The table and the tub – part 1

I gave Scott a hammock for Christmas.

The story now aches to be told

Of him who’s incessantly scheming

And Jo, who said, “I TOLD you so!!!”

We first saw such a hammock on our family camping trip to Buffalo Point this summer.  Two ladies across the way were tent camping, and once they had their tent up, they pulled out of their car a few pieces of metal, fitted them together, and in less than five minutes had a lovely mesh hammock ready to be enjoyed.  What a novel concept!  No trees were required.  It was fully mobile.  It fit easily into a small car.  And it appeared to be big enough for two.

There’s a hammock-for-two on the back porch of our current favorite getaway home, Creek’s End, and we have really enjoyed it, so when I saw this set-up at Buffalo Point, I simply had to have more information.  Since I am working on being more confrontational when necessary, I walked over to where the one lady was already resting in the hammock and reading a book (wouldn’t a hammock be a WONDERFUL place to read?!?) and the other lady was unloading stuff from the car.

I asked the unloader about the hammock, and she cheerfully told me that they had bought it just for camping, that it was easy to set up, that it was exceedingly comfortable, that it would hold two adults (later that day I saw the two of them in it, one at each end), and that we were welcome to come try it out any time.

Well, now!  So later that day, when they ladies were away, I did try it out, and it was indeed delightful.  I then invited Scott to join me, and, once we tumbled about getting in, it was quite comfortable.

I then promptly forgot about it for several months, but one day in early October, while I was walking – I seem to do my best thinking while either walking or showering – the thought of a hammock popped suddenly into my mind, and I thought, “Hmmm. . . maybe I could give Scott a hammock like that for Christmas.”  This being an idea that would not let go, I began researching hammocks:  styles of hammocks, materials of which hammocks are made, frames that hold hammocks, metals (and their associated coatings) of which hammock stands are fabricated, weight limits of various stands and hammocks, storage possibilities for hammocks and stands, pillows designed for two people in one hammock, the durability of various hammock and stand materials in specific conditions of temperature and humidity, and the price of all the above.

Having squirreled away some personal money over a period of time, I figured out what I could pay and realized that what I really wanted was slightly outside my price range, BUT I kept going back to the site that I really wanted to buy from, and sure enough, in mid-October, their hammocks went on a significant sale, including free shipping.  When you are ordering four packages weighing a combined total of 85 pounds, free shipping is a wonderful thing, and I  –  the person who buys her Christmas wrapping paper in January and who urged her husband to NOT buy a kayak in June (but to wait till February) – think I also figured out the reason for the sale prices:  hammocks probably don’t sell as well in October as in May.

So I began placing the order for the hammock, the stand, the pillow, and the bag in which to store the hammock.  But when I got ready to check out, the resultant shipping challenge suddenly dawned on me.  These would be some pretty big boxes.  They would come FedEx.  During business hours.  To our house.  Where Scott frequently works from home on Tuesdays and Fridays.  Now, UPS and FedEx do bring numerous packages to our door in December, and everyone in the family knows that standard protocol is to thank the driver, bring the package in, figure out who it’s addressed to (while discreetly not looking at the return address), and either give it to the person, tell the person it’s here, or put it on the person’s stair.  But four boxes – one large, two significant, and one very long and very heavy – arriving on our porch while Scott is at home would not be a good thing.  It would not be easy to explain or hide those boxes.

I called my neighbor, Shelly (three long doors down – about 1/4 mile away), and asked if she might be willing to take delivery on this stuff.  She would, so that was great.  Sure enough, a few days later, she texted me to say that all those boxes had arrived, that they were presently stored in their coffee building (they own the Branson Bean coffee company, and they grind coffee beans in a small – and very fragrant – outbuilding), but that they took up too much room and so she would not be able to store them long-term.  Yes.  And Christmas was two months away.  That would require long-term storage. . . hmmm. . .

Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring them home, either.  The only place we had to store such stuff would be in the shop, and it was a sure thing that sometime in the next two months Scott would go out to the shop.

I then called LaShell.  She and Bill are dear friends who have bailed us out of many, many, many problems over the past 17 years.  They live just this side of Shelly’s family, and I happen to know that they have a pole barn on their land, where, incidentally, Bill maintains an interesting and fairly extensive collection of every imaginable tool, part, and odd piece of junk ever known to man.  Perhaps they could store this stuff in their pole barn for me for a couple months.

Yes, they could!  But LaShell went one better.  She was concerned that the critters might damage the hammock, pillow, or carrying case out there in the pole barn (pole barns don’t have side, you know, and critters who like to gnaw boxes are ever-present in our semi-rural area), so she said they could store them up in the attic over their garage.  Bill, a truly helpful gentleman in every situation, took his truck over to Shelly’s house, loaded up all my boxes, and hauled them to his house, where he and LaShell hoisted them up to the attic.

And there they sat, at no charge to me, for two months.

Now, I did have a retrieval plan, and it was this:  Scott had a business trip the first week of December.  While he was out of town, Andrew and I would go down to Bill and LaShell’s, load the stuff into the Durango, bring it home, put it in the shop on the floor opposite the workbench, cover it with a tarp, and, in the unlikely situation that Scott felt compelled to enter the shop in the five days he’d be home before Christmas, simply tell him that he was not authorized to look under the tarp.

Change being constant, Scott’s business trip was moved to the third week of December!  This would be getting mighty uncomfortably close to Christmas.  Sigh.  I re-scheduled with LaShell, Josiah came home from college, and on Tuesday evening, December 17, the three of us went to pick up the boxes.  Bill and his son, Phil, hauled them down, and we brought them home.

I had told the boys the tarp-in-the-shop plan, but they didn’t like that idea.  Too obtrusive, they claimed.  We three therefore stood in the shop, reconnoitering the situation and trying to determine where to hide this Durango-full of massive boxes.  There really seemed to be no options at all.  As I stood we stood there feeling slightly dejected, Josiah suddenly spied Andrew’s kayak standing up in the corner.  Aha!!!  The kayak was just a tad bit longer then the longest box, so if we stood them up on end and positioned the kayak just right, not only would the boxes be covered, there wouldn’t even be any indication that anything in the shop had ever been touched.  Perfect!

We did just that, and all was well – except that as we closed the shop door, Josiah, the Eternally Pessimistic One, said, “I PROMISE you, Dad WILL go into the shop before Christmas.”

To Be Continued. . .



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