Jobs in a jar

While most people imagine with glee the headiness of a ticker-tape parade, the historical Wall Street welcome to our nation's heroes, I recoil at the thought of millions of scraps of paper falling earthward, eventually to be collected and acted upon. There is a valid reason for my antipathy, repugnance so strong that I feel compelled to explain.

Instead of a cookie jar, within maison Pugh we have a deferred maintenance jar, into which any imagined project, once written on a scrap of paper, plops. Every day, as sure as the sun rises or a chain-gang rocks, I reluctantly slide my hand into this crock of "to-do's" and randomly pick a slithering, lurking task. Some days it is as easy as washing the car, but most days it most resembles an episode of "This Old House." I'd rather reach for a rattlesnake.

Let me give you a few examples of what awaits inside the jar, and then you decide if my aversion is reasonable or unwarranted:

Paint the house trim: Succinct, perhaps even terse, yet breathtakingly unspectacular as it fails to mention climbing up on the roof, hanging on as the Northward gazing moss conspires to slip me earthward at an unacceptable speed. Nor does it spell out the grinding, sanding and prepping that precedes the primer, then final coat of paint. It surely does nothing to assuage my acrophobia, which is so powerful that by simply standing on the lowest rung of a ladder inspires visions of an emergency spacewalk to repair yet another dent in a space shuttle. It's really quite simple I get dizzy, slip to the grass and drag the 20 foot ladder such that it lands on me like a post-coital preying mantis.

Power wash the walkways: If you have never fired up a power washer, you've missed one of life's most satisfying experiences. Once the hose is hooked up and power applied, dirt, grime, stains and soil are washed away in a blink, leaving you with a true sense of accomplishment. It is then no leap of imagination to look around and see all manner of things that need the ferocity of this wand of water.

The exterior of the house itself invites interest, for years of wear drip ground ward as you get into the task. While the walkways may have taken an hour of concentration, the entire house can eat up a couple of days, depending on your degree of meticulousness, or, as we say in the 2000 pounds per square inch club, your will to wipe. There are some warnings associated with such willing water blasting. The other day, while pressure washing the rims of the car, a friend pulled up and stopped his car in the middle of the street. Not wanting to block the flow of traffic, for you know of my adulation of unimpeded traffic flow, I inadvertently blew a swath of paint off my car, which meant that another "to-do" ticket would soon to enter the jar. My jar.

Fix the sump pump: Four little words that can decimate the day, unless you know of a plumber willing to drop his scheduled work in favor of a foray under the house into a pool of problems, delayed drainage and the playground of generations of raucous raccoons.

There is no easy way to fix a recalcitrant sump pump. The only way is to jump into the overflow and wrestle with the pump and connections. Of course, those wise amongst us unplug the pump before entering the swamp, though this is not shocking news to you, gentle reader.

Towering atop the refrigerator is this jar, full of trouble, torment and travail. To compare it to a hornet's nest is not fair to the hornets. I've never really seen how the misfortune cookies make their way into the vessel, but I do occasionally pray for a cellulose depleted mouse to find its way into what once housed chocolate-chip cookies.

Lance was last seen emerging from beneath his house, covered with mud and muck. He was flashing a "thumbs up" as he had apparently found a pony. You can say "hay" by tossing a barb or condolence to

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