Skip to main content

Mountain Home Magazine

Making a List and...Squirrel

Jul 01, 2024 09:00AM ● By Maggie Barnes

“What’s on your agenda today?”

I blinked the last of the sleep out of my eyes and gazed upon my husband, who was showered, dressed, and ready for the day.

“Oh, I have a whole bunch of stuff I need to do,” I assured him. “I’m planning to be very productive.”

Bob was headed out to assist our daughter with a home improvement project. He had loaded the truck with enough equipment to stop and build a vintage frontier town on the way. I swear he packed tools I had never seen before, but he covered every question with “I don’t know what I might need.”

As much as I love the guy, I was thrilled to have a day on my own. A dozen projects of mine needed attention, and a summer Saturday was just what I needed to move them off the to-do list.

The day began with great promise. I had my tea on the upper deck while I listed my tasks. Kenya, our calico, laid in the chair opposite me and was very impressed when I showed her my plan. “Mama is going to be just a blur of color today, Ken…watch this.”

My work ethic resembles a diesel engine. It may take me a while to get going, but once I’m moving, I’ll cover a lot of ground. So, I started small. The kitchen sponge was well beyond its expiration date. I estimated at least three new strains of penicillin were growing in its crevices. In the trash it went. I reached under the sink for a replacement, realizing I hadn’t looked in there in a while. I was surprised at what a mess it was. I grunted my way to the floor and started pulling bottles out trying to dig back to the sponges. My hand fell on a can of furniture polish I had been seeking the week before. Ah! Now I could get rid of that scratch mark on the dining room table. More grunting and I was on my feet.

I had almost made it to the table when the dead flowers on the sideboard caught my eye. The dinner party had been two weeks before—they should have been long gone. Rounding the table, I reached for the vase, but my foot kicked the basket of artificial flowers resting on the floor. Ugh. They were red and green. Christmas flowers. What the heck. Had I completely lost track of the calendar? Swept the basket up and headed for the basement storage room. It looked like teenage raccoons had had a sleepover. Stuff was everywhere. I dropped the basket by the door and was trying to locate the summer decor when I spied the last can of albacore tuna. The good stuff! I needed that for a recipe I saw. Snatched the can and back up the stairs. Where was that magazine? I have a “to-be clipped” pile of magazines near the couch and I started tunneling through it.

That’s when I found the unpaid bill. Crap. When is this due? Two days. Still time to get it into the mail. That led to a hunt for stamps. Who was in this desk drawer last, the Tasmanian devil? I can’t find anything…oooh, a gift card! Wonder if anything is left on this? Mama could use a new jacket. Just need the laptop…which is out of juice. Where’s the charger for this? In the office I bet. And that’s where I found the bag of clothes to donate at church. Drat, meant to take that last month. That blue sweater should go in here, the one from the top shelf of the closet. Forgot about the shelf being crooked in here. It was missing one of those little clips that screws into the wall. Where did he hide those?

In the garage, I stared at the wall of little cabinets with little drawers containing little things that performed magic I do not understand. I had no idea where to start, but I did find my jewelry box that he was reattaching the lid to. That should go back to the house and out of this humidity. But as I was carrying it by my car, I remembered that I was out of wiper fluid, so I set the box down and opened the trunk. Well, I thought I had some in here. What I did have was my muddy sneakers from taking Rex down by the river. Gotta clean those…

It was near sunset when Bob rolled into the driveway and tiredly came through the door. I was sprawled on the couch, wine glass dangling from my fingers and my high school yearbook in my lap. I’d found it while I was looking for a light bulb. Why it was at the bottom of the hamper is a total crap shoot.

“How was your day?” I asked. “Get everything squared away?”

“It was a push,” he said around a yawn. “But we got it all done. She’s set.”

“Good man.” I gave his leg an affectionate pat as he eased into the seat next to me.

“How’d you do? Get your list checked off?” he asked as he tugged at his work boots.

I glanced around the house.

There was no sponge in the sink and the cabinet doors stood open. The polish sat on the dining table. The dead flowers soldiered on from the sideboard. There was a can of tuna fish on the floor next to a collapsed pile of magazines. An unpaid bill and a gift card of indeterminate value shared space on the desk. The laptop, slightly deader than the flowers, was nowhere to be seen. A bag of unwanted clothes sat in the middle of the floor. I think my trunk was still open and I had no idea where my sneakers landed.

Bob’s eyes wandered the disarray.

“Well, I sure was busy. There was a lot of energy expended.”

“I can see that.” He sat back and pulled my feet into his lap. I triumphantly held up the yearbook.

“I did remember most of the names of my graduating class! But somehow…my list didn’t get checked off.” I shrugged in bewilderment.

“Where did the yearbook come from?”

Bob’s foot hit the can of tuna, which rolled into the bag of clothes which then fell over with a plop.

“It was because we needed a new sponge…”

Explore Elmira 2024
Explore Corning 2024
Experience Bradford County 2024
Explore Wellsboro, Fall/Winter 2023-2024