ON GETTING SETTLED
After the truck is unloaded at the new place, several pizzas are ordered and delivered . And then as the day fades into evening, depleted energies and old friendships get properly fed.
“Either Guy lied about the size of this garage, or we have way too much stuff.”
Bon Adventure shakes his head at the stacks of boxes and assorted things that have piled up in the once empty room.
The next two weeks pass as a blur while rooms get arranged, beds are put together, cabinets stocked in both kitchen and bath, and clothes hung in closets. Bookcases become filled, furniture gets rearranged, and eventually artwork finds a proper place on the former blank walls. Slowly a likeness of order starts to become noticeable.
Outside, Eli climbs a ladder to remove tree seedlings growing from debris-filled rain gutters. The packed troughs have been ignored for much too long. He takes with him a pair of yellow rubber gloves to scoop out the wet rubble.
The finicky but able teen is also pressed into service to clear out dead growth from the backyard tree line, as is the smaller but clever David. For several days the two brothers work as a team to saw or crack countless tree limbs, which in turn get stacked in rows that soon cover most of the lawn behind the house.
An ailing mower is rushed to a nearby shop where a skilled wizard makes it run again. The lofty teen is neither impressed nor excited over this minor miracle, since he is assigned as primary mower. He is less than unhappy, however, as he learns he will earn money for keeping the yard neat.
David receives instructions to stop over-turning decorative stones embedded around the front lawn flower bed. Crickets living beneath these rocks are now allowed to continue their chirps, safe from the boy and his sharp ears.
The oldest son Joel left home months ago to become a spy for the Air Force, so Eli and his good pal Grim are used to manhandle two large air conditioner units the previous owner left stored in the basement. The pair are directed to relocate them to the burgeoning stack of items being housed in the garage.
“Where ever you can find room, boys. Over on that side is fine with me; that’s all garage sale stuff.”
Bon Adventure then slips both teens a five-dollar bill each for their labors. Eli pockets his and offers his dad a self-satisfied smile.
Grim reveals a fine row of rarely-seen teeth at the sight of money. He gives the impression of being obviously pleased.
“Why, thank you so much, Mr. Bon Adventure, sir.”
The basement floor later gets two coats of fresh paint, and then a portable dehumidifier is brought in and switched on. Eli humbly takes over another daily chore of emptying water from the running do-dad.
He is overheard one afternoon telling another of his friends that drops by to visit:
“I think our old house was seriously haunted.”
Easy Lee nods knowingly as the two teenagers drape themselves over living room furniture, but Bon Adventure is forced to ask.
“What do you mean by haunted?”
He offers his father both a mystified smile and a shrug.
“I really can’t explain, pop. It’s just that here everyone acts happier.”