I hired a handyman to cut my wood. Put up a poster at Big Bear Market and got a call the next day.  I stared at that wood pile for an entire afternoon before admitting defeat. The idea of hiring someone was foreign, but I lacked the strength to drive the ax through the wood and feared losing a limb when I veered off target. 

Chopping wood used to be my husband’s job, but we divorced after seven hard years. He stacked wood in the basement near the washer and dryer, but I didn’t want it near clean clothes, and resented making frequent trips up and down basement stairs, arms piled high, scratched and heavy. He was a doctor who worked all the time, coming home to discuss blood, tumors and medicines. That didn’t work well for a girl with a sensitive side. I talked to him about the wood. Could we please put the logs on the front porch this year? That’s only a few yards from the stove and would be so much easier. He was locked in his position.

 When the man came from the market to cut wood, I felt so guilty I baked a pie to go with his wages. I was unsure about hiring a stranger. Could I just pay for a man?  Have someone help without feeding him and doing his laundry? It appeared that I could. When the handyman finished he stepped inside. Where would you like your wood stacked?

My stomach tightened and I looked away. This was the argument part, that part where I say what I want and he over-rides it with a dominating male voice, explaining the virtues of basement stacked wood. I gathered my courage, planted my hands deep inside apron pockets and said, I want it on the front porch. Right next to the door. And you know what he said? Can you believe it? He smiled and said, How high?  That was it. No argument just, how high shall I stack it? I spent the rest of the day grinning from ear to ear, thinking that I could definitely get used to this handyman thing!

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