Monday, April 01, 2002

April Fools, and Poppa Walt

Time to laugh.

If you go to and type in monkey stink, you find my site. Isn't that just a friggin kick in the ass!

Fifteen years ago last night was my first date with Doug. Our first kiss technically took place on April Fools Day. I kissed a fool on April Fools. Hurrah! I think it's pretty funny and rather apropos. I love this fool.

I meant to mention yesterday but was feeling too damn poopy, that the Good Friday Sink Repair that Doug embarked upon turned into a six hour project. Isn't that the way it always is? A twenty minute project blossoms into a day long nightmare?! This is why the man does nothing home improvement-wise.

It was a really simple project: all we needed was to put something in the faucet that would make the water flow straight down, instead of 50 degrees to the BACK of the sink and down into the little overflow-prevention hole. Over time, something had caused the front part of the faucet to clog up or something, so it needed fixed. The rocket-scientist prior owner of our estate installed the sink back in 1970 (or whenever that part of the house was built) and was a lazy shit, and didn't install shut-off valves under the sink. Way to build to code, bucko.

Seeing there are no shutoff valves under the sink, Doug investigates downstairs to see if there is one in the basement that does this bathroom. There are none along the line anywhere. There are no shutoff valves for this bathroom, so the water to the whole house had to be turned off.

We warned the tenants, and instructed the children that they could use the toilet but not flush... they don't usually anyway if it's pee, but should one make a number two deposit we didn't want them to drain the tank to get rid of it -- it could sit for a little while and no one would die.

Doug dismantled the sink, discovered that the hot water control thingie inside the handle had also disintegrated, so that needed to be replaced. He went to the plumbing supply store. They had no part to match. So they gave him two other store names who would. Neither did.

He ended up going to Lowell, about a half hour from here, and it took him over 90 minutes to get the part. By the time he got home from this, the fifth plumbing store, he was ready to rip the sink out of the wall and throw it through a window. He gets that way.

The poor thing.

He put the part in, trudged down to the basement to turn on the water. The faucet was fine, but the handles were dripping so they needed to be tightened. So he tightens the cold water one, and the hot water handle won't tighten, and ends up falling out -- water shoots out of the sink straight back towards the shower... just like in the movies. The house is flooding.

So I run in there and cup my hand over the spout, and he goes to the basement to turn off the water (none of this would have been an issue if the previous owner hadn't been the aforementioned code-violating lazy shit!) Meanwhile, it is the HOT water that is spouting out, and I'm starting to get... burned