When the Eye Cream’s Gone: or, Skin Care for the Apocalypse

I looked at the little blob of cream swirled on the tip of my ring finger and thought, what the hell am I doing? Will anyone really care about crow’s feet when the food runs out?

I ration squares of toilet paper and use cloth napkins instead of paper towels, but I still sit down at my vanity (ah, vanity) to ‘gently apply cream under and around the eyes morning and night.’ I smear “micro-sculpting cream” over my face. It holds its own on my cheeks and forehead, but it is fighting a losing battle on my neck and décolleté. 

A few nights ago I started to laugh in the middle of my skin care routine. It seemed like a better choice than crying, at the time. The cold truth is, no one was coming to admire my complexion before all this. Certainly no one is coming now. No one will ever come, not before my skin products cease to have any anti-aging effect.

I will die alone. Because I damn well better have made arrangements for Angelic Daughter to be cared for by trustworthy, loving and younger people before that day arrives.

When I asked Mike how and where he wanted to go, to tell me if he wanted me and our daughter to be with him when he died, or if he wanted to be by himself at that moment, he said, “It doesn’t matter. Everyone dies alone.” He was right. Even if you go “peacefully in your sleep, surrounded by loving family,” you still do the actual dying alone.

Before Angelic Daughter was born, I wrote an elaborate “birth plan,” that all the different doctors at the teaching hospital where I gave birth to her pointedly ignored.

Now I think about writing a death plan. Not the usual estate and trust stuff – that’s all done – but information for whoever would come to care for Angelic Daughter if I’m carted off to the hospital and don’t come back. Will they respect the plan? Will they protect her, and let her be her own Angelic self?

Within the past few weeks, people over on the other side of town have used Facebook groups to ask for recommendations about in-ground pool installation, dog groomers who make house calls, and interior designers.

I guess that’s the same kind of magical thinking that has me applying eye cream and moisturizer every night. But none of these things will seem vital when we’re tilling the back yard and laying traps to catch rabbits for supper.

The meat processing and poultry plants are closed or closing, because their workers are sick. What happens when delivery people, truckers, grocery store workers, and God forbid, even more doctors and nurses get sick, and some of them die and others require long convalescence and rehab?

Did the pool lady and the dog-grooming seeker and the person looking at fabric swatches for the new couch give any thought to what happens when they need the yard to plant crops and they have to burn the couch for firewood? What will they do when the landscaper and house cleaner and the grocery deliveries stop coming? What happens when a storm knocks out the power, and most of the repair workers are sick?

I look at the chicken run in my backyard, currently serving as a compost enclosure, and think, “I should rent that out in exchange for compost and a share of the eggs.” Hello, barter economy!

I make note of how much sun each part of the yard gets per day, and mentally mark possible locations for additional raised beds. I think about learning to preserve, pickle and can things – and then decide I’ll take my chances with blanching and freezing – for as long as the electricity and the freezer hold out. In a pinch, the laundry room would make a good root cellar – it stays cold in there.

I wish I hadn’t gotten rid of that old sewing machine, although now, I’d prefer the one Grammie had, operated with a foot treadle.  I’ve got some firewood and an iron pot that will cook something in the fireplace – a stew, or the leftover chowder I froze.

Each day I anxiously inspect my vegetable beds for any evidence the seeds I planted have eluded the birds, and germinated. I’ve seen two, maybe three snow peas emerging. I’ll give the beets, spinach and lettuce another week before I replant – must have been the snow Friday. Sun yesterday and today should help, but I wonder whether my battery -powered, dull-bladed little chain saw can cut the trees that screen the window by my desk, to give the veggies more sun.

Planning on expanding domestic agriculture, I remain,

Your fatalistic, resigned but resourceful,

Ridiculouswoman

Image by Annalise Batista from Pixabay

The Isolation Age: The Great Toilet Paper Relay Edition

Four texts, three people and a truck, for eight rolls. And after all that, it turned out I didn’t need them that badly after all.

Allow me to explain.

