IT AGAIN, GHS!

Which brings me to my next regret..
4. I would not have been a cheerleader.  Good God!  Rechelle just went into cardiac arrest.  Seriously though, I look at my cheerleading pictures and think, what the hell April, what the hell?  Did I not realize I was six feet tall?  I should have played sports.  Do you know how many coaches and parents asked me why I wasn’t out on the court?  They were embarrassed for me.  I guess I had something to prove.   And I can dance and I’m not afraid to dance in front of people, but I feel awkward and self conscious on a basketball court.  Well whatever,  now I have a daughter that can play any sport with grace and confidence and has stamina and will power, but she can’t dance a lick, I mean she refuses to try and shake her hips.  It’s unfortunate and admirable all at the same time.  I guess I’ll live vicariously through her while I look out the corner of my eye and criticized the weak arm positions of the cheerleaders.
5. I would have studied.  I can’t even say I would have studied harder, because I never studied for anything.  What a blow it was when I got to college.  I was so unprepared.  Listen to me kids, go for the gold while your young!  STUDY HARD!  Geesh, I wasted so much time.
and this is why….
6.  I would not have dated Tim, Tony, Chris, Pat, Rex, Brian or any other guy I may have dated in high school but can’t remember.  Because I never acted like myself around any of them and they were all way too freakin‘ SHORT!  Sorry guys.  Errr, what a waste!  Why couldn’t I have my 38 year old brain in place when I was 15?  Why?
7. I would have spent more quality time with my friends and my family.  I would love to go back and have one day a week with my grandparents.  They only lived 17 miles away and I would go months without talking to them.  That is a crime.  
You know what?  I think that’s it.  I’d like to say I’d go back and change my hairstyle and make up choices but then I’d probably look even more like a freak, not that a teenager with the brain of a 38 year old wouldn’t be freaky.  Oh, but wait.  When I got to college I stopped curling my hair and wore very little make up and one of my sister’s good friends saw me on campus and said, “Hey, April.  Wow!  You are so much prettier than you were in high school.  You look better with no make up.”  sigh.  
8. So, okay I’d go back and chuck the hot rollers and the Mary Kay eye shadow trio.

Confessions of a Debt Snowball Addict

Somewhere in my archives is a post about how much I hate those Crocks shoes and how I will never buy any for my kids because I think they are so hideous and I don’t fall for fad crap very often and I probably mentioned how I am so much better than most of the human race too.

Confession-  I bought my two youngest cheap crock-a-crap shoe-like things at Wal-Fart and they think they are the best shoes ever.
Please, forgive me and then please, someone, anyone, put me out of my misery.  I’ve lost all sense of style and taste in my attempt to succeed at being THE CHEAPEST PERSON ON THE PLANET!