Thursday, December 14, 2006

More locusts.

This is what I get for writing “Tomorrow” instead of “Whenever I get around to it”; I actually have to finish what I start.

Sigh.

Okay, so when we left our luckless heroine, she had a sick child, a sick car and a sick neck. On the plus side, she had a supportive Consort and no longer had stitches in her head.

I made my way home without looking over to the right; the steady throbbing ache provided a reminder not to move my head, but so did my mumbling “Move along, nothing to see over there” to myself whenever the right side of the world started to sound interesting.

When I got home, Daughter was sweaty and sleeping, Consort was writing emails, all seemed to be fine. He could work from home for a while longer, but there was an unavoidable meeting mid-afternoon, which was to take place about ten minutes from the doctor’s office from whence I had just come.

Oh, irony. How I hate you.

All we had to do was wait for Daughter to wake up, have Consort drive us to the rental-car place, get a car and bring it home. I could then take a pain pill and forbear from operating heavy machinery. I believe this was Plan L. While I waited, I attempted to clean the kitchen a bit. Moving methodically if not gracefully, I managed to fill the dishwasher without moving anything above my sternum. Having filled it, I pushed the “Start” button.

It didn’t.

I pushed “Start” again, and again, and then once more just for the feeling of the control panel under my finger. I opened the dishwasher’s door, joggled it a bit, which joggled me a bit, sending off new fireworks of pain into my skull but doing nothing for making the dishwasher work. I considered all of my options:

1) Empty the entire dishwasher, because clearly I was going to have to call the appliance guy.
2) Wait for the pain pills to kick in before I empty the entire dishwasher.
3) Cry while emptying the dishwasher.

I went with:

4) Hide in bedroom and pretend the kitchen is part of someone else’s house.

Right around the time that Consort was going to have to leave, Daughter woke up on her own. The nap and vomiting appeared to have done her some good, as she was more her usual self, less of the lead character in a Tennessee Williams play. Consort put on his shoes, grabbed his coat, and we were heading out the door when I did something so stupid as to be almost charming.

Almost.

When Consort dies -- may it be centuries from now -- his tombstone will read “He fixed”. He fixes problems, he fixes people, but mostly he fixes mechanical objects. The point where the enigmatic metaphorical knot finally, after patient ministration, comes unwound in his hands is a source of pure endorphin to his brain. I know these things as well as I know that I have no idea where my car keys are located. He cannot leave a problem alone.

So why, oh why, OH PLEASE TELL ME WHY, when we were racing through the kitchen towards the garage and his car, did I burble “By the way, the dishwasher isn’t working”?

He came to a cartoon stop and squinted thoughtfully at the dishwasher. I know that look. It’s the look which precedes trips to Home Depot. I immediately started back-tracking.

“No. Just leave it. It will be just as broken tonight, or...fixed! You remember the time that thing I had just fixed was...“

But he was already down on his hands and knees, his dress pants velcro-ing up pet hair, his body lost up to his floating ribs in the maw of the dishwasher.

“I think I see the problem," his voice emerged from somewhere deep inside the appliance. "This shouldn’t take more than ten minutes.”

Daughter announced that she might, possibly, maybe need to vomit again. I whisked her off to the bathroom where we spent several minutes determining this was a false alarm but that she wanted to go back to bed. I gently dissuaded her, promising her not only a nap but weekday television once we got home from getting the rental car. We walked back into the kitchen, prepared to leave. The dishwasher was out of the wall, in the middle of the kitchen, screws forming a sort of halo around the dismembered front panel. Consort, cross-legged and dusty, looked up.

“The copper water-intake pipe is crimped. That’s not the reason it isn’t working now, but it would explain why everything hasn’t been getting as clean.”

“Hey, a new fact about our house!.”

A snotty tone is completely lost on a man trying to remember where his wee set of Allen wrenches went.

I watched him touching wires to determine if the washer had shorted as Daughter snuck away and crawled on to the couch.

“You need to go to work.” I offered, knowing I was far less interesting then a smelly non-working appliance.

He said vaguely, “I know. This should take no more than…huh. Look at that.”

And that, Gentle Reader, is when this day finally got funny for me. Something about a grown man wearing a necktie, a dress shirt and what appeared to be cat-hair trousers staring meaningfully into my dishwasher finally put me over the edge. Nothing, not one single thing, was going to go right today, and you know what?

