|Dangerspouse Rides Again|
Garage - Track
Feb. 06, 2006 - 4:13 a.m.
You'd think this sort of thing wouldn't bother me. After all, I'm married now. I don't have to grunt and strain 6 hours a day in the gym, hoping woman will notice my body instead of my personality. I won. I landed one. I can relax. I mean, who's gonna be disappointed if I chub out, my wife? Sorry, that's not enough incentive for the kind of effort needed to slim down.
But I am bothered.
After all, just because I'm married doesn't mean I don't want a mistress.
So I have resolved to reduce.
But...not by dieting.
Hell, I'm Italian. Changing eating habits is a mortal sin for us.
No, I'm determined to take that other route: exercise.
A large part of my seam-splitting expansion is due to genetic sloth, I'm convinced. It also doesn't help that for a good chunk of the past year I was also planted in a recliner with my leg in the air recovering from ankle surgery.
Anyway, shortly after getting back on my feet I was moaning and whining to NewWifey(tm) about Dangerhouse's lack of decent gym facilities. When we were married 4 years ago I set up a small workout area in the basement with free weights, speed bag, heavy bag, bench, etc. But as we acquired new crap over the years, the old crap - rather than being thrown out - often found a new home draped over, around, and between all my equipment. It got to the point where this past year I gradually cut down on workouts because it was such a pain in the ass shifting boxes and threadbare clothing just to get to my weight tree.
Sometime back around August I threw up my hands and decided it wasn't worth it. I would just stay upstairs and lift Sierra Nevada IPA's instead.
Well now I want my gym back. And I want NewWifey(tm) to make it so.
NewWifey(tm), despite reservations about my stated objective of using workouts to attract a mistress, is nonetheless a Good (ie: subservient) Wife. And even if she wasn't, she has such a mania for home renovations that she probably would have undertaken the job anyway, just for the sheer joy of using power tools.
So for the next four days she secreted herself in the garage, hunched over a draft table scribbling plans and building foam scale models, finally emerging tired but triumphant with The Sacred Formula.
The Sacred Formula was a *bit* more ambitious than what I originally envisioned. All I wanted, really, was to have the junk hauled off and the former configuration restored. I figured NewWifey(tm) would have one, maybe two days tops of backbreaking labor, hoisting old toasters and washing machines onto a trailer and out to a dump, and that would be that.
Alas that I should be so ignorant of my wife's proclivities after all this time, especially when it comes to her construction fetish. The plans she spread out on our kitchen table called for a new sub-floor, floor, ceiling, the removal of several old walls, the addition of one new one -a pivoting one - plus an entertainment center and hidden light fixtures.
I was agog.
What jarred me the most was that she has partitioned the basement into a "gym" area, and a "library" zone - what she called "the Professor Higgens room". It has the classic look of an Olde Worlde gentleman's study, lined with bookshelves, wingback chairs, ottomans and nudie highball glasses.
I do not want a Professor Higgens room. I want a gym, the bigger the better. Conceding a significant portion of my potential workout space to a stack of neglected books and a brandy snifter was not something I was prepared to accept.
However, what I'm prepared to accept never seems to have any effect on what I am given. NewWifey(tm) wants me to have a Professor Higgens library, and a Professor Higgens library I shall have therefore. The only input I am allowed is making and delivering sandwiches and beer while she toils.
And toiling was indeed what she was doing last Wednesday when the walls, and her, came a-tumblin' down.
The two events weren't directly connected, but one led to the other anyway. See, NewWifey(tm)'s favorite tool of all her favorite tools is something called a "Reciprocating Saw". I had never heard of one of these monstrosities before I got married, but then I never had cause to demolish a building by hand or saw an ocean going oil tanker in half. Apparently a reciprocating saw can accomplish either task with ease, and a host of other destruction related duties as well.
I got her one for Valentine's Day two years ago and she has pretty much carried it around with her ever since. Never know when you may stumble on a kitten trapped behind a 3 foot thick concrete bridge stanchion, after all.
So I wasn't surprised when I saw that her plans for the library/gym called for demolishing 3 walls. There was no real need for it, she just wanted to prove she could master that bucking phallic symbol of a saw. It's a chick thing.
And this past Wednesday NewWifey(tm) finally put The Sacred Formula, and that saw, into action.
From 9 in the morning until 6 at night, a steady plume of sawdust, asbestos and rodent droppings rose through the vents in our living room as NewWifey(tm) systematically tore through walls, studs, joists, dropped ceilings, and fixtures below. If you saw footage of the World Trade Center collapsing, and the resulting tsunami of ash and detritus that enveloped everything and everyone for miles, then you've seen the interior of my house that day.
