Extra Grace Required

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Ours was a strange conversation yesterday afternoon. Sometimes the General amazes me. Actually, I’m not sure “amazes” is the right word, but I’m better off not changing it. At least I’m affirming a strength-based attribute. The General was out of town all week. For that matter, I was also out of town the majority of the week myself. So out of the blue she said to me yesterday: “I noticed you changed the burned out light bulb in the kitchen”. I should have said “thanks” and left it alone. Instead, I truthfully responded, “No I didn’t”.


She replied: “Maybe it came back on.” Frankly, that didn’t sound like a logical deduction to me. Of course, short of suggesting that the tooth fairy is now doing nice things for old people, I didn’t have a better explanation.   I’m certainly not an electrician, but I’ve never known of a burned out light bulb resurrecting itself. With fluorescent tube lights, sometimes an adjustment of their placement orchestrates a fresh connection but the canned lights are not fluorescent bulbs.


The thing that took me totally off-guard was her next statement. God as my witness, I am not making this up. I am telling the truth. She said: “I noticed another light bulb looks like it is going out?” Was she clairvoyant or what? I’ve never thought of the General as particularly strange, but how can she tell by looking that a light bulb is near done?


I guess when it comes to light bulbs, I’m a black and white kind of guy. The light is either on or it’s off. It glows or it doesn’t glow. If the filament is burned out, it doesn’t come back on. If a light bulb is providing light, how does she know it looks like it is going out? Obviously the answer to that question, if there is one, is above my pay group.


From there, our conversation got even weirder. She asked the question: “Why is there a gallon bottle of water in the refrigerator?” I responded: “To my knowledge there isn’t one.” Out of curiosity, I reached for the handle of the refrigerator and opened the door. I tell you, the lady is losing it. There wasn’t one there. She responded, “Not that refrigeration. It’s the one in the laundry room.”


I made my way to the laundry room and looked inside the refrigerator. Sure as life, there was a gallon jug of water on the shelf where we normally store smaller bottles of water. I was almost speechless. The gallon jug of water was not sitting upright. It was turned on its side. I didn’t check to see if it had been opened. It really didn’t matter. I have no explanation of how it got there.


Saturday morning as I made my way home from Round Rock, I telephoned the General and asked if I needed to get anything from the grocery store. She asked me to pick up a prescription for her at the store pharmacy. Knowing we were out of bottled water, I asked, “Shall I also pick up some bottled water?” She replied that she was compiling a grocery list, but if I’d go ahead and pick up water she be grateful.


Consequently, I stopped by the store and picked up a couple of 24-packs of bottled water and four gallon jugs. I put them all in the back of my truck. When I unloaded the truck a couple of the gallon jugs had turned to their side. Was it possible that I carried one into the house and put it in the refrigerator on the shelf where we normally keep smaller bottles of water? “Probably not” is my best response, but I have no other explanation. After all, I did purchase water at the grocery store.


I moved on to other matters. I needed to hang pictures I had removed from my office. I had temporarily placed the four of them next to my chest-of-drawers in our bedroom, but extra grace would be required if I thought they were going to stay there for any length of time. Truthfully, it would make me a little bit crazy to have them propped against furniture. The General isn’t the only OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) person in our house.


The art collection from my office was tied to an American Indian theme. A couple of the pictures are large prints done by G Harvey. I don’t recall the artist of the other two, but they are also large. Finding a place to hang them was going to be tough. I wanted them all hung together. In my mind, they would be perfect in our bedroom. The room is large and we’ve got a couple of chairs with cowhide backs.


The only downside to my plan is that the General had already told me they wouldn’t all fit in our bedroom. I thought she was wrong, but I could be mistaken. If I moved some of the pictures from the top of the bookshelf and put a couple of the larger pictures there, it might work. After all, our bedroom has a cathedral ceiling. If need be, I could go up really high with the pictures. The only problem was the pictures are relatively heavy and I don’t have a stepladder that will get me up as high as I need to be to safely hang the pictures.


Fortunately, the General was engaged in something else for a portion of the afternoon and I had time to execute my plan. Actually, with two of the pictures hung and an existing painting moved, I was convinced my plan would work. I removed the stuff including a picture from the top of the four bookcase units in our bedroom and managed to get the other two pictures propped on top of the bookcases. I then asked the General to come take a look. She liked the look and made a couple of suggestions related to the pictures propped on top of the bookcases. She thought they looked good sitting on top of the bookcases rather than hanging higher on the wall. The height of the bookcases are seven feet tall. Maybe she was right.


She suggested I add a large piece of pottery between the two pictures. She thought it would add some extra interest to the grouping. I actually thought it was a good idea. We could both be wrong, but we think it looks great.


If you were to ask, the General would tell you that I’m not OCD. In fact, we had a conversation regarding her perception that I need to do a better job of picking up after myself at some point in the day yesterday. Surprise!  Surprise!  Surprise! Something tells me my retirement years may be challenging. I’d hate to be put on probationary status, but from the sounds of things she’s already thinking of a corrective action plan.


Besides that, who knows how many routine responsibilities she is going to slide to my side of the table. Just for the record (that’s the way she phrased it), she put me on notice that she was handing off to me the responsibility for keeping the grandfather clocks wound. She added, “I’m not going to windup the grandfather clocks again. From here on out, it is your responsibility.”


This retirement gig may be a challenge. I should have asked for a job description before I announced my retirement at work. At this point, it is too late to change the process, but I’m not big on surprises when it relates to additional expectations related to my assigned tasks. Of course, with the American Indian theme pictures in the room, I might opt to explain that I am now the new Chief on the reservation.


All My Best!



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