I'm not sure--but then neither is anyone else--on the exact origin of the phrase "getting your ducks in a row." One theory says it's from bowling, at a time when pins were much stumpy-er than they are today, when bowlers in suspenders called 'em "ducks." 'Twas, back then, the job of some pin-setter: "getting the ducks in a row."
Another says the origin is in carnivals--those cut-out ducklings that appear to swim merrily across a table top only to get picked off by some lovesick young man with an air rifle, a guy hoping to win a stuffed poodle for his apple-cheeked dearest--you know.
My favorite theory, although it's no more a ringer than any other, is simply the way a mother duck ushers her brood along a shore line, trying madly--and it's never particularly easy--to keep them in order, one after another, to keep her dear ones in a row.
I don't think our general contractor would appreciate the analogy, himself as some swampy mother duck, but that's what he is, after a fashion. His job, as we near the home stretch, is to line up all the artists--and every one of them is an artist--to finally get (yes, I know that's a split infinitive, but it's done for emphasis) our house finished. Let me say it again, italicized, finally.
Not that a deadline has passed. It hasn't. We could well make it. We may have to live in our new basement, which would not be a disaster; but soon enough this keyboard will be sitting on this desk in a wholly different space. Soon enough, if all our ducks are in a row.
Anyway, that's where we are today, with a bit more than two weeks to go: or rather that's where he is, our general contractor. He's trying madly to get the painters and floor-ers and plumbers and appliance guys all in a row, lined up in stedfast order to get this thing over so we can move out of our new, old house (the rental) on time and into our new, new house in the nick of it, which is to say, October 1. It may just happen.
Truth be told, what the GC has to do is no easy job because the whole bunch of them are jugglers, including the GC. We're not their only customers and somewhere out there a dozen other people--maybe more--are biting nails about deadlines too. So, if the painting is done Tuesday, the carpet can be laid Wednesday, and then the wood floor, which means the appliances can go in Friday--you know, that kind of thing. Everybody is juggling, as are we; this rental place of ours is an Amazon warehouse, a mess of boxes, waiting to be filled and shipped. We're all jugglers.
We're all getting our ducks in a row.
You know. That's where we are.
It's tedious and sometimes and nerve-wracking, as well as demanding. It takes some squawking once in a while, some intemperate belly-aching--even a little bitching.
But I'm not complaining. Building a house is something we never, ever guessed we'd do, but we are. And on Friday last, when the stairway railing got put in, the two of us could have stood there for an hour in sheer awe at its beauty. Some of the windows have been stripped of their protective plastic covers, and it's as if someone lifted veils from our lives. A new light fixture is gorgeous, a counter-top takes your breath away.
I'm not complaining.
Right now, with a bit more than two weeks to go, we're getting our ducks in a row.
And it is what everyone says it is--it's exciting, surrounded as we are by artists and jugglers and mother ducks. Reason enough, this Monday morning, first day of a big week, for thanksgiving.