Cleaning a furnace

The world, it spins so fast, yet we are not dizzy.

First weekend in ages with sweet, empty hours to goof off. Woman goes to zoo with kid, tells man, oh BTW you have to paint walk-in closet as cleaning lady coming tomorrow. Gives him roll of plastic to cover stuff.

Post-tantrum, man looks for brushes, paint. Calls wife. White paint has solidified. Try other color, she says, to his disappointment.

No roller, either, just a little brush. But it is a small room and walls mostly covered by new wardrobes now too so okay.

Takes a couple hours. Maybe a few hours. Go downstairs to¬† make tea. Father-in-law comes, with something his wife cooked for man’s wife. Says something about cleaning, man fails to understand. Want some tea? Man asks. Okay, says father-in-law. A conversation between the hard-of-hearing and the slightly demented ensues.

Cleaning: man realizes, someone said something earlier, about cleaning the furnace.

Have time to clean the furnace? Yep, says father-in-law. That was the whole reason he came over, man realizes.

Inside his head, his mind is whipcracking around with these realizations. Outwardly, he appears normal.

They go down to clean the furnace. To do that, you remove the plate on the front, remove the bolts holding on the face, open

(whoa giant brown-recluse-looking spider on the floor by father-in-law’s foot)

the door, remove a drum-type thing, get a wire brush, brush out the soot from inside the furnace.

(the spider is very still. it is either dead or playing possum. man watches it closely, although he should be memorizing the furnace-cleaning steps. father-in-law’s birkenstocked foot moves closer and closer to still spider, man wonders if he should say anything, but he doesn’t know if the spider is dead or alive and why waste all the excitement sure to ensue on a dead spider?)

replace drum, bolt door shut, replace face, plug things back in.

(man will tell father-in-law about spider if it starts running up his leg, he decides. father-in-law finally bumps it, it still doesn’t move, so it must be dead, man feels better. it was only dead! who cares about a dead spider?)

father-in-law cleans up. man will shower later.

they chat a while. how many more chats will we have like this, man wonders.

father-in-law goes home. man cleans up room he just painted, reads a book, takes a shower.

it’s a fine, sunny day.

 

 

 

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