Friday, April 03, 2009

There's a hole in my bucket, Dear Liza

Once, in a previous rental, we had to have some plumbing done. My landlady was a rather suspicious person. And a little crazy. She lived half a continent away from our place, thank god, but insisted we call her and have her on the phone while the work was being done. I dutifully phoned when the workman arrived. “Does he look smart?” she asked. I held the receiver away from my ear and folded my hand over my face, my head hung, then returned it to the crook of my neck. “Very,” I told her. Perhaps she thought I could peer into the bathroom and spot the hint of a diploma tucked into the crack above his jeans. Or maybe she kept one of those ancient metal instruments in the shed that measured the size of a skull. I had just never noticed it there next to our box of Halloween lights and my upstairs neighbor's hibachi.

There was no doubt she was a nut case, with more than a small margin of elitist thrown in. At least, that was my view at the time. Then today happened. And the washing machine repairman happened, who arrived an hour earlier than we'd agreed interrupting my jet-lagged son's attempt at a nap and stared into the tub of grey water standing in my washer to ask, “It won't drain?” and her question seemed pretty relevant.

I could surely win the crazy landlord contest. But this time, we lucked out. The couple that owns our house seem normal, pleasant even. We send each other Christmas cards. Things are good. So when Simon told me his buddy didn't have time to come until Monday, I was okay with that. And then when he told me, no, wait, he can make it after all, at 4:00, I said great.

I had just finished reading Isaac a nice relaxing tale of fast-running meat-eating dinosaurs, when the banging began. The religious peddlers have nothing on this guy – pounding on the door like the place was on fire. I could have easily ignored him. Denial is something we carefully cultivate in my family. But then Isaac got all whiny-ass on me, “Mama, I don't like that noise!” What noise? The sound of a forest of logs being repeatedly pummeled into the castle door? So I was forced to get up and let him in.

I showed him to the culprit in question and informed him I needed to return to my child. That's when he came out with his brilliant statement about the lack of drainage at which point I confirmed for him the issue and promptly closed him in the garage. He called me out again, twice. The first time to inform me that before he could do anything we'd have to get the water out and the second time to inform me that before he could do anything we'd have to get the water out. That second time would have been about when I stepped backwards in bare feet into a pile of fresh cat vomit. Nap was so far going well.

After we parted with the joy of knowing that Monday we'd see each other again, I miraculously managed to get Isaac to sleep with reassurances that on Monday he could watch the “worker guy” fix the bloody machine. Before drifting off, Isaac wanted to know how we'd get the water out. “With a bucket, (Dear Liza).” “Then we can water the plants with it!!” he announced. And I knew right away. I'm raising an optimist. He has his father to blame for this.

So there I was, wasting a perfectly good nap time scooping water into a bucket that, yes, had a hole in it as it turned out, and tossing it into the backyard which by now was decorated with my family's underwear since the wind had blown down the clothes hanger containing the load of laundry that had had the misfortune of getting stuck in the cycle that never ended. That never ended. Never ended. Never ended. Ended. Ended. Ended...

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