Hick has been underfoot all week, using his tiny artiste's brush to paint stain on the porch boards. It was his own idea! It's not like I'm a drill sergeant punishing him, like handing him a toothbrush to scrub the floor of the latrine.
The GOOD thing about Hick being home is that for five minutes of the week, he's readily available to help me bring in the groceries if I ask. Don't think such a task would occur to him on his own. Tuesday, I sent him a text when I climbed back in T-Hoe with my 44 oz Diet Coke.
"I'm on the way home. If you're there, you can help me unload groceries in 10 minutes."
Coming up the driveway, I could see Hick sitting on the metal chair on the side porch, where I usually set the groceries as I'm going back to the car for more. He waited until I was parked, then entered the garage through the people door. I put the window down to give him instructions. It's not rocket science, but Hick needs direction. He leaned in the passenger window as I talked.
"Ooh! It's so COOL in here!"
Yes, it was. Because not far into the summer, he actually had Mick the Mechanic put freon in T-Hoe's tubes, after years of me claiming that the air conditioner was not blowing cold air. Hick was briefed on the bags to be carried, and I popped open the hatch. Once around there, Hick said,
"Ooh! It's cool in HERE, too!"
I'm starting to think I need to limit his hours in the sun with his artiste's brush. Anyhoo... Hick took in the cold goods as instructed, and I started bringing the other bags to the side porch. So he carried in from the porch level, and I carried in on the ground. No extra step-climbing. Once inside, I rushed to the bathroom. Hick said,
"I have to go to the bathroom, too!"
Don't worry. We didn't go together. I went to the master bathroom, where I changed into my lair clothes, and Hick went in the Blues bathroom, between the boys' bedrooms. When I came out, Hick was sitting on the long couch.
"Oh. You aren't putting stuff away?"
"Was I supposed to? I don't know where things go. I didn't think you'd want me to."
Not a big deal. I knew he wouldn't help. He's only done that one time, while I was waiting outside with two armloads of bags to hand him directly, not set down, because of meat and dogs. When he finally came out, he said he'd been putting stuff away. Like bananas in the bowl, and bread in the cabinet. Again, not rocket science.
Anyhoo... I went to the kitchen, and discovered perhaps the most achingly inefficient way Hick had dealt with an item.
Groceries included a Walmart deli three-meat thin-crust pizza. It comes in a box, to be refrigerated until used. I told the checker not to bother with a bag. The square box never fits in the plastic bag. It rips the side, or tips out, because it's taller than the handles. So Hick had carried it in in his hand. No bag. Just a pizza box in his hand, with other bags looped over his arms.
You'd think the easier thing to do with that pizza was to open the door of FRIG II, and set it inside. There was plenty of room. No clearing necessary. But the pizza was not in FRIG II. It was on the stove. Not merely set down absentmindedly. To put it there, Hick had to pick up a saucepan that I keep sitting there to boil water for instant oatmeal. He had to put the saucepan on top of a rectangular metal tray. Then move the tray with the saucepan on it to the back burner of the stove. Leaving him room to set down the pizza box on the front burner area. Which was two steps past FRIG II.
The Right Way: carry in the pizza, open the door of FRIG II, and set it down on a shelf.
The Wrong Way: trip and fall on the pizza, knocking it out of the box and its wrapper, for the dogs to grab.
Hick's Way: carry the pizza past FRIG II, move items around on the stove, and set down the pizza for Val to put away.