|Dangerspouse Rides Again|
Garage - Track
Dec. 22, 2013 - 12:34 p.m.
By An Open Fire>
Well, the end of my fortnight-long sleepover party is finally drawing to a close. I go back to work Monday. Do you know I went through the first 10 months of 2013 year without having a single scheduled day off? And if I hadn't been on administrative leave for 3 days fighting that sexual harassment charge, I wouldn't have had any days off at all. I suppose I should thank that girl.
I'm just fine being the Energizer Worker. I love my job. It's not physically taxing, and we get free packs of Splenda in the canteen. Who wouldn't want that every? But NewWifey(tm) was somewhat taken aback when, in late October, she casually asked how much vacation time I had left. "Four weeks", I said. "Four weeks?" she said. "You haven't taken off even one day this year? What's wrong with you?"
Long story short, NewWifey(tm) demanded I stop being an idiot and use my vacation days. So the next day I was in my boss's office, hat in hand, asking for four of the next eight weeks off from work. During the Christmas season.
Amazingly, I got them. Two weeks just before Thanksgiving and two weeks in December.
And NewWifey(tm) is now regretting ever telling me to take them.
Before we moved to Dangerspouse, the previous occupants had some additions built on to the existing home. They put a formal dining room off the far side of the kitchen, and since the new dining room couldn't be suspended in mid-air they built out the basement to hold it up. (Although, almost inexplicably, they decided to block off a full third of the dining area and turn it into a bathroom. This not only cut down the size of the dining area to nearly hobbit proportions, but now also allows dining guests to become intimately familiar with one another's alimentary tracts. When someone excuses themself during a meal, whoever is sitting at the head of the table has to stand so that person can squeeze through the bathroom door, which directly abuts the chair. And since the entire bathroom is tiled, sounds are not only reflected but amplified. We don't get many return guests.)
The dining area build-out meant more roof space, so they expanded the attic into a bedroom/prison for their retarded kid. The fold-down attic stairs have one of those classic movie push-up doors at the top, and I know they were only pushing that door up far enough every day to slip a plate of food in before shutting the door and locking the bolt again. There's a small wood burning stove in there, and enough space for two small chairs and a bed. A window at each end looks out over the expanse of woods that the kid would never be able to play in. Still, he could have had it worse, I suppose. I mean, I didn't see any shackle anchors bolted to the walls.
The only other addition pertinent to this story is the back porch. They expanded that to run alongside the kitchen and new dining room, and NewWifey(tm) and I sit out there in the summer playing Trivial Pursuit while getting smashed on chilled rose. Games can last for hours when you're so drunk you can't remember what the capital of your own state is, but insist on pondering it for 15 minutes anyway before getting it wrong and then arguing for 5 more minutes why you should be given credit anyway.
Ok, so, here's what I did on my vacation:
I love Christmas decorations. But not Christmas decorating. Seriously, that's woman's work. Fortunately, NewWifey(tm) thinks so too. (Although she phrases it more along the lines of: "You're an idiot and would burn the house down if you tried to tack up lights, so go watch porn until I'm done.") So I do. And every year, therefor, we have a safe and nicely decorated home for the holidays.
But THIS year, with two weeks off before Christmas, I thought I'd surprise her and chip in. She already had the lights up outside, garland strung inside, and - I kid you not - a tree in every fucking room in the house, so there wasn't really anything obvious left.
Then it hit me.
I have this neighbor who's a bit of a nut. He's Greek, which right there goes a long way to explaining things. But he's also...just kind of a nut. When he first moved in he cut down all the fir trees on one side of his property and put in a giant fountain, then ringed the place with fruit trees and a grape arbor. That attracted bears, and after three progressively studier fences were all dragged down by them he plowed the trees under and filled the fountain with cement. Then he built a ramp on one side of the fountain and spent hours one summer jumping a mini-bike over it, Evel Knievel style. This is a 48 year old guy who 10 years ago had quadruple bypass surgery and weighs 280, easy. He also has two massive, camo colored ATV's that he goes ripping through the woods on, even in the winter. He passed some Forestry Service firefighting course so he could put stickers on each machine saying he's "out patrolling for fire hazards", so the cops leave him alone. It's a terrific hack.
Needless to say, this is exactly the kind of guy you want helping you if you have a harebrained scheme. And I had a harebrained scheme.
"Hey Stank!" I yelled to him the next time I saw him practicing donuts in his driveway. "I need your help with something!" (His name is Stank, which I assume was short for something unpronounceable outside the Balkans.)
"What's up?" he said. He didn't stop the ATV.
"Listen" I yelled while he circled, "I wanna get a log up into my attic. Can you give me a hand carrying it?"
He stopped the quad. "Sure. But why do you want to put a log in your attic?"
"There's a stove up there and I wanna surprise NewWifey(tm) with a Yule Log. I can burn the thing and make hot cocoa and get some Bing Crosby cranked up. She'll love it. I'll probably get the best blowjob of my life."
"No problem" he said. "Let's go."
