|-written and tooned by Crack|
Part One: Mothers and PhonesWhenever something goes wrong with our new house, people say the same thing: "Welcome to being a homeowner!" They say it with glee, maybe even adding a little eager malice, like when you are the butt of some practical joke and, after having been burned, are more than willing to set-up the next unsuspecting shmoe that thinks you are their friend. Malicious and petty, but somehow satisfying in a sense of universal balance.
I have many examples to set the scales.
The first (as anyone who has ever shopped for homes can tell you) was buying the house itself from the former owners, a.k.a. pulling teeth from petulant five-year-olds masquerading as reasonable adults in a business transaction. A painful, annoying, illogical and emotionally-trying experience I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy... unless, of course, it happened to be our sellers, in which case they can rot in hell.
The second (as I will tell you myself) was the first freezing cold night. Luckily, our heat was fine, so it was the pipes, not our toes, that froze. This would have been a simple matter of pouring hot water down the sink to see if anything happened and then, if not, calling a plumber... but this was not the case. It was so close -- I had my list of errands, Jon was off to work, his family (which had come in to visit the night before, sans warning) were about to go, and my future mother-in-law, a more caring and concerned woman you never met, mentioned that the water wasn't running in one of the bathrooms.
"I'll take care of it," I assured her.
The pipes did freeze. Being a highly intelligent, experimental sort, he
did not rest after banging on the pipes; he hung hot towels on it, ran my
hairdryer over it and shone a halogen bulb near it (whose wattage could
not have fried an ant) and cursed its maker. Stalwart, he drove off to the
hardware store to buy supplies. We ladies tagged along, although I skipped
the return visit when he proclaimed that nothing he bought worked and
wanted to return it. Armed with armfuls of gadgetry, he resolutely tried
again and again and again. I went downstairs and debated the ceiling.
Pseudo-Mom was there too, having nothing better to do than take things
out of boxes and, realizing there was nowhere to put them, placing them
back into boxes. Fascinating. She longed for something to do (I tried
small talk, looking at photos, and offering movies on video: nyet) and
ended up sweeping the same hallway back and forth for a while.
"Aren't you going to call a PLUMBER, dear?" I prayed that she was making
conversation, but she looked expectant.
|Once the plumber showed up, he managed to compliment my pseudo-Mom, joke around with my pseudo-Dad, assure me that everything would be fine and thaw the pipes, which subsequently burst. Pseudo-Mom rushed-in for a mop but found only towels and sopped-up the water (unfortunately, we don't have a washer or dryer yet, so there went our clean towels). Pseudo-Dad said he knew it all along and went to show the plumber how to do it better. I began to cry inside my head. Words like "break through the ceiling" and "insurance should cover" flittered through the air and lodged in my ears.|
I counted-down the minutes until Jon came home and, once he did, how I would brutally murder everyone within arm's reach. Instead, Jon expertly diverted his mother to some helpful task, joked with his father about the inefficiency of the system, and excused me to bed where I found solace in old "Winnie the Pooh" books 'til I slept and it was all over.