My employer values company culture very highly – we help each other out, we have each other’s backs. So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by what happened when, during a twice a week video “coffee chat” I mentioned in passing that I was a little worried about running out of a certain “essential” item. I’m just inside the gate of the “higher risk” age group, but that only means I do what everyone is supposed to do – I go out only to fill critical needs like food, prescriptions, cabin-fever busting, socially-distant walks around the block, and to obtain – um, paper goods.

The dynamo who organized that morning’s video chat jumped on my remark right away. “We got you!” she said. I stuttered and stammered, “oh, that’s really nice, you don’t have to do that, I have to go to the store tomorrow anyway – I’ll go during “senior hours” and they said a truck is coming tonight…” She lives at least thirty miles away from me, and I really didn’t want anyone to go that far out of their way.

But before I finished my text telling her it wasn’t necessary, she texted me that the first guy she was going to send had been switched out for another guy, and that she had dropped off a supply at his house – my boss’s boss’s house, and he was already on his way. Within the hour, eight rolls of the precious commodity were deposited on the little end table on my front porch for receiving deliveries. I put a laminated sign on it that says, “please put deliveries here, thank you!” with a really dreadful (I’m sure) Spanish translation and an apology, “lo siento, mi Espanol es de internet!” I barely got the chance to wave a thank you to my team lead’s leader before his truck was leaving my driveway.

I gratefully took the shopping bag inside, to sort out its contents the way I ordinarily do, doling out this many rolls for downstairs and this many for upstairs. I went to pick up the plastic wrapper of the previous supply to throw it out. It was crumpled and deflated and just sitting there in the breezeway.

That’s when I discovered there were still 7 rolls bundled down in the bottom of that package.

So, three colleagues had gone out of their way at 5 p.m. on a weeknight to get me some TP that, as it turned out, I didn’t really need.

Cue full-blown OCD meltdown.

“What if one of them gets sick because of this? GAAAAA! What’ll I do???”

Confess. Face the music. Take the responsibility and accept the blame.

The next morning, the first thing I did was send the two of them a chat promising to spend the rest of my days wearing a hairshirt and flogging myself bloody if either of them got sick.

Predictably, the response was along the lines of “no problem! happy to help!” I rationalized that their kindness will keep me from venturing out on a multi-store scavenger hunt, possibly all the way to April 30, which is as long as our present stay-at-home order is in place.

I meant it when I said I had to go to the store – we were running out of other stuff that I forgot to get last week. I got home and spent half an hour unpacking groceries – and discovered I still forgot something – this time because I didn’t put it on my list in the first place. But we’ll be just fine without that particular type of tea, and I can cook the rack of lamb that has been in the freezer since last year for Easter next Sunday. Angelic Daughter will want something else, anyway.

Now that we’re finally all supposed to be wearing non-medical masks outside, I took some inspiration from YouTube and made myself one out of an old t-shirt. Before I went to the store, I knotted my new droplet-distribution prevention device around my neck and at the top of my head.

And then, I kid you not, I actually thought for a few seconds about what shirt would best coordinate with my mask.

Hoping your masks are colorful, coordinated, stylish but most of all, effective (mine is not), I remain,

Your I-have-never-spent-that-much-money-in-one-trip-to-the-grocery-store-in-my-life, purple-t-shirt mask and absurdly color-coordinated purple turtleneck and sweater wearing, trying to maintain a good attitude while staying at home and staying out of the way, technically at higher risk,

Ridiculouswoman

Image by lyperzyt from Pixabay

The Isolation Age: Absurdist Edition

I was going to shop the “senior” hours at my local grocery tomorrow. But I figured the thunderstorm this morning would keep attendance low. With Mike’s scarf as my “mask.” I gambled and went out, hoping the scarf would stop any hovering pestilential droplets from penetrating my nose.  I thought I was clever to bring the (sanitized) reacher along, but it just got in the way.

Staff were in the aisles, restocking.  I took a spin around the store to get all my other stuff before I circled back to get my organic lettuce. The masked produce guy was unpacking it as fast as he could.

Through dairy toward yogurt, a tall young male store employee let fly a huge, not-very-well-covered sneeze, in the general direction of his elbow, but certainly not into the crook of it.

Then he wiped the back of his hand slowly across his face, right under his nose.

That would be gross on a regular day.

“You might want to go wash your hands,” I said, mimicking his hand-across-the-booger-face gesture.

When he went to the back to complain to his coworkers wash his hands (I hope) I dashed in to grab the yogurt.  Just as I finished, a few other staff came out of the double doors, closer than 6 feet away. I did a quick 180 with my cart and got out of there.

Over to meats.  Picked up salmon, then plotted a route toward the bacon that kept a 6 foot zone around me.  Rounded the corner just in time to see the barehanded butcher pinch his nostrils and return to loading meat into the cooler.

Look, these grocery store workers are heroes, along with everyone in healthcare and  essential businesses. They keep going out to work every day while privileged worriers like me work from home, emerging only for furtive missions to obtain fresh foods, because larders are already stuffed with frozen, canned and dried things.  Most store workers were gloved and sanitizing their hearts out at the check out counter, behind newly erected plexiglass (that had an uncomfortably large gaps in it, for passing receipts through, I guess). The store had helpfully marked 6-foot intervals on the floor, in line.

I still appreciate the workers who need a little refresher training about how sanitizing and glove-wearing does no good if you stick your finger in your nose or rub your eyes. Fortunately, the lady who loaded my car sanitized her gloves before putting the bags in the back seat.

The store limits purchases to two of any item, so I was astonished to find the toilet paper aisle empty. We’re a two person household, and Angelic Daughter has learned not to waste. We bought one jumbo TP package about two weeks ago, and we’re still fine. I was looking for paper towels, but how do people use that much toilet paper? Why are people so obsessed with toilet paper that they are still clearing the shelves? I was so stunned I forgot the paper towels, but I think they were out of those, too.

On to canned goods. Angelic Daughter loves corned beef hash. I think it’s vile, but I let her have one can a week. They were out of it. Seriously? There are enough people out there who eat it that they actually run out of it?

I adjusted my scarf as another shopper approached, and noticed that I accidentally touched my nose. What’s the point of dressing up like an amateur bandit to protect myself when all I do is touch my nose anyway?

Ridiculous woman.

I spent twice as much as I usually do, because I don’t want to go back until the peak is over and the curve has flattened. When I unpacked and sanitized non-porous packaging, I found that despite repeatedly checking my phone’s checklist, I forgot at least three things we’ll need in the next few days.

Sigh.

I know there’s nothing funny about this pandemic. The toilet paper thing might be because people are sick and suffering and really need it. I thank God every day for every deep breath I’m able to take, and for Angelic Daughter, who is well and doing her best to help out, stay busy and keep her spirits up, stuck at home with boring old me.

I hope this experience changes us all for the better. I’ve been trying, and often failing, to become a more compassionate, less fearful person since Mike died. May the absurdity and the fear and sacrifices and the lessons of these days stay with us through future, more ordinary days. And may ordinary days return to us, soon.

Hoping you and your loved ones stay well, I remain,

Your disinfecting, socially distancing, cabin-fevering, weight-gaining, aspirationally exercising (I’ll do it today, I will, I will),

Ridiculouswoman

I Get It Now, Mom

Mom died six years ago today, three days after her ninetieth birthday. Our relationship was often tense; I thought she was hypercritical, she thought I was, well, not everything she wanted in a daughter. Particularly regarding my hair, and my husband.

Every once in a while, though, Mom would surprise the hell out of me. One spring afternoon when I was 16, after weeks of nit-picky arguments about what I chose to wear, how much time I spent reading instead of going outside, and innumerable other stupid things mothers and daughters fight about, she told me to come outside with her.

She marched right up to our little Datsun station wagon, parked in its slot in the driveway, handed me the keys, and told me to get in. She walked around to the other side and got into the passenger seat.

The Datsun had manual transmission. I didn’t know how to drive a stick. My jaw dropped and I was rendered speechless (highly unusual) when I realized Mom was going to teach me how to drive a stick.