We ran into an immediate snag, though. Neither of us had any chopped wood. Almost everyone up here uses wood stoves to heat their house in the winter because electric heat is so expensive (there are no gas lines out here). But I'm a pussy and don't want to mess with the ash and smell and shit, not to mention having to store cords of wood all year, so I pay the extortion level electric rates. And Stank had just used the last of his own pile during the previous snowstorm and was waiting for two more cords to be delivered.
"Well we're just going to have to cut up a fresh log, then" I said.
"I've got a better idea" said Stank. "Let's carry a whole log up, then chop it up there. It'll save us a bunch of trips up and down the ladder."
"Good idea!" I said.
But it wasn't a good idea. Logs don't bend. There was no way we could muscle an inflexible 10 foot long tree trunk up my deck stairs, through the kitchen, turn 90 degrees to go down the hall, turn 90 degrees to go up the attic stairs, and start dropping the log down before the second half cleared the trap door before punching through the roof.
"I guess we gotta chop it up down here" I said.
Stank thought for a minute. "Nah, that sucks. I've got another idea."
This was his new idea:
Get a long log. A much longer log. Like, 30 feet long instead of 10. Strap it lengthwise across his two ATV's, with most of the pole ahead of the quads. As we went up the hill next to my house, the front of the log would ride up the porch railing. If we aimed it right, the log should be guided right into the open attic window.
Brilliant! I signed on immediately.
So we went to his back yard and hauled out one of the fir trees he'd chopped down when he first moved in. We trimmed any remaining branches off and wrangled the thing onto the two ATV's, which were placed nose-to-tail and pointing at my house. We cinched them to the handlebars with heavy duty boat tie-downs. We weren't stupid.
The hardest part of the whole thing was coordinating our speed. I was on the back machine, and if I accellerated faster or slower than him it swung the entire setup off line. We had to be precise. Finally, after a series of "ONE...TWO...THREE...GO!" attempts, we chugged up the hill in unison. It must have looked just some kind of steampunk jousting practice. The combined weight of the ATV's and their porcine riders offset the front weight of the log, so it stayed elevated enough to just clear to porch rail. So far, so good.
It stayed good after that, too. We'd actually stayed remarkably on course, so the front of the log was aimed right at the open window about 12 feet up. All we had to do was push a bit further and unstrap the back of the log.
That's where things started to go not so good. I'd thought to lay a blanket over the window sill so the log would slide easier, but that was the last smart thing I did.
We dropped the ATV's down into 1st and inched the log into the opening. When the first few feet cleared the sill and was resting fully on the blanket we unstrapped the front ATV. I then ran up to the attic to pull and guide it while Stank continued pushing with the rear machine.
This worked well for maybe 4 more feet, but after that it became obvious that we'd have to completely free the log from the second quad so it could go into the room straight.
Stank gingerly released the tension on the boat strap, easing it out inch by inch to make sure the log wasn't gonna slide backwards and crash into him. But with so much of the log's weight now resting on the porch railing and the attic sill, it stayed put when he pulled the ATV out from under it.
Which then left us with the little problem of pushing the rest of the 30 foot pole into my attic without the benefit of motorized assistance. It was still angled downwards a good 30-degrees from the window to the porch, and there was no way I was strong enough to pull the inside portion down, raising the long end like a see-saw and dragging it the rest of the way inside.
Stank had an answer to that too, though, and once again it involved the ATV. Actually, it was pretty simple. He threw a long rope over one of the tree limbs nearby, and looped one end over the log and the other over his back tow bar. When he pulled away it acted like a pulley, lifting the far end of the log slowly off the porch railing.
Once the log got more or less horizontal I was able to finally tug and yank the front end and get it moving towards me. Stoch undid the rope hoist and I was on my own.
As more and more of the log made it into the room, it got progressively easier to slide it along the blanket. Finally it was halfway in, balancing on the sill half in and half out. I stopped to take a breather, and Stank came up the stairs to join me. He looked over the situation.
"I think one more good pull and we should be in the clear" he said. "When it's resting on the floor we can start cutting it up."
I nodded. After catching my breath we positioned ourselves at the front and grabbed hold. "One...two...three...PULL!"
We put our backs into it and gave a massive yank. The log slid forward a good 3 feet, by far the longest distance any of my tugs so far.
I turned to Stank. "Well that was -
The fulcrum of my log-lever had just been shot 3 feet INSIDE the house by our manly pull. Which meant all 400 or so pounds of bark covered hammer suddenly shot straight down into the floor.
The floor was not meant to withstand 400 pounds impacting at 40 miles per hour. The second "BOOM" was a floorboard snapping. And when the board snapped, the log shot down even further. If it hadn't caught a cross beam we'd have a new fireman's pole running right down to the basement. As it was, though, it still shot down far enough to lift the BACK end of the log up...up...and through not only the top of my window frame, but right into the outside moulding under the eaves. A 20 foot chunk got peeled off, and was lying 50 feet down the hill.
