It's not about the house.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

More or Less Bunk, Part VI: The Bloom is Off

Nobody guessed the song I named Rose after, which means I gotta fess up to it myself. So, fine.... 

It was Poison, okay? A sensitive, hair-band ballad by Brett “Rock of Love Bus” Michaels about how it feels to have your heart broke by a stripper – and you really gotta feel for the bastard, because who could’ve seen that coming? – by the name of “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” The song's named that, I mean, not Brett's ex-stripper. I don’t know what the ex-stripper's called herself. Maybe Kandi Kane or Crystal Chandelier or something, but I'd take bets she didn't call herself Rose Thorn. Rose Thorn is a drag queen name, if anything. Anyway, the point is that the moniker called out to me because, like I said, the moss-colored Camry is my car now, so no matter how sweet she may be smelling, you know that she'll turn out to be a prick.

Since you people didn't guess it, though, and made me say the words "Brett Michaels" right out loud, then you’re not getting this wrap-up post in verse. Which is too bad, really. I’m quite good at it, as some of you know. But ah, well. We’ll find some other excuse for me to break out the rhyming dictionary soon enough, but in the meantime you’ll have to turn on your radios and settle for some other sad, sad cowboy song.

And so, without further ado: the conclusion!

When we were redoing our kitchen, there was much discussion about where the refrigerator ought to go. And when you picture this “discussion” (don't worry, I know you try to mentally picture everything I describe; it's okay, so long as you don't try to picture me writing it in my hooded sweatshirt and flannel pyjama bottoms with the newly-minted trap door where I caught them on a nail) just imagine me saying it should stay right where it was, Johnny saying it should go by the door, and then repeat, until I realize I don’t give a holy hoo where the refrigerator goes and I give in. I know we’re never going to build the damn breakfast nook he thinks he’s making room for, so why not throw him a refrigerator-bone?

It was a decision that had to be made, you see, because everybody said the fridge-plug ought to be on its own circuit. Hasn’t ever been before and nothing untoward happened, but this time we were determined to Do It Right. Don’t burn the house down, that's my motto. Not by mistake, anyway, before you have a chance to get the critters out. So Andy – who was doing the wiring for us because he got a DUI and lost his license and with it his job so he was trying to quit drinking and needed something to keep the devil from his idle hands – ran the dedicated circuit for the fridge-plug by the door. We didn't actually move it yet, though. The plan was for it to stay where it was until the rest of the room was finished, at which point Johnny would strip and varnish half the floor on one day, then move the fridge and do the other half the next.

Instead what happened was that Johnny did the whole floor in one day around the fridge, then decided he liked it right where it was. I actually fought with him about this for a while, until I remembered it was what I wanted in the first place. Sort of. I mean, I didn't want a three-foot square of unfinished old floor underneath it, or a dedicated-circuit outlet over by the door and not-one where the fridge actually is. But now everybody says the circuit thing doesn’t matter. I may be imagining it, but I’m starting to suspect that everybody’s full of shit.

So why am I telling you this story about my kitchen when I'm supposed to be wrapping up a six-parter about the car? Because I want to know if I'm the only one who smells a pattern...

See, when we got the New Car – sorry, when we got Rose – Johnny assumed we’d sell Chuck (TFT). He thought we could probably get $300 for him, which may not be much but it's hell of a lot more than nothing, yet I resisted. We’d just had Chuck inspected and insured, I reasoned, so he wouldn’t cost us anything for another year -- especially if we just let him sit idle in the driveway like a symbol of the white-trash status we've achieved. I know that seems more like something Johnny would argue for, I'm usually the one trying to get rid of his old crap, but it was very hard on me these past few months (or seven), having to be all kinds of Maudlin places and never knowing if I'd get there till I actually arrived. Since we still had him anyway, I wanted to keep Chuck (TFT) as a spare car, within reach for just a while, at least till my agita settled down.

I won that one. Pretty easily, too. I guess it was a bit of a hollow victory, considering Johnny’s Collyer-brother tendencies and how much I have always hated Chuck. But still, Johnny and I have been together thirteen years: anytime I get what I want without a struggle, I consider it a victory well won. Or at least I did, until I overheard Johnny on the telephone soon after, very clearly giving Chuck away. To Andy.

I'll wait here while you go ahead and scroll back up, make sure you’re remembering things right. Go ahead, it's okay, take your time...

Are you back? Did you find it? Where I said “Andy got a DUI and lost his license”? Yeah.

I started hooting and hollering over Johnny's shoulder, saying I was sorry, Andy, but we'd decided we were keeping The Fucking Truck! Johnny ran out of the room and hung up before Andy could hear what I said. At which point what I said was "What the fuck?"

Well, it turns out Johnny owes Andy money – which I knew about but totally forgot. Last year, when Johnny's brother died, Andy reached into his wallet and handed him $300 for the trip back home. We didn’t ask for it – in fact, as I remember, we didn’t even really need it in the first place – but sympathetic gestures at times like that can be hard, and Andy was just trying to show he cared. It’s shitty that we took this long to pay him back. There’s no excuse. We just forgot. Or I did. I think Johnny probably thought we didn’t have it. Which, I mean, we don’t. Not in the sense of random $300s just lying around waiting to be spoken for. But Andy’s a friend, we owe it to him, and so yes, the money’s there.

At first I wanted to cut Andy a check right then and there. But the agita was fading, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized (don't tell Johnny) that his plan made better sense. It would have been nice if he’d consulted me, but still. We don’t have piles of $300s lying around, and The New Car – ROSE! – has well begun to prove her mettle. Besides, it really is kind of dumb to keep a second car around for just-in-case. And what the hell ever gave me the idea that if good old reliable Rose was under the weather, punk-ass Chuck (TFT) would come through?

So we left a message for Andy saying it was up to him. I still don’t know why he’d want a car he’s not allowed to operate - he might actually prefer to get the cash – but if he wants Chuck (TFT), then he can have him.

Since it’s just me & Rose now, though, I’m determined to look after her and treat her right. According to the experts, she’s the best car I’ve ever owned, and if I want to keep her in fighting shape I’m going to have to do all the maintenance-y sorts of things I never do. Oil changes. Tune ups. Tire pressure kept at what the book says and not just some random number roughly corresponding to my age. And car washes.

Turns out car washes aren’t just cosmetic thrill rides, they’re important. Rose spent the first twelve years of her life in warm, dry places like Arizona, New Mexico, and California – places where she didn’t see a lot of salt and snow – and that's why she looks so good for her age. Now that she’s a New Englander, it would be a crying shame for her engine to stay in good shape while her body slowly fell apart around her (not that I'd know what that feels like or anything). So last week, before I even got her oil changed, I took her to the Super Shine.

Forgot about the radio antenna. Bent it 90 degrees at the base. Now I only get three stations, and it always looks like me & Rose are going really fast.

Still waiting to hear Andy’s decision about Chuck.


12ontheinside said...

HA ha ha ha. I have done that with the radio antennae. It's really only funny when you hear about other people doing it. Eh, now I know why everyone laughed when I did it.

Jenni said...

Rose. A good name.

I won one of the poem contests once, so I disqualified myself and did not even try. I do thinks like that. Weird I know.

Sashimi said...

wha...? we don get no verse for trying?

Jennifer K. said...

I'm glad that I didn't embarrass myself with my 2nd guess…
… lets just keep the rhyming theme and say that it rhymes with “vapor noses” … which reminds me of Vicks menthol chest rub. Those Marie Osmond Nutisystem commercials must be seeping into my subconscious.