So as occasionally happens when you’re a homeowner, last week we had a representative of a local business show up on our porch and do his best to convince us to give him some of our money for, I’m not kidding, “a problem that you probably haven’t noticed yet.” I said no, which of course he ignored, and he continued to prattle on about his company’s wonderful extermination service and how they were giving it away “for dirt cheap” the following day.
Happily I’ve gotten old enough and confident enough that I can say no without feeling like I have to justify myself, although I did have a number of reasons. I could have told him that I don’t hire companies that have to go door to door to drum up business, which is true. I could have said that I don’t give money to people who come to my door because I’ve been scammed before, which is also true. But the true reason I don’t hire door-to-door salesmen lies a decade in the past with a man named Dave.
Coming Up For Air
(originally published 6/4/2007)
I know I haven’t had a lot to say here lately, and that is due to the fact that I have been deep in the bowels of Being A Homeowner.
It all started so innocently back at the beginning of May when my husband uttered those four little words: “We’ve got wood rot.”
So that meant that I performed all my tutoring sessions for the rest of that month to the mellifluous background soundtrack melody of huge pieces of wood being ripped off the side of the house.
Because you know that the repairs did not stop with just the affected section. Oh no. Because that section was right next to the porch, a porch that of course became sadly shabby and run-down looking when compared to the brand spankin’, freshly painted new side of the house. So naturally we had to rip out the entire porch railing and prepare to “redo the deck”, a portentous sounding project if I ever heard one.
Apparently I then spent a lot of time beseeching the universe for Ways I Can Get Out Of Having To Do This Please!, because one day when I came home from working out, there, in my driveway, was Dave.
Dave has a wonderful voice, a voice very much like that of Mike Rowe, former opera singer and current host of the TV show “Dirty Jobs” on the Discovery Channel. I really didn’t care what Dave had to say, as long as he just kept on saying it. But then I began listening to his words.
“Behold,” said Dave, “your concrete is all black and dirty, like unto the dark heart of the blackest night. But I wilt come and wash it with my special “hot chemical”, and lo, it will shine like the clearest diamond and sparkle like the brightest sun.”
“Hm,” I replied.
“And verily,” continued Dave, “we also do decks.”
So we hired Dave to come and work on our house. And Dave pressure washed the house, the deck, the driveway, and all our walkways. And it was very good.
But it was also dangerous, because that was the moment that we all began Getting Ideas.
“You know,” I said to my husband, “wouldn’t it be a great idea to have your family and my family down for Memorial Day?”
“You know,” said Dave, “now that the house is clean, this is the perfect time to re-paint it.”
And so his idea and my idea met, collided, and then took on a whole life of their own.
Now that we are getting the entire house re-painted,
-Of course we have to rebuild the entire deck railing from scratch
-and re-landscape the entire front lawn
-and construct a special container on the side lawn to hold the enormous pile of gravel that’s been sitting on our driveway for an entire year (don’t ask)
-And sure, I can also prepare all of my students for their final exams in Spanish
-And host some out-of-town guests
-And easily conclude the final “tapering off” of the anti-depressant I’ve been taking for the past 14 years a mere week before we host our first ever joint family holiday gathering
Not surprisingly, my body responded to all of my insane delusions by sticking out its tongue, making a funny face, and contracting strep throat (which in turn meant receiving various helpful, yet painful, shots in the ass.)
If you listen very closely, you can still hear the quiet ticking of the Crazy Time Bomb Of Doom that I had become. Clearly, a meltdown was imminent.
The final straw occurred on the Thursday before the party when I tried, and failed, to plant three gardenia bushes in our front yard. It should give you some indication of just how completely at-the-end-of-my-ability-to-function-in-everyday-life I was that I was incapable of digging three holes in the ground, filling them with plants that had already been grown, and covering them back up with dirt.
Fortunately my husband arrived home not long after that and took over, although my hysterical wailing at first convinced him that I’d somehow accidentally lopped off one of my arms with the garden shears.
So he took over the planting, and I decided to do a few more weeks of tapering the meds, and the world slowly began to right itself once more.
Which was a very good thing, because the next day when he showed up to work on the house Dave motioned for me to come outside to where he was standing.
“Hi,” said Dave. “I think you have termites.”
Happily we don’t, and the party went well, and Dave has just about run out of Finding Things To Fix. I think.