"Well, I'm gonna take off" said Stank.
"Take off?? I said. "You can't take off! You gotta help me back this log outta the floor and patch the window up. C'mon man, this was your idea!
"Yeah, I'm sorry dude. It's just getting too cold in here with that window open, and besides...your wife's gonna be home soon. I don't wanna be 'collaterol damage' if you know what I mean." And he grabbed his gloves and shot down the hatch.
"Stank! STANK!!" He wasn't falling for it. I watched his back disappear across the fountain and up the ramp to his back door.
Greek bastard. I'll get him for that.
Although I have to admit, I'd have done the same thing. I was not looking forward to the carnage that was bound to ensue when NewWifey(tm) discovered the results of my decorating attempt.
I had my Nintendo DS with me, the only thing with a camera, and snapped a few photos for insurance purposes. Here's the view from the outside; the log, the strip it demolished, and the busted window:
My thoughts were frantic. Can I patch it up before NewWifey(tm) gets home? Maybe I can tell her a spontaneous Scottish caber-tossing flash mob showed up at our house, and this was the result.
In the end, I just had to pretend that this was what I was going for the entire time and "it's the thought that counts, right, baby?"
Baby didn't give a fuck what I was thinking. In fact, baby was simultaneosly struck dumb and screaming uncontrollably. I think she was in shock, and that maybe was the best thing I could have hoped for. In her semi-delerious state I guided her inside the house and up the ladder to the attic. I had both chairs spray painted with green glitter to capture the spirit. Next to the stove the hot chocolate setup: mugs, milk, a tankard of bourbon, and a sack of Hershey's powder. I did manage to get one end of that giant log wrestled into the furnace door, so there was indeed stuff roasting by an open fire - namely us, and the pans of chocolate milk. Yeah, I had to watch that the fire didn't spread up the log, turning the entire house into a large hot chocolate maker. But it worked, and it was kinda cute. We hardly even noticed the 20 degree wind whipping through the busted window after a while. Eventually NewWifey(tm) simmered down a bit and her face turned face-colored again. She actually seemed like she was ready to laugh the whole thing off
"Kind puts ya in the holiday mood, doesn't it?" I said. "Hot cocoa, Yule log, decorated furniture, lots of fresh air. Lots. So waddaya say? Maybe a little..." I traced a finger seductively around her lips.
That did it. "You...you want a BLOWJOB? Now?? Hang on. Hang on just a sec, mister" and she pulled her cell phone out. Jabbing the number pad with frozen, angry fingers, she dialed her mother. "Hi, Mom? You'll never guess what Tom did this time........BESIDES that.....Nope! He catapulted a log into our upstairs window so he wouldn't have to carry smaller pieces up one at a time and now the window's broke, the floor's broke and the roof eaves have peeled back. Do you think I should have sex with him?"
There was a loud, wheezing belch on the other end that we both heard, and we both assumed it was an attempt at a guffaw. My chances were not looking good.
"Thanks mom, that's what I thought. Good night."
She flipped the phone off and lifed the trap door to go back down. I went to follow.
"Where do you think YOU'RE going, buster?" she said.
"Honey! It's cold up here and I have to have dinner and Archer is coming on soon. I've gotta get down from here too!"
"Ohhhh no you don't. Not until you get that log out of my attic, the window pane replaced, the floor board replaced, and the detached eave reattached." and she closed the trap door and bolted it from the outside.
"You can't do this to me!" I screamed at the door. "I'm not retarded!"
I heard a derisive snort, then silence.
10 minutes later, though, the trap door cracked opened and she pushed through a blanket, a pillow, some gloves, and a plate of cold Spaghetti-O's. No fork.
Thank god I was still on vacation. It would have been tough explaining to my boss why I couldn't go to work for 4 days. That's how long it took to chop up the log and stack it near the stove, patch the floor (Stank ran down to Home Depot for me a few times), put a new pane in, and super-glue the moulding to the eaves. I peed and pooped out the window.
Finally NewWifey(tm) poked her head up, looked around, felt the temperature, and nodded her head. "Alright. Go shower."
I did, then ate both 12-inch Tombstone pizzas we were keeping in the freezer "for an emergency". I didn't even heat them first.
"Awww, did my poor idiot miss me?"
"GMMMPPPHH....wait til I swallow, woman. You almost killed me from exposure! And I'm starving! I'm never gonna forget this."
Funny how anger and hurt over being held captive in an unheated attic for 4 days in the middle of December just melted away by the third cookie. And the first swallow. How did she know?
Well, that's how I spent my Winter Vacation. I can't say I'm looking forward to getting up at 3am again and driving a hundred miles round trip 5 days a week. Still, I can do a lot less damage there than at home. Which I suppose is a good thing. Plus, I don't know anyone at work who swallows. Certainly not after only 3 cookies.
Anyway, hope you all have had a good start to this winter of 2013. I found it was as easy as rolling off a log, myself.
If I don't report back by Wednesday, I hope each and every one of you has a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.