I hightailed it out of there meanwhile, taking Casey and Glory on a long walk/picnic in the woods. I've seen pictures of miners' lungs in biology textbooks, and it doesn't look like a fun condition. We chilled out on a rock outcropping overlooking blighted forests, munching on Liv-a Snaps and Red Bull (try it before you mock me), and one of us read "The Republican War on Science" while the other two busied themselves chasing mice and/or bears. When the light faded to the point where neither activity was feasible anymore, we trudged back to the construction site.
Inside I tossed together an ash-coated meal for NewWifey(tm) and yelled down to her that I was going to bed. She dutifully shook a few pounds of plaster dust out of her hair and came up to kiss me goodnight. That was the last I saw her for 5 hours.
At just before 11pm - 2 1/2 hours before my alarm was due to go off - I was catapulted out of bed by the sound of a minivan hitting our house. Startled (ok, scared) and disoriented, I sprinted naked out my bedroom and down the hall, fully expecting to see the front end of a Ford Windstar parked where my Powerpuff Girls shrine used to be.
Instead, as I ran down the hall I happened to glance to my right...and saw the soles of my wife's ash covered feet sticking out of the open bathroom door. I skidded to a halt and went to see if she was ok.
When I pushed the door all the way open it was to see NewWifey(tm) lying face down on the tiled floor, and a pool of blood spreading out from around her head! It was her hitting the floor that shook the house, not a wayward SUV! And now she was out cold.
I toyed briefly with the idea of taking advantage of her insensate orifices, but I restrained myself (for once) and instead flipped her face up to clear her air passages. That's when I saw why blood was gushing out at such a prodigious rate. She had a gash along her hairline that ran almost from above the front edge of one ear all the way across to just above the other.
And it went right down to the bone. I mean, between spurts of blood I was looking at her skull! (It looked awfully hard too, just as I suspected.)
Ok, crisis mode it is. Not having the faintest clue where NewWifey(tm) "organized" the First Aid kit to, I grabbed the 3/4 empty toilet paper roll and wedged it into the open gash to staunch the flow. An alarming large portion of it disappeared. It also roused NewWifey(tm) from her unconscious state.
"I think I hit my head..."
"Yeah, I think you did too."
"Hand me a mirror, I want to see how bad it is."
"What? Waddaya mean 'no'? I want to see if I've got a bruise."
I knew that refusing her would be pointless. No matter how much pain she was in she would argue until I caved.
I handed her the mirror.
She looked, saw a blood soaked roll of toilet paper sticking out of her head, and passed out again.
That made my job a lot easier.
I tossed on a pair of sweats and hoisted NewWifey(tm) over my shoulder. That's when I saw what caused the gash. She had fallen face down onto the baseboard heat register - the top metal shelf of which now had a 4-inch wide dent in it. It's a good thing she hit it too, as that kept her from landing full force on her nose.
Down the stairs I staggered with her, then tossed us both into the Mighty WRX and onto Rt.94. Fifteen minutes later we pulled up to the Emergency Room doors at St. Anthony's Hospital in Warwick and I got an orderly to help me bundle NewWifey(tm) to an examining table.
Fortunately it was a slow night - just two shootings and a drunk kid who'd argued with a Rotweiller. Within 5 minutes a young Indian doctor walked in, looked at NewWifey(tm) and said "How did she get a toilet paper roll stuck in her head??"
I explained that it was NewWifey(tm)'s fault for hiding the sterile gauze, but I'm not sure he bought it. He gingerly dislodged the now rust colored, clotted over clumps of paper and started his examination. After a minute he straightened up and said "It looks like she's cut her head pretty good."
"Yes, I noticed that also" I said. "I was actually bringing her in for a lube and filter change, but if you think that fixing the cut might improve her mileage I'm all for it, as long as it doesn't void her warranty."
He didn't ask me any more questions. Instead, he took a steel turkey baster off the tray, filled it with saline solution and peeled the top of my wife's face back over her head to do a lavage.
And when he was done there, he grabbed the bottom half of the cut and peeled down NewWifey(tm)'s face to the top of her eye sockets so he could wash out that side also.
I decided to wait on the other side of the curtain.
A few minutes later I heard: "k-chunk...k-chunk...k-chunk...k-chunk..." rhythmically, over and over for several minutes. After which the doctor emerged and walked past me without saying a word.
I popped out of the plastic Waiting Room chair and parted the curtain again.
