It's not about the house.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I Was On Hold With Aer Lingus for 45 Minutes Before Getting Disconnected, and Now I Don't Have Time to Proofread Because I Have to Go to Work

Johnny comes home this afternoon. I thought he was coming home tomorrow. I meant for him to be coming home tomorrow. But apparently I actually booked him to come home today. Whoops. Good thing one of his friends over there happened to notice, or he might never be coming home! 

Thanks to all who sent kind thoughts and wishes. Word from Ireland – exact word, in fact – is that the funeral was “a horror show.” I don’t know what that means yet, but when I find out (and if it’s all right with him), I’ll tell you.  

In the meantime, let’s wrap up this Johnny-Broke-Himself story, shall we? Not in the long, drawn-out way I originally intended, because you all have been patient enough already (or else you’ve forgotten about it entirely), but just in one fell swoop. 



He broke four ribs.

The end.

Kidding! Ha! I kid! That’s not really the end! Hoo, boy, I got you guys good. You should have seen your faces…

He really did break four ribs, though. Johnny did. I swear to god, that boy has ribs of glass. I don’t think he’s ever broken another bone in his whole body, except for the big toes he dropped sledgehammers on (and don’t ask me how you drop a sledgehammer on one big toe and then allow yourself to be careless enough to do it to the other; it was before I met him; but I’m betting he was drunk for at least one of them), but in the 13 years I’ve known him, he has managed to break or fracture I don’t even know how many ribs. Let’s see, hang on a minute and I’ll count…

The first time, we had barely even met. He got jumped at a Chinese restaurant in Southie and wound up hospitalized with a punctured lung. I went to visit him in the hospital because it seemed like the good and proper thing to do, but I brought my friend Marie with me because I didn’t want him to think I really liked him. Every time he talks about it to this day, though, he doesn’t talk about how he nearly died, doesn’t mention the three days he waited for them to get around to putting in the little tube that drains the blood out of the lung, doesn’t even marvel at the fact that he picked the worst possible time to be craving hot and sour soup. No. All he ever talks about is how I went to see him in the hospital. I don’t even think he remembers that Marie was there. If I remember correctly, there were three ribs broken that time.

Then there was the time I did it. And we’re not going to talk about how I did it. Just that it was an accident, it was shortly after we moved in together, and it was only one. One measly little broken rib. And I was really sorry.

There was the time – it was about six months after we bought the AssVac – he got jumped outside the pizza parlor/bar down the road. This time it wasn’t just bad timing, though. This time there was at least an explanation. See, this guy Johnny doesn’t like tried to buy him a beer, Johnny sent it back to him and left, so the guy and three of his friends kicked the shit out of Johnny and left him broken and bleeding in a snowbank. Hey, I said there was an explanation; I didn’t say it was a good one. I don’t remember how many ribs were broken that time. Maybe five?

Last summer was a fluke. Gerry Smyth was over and they stayed up too late and drank too much and Johnny was complaining of a backache or sore shoulder or something so Gerry had him lay down on the kitchen floor and walked on him. Snap. Snap.

Which brings us to March 13th, or possibly the wee hours of the 14th, which was the day of our St. Patrick’s party and also, coincidentally enough, Johnny’s birthday.

One Friend was there. She’d come up a day early to help with preparations for the party and arrived smack dab in the middle of a screaming-yelling fight. It wasn’t our fault we were fighting, though. It was the kitchen.

See, Johnny was supposed to have washed and varnished the floor on Thursday night, but he didn’t do it. Because the plan was for me to retire early and shut the two cats in the bedroom, while he washed and varnished and retired on the other side – that way the floor would have a full eight or so hours to dry and set before anybody did anything as barbaric as walk all over it. But instead, Johnny and I decided that a better plan would be for us to sit around admiring our kitchen, drinking beer and reminiscing about what it used to look like, until it was far too late -- and the floor was far too wobbly -- to do the job. In Johnny's defense, the beer-soaked trip down memory lane was my idea, and even after five hours of it he still wanted to get to work. But I stopped him. I mean, I can appreciate a Jackson Pollock painting as much as the next girl, but that doesn’t mean I want one enshrined on my kitchen floor.

So on Friday, Johnny made the executive decision to go ahead and second-coat the walls. They’d been left till last because that’s what you do, but in the absence of a finished floor, he decided he would rather have finished walls than finished nothing when the party guests arrived. And besides, he’s been doing this for thirty years – he was pretty sure that, whenever he did get around to doing the floor, he could be trusted not to accidentally smear the walls.

But I needed to get in the kitchen, to make breads and cookies and things for the party, and Johnny’s a perfectionist at what he does. So what started as a slapdash second coat turned into patching lots of little things and filling in edges of outlets – then of course waiting for all that to dry and doing it again. He was busy every second, I don’t mean to suggest he spent the day dicking around, but he was in there for freaking hours. Like five or six, to be precise. While I paced around and muttered, asking him periodically how much freaking longer he thought he might be.
Needless to say, by the time he did get finished, we weren’t exactly happy at each other.

But it was done! Or done enough! And we decided to put aside our bickering long enough to hang the soap dispenser that so innocently kicked off this whole thing. It was hardly a two-man job, but it had been the impetus behind the project and was the perfect finishing, so it seemed only meet that we should put it up together. He got the power drill/screwdriver and I got my girly hand one just in case, and we met back at the kitchen sink to commence yelling.

