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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

Hearth and Home


My lower right eye has been twitching for weeks and this weekend began with our sump pump giving up the ghost and water spread across the basement floor. In spite of shop-vac’ing up the water, spraying the floor with bleach and anti-mildew spray, the basement reeks. I would say of death but maybe death smells better? I think my dog thinks that - - that death smells better. Wrigley enjoys gross things but he left the clean up to us. Smart guy. At the first sign of disaster in my home my first thought is, “Call the landlord.” Although it’s been several years since I’ve had a landlord. So this whole smelly basement thing is a privilege problem. My next thought is, “Who can I call to deal with this? Why does Andrea think we can replace a sump pump? She’s so goddamn stubborn.” Stubborn and relentless so I dutifully hold my phone with it’s flashlight on, pointed at the gaping hole filled with brackish water while she forges ahead. Sometimes, I offer a suggestion and I feel pleased and relieved when my suggestion actually works. Mainly, I stand there somewhat lamely and pray silently that the fix comes and quickly. I also marvel at how confident and calm Andrea is and think about how I have PTSD from growing up when my dad would occasionally attempt something small around the house that resulted in a torrent of swears from him. Of course, he likely attempted these displays of handiness a few beers in. Andrea’s motto is, “Beer after.” This order seems to work much better. Today, Andrea replaced a door knob so quickly and quietly that I didn’t realize she was taking that project on at the moment.

This morning, as we drove to a neighboring town to run an errand, a yellow plow propped against a tree in someone’s yard caught my eye. It had the address of the home sprayed onto it. As I gaped at the sign, I began to drift the car to the right. “Uh…” Andrea said and I gave the wheel a small jerk to the left.

“I was just looking at that plow with the address spray painted on - - a man did that.” I said. Andrea laughed and I said, “No - really.”

I imagined the woman of the house returning home, harried and hassled, carrying groceries and juggling children and there the husband would be, drinking a Bud Light with a satisfied smile playing on his lips.

“Did you see what I did?” He’d ask. And of course she would have seen it and no doubt cringed imagining friends, relatives and neighbors and others seeing it as they pulled into her clearly marked driveway.

She’d endure this burst of creativity in agonized silence.

Today, Andrea and I decorated for fall and I was again grateful I wasn’t married to anyone who would think that spray painting our address on a plow was a good idea. Yesterday, the senate voted to confirm Kavanaugh as a supreme court justice. I wasn’t surprised - - the “investigation” was a sham and the President openly mocked Blasey-Ford this week while his supporters cheered. ‘merica. Today, as we ran errands, mainly to farm stands, I saw a lot of women outside and at the farm stands. Taking care of hearth and home. On Instagram, someone visiting Kripalu captured a beautiful picture of the grounds with the leaves on the trees turning to autumnal gold. She (Anneelondon) wrote, “Let’s take a moment to breathe in the beauty around us. Despite what is happening in U.S. politics, we must move forward in preserving our lands, our lives and the pursuit of happiness.” Right on, Anne. And ladies, that plow looks like shit so when your husband does stuff like this, use your voice and speak up. After all, it begins at home.


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