Saturday, November 27, 2021

Company’s a comin’

| August 8, 2021 12:00 AM

I’ve been spending the better part of every weekend lately preparing for family and friends who are flying out for a week from three different places in the country.

We have 5 acres, most of which is uncultivated and, previous to our ownership, was an alfalfa field. But with the recent, long-winded heat wave we’ve been tolerating, the amount of time and energy it’s taken to care for the landscape beds and “lawn” (I use that word loosely) has soared. The mowing, weeding, weed-whacking and watering — the 3 Ws of basic lawn care — have consumed more of my free time than my recreating has these days. But I have managed to squeeze in a little in between chores.

I went on an easy 5-mile hike one recent Saturday morning with a friend before the heat settled in for the day. On the 25-minute drive to her house, I sipped my coffee and listened to the radio, which I considered a pleasant mini-road trip, then drove us along the pastoral, winding Foothill Road to the trailhead. The hike followed a small, cascading streambed part of the way, which we crossed a few times. Fording a stream is always fun if the risk factor is negligible.

I had a few errands to run back in town and found my drive, the light traffic, even the stops, had fallen into an effortless zen-like rhythm. All was groovy until I began my quest for two more fans for the upstairs guest rooms — an absolute necessity for my houseguests since we do not have AC.

The hardware store where I’d bought one earlier this summer was sold out. I headed to another big-box store in town and asked at the service desk if they had table fans in stock. His inventory said there were 80. He gave me a rough idea of where they might be. After many futile steps I returned to the checkout and asked a clerk, who asked another clerk, who took me on another unsuccessful quest. We returned to where we began and yet another clerk was quizzed about the secret location of the fans. He narrowed it down to a single aisle, which I’d been down twice already, but I guess I must have missed them; he was so certain … they just were not there. One more fruitless stop at one more store and I headed home, defeated and empty-handed, the zen of the day gone to dust.

At home, I tackled indoor household chores since by then the day had heated up to its equatorial equivalent. Company paramount to my priorities, I prepared to bake a pair of crustless quiches. Having picked up the sharp cheddar after my hike that I’d forgotten to get Friday, I now realized my recipe required half and half. (Why didn’t I check the recipe before I left the house?) With an abundance of reluctance I once again headed to town, my dad’s familiar scolding echoing in my head — “Don’t make a special trip just for one thing!”

Friends who’d stopped by earlier that afternoon recommended a store where they’d seen fans. I thought I’d swing in there since I was heading right nearby. But I forced myself to pull into another big-box store I was passing first; it would be foolish not to just run in and check. On a mission for moving air, I asked the first clerk I saw and she pointed to where they would be “if we have any left.” Ugh.

And there, languishing on their side on the shelf were exactly two 12-inch table fans. The zen of my day was back!

Had I not forgotten to buy half and half earlier, I would not have gone back to town — a trip that ended up being a well-deserved iced-tea break from my afternoon drudgery anyway — and fortuitously found what may very well have been the last two darn table fans in town.

Community editor Carol Marino may be reached at 406-758-4440 or