“The house is huge. You know that.”
; “Yes but...”
“The ROOMS are huge. And too many of them. What do you do with all of them?
The ceilings are HIGH; really high. Someone could live up there; in that space. You ever go up there? On a ladder or something? What’s that about: You made them that way? What are you thinking?”
“Well... when the architects actually showed me their drawings I admit I didn’t understand their scale.”
“Size. It is all bigger than I thought.”
“Watch your head.”
“I always do”.
“Your suppose to hit your head you know; it warns you your going inside. Or coming out. That’s why they made them (New England Colonial ‘cape’ doorways, especially the ‘back’ [north] doors) that way, low and small; to wake you up. Make you tend to business.”
“Tend to business?”
“Yeah like remembering to close the door once your through. No one ever leaves our doors open.”
“Those are sliding glass doors. They always leave them open.”
“When you’re here. Right now they are closed. ‘CLOSED UP’ you call it. Sliding glass closed up.”
“Well we could open them.”
“But your not going in there now.”
“No, no... not this trip. I just want to get the mast figures. Take them down to the shop. They wanted as much of the original paper drafts as I can find. There’s a big bag of it.”
“It’s heated in there isn’t?”
“That shop’s always heated. HOT in there actually.”
“No. Not the shop. Your house. It’s heated. Right now. The heats on. Right?”
“Of course it’s on. But not much.”
“They keep it a fifty.”
“The men who check the house.”
“In this weather I figure I’m doing well if my house is fifty. Touches forty overnight.”
“Yeah but your house is a whole different thing. You live in a log cabin compared to me.
“Maybe you should get her an apple ladder to put in the ceiling space.”
“A ladder for picking apples. An ‘old Maine tool’ in the classic sense. All farms had one. Maybe even three. To put in an apple tree to pick the apples. They’re an old Maine orchard tool. I find ‘em in barns. Or used to. Most have been scalped off these days. Already on display in someone’s high ceiling. You know: LOFT.”
“They’re just a ladder? What makes ‘em an apple ladder?”
“Taper at the top. Wishbone. START normal ladder at the bottom then tapers down to nothing at the top. To fit around the branches. Really very nice.”
“To look at. With the taper. Old wood. Old surface. Some can be really handsome. An old set of three. Good old ones. That’s what you need. Everyone will say something. Cost you a little. Actually... cost a nothing to you. Wife like’s em.”
“My wife likes them?”
“She will. My wife likes ‘em. Can’t fit ‘em in our house. Put ‘em out in the barn a few days and then sell ‘em. Good ones sell good. No problem.”
“Yeah there’s always someone like you around with space for ‘em; the high ceiling set.”
“High ceiling set?”
“Same as the sliding glass door set.”
“Keep the house at fifty set.”
“I don’t understand you”
“I don’t expect you would.”
If the people ‘like that’; ‘from away’, buy an old Maine house on an old Maine lot that was once part of an old Maine property... and... tear it down in total or just ‘fully renovate it’... do I need them?
Yes. I do. As an antiques dealer. There is always a chance they will ‘get serious’ about furnishing their home-of-their-doing (“summer place”) with antiques
They buy from me.
After that and otherwise... most things do not draw us together.
I cut my own firewood, haul my own firewood, store my own firewood and burn my own firewood. I never ‘get enough’ and ‘always run out’. That is the way it is. The big house folk buy their firewood; hardwoods in split professional uniformity, and ‘have it stacked’
In the garage.
Never stack firewood in a garage... and who has a garage anyway.
I burn all my firewood up all the time. That’s what it’s for. The big house has the same stack of firewood in their garage
For years. Sometime they use some sometimes for a fire sometime... on, like, a cool day of July rain. “The fire feels nice”. They say.
I have one snow shovel... and a backup in case the wife suddenly wishes to ‘join in’. That never happens. Big house folk have their house ‘plowed’, ‘shoveled’ and ‘sanded’. They are ‘not there’ and the house is ‘heated to fifty’. I have a plow on a truck that I hope will start when I need it ‘to plow’ ...us out. I hope, each winter, I don’t have to do that... much. I also don’t like it to get really cold. The truck won’t start and I have to turn the furnace on; burn some oil to ‘keep the pipes from freezing. If I don’t do that I run the risk of the faraway cold spots in our little house... ‘freezing up’. I don’t like plumbing problems in the winter. “No one does”. In my little world.
I park the truck at a certain angle in front of the barn doors where, there, the winter sun blasts its radiance... right on the hood of the truck so that... maybe... it will start... “around one-thirty in the afternoon”.
