Sunday, March 10, 2013

I Have Staff

I feel very Downton Abbey when I am roused at 9 a.m. on the Sunday after the time change by the people I have hired to work in the yard.

Brian is also a very good friend, and as is the custom around here, he let himself in. Eddie's barking had long-since alerted us to his presence so at least I was decently covered with jammies when the door opened.

But of course it meant I was to get dressed and join the conversation outside. It was 33 degrees, so I had to fix my hair to accommodate a hat, and then I stood, listening as the menfolk talked.

My presence was totally unnecessary. This is a job that is weeks in the works, and the specs of which have been clear for longer than that. Move the six ENORMOUS truckloads of mulch from the front of the house to the back. Spread it around.

Brian is the perfect kind of worker, and we have a great thing going here. I have a never-ending to-do list of house projects, and Brian comes whenever he is free to work on them. I don't have to be here--he brings his own tools, knows where our things are should he need them, and cleans up after himself. You would hardly know he's been here, except that the work gets done. We have an agreement on the number of hours every month, so he can count on the income, and we can count on the work. For big jobs like this one, we pay as we go.

It's a perfect arrangement.  Everyone should have a Brian.

Except when you're trying to live in denial of the time change and it's 33 degrees out.

I am reminded of the scene in Downton Abbey when the maid comes in to open the curtains, waking Lady Mary and her new husband. The maid has been up for hours at this point, having prepared the house for waking habitation. Mary and Matthew chat happily, not the least but concerned that they have been slothful.

I, on the other hand, realize that Brian and his coworker have been up long enough to waken, get dressed, (I hope) eat breakfast, and I see from thermoses set on the rocks, prepare coffee. Not to mention the 30-minute drive to get here.

Sloth is one of the seven deadly sins, isn't it?

And so I busy myself. I move the cut wood (cut by Brian, of course, while I was out to dinner with friends earlier this week) to the pile; I half-heartedly rake out the piles of mulch, knowing Brian will come behind me and do a better job; I consider the difficulty of winning the lottery; and could I possibly pay someone to cook for me without feeling gluttonous (deadly sin number two)?

I suppose it's a good thing I am not rich. Perhaps some of us really are born of "peasant stock" (as my father used to call it), driven to work--or at least pretend to.  And for those of you wondering, yes, I am using reverse psychology on the lottery fates and not the least bit worried that winning will "change me."

Come on, big money!!!

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