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The joys of goofing off

I sometimes do nothing useful. I rarely ever goof off.

The perils of being self-employed and working at home. With nothing to distinguish on-duty hours from off-duty, work becomes a preoccupation even (and sometimes especially) when I’m not doing it.

Thursday I mentioned a project I had been Not Doing but thinking about. A lot. It’s a portrait of a black dog. I don’t know of anything harder to portray than black fur, especially when using an inherently matte and thin medium like colored pencil.

Thursday afternoon and Friday, I finally sat down to do it. As so often happens, once I began working on it I became absorbed and didn’t want to stop. It took most of two days to make a good start and create facial fur that properly defined the shape of the muzzle and looked somewhat shiny. Then I ran out of steam.

I meant to return to the art table yesterday, but instead I goofed off. Goofing off was good.


Walking Ava past the thrift store window, I spotted this. Clearly an item I had to have. I’m sure you understand.

It’s a candle holder. When you stick a votive candle or a tea light in a shallow well on its back, its eyes glow, even in daylight. No household should be without one. At least my household shouldn’t be without one — whatever it is.

My logical mind reports that flying wolf aerodynamics cannot possibly be good and that evolution doesn’t work this way. I ignore my logical mind as I ignore both blogging and black-dog art for the moment.

But with a mind that questions the evolutionary likelihood of a flying ceramic wolf with a candle on its back, you can imagine why I find it so hard to accept things like a three-in-one god or a political promise. “Explain how that works,” I say.

This annoyingly literal mind also finds goofing off to be a difficult concept to grasp. But I managed. For the whole day yesterday.


Today it’s back to black-dog art. Tomorrow the electricians are due (overdue, they admit apologetically) to wire the bedroom, the screen-porch-to-be, and the now-accessible attic crawl space. Thursday, the Wandering Monk returns to complete the foundation work and begin the summer’s related series of anti-rot and minor structural projects. (Oh thank you generous donor-lender, as well as dear blogfriends.)

It’s going to be beyond a blessing to finish all the serious structural work and rot repair this year — just four years after beginning. I’m not looking forward to having the entire summer disappear into a haze of sawdust and sweat, but I’m sure looking forward to the end result.


Here’s a thing: Both the Monk and the electrician have told me that they frequently — frequently! — get calls at the height of construction season from people who assume — assume, innocently believe, or actually demand — that they’ll come out that very day. Or the following day, at latest. And I’m not talking emergencies. (The couple of times I’ve had emergencies, I’ve been stunned at how fast guys did get out here; but I wanted to kiss their feet for saving my roof or my electrical service.)

The Monk has one guy whose bathroom remodel was scheduled last March, when he could have used the work. The homeowner blew him off then, blew him off again in early June when it was rescheduled — then called on a Sunday in late June and said, “Come on out today. I’m ready to start now.”

Sure, some people are just jerks. Like maybe that guy.

Perhaps others have so little experience with construction that they have no clue that this time of year you need to schedule weeks, sometimes months, in advance. Or perhaps people see the worker or the worker’s vehicle around town and ASS-U-ME he’s just goofing off. But how common can that level of obliviousness be? The electrician actually thanked me once for calling to schedule a couple weeks ahead. He says that his typical customer expects him to turn up the very next day.

Are people really that clueless?


Anyhow, it’s back to black-dog art for me. I hope it’s onward in a great summer weekend for you. Hopefully a four-day weekend for you (but not, fortunately, for a local electrician and his assistant).


  1. Vince
    Vince July 2, 2017 11:08 am

    Creative goofing off takes discipline and concentration, otherwise you’d never get anything done.

  2. Brad R
    Brad R July 2, 2017 11:12 am

    Two years ago I called the folks who work on our well, to report a backflow problem. It turned out that the aging water line from the well to our house had cracked. This was April — the very start of construction season. They told me they could get a backhoe tomorrow, but otherwise it was booked for something like four solid weeks. Needless to say, I leapt at the chance, and said “yes! tomorrow!” The whole team was in and out in less than four hours the next morning, leaving me to smooth the trench they had dug and then refilled.

    We are blessed with competent and helpful contractors here. (They offered to put in a backup line, for nothing more than the cost of the additional plastic pipe, and I said hell yes.) But yes, other people really are that clueless about them.

  3. larryarnold
    larryarnold July 2, 2017 2:46 pm

    Cool, a doggy angel.
    [trivia]I read somewhere that aerodynamically a “human” angel would need a breastbone like Dolly Parton.[/trivia]

    I’m on hold as well. I called Friday for a spousal-prodded haircut and learned that Brittany, one of the three barbers at the shop, just had an 8lb 8oz baby. I offered congratulations in return for a Wednesday appointment.
    Down here construction doesn’t really back up, given a construction season of about 325 days.

    My Fourth will be bland. This will be the first time over the last 15 years that I won’t read the Declaration for anyone. So I’m volunteering at a booth in our local celebration. I still get to ask my favorite question:
    “The Fourth of July is the birthday of the United States. Without searching, which birthday is this one?”

  4. fred
    fred July 2, 2017 5:47 pm

    Love that flying Dog!!!!

  5. rochester_veteran
    rochester_veteran July 3, 2017 2:36 am

    In the summertime after I get off of work, my goof off time is spent sitting in my backyard patio area and watching the grass grow!

    Way cool winged wolf!

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