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3 September 2000

Today, after t'ai chi practice, I finally tackled repairing the screen door. Not a difficult job, but one I've kept putting off. I bought a length of screening weeks ago.

I got out a flat-bladed screw driver and pried off the old molding. It broke up badly in the process. I'm usually good at taking things apart neatly and without damage, but this molding was rotted: the damp had gotten in behind it where there was no paint to protect it. After that, I pried out the old staples.

As I was stapling the new screen in place, I remembered that I'd been meaning to put a "knee stop" on the lower panel so that if you go to catch the door with your knee, you won't put your knee through the screen. I've been good about remembering not to use my knee to catch the door, but strangers to the house might be taken unawares-- not that anyone visits these days, but you never know. And I've been meaning to do it. For years. Ask Bru.

I poked around in the basement and up in my book room to see if I had any suitable molding-- half-round, and anything I could use for the knee stop, but all I found was some half inch quarter-round. That meant I'd have to go to the hardware store, so off I went.

They didn't have any half-round of any kind, but I got some stock to make the knee stop out of.

On the way back, for some reason I can't articulate, I stopped at the cemetary to visit Dad. I never do that. The geraniums Ma and I had planted before Memorial Day looked as if they'd been well toasted, but they were making a recovery; the dusty miller seemed fine. I cleaned up the toasted leaves and flowers, and pulled the crab grass, and swept off Dad's stone. Then, for some unaccountable reason, I asked him if he'd like to see my t'ai chi routine. Evidently he said yes, because next thing, I was doing it...

In the middle of the routine there was a long, long, reverberating rumble of thunder.

When I finished the routine, I stood there for a few moments, feeling I wanted to cry, knowing that I've been screwing up. Again. In my head, I could hear Dad telling me not to be so hard/ stubborn/ contentious/ argumentative/ you name it...

I've fought everything, all my life. Even kindness, friendship, and love. Always, I've gone armed and armored, afraid, trying to protect myself. Dad knew that. Ma knows it. Neither of them could teach me what to do about it. All they could do was say, "Don't be so hard. You'll only hurt yourself and others."

When I got back, I built a nice little knee stop. Then it was time to go to Peter's.


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