unwilling to undertake ordinary prehensile tasks
Tuesday, August 2 2011
I got up early and made coffee and vegan BLTs for Robert and myself. Robert kept going back and forth between the east deck (where he would smoke cigarettes and interact with his cellphone) and the dining room (where he had his bluetooth-equipped keyboard and iPad). Since getting out of prison, Robert has been a big gadget freak, compensating for his thirteen years of state-imposed 1980s. He carries his iPad everywhere; yesterday he'd brought it to the shore of the Esopus when we'd gone swimming. He knows a lot more about actually using the thing than I do. It turns out, for example, that there is actually a word processor for it, something I hadn't known.
Robert borrowed our car and was gone all day working for the college-in-prison program. I spent it working on xcode with plenty of breaks to putter around (mostly uselessly) in the garden or in the woodshed. For the past few weeks Gretchen had assigned herself the task of relocating the wood from Ray and Nancy's salvaged Silver Maple (which spent the winter as a wooden pyramid at the edge of the parking area). She'd take maybe ten pieces at a time on a handtruck and try to stack them neatly in the woodshed, which (aside from its annex) had been left nearly empty at the end of winter. In the end, she managed to move 921 pieces (she counted), and it filled the main part of the woodshed just over two-thirds full. I've done the calculations and determined that the main part of the woodshed holds almost exactly three cords (128 cubic feet) of wood, meaning that I'd managed to get about two cords of wood from Ray and Nancy. I also realize now that the amount of wood we burned this past winter is probably no more than a cord and a half. Given all the wood from Susan the Memoirist, it's possible we now have two winters' worth of wood on hand.
Most of what I did in the woodshed today was restack pieces previously stacked by Gretchen such that the wood on the two back rows reach all the way up between the rafters to the roof of the woodshed, making the pile over eight feet in height. Getting the piles so high is the only way to get three cords of wood into the shed. This work required me to stand atop previously-stacked wood and manipulate dozens of heavy pieces one-handed, pinched between the fingers and thumb of my right hand. I must not have much experience using my hand in this way, because by the end of the day my thumb was tired and listless, unwilling to undertake ordinary prehensile tasks.
This evening Robert got confused in the unfamiliar darkness and found himself lost on the drive back to our place, so Gretchen met him at the Hurley Mountain Inn and they convoyed home from there. We all ended up watching episodes of Hoarders and My Strange Addiction while Robert gave Gretchen one of the first competent haircuts she'd had in months. The Hoarders was a particularly good one, featuring the story of an elderly woman named Beverly whose rooftop is covered with satellite dishes and who is constantly recording multiple shows on her half-dozen or so VCRs. Video cassettes fill the house and numerous plastic bins out in the yard. We weren't into the episode very long before I declared "this Hoarders is looking very promising." I wondered if this particular info-hoarder had ever graduated to more modern, denser media, and at some point it turned out that she was also hoarding burned DVDs. The best scene came late in the show, when the woman's evidently media-savvy grandchildren suggested that she throw out all the water-logged video cassettes in the yard and just download the stuff off the internet.
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