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A Typical Winter Day (Volume 77, February 11 - March 6, 2002)

Updated: Apr 10, 2021

Monday, February 12th, 2002

A Typical Winter Day ~~

5:00 - 6:30 am - Lie awake waiting for Tina to call (to see if I have to substitute teach)

7:00 - realize she’s not going to call - fall “asleep” with relief, plan the day in my head: paint, wrap Mar’s Valentine’s present for mailing, bring cookies to Harris Lumber Yard.

8:00 - phone rings, downstairs only. I realize the ringer on the upstairs phone is turned off, not down, ever since Ellis was sleeping in the guest bedroom due to his sore back. I get paralyzed and can’t answer, guessing it’s Tina. Answering machine clicks on but no one leaves a message.

8:05 - feel guilty that I didn’t pick up the phone; check stocks on computer

- get dressed, feed horses, pet Smudge II, clean up after horses, throw ball for Caramel, call to see when gas will be delivered - tank is down to 10%.

9-ish - decide to take Rabbit on brief walk to visit horses next door before bringing him out to pasture. Then it’s Dewey’s turn.

9:30ish - as I’m walking Dewey, Consumers' Coop truck roars down Creek Lane to fill our tank. Dewey has minor freak-out but lets me control him when he slips on icy road.

- talk to Mike while he fills tank - $540+ for 365 gallons.

10:15 - go to studio. Tucker runs inside so fast I almost slam the door on him.

- discover my studio door no longer shuts tightly

- sit in chair petting Tucker, who’s in an unusually affectionate mood. I can’t bear to dislodge him so I stare at “Bruised” for several minutes, seeing if it looks different now that it’s gotten into an art show, while fussing over Tucker.

- paint until noon

- watch “All My Children,” lift arm weights, eat lunch, pet Elroy and Flower

1:00 - bring in mail. New Vanity Fair, nice letter from Chris

8:00 - 1:00 - check stock prices on computer about five times. McDonald’s started out at $30+ and then immediately dropped back to 29-something, where it’s stayed all day. I need to cash some in for March bills, at a big loss, no doubt

1:15 - bring horses cookie treats, finish cleaning stalls and putting down fresh bedding; pet Smudge, throw ball for Caramel

1:30 - as I’m walking to my car to deliver cookies to the lumber yard, I see a terrible sight by Ellis’ van - a paralyzed, struggling mole or vole. Tucker stands by, looking pleased with himself but having no inclination to finish the job.

- call Ellis to come out, plead with him to do something about the struggling, suffering rodent, who’s dragging himself to and fro on his front paws, while shuddering and convulsing

- call Ellis a bad man when he refuses to hit the little thing with a chunk of wood. Badger him until he agrees to run over the doomed creature, which is right behind his front van wheel

- turn away and cry and grimace as Ellis misses several passes in a row (the vole keeps dragging itself a few inches to the left or right and it’s so tiny Ellis can’t see it from inside the car)

- scream “I hate all of you!” at Olive when she runs up to investigate the now smushed gut pile formerly known as a mole or a vole

- deliver the frosted heart-shaped (and a few crescent moons) sugar cookies to Sugar and cohorts - but now being so upset that I can’t linger or banter

- stop and pet poor Jeb, the neglected chocolate lab across from the lumber yard, and let him lick my face through his cage; give him three dog biscuits as well

- no sooner get in the door than someone in a green car drives up. It’s the guy who sells aerial photos of people’s farms, bearing a 16” x 20” photo of our farm as it looked July 22, 2000. It’s so green and gorgeous and hopeful that, after much arguing with Ellis (upstairs) and dickering with Randy, I agree to buy the photo myself, using my VISA card.

- bring photo, stuck haphazardly in an oak frame, out to the studio and clean the glass and re-set the photo and backing board in the frame with my framers’ points. Attach hangers and wire and hang it in the front hallway.

- help Ellis carry the long extension ladder from the barn to the poleshed and then climb up it and change the light bulb while Ellis holds the ladder. Talk to Smudge, who hasn’t moved off his blanket square all day. I think he’s sick; he has no interest in eating his cat chow the past day or two.

- back to studio to write

- now I just have to paint more, feed the cats, Caramel and the horses, make dinner, do the dishes and and and and before calling it a day.

It’s bleak and dreary and enervating and every thing I do feels like a major, major act of will. I just want to sit and read Vanity Fair - is that such a crime?

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