It's not about the house.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Buildings and Food (and fire and death)

I know a few of you had suggestions for lists that I could write, but then something happened that made me decide to do this instead:

Five Funny Things That Have Happened
Around The AssVac This Week

1. Call me Yossarian.
Are you wondering about our progress in the kitchen over the months since I've reported on it? Yeah, well, so am I. Nothing has been done in there, the end. Except for, well, I cleaned it the other day – which, if you know me, is actually kind of a big deal.

See, we’ve been stuck in a loop, because the back seat of the fucking truck is stuck and won’t go down. In fact, it has never gone down. Not since we’ve owned it, anyway. It is supposed to go down, and it used go down to when George used to own it, but since the day we took possession the damn thing has remained in an upright and locked position. Maybe it’s just a boy scout, Being Prepared for the inevitable crash.

Anyway, we need to go get drywall before we can wrap up the kitchen. But the only days we can get drywall are the days Johnny’s not working (you think I’m going to haul drywall and tie it on the roof all by myself? Yes. Then I'll sit on it and twirl.), and the only days that he’s not working lately are the days it rains. You can’t tie drywall to the roof in a rainstorm unless you don’t mind laying it on with a trowel when you get it home, and so you see: we're stuck. Can’t go unless it’s raining, but if it’s raining, we can’t go.

I did really clean the kitchen thoroughly, however. So there’s that. And then, that very evening, Johnny cooked himself a steak.

2. No, Call Me Martha
Because not only did I clean the kitchen, I cleaned the whole entire AssVac, practically. This is not funny so much as it’s a somebody-catch-me shock. I told One Friend on the phone that I was “clean-cleaning – you know, like moving furniture and vacuuming cobwebs off the walls – not just shifting things around and running a dustmop down the center of the room.” And she said:

“You mean like Spring Cleaning?”

Well, yeah. I guess. Except the place has never been sprung-cleaned before. Not in our tenure, anyway. And not for decades before that, I’m certain.

I mean, it did get cleaned when we moved in – I am not right now scraping away Jimmy-Carter-era grime. But this is the first year since then that we’ve had enough rooms close enough to finished that I was able to track the progress of a winter’s worth of grime (which has a tendency to blend in to the poop-brown linoleum, or else look positively sparkly next to the spreading mold-stain on the wall).

So, room, by room, I’ve been tackling the crud. I started in (I think I even mentioned in this space last week) the bedroom – vacuuming cat hair off of the love seat and everything. The clean bedroom made the hall outside look crappy, so the next day I did that. Then that made the kitchen look like hell, and before I knew it I was washing windows in the entryway.

What I'm saying is: if anybody out there wants to see the AssVac when she’s clean, you had better get your butts out here real soon. Because something tells me this whole wall-to-wall spring-cleaning thing ain’t going to be happening for at least four more years. At which point we’ll be referring to it as: “staging to sell.”

Before then, though, someone’s going to have to bring the office up to speed.

Hey, I did say "practically."

3. Poop!
I am not the gardener around here, Johnny is. There is no love lost between me and the Kingdom Metaphyta, and when you combine that raging animosity (or more like simmering indifference) with my tendency to break things, it really is just best for everybody if I keep my sticky fingers out.

But Johnny doesn’t drive.

So the one concession I have made to his seasonal shop of horrors through the years, is to pilot Chuck (or, rest her soul, Francine) to the garden shop for starter flats. I push the cart around the too-small aisles, I make menu requests (if not for my assistance he’d forget the green beans, every year) and edit his selections (five kinds of tomatoes, really?). I sometimes even give him $20 towards the cause, if I’m feeling particularly flush or have made more than my share of requests. And then I drive back home, where he does all the unloading and planting and watering and whatever else it is you have to do to keep the damn things alive until they start making themselves useful. At which point, sometimes – sometimes – if he isn’t home, say, and I want to make a salad, I’ll tiptoe out into the yard and grab a big green cuke.

It’s hard work, this agri-business, I tell you what.

Anyway, so this week was that week. We drove and pushed and chose and paid, and then at the last minute Johnny decided to get a bag of cow poo to spread around. Actually, he decided he’d get three. No, make it four. I pulled the car around and popped the trunk, killed the engine and turned the key backwards so I could sit there listening to Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me while he heaved the bags inside.

“Ah, bollocks!” he said.

Cow poop. Everywhere.

“Well,” he said, “there’s a half a bag for nuthin’, anyway.”

By the time we got home, it had somehow worked its way throughout the car. Under the gas pedal and everything. And guess who didn’t lift a cloven toe to clean it up?


4. I Will Brake You
Speaking of Chuck (and pigs, for that matter), he has of late developed what I’m sorry to say is a rather unattractive squeal.

It sounds like: weeweeweeweeweewee, and it’s coming from the brake shoes. Of that much, I am certain. But the part about how only one of the fours shoes is worn enough to be dangerous is just a pet theory of mine, based on the fact that he only squeals when I steer him to the left. For this reason, Johnny and I have decided that Chuck has secretly been a Republican truck all of this time, which means his appellation rightly should be “Chuck (TFRT)” -- and which only makes us hate him all the more.

Unfortunately, he shares a few other qualities with the GO(F)P that don’t bode well for me & Johnny. Namely:

1. He’s in charge
2. He thinks we ought to sign our paychecks straight over to ExxonMobil, and
3. If (or when) he does at long last crash and burn, we’re going down in flames right along with him.

He thinks all this is nine kinds of funny. When he’s not wheezing in his shoes he's making a grotty sort of chortle in his throat and emitting noxious gas. But what grand old Chuckles isn't counting on is:

#4. The dignified, island-born black man who’s fixing, as we speak, to set him right.

That’s right, Ladies and Gentleman, I’m talking about George. Remember George? The outie who recognized Dirty Boy on my computer screen? We haven’t seen him much these days, but Johnny gave him the heads up and we’re hoping he’ll come give Chuck what-for this weekend.

Until then, we’ve taken to joining in the chorus, crossing our fingers and hoping to weeweewee all the way home

5. Just In Case
As you can see, Johnny and I have been mostly laughing in the face of failure this week, but failure really doesn’t seem to be getting the joke. So yesterday, in the name of Better Safe Than Sorry, I picked up some candles and arranged this little shrine.

Well, the cross and the Buddhas live there permanently, that’s just our covering-all-bases mantlepiece. But both the Santeria-type candles are new. The one on the left is wishing us fast luck in all corners:

And the one on the right is calling to St. Jude.

Because, while I may be a quintessential doubting Thomas when it comes to All Things Holy, I sure as Simon know when it’s time to pray for a lost cause.

1 comment:

LadyCiani said...

I'd say you have a legitimate excuse to not get drywall when it's raining!

The cow poo thing - I once had a bag of whatever-you-call-that-instant-concrete-stuff is break open in my compact car. In the back seat.