Not-quite-expected delivery, part 1

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Here’s part of the post I lost last week. Still cautious about vaporized messages, I’m going to make the rewrite fall into sections.

Just over a week ago—on Tuesday in the early afternoon—I was working in my basement office when I heard a loud thumping outside. It seemed to be near the house. I couldn’t tell what or where it was.

From my office window, I have an upward-angled view of the backs of several juniper shrubs, the bottom of a sturdy climbing rose, the crowns of the trees on the other side of the block, and some patches of sky in between those clusters of green and, in the case of the junipers’ backsides, brown. When I’m seated at my desk, as I usually am, I can’t see the houses on the other side of the street or a car in the road or a person standing on the sidewalk. On the rare occasion when a semi-truck drives slowly past to make a delivery or move a household in or out, I can see the top few inches of its trailer.

Despite the amount of noise, I didn’t break my concentration and go check it out. One of the tricks to success in working at home is avoiding distractions, which requires discipline. I screen phone calls. There’s a "no solicitors" sign next to the doorbell. Even with extreme diligence, a certain number of interruptions make their way into my day.

I do jump up when a flicker’s hammering sounds like it’s coming from
under the eaves. Some neighbors’ houses have sustained significant
damage from these marauders. All I have to do is step outside the front
or back door. The flicker wings brightly away and I go back to my desk.

We live on a relatively calm street of 1980s bilevels and trilevels. More than half the houses are rentals, kept as income properties by people who’ve "moved up," but nearly all the tenants are nearly always quiet. A few kids from several blocks over have obnoxious gas-powered scooters that whine up and down the asphalt on weekends, but the older guys with the motorcycles manage to bring their Harleys and Suzukis in and out of the area without disturbing its basic calm.

The noise I heard wasn’t a flicker attempting to carve a hole in the siding. It was more like the meter-reader or perhaps my daughter pruning one of the roses—although they’ve already been pruned this year—or another equally benign activity.

Except that the thumping went on . . . and on . . . and on. . . . And the house did seem to vibrate slightly with each thump. . . .

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