Mister Charlie had the blahs last week. He’s usually a little devil, a scheming opportunist, always angling for another saltine, or perhaps a clandestine foray into the aviary to evaluate the chicken food supply. He had his checkup only a couple weeks ago, but I called the vet. They couldn’t send anyone out that day but I signed up for a next-day appointment and spent the day staring at him for clues. Then they called back, sorry but the next-day appointment was already taken. Charlie sulked overnight but didn’t look any worse in the morning, so I drove to the airport to pick up my son.
My grown daughter is home for a while to deal with some medical issues and her brother decided to come home for a couple of months, too. In anticipation of his arrival we cleared out a storage closet for him and filled the back of my 2007 Subaru Forester with items for the Goodwill. We drove around with the junk for a couple weeks until we finally gave up and sat in the 40 minute drive-up line to donate it. The following day, I picked up my son at the airport in a less-than-pristine car, only a few capybara nips out of the upholstery, but certainly devoid of potential donations.
Charlie continued to improve but still wasn’t up to grazing in the front yard. I let both sheep into the forbidden aviary for a change, improving their outlook on life, even though I didn’t let them eat the chicken food. My son went for a walk, stumbled upon the new-ish pizzeria around the corner, and got a job there. The Funny Farm took in a homeless hamster, and my daughter and I went to the dentist.
Reminiscing about the pre-pandemic fire-pit he built in the front yard, my son decided to build another one. Unfortunately, groundwater seepage here is totally out of control. The serpentine stream in the wetland north of us has lost its way, and now oozes across my front yard and flows down the street, even during this drought. No problem, the fire pit is built on top of the ground, no pit involved at all! Left with a nasty pile of construction debris abandoned by a former tenant, our neighbor gladly donated the materials. As you can see, it is encumbered by neither aesthetics nor engineering though I would not want to stub my toe on it.
It still needed a BBQ cookout grill. I thought I recalled a brand new circular grill, but his old BBQ was no longer in evidence. He remembered that he had loaned it to a friend a couple years before, and the friend, standing next to him, audibly gasped. Left uncovered outdoors, it had totally rusted out, the grill wouldn’t be salvageable. She had obtained another grill, and so they hopped into my 2007 Subaru Forester to go get it. That evening they had a fun food-oriented reunion, the resulting debris still in evidence when poor ailing Charlie decided to brave the wilds of the front yard the following day.
Most of the time, the sheep make a mad dash to the front yard like a freight train with faulty brakes on a downslope. When Charlie and Hamish saw the “fire pit,” chairs, and litter, they bunched up at the gate and refused to move farther. Mind you, Charlie was still not feeling so hot, but he is the more adventurous of the two sheep. Hamish is nobody’s fool and waits for Charlie to stick his neck out and watches to see it return intact before he follows. This time they stood neck-and-neck at the gate nearly forever and then slinked out to graze.
The next day, my daughter and I went out to the car and I noticed a thin black chip on the driver’s seat. I picked it off and it fluttered away. Ash. We peered into the back of the car where the sad barbecue rested comfortably. No longer worthy as a cooker, it apparently was given one final spin around town in my 2007 Subaru Forester Hearse before being forgotten.
It just so happens that my daughter’s 2020 Subaru Forester was at that moment on a car transport carrier, and headed our way. This greatly alleviated our annoyance at having to chauffeur around the dead barbecue and we laughed our way to the bank and the pharmacy. In 24 hours, The Barbecue Car would be my son’s problem.
To our complete surprise, my son wasn’t bothered at all by the barbecue tagging along wherever he went. Then suddenly, the barbecue was deemed unworthy by even my son and ejected from the Subaru. It was still a surprise to see it roughly deposited in front of the neighbor’s house. Even though we had spoken about taking both the barbecue and the dead dishwasher* to the dump in a double disposal run, I abruptly took the Home Depot option of having them take the dead dishwasher when the new one is installed. So now it will be a lonely last ride to the dump for the old barbecue. *The Dead Dishwasher is a separate, though parallel story.
And the fire pit? I have a new volunteer and I like her already.
Me: We will need to level the new turtle tank after we place it.
Volunteer: I saw some concrete blocks in the fire pit.
Me: The Little Free Library is no longer dry underneath. We need to prop it up.
Volunteer: I saw some pavers in the fire pit.
The fire pit better watch its step!