Tuesday, July 14, 2015

And Then I Fix Something, Then Break Something Else

So, after the Garage Door Repair Triumph I guess it was inevitable there would need to be some sort of cosmic scales-balancing.

It came to pass that on the following Saturday I decided to do some yard work (pygmies having taken up residence in the shoulder-high grass of the front lawn1).

I broke out the mower, last used by The Stevieling and did a quick check. No gas, no oil, all as expected. The Stevieling once admitted to me that she "worked the mower until it started puffing out blue smoke as usual ..." and was appalled to be interrupted by my outraged screams of outrage to the point that she refused to pay attention during my lecture on how in all the years I had used the mower it had never smoked blue and that when it did it was a bad sign that the engine was overworking and overheating and about to commit suicide.

I plan on letting her pick the new mower when (not if) she explodes the crankcase. The sticker-shock should be good for some remorse after the fact and fingers-crossed for some behavior modification, mower-usage-wise.

I cut the front lawn down to size and did the grass verges. As is my usual practice I did not collect all the rubbish my thoughtful neighbors leave on my property line, but drove the mower over it all to mash it up and spit it all over the road so it can blow into their driveways and shred their tires. They must hate this trailer-trash nonsense and the shredded 16 ounce drink cups, beverage cans, liquor bottles and cigarette packs it scatters about, but since it is their garbage in the first place they can bite me, the bleepers.

Overcome with exhaustion and ennui I went groaning from a dozen small aches and pains for a lie down and that was that, until Mrs Stevie insisted I take her out for ice-cream. I tried appealing to her sympathy for my aches and pains but I forgot in my distress that she doesn't have one.

The next day I replaced a board in the deck at the front of the house. The old one had become "punked2" due to the combined actions of damp and ants. I got a new cedar plank with no real trouble from Home Despot and deployed Mr Chopsaw and Mr Drilldriver for a largely trouble-free install.

True, I did peel back the nail of my left big toe and true it did bleed profusely until my skillful use of medicinal linguistics cauterized the wound, but that doesn't count and I don't want to talk about it any more. It's not my fault that an outbreak of Ultra-Virulent Alberta Foot Rot means I must wear sandals as much as possible - even when stout boots would be more appropriate - until the cream works and the skin on my feet stops dissolving. If the American medical system is so much better than the Canadian one, how come it can't cure a rural Canadian foot fungus permanently? Eh? Eh? You think I like going through this Cannuck horseshirt every year? You think it is good for sneakers to put them through an extreme bleaching every few days? And how do you bleach dress shoes or stout boots? You can't, so they cannot be worn until the fat lady sings!

Where was I?

I tackled the back lawns and the mower made short work of them. Unfortunately, the last season of mowing had been left to The Stevieling, who won't use the weed whacker3, and so there were a bunch of weeds growing, some with stems as thick as my thumb4. Also, a lot of hardy-looking growth - maple tree seedlings for the most part - had taken root in the joint between the foundation and the driveway and was threatening the infrastructure of the Steveiemanse. Action Was Called For.

So I deployed Mr Weedwhacker. and in no time at all I had removed the weeds except the ones at the side of the house. Undaunted, nay, emboldened by the epic levels of weed wastage I was dealing out with the weedwhacker I stepped forward, adjusted my stance, tripped over the old fencepost lying behind me, recovered by standing on the large diameter pipe that is the post for the Stevieling's basketball net, lost my footing completely and wiped the screaming hurtybits of the weedwhacker up the vinyl siding that replaced the aluminum stuff used everywhere else after the events related here had been rectified.

Now I wasn't too worried since I'd hit the house occasionally with the old McCullough weedwhacker once or twice, but the Ryobi weedwhacker is obviously made of sterner stuff and the vinyl siding isn't because in a trice I'd managed to cut two nice, wide, ragged slots in the siding.

I paused a moment to kick the clutter out of theater, reflecting that I should have done that before attempting weed whackage, and shut down the treacherous Weedwhacker of House Mutilation

Then I took a few moments to do The Bonehead Dance, mostly to give the neighbors something to watch as I chanted the ritual Words of Power such situations demand in order to drive away the evil anti-handyman demons.

That task completed, I departed stage left to locate one of the two dozen rolls of duct tape we have in the archives of Chateau Stevie, because it looked like rain and the siding doesn't do what it is supposed to do in such weather if it has huge gouges down to the framing in it.

Naturally I searched in vain for a single reel of said tape. I know for a fact that we have a reel of white, one of green and one of pink because who in heck uses such colors outside of certain adult-themed live-action damsel-in-distress websites where the color contrast with skin tones is deemed desirable5?

I eventually turned up a roll of black duct tape I used to repair something black years ago, but of course it was about to become a cardboard cylinder. My experienced eye said there was about enough to almost do the patching job but not enough to do it properly, and so it proved. I got the biggest holes covered but had to leave a pinhole and small crack open to the elements until we could find someone to come and fix the siding properly.

Such are the joys of home ownership.

  1. And something worse, something I never saw and for which I only have the pygmy name: "Fuggarwei". It must be a fearsome beast indeed to throw such fear into such indomitable warrior-hunters. All day long I could here the pygmy point guards leaping up to peer over the grass screaming "Ware the Fuggarwei!"
  2. So rotten it feels like a damp sponge
  3. Very wise, in my opinion. The most mutinous tool in my garage, that
  4. True, not a word of a lie. Actual thumb used for comparison. It is incredible what ordinary dandelions can become when left in peace to do their worst.
  5. Or so I'm led to believe

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