It's not about the house.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

And You Thought the Day Might Never Come…

Can you tell the difference between these two pictures (I mean besides all the crap that's gathered on the floor)?

Before:

After:

Here’s a hint:

That’s right, ladies and germs: the electrics are finally, completely, 100% done!

Well, not finally-completely. After the sheetrock goes up we’ll still have to attach switches and plugs and all that actual-functionality-inducing jazz. But every necessary wire is in the room and run to its official box – and that, my friends, is saying something!

See, here’s what happened: when the electrician was here (in, um, April), I wasn’t home, and Johnny was under the mistaken impression that we had not yet decided where to put the fridge. So Electrician did the whole room except the refrigerator-wire, which she connected at the box and ran across the basement to the floor beneath the kitchen, where she left it for us to finish pulling through. She’d only charged us $100 for the job, and it wasn’t her fault we had not made up our minds (even though we really had), so Johnny promised that we wouldn’t call her back for that one tiny thing. Said we were perfectly capable of pulling one wire ourselves. And we were. Are. It’s an easy enough job. Hell, to hear him tell it, Johnny can pull wire with one hand tied behind his back! (Although, to hear him tell it, I think he might be talking about something else.)

Unfortunately, though, she left the wire live. And we both have this thing about electrocution.

Plan C was Andy. Andy knows how to do things like take lethality out of sparking wires, and he also happens to own the proper tools. But we don’t see that much of Andy anymore since he went and joined the Elks, and it took six weeks of trying to arrange for him to come before we – defeatedly and reluctantly – put plan C on the makeshift kitchen shelf the exposed crossbeams have become.

There was no plan D. We’d started this project in January in hopes of having it finished before the family came over for St. Pat’s, and here we were having them over again for Independence Day with no progress to show. They’re nice folks. They didn’t mention. But they have to have been wondering what sorts of diseased debris might’ve dropped down from the open rafters into their macaroni salad (none! I swear! I picked the big chunks out!).

And then along came Gerry.

Remember Gerry? Johnny’s old friend from his Dublin Days? Well, I just met him, so I can’t say for sure, but I'm getting the impression that he’s something of an Irish Godfather. By which I mean he’s always doing favors for people and putting their karmic debt in his back pocket, then finding some oddball way to call it in. Yoga lessons from this guy, gourmet food from another, wholesale fish from someone else entirely. It may not be Cosa Nostra-type shenanigans, but at least it ain't Sinn Fein.

Anyway, for the past few weekends Johnny has been painting Gerry’s house. Gerry offered to pay him but Johnny said no, they were forever-friends, friends do things for each other, and if Gerry didn’t drop it right now he would pack up and go home. Gerry did drop it, but I guess he felt like he owed us a favor, and there just so happened to be this licensed electrician out there who owed him. So on Tuesday night, at 6:00, Gerry showed up at the AssVac's door with Mr. Sparks.

Sparks (not his real name, of course – come to think of it, I never did learn his real name because I was on the phone with One Friend the whole time he was here) is a Corkman. I heard the accent and figured that much out myself. What I didn’t learn until he left was that he and Johnny’d met some years before. Here’s how Johnny told it:

In a bar called the Blackthorn, on West Broadway in South Boston, a Corkman and a Dubliner are sitting side by side. They’re not friends, they’ve only met, and they’ve both had a few. Big Corkman starts getting loud, saying bad things about Dublin, and little Dubliner starts getting mad. Soon enough, Corkman's calling Dubliner an arrogant motherf’er, and Dubliner's telling him he probably doesn’t want to say that shit again. Corkman does. Louder. And with a few more choice bad words. So Dubliner, without so much as getting off his stool, lays Corkman with an upper cut.

Corkman falls off his stool, lands on his back on the floor. His friends help stand him up, and he asks Dubliner if he wants to go outside. Dubliner says “Not so much, thanks,” and remains seated. Corkman retakes his stool, buys Dubliner a beer, and fifteen or so years later – on the say-so of Gerry the Irish Godfather (which I guess makes him Athair Baistí) – shows up to pull a refrigerator wire in Dubliner's kitchen.

They recognized each other right away. Like I said, I was on the phone the whole time, but even I knew something was up. It was as if all the electricity from that live wire had come shooting out the end and filled the house. In fact, that is sort of why I stayed on the phone. Whatever was going on, I didn’t want to end up in the middle of it. (That, and I really didn’t want to have to help.)

The loud voices and banging only lasted a few minutes, and it was all related to the job at hand. Soon enough, the house went quiet. Also the phone went dead, but -- still not wanting to get involved in the kerfuffle -- I called One Friend back from my cell phone and carried on. When he was done, Sparks stuck his head in my office to ask where the other boys had got to. I didn't know, so I put One Friend on hold to help him look, and we found them in the yard. Apparently, Gerry herded Johnny out there after the third time Sparks zapped himself on that live wire and was starting to get pissed.

The whole job took less than 30 minutes. Well, two months, two weeks, two days and thirty minutes, if you want to be precise. But at least it’s done. We’re having Gerry and his lovely wife over on Saturday, and we’re determined to get at least enough sheetrock up by then to make us look appropriately grateful for the strings that Gerry pulled on our behalf.

It’s hot this week, though, and that kitchen’s awfully small. I can't say I foresee the hanging happening without one or the other of us resorting to a few more choice bad words. Nobody better call anybody else an arrogant motherf’er, though.

Because the precedent (Cork v. Dublin) says that’s legal grounds for getting knocked right off your stool.

7 comments:

su said...

I love the bartering concept. It is too bad most folks have so gotten away from it. Nice that Gerry was wiling to call in a "mark" for Johnny. Hope the Corker knew what he was doing.

Bee said...

I am surround by teenage girls in the Skidmore College computer center . . . I hope this explains why I had trouble following the story of the two brawling Irish men. But I think what I learned is that you now have a new electrical outlet . . . and that's a good thing!

BTW, I'm also a huge Robert Earl Keen fan! I didn't know he had a MASS following!

poppo said...

Ummm! Anybody ever of a circuit breaker???? Switch it of and no sparks!!!! Magic.

jen said...

Im laughing right out loud, here! You are one humorous woman. Plus, I first thought the difference was that you moved the trash can. YOU FINALLY MOVED THE TRASH CAN!!!! I was going to say. Huh. I suck.
Irish Godfather...haha!

EGE said...

Su -- I love it too, especially when it means we get house work done for free!

Bee -- Welcome! Yay! I love you're blog, and I'll put you on my blogroll so everyone else here can learn to love it, too! Also: you work at Skidmore? My sister went there! Sorry you were confused by the Fighting irish. You're new, so I guess I should have explained that the Dubliner here is Johnny -- does that help? And last but not least: Yay, Robert Earl! He used to be my Secret Boyfriend, until I threw him over for the Dirty Boy. I still love Robert, but now we're just Secret Friends.

Poppo -- Yeah, um, I don't know. I think I misunderstood (and therefore mis-explained) something about the whole live-wire thing, because if Sparks sparked himself three times, it couldn't have been as easy as a circuit-breaker switch.

Jen -- Have I mentioned how glad I am you're finally back? Well I am. Glad. You're back. Yay.

EGE said...

PS Oh. No. Wait. Bee. I forgot. You don't work at Skidmore, because you live in England. You're just visiting there, right? Well, my sis still really went there. So there's that.

Jenni said...

Doesn't feel good, even with all the drama, something is taking place around your house?

Speaking of drama, I haven't finished Richard III, close, but not finished. I'll check in over there when I finish.

Speaking of Robert Earl- that Christmas song of his, makes me laugh out loud every time.

Oh and thanks for the link on the side there....:)