This gloriously short month has just about breezed right by us. At least for me, it has been a quickie. Yesterday I promised a story, so here goes...
Mary lived in a nice little house in a quiet neighborhood. Her neighbors were mostly pleasant and she enjoyed doing projects around her house. It was a good life for Mary and she was able to live comfortably.
The year she turned 37, she decided to remodel her porch. Mary's cousin, Randy, was a contractor, and he came over one afternoon to discuss her plans. Randy enjoyed helping Mary realize the goals she carefully planned out for her home. Over the 11 years she had owned her home, Randy had done a lot of work for Mary, who was his only cousin.
Mary shared her vision with Randy over some lemonade.
"I'd really like to extend the patio to run along the entire length of the house," she told Randy, who was nodding in agreement.
"Do you want to cover the whole thing?" Randy asked between sips of his drink.
"I think so. Could you install some ceiling fans and, maybe, a misting system?"
"You can do the mister yourself, Mary. You don't need me to do that," chided Randy.
"Hmmm." Mary paused to consider the job.
Randy was used to Mary's long pauses. There was only about six months difference in their ages and they had basically grown up together. He was used to her quirks and her pauses were a byproduct of being an assistant principal at an elementary school. Mary had learned early on that giving student's time to process their thoughts allowed them to feel some autonomy during their conversations.
"You're right, Randy. I could do that. I would probably enjoy it."
She smirked at him. Mary knew Randy was just trying to save her some money and she appreciated it. He already gave her a huge break on what he would normally charge.
For the next half hour, they came up with a plan. Randy gave Mary his quote, which was ridiculously low, and they agreed to move forward. Randy was free to start in one week and he thought the addition would take about two weeks to complete. He would take care of the permits the next day.
Randy gave Mary a hug before he left and said, "I think you're really going to like hanging out on your new porch."
Mary smiled and said, "I think you're right."
Three weeks later, Mary spent the first evening on her new porch. She has splurged a bit on some furniture and it had arrived earlier in the day. Mary had taken the afternoon off from Carleton Middle School where she worked and taken the delivery of the furniture with a huge smile on her face.
Mary had considered asking Connie, her best friend, to come over for dinner to see the new porch, but she wanted to just take it in by herself on this first night. As she sat down on the new outdoor sofa, she grabbed a book to read and the remote control for her new fans.
It wasn't a particularly warm day, but Mary thought it would be nice to turn on the fans. Randy had talked her into some fancier fans than she had wanted, but he was able to get them for roughly the same price as the fans she had originally chosen so she had decided to embrace his idea. She thought the remote control made them fancy and she was right.
The fans were pretty darn fancy, she thought to herself and turned her attention to her book.
After about an hour, she decided to head inside and make some dinner. She picked up the remote and pointed it towards the fan closest to her and pressed the off button. She repeated this for each of the three fans and headed towards the new French doors Randy has installed a few years earlier.
While two of the fans were noticeably slowing down, the third, which was closest to the eastern edge of the porch was still going strong. Mary pointed the remote at the fan and hit the off button again. This time the fan began to slow down, so she went in the house to make dinner.
Two days later, Connie came over to see the new porch. It was a Friday and Connie and Mary often spent the end of the work week drinking wine, eating snacks, and watching movies.
"I love it!" Connie exclaimed.
"I do, too," said Mary as she handed Connie a glass of pinot grigio.
"I love the fans, too. They are so cool looking. Wait..."
"What?" Mary asked.
"Where are the chains? How do you turn them on and off?"
"I know. I'll turn them on."
Mary pointed the remote at the fan on the west edge of the porch and the fan started to turn.
"That's cool. It turned the other one on, too," Connie said.
"That's weird. That fan just sort of has a mind of it's own."
"What do you mean?"
"It turns itself on and off randomly. I need to call Randy and have him come check it out."
"The other two work fine?" Connie asked.
"Yep. What happened with Ms. Cook today?"
The two friends slipped into their normal routine of work gossip, laughter, and Friday fun.
The next morning, Mary called Randy and explained what was going on with the fan.
"I can come by later and check it out if you like," he said.
"Sure. I might be running errands, but you know where the spare key is if I'm not home. Thanks, Randy."
Sure enough, Mary was out and about when Randy rolled up around 2:30pm. He took the fan apart and checked the wiring. Everything was solid. He turned each fan on and off and there were no issues. He even waited to see if the fan would turn itself on or off while he was there and nothing happened.
Before he left, he texted Mary.
"Hey cuz. I checked everything out and it seems to be working just fine. Let me know if that changes. See you at Uncle Bill's next week?"
Mary was relieved to see the text a few minutes later and texted Randy back.
"Thank you, R! See you next week."
She didn't think of the fan again the rest of the day.
(To be continued)
See you tomorrow.
My paternal grandparents house. Looks very different now since the people who bought it fixed it up and flipped it. Part of my childhood, for sure. Used to mow that lawn.