With a terminally ill cat around no vacuum cleaner or other implement of feline terror was operated last week--Stinky is so attuned to the threat of death by vacuum that he dashes for the basement if you move the ottoman to the side of the living room in preparation, and opening the closet door where the beast is kept risks his leaving claw marks on the rug and upsetting floor lamps--so a lot of household chores fell by the wayside. Thus Sunday wound up a sort of suburban triathlon, with lawn care and car washing and marginally successful toilet repair, shop vacs and pressure washers and leaf blowers actually drowning out the guy up the next street who seems to be running a commercial logging operation. I'm not quite sure why so many people who wind up living in mature suburban splendor seem to hate any plant that grows over two feet high, but there you are. Sorta like all those Beltway Republican fixtures who hate government so much.
The toilet was saved until after sundown, when the neighbors would think the loud stream of profanity was coming from the teevee. This toilet I suspect is as old as the house, meaning it's older than me, and every couple of years the flush valve seat works loose and has to be fixed with plumbers' epoxy. I love plumbers' epoxy. It's like Play-Doh with lead in it. It fixes anything. Even under water, which is a situation I frequently find myself in where plumbing is involved. Plumbers' epoxy is to duct tape what the Jupiter symphony is to In-a-gadda-da-vida. It has the added benefit that you have to wash your hands six times just to get the smell off, thereby encouraging good hygene when you may need it most.
Sunday's first order of business was painting the garage-sale bench my wife found a couple weeks ago. The thing was an absolutely perfect solution for what the designer types like to call a Problem Area. It had but one problem of its own. Its previous master had painted it white. Sunstroke White. Glossy Sunstroke White. It was going to require three coats, not simply to cover but to eradicate the memory.
This had led to one of those magical monogamous moments where you get to actually spit in the other person's direction all the while knowing it's just a lark. None of the seven gallons of exterior paint we had on hand suited my wife's vision. My wife is an artist. She knows color. She knows paint. My only recourse is Long Suffering.
What she doesn't do is blog, so I get to pretend I'm strictly rational in all this. In truth, I'm the one who plays Edgar Kennedy to her Chico Marx. "The goddam thing has sat there for two weeks!" I explained mildly, as though there aren't half-finished projects of mine from the 90s left for some archaeologist of the future to puzzle over. So she goes to the hardware store and comes back with 120 color samples. Seriously, I counted them. "You like Gargoyle," she asks, "or Nottingham? Or would you rather go with Vagabond?" "Bugger all," I replied, since I've been reading English mystery novels for the last two weeks. "Hey, I like your idea of painting the top a different color," she says. Dirty pool. Shrug. "Okay, let me see those."
It's "Banshee". The top and the lower shelf are "Vineyard". And it looks great. But how much do they pay them daft sods to think up them poncy names?