It's not about the house.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Day 23, Project 9: Give Me Enough Rope...

I hung a picture.

Yeah, I know it doesn’t sound like much, but consider the story of this particular work of art…

The actual piece of paper was a Christmas gift (birthday?) three years ago (five?) from my brother (definitely brother). It lived between the pages of a book until two years ago, when we finished the laundry room and I asked Johnny to frame it for me for as a present so I could hang it in there -- it’s a picture of a washing machine, so it makes sense. See?

It's a WWII-era Ballantine ad. Our Grampy Jim used to drink Ballantine Ale and always gave us the cap-puzzles to figure out (and, sometimes, a little swiggy) so we all have one or two of these sorts of things kicking around.

Anyway, I asked Johnny to frame it because he needs to be told what to buy for presents or you end up with too-small sweaters and manicure sets from CVS. I don’t relish having to put in a request for my own surprises, but I’ve learned it makes for a happier holiday than does gearing up to be good and mad before the wrapping’s even off the box. Plus, getting a frame for a picture is one of those things I don’t get around to doing all that often (obviously, or it wouldn’t have been sitting in that book for however-many years).

Now Johnny, being Johnny, instead of going to Wal-Mart and buying some piece of crap frame for three dollars because it’s only going in the laundry room anyway so who freaking cares, takes it to a frame shop with a sample of the wall color and pays fifty dollars for this wooden frame that the frame-man special-painted in metallic gold. (Or maybe he just painted it with glue and blew gold dust all over it. Fifty dollars my ass.)

How do I know how much he paid for it? Wasn’t it a present, after all, and aren’t you not supposed to talk about how much you paid for things you give to people? Well, no, you're not. Unless, at some point in the two years it sits on the floor of the laundry room -- because there’s no sense hanging it until the baseboards get put in and the machines get shoved into their proper place -- this lovely lady to whom you gave this nice gold frame spills laundry soap all over it without noticing she's done so, and it stays like that for lord-knows how long and dryer lint grows over it, and when she finally sees the mess and wipes it off she takes a healthy chunk of gold paint off the frame.

Then, apparently, it’s okay to talk about how much you spent. I think it’s like a special appendix to the latest edition of Miss Manners’ Guide To Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.

So you see why my hanging this particular picture is something of an event.

But I guess Johnny’s doing more than painting down at Andy’s, because the good, orange-handled hammer that is always kept in the bucket boss right there, is gone. The whole bucket boss is gone, in fact. So oh well, not even any picture-hanging going on today, I guess. Another day off for me, through no fault of my own!


Oh, fine, Goody. I’ll look in the basement and see if I can’t find another hammer. But I'm gonna stomp the whole way down.

I thought I found one but it turned out to be a hatchet. Just as I was deciding that the back end of a hatchet would do me well enough, I saw another handle sticking out of yet another bucket. Wait… was that…? It was!

My roofing hammer! I haven’t seen this old friend in donkey’s years!

Yeah, I know using a roofing hammer to tap in a two-penny nail sounds like overkill, but when the alternative is a hatchet or nothing, I think you’ll see why using this particular hammer was something of a necessity.

I was so excited to have my good old roofing hammer back that, even when I had the picture hung, I couldn’t stop swinging it around. Not swinging-swinging, just sort of hefting it. Enjoying the feel of the weight of it in my hand… until I knocked the dish that held the screws from the goddamned doorknob hardware all over the hall. Some of them into, I’m pretty sure, the bag of ashes from the fireplace.

I found five: one for each corner of the outside plate and one for the outside knob itself. That will have to do. The inside parts can get new screws and look like hell for all I care.

Day 23: Accomplished.
Time: Not counting the twenty minutes on my hands and knees looking for screws, about five minutes.
Cost: Nothing (plus fifty dollars for the frame).
Opening A Ballantine With The Claw Side Of My Good Old Roofing Hammer: Priceless


Janice said...

Weeeell, I think the dark paintless area is nicely centered, balances the dark beer bottle and ADDS to the old-timey look of the picture.

EGE said...

Thank you!

Courtney said...

It's the famous roofing hammer! I can't believe it!

We have a bunch of (framed but not hanging) old advertisements at our house too. Someday I'll put them up on the wall. Too bad I only have a girly hammer. It's not pink, but the super made fun of it the last time he borrowed it. Sigh.

Sus said...

Too funny, but he borrowed it! I always give HS graduation gifts to college bounds, a hammer. It is a great way to meet folks in the dorm. Everyone is always looking for a hammer.