When I graduated high school, Dad gave me that car. Mom and Dad wouldn’t let me drive it off to college in southern California (a mere 2000 miles away, only a four day drive, I’ll stop at night, I’m eighteen, what was the problem?) but after my merciless whining, begging, pleading and explaining that life in California was impossible without a car,  they let my eldest brother, who had moved out to California to pursue his career in music, drive it out there for me. And at the end of my freshman year, I drove it home to Chicago, alone. And back, and home, and back, and home until I graduated college (except for that semester abroad.)

I gained a lot of experience and confidence by learning how to drive that car.

Thanks, Mom.

Mom had a weird way of descending stairs; she’d stick one foot out, look down, and hesitate before she actually took the step. Uncharitably, since I was (and am) overweight, I thought it was just because going downstairs was physically difficult for her after three kids and some extra pounds.

I wear progressive lenses now, with a “distant,” “computer,” and “reading” zone.

Ahhh, now I get it, Mom. You wore bifocals, and you were trying to get the right view of the next step to gauge its depth and distance. I find myself doing the same thing now.

Sorry, Mom.

In my twenties, after a weekend visit home from law school, when Mom had a negative thing to say about absolutely everything, we were cleaning up in the kitchen after dinner and I asked her, “can you think of a single moment in your life when you were truly, completely happy?”

She paused, and said, “Yes. It was a winter night in Boston and I had just come off my shift. It was a clear night. I looked up at the stars. I felt absolutely happy.”

My first reaction was hurt, that her moment of perfect happiness occurred when she was alone, and had nothing at all to do with her children. As Moms do, she read my mind, and said, “sorry” with a smile and a shrug.

But I get it now, Mom. You were really proud of becoming a registered nurse. You earned a scholarship.  Your parents didn’t want you to leave home. But you did, and you launched your professional life solely through your own hard work.  You loved being a nurse.

That night, you had something that was entirely your own. I’m envious that you pursued your vocation when you were relatively young. I muddled through job after stressful, unfulfilling job, always feeling out of place. It’s an enormous blessing at this stage of life for me to have found a job smack in the middle of my “flow” zone – where I experience a sense that I’m doing exactly what I should be doing – writing.

About 4 months before your 90th birthday, you got your hair cut, really short. Your magnificent head of white hair, that had revived itself after years of thinning, styled pretty much as it was in your nurse graduation portrait, above, was gone.

“Like Judi Dench,” you said. You loved it.

I was appalled, but I kept it to myself,

But Saturday, I got the most radical haircut of my life. Short, naturally curly pixie. And I absolutely love it – low maintenance, wash and wear, and it makes me feel renewed.

I hope I live long enough and still have my marbles when I get a radical haircut a few months before my ninetieth birthday.

That portrait of you? It’s on my writing desk.

Because I get it, now.

Remembering Mom with love and gratitude, I remain, your newly pixie-cut, happily writing,

Ridiculouswoman

No Tanks

I draw the line at toilet tanks. Nobody’s going to see behind it, anyway.  I am not going to pull a toilet tank off just to make a nice smooth wall behind it. I’ll just slap whatever I can get back there on it, and leave it at that. I think I got primer over all of the ripped part, and when I put joint compound back there, I don’t care how lumpy it turns out to be. That will be the next owner’s problem, along with my eccentric paint jobs. Ha!

But the wall above the vanity is a problem. I got a little too gleeful when I figured out that there was another layer of something or other under the wallpaper backing, and if I got down to that layer and found a finger hold, I could just rip the paper right up and off. What could have been a five hour job was reduced to two, and I got the rented wallpaper steamer-offer thingee back to the hardware store in plenty of time.

Except I ended up with this:

IMG_20191007_123149273-1.jpg

And this:IMG_20191007_123201235.jpg

The guy at the rental desk didn’t know what to do about the drywall, even though he showed me a picture of the garage that he had been drywalling all around. So he googled it: OK, primer, joint compound. Go see paint guy.

