It’s 5:30 a.m. Here are some Random Thoughts zipping around the fringes of the muddled abyss that Little Sleep and Crucial Details have made of my once not-all-the-clear-anyway mind.
I have to drop off my car for servicing at 7:45 this a.m. I will then go spend the day sorting through the mountain of books donated to my wife’s thrift store this week. I am doing this because the store’s volunteer book person took the summer off. I will fill literally half a dumpster with the books I throw out. First, though, I throw them into the huge garbage cans near the sorting area. Those cans are right next to the long line of homeless people who everyday show up for free food. Invariably and constantly, these people will take an intense interest in what seems to them like the perfectly good books I’m throwing out.
Tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. (our 27th wedding anniversary!) my wife Cat and I are to meet at our new home the guy who’s going to spend three days painting the interior of our house. I found this man on Craigslist. He barely speaks English; I believe he is Korean. He’s an extremely intense guy. I like and respect him very much. I know he’ll do work of the quality I’d like him to.
Tomorrow at 9 a.m. another guy will also show up at our house, to install our new air conditioner there. This is a huge, $4,000 project. Like our painter, this man is exceptionally knowledgeable and experienced at his trade: he teaches classes in air conditioning (!) He is thoughtful, patient, kind, and very easy to respect. It’s a blessing to have both he and Eun Koo Kang the Painter in our lives.
Relative to our new home, we have, this week, accomplished these things:
1. Bought the thing. (Interesting snag at the very end: My driver’s license had expired, bringing to a screeching halt in its final moment the culmination of everything that had gone into the finalizing of the purchase of our house. The escrow people, the sellers, the sellers’ agent, our agent, the title people, our lending bank … everyone involved in the deal simply stopped, while I ran to the public zoo that is the DMV. Imagine my chagrin. But check this out: After my license extension had been seen to, out of nowhere the woman helping me at the DMV volunteered to fax proof of my extension to everyone who was right then waiting to see it. Without even looking up at me as she finished processing my license, she goes, “Give me the numbers. I’ll fax this for you.” Then she went back into her Operational Labyrinth, and did just that. Pure awesomeness.)
2. Changed the locks in our new house. (And in so doing made acquaintence with an amazingly great guy, Tony, owner/operator of KlickLock. What a guy—and with what an honorable past. Tony is the man.)
3. Had our house thoroughly cleaned by the two very kind, very hardworking women sent to us via Merry Maids. Tipped them heavily for their Awesome Work.
4. Had the gas and electricity turned on by Ron the Power Guy, with whom I had a wonderful time. Ron’s extremely funny, and extremely smart about All Things Gas and Electric. He taught me all about my new water heater. Awesomeness redoux.
5. Had the carpets in our new house cleaned by the sweetest kid (I dunno … I’d say he was 23) you’d ever want to meet. He works for Stanley Steemer. He did a wonderful job on a carpet that looked like it had been used as a surface for terrorist training. Afterwards, Manuel and I totally hung out in my kitchen. He’s a freak for granite countertops and whatever kind of range/stove we now own. I think he would have cooked us lunch if he didn’t have to go.
6. Got phone and internet service started at the new place, via a superb customer service woman at ATT, who took my account info home with her so she could call us after hours to keep us up on the status of our account. I’m so sure! This woman definitely deserves a raise, because whatever she makes can’t possibly be enough.
7. Bought a new washer and dryer for our new place at Home Depot. The man who helped us there was so great I can’t even tell you. Kind, patient, knowledgeable, thorough, generous … dealing with him was just a wonderful experience.
8. Bought, at Home Depot, some 20 gallons of paint, in four colors that my wife and I spent a month deciding on. Again: extraordinary customer service, for a long time, over a lot of complicated variables. I don’t know how Home Depot finds such great people, or what they do to make them so consciencious and gracious, but dang, they have good people. The one by my house does, anyway. Same thing with the HD guy who sold us our new ceiling fan. He couldn’t have been better.
Anyway, stuff like that. We’re spending a lot of money getting our new house in order, and one of the things we’re getting for our money—in some ways the best thing—is what feels like a divine affirmation of the goodness of people. This whole process has been an object lesson in the very encouraging fact that the world is filled with good, loving people who take true pride in what they do every day.
And now I’m off to get my car serviced by the best mechanics I’ve ever dealt with. You wouldn’t believe this local garage. The guy who owns it is so good my standard deal with him is to say, “Do whatever you think needs to be done.” And I’m not stupid about cars. But this guy has proven himself to be exactly the kind of guy you can actually say that to.
There’s a lot in me that tends toward cynicism. These days so many people, everywhere in my life, are daily showing me how wrong, stupid, and ridiculously unnecessary cynicism is.