Friday, 10 July:
Back to Lewisburg
Drove nine hours on Thursday through rain that was sometimes quite heavy to arrive in Lewisburg around eight last night. P, J and A left this morning around 4:00; I heard them but had propped the door closed with a shoe and drifted back off to sleep. I woke before seven and again a bit after eight, got up, got my day going. Carried ten boxes from the attic: I figured I would try to manage that many per day (actually, I figured if I set the goal at twenty per day I’d be able to get through this and gain a real sense, hopefully by Wednesday, of what sort of return vehicle I will need). It was relatively cool in the attic; J had opened the windows last night at my request and even though the entire house had been stuffy and hot (I sat at the dining table and sweated uncomfortably), this morning it wasn’t bad so I went around first thing closing all the windows, lowering blinds, and turning on the A/C units.
Our side is no more: kitchen, staircase, front door—all gone. A new doorway is cut through the wall at what once was the base of the stairs. Upstairs, another doorway cut through. A closet is half-finished where the stairs led down. The stairs to the attic are blocked and the doorway is sealed in the front bedroom. I’m typing on my laptop in the guest room, which is essentially untouched but for some redecorating. So I’m sleeping in my old Duncan Phyffe bed, the bed R died in, in the room where he died. Last night, drifting off, trying to get comfortable because my leg hurt so much from driving (from sitting all day), I thought how ironic it would be to die from a blood clot and be found by a neighbor: Bed Claims Two.
I set up a fan in the attic and brought down ten more boxes after breakfast (Subway at nine). From the first three boxes, I kept one box of books and papers and threw away 95% of the papers and re-boxed the remaining books to donate either to the used book store in town or to a library. Set an appointment to have my hair cut at 12:30 because P said the kitchen granite would arrive to be installed at noon. At 12:20 the hair place called and asked if they could push me back to 1:45. I was in the chair when the kitchen guy phoned (I’d left a note on the front door) and I told him to let himself in through the back door but watch for the dog and cats.
Haircut was quick. I walked to Mondragon Books, asked if they were taking donations (she called manager and left him a message) and bought six poetry books for $13. Back at the house, a hot, muscled boy was coming out the front door to get something from the truck parked out front. I greeted him and asked if they had any trouble getting in; he was nice and I tried hard not to stare or give away my desire to lick his tattooed biceps. There was a problem with the sink being set too low—P had been texting about the granite so I asked if she wanted to talk to them, then my phone rang and it was J, talking to the contractor about how to raise the sink. They finished up, I texted photos to P and walked over to Pizza Phi for lunch; this was after 3:00.
I have no internet access; the laptop won’t connect. Neither, of course, will my wireless printer, which I brought along in the car. Or if it will, I can’t send anything to it because my laptop won’t. This is unbearably frustrating to think about because I do have so much press work to get through. So I won’t think about it right now.
I’m lonely. If I lie down for a nap, which I’m tempted to do, I won’t get these twenty boxes finished. The dog is hiding somewhere upstairs, I think in A’s room, and I really need to find him and cuddle with him though he smells awful and needs a bath. I’m lonely. I thought about driving up to PlayWorld and buying something to clean my undercarriage, just in case someone wants to come over and play. I haven’t ruled that out. I’m lonely. I’m going to get up and go back to sorting through these boxes.
Saturday, 25 July:
A kind of flame
Home from a 7-3 shift, though I stayed an extra half-hour after clocking out to complete the safety training video and get at least one of the four overdue trainings out of the way (off the clock, which I should not do). A noticed. I said I’d just mention it to B some week if I’m short on hours. What I should do instead is stay on the clock and complete my training modules.
Yesterday I was hit on the head, hard, by a fairly heavy box as we pushed and shoved the last of the overstacked pallets off the truck. I’d told D it was still stacked too high; he said he thought it would make it. Three boxes fell and I dodged two. I was so angry I wanted to leave: at myself for not being more careful, at the DC for overstacking the pallets, at D for not listening to my warning. Anyway. I think I’m okay. I hate, hate, hate getting hit in the head.
Mom is taking a nap. A blood vessel burst in her eye—she’s on two meds to thin her blood because of the carotid artery blockages (this frustrates and angers me: they are substantially blocked now, but Medicaid will not allow surgery to clear them until they reach 80—or is it 85?—percent, which is a dangerous level at which one could easily have a stroke) and she was bending over to move something when she felt something pop in her eye.
I texted S that I’m working on proofreading for a bit. Mom said she had wanted to come over for cards later. So we agreed on seven o’clock.
Reading through Matthew Wimberley’s manuscript and all our emails to make sure I’ve made all the changes he sent me. In the third or fourth poem, “Elegy at Dusk,” the line a kind of flame stands out to me today. It describes “pale stalks of field grass” edging a forest, but it could just as well describe the trees’ greening up and out, or the viewer’s gaze, taking it in, feeding on it in a way. A kind flame, a kinder flame. A kind of burning. Something more is there that my mind wants to explore.
Mom said the baby wrens emerged from the basket on the porch post as she and S. sat out talking today. I hadn’t been able to resist taking a peek the other morning and saw one in the nest, the others well hidden by leaves.