Because, you see, this soap dispenser is beautiful. It is sturdy, and handsome, and useful, and just all-around good. What it is not, is well-designed for hanging. Because the screw-holes on the bulb for mounting are right behind the bulb that holds the soap. And if you get a sudden revelation that you can, in fact, spin the bulb counter-clockwise to get at the screw holes, you’ll still have to use the manual screwdriver to make it work, and there will just happen to be a big knot in the wood where you’re trying to push through, so you’ll get blisters on your palms, and all but strip the screw getting it in, and you won’t realize until after that the bulb does not, in fact, re-tighten if you turn it clockwise. Plus you accidentally hung it upside-down, anyway. So you have to take it off again and find another screw that fits, and then stand there shouting at each other for a little while — and that’s when One Friend arrives and takes One Dog and goes quietly into One Bedroom and shuts the door.

Thankfully, One Friend’s presence defuses the situation. Johnny and I agree to put the dispenser away for now, and we also agree it would be a good idea for him to take his birthday money from My Lady to the pub for a little while. Let me and Dr. One Friend have the kitchen to ourselves at last, now that he had finished all that work. So he did. And we commenced to cooking.

We made three loaves of Irish soda bread, three loaves of the other kind of Irish bread (the sweet kind with raisins in it, but no caraway seeds, because Johnny’s allergic and I don’t want to kill him – not on his birthday, at least), a couple dozen shortbready-type cookies, and boiled and peeled eighteen eggs for deviling in the morning. It was like 9:00 before we finally got around to making dinner. And you might think we’d’ve just crammed a couple boiled eggs in our mouths at that point and gone to sleep, but no.

We’d decided what we were having for that meal on Monday night, and we didn’t care how tired we were, or how long it would take to make it, we were having our Medium Friday evening meal, god dammit! (Medium Friday = every Friday in Lent except the Good one. Der.) Fish cakes and salad and asparagus, yummy! Who cared if the only reason we planned it that way in the first place was to satisfy Johnny and his marginally-Catholic tastes, and who cared if he wasn’t even now here to enjoy it? One Friend and I been looking forward to those fish cakes and salad all freaking week.

So we made them, and Johnny came home while we were eating them, and I slapped two fish cakes and a bit of salad on a plate and put it down on the coffee table in front of him. He wolfed down the two fish cakes and fell asleep. When he woke up in the night and ate the salad, he spilled a little of it on the floor. And when he woke up a bit later to have a pee, he slipped on a piece of lettuce, fell backwards onto the wooden arm of the futon, and broke a couple ribs.

Four, to be exact. Although we wouldn’t know that for certain until the following Saturday, when his brother died and we called the doctor to ask if it would be okay for him to fly. It was.

But just now, I took a break from writing this to make sure his flight home had gotten off the ground okay, and I discovered that it hadn't. It's been canceled. And this was the one time his friend couldn't take him to the airport, so he had to take a bus. He's out of money, and he left his Irish cell phone at the house.

How many broken ribs do you think he’ll have by the time he makes it home?

If, in fact, he ever makes it home...


Jenni said...

Oh No...Someone really needs to find the lucky 4 leaf clover.

beardonaut said...

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I've yet to break a single bone *knocks on wood* I've knocked out my front teeth, and I've severely sprained my ankle (six weeks on crutches). I'm starting to believe it's all the natural padding that's saved me...

I hope he gets home alright and that them ribs heal up soon, ya hear?

Sparkle Plenty said...

WOW. Four ribs?! WOW. Poor Johnny. Flying is rough enough without four bum ribs. And, a "horror show" funeral? Blark.

Ya know, I'm ready for '09 to get really, really good now. Yep. Any minute. Let's go. Enough of this blecchy '09 folderol. It's almost April. It's officially spring. Bring on the good times--for you, for Johnny, and everydangbody.

(I have never heard of anyone who is allergic to caraway seeds, but maybe it's because they're not in that many foodstuffs and/or people don't even try 'em?)

12ontheinside said...

I've always said healthy stuff is BAD for you! *shakes fist at lettuce*
Hope Johnny makes it home eventually, and with not too many additional broken bones.

su said...

Hope it's all an April Fool!

Khurston said...

HEY you can't let this post sit un-updated for 2 days? Is he home? Is he still waiting the the airport in dublin? Is he jumping through time warps on an island in the south pacific being chased by smoke monsters?

ege said...

Jenni -- Yeah, y'think?

Beardo -- Me neither. Same thing: sprained ankle or two or three (because I have three), but no broken bones. Knock wood...

Sparkle -- I was surprised, too, about the Caraway thing, but what I've learned is this: back in the days before chewing gum, Irish used to chew caraway seeds to hide booze-breath. And we know how those Irish love their booze. So that probably explains a genetic mutation or two, I figure. (Also, yeah: Go, everydangbody!)

12 -- I know. That'll teach an Irishman to eat a salad, what?

Su -- I wish. Oh, I wish...

K -- Sorry! I updated now! See?

Jenni said...

LOL @ Khurston. Really.....The dog looked at me funny like.