Since it’s my rest week, I’ve been loading up on the jobs. I’m still working at the theatre for the time being, and at the hotel too. But I also posted a “Hire a Cyclist” add on Craigslist via advice from my wise guru coach, Same Johaneson. I basically said I’d be up for any sort of manual labor and I’ve made a nice wad of cash in doing so. I posted the add a few weeks ago and have had a few people call, one of which I’ve been helping for the past three days. He’s extremely strange and he keeps talking about the same exact thing every single day. It’s almost like talking to a cyclist.
His old house is up north of Boulder about 15 minutes away from me, so it’s pretty far. Luckily he’s been picking me up every morning after my bike ride, otherwise I’d have to ride out there. He’s in the process of moving out of his recently sold home, which he had to sell due to losing his job and not being able to keep up on the mortgage. It’s a massive old house, white with dozens of columns, double outdoor/indoor wall fireplaces, a huge outdoor theatre thingamabob, a pool, and tons of greenhouses on a five-acre plot. He built the house himself 20 or 90 years ago.
After losing his small business back in 2008 or 2009, he decided to crack down and FINISH HIS NOVEL, which he started 18 years ago. It is now published and he carries a heavy cardboard box full of his novels everywhere he goes to show anyone who will listen, which is exactly what I plan on doing once mine is complete. It’s a pretty cool story idea (I read the back of the book and he also explained the plot to me) but after reading one and a half pages, I found out that he cannot write. Go figure. I guess you don’t need to know how to write to get published, you just have to have a cool cover picture and a lot of words inside spelled correctly.
Anywho, the first day of work included a lot of lifting and throwing things into a gigantic dumpster. He’s been supplementing his bookkeeping job with raising and selling plants, which he still has hundreds of. Judging by the number of plastic plant pots, there used to be thousands of plants. So I spent a lot of time picking them up and stacking them, along with picking through a bunch of tiny scraps of plastic littered all over the place. Fun and exhilerating work. Stuff I can really wrap my mind around. Though for 10 bucks an hour, I’ll do just about anything. Just ask Spencer.
After that we took a moving truck to his new house and unloaded it. It was packed full of bricks. I think I moved and stacked about one ton of bricks, all by hand since the wheelbarrow had a flat tire. Next up: we drove back to his hold house and I re-loaded the moving truck with another load of crap. Note to future movers: take your move as an opportunity, nay–a message–that you have too much worthless shit as it is and you should get rid of almost all of it instead of lugging it to your next home. WHO NEEDS SEVEN DIFFERENT FANS WHEN YOU LIVE IN THE MOUNTAINS!?????
The next day was easy. Just did another load of stuff in the moving truck. It only took an hour and a half. Then I went to the theatre and stood behind the popcorn machine shoveling popcorn into people’s mouths for seven hours.
Today was definitly the most frustrating. After a nice hard ride up Sunshine Mountain (I kept it short and sweet–besides it’s supposed to snow the next two days here)—after the climb I had a big pot of rice and lentils. If plain rice and lentils don’t taste good to you, you’re not hungry enough.
Then the guy, we’ll call him “David” (since that’s what his real name is) picked me up for another day of work. At the end of it, we found ourselves back at his new house re-assembling a broken greenhouse that I’m assuming was originally built back in the 70’s. The damn thing was laying in about 187 pieces after being blown apart in a wind storm a few weeks ago. Upon realizing that he had no tools to fix it, David took off to Home Depot and left me in the backyard to figure it out by myself with the few tools on hand.
The backyard was filled to the brim with dog shit. And not the good-smelling kind either. After 15 minutes my boots were caked, my hands were covered, my jeans were smeared, and my spirits were broken…with dog shit. I kept laying the tools and pieces of the greenhouse in big piles of dog shit by accident, though eventually I decided that I didn’t care anymore. I began getting hungry despite all the dog shit everywhere. I continued working on and cussing at the greenhouse, which was by now a “brownhouse.”
As the dog shit aroma continued wafting up into my nostrils and the warm afternoon faded into cold evening, I began to get even hungrier than I was earlier. This always seems to happen to me. One moment I’m hungry, then an hour or two later I’m even hungrier. I don’t get it.
I spent an hour screwing with the stupid greenhouse before I slammed a large wall section to the ground after it had fallen apart in my hands (the wall was the only thing I’d accomplished in the last hour). It was one of those stupid inanimate objects that you just want to smash and yell the F word at over and over until the dog in the next door neighbor’s house starts barking. This—I did not do. Instead, I went inside and began raiding the kitchen.
I originally planned on retrieving an orange I’d brought with me, but remembered that I’d left it in the car, which David was currently using to go to Home Depot. Without a second thought, I turned to thievery. The first thing I spotted was a bunch of bananas on the counter. They were already sitting out in plain view just asking to be confiscated, so I didn’t feel too guilty for eating one. After I finished the banana, I spotted a cabinet that wasn’t quite closed all the way. Big mistake, David. I carefully pried it open the rest of the way to reveal a box of cheese-its and a container of pita chips. The time for stealth had passed; now was the time to vanquish and consume as quickly as possible. I began rummaging through the other cupboards and found a big thing of trail mix and cranberries. I wolfed it all down fast. I stole a peak around the corner out the front window to see if I could spot David. No sign of him yet. I continued raiding the food cabinets like a pigeon raiding a box of pigeon food. (Okay, not the best simile but you get the idea). The key to a successful raid (when you don’t have permission) is to eat just enough so that the person doesn’t realize that any food is gone. So in order to get a decent amount of food, you have to eat a wide variety of items. When you begin to forget how full things originally were, that’s when you have a problem. I always end up having a problem.
I started getting worried that he’d come home any minute, since he’d been gone a long time by now, so I loaded up my pockets and went back outside to work on the greenhouse some more. It took me about a minute before my bravery built back up and I ventured inside again for more snacks, since I’d finished everything in my pockets. I loaded up again, twice, and went back outside into the cold to curse at the greenhouse and dog shit some more. And not a moment too soon, for David got home just forty-five seconds later. I had a mouthful of pita chips when he asked me how it was going. “Mot good,” I replied, cheeks stuffed and crumbs falling out my mouth. “How mush dove anew one *swallow* cost? I don’t think it’s worth spending any more time on it.” The fact that I was getting paid by the hour, not by the job, shows just how much I didn’t want to be there anymore. My cracking point occurs while trying to fix or assemble things on an empty stomach in the cold.
I’m not sure if he knew I was eating the food from his kitchen or not, or if he recognized the trail mix and cheese-its I continued cramming down my throat as being his, but David never said anything. He just went to work on the greenhouse.
Even with the new tools, screws, and bolts, the greenhouse still resumed being a son of a bitch. Within 10 minutes David took my advice and decided to just buy a new one. I smiled and said thank god. “I was ready to smash that thing about an hour ago.” I went to go use the bathroom, where I quickly ate the rest of the food in my pockets. Another perfect execution of a classic “host-house raid,” though in this situation it wasn’t a host-house.