Tuesday, July 29, 2008

In Which I'm in Deep Trouble

Whereas imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so too spoofery is flattery with a warning that yeah, you're good but don't get a swelled head.

Were I to be asked for a story by my daughter, I'd rest my fork, peer down over my glasses and suggest "I don't know who the freak you are. Granted I've played around but in terms of progeny, I'd have remembered a shot that well targeted."

So of course she'd have to confess her true identity as a midget East German gymnast and all familial overtones to bedtime would be cast aside.

So here's a dinnertime story, my little blogosphere of retired anabolically-steroided worker's paradise showpieces.

I needed a paint mixer today and ran across the six lane state road to the hardware store across the way. That's as far as I travel these days, my wings are a little clipped what with the Knob and Tube and Parmour still on my asset sheet. Thanks to some third level underwriter at CountrySide going "Oops" a few months ago, a couple of us are up to our asses in real estate when we should be shouting "more hurricanes for my men!" at some bar on Duval or Rue Dauphin.

That's not to say that no one is travelling. One of Thumper's is across the pond feasting on frog legs these days. Literally. Two years ago there were near tears because the Thanksgiving turkey "felt funny." Now frog legs. Hell, I haven't eaten the damn things. Probably because in the world of unintended consequences I'd eat them, like them and six weeks later get an envelope full of address labels and a nickel reminding me that "a nickel a day can get a frog walking again."

You see scary shit when you cross a six lane road. Even a six lane road with a pedestrian crosswalk and a signal. Like full-sized hummers changing lanes without turn signals while Gretchen is on the cell phone. Or the Lexus that stops midway across the crosswalk because Ray took the time to look up from his Ipod shuffle.

I needed the paint mixer because the drywall primer was bought for a project four houses ago. I've finally finished my mastic makeover but paint tends to react to raw plaster the way tall blonde women react to me. With all the rejection one would ascribe to a middle aged chihuahua with a leg humping problem. Paint tends to peel off of raw plaster. Drywall primer is sort of like the spiked drink that makes things a little more palatable in that relationship. This of course is where I get into trouble because I have bought a paint mixer.

Not that I have bought the paint mixer and we are tight on cash.

Not that I make smartass remarks to elevator passengers asking "whatcha got there?" and pointing.

"Magic wand. I'll be turning those I don't favor into stale croutons this afternoon."

I'm sure HR will be calling me about that. No worries. I said croutons but meant nothing more severe than sunflower seeds.

No, I'm in trouble because Thumper already has a paint mixer and do we need two (or in the case of electric sanders, seven) of everything?

Trouble is Thumper's is huge. You could stir Chesapeake Bay with it. I have a gallon of paint. If I used it I'd fear creating my own low pressure system. Nonetheless I'm sure I'm going to hear something about it. But that's all right, because its not what you do or don't have but the special moments you share with those you love. Its not that I was poor and kept shorts in the freezer because starch was a luxury, its that in later years you can look back on days like that and think:

"That really sucked."

So I'm going to cherish the paint mixer moment with Thumper because now we have each other as well as two mixers. When that special moment comes along and we're both in the basement and she's found where I've hidden the thing all these months, her lips will purse into a wry smile, she'll ask if this is another paint mixer, I'll look deep into her eyes, wave my hand and turn her into a crouton.

Bunny on.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Question Boilerplate

I've just gotten one too many emails and notices advising me to "call if you have any questions."

Do the math. If you've presented an idea so poorly as to warrant a universal re-do maybe you need to re-think the presentation.

Nonetheless, "call or email if you have any questions."

So I did.


Question for you on this last set of projections.

"go ahead."

Ok. Two trains leave Chicago at 8.20 pm CST. One is painted purple and carries highly unstable fissionable nuclear material. The other is being driven by a kitten?

"where you going with this?"

Where you going?

Best and bunny on.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Norm's At The Corner Tap, Crying In His Beer

There's no such thing as a small project in a large old house. The rule of thumb is to take complexity, or ease, and multiply by eight in the former, sixteen thousand in the latter. Time's another thing. If its a weekend project, I'll see you again around Christmas.

This Old House is a fine program but its basically a huge crock of fiction. Professional tradespeople walk around a lightly used old place who's value escalates thirty four percent over the course of the first episode and remark what they're going to do.

"Well, we're going to bring the brightest and best in, full crews, throw a small steamer trunk of money at replacing the sink in the half bath and be broom clean by nightfall."

Yeah no problem. I'm just like that. Sort of a Tommy Silva but one who drinks, swears and hasn't the first idea of what he's doing. How the fuck does the the faucet work in the first place, never mind pulling it out without leaving gouges the size of glacier tracks in the chrome finish?

No surprises then that the latest project at Paramour is the half bath.

