Saturday, November 7, 2009

Last of the Porch

It's an amazing fall day in Columbus. Radios and televisions this morning were awash with reports of an Indian Summer, and like a lot of people I tossed on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt and headed outside. Jen and I puttered around, working on small projects we had been putting off with her recent sleepiness, my constant laziness, and the cold snap that sent us indoors. We got some dead flowers trimmed, potted plants disposed of and their baskets put away for the season, and I took a broom to the collected cobwebs around our front and back doors.

Now, we're on the porch. Jen suddenly has plans for other projects ("Maybe we should trim these hedges today.") and I agree to all of them knowing that it won't be too long before she runs out of steam and ideas. These days she's still good out of the gates, but not much for stamina.

Out of necessity, cigars are an outdoor vice for me, so this may well be the last good day to sit on the porch, have a beverage and a smoke. The sun warms the lawns, and the winds are strong enough to kick leaves out from under the hedges, rattling them down the street sounding like children playing tag in tap shoes. Planes come and go from the airport, but I've barely noticed them after living here the first month...they're just more background noise, part of the constant hum that surrounds the condo.
We proctored an SAT Test this morning, a job that allows us to pick up a bit of cash, help out one of Jen's coworkers, and gives me four or five hours to sit and read. It's a fun gig for me, because I get to roam around from room to room and watch kids as they stress over bubbled answer sheets and scribble furiously in the margins of their test booklets. They're all so young, and trying to figure out who they're going to be, but as I watch them I imagine that I already know.

It's easy to pick out the ones that will have too much fun in college. It's also pretty simple to see those who will have too little. The girls are all straight-haired and pony tailed, and the boys are all casually and carefully rumpled. I make up little stories about some of them as I half-heartedly scan the room for cheaters. None of the stories I come up with for them are very nice though, so ashamed I stop and go back to reading.
Jen and I have had a couple of doctor appointments, and they've gone well. We got to watch the twitching fussing fetus for half an hour on the flat screen in the doctors office as they took dozens of measurements. Jen cried when we saw him reach for his nose. I found myself groping backwards for my chair, not wanting to take my eyes off the screen where she just kicked away from the prodding ultrasound wand. A few days later, in another office, we heard the electronic chugging train of her heartbeat, and we laughed as everything became even more real.
Fortunately, Jen has forgotten the hedges and suggested a walk. I'm down with a stroll around the woods, so it's time to throw on some jeans and go see the sun while we still can.

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