It's not about the house.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

This Is Why I Don't Do This

Johnny’s working nights this week.

Well, not “nights” exactly – 4 p.m. to 10 or so – but it means he’s gone when I get home from work or shortly after, and he isn’t home till after I’m in bed. Maybe I’m supposed to say I miss him and everything, but I’ve never been that much of a shmoo.

I’m getting a buttload of alone time in, I’ve lost four pounds thanks to eating what I want, I’ve got two more chapters of the damn book nearly finished, and I am feeling infinitely better, thanks.

Thanks, that is, to those of you who asked after my mood, and also to Whoever’s responsible for this surprise respite.

Hear that? I said Thanks, John B.!

That picture’s from last year, John B.’s the big one. Johnny's cut his hair and beard since that time, see?

Johnny and John B. are working in Quincy, which is technically just over the bridge, but it’s far enough away that Johnny can’t walk home, or hear me...

So let’s talk shit about him, shall we now?

Well, please. I take a lot of heat myself in general on this blog. I’m always “Oh, I’m such a shrew” and everything. And it’s true, and it’s funny, and I can be, but let me tell you: that little mick ain’t always such a picture of a peach himself.

Take the house, for instance. I don’t know if I’ve even told you about this one.

See, we’ve been talking about painting the outside of the AssVac since we took possession of it in 2004. He finally started it last fall, in a really nice, slightly ocher-ized barn red. I say “he” finally started because it goes without saying around here that I don’t help with the painting. Johnny's been doing this for thirty years; he can cut a corner in one sweep of the brush without a tape line; I am really more a hindrance to him than a help. Even for jobs (like this one) that would take two skilled men a solid month to put behind them, our lives are really better if I let him do it by himself. But it was autumn in New England. And as skilled as he may be, he is still, after all, a single man.

Well, not a single man. He is still married. To me. But the other night I turned down dream-sex with Robert Redford (Sundance Kid, not Leatherface) because, I said, I loved my husband – so that experience just made me madder, and he’s walking on thin ice.

He’s just one guy, is what I meant by “single man” (this ain’t Opposite-Utah, after all!). And one man plain old can’t work two months in thirty days all by himself, and so, well... This is what happens:

Since November.

I didn’t mind so much all winter. Really. It wasn’t anybody’s fault it went and snowed. It wasn’t Johnny’s fault it turned out to be two months work for two men – which meant (stay with me) four for one. It took three weeks alone for him to scrape and prep the long side, another two to scrape and prep the front (thank god he didn't have paying work, I tell you what). So before he even got the front completely primed, the temperature had dropped below acceptable wet-paint-overnight levels. And what is a New Englander to do?

So no, I didn’t hold our two-toned house against him. In November.

But a few months later something funny happened. Something that, in my forty years on this planet, I’ve come to expect occasionally in this part of the world:

It got warm!

I don’t know, chalk it up to Aqua Net or something, but five or six months after that first frost in November, the temperatures dipped above acceptable-for-paint again. But by that point, as best I can figure, Johnny had decided he was done. He liked the house in two different colors, and he saw no reason why it shouldn’t stay that way.

Oh sure, he had excuses. “My ribs are broken!” “My brother died!” “I broke my toe!” But mostly what it came down to, he said, was weather. If it has rained, is raining, or is going to rain, then nothing paint-related can be done outside.

This may seem reasonable, but look at that sentence again. How often, in spring in New England, is it neither raining, drying from, or fixing to? And mind you, also, there is much he could be doing on the inside in the meantime. I’m still waiting, for instance, for the final finish on my kitchen floor. I expected (and wrote) that it would be done over Easter, but by the looks of my kitchen, that poor bastard is still hanging on that cross.

What? What? I said it. What? Oh, hey, tell Johnny. Maybe it’ll make him mad enough to throw the floor and get that bastard down.

Now where was I? Oh, yeah, that's right: the outside-paint.

It so happens we have close to thirty people coming over in mid-June for a cookout, and Johnny's sworn the AssVac will be one-toned when they arrive. Even if it means he has to let me do the dormer, because he’s all “I fell from a great height once and broke my back and now I’m scared!” But the days keep going by, pulling us into the future, and he says there’s three and a half weeks of work left.

“Three and a half and done?”  I asked. “Or 25 days spread out over three months, taking rain-days and rest-days into account?”


He actually had the sterile balls to get a little pissed at me for asking.

“Three. And a half. Weeks.

“Don’t worry about it.”

So now I’m worried.

It actually has been raining all week here, finally. Plus (as I mentioned above) Johnny has for the first time since last summer actually had paying work. So I can’t be mad at him about this. And yet time keeps on slipping, and so what’s a girl to do?

I mean, he didn’t have paid work last week, and it wasn’t raining, and yet he spent all that time cleaning out the freezers and making pots of soup. Is that industrious? Or stupid?

He actually went out over the weekend. Spent the whole time in the backyard raking leaves. Out of the one spot where we’ve never raked leaves from before. And never mind he didn’t help me rake the yard. Never mind he seemed to judge I’d left that spot there. What really teed me was his reasoning: We have almost thirty people coming over in a month, he said. What would they think if they saw the leaves?

I don’t know, dear. What will they think when the directions describe the house in different colors depending on which angle they approach from?


Or North?

Johnny’s still here, by the way. He was supposed to leave an hour ago, but John B. called and said he would be late. By the sounds I'm hearing through the office wall, I'm guessing he's decided to have a wash. But before that, he took all those outside pictures of the house because I asked him, and he never even wanted to know why. He doesn’t know I’m writing this bit, either, but you can bet he’ll wonder what the photographs were for.

What should I tell him?


pork luck said...

Tell him you're sending the pics to a professional painter to get an estimate. That should get him good and worked up!

12ontheinside said...

Ohh, brilliant idea, pork luck!!!!

Camille said...

THIS IS HILARIOUS. I'm sorry about your unfortunate two-toned house, but at least the blossoming tree is beautiful!

I found you from delightful blogs, by the way.

beardonaut said...

An interesting post, I'm sure, but all I can think about is:
1. The beard on that big fellow. Good on you, sir!
2. The fact that Johnny shaved. What the hell?

ege said...

PorkPie -- You are BRILLIANT!

12 -- Right-o!

Camill -- Welcome! The dogwood IS a saving grace, you're right. (and thanks for telling me you came from delightful blogs, I didn't know if anybody ever came from there!).

Beardo -- Well, John B. doesn't so much have the beard anymore, either. I just didn't have an up-to-date picture of him. They both grow them in winter and shave in spring. Because of that whole "getting warm" thing that happens around here.

Sparkle Plenty said...

I know that the house misbehaves and compounds stress and is generally an Assvacityville Horror from time to time (or more often), but BOY it is cute as a bug's ear (a wicked cute bug). (Please don't hate me--I think it's even cute in it's two-toned "spectator house" incarnation.)

Zzt: Porky is a genius.

(I love that beardonaut focused on the beards!)

su said...

Tell him........ oh never mind!

Jenni said...

Oh but when he does finish the color will be great.

ege said...

Sparkle -- Aw, gee. I guess it kinds is... Thanks!

Su -- "...oh never mind" Got it!

Jenni -- Thanks! I kinda like it myself.

(It's sunny and breezy here today so he's actually out there! Playing guitar. Who wants to kill him for me?)