Work Clothes


I sent her off to the distant corner of the backyard to gather pooh in a bag. She appears small in this context, no? Nearly dwarf-like set against the distant peaks of the Chugach mountains, the trees coming into their own. Similar to a lawn gnome you might imagine, sans the white beard and pointy red hat.

(Reader dismay: “Wait a minute, did he just compare Happy Wife to a lawn gnome?!).

We refer to this look as her, “Fluffage.” She could probably use new Fluffage as repeated washings have rendered this Fluffage more like “Pillage.” Plus, once you’ve worn your Fluffage outside where it’s vulnerable to being soiled it then becomes forever afterward your work Fluffage. Technically speaking. Like a favorite sweatshirt, the super comfortable one, the one you’ve had forever that has somehow become even more comfortable after hundreds of washings, your go-to sweatshirt, always, until that day you slip outside maybe just to fetch the mail, no harm in that you think, and on the way back into the house you see your bike on the work stand, where you’d left it a day earlier when you were in the garage in your work clothes meaning to put that chain back on the gears but your attention was diverted and the chore left undone. So now you set the mail down and think I’ll just quick take care of this one thing. BLAM! — chain grease on the sleeve of your favorite sweatshirt.

Damnit!

Which never comes out completely in the wash. You try degreasers and spot removers of every kind but that niggling remnant of stupidity — your own stupidity! — will never go away. “Why, it’s barely visible,” others will console. But you know it’s there. Like an old friend who’s done something unforgivable, things will never be the same again, you’ll never be able to bring yourself to unlearn the transgression.

So now your once favorite sweatshirt, your old friend who’ll never be the same is forever relegated to an anonymous hook in the cold garage. There to keep company all the other┬ádespoiled clothes, themselves also once-upon-a-time regularly washed, tenderly dried in Springtime-scented drier sheets, folded and lovingly laid in a dresser drawer.

Update on Lucy: Our girl continues to defy this damned mast cell cancer. She has tumors on her tumors now, if you can believe that. The mass between her neck and shoulder is as big as a small cantaloupe. Happy Wife provides Lucy her meds twice daily by hiding them in a smear of cream cheese tucked inside a cylinder of rolled lunch meat. Lucy prefers ham but sometimes turkey is on sale at Safeway. Here she is three months ago in a moment of self prayer. She’s still with us today so who can be sure it hasn’t helped.