Of Hard-Working Utility Crews and My Obliviousness

I thought highly of myself and my work ethic because I made it outside to tend to yard maintenance before 7:00 this morning. But these folks were already out working when I stepped through my door.

The city switched power lines from an old bad pole a while back, installing a new one next to it. By a while, I’m speaking about increments of years, not weeks. This morning, the removal of the old pole finally made its way to the top of the city to-do list. The heat was already something by the time they and I were out there working. Stay tuned. I’m about to tell a funny story on myself.

We’ve lived in our house for 18 years this month, and there’s always been a utility pole in our yard, right on the property line between us and the neighbor to the east. It’s been defunct for a long time, too, with the city promising us they’d remove it.

While I was out this morning, weeding, and the utility workers were going about their labors, my husband came onto the front porch to monitor the progress across the street. After we watched them together for a minute, he said, “They already removed the pole from our yard.”


I looked over to where it used to be, flabbergasted. No pole no more, and I hadn’t even noticed. They must have taken it out while I was at work one day this past week. You want to know the worst part of my obliviousness? I fricking mowed the yard yesterday evening, including the place where the utility pole stood for decades, without noticing it was gone. In fact, I came to this spot pictured below and wondered why my husband (or the neighbor, since it’s on the property line) had dug a hole in the yard and then just left bare dirt. I’d been meaning to ask.

Bare patch of ground

I have had a lot on my mind, lately. But geez, Louise. Should I worry about my mental state? In my defense, the spouse has been removing invasive plants from the yard, including a huge honeysuckle bush. One of my working theories posited that he’d seen another small stand and managed to get it out by the roots. If he hadn’t told me about the pole, I’m sure I would have figured it out eventually. Maybe.

Honeysuckle stumps
Just the stumps of the honeysuckle bush remain.

The husband says he’ll get back to the honeysuckle removal and take care of those stumps when he has time. I wonder if I’ll notice.

The Day the Music Changed

I’m in a period of transition. There seem to be a lot of endings in my life right now, including an emotional one today. When you have a baby, you have years full of firsts – first tooth, first step, first day of school. Then, after a while, you start to realize there are lasts coming along.

This afternoon saw my 14-year-old son’s last piano lesson with the teacher who has guided him through half a lifetime of musical growth. The phrase “piano lessons” doesn’t convey what a gift our household has received from his weekly sessions with a wonderful mentor. I remember his very first time at the piano, with his little legs swinging from the bench, feet far from reaching the floor, as he learned to pick out a short tune on a few of the black keys only. Week by week, his knowledge and love of music grew, until he was composing his own pieces.

A few months ago, my son told me he didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do in life, but he knew it had to involve music. I know little about music, but he’s getting deep into music theory and explaining things to me that have been over my head. He saved his money and bought software that will allow him to work with composing and mixing on the computer. Last summer, when he was out of school, it wasn’t unusual for him to spend four or five hours in a day on his music.

Today, he told me that music has filled a gap in his life. He said he knows he’s never been good at carrying on conversations (he has auditory processing difficulties, so conversation is often difficult for him), but he can use music as a second language to express himself. I know it’s helped him through some rough patches and helped his confidence.

But with this growth has come an interest in expanding his skill set. One of his cousins gifted him a used guitar a while back, and he wants to learn to play that now. Neither time nor money will permit two sets of concurrent music lessons. So he’s switching to guitar for now. He promises me he’ll still play piano at home.

I sat in on his last lesson. He’s progressed from a small, round-faced child plunking out the 15-second song a key at a time to a deep-voiced young man with a newly noticeable shadow on his upper lip, who towers over both his teacher and me. He agreed to play Metamorphosis II by Philip Glass one last time for his teacher before he left. It was beautiful.