Tuesday, January 19, 2021


’ve never in my life owned so much stiff! I, a minimalist coming from a two-room condo to land with three buildings on it, felt forced to accumulate. I went from one bedroom to three and from no yard to half an acre. I needed beds and linen, side tables and all the equipment required to maintain a lawn and husband gardens—not to mention a generator and tools with which to maintain a well, cistern, lawnmower, hot tub and the buildings themselves.

Things are frequently breaking and I’m not of the handyman persuasion. But I am an enthusiastic problem solver, so when suddenly my reading lamp, about which I’m passionate because it has adjustable joints that allow me to direct the light to however I need it, I went into action. I had no idea what I was in for.

Nowadays, bolts and nuts are sold separately and packaged in individual plastic containers. At least here they are. Holding the broken bolt that I needed to replace, I had no idea how to choose from the universe of options available. I must have spent fifteen minutes trying to choose which package to buy. Eventually, I decided to buy several packages because they are not terribly expensive.

When I got to the till, the clerk turned out to be a fellow dog walker from our large dog walking group that doesn’t assemble any more due to Covid.

“Why so many different sizes, Chris? Are you starting a collection?” (Although our population is small, there’s an abundance of sarcasm here.)

“I don’t know what size I need. I’m trying to replace this one that broke on a lamp,” I said showing her my broken bolt.

“Come with me,” she said. And she took me back to the sliding racks of millions of packages, where she showed me a very handy sizing chart that no one would ever find unassisted.  

She returned to the till, and I found the right sized hole. But I couldn’t read the Lilliputian type below the hole. I had to find another clerk to help me read the size, which I did. I bought the package with the shortest right-sized bolts and came home. (Of course, one must buy ten when one only needs one!)

Back home (in the studio) I searched for a wrench but had only ones that were too big, and no vice grip, so I was forced to use pliers—not the best of tools. 

The new bolt was a tad too long so it wouldn’t hold the lampshade on the angle I wanted. Damn. It meant going back to the store for help. I’d chosen the shortest bolt but hoped they could special order me some shorter ones.

But a miracle occurred.

Something made me realize when I went to bed that had I bought a nut, I could put a thin nut on the bolt before screwing it into the lamp and that would probably work, so this morning, first thing, I was out in my shed searching through my jar of miscellaneous sized nuts and bolts—where did they come from?— and found, even better, some washers that I thought might work.

They did. And I feel like I won some kind of cosmic contest.

Yesterday, tired of the smell in my cupboard, I threw all the remaining Marijuana I’d grown and saved, into the garbage. I stopped using it at this time last year but resumed again last Summer when I decided to diet, figuring if I couldn’t eat sweets for fun, I wanted another form of escape/relief.

I also spent a fair bit of time working in the yard, burning more wood from my renovation of the studio and some forest fall. It’s another nice bright day today, so I’ll be back at it along with dog walks and—wait for it—my Zoom chat with Dr. Shoja. I can hardly wait. 

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