Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Riding Alone

In the Wild West, the Lone Ranger had Tonto.
Butch Cassidy had the Sundance Kid.
And Woody had Buzz Lightyear.
But I… I ride solo.


Being the ultimate traveling cowboy, I saw a need for a ranch improvement, planned the job and carried it out on my own. Yep, partner. That's how I ride: solo, solitaire, solitary.

The job on hand was one of the typical things you find out in the far west--AKA sanding and painting kitchen cabinet interiors. Actually, I hear they do that type of back-breaking, soul-killing work in the north, south and back east, too. So maybe folks in those parts will know how my arms, fingers and back felt: like they'd been trampled by a herd of buffalo. Twice.

I said I did the work on my own, just like the Marlborough Man did. I know they have those electronic de-vices--those sanders--that will mechanically sand surfaces so you don't have to, which you can rent at Lowe's, the Home Depot or the General Store. But I didn't use any of those new fangled gadgets the traveling salesmen who arrive on the noon stagecoach are pushing these days. I used sandpaper. A lot of it.

To reiterate, I did all the sanding work on my own, like Alan Ladd's Shane did. I distinctly remember a scene in the movie where he's in Miss Marian's kitchen sanding down the cabinet interiors while her son Little Joey says, "That's mighty fine sanding, Shane, Shane, oh Shaaaaane!"

Shane didn't need any help nor did I. Oh sure, some punk kid in a fur jacket approached me because he was as a curious as a cat. Actually this punk kid was a cat. I told the punk kid two words.
"Jackson, skedaddle." Sure enough, he ran away like he had white paint on his paws. Upon recollection, he did have paint on his paws because he left tracks behind and all throughout my homestead. A lot of them.

Finally, I did all the painting, just like Clint Eastwood's "Man With No Name". There's a crazy scene in in The Good The Bad and The Ugly when No Name Man/The Good is trying to paint the cabinet interiors but The Bad is throwing wrenches into this plan. AKA The Bad is literally throwing wrenches at The Good guy while wearing his black leather gloves, all the while Ennio Morricone's soundtrack is playing Wah, Wah… Doodle oodle oo. Wah, wah, wah, wah.

The work was hard enough without the extra wrenches but Mr. Wonderful was tired of seeing cowboy me and my hang-dog look working on this shelf-painting project. So he thought he'd be all friendly like and help out… by building another shelf! To be fair, this brand new shelf was something I'd been hollering for for months. What I'd said to him was, "every cowboy needs a special shelf just for the cutting boards". He tipped his hat and after I'd sanded and painted ad nauseam, he added another shelf, which I had to paint 56 times to have it match the other shelves. 

Did I mention the wrenches? Mr. Wonderful was channelling The Bad's badness in the field of wrenches. 

Just as the sun was setting, I realized: this project is done. The ranch is improved and just like the Marlborough Man, Shane and The Good guy With No Name, I could now leave this homestead behind and ride off into the sunset--

What?! After all the detailed, itty-gritty, insane work I'd done on the kitchen cabinet interiors, there was no way I was leaving this ranch! No sir-ee! Instead I leaned against the fence admiring my handiwork and watched the sunset fall where I stood. This cowboy was settling down. Ahhh, the Wild West is a little less wild now and the kitchen cabinet interiors are... gorgeous.