There is a humongous oak tree in my front yard that my study of feng shui tells me is blocking all the positive energy from coming into my front door. It would cost 1,000 bucks to cut down.

I should add that in January, my lawn guy, while plowing a path, accidentally projected a rock that broke the glass in the storm door. The good news is that it gives me a clearer view of the offending tree that’s blocking my chi.

Quick translation: Feng means “wind,” and shui means “water.” This is not a user’s manual. There is actually a ton of stuff about feng shui that I don’t have time to explain in detail.

Briefly, it works like this. If you have “good” feng shui, you don’t catch colds, athletes’ foot or shingles. It means good stuff mysteriously comes into your life, like warm weather, winning lottery numbers and lower oil prices.

On the other hand, if you’re sloppy and have “bad” feng shui, you will attract bad luck or misfortune, as in losing your car keys, developing allergies, ice storms and toenail fungus. You got that?

Most importantly in my case, it’s about “placement,” like where you put your glasses, where you sit when you work, where your bed is when you get ready to go to sleep. It’s about understanding that the land is alive and filled with “chi,” or energy. We’ll get into that later. You know what I’m saying to you here?


Also, it’s all about clearing up clutter like piles of newspapers, empty wine bottles, drawers full of wine corks, books, old lottery tickets, magazines and avocado peelings that are impeding the flow of chi in your house.

That front door, by the way, is painted red for good luck. You could have it blessed by a feng shui master, but red paint is cheaper.

She, ordinarily a curious woman who does our taxes and handles the important stuff like paying the bills, is currently open only to new occupations like aquatic exercise classes, volunteer tutoring and buying stuff for her daughters online. Chinese culture, outside of fortune cookies, fails to arouse her.

Since the current president’s chaotic trade wars and the failure of my efforts to get anything Chinese-made in the house to work correctly, She now insists that all new purchases must be labeled “Made in America.” So if you know where I can find a new iPhone that’s made in Waukegan, Illinois, please call me.

I know this sounds confusing to most of you, because it’s a complicated ancient Chinese thing, and there are only a few Chinese people in central Maine to explain it to you, and none are very ancient.

I can tell you that in my search, there are no feng shui scholars at all in the places where I hang out, like Shaw’s or TJ Maxx. My pal Pin, who is a super barista at Starbucks, is only half Chinese, and he’s too busy making nonfat, decaf lattes to help.


Then there is the Chinese zodiac calendar thing. Oh, boy. First, you’ll have to Google “Chinese zodiac calendar thing” to find out what kind of animal you are. She, for example, was born in a Year of the Pig.

I fell into a Year of the Dog. It’s complicated but interesting.

A study of the calendar shows a prediction for Donald Trump, who also was born in a Year of the Dog. It reads, “Last year couldn’t be worse for Trump, but things will turn around for him.” True.

Another prediction shows that it might be best for Democrats to strike before August and preferably in March. March is a bad time for Year of the Dog-born people such as Trump.

I’ll finish with this bad news. As I said, She was born in the Year of the Pig; I, in the Year of the Dog. According to the Chinese zodiac, she should have married Robert Redford, and I should have married Rosemary De Branco. Fate indeed has a fickle finger.

The good breaking news is that it’s a bad Year for Dog-born people (Trump) and a good one for Dragon-born folks (Nancy Pelosi). Get the calendar, check yourself out, and buckle up. There’s going to be miles of bumpy roads ahead.


J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.

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