Paint guy found the primer and the joint compound, and also a new scraper/schmeering thing to schmeer on the joint compound, and explained how to “feather” it and use a big sponge to smooth it out.

So now, apparently, I will add “drywall repair” to my repertoire of do-it-myselfing stuff. We’ll see how that goes.

I confess, however, that just looking at the front hall defeats me. I surrender. Two layers of old, fabric wallpaper on a plaster wall. So I called a highly recommended paint guy  for an estimate for getting those two layers of ancient wallpaper off the front hall walls and prepping the walls for painting, which will be the finale of all this.

Except for the deck.

What was to have been my adventure in power-washing turned into a misadventure when I couldn’t get the hose into the trigger-sprayer thingee.  But wait! Troubleshooting guide online! O-ring has slipped. Slide it back down!

Yeah, right. How? I know! I can slip a tiny screwdriver under it to pry it out enough and roll it down!

Oops. O-ring snaps off and flies away.

But online troubleshooting guide says, “if that doesn’t work, use a sharp knife to remove O-ring.” Yay me! Already removed it! Aren’t I clever?

The troubleshooting guide didn’t say anything about the washer leaking, without the O-ring that guide said to take a sharp knife to.

Kindly brother comes over to help, with his borrowed machine. Attempts fix with O-ring kit I purchased for him at local big box hardware store.

Hose explodes off trigger-sprayer thingee and scatters O-rings across the yard. No windows were broken or eyes put out during this experiment in attempting-to-avoid-ordering-parts-from-manufacturer. But no deckwashing got done, either.

Curses.

Consoled myself by blowing several hundred dollars on new sinks and faucets for the yet-to-be-drywall-repaired bathroom, and making an appointment for a new countertop to be selected and measured. One thing leads to another as the money credit drains away.  Kindly brother installs new bathroom lighting, which looks great and works.

Electrician called to handle other, trickier installations. The only thing to do about this

IMG_20191010_110915961~2.jpg

hideous affront of a light fixture is to disconnect it, remove it and get kindly brother to cover it up with a piece of matching wood. There is fluorescent light in there that has gone on once in twenty years. I shudder to think what will fall out of there when I unscrew those pegs and look inside. Yikes. I wanted to install cute, small track lights, but there has never been light in that built-in, knotty pine bookcase and I can live without it. Electrician’s option was to snip the wires from the switch, stuff the others up into the hole and cover it up. Good option. Brotherly handyman services are cost of materials only. Yay. Saved credit.

Painter’s estimate for the front hall was reasonable. Electrician’s cost is hair-raising but necessary. Have just enough credit to cover them. Let’s pray that job comes through.

I’ve bored you all with my nearly year-long saga of how-not-to paint, assemble, repair, etc. I’m hoping for a big closing number. I didn’t take any “before” pictures of a lot of it, but I will take some of the “afters” so you can share the hilarious results of attempts to paint a straight line or patch plaster.

Until then, I remain,

Your about to get schooled in schmeering and “feathering” drywall joint compound,

Ridiculouswoman

Haircut and Heartache

I hadn’t had a haircut since April.  An entire summer of really bad hair days (can you say “humidity?”) and an upcoming job interview (Tuesday) put me back in the hair chair.

I showed my hairstylist a picture of Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

“That’s a lot like what we usually do.” she said.

What a difference waiting six month makes. Those scissors were inspired. And the blow-dry styling was exceptional.  So of course I bought the expensive new hair product she used,  even though I shouldn’t have spent the money and I’m sure I won’t be able to achieve the same effect.

The haircut pulled me out of a slump. Not just my little writer’s “everything I do sucks” tantrum the other day,  but a real slump caused by the shocking news that a friend I had known since kindergarten had died. He was fine Friday, and gone on Sunday, leaving a grieving husband and hundreds of stunned, saddened friends.

That hit me like a ton of bricks. Not only because I don’t want to believe that my peers and I have reached that stage in life where we look to the obituaries before we read the headlines, but because this particular friend was the kind you could take right back up with even if you hadn’t seen each other in decades. He was vital, loyal, funny, energetic and always responsive, although he was 2,000 miles away.