What greeted me on the other side was...........
That rhythmic "k-chunk"-ing turned out to be the repeated application of a medical staple gun, the preferred method of closure for Emergency Room physicians too busy, or ham-fisted, for traditional suturing. Give my creature life!
My creature not only had life, but was by now also awake...and complaining. Aside from the obvious headache, her chin was scraped and her boobs hurt.
Yes, her boobs hurt.
I kinda wondered about that one when she first mentioned it, and later when she showed me the girls it was somewhat alarming. Both were a rather fetching shade of lavender, streaked through with red and yellow accents. She had obviously used them rather than her arms to break her fall.
But...why did she fall in the first place??
Once the combination of pain killers and sedatives the doc shot her up with took hold, I was able to finally ask NewWifey(tm) what in the world had happened. And she told me.
It turns out that it all stems from her being a pigheaded, stubborn redhead.
See, NewWifey(tm) suffers from periodic sinus infections. I don't know if she just doesn't produce enough snot to filter out environmental pollutants, or if inhaling several cubic liters of my expelled halitosis every night scorches the delicate membranes in her head. But every two or three months she comes home with a plastic bucket full of medicated inhalers and antibiotics and expectorates several wastebaskets worth of yellow sputum for me to step in when I get up for work in the morning.
Did I mention that NewWifey(tm) is also a pigheaded, truculent, belligerent, bumptious, stubborn, obstinate redhead?
Well, she is.
Despite the fact that her sinus cavities fill with a mixture of Elmer's Glue and Quick Dry Cement if she even reads the word "dust", she refuses to wear a respirator or even a Michael Jackson cloth mask while doing demolition work. Or any other kind of construction work for that matter. I bought her a really nice double-barrel professional unit a while back, and it just sits there in the corner, snug in its original packaging.
It's uncomfortable. It messes up her hair. It makes the bridge of her nose sweat. It leaves red marks around her cheeks. It's hard to breath through the filter. It smells funny. The rubber strap cuts into her ear. Black isn't her color.
Upshot: she doesn't wear a dust mask when she creates dust.
And this time, she created a LOT of dust. Three walls worth.
Predictably enough, her respiratory system started to rebel. By shutting down.
After 9 hours or so of toppling walls and sledge hammering mice, NewWifey(tm) knocked off for the evening and went upstairs to have a beer. Then another. And...another. She was too tired to eat the dinner I'd prepared. There are nutrients in beer, right?
At about 10-pm or so she noticed that when she opened her mouth to draw in air, alarmingly little of the stuff made it to her lungs. Her throat was finally starting to close after a full day of constant irritation, and at the same time her sinuses began to throb.
Having experienced these very same symptoms every other month for at least the past 28 years, NewWifey(tm) did what she always does: she had another beer.
And reached for her home pharmacy kit.
Rummaging around, she found some spare antibiotics, some Tylenol-3's, and some wicked-ass nasal inhaler her doctor gave her to try a few months back that opened her nasal passages like a Dremel. She took all three.
About an hour later she started to feel...funny. Oh, she was able to breathe again. But now she was having trouble seeing. And standing. And...she was gonna throw up.
So she wobbled to her feet, lurched to the wall of the living room and used it to guide herself as she staggered to the bathroom.
She crossed under the bathroom lintel...and the next thing she knew some guy with curry breath was pulling a toilet paper roll out of her head.
She had passed out standing up and fell face forward onto the bathroom floor without even putting her hands out or bending at the knees. Just, POW!. Straight over.
That's why her boobs hurt. They hit at the same time as her chin and forehead. It's also why the solid metal baseboard heater that she hit was now crimped down about 4 inches.
If there was one bright spot about this whole thing - aside from all the jokes I now pepper her with constantly - is that the cut is right on her hairline. According to Dr. Sari, this means that any scarring will be pretty much invisible.
Of course, that also means NewWifey(tm) will continue refusing to wear a respirator. After all, ultimately there was no harm done, right? I mean - it was only her head. Can't get much further from her brains than that. And since there will be no scarring, ie. no telltale physical evidence, it's as if it never even happened!
Did I mention that I think all redheads are stubborn idiots? They're certainly hard headed, anyway.
Well, gotta wrap this up and go tend to NewWifey(tm). She's calling for beer and painkillers again.
See ya in...what, a month and a half? That seems to be my current writing schedule. Maybe by then I'll have pictures of a goddam Professor Higgens library to post. Or a dead wife. Neither of which I'm looking forward to.
G'night kids. Breath easy.