“WHY DO YOU PARK THE TRUCK UP THERE?” the big house man asked me
Before the storm
When he came to “SEE” an apple ladder: “THAT’S WHAT THAT IS.” He, looking it over, said he “WILL TELL HER ABOUT IT”. No sale.
I’m used to that.
He kept his dog in his car. One of his (their) dogs. We don’t have any dogs. They are expensive. A luxury. A vanity. Big House would like to let his dog ‘run’ here at my place but he knows it will go directly to the compost and eat its fill. That’s why I have compost piles? Yeah. Sure. That’s why. His dog loves bacon grease. Big House looked around in our (farm) yard. I saw him look at the compost. I could see his wheels turn. Or maybe I saw his dog’s bowels churn. Right? Anyway; he’s got that figured out.
Before he came over I ate a bowl of chicken soup for lunch. We save the bones we generate; put ‘em in a bag in the freezer. Every two weeks or so she make a broth (“soup”) of them and then I use that as a base for my lunch. She puts in onions, celery and carrots. I add some pulled chicken, a chicken leg if I’m lucky and some broccoli. Piping hot... lunch. Just before Big House cell calls to say
He’s on his way.
I need something in me to stand my ground. Big House COULD actually buy something... but he has no idea WHAT that could be and neither do I. So I have to ‘get ready’. To ‘deal with that’. You know what I’m talking about.
We don’t have chickens. Did once... for sixteen years. Too expensive now: A luxury. A vanity. Now. There are so many ‘egg men’ around now I can get as many farm fresh eggs as I want all the time every time AND they still got “MORE”. How many eggs do I eat anyway? Not that many.
They say it’s farm fresh eggs. They ain’t. What that damn food they feed ‘em; that “layer mash” in the big feed store bags. Yeah; that stuff. They all feed ‘em that. Got the feeder boxes. Yeah: What is that stuff. Just think about it. Use that and egg cost goes UP and ...what is that stuff... from the local feed store? Really. The whole little guy egg thing needs to be ‘looked into’ (think about it with a pencil and paper; you ARE loosing money): And... if they eat ‘that’ do I want to eat ‘that’ too?
“I don’t think so”.
Big House is always talking about “EGGS” he “BOUGHT”. You know; ‘bought local’. Farmer’s market. He gets himself a couple of “DANISH” too. He likes those with the goo-gob of “raspberry jam”. Awful lot of raspberries go to ‘jam’. I like my raspberries fresh picked and mashed up in a bowl with just a... goo-gob of vanilla ice cream. Not too much ice cream. Pick the berries your self. YOU AIN’T GONNA GET A TICK on you JESUS”.
Okay tick: Stay inside the big house. Leave the Maine wilderness to Professional Mainers.
At the boat yard, down by the shop, Big House’s boat is under the cover at the left; beside the shop. “It’s being worked on”. What’s being worked on? Nothing. What’s it need worked on? Nothing. Been ‘sailed’ in the water almost seven hours since he bought it six years ago. So it always needs to be ‘worked on’. Get it. Too bad I can’t sell him some antiques to put on that boat. His wife DOES entertain on it. The boat HAS been used to ‘entertain’ they call it. At the start of summer (Memorial Day) they ‘put it in’. Then nothing happens. THEN...: All get in the dingy and go out and ‘entertain’ “ON IT” ‘in the harbor’ until it ‘gets dark’. Then they go back to the big house. It all makes sense. Right? I just want to get some money out of it.
Big House always has to come in our house when he is the ‘come over’. He agitates until he gets ‘taken in’. Yep: Agitates. You know it when you see it with these folk: NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT (us living like that). “YOU REALLY DO LIVE LIKE THAT.” he told us. Told all the from away folk too. Back there; from away. He’s in Connecticut. The part of Connecticut that is part of Manhattan. You know; everyday... back and forth. “FARM FRESH EGGS” to that I say. Anyway. He ducks his head pretty good now and noses around. Sniff’en the air. Bread baking. Two loaves. Don’t go given HIM one. Still to hot anyway. “OH YEAH WE EAT THAT HOMEMADE BREAD all winter long TOO JESUS”. He’s a courteous gent. Knows good behavior when he’s in the enemy’s camp. I told him: “Living here. FOR YOU: This is just one long camping trip we’ve been on. Over sixty years we’ve be ...just camping out.” He sort of got it. Brushing my teeth outside in the yard is a stretch. He’s used to hovering over the sink with the hot water going ‘full’. That’s the real truth here: It’s a real lot of very small things that
Creates the turmoil.
Of course he could still buy something.