I just had to ride it out. This day had become something like performance art, and like every performance art piece I have ever seen, I had no idea what in the hell I was looking at, or why they were doing a single thing they were doing. The only thing I could hope to do was admire the elements. The Fates had decided to toy with me today, and all I could do was marvel at their prop choices:

“The only rental car available at three in the afternoon is covered in dog hair? I appear to be allergic to whatever kind of dog this is? That’s some fine detail work.”

“I think we all knew that when I was washing the dishes I took out of the dishwasher I was going to cut my finger on a knife, but may I commend you, oh impish Fate, on your choice of a serrated knife? The ragged edges of the wound endlessly leaking blood are a lovely visual.”

“Now the disposal isn’t working? Oh, you scamp!”

Please don’t think I was shaking my fist at the heavens. It was actually sort of interesting. This day sucked, sucked loudly in fact, but in this day of suckage, I found my inner Buddhist. I couldn’t live in the past, where my life didn’t suck, because I had to keep changing finger bandages and making sure Daughter had her bucket. I couldn’t live in the future because, frankly, I was a little frightened of what was planned for me next. All I could do was live from second to second, dealing with the rolling black-out or hurricane of toads or whatever else was up next on my dance card. And taken on a moment-to-moment basis, it was strangely entertaining.

Two days later, here's the head-count:

Daughter is on the mend.

My finger has almost completed clotting.

The dishwasher has to be replaced.

The disposal has to be replaced at some point, but can live for a while longer.

The dishwasher and disposal, even though they live next to one another and broke within an hour of each other, broke for completely unrelated reasons. This amazed the appliance repairman, but I merely looked up toward the sky and mouthed “Good one”.

I may not always understand it, but I know good theater when I see it.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Jeff said...

Fantastic! Reminds me of a warning I like to give people. Never ask "Whats next?" Because dammit the fates seem far too willing to answer that question.

4:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh yeah...altho' the saying is "God never gives you more than you can handle," that doesn't mean He doesn't enjoy a good giggle at our expense.

4:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness! If laughter is the best medicine, then your last two posts will keep me healthy for a good long time! I can SO relate to the vomitous child syndrome. You see that look in their eyes and you know that you have but mere milliseconds to get them to the toilet or a bucket before all hell breaks loose.

9:14 AM  
Blogger OHN said...

Wow- I certainly hope you didn't waste any money on a lottery ticket that day :)

Give your daughter a big hug for warning you that she may be about to blow...my boys never seemed to make it to the bathroom and they always seemed to miss the 800 square feet of tile we have and shoot for the carpet.

Also, you need to make sure that Consort has a microchip implanted in case he ever wanders away. He definately is a keeper and you wouldn't want to lose him.

I sure hope your week improved :)

3:45 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

Um, at least you had electricity? Oh, nevermind. You win. That was a rotten day which makes me 13-hours without electricity look like a festive party.

Hope the weekend rocks!

11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your day gives new meaning to the word "Suck".

7:33 PM  
Blogger Demented M said...

Oh yes, I've had those days.

Great post.

M

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hahahaa I found your blog by way of www.jennsylvania.com. You guys make me laugh out loud. I have 13 and 5 yr old boys. Life can be great or a complete suckfest. I totally understand.

7:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

www.finickyholli.blogspot.com if you want to read about some of my sucky days.

7:48 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Hillarious. Your blog always makes me laugh. You are a terrific writer.

BTW, I watched "The Goodbye Girl" for the first time ever the other day. (I liked it.)

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As always, very funny and worth the wait.

Elle

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can relate all too well (except for the Consort and Daughter part).

I, too, cut my finger with a serrated knife just the other day, in the midst of preparing for a houseful of guests. Then, the vacuum cleaner belt broke.

No prob, I thought, I have a replacement belt at the ready. Which then proceeded to break two minutes later, causing the vacuum to barf dirt and dust and dog hair all over my bedroom carpet. Yippee!

This was all following a several months long spate of things going from bad to worse to unbelievably biblically epic. I've been waiting for the locusts and the frogs to rain down, myself.

I love your performance art analogy. So true! I may have to borrow that, giving you all due credit, of course.

Glad to have found your blog. You're a wonderful writer!

12:06 PM  

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