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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

When You're Rich Beyond Dollar Signs

“I just want you to know,” she says, “that you are free to write about us as you see fit. I mean, I know what we look like to some people, and I don’t want you to stifle anything because you feel it presents us in an unflattering light.”

She pauses to take a drag from her cigarette.

“Heck,” she says. “I know what we look like.”

I am sitting on the couch in her living room. T-Bone, a Labrador of Great Sincerity, has his head on my knees and is gazing upward with the expression of one who believes I may have greasy, cat-flavored treats in my coat pockets.

I do not.

I light my own cigarette and blow the smoke toward the candle.

It is 24 degrees Fahrenheit outside (4.4 below Celsius); and inside, we are wearing our boots, coats, and hats. We are not wearing our gloves.

That would be silly.

“Tell me again why today is the day to replace the front door?”

Mary sighs. “Well the new one’s been in the living room for over a month now. It seemed like it was time.”

We gaze out the front door. It is 7:00, her abnormally dark street flanked by mounds of uncooperative snow. She takes a drag off her cigarette. “Check out the headlight.”

The David Mann mural on the wall nearest the front door has been desecrated by the creation of the new frame, the headlight on the friendly trucker’s vehicle now a shattered spattering of Drywall on the floor.

I shook my head sadly. “The chick on the bike still seems pretty happy.”

“Yeah,” Mary shivered. “Well, she’s been painted that way, if ya ask me.”

Eventually, of course, Jon and Justin have the frame square and the inner and outer doors attached to the frame.

It is beautiful.

The two holes in the doors, however, the lonely and unfulfilled spaces that will house the lockset and knob tomorrow whistle aggressively with a driving Arctic wind fresh out of North Dakota.

“Isn’t she beautiful?” asks Jon. He runs a thoughtful hand through the thatch of hair on his head. “Yep, this is going to be one beautiful –”

“JON!” Mary can hardly control herself. “There are HOLES! Ya hear that whistling? Ya feel the cold? Ya smell what I’m cookin’ here, Jon?”

Jon’s eyes alight on mine, and we grin silently. She yells because she cares.

He bursts into laughter. “I’m gonna cover the holes! Don’t you worry!”

Mary pulls back a bit. “OK. So how are the doors going to stay shut all night with that wind?”

Jon winks at me. “Ahhh. See, I got that covered, too.” He pulls the belt off his pants.

“Hey! Hey!” Mary shouts good-naturedly. “This is a family show!”

Jon frowns at her. “Hey, we don’t talk like that.”

Now it’s Mary’s turn to wink at me.

Jon’s already at the door. “Ya see this,” he says, opening both doors, “I’m going to run the belt through the screen door, then through the inner door, and now I’m going to shut them so the belt is caught between the house and the door.”

He straightens up, arching his back. “See that? Minneapolis Security System.”

Mary turns to me. “When you speak of this,” she says, “and I can see by the look on your face that you will, just remember who loves ya.”

She calls the dog over, who jumps into her lap and knocks her backward.

Mary talks baby talk into his neck. “Iddin tha’ right, T-Bone? Iddin tha’ right? Who loves our lives more than we do?”


Boom Boom Larew said...

Yeah... belts are the perfect way to protect the family from those arctic winds from North Dakota! One question... who's gonna clean up all the snow that gets blown in?

Ponita in Real Life said...

Can't imagine doing that here right now... It is -15 celsius... and with the windchill it's -25... which would make it feel like -13F in your universe! You'd definitely have to wear your gloves then. And get that dog inside your coat to keep you from freezing solid!

Pearl said...

Boom Boom, no, the door is tight. They should have the lockset on by now!

Ponita, Ouch! Those kinds of temperatures make my fingers hurt...

Irisheyes said...

Awww..sad, but true! I just read this to T-Bone, and he wept a little. You are a good friend indeed Pearl! BTW, the deadbolt is installed!

Pearl said...

YAY for deadbolts!

Joanie M said...

Is this a true story? Of someone you know? I'm shivering just reading about sitting there with no front door!

Congrats on the book deal! I'll buy one!

Joanie M said...

Ah! Never mind. I remember Mary and Jon. Funny folks!

Leenie said...

With temps like that...who needs a deadbolt? Anybody fool enough to go thievin' in that kind of weather needs help! Great word pics, Pearl. I could see it all, even the happy biker chic.

Kate said...

So, this just kind of proves to me that I would fit right in should I ever move to Minneapolis.

Camille said...

Love Mary and love this story. Nicely done. And hey there Pearly Girl...you still out there smokinnn'these days? Not nagging mind you, but thought you quit.

Douglas said...

Something missin'... maybe a couple of things. I did not see the words "wanna beer?" or "duct tape" anywhere. You see, if that was my door, there would definitely be duct tape involved in the sealing of such and the beer would be for the contemplatin' that's needed.

Simply Suthern said...

I helped a guy install new windows in a clients house. They chose a wet blustery winter day. The client was a proud member of Mensa. I'll never think of them in the same light again. My job was to remove the old windows. Demo is my middle name. What a breeze we had flowing throught that place. It didnt seem to bother his cartoon watching.

Roses said...

Fantastic blog post to come home to.

Hey, we can light up together...it's the only way to keep warm in this weather.

Glen said...

ah the beauty of mis timed gaps in walls - time for an indoor patio heater

Big Fat Gini said...

Are you sure you don't live in the South?

Sweet Cheeks said...

That Mary is my kind of gal! Better to put a new door on now, rather than February or March. Those are some horrible winter months.

Jon in France said...

Makes me feel colder than I already am. Time to throw some more furniture on the fire.

Gigi said...

Oh Pearl! I need to come out there to witness these shenanigans with my own eyes!

alwaysinthebackrow said...

So, were they late in getting it changed, or early? Maybe they planned to wait until spring, but just couldn't take it any more. What a great project for them to have included you. Did you get to hold a screwdriver or something? Drink a screwdriver or something?
Glad they got 'er done.

becca said...

great post

loveable_homebody said...

Your quote attribution has the same quality of character as your narrator, a very observant, witty narrator. This is great.

Joanna Jenkins said...

I do believe this is my all time favorite post of your Pearl. What a crack up. Not only do you tell a great story but you also keep your friends company while freezing your butt off. You're a good friend.
xo jj

lisleman said...

stories like this help explain your smoking habit. Smoking takes your mind off that damn cold wind.

Symdaddy said...

If you suffer from cold wind ... eat baked beans in chilli ('s that one L or two?) sauce.

That'll warm up your wind!

Elly Lou said...

A beautiful portrayal of your loved ones! I don't even have anything snarky to say! I hate that. Grumble.

River said...

Wonderful things, doors...

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

This is a wonderful piece. I can feel the cold, and the love. It's very Minnesota, and also universal.