New Year's Eve of 2005 was probably my wildest. I was single, carefree, and open to kissing anyone who came my way at midnight. I got myself dolled up in a tight shirt, went to a friend's house party, drank wine, scoped out my prospects. When the clock struck 12, I must have smacked lips with a dozen different boys. That last year of my twenties was one I wholly dedicated to living life to its fullest. I sowed oats. Maybe acted a little scandalously here and there.
Thank goodness I got that out because this New Year's Eve, I shoveled dirt.
Mr. Wonderful and I have spent the past 3 days relandscaping the front yard. I've never done such hard labor. Nearly 8 hours of turning soil, digging up rocks, pulling old ivy roots. I've helped him in the yard before, but nothing like this. My back hurts. My calves hurt. My arms hurt. My fingers hurt. Seriously.
We spent New Year's evening making sugar cookies in our robes. We didn't even make it until midnight—we hit the pillows at 11:00 and slept like the rocks we'd collected in the front yard.
Earlier in the night I told him I couldn't handle another day like that one. I needed him to get some help in the yard. So he put an ad on Craigslist.
Now, generally when Mr. W gets people to help in the yard, it's nice, quiet, young Hispanic guys. They hang around Home Depot looking for work and they've been quick to respond to his ads online. This time, he said the guy sounded white on the phone. Artie. I wondered why anyone—of any ethnicity—would want to work New Year's Day.
We were in the trenches early that morning. I was trying to pull up thick roots left from some hedges near the driveway. Mr. W was beginning to help me when a navy BMW sped up into the cul de sac.
"That Artie?" I asked, laughing.
"Yeah right," Mr. W laughed back.
The next thing we knew, a mustached guy was walking towards us asking if it was Mr. W in the dirt. It was Artie. I almost fell over.
He seemed a little flamboyant to me. When he took off his long-sleeved shirt my suspicion he might be gay was confirmed. There on his bicep in simple, san-serif type was one word: "Chad."
A gay, white man who wants to do yard work on New Year's Day?
I spent the next several hours creating a mental list of reasons Artie may have answered our ad. Maybe he was a writer and he was doing a story on landscaping. Maybe he lost a bet. Maybe it was some sort of foreplay with his buddy who accompanied him (Jeff, not Chad. And he left after about 30 minutes because he didn't feel well.) Or maybe he was a serial killer and he was going to use that shovel to bury me and Mr. W somewhere under the new avocado tree.
When he finished (earlier than we wanted him to...) he asked if he could leave his shovel and get it later. Creepy deepy. Mr. W told me I was over-reacting. He said he himself might start answering Craigslist ads and helping people do work in their yards on the weekend.
I just hope he doesn't come home with a tattoo for Chad.
Happy New Year everyone!