I messaged him when I reluctantly got back on Facebook in August, just to give him a heads’ up that my new friend request was legit. His response was:

♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️

I took his being there on the other end of Facebook for granted.  But now he’s not.

The last time I saw him in person was at our 40th high school reunion. (God, just typing  “40th reunion” makes me feel ancient). Of all the attendees, he was the last I would have thought would check out early.

We met on the first day of kindergarten. Best I recall, he was wearing dress shorts and Buster Browns. He was always well-dressed. Unwrinkled.  There was something different about him and it didn’t matter at all to the guileless, totally accepting 5-year olds that we were. Through the years we sang in school choruses together.  He had a wonderful bass voice. He performed in talent shows I directed and brought the house down with a brave, fey twist on the song “Convoy” – in high school, in the ’70s. He won everyone over and everyone loved him.  At the reunion I told him that his performance was the bravest thing I’d ever seen a friend do. I’m sure he brushed that off,  saying it was just for fun, but I hope he took in my true admiration.

The evening of the day I found out he was gone,  I had to go to chorus rehearsal, still feeling blue, stunned and pissed off (“how could this have happened? He was healthy, strong, vibrant!”) I turned west, and suddenly my windshield was filled with a breathtaking sunset.  Pink, peach, purple, and just enough cloud in front to make it possible to enjoy without being blinded by the setting sun.  It was a glorious reminder of my friend’s personality and his effect on everyone he knew.  It was a reminder to me of how far I have to grow (still, at my age) to even approach being the kind of person he was.

I found out later that he had been very ill last year, and medication for that illness had weakened his heart. He went to take a nap last weekend and didn’t wake up.  I hadn’t known he’d been ill, which, if I was any kind of good friend,  I should have. I feel rotten about that.  Another smack upside the head about how superficial my friendship can be. I don’t like that about myself and I’ve been trying to change that since my husband died. But here, I failed.

The pink in the sunset was the same color as the scarf my friend wore around his neck for his “Convoy” parody.  The rest of the colors were as vibrant as he was. Heaven got brighter when he arrived.

I think he would have liked the haircut, and my joke about how it made me look like a short, fat, senior Fleabag, and how people would think I’m an (old) pervy Englishwoman, and I didn’t know whether I should be worried or turned on. He would pick “turned on.”

At church the sermon today was about being present, in the now, and and letting go of anxiety, anger and frustration. It was about not letting routine and business interfere with living each day. This is the only this day you get.

Missing an old friend, right now, I remain,

Your composing-lists-of-people-who-should-receive-notes-of-gratitude-and-phone-calls-and-emails-and-texts-before-now-becomes-then,

Ridiculouswoman

How Not to Strip Wallpaper: Part Two

Collect new wall-mounted cabinet from immaculate Big Box home store, where you have applied for a job and they haven’t called. Surprise.

Measure, drill, screw anchors, screws. This is the drywall part of the wall. Drills easily. Hang mirror. Wait, little triangular mirror-hanger thingees on back of mirror don’t quite reach? BUT I MEASURED, DAMMIT! Try starting the other side first. Hang over protruding screw. See if you can bend little triangular hanger thingee a smidge. Success! Off to a good start.

Unbox new cabinet on bedroom floor. Follow instructions.  Attach sides to shelf. Install rod. No, wait, rod won’t fit when sides already attached. Unscrew one side, install rod in holes provided, reattach side. Attach top to sides. Flip over.  Attach back flimsy cardboard backing grooved to look like beadboard to sides and top with tiny little nails.  Oops, beadboard-looking side is supposed to be on the inside. Remove. Ha! Hammer pries out tiny little nails easily. Turn over, reattach. Why are there so many tiny little nails left over? Oh, they assumed destruction of tiny little nails through amateur hammering. HA!  Didn’t bend a single one.

