Red Deck, Blue Sea

Almost done painting the deck

Almost done with the deck now. The worst of the cracked and rotted boards have been replaced. They sit on the temporarily relocated deck table in the northeast corner of the yard casting long shadows in the late afternoon sun. Some of boards’ ends arch up at the sky like old fashioned cartoon skis.

Got all the rails and the posts under them done yesterday. That took up a gallon; so many damn skinny posts. I went for another gallon today, but we ran through that, too.  Going to need another one to finish feeding this monster.

I have learned that this is the thing with wood: it swallows paint. Like it knows we’re trying to change it. Maybe this is where the ghosts of the previous owners make their last stand.

I admire these stubborn boards. I don’t like being prettied up either. I grumble at change. I creak. So maybe it’s just having a drink before the pretty party. Taking the edge off. It’s an alcoholic going on a final drinking binge. A painted oblivion. Lying out here behind the house, drying, creaking, cragging its edges up. Cutting and splintering. Taking a nice chunk of my right pointer finger. I’m letting it scar. It’s best to respect the deck. It took its flesh fair and square. A lil thin string of Cuban for about 130 feet of wood.

I remember the first time we saw this house and the realtor gave us a tour. I remember a child’s things in the back yard. A plastic Playskool playhouse and assorted dolls and a toy shopping cart. That playhouse was still there when we skulked through the alley in Elaine’s car later on, peeking at life in a home we thought we’d never live in. I was a little surprised the playhouse was there. I was sure the realtor put it there to sucker in anyone with kids. But I never thought about the darkness of the deck. That faded blue jean deck that seemed like a cowboy’s best friend.

Wasps underneath. Tripping me in the dark while I carry a bag with a dirty diaper in it. Splinters. This one board that rotted through so bad, a leg from the barbecue went in and the whole thing tipped over, spilling ash. The side steps that don’t really seem attached to anything. They clunk down when you walk on them. Like a lil wooden gotcha.

The toys in the yard made me ponder a family life. The grass made me consider responsibility and the upkeep of a full on home. The deck lured me in with promises of barbecues, card games, shade under the umbrella, and whiskey sours.

This week, it left me with a sore back, sunburns, and the smell of treated wood in my nose. Even in the light of the computer screen, my flesh is emergency sign red.

Jack slept for most of the time we were out there painting. Momma brought him out when we heard him on the baby monitor smacking around the toys in his crib. We’d run out of paint  by then and had been chilling under the fox palms. I had my head in her lap and Jack was standing on my face. It’s what he does. He climbs people.

The deck squatted before us, with just that tiny section of blue left. Defeated, really, like this was the last tooth left in its mouth.

Millions of wooden slivers of blue made up what was left: about 12 square feet.

Christina mentioned how beautiful Jack’s eyes were. So blue. Though sometimes crossed.

She comes from Vikings, you know? And his blue eyes are her baby blues which turned green eventually. Green by way of the blue sea that Vikings sailed while pillaging.

I wonder if they burned any decks.


I think the little guy is teething. He’s usually in a good mood but since last night, he’s been cranky and drooling like crazy. We gave him some baby Tylenol to maybe help him with any potential pain. I can cheer him up as usual by throwing him around and “flying” him. But it only soothes him so much. He’s out to the pastures of baby dreamland right now thanks to a combination of exhaustion, the drugs, and the tinny baby music we have going on.

I’m glad that he may potentially be hitting a milestone here. But I’m genuinely and unexpectedly going to miss when he surprises me with nose chomps. It’s something he’s done for awhile now and he always leaves tons of drool and a smile when he’s done.

What years old habits is he going to form that I’ll miss down the line? Hopefully not being a big old pussy like his dad.

How Do You Smell?

The assignment was: How do you smell?

I will shower with Dove. I will meld the remaining sliver from the last bar on the top of the new one. Some Arctic Breeze deodorant the lady picked out for me. It’s got an orange top and it’s not the gel stuff I like. It’s that hard white stuff that looks like powder later on, if you look, if you give a shit. But hey, it’s better than nothing. I will sweat as soon as I get out of the shower. Always foggy in the bathroom when I’m done because I turn the water hot enough to make me red. The smell of cut grass and gas from the lawnmower won’t leave me for days. Sometimes when I kill lots of ants I feel them on me as if their dying gasp is a hundred temporary psychic ant bites. It’s the same with the grass. A million felled blades have fired telepathic chlorophyl stabs at my brain. This particular pair of jeans never fades from green at the bottom of the legs, stained from the eternal yard holocaust. I get the baby for a bit. He smells sweet, he is milk and flesh. He hasn’t bathed in two days and smells the same even though he peed on me again this morning and surely got some on himself. While lying sideways on my chest, piss leaked out the back of his diaper and at my neck. I could only sigh. Feel it go from warm to cold against my chest.

It smells cold in the house. The giant Rheem outside has not stopped cranking cool. It intends to be victorious over the heat. My nostrils are flashed with the air conditioner. Makes me think of mornings and how my nose has to wake up with everything else. Mornings, I smell that bit of salt on me, the grease in my hair, ball sweat from the wakeup tug, that slight cheese from fingernails and the skin underneath.

The baby farts a man’s fart. Like an abandoned egg dish. It’s 12:07 pm. The cracked white leather chair I sit in when I’m sweating creaks hello with every adjustment of my body, soaks up my wet shirt and jean hips. She is doing something in the bathroom, so I have him for a little bit. I bring him close to my nose again because I don’t want to smell myself: funk, root dirt grown in layers as my arms twist my pit hairs back and forth, making a fire while I wrestle with the mower, drag the trash bin in the alley, throw another fucking palm frond over the fence where they go.

This is where I sit when I smell like a man.

American: Bill Hicks

I want to see this. Bill Hicks is great.

I love this line: “Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration — that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death; life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves… Here’s Tom with the weather!”