Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Not Dolphin-Safe

Processes!  I'm caught up in a web of processes.  I feel like a dolphin in a net meant for tuna.

To get WiFi to the house, a wire needs to be buried under the ground.

Before the wire can be buried under the ground, Charter needs to notify the town.  The town will notify the gas company.  The gas company will come out to the property and mark their underground pipes with flags, which they've already done once.

We have about three dozen gaily colored gas flags currently on our property.  But time has run out on those flags.

New or additional (I'm guessing, additional) flags will be erected in their place.  And then, Invisible Fence will be able to put down a wire on Monday. 

Did I say Invisible Fence?  Yes, I did.  Did I mean to say Charter?  No, I didn't. 

Invisible Fence comes first.  And then Charter.  Two separate processes, dependent on the same process: Having the gas authorities post flags.

The flags are already here, I say to the guy from Charter.  

But they will come out for free, they say.  At no charge to you.

But it's... [don't say stupid, don't say stupid] ...possibly not the best use of the gas authority's time to come out here three times in as many weeks.

The flags expire, he explains.  

I look at the flags.  They're still there.  They have not expired, though we may have run over a few of them. That must be the reason for this madness:  the fact that we run over the flags, that a dog might grab one and chew it up, that a storm could brew and tilt one in a way that would miscommunicate its original meaning. 

I cling to this fragment of reason, which floats, like poo.

Okay, I say.  Okay.

So, first, Invisible Fence.  Then Charter.   

Then the plummer.  Then the electrician. 

Meanwhile, I'll scrape away at the deck when we have friends over.  And one day, it will be ready for paint.  And then I will paint it.

While I've been advised that it would be better to rent a belt-sander and sand the deck paint off completely and then stain it, because stain is better for wood than paint; renting the belt sander would cost more money and wreck my back; and anyway, the deck needs repair beyond paint.  Lipstick on a pig.  Not a bad-looking pig, but no need for lipstick.  

I wish I could replace the deck boards myself.  

How hard could it be?  

I don't know the first thing about wood shop tools.   

I am now determined to learn how to cut a damn board to size and nail it to another piece of wood. 

How hard could it be?  

I wish I could do it right now.  

I can't.  I have to learn how to use those tools.  

It's a process: The learning comes first, then the doing.  

The Barn

A barn is like a manuscript to a copy-editor.  The copy-editor chips away at the manuscript page by page, little by little, (bird by bird), secure in the knowledge that eventually, it will get done.  It's a process.  

No matter HOW determined or capable the copy-editor, a 1200-page manuscript can't possibly be edited in one day.  

It is not a blog post.

I'll scrape away at the west side of the barn for one hour every morning.  It will be very zen.  (I started yesterday.  It was very zen.)  

I will be tempted to scrape for more than one hour, but I must stop. (I went five minutes over yesterday.)  

I must stop, because there are other processes in process, and I must attend to them. 

I am not a copy-editor.  

I am a developmental editor and a hack writer.  You can write a developmental letter in a day.  It's not easy, but it's possible. 

(You can write a post in just a couple of hours.)

I am a creative thinker.  I get the idea, but I do not usually run with the idea.   I usually hand it to someone who is built for running.  

But now, I find myself running against type.  Last time I did this, my knees gave out. 

I need to acquire a copy-editor's doggedness, an experienced novelist's faith and commitment to a vision and long-term goals, and a farmer's perspective on time. 

I will learn how to use power tools, after the electrician re-wires the barn.  

(He was out to our place this morning.  We walked through the barn and talked through what we wanted him to do.)  

(He'll write up an itemized list.)  

(We'll look it over and make any changes.)  

(Then the work will start.  On the electricity.  In the barn.)

Meanwhile, I'll  scrape the side of the barn for one hour every morning.  It will take a week to finish the west side.  It will take another week to finish the east side.

(We'll  have to hire someone to paint the south side--it's very tall and requires scaffolding.  But we won't have that done until after we've reinforced the planks, repaired windows, doors.)  

Fortunately, we have time, because we can't start on the fencing until the soybeans are harvested. 

And we can't bring the horses over til after the first frost, when the butternut squash will be harvested. 

If you want me, I'll be at the library or the Firefly, where there's WiFi.




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