First the old car had to be replaced, the one Vic and I bought before he got sick. Then the kitchen drain clogged and flooded the floor. Water dripped through the pine boards to the cellar. I called Phil.
“My kitchen sink is plugged,” I said. “Draino didn’t help.”
He grumbled a little the way he does. Then he did the second thing he does, and said, “It’s probably more than I can fix,” followed by the best thing he does. “I’ll be right there.”
After a careful look under the kitchen sink, he took off his baseball cap and scratched his head with a “this is hopeless” shrug. Then he headed for the cellar. Phil knows my house inside and out, up and down. He’s kept the old girl humming for years.
“Come look,” he called from the cellar. “That pipe sags. Everything else drains. The problem is right there.” I love the way Phil sees my mess as an interesting puzzle.
“Hold this end,” he said as he tore into a pipe fitting. I sputtered when water hit me in the face. Phil was baptized, too. “I can do this,” I thought. I held on.
“Yup, this is it,” he said. “Get these parts at the hardware store. I’ll be back in an hour.” I had a working drain in ninety minutes.
“While you’re here,” I said, “the kitchen fan is busted. And the couch legs fell off at one end. And I really need a doorbell/light for the hearing impaired.” I let a few things go while promoting Leaning into Love.
Phil smiled. “I’ll take care of it.” I knew he would.
The next week, just after Phil finished the doorbell installation, Matt loaded firewood on the front porch. “The hydraulics on the tractor leak,” he said with an apologetic grin. “I don’t think it’s a big deal. Let’s call Bob.” Bob is the man who takes care of my car and tractor.
Before Matt was through reassuring me, Bob drove in the driveway and headed for the barn.
I wondered if these breakdowns in the underbelly of things were associated with my recent writing about the Underworld. Magical thinking? It crossed my mind.
The next day, the woodstove draft wouldn’t open. I put on asbestos gloves and retrieved a warped piece of metal from hot coals. Talk about the Underworld. “This is Vic’s job. I can’t do this,” I whined. I did it.
Then I noticed a thin crack snaking across the green enamel top that wasn’t there the night before. I called Steve who knows about woodstoves. “I’ll be there in ten minutes,” he said.
“Do you have a flashlight?” Steve asked. I silently nodded yes. He pointed the beam inside the firebox and light twinkled through the crack. Serious.
“I get a little scared when things break, Steve. Thanks for coming quickly,” I said. My voice was shrill and tight.
“Nothing to panic about,” he said. I remembered Vic saying, “If you can throw money at it and fix it, it’s no problem at all.” Money? Another thing to worry about.
I called the Ithaca woodstove dealer. “Our first service opening is Dec. 31,” the woman said. My cackle was rude. Obviously hysterical. Dec. 31? It’s winter. This is upstate NY.
“Thank you,” I said politely, although I felt like throwing something. I googled for a closer Vermont Castings woodstove dealer and handed the phone to Steve who explained the problem.
“The guy who installs and repairs will get back to you,” the man said. I got an appointment with Dan the next afternoon.
I was familiar with the “this is a mess lady” shake of the head. “A new top and parts will cost more than the stove is worth,” Dan said. “Besides, you’ve had this stove as long as you can expect a woodstove to last.” I surrendered.
I ordered dark brown enamel. In stock. Dan and his crew installed it a week ago.
Careful planner that I am, I didn’t plan any of it, but I have a new car, a doorbell/light, fast-running drains, a tractor with hydraulics, a couch with legs, and a new wood stove. “Think of the stove as an investment in your house,” Art said. He’s my financial adviser, another helpful man.
Once again, the universe mirrors something bigger than my fear. I am surrounded by trusted and kind men who know how to fix things. I’m drowning in good fortune. I get it.
So can things stop breaking? Please?
Wishing you a warm and peaceful holiday. My family arrives on December 21. As far as I know, no one has to fix anything. I hope you’ll enjoy my first Underworld article/book review called Initiation by the Dark Goddess. For another article about the meaning of descent, see Jean Raffa’s Inanna: Myth of Descent. Jean and I will co-lead a lecture and workshop on March 11-12 at the Sarasota Florida Jung Society on the myth of Inanna and dreams as guides when facing mortality and grief. I hope you’ll join us.