Now Aimee is sick, having caught my "man flu" last week. And she is quite unhappy about it, poor girl.
As a consequence, household conversation is reduced to a very bare minimum -- she sees no point in talking, especially if it hurts.
Being British, I instinctively tend to believe that if a person won't talk to you, won't say even the basic daily niceties: "good morning," "how are you," etc, that means they are mad at you.
Aimee trained me out of this long ago in our marriage. I no longer assume she's mad at me if she doesn't talk to me. She doesn't want to talk, is all.
The difficulty is, when she is mad at me, she has a bad habit of not talking to me.
It gets confusing, you see.
So I learned what every married man must learn if he is to remain married, and indeed, this was the very advice my father gave me:
You just can't win.
In other news, this weekend, as a prelude to a very important project for this year, of building an extension, I began to clean up the "bomb dump."
This is another piece of RAF slang. Nearly every air force base in Britain, and particularly all the World War II Bomber Command bases like RAF Leeming, had a remote corner of the base, equipped with road access and grassy berms, whose original purpose was the storage of all that tonnage of bombs destined for Hitler's Germany.
By the 1970s and 1980s, however, the RAF needed to keep very few bombs around, and so the wartime bomb dumps were given over to the storage of military junk of all kinds. If your flight or section finished up with some kind of large but potentially useful waste item, say an old vehicle, or piece of equipment that no-one knew quite what to do with, you often were told to simply take it "out to the bomb dump," until someone in authority decided what to do.
In our case, the area I called my "bomb dump" was the small square of land between my workshop and the sheep fence, about 25 feet on a square. There, I stored just about any kind of potentially useful-but-bulky material.
This squirreling-away of refuse of course has another name, that of "hoarding." And indeed I may be a hoarder of old lumber and spare lawnmower parts and old metal fence posts now too bent to hammer into the ground. My wife certainly believes I am.
I'm sure it might all have come in useful one day.
But it all had to go, because it was in the way of what will be a new access road to the back of the house. So, last week's thaw having provided the rare opportunity, I picked it all up. This was healthful exercise, although Maine outside temperatures are still uncomfortable. I stayed wrapped up and wore my thick fleece work-coat and insulated work gloves, and just kind of plugged away at it, snotting and hacking all the while, but if you're going to snot and hack anyway, it feels better to do so outdoors while physically working and doing something ultimately useful.
At least, I've always felt so.
Five truckloads to the transfer station later, and all we have left is the pile of lumber, the tomato cages, a stack of old window sashes, and a stack of old tires. The windows will go next weekend unless we get another foot of snow. The tires will go one at a time until they are gone. The transfer station allows you to drop off tires, but only one or two at a time.
The old lumber, however, is potential fuel. It will be "recycled" into useful heat via our wood stove. There must be at least a cord. I began sawing it up Monday, and burning it Monday night.
You can't imagine how satisfying it is to heat our house with trash.
But I wouldn't call it a win.
After all, you just can't win.