It's not about the house.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Seeing Red

I did put plastic on the windows yesterday. Johnny did not caulk the shower. I did have a screaming-yelling, foot-stomping, temper-tantrum in the house all by myself when I discovered this. I tore up the note he left and threw the bits in the air and everything. And then, when I calmed down, I sheepishly picked the whole mess up.

Here’s what happened:

The plasticing (plasticking? Plasticification? Plastifying? Plastation? Plasting? I can’t find a word for this that spellcheck doesn’t underline in red. But then, I just noticed that spellcheck underlines “spellcheck” in red, so what does it know about anything?) the wrapping of the windows went by without incident. I even took the opportunity to put up an honest-to-god, made-for-the-purpose, curtain rod on the rotten windows in my office. It’s just the white-metal, cheapy-cheap kind, but it’s much better than what used to be there. Which I didn’t take a picture of while it was still up on the window, but here it is waiting to go out with the trash:

See? It’s not even really “it.” It’s really “they” – as in “they” are not even really curtain rods but just some pieces of bamboo and metal that we found to help us hide the ugly windows temporarily, and then "temporarily" stretched into three and a half freakin’ years. “They,” as in “they” needed one another because neither piece was long enough to stretch cross the whole window, so the metal rod held the left side curtain and the bamboo held the right. And yes, I had the cheapy metal proper item in the attic all along.

Cheapy: underlined in red by spellcheck. Moving on.

So I put up the new curtain rod. See?

And so what if the curtains are tied back with thumbtacks and baling twine?

Then I hung the plastic wrap. See?

Well, okay, so you can’t see, because it’s plastic and it’s clear. And because when I took a picture anyway, the sun shone through and whited the whole thing out (whited: also underlined in red. Damn spellcheck). So you’ll just have to trust me.

And now begins the saga that would, eventually, induce the temper-tantrum.

I had intended to busy myself around the house while listening to NPR, and then run errands when my shows were done at 4:00. I asked Johnny to, at some point, check whether he had enough caulk to do the shower, and if not I’d pick it up when I went out. At 4:00.

But at 2:30 he decided he needed to make a bread – like, now – and there wasn’t any yeast, and when was I going out already anyway? I should probably remind you all at this point that Johnny doesn’t drive. And I’d also like to mention that This American Life (my favorite show) starts here at 3:00.

Now, Johnny doesn’t sit around doing nothing very well. I could have told him to just wait for ninety minutes, but he was getting yantsy (which spellcheck underlines in red but which is not a typo; I think it’s a Dublin thing), and I was afraid that if I insisted on waiting until 4:00 to run my errands, he might decide he needed to “go for a little walk.” It’s not like there’s not a radio in Chuck (TFT) and besides, if I hurried, I might even make it back.

But he hadn’t checked yet for the caulk. And when he went downstairs to look for it, he wound up shouting up for me to check under the bathroom sink. It wasn’t there, of course. There’s nothing there, not even a cabinet: why did he make me look?

Well, when he came up he made fun of me for not knowing which bathroom sink he meant. I was looking under his, and he found it under mine (where, apparently, it has been waiting patiently for going on two years, laughing at me every time I turned on the stupid shower).

Then we noticed that the tube has a sort of stain on it.

Which led us both to wonder if there’s a leak under that new sink in the new bathroom that we heretofore had never noticed. We agreed, unspokenly, to worry about that another time (unspokenly: underlined in red).

Now, Johnny didn’t know this, but the errands that I planned on running included the finishing touches on his bathroom. It was going to be a surprise. I was going to grab him a black bathmat, new shower curtain, black curtain rings and switchplate (underlined in red), and then set them up in his bathroom while he was caulking mine. So, even though we didn’t need the caulk, my first stop was at Blowe’s.

This post is plenty long enough already, so I don’t think I’ll enumerate the next eight stops I made in my fruitless quest. Suffice to say I missed most of my favorite show and didn’t get home until three hours later, with exactly half of the items on my stupid list, only to find a note from Johnny saying that John B. had shown up and they’d gone out for a pint. Excuse me, let me quotate that: they'd gone out for “a” pint.

(Quotate: underlined in red. Listen Spellcheck, I know, okay? I’m being colloquial. Der.)

I should probably mention at this point that stop number three, out of the nine I made in those three hours, was back at the freaking house to drop off his freaking yeast so he could make his freaking bread while I continued to chase around after the freaking geese.

So, yeah, I tore up the note and stomped and cursed his Irish name. I also threw my three-hours worth of purchases down on the kitchen floor and swore to leave them there till he got home, even if that meant the post-Thanksgiving, on-sale turkey started to grow fur.

But just then my dad happened to call, and he talked me off the ledge. I hung up the phone, picked up my mess – including the torn-up bits of note – and dealt properly with the items that I did manage to find.

See? Switchplate.



Then I watched a couple episodes of Dirty Boy on demand while working my way through the final-markdown Halloween candy that I had so thoughtfully brought home from one of my nine stops for the husband I'd assumed was hard at work. And finally, feeling good and sick, I went to bed.

Johnny reports this morning that he had a grand old time last night. The place they went turns out to be owned by an old friend he hasn't seen in donkey's years, which is why they wound up staying out so long. That's great. I'm thrilled for him. But today, so help me god, he’ll caulk that shower.

Or I will underline his jackeen ass in red.


Sparkle Plenty said...

Ahhhhhhh...Sparkle has a new word that she'll be using Plenty. Jackeen. Me likie.

That laddo better be a-caulkin'.

remodelingmyspace said...

Hi Erin,

Wanted to let you know that a write-up about your renovations has been included alongside your entry in the Remodel, Blog & Win online contest.

It can be viewed here:

Hope you don't mind that we used a portion of your post on Ways That Your House Can Kill You. You write it much better than we ever could!

Thanks for entering.


EGE said...

Hey Sparkle, welcome back! He ain't doin' it yet, but I'm off to put the twist to 'im right now.

Cathy -- Great, thanks! Of course I don't mind you re-posting my stuff. Especially since you provided lots of links back to the original!

Muskego Jeff said...

NPR? That stuff will rot your brain. Probably why you're all edgy and stuff. To prove it, the spellcheck in Blogger underlines NPR. And we know spellcheck can't be wrong.

Steve said...

Wow! I've either stepped into a conversation between my wife and her sister, or a Buck Henry movie. (Think _What's Up, Doc?_) Reading this is better than the advice I was given by a veteran remodeler and colleague. He said to open a bottle of wine and watch _The Money Pit._
I showed this to my wife and she immediately started laughing. Remember those times during a remodel that laughter was a scarce item?

Thank you,

Steve in Central CA

Maureen said...

Ditto what my DH said (see above)...misery loves company!

EGE said...

Welcome, Steve and Maureen! Glad I made you laugh. Beats cryin' any day of the week.

He hasn't caulked yet, by the way. He swears he's going to get it done today.

Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock...