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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Upward Mobility


Their second home was a large, crude affair with an unkempt, overgrown garden. Convinced all it needed was a fresh coat of paint and tasteful decor, she immersed herself in the study of feng shui. He took the brand-new chainsaw to the chestnut trees first, then to the tangle of bushes, where he unearthed a new objet d’art almost daily. He lined them up along the walkway - Grumpy next to Mother Goose following a small Venus de Milo. When he was down to shrubs and perennials, she joined him with the rose shears, so they were together, working side by side, when the Spanish tiling was uncovered near the hidden street entrance.
“Mumps,” he said at first, then laughing, cried: “The Mumpses!”
She smiled quickly and cut back more of the ivy, scraping moss from the cement.
“Mumpsimus,” she said. “Must be Latin.”
“Latin, Shmatin,” he said. “They would have given this a pompous-sounding name to bring in the rich patrons. It must have been some sort of treatment or recovery center back in the day, probably very cutting edge. ‘Little Switzerland’ I bet they called it downtown.”
“More like ‘Mumps ‘R Us,” she said. He didn’t laugh. He had left the conversation already and was hacking away at a dogwood.
She turned back to look at the house, expecting to see a faded wooden sign swinging over the front door.
“This house doesn’t have a porch,” she said.
“It doesn’t?” Her husband turned to look with her. “I could have sworn it did when we bought it.” He picked up the chainsaw and examined the blade. “Brand new,” he said, “and the teeth are wearing down already!”



It's community-judged voting at   this week, and the word is CRUDE 3: marked by the primitive, gross, or elemental or by uncultivated simplicity or vulgarity
Also, props to Word A Day for mumpsimus.

24 comments:

  1. Uh-oh, he's a little too eager on the clean up, I think. This story struck me because we bought a house in March that was a bit overgrown and we've been working on getting things cleared out. We still have a porch, though :)

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    1. Porches are great. I miss mine. lol
      Thanks, Janna!

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  2. Interesting and funny, especially the examination of the chain saw teeth as a punch line.

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    1. Glad you were amused. Thanks, Joanne!

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  3. I love the line about how he'd left the conversation already and was hacking away at the dogwood-it explains a lot-and that last line was brilliant!

    Interestingly, when I was working in the garden of a house we had just bought, I dug up a small statue buried upside down by the front door. I learned it was Saint Joseph, and he'd been put there by the previous owner to help speed up the sale of the house.

    Great piece of writing Kymm!!

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    1. That is such a riot about Saint Joseph!!! (I used to spend time in Somerville, MA, where tiny front yards often have saints in bathtubs. http://bathtubmarysofsomerville.tumblr.com/ )
      Thanks for the love, Valerie!!

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  4. The porch was there, but it accidentally got chainsawed. I enjoyed this little slice of life between a man and his wife, with their little quirks and their seemingly parallel lives. Great work!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it. I find most couples have parallel lives, eventually.
      Thanks, Tina!

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  5. Great piece.. and the mumpsimus is such a great word.. had it the other day in a word game in twitter. And really the conversation turned mumpsimus afterwards....

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    1. Every once in a while certain words just grab you, don't they? Funny coincidence.
      Thank you, Björn!

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  6. My gosh, Kymm, very clever. The mumpsimus of upward mobility? I love your stories for what they often don't say. They are so well-crafted. I love that he had already left the conversation, and the punch line with the chainsaw. Great writing!

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    1. In my experience, men come and go in conversations I don't think they ever believe they were even involved in. lol
      Thanks so much for the love, Steph! Really glad you enjoyed it.

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  7. Someone needs chainsaw intervention! :) I love a good story. This was a good story.

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    1. Hahaha chainsaw intervention!
      Thank you so much for the love, Kristy. Glad you enjoyed it.

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  8. Love the interaction between these two! And that last line is fabulous. Great story Kymm!

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    1. Thanks for the love, Suzanne! Glad you liked it.
      (I love fabulous!)

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  9. I would keep him away from any protected forests, if I was her. This is a fun read! Thank you for linking up. Please don't forget to return for the voting!

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    1. Fortunately I don't think protected forests are within their income bracket. lol
      Thanks, Tri! Glad you had fun.

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  10. I enjoyed this so much. You take a relatively common experience and turn it into an adventure. I love how you choose your words. Well done.

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    1. So nice to have a story enjoyed.
      Thank you for the love, lumdog!!!

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