Let me just say, everyone should have a Gilly in their life. She certainly smoothed out an otherwise rough day for me yesterday.
Gilly is one of my co-workers (I’ve mentioned her before), and she’s one of those people who radiates such pleasantness that she’s always a joy to be around. It never feels quite right at work on the days she is gone.
I needed to drive to work yesterday, for screen reclaiming (more on that down the page), so I decided that Oz and I should take our morning walk out at our lot. I thought we might run into Dusty, or at least someone on his crew with whom I could discuss the paint decisions Lynn and I did make.
Dusty and Sam were on-site, hard at work truing up an exterior door, when we arrived. As I told Dusty, I was supposed to have sent him an e-mail the night before, but I had turned off my computer before Lynn asked, “Did you e-mail Dusty?” So there I was, sending my e-mail in person.
As we were walking from room to room, Dusty still writing on the walls, I noticed I wasn’t noticing Oz, but didn’t think much of it.
Oz so far has not shown much enthusiasm for our new house. He loves his new walking space, and seems to enjoy almost every Some Day neighbor dog (he and Amos are never going to be best buddies, but that’s the one exception we’ve found so far), but he doesn’t seem to care much for being inside the new house.
Now that we have exterior doors (I’ll bet I forgot to mention that: we have doors on our house now), we are coming and going through the front door rather than the garage. So I left the front door open while painting this weekend, and Oz came and went as he pleased. He spent most of his time lying outside within sight of the door.
Yesterday, though, I forgot about the Sam Factor — Sam and his nail gun.
One of the first things I learned about Oz, when he first came to live with us, was his fear of the sound of nail guns. There are a lot of loud noises he doesn’t care for, including fireworks and gunshots (sound drifts from two miles away when hunters are siting in at the local shooting range in the fall; I don’t want you thinking we live in a crime-infested neighborhood), but he seems to reserve a special dislike for the pneumatic hiss so prevalent at a construction site.
During that first year with Oz, the house whose stucco we’re copying was going up on Wisconsin Street, and we walked near it on our way home every day at lunch time, so I got to know his dislike of the nail gun well.
But did I remember that yesterday? Did I even think of it? No. I was blithely talking paint and stain with Dusty, and it wasn’t until we turned our attention to the deck and went outside that I realized I hadn’t seen Oz in awhile. And when we got done with the deck discussion and I went around the entire house, I realized Oz had vanished.
He wasn’t in the trees. He wasn’t by the pond. He wasn’t across the road next to our vehicle. I didn’t see him anywhere, and my first thought was to wonder if he had tried to go home, via the highway. And this is a dog who has absolutely zero car sense.
I called work, since I hadn’t let them know ahead of time that I might be talking to Dusty, and this is the kind of place I work: Ben answered the phone, and when I said that now I had to look for Oz, he immediately volunteered everyone at the shop to come help me.
I said no, I’d just look, but as soon as I started driving the roads at Riverwalk, Kara called back to say she was launching Gilly, who would drive past our house in town and then head out to Riverwalk to see if she could find Oz along the roads.
I drove all three roads in Riverwalk, and thought I’d found him at the guest cabin, but it was the cleaning lady’s dog, a dog that looked so similar to Oz that I had to get up on the porch to convince myself it wasn’t my wayward dog. And then I parked back by our lot and started on foot for the river, calling for Oz, who suddenly materialized on the run right behind me, his hindquarters filled with brambles.
And right behind him was Gilly, pulling up behind our car and rewarding Oz with a flurry of snuggles.
You would think one dropping-of-everything-to-take-care-of-TL moment would be enough for most people in a day, but Gilly is not most people.
With Oz firmly in tow, I made it to work, finally, and put everything together for the first screen reclaim of the year.
We reuse our screens by removing the emulsion from them and coating with fresh emulsion. Most shops conduct this reclaiming on-site, but I believe we’ve established Pat’s is not most shops. Our namesake, Pat Greene, always took her screens to the car wash because she didn’t have a good on-site set-up for power-washing. Although we’ve moved locations, I didn’t make any provision for on-site power washing when we moved, so we still take our screens on the road.
The car wash comes with really good pressure and excellent filtration, and it works, so why not just go there? Of course, that’s a bad option in Gunnison in the winter, so like squirrels, we try to lay in a supply in the fall that will get us through the winter. And while we may not be through winter yet (more snow in the forecast), we have run out of available screens, so Riley and I went to the car wash yesterday.
Now, it’s a given that something will be forgotten in the first reclaim of the year. Knowing that, I took my time and was extra careful while packing stuff. The first thing I grabbed was the plastic sheeting that is easiest to forget. I assembled my chemicals —
[After Pat’s demise from cancer at age 52 I invested in soy-based chemicals, none of which are marked “The State of California knows this to cause cancer.” But they are still considered “chemicals.”]
— and looked my collection over twice to make sure I had everything. I remembered my water bottle. I remembered my apron. I even thought to put money on our car-wash card. I was Ready-eddy-eddy, in SpongeBob-speak.
And then I managed to leave two bottles behind.
I realized this shortly after arriving at the car wash, and I thought about calling work to have them sent down, but decided we could make do with what we had brought. But suddenly there was Gilly, unasked, brandishing the bottles that got left behind. “It was on my way,” she said, although we were several blocks removed from her house, where she was headed for lunch.
I hope the rest of you are fortunate enough to have a Gilly in your life, someone who will step in to help you manage your life when it seems you’re barely getting by. Yesterday, apparently, I needed some serious wind beneath my wings — and there was Gilly at every turn.