Friday, March 23, 2012

Things like this can only happen to me

original run date March 13, 2012
Chariton Valley News Press

As the ongoing house project eats away at our free time of an evening and weekend, I have been trying desperately to keep my sense of humor.  With every continuing square inch of damage we find, the harder that has become.  But an incident the other night actually helped me find the humor in all of this again.
Things were going pretty smoothly for once.  Larry had found all the ceiling joists and had cut the old sheetrock so we could take it out in pieces.  I had gone into the other room to grab something when I heard my name shrieked out in what sounded like desperation.
 As I made my way back into the utility room, I saw fat cat (Zoey) leap in the air.  Well, leap may be stretching it but she sure was trying to get off the floor.  In the process of taking down the old ceiling, Larry had disturbed a bird that had made her home in the attic.  Birdy was streaking across the utility room in an attempt to make it back into her nest and stay away from the cat.
Birdy quickly found the door going into our bedroom and made a break for it.  It didn’t take her long to figure out the only way out was the same hole that she came through to begin with.  She managed to cross several thresholds and found herself trapped in my craft room.  Larry and I discussed the situation and figured it should be easy to get her to fly straight out the front door and to freedom.  Wrong!  She flew straight at me with the intention of taking hair off my head for her replacement nest. 
I quickly grabbed the two, small throw pillows off the couch and used my make shift guidance devices to guide her towards the door.  She found the door and sat on top of it, panting as she reassessed her predicament.  She made another break for it with Zoey in hot pursuit, Larry following close behind, and me bringing up the rear with my pillows still in hand in case she made for my head again. 
Birdy once again found her way into our bedroom.  Larry slammed the door shut and the cat jumped on the bed in hopes of getting closer to her prey.  The bird perched on the ceiling fan blade to try and catch her breath. 
I figured the only way to get rid of her was through the window, so I threw the window open and pulled the screen.  Larry, being the brilliant mind that he is, turned the ceiling fan on to expedite Birdy’s departure.  It didn’t work well.  She hit the opposite wall and slid to the floor.  I was able to grab her without her beak drilling holes in my hand and granted her freedom through the open window. 
Finally, calm was restored and we could get back to work.  Zoey stayed on the bed and took a nap.  She had worn herself slick trying to catch that bird.  Much to my dismay, Birdy was only the beginning of the excitement that evening.
Since I have been losing weight, I have quite a few baggy clothes in the closet.  It really worked out well for me during this home improvement project because I have plenty of “old, work” clothes to wear.  Since we were taking the ceiling out, we had a bit of a draft going through the house.  I had grabbed a baggy sweatshirt and some loose fitting pants to work in.  That was a decision which came back to haunt me.
I was diligently tearing out sheetrock while trying to keep the “pink panther” insulation in place in the attic.  I don’t know if any of you have ever looked in your attic but some interesting things find a resting spot on the topside of the insulation.  Our attic is no exception.  As one particularly large junk of sheetrock came crashing down on my head, I ducked.  I was trying to avoid all that offensive matter raining into my eyes and mouth. 
As I bent down, my sweatshirt took a ride up my back and my baggy pants made the trip south.  That left little but a body crevice with a tunneling effect to catch all the debris.  As I straightened up, I realized the construction work was going to come to a screaming halt until this situation could be fixed.
As I started to dig through the newly created treasure chest of crud, my husband tried desperately to stifle the laughter.  I finally looked at him and gave him permission to let it go.  He was going to explode if he held it in much longer.
The first treasure that I found was the remains of a mud dauber’s nest.  Thankfully, no mud daubers were injured in their fall.  The shingle the size of a deck of cards was an interesting find.  It left most of its grit behind though.  The remains of Birdy’s nest had found a new home as well.  But by far the most offensive “treasure” that I produced was the piece of fiberglass insulation that floated peacefully into its new resting place like a cloud on a summer day. 
It was the last thing I found and most surprising.  I shook all the little pieces out of my sweats and made my way back to the stepstool to finish my job.  It didn’t take but a few minutes to realize the insulation had left some residue behind.  My skin was burning.  I was hoping a quick change of sweatpants would fix the problem but I was sorely disappointed. 
After about an hour, Larry lost his assistant for the night.  I couldn’t take it anymore and hurried for the shower.  After several gallons of warm water and about half a bottle of body wash, the burning residue was washed away.  I was once again in clean clothes. 
I won’t lie about the fact that all the damage and unplanned repairs we have had to make have had me pretty stressed the last few weeks.  This was supposed to be a simple fix of a few minor problems and a repaint type project. 
But after that night I decided I might as well find the silver lining in this storm and I came to some conclusions. First, we found the damage before the kitchen cabinets fell off the walls.  We would have then had to not only fix the original damage but the kitchen and cabinet contents as well.  Second, when all this is finished, my spring-cleaning should be fairly easy.  Most everything will be freshly scrubbed and painted.
All these “this can only happen to me” moments certainly give me something to write about each week.  I hope I can keep my sense of humor about it so Larry doesn’t explode from trying not to laugh at me during my “duh” moments.  If not, maybe he can start writing a column.  I’m sure his point of view would make for an interesting perspective.

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