I wandered about town yesterday paying bills. Thanks to property taxes, doctor bills and such, I spent in one day more than double what I spent in March’s entire Month of Frugality. But thanks to a friendly conspiracy of blog readers and mysterious others, I’m still staying ahead on everything and even gathering money for summer’s icon-painting class.
During my stop at the lumberyard (where I am a seasonal regular and where one of the managers is the great grandson of the incompetent drunken bootlegger and fugitive from federal “justice” who built my house), the guys informed me that Handyman Mike was dead.
Handyman Mike was my predecessor-in-home-fixing to The Wandering Monk. Mike was not always competent and he liked to start work around 11:00 then take a long lunch, which is why I welcomed the Monk. Mike was also one of the area’s rare liberals who could always be counted on to recite cliches like, “I’m not anti-gun, but nobody needs an AR-15.” But he was a super-nice guy, intelligent, personable, and heroically helpful in an emergency.
When part of my roof suddenly sagged, dropping the the ceiling threateningly over the place I sleep, Mike was there immediately after his work day to shore it up. Later he and his minions eventually worked out a budget repair. When another handyman left me with a giant section of uncovered roof and was vague about when he might return to finish the job, Mike rounded up two minions and had them at work within the hour.
He dropped dead of a heart attack sometime in March. Mike was a heavy smoker and he looked older than his 60-something years. Several people mentioned over time that he seemed too old to be doing such rough work. But he never appeared unhealthy. And heaven knows he was rarely stressed out. “Laid back” was the definition of Mike. He could spend much free time (and not-so-free time) discussing movies and politics, both of which we enjoyed.
I don’t think Mike had much in the way of family, but he had a long-time girlfriend who is no doubt devastated. Nobody really seems to know her, though.
There’s been altogether too much dying going on lately.
On the handyman front, I’m glad that The Wandering Monk is so much younger. Late 30s, 40 maybe. But he, too, is a heavy smoker, consuming roll-your-owns at a scary rate. Last time I saw him, in February, he was coughing his guts out and claiming it was merely his lungs “getting rid of old crap” as he attempted to cut back to the equivalent of a pack a day.