Attach doors by putting plastic posts into plastic “hinge anchors,

Attach wedge-shaped screw-bracket thingees to inside top of cabinet. Hmm, screwdriver doesn’t fit at angle that allows screwing in brackets. No pre-drilled holes?  Turn cabinet upside down to stand on its top. Leverage? Useless. Screwdriver still won’t fit.  WHAT IDIOT WROTE THESE INSTRUCTIONS? THE WEDGE-SHAPED BRACKET THINGEES SHOULD HAVE BEEN ATTACHED TO THE TOP BEFORE THE CABINET WAS ASSEMBLED BY SCREWING INTO PRE-DRILLED HOLES THAT AREN’T THERE! AUGHGHGHGHHGHG!!!

Disassemble cabinet. Mark and drill holes into inside top. Attach first wedge-shaped screw bracket thingee. DAMMIT WHERE’S THAT OTHER SCREW? Retrieve reasonable facsimile of supplied screw from impressive collection of screws leftover from previous projects, at bottom of drill case bag. Reassemble cabinet.

Follow instructions to drill “small hole” through wedge-shaped screw bracket thingee and flimsy backing. Carry cabinet to bathroom to mark where to drill holes for mounting. Select a spot directly above spackle mark from previously mounted towel rack. Should be a drillable spot, right? Up on stepstool, hold cabinet against wall while bending sideways over sink. Silently thank 8-lb dumbbell workouts.

Step down. Discover pencil tip too short to go through “small holes.”  No marks made. Dispel frustration by drilling larger hole through bracket and flimsy backing. Back on step ladder, hoist cabinet, mark.

Lower cabinet, retrieve drill. Commence drilling.

Plaster dust falls. Note to self: don’t breathe, just in case. Clean with wet tissue when finished. Wait, wha? Drill not progressing into wall. Press harder. Hot smell. Drill motor frying. Cease drilling. Note progress of about  1/32nd inch, accompanied by a pile of plaster dust. Step off ladder. WTF! how am I going to get this thing on the wall?

Plan B.

Retrieve hammer and reasonable facsimile of supplied screws from impressive collection.  HAMMER THAT SUCKER THROUGH TINY 32ND OF AN INCH DEPRESSION. Hear chunks of concrete lath fall down inside wall. Shrug. What happens inside the wall stays inside the wall.

Holy shit, that worked. Screw goes through wall, doesn’t crack plaster, and comes out easy. HA! UNSTOPPABLE! Hammer in screw anchors. Pick up cabinet again, careful not to drop supplied screws. Screw through holes and into screw anchors, pressing hard and sweating. There.

Step off ladder.

Note 45 degree angle slant of cabinet.

Laugh. Really, the only thing left to do here is laugh. It’s 10:30 p.m. and you’re sweating profusely and you’ve been at this all day. Sigh.

Unscrew cabinet from wall. Remind self not to lose supplied screws. Deploy too-short level (yes, you have a level, but this is the first time in more than forty years of hanging things on walls that you have used it) to draw a straight line from one screw anchor across to above other too-low screw anchor. Drill 1/32nd inch deep hole.  Repeat screw and hammer maneuver. BAM! Something more falls inside wall. Shrug. Spare screw anchor from impressive collection goes in easy and tight.

Pick up cabinet, check for supplied screws you reminded yourself not to lose. DAMMIT WHERE’S THAT OTHER SCREW? Retrieve reasonable facsimile. Step up on ladder. Relieved to discover supplied screw still halfway in wedge-shaped bracket thingee inside cabinet. Place level on top of cabinet. Holes match up! GENIUS! Screw in screws, pressing hard, sweating profusely. Step down, wipe up plaster dust with wet tissue. Step back. Straight. HA! WINNER AND STILL CHAMPEEN!

Measure, hammer, anchor, screw, hang picture. Done. It’s 11:30 p.m. You haven’t eaten since lunchtime. HA! Intermittent fasting! Lose three pounds overnight!

Consume demure snack of grapes and cheese. Regain three pounds.

Shower, off to bed.

Step on lost screw for wedge-shaped screw anchor.

HA! FOUND IT!

Enjoying our redecorated bathroom, I remain, your UNDEFEATED

Ridiculouswoman