I have taken to daily flights from home, exiled by the nerve-stripping sound of a manual floor nailer, which to the untrained phonophobe sounds suspiciously like a pneumatic nailer. The happy thing is that the Valley is an exceedingly exile-friendly place. There are always people to see, places to go, and things to do.

Day One on the lam, my first stop was the drug store. I had an errand there, but my higher purpose was to ask Candace, my resource person who works there, if she knew someone who could cut my hair. She referred me to a hairstylist in downtown Clarkston, who actually trimmed my hair in layers, to the length I specified, while carrying on an intelligent conversation. Candace was so enthused to make the referral that she actually called Linda for me while I was at the pharmacy and made me an appointment for an hour and half later.

My next stop was the small branch library that serves Clarkston Heights. The Heights branch has two adult sized chairs. I read the Lewiston newspaper, secured a library card, and began reading Sacajawea’s Nickname: Essays on the American West, by Larry McMurtry, before heading downtown to get my hair trimmed. I had been wanting to follow Elm Street to its end, and returning home by my exploratory route, I discovered I had nearly 3/5 of a new floor in my study.

The second day, my normal housework routine plus a new monthly window-cleaning regimen occupied the morning, and I listened to a continuing legal education presentation on patent law while my husband used an ordinary hammer in some tight areas of my study closet. When he was ready to pick up the ear-splitting nailer, I headed to Home Depot for more flooring. I am still deciding whether it’s worth it to become a Home Depot gender-propriety advocate, but I was honestly nonplussed when the female customer service representative, unable to get a male employee to answer the page to load the flooring into my car, loaded it herself. Each carton weighed about 40 pounds, so she hefted a cumulative total of 500 pounds. I thought this was gender equity to a fault, especially given the fact that she wheeled my flat cart between two male employees who were standing around conversing with folded arms. When I asked her what they were doing instead of loading my flooring, she said they were department heads who didn’t really do anything. I suggested if she needed to put up with that, the Army probably paid better.

After I returned home and my husband unloaded the flooring, I picked up my friend Rosemary and we drove to a small bakery in Asotin for coffee. The bakery reminded me of Hemingway’s Paris, with pictures worth looking at on the walls, and good coffee for half the price of a cup at Starbucks, including all the refills and cream we wanted. Vibrant ruby and gold foliage shone in the sun along the banks of the Snake River near Swallows Nest Rock as we drove the 10 minutes from Rosemary’s home to Asotin. I love the Valley for its pleasant places to go and its beautiful ways to get to them.

Over the next few weeks, my husband will be noisily, albeit not pneumatically, installing our floors, and there will be some days that I will likely have to resort simply to playing tourist. That should not be difficult; the Valley caters to tourists, but my idea of touring is seldom along the beaten path. There’s a cemetery to check out; and I’m thinking of making it something of a blood sport not to cave and go to Starbucks on any of my jaunts. And next week, maybe I’ll help Rosemary take down some of those obnoxious campaign signs. After all, Election Day was over once I voted, wasn’t it?



Filed under People, Places, & Things

2 responses to “Lamming

  1. Oops! I’m going to mess you up by meeting you at Starbucks and you were going to avoid the place! Oh well, how about if I treat you so you can say you didn’t buy anything there at least! 🙂


    • Hi Marsha! I didn’t want to be complicated, so I did not ask whether you knew of a small cute alternative venue. No way will you treat! I haven’t actually racked up the Clarkston Starbucks as a trophy yet anyway. I did buy a pound of Anniversary Blend — um, maybe two pounds — across the street at Albertson’s Starbucks. We have been to the Lewiston Starbucks en route to and from Home Depot. They are really nice there. They did an Estima overlay for me when I ordered a short drip, because I don’t like Pike Place Blend. Anyway, hey, sometimes I get bloody. 🙂


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