The Square Peg - If the Shoe Fits...
© S. Bradley Stoner
My days are totally screwed up now. Turned completely upside down. Understand, I am a morning person. I like seeing the sun come up. Yeah... I know the science; I know it’s just the Earth turning, but I’m old fashioned. I like the idea of us being the center of the universe. I mean, there might be something or someone else out there, but so far we haven’t found them. I’m just as glad for that right now. It they are out there, they might just consider us annoying bugs, and, frankly, I don’t want to find out if they have a big can of Raid to polish us off. There are times I just like blissful ignorance. It allows me to pursue my pet projects without having to consider the big picture. Crud... there I go again with that digression thing.
Anyway, my lovely switched up her schedule and now works into the night. That means we don’t get up early anymore. Well, I do, but then I either have to go back to bed, take a nap, or drag all day. I need my sleep. Didn’t used to. I used to get by on four hours a night. Sometime around age sixty, that caught up with me. Now I can snooze at the drop of a hat. So please, don’t drop one. The other thing this schedule does is screw up my shop hours. You see, my shop is in the garage. I can’t work in my shop when her car is parked in it. And she won’t park outside for my convenience... not that I blame her. We bought her little Suzuki brand spanking new off the lot and despite the fact that she has had it for six years, it looks brand new. That’s why she keeps it in the garage. Given that she only drives it to the store and work, it has a paltry 20,000 miles on it. Heck, it’s barely broken in. And, because it’s Suzuki’s cross-over that is no longer made, it’s worth more now than when it was new.
I guess I can’t complain too much. Now I work in my shop in the late afternoon and evening when it starts to cool off, but I think I’m going to hang up and plug in my bug zapper. Damn mosquitos. So, there I was last evening, the first night of her new schedule, working in my shop. Apparently, Bingo Bob was intrigued by the open garage door leaking light, so he decided to amble over. Now, I hadn’t seen Bob for about a week since our last conversation, which you might recall had to do with rearranging his wife’s anatomy a little. I mean, I hadn’t seen his car or any trace of him, so I had questions for a change.
“Hi ya... whatcha doin?” Bob asked, breaching the sanctity of my shop sanctuary.
“Building a shoe rack,” I replied. “My sweetie said I couldn’t start building a boat until I built the shoe rack I’ve promised her for the last two years.”
Bob eyeballed the structure I was erecting from scrap wood I had lying around the shop. No, it wasn’t lying around in the conventional sense, it was neatly stacked to one side by the shelves that held my camping gear and other important stuff, as well as a couple of shelves of stacked short pieces of lumber. I don’t throw anything away unless it’s rotted or twisted beyond usefulness. You never know when you might need one of those scraps to finish a critical project.
“You coulda saved yourself a lotta grief if you’d just bought one of those Ikea kits,” Bob intoned. “Besides, she’d have had her shoe rack a long time ago.”
“I don’t like kits,” I replied. “For one thing, they almost always seem to have too much of one type of hardware and not enough of the other. It’s like building something with your kid’s Legos. No thanks, I’d rather build it from scratch.”
“Well,” Mr. expert said, touching one of my bar clamps that held the structure while the glue dried, “you best be putting some screws or nails in that or yer glue is gonna dry out and the thing’ll fall apart.”
It irritates me when folks like Bob, who couldn’t put together a tinker toy with step-by-step instructions, try to advise me on my projects. I could have gotten really caustic, but I just said, “No sh^t Sherlock.”
If that offended Bob, he didn’t show it. Then, like his brain had just caught up with the initial statement, “You’re going to build a boat?! Wow... how big?”
“Just a small fishing boat that will work on lakes and the shallow bays on the Gulf. Nothing fancy.”
“I mean, how many feet?” Bob apparently has no sense of size without dimensions.
“About a fifteen footer. It’s going to be kind of a modified scow.” Seeking to divert the attention from my doings, I asked, “So, where have you been for the past week or so? Haven’t seen your car around.”
“Yeah, well, I’ve been away...” Bob stumbled, and stared at his shoes “on business. And the car’s been in the shop.”
“Oh? Engine trouble?”
“Now... getting a few dings fixed and a window replaced.”
“Ah, got in a fender-bender, huh?”
Bob shoved his hands in his pockets and looked up at the ceiling. “Not exactly...”
“How not exactly?” I asked.
“Well, um... you remember what I asked you about last time we talked?”
Like I could forget it... especially since I went and wrote about it so all the world could share in that little tidbit. “Oh, you mean the nip and tuck, butt lift and boob job.”
“Geez! Not so loud.” Bob obviously doesn’t spend much time on social media and obviously doesn’t read my stuff. I kind of knew that. He continued, “Anyway, I brought it up to the wife. Man, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her get so mad. Now I wish I had remembered to put that hammer back in my locked tool chest. She kind of took her anger out on my ride.”
“Didn’t know you owned a hammer, Bob.”
“Well, I do. I had to buy one when you wouldn’t let me use yours any more.”
I nodded, but thought to myself, ‘Thank heaven! If she had decided to take that hammer after Bob instead of his car, my fingerprints would have been all over the murder weapon. Not good.’
“Anyway,” Bob added miserably, “she put a lot of dents in the hood of my beauty and then busted out the rear window for good measure.”
“Well, I hope you learned from this,” I chirped.
“You bet I did!” Bob exclaimed. “I got some storage units to put my boat and car in and one that I’m going to make into a man-cave with my big screen TV. I ain’t giving her any second chances at my stuff!”
“You’re an idiot.”