This was a convenient little room, just off the office where you could pop in for a tinkle and a wash without having to slog up the stairs and have your ankles sexed by the cat. No number two if you please, you're on the same level as the kitchen and the den and we don't want to be introducing Smellavision to the cable package offering.

But the convenient little room is completely paneled in Formica. Yep, as in the countertop. Sixties vintage, with darling little flecks of gold in the finish that you could pretend are real or are moving if you happen to be in the can after a bender.

Like some guys I once shared a factory floor with it was ugly but it worked. So you didn't stare and did your business as best you could. Of course, I'm Joe Can't Ever Leave Good Enough Alone and I just have to freaking have storage space in the goddam room. Why, I have no idea? Maybe because I've got a little wooden shelf that was once in our half bath two houses ago and it would look good in the corner. Never mind that in the old marital house it held decorative potpourri and the best it'll do here is folded up morning papers. Its gotta go up on the wall. Oh and while I'm at it, lemme hang the mirror up to.

Driving the screws into the wall had the effect of pulling the Formica paneling off the wall. Now I could have lived with that since a squirt of liquid nails will re-stick anything and I'll toss the shelf into the basement. It was that trying to anchor the mirror pulled the rest of the Formica off and nobody wants to freshen up in a mirror that might come crashing down into Wolverine claw shaped shards at any moment.

So I pull the entire panel off the wall. It's glued up there with Mastic. Mastic is of course a brand named product, so named because you can't build a TV ad campaign around a product called Aggregated Child Snot. Mastic and plaster come falling off the wall in huge chunks not unlike teeth out of a bar room fighter's mouth. One panel apparently also loosens another panel which comes crashing down knocking another panel off and, well you get the picture. Finally the ceiling gives (yes, Formica and Mastic made an unholy pact up there too) but holds thanks to two frayed sparking electrical wires powering the light. I feel better already.

At this point in the show, Norm would be studying a map and remarking "Weymouth? We're supposed to be in Westboro. Sorry guys, let's pack up."

At this point in my show I'm wondering about drywalling over the door and lying about there ever being a half bath in the first place. But no.

There's a reason the gods of construction made joint compound malleable. Its because every once in a while a house like mine comes along that's as familiar with a smooth, level, even surface as Osama Bin Ladin is with pig roast barbecue. Covers over a host of problems, one of them being a past orgy of Mastic. Conceptually I'm putting joint compound over the high spots of the Mastic to create the illusion of a smooth wall. Sort of like if God filled in around the high spots of the Rockies and created a new Great Plains.

Except I'd hope God'd swear less and not brush fresh prairie fill on his forehead. This is to say that, yes, after the second slather of joint compound had dried and was sanded down I came out looking like Flour-Boy.

But we're in the home stretch. One more wall needs a final sanding then I can prime and paint.

And the wallpaper in the hallway looks just fine, thanks!

Bunny on.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Three of a Kind

Three years ago yesterday was the first time I posted to the Bunny. I had been outside on the back deck watching fireflies light up like so many flashbulbs at a rock concert.

Thumper called last night reminding me to go out and look at the fireflies. They reminded her of me. She only sees me lit? No, that was too easy. They were just pretty things that made her think of me.

They are pretty things and, being humans, we like to co-opt pretty things to do our bidding. We build formal gardens, espalier fruit trees, domesticate animals or put them in zoos. We're a stupid species. Look at fireflies, we capture them and lock them in jars to provide a weak and feeble light by which we can read dirty magazines in treehouses. Its so stupid and useless.

If they provided primitive ethanol, we could load the little bastards into our gas tank by the ton. Now there's a helpful application of nature!

My commute these days runs down a bucolic farm lane that passes through a few small towns. One features a "Full Gospel Church" proclaimed by a big blue banner on the side of the building. Got me to thinking if there's a "Half Gospel Church" around anywhere. Maybe for those with a touch of agnosticism or pragmatists who think its all far too wordy.

"Flock, today we shall discard Romans 12. The syntax is awkward. Also, Corinthians 8, pretty much is just more of Corinthians 7. Oh, and St. Paul's Letters to the Apostles, I think we can do away with the ones about the best take-out in Nazareth."

I got stuck behind a Lexus SUV the other day. This has to be the most boring vehicle known to man. Onboard functions included self adjusting mirrors, a global positioning system, on line stock quotes, probably an on board coffee maker and a little buzzer that goes off to keep the driver from planting his forehead on the steering wheel as he passes out asleep. Maybe they can put a heads up reminder screen on the inside of the windshield pointing to the happy accelerator pedal and would you please press it a little harder, at least do the speed limit? The bucolicism is becoming entirely too much. The William Tell overture is starting to play in my head.

So three years later, hundreds of posts, two houses we're still all here.

And I'm still out on a porch staring at fireflies. Something comforting in that.

Bunny on.

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