Sometimes I get discouraged. Like last week, when I broke one of the dining room storm windows while trying to put it back up. (I patched it with clear tape. Looks real nice.) Or like I did on Sunday, when I looked at how much of the house I have left to paint. (The high parts, the porches, 14 windows, and almost all the guttering.) Or like I did on Monday, when I cut my right forearm and almost fell off the ladder trying to put up a storm window by myself. And so Monday evening I gave in to my discouragement. I acted like a girl. I leaned my forehead against the house and put a paper towel on my bleeding arm and cried. "Need some help?" I heard someone ask and, still sniffling, I turned to see who it was. My neighbor Carl. He and a friend of his picked up the storm window and propped it into place. "Now get up there on that ladder and put those screws in, kid. We're not standing here all day. You know, things are pretty bad when you have to depend on two old guys to help you. Where the hell are those firemen you work with? Where's that boyfriend of yours?" I bit my bottom lip hard, climbed the ladder and while putting the screws back in, explained that the firemen are a bunch of whiners and my boyfriend disappeared sometime during the Great Overtime War of last month. "Well, I'll be damned, honey," Carl said. "Looks like no one wants to work. Don't worry about it. Just look how far you've come. And I'm still having that party for you when you finish the house. Hang in there, the end's in sight." We finished hanging the storm window and I climbed down from the ladder, wiped away my tears, and said to Carl, "Thanks so much. For everything. I'm knockin off early today." He awkwardly patted my shoulder and walked back across the street to sit on his porch with his friend and drink cold beer.
And me? I soaked in a hot bathtub, supervised by Baby Cat, while drinking a big glass of cold wine and listening to The Wreckers. And afterwards, I wrapped up in my big fluffy robe and dug out photos of the house from last summer. The one in this post was taken the last week of June last year. Carl's right, I have come a long way. Thanks again, Carl.