This weekend we went to visit Who for the first time in ages. We've intended to go for the past month because Ellie has been having oil problems since December, but every single weekend has had thunderstorms. (a) It's hard to work on a car when it's raining, or if the ground under it is soggy, and (b) some of those storms were strong enough to make the drive to St. Paul deadly. Columbus had a few floods, and just a few days ago those tornadoes and hailstorms tore up half the of Greensburg.
But since it was Memorial Day weekend, and the sun was starting to peep out, we headed over on Saturday night. Before we left, Sweetie noted that Who sounded the happiest he had since, well, 2006. I took it as a sign that his health was recovering after the hole-in-his-stomach incident, but when we pushed open the door to the trailer it was immediately evident that his psychological health had also increased two-fold. Not only was it spotless, but he had decorated the living room, painted and fixed up the bathroom, and cleared the guest bedroom of the mountain of boxes inhabiting it since he moved in. Also, there was a giant butterfly on the bedspread...I'm not entirely sure why. But butterflies are usually a good indication that someone has bounced over the depression hump.
On Sunday morning, Who woke up at the same time I did: a little before 9 a.m. He went back to nap a little bit later, but you know what that means? He didn't drink. The entire weekend, I only saw him with Coke bottles. And in a car ride to Uncle F and Aunt B's, he ate potato chips. Note the verb in that sentence: ate. He eats things. Willingly. He cleaned his plate at dinner, too, though that isn't very hard to do because Uncle F and Aunt B are fantastic cooks. They buy fresh rolls and candies from Amish markets, and grow their own lettuce, and never overcook the vegetables.
The primary reason we were at F&B's was for the car, since F has memorized the manual for any vehicle you can find in Indiana and "just happens" to have any part Ellie could need. Like the perfect oil filter. The oil problems were, as I had suspected, a result of savagely attacking the wrong-size filter she had in December in attempt to get it off. But there was a secondary reason, too: F&B have a LOT of land. And where there's a lot of land, there's a lesser chance of accidentally killing someone when you're wielding deadly weapons.
Sweetie had wanted me to shoot our rifle (his Christmas present from 2009), because he doesn't want me to be useless if thieves come a-knocking. Or if, sometime in the future, a wild dog (or deer, or turkey) attacks Luna in the yard. So we spent an hour or so tearing holes in a cardboard box with bird shot. Some lessons to take away:
1) Even with muffling headphones, guns are LOUD. I hope I never have to fire one unprotected; it would probably damage my eardrums.
2) The tissue right next to my right shoulder is much more delicate than you would think. But it's also more resilient than you would think, considering that enough force to kill man was being jolted against it. It's tender, but I don't even have a bruise.
3) Human eyesight is wacky. There's an enormous difference between looking at the target normally and aligning your eye with the barrel. The former makes the bullets cut the grass above the cardboard box. The latter tears a scary-looking hole through the target.
Now that I've been properly initiated, Sweetie's talking about finding a local shooting range to practice. I don't mind, but I hope it doesn't get expensive.
For a while after that, we watched the Coca-Cola 600. I was bored out of my mind, and spent most of the time hoping someone would spin out and make things interesting. Fortunately, even the men got bored too, so we left at a reasonable hour. Who didn't want to drive back to the trailer because of his stiff leg, and Sweetie "didn't feel like it", so that left me behind the wheel. I'm not sure when I became the designated driver...probably sometime around summer 2009. The next day I drove back to Bloomington too, after dropping Who off at a Memorial Day lunch for veterans at the American Legion. And then I did what seems like a billion chores, preparing food for the week and trying to get cigarette smoke and mud and sweat out of all our belongings. He may have cut back on drinking, but the nicotine still has a hold.
By the way, it's HOT. And humid. I spent most of the weekend hovering on the edge of heat exhaustion. And today, walking to my internship at 8:40 in the morning, I was already baking in the sun. I've been diligent with the sunscreen and water, but it's still uncomfortable. Why is the temperature always 20 degrees away from the supposed average? It's supposed to be in the 40s in January (ha) and 70s in May (haha). Today will have a high of 93°. This year's weather is unusual, they tell me. Just like they told me last year, and the year before that, and the year before that....