It's not about the house.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Chim Chim Char-eewww!

Okay, so I took the car in and they said it's not the brake fluid but the water pump that's leaking (and the transmission fluid and the oil pan but those, apparently, can wait). It'll cost $245 to fix it, and I have to fix it or my engine will blow. Well, that's better than a brake job, I guess.

We called the fireplace store before driving down there, to make sure there really was such a thing as magic flue powder - and it's a good thing we did. They said there was such a thing and they had it, but they wouldn't sell it to us to use ourselves. They will, however, sell us them coming over and using it for us, for only $345. No thanks.

We'll just keep sitting here waiting for the chimney sweep who was supposed to be here an hour and a half ago. He's only charging $278, maybe he'll show up - and maybe he'll even sweep the chimney when he does. In the meantime, Johnny has decided he's going to buy some brushes and do it himself from now on after this. Then nobody will be able to tell us that it's not up to code - and what we don't know can't hurt us, right? Chim-chim-charoo!

Johnny says the reason you shake a chimney sweep's hand for luck is that the soot is evidence of honest work - honest money, honestly earned - and if it rubs off on you, well then that's lucky too. I should shake this fella's hand as many times as he'll let me. If he ever shows up, that is.

All right, while I'm waiting I might as well give a nutshell version of my life these past few years. Johnny's Dublin Irish, I'm Massachusetts American. We are one of those stupid couples who got caught up in the Supermarket Sweep that was the housing boom a couple years ago, as well as one of those even stupider couples who thought it would be a good idea to buy an older house for less money and fix it up to earn what is so charmingly referred to as sweat equity.

So far we've had not just sweat but blood and plenty of tears as well (and they don't award extra equity for either one of those), plus bronchial infections, regular old infections, tetanus scares and broken bones. And those are just the bodily insults. Our psyches have suffered cheats and liars, rude neighbors and crazy contractors, coke-addled electricians, spiders and spiders and spiders and spiders, projects that never end and other projects that go awry before they even start. This chimney thing? The fourth in a series of chimney things that started before we moved in, with our paying one of Johnny's friends to do a simple repointing job that he was supposed to have been doing as repayment of a favor. That was Johnny's fault, and I'll stand on my head on the dining room table and say so. But this, though, this is just the house, fucking with us.

He just showed up. The chimney sweep. I shook his hand. It was limp and cold and clammy. I don't see how that could possibly be a good sign...

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