I’ve had better weeks.
Perhaps you have heard the phrase, “First World Problems.” It is a euphemism for such life difficulties as, “My lettuce turns brown too fast” or, “The escalator is broken again” or, “Which government agency should I use to harass my political enemies?” I won’t say whether I have any of these specific problems or not, but I will say that after this week I am seriously looking at some lovely sand-front property in northern Mali.
Early this week I fought “The Battle of The Siding” which is a lot like “The Battle of The Bulge” except that nobody died and there probably won’t be a movie made about it starring George C. Scott, although one with someone like Bill Pullman is a distinct possibility. The Battle started a couple of years ago when I hired a roofing guy to do the siding on our house and to make a long story less long, the lesson learned is “Hire a roofing guy just to do your roof or he will contract out the siding to a bunch of hacks that will jump ship after the first day and leave the one guy on the crew who couldn’t get a job elsewhere to finish it sometime over the next 16 days.”
The work was eventually completed and minimally acceptable except that there has been a piece of siding right in the front that tends to fall off whenever there is a significant weather event wherein the wind blows upwards of at all. Perhaps most infuriating is that the piece is positioned between two windows such that when it falls it’s as if the house is smiling at me in a mocking “I told you not to hire a roofing guy” grin.
I suspect that the roofing guy is getting kickbacks from the local hardware store, for I have spent most of Thing 1’s college fund for materials to hold said siding piece in place to include glue, gorilla glue, super glue, super gorilla glue, putty, calk, gorilla calk, E6000, super gorilla E6000 putty calk, etc. –not to mention all the nails, clamps, clips, screws, pins, rivets, and once, cherry pie filling because few things are stickier than cherry pie filling.
So after my first trip to the store where I purchased a calking-type substance called “Liquid Nails” THAT WAS THE WRONG COLOR BECAUSE IT WAS IN THE BIN WITH THE WHITE KIND, HARDWARE PEOPLE, I returned to purchase my original intended item and went to put up the stupid siding piece which I have fondly nicknamed Abhorrent Siding Piece Which Has Me Considering Marketing It For Medical Treatment of People With Low Blood Pressure.
Not being able to quite reach the edge of the piece to properly install it from the step ladder upon which I was precariously balanced, I placed one foot on the decorative Adirondack chair next to me for some momentary leverage. This is when I discovered that ‘Adirondack’ is a fancy word for ‘crumbles under minutest pressure, causing painful ankle injuries.’
Flash forward to Wednesday morning: I am washing my hands in the bathroom after…you know. I finish and go to pick up my phone sitting on the valet. Oops—my hands are wet, it slips, and I fumble it. In an attempt to catch it, I actually bat it up into the air at which point it banks off the shower door and, in defiance of Newtonian physics, changes angle and actually gains speed as it does a half-gainer into the toilet bowl that has just been flushed. On instinct I grabbed at it immediately. Use your imagination.
In short, I was off the grid. I had heard that placing a submerged phone into a bowl of rice for a couple of days will dry it out and I am here to tell you that it actually works. I am back on the grid. Plus, when you are finished, put a little soy sauce on it and you can have a nice lunch after.
Thursday: “Thank you for using your two-for-one golf coupon at our golf course. We are happy to accommodate. Please be advised however, that unbeknownst to you, your credit card will be charged double and that you will not notice it until you have thrown away your receipt proving our mistake. Please come again.”
Friday: After an unfortunate and rather silly motorcycle accident last year that more or less just scratched my muffler but can easily be embellished to impress the chicks, I purchased a used replacement exhaust system from my local dealership that has been under my bed for the last 18 months waiting for this latest Minnesota winter to subside to where I would be willing to spend an afternoon in the garage putting it on. Easy swap out, they said. All sales final.
Pants on fire.
I spent about three hours removing my scratched system and polishing up the other to put on when, low and behold (which I think is a biblical term), IT’S THE WRONG MODEL—AS IN, NOT THE MODEL THAT IT IS LABELLED AS—THAT IS, “YOUR OUT $100 AND THREE HOURS OF YOUR LIFE BECAUSE YOU’RE STUPID ENOUGH TO BELIEVE THAT I AS A DEALER KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT. SUKKAH. Please come again.” I guess I will put it on one of Craig’s lists and advertise it as “WM Dork selling Yamaha exhaust system that fits some model other than the one I own.”
Saturday: High-school freshman physics. Thing 2’s assignment was to design and build a trebuchet (catapult) that will throw a golf ball 5 meters. Let’s not mince words here: This is an assignment for parents. What 14-year-old girl is going to spend an afternoon building a medieval weapon from scratch that doesn’t involve staring at their iPhone or talking to or about Josh Hutcherson? Luckily, Thing 2’s father is especially qualified for this assignment, not because I am a master craftsman, but because I went to college with a guy named Trey Buchet.
Things went fairly well until the testing phase at which point the latch gave way prematurely and the lever arm hit me in the face with, according to Thing 2’s calculations, approximately 27.4 kilos of force, sending me staggering well over the 5 meter requirement and causing Thing 2 to wonder if that counts as an ‘A’. The implement caught me in the fleshy part just above my left eye (FYI, since I have attained middle age all my parts are fleshy parts), which gave me a nice cut and a shiner colorful enough to obtain the nickname ‘Cinderella Man’ from my coworkers.
Unfortunately, the project went unfinished as I had to leave for a business trip on Sunday. Sunday was going to be a nice day because I was meeting some friends at the airport before I flew out. They happened to have a layover that coincided with my flight and so we were going to have a nice leisurely lunch. But, true to the character of the week’s events above, I pulled into airport parking and realized I wasn’t wearing any pants.
Not really, but I did forget an essential item and had to spend the hour I was going to have lunch with my friends rushing back home to retrieve it. Adding insult was that gas in Minnesota had jumped up 50 cents per gallon this past week, so I spent about as much driving for an hour at very high speeds as I would have paid for lunch.
Today in my hotel room I received the following texts from The Queen Mother:
“Trebuchet is working great! Yea!”
“On one of the tests, the ball hit the front of the house and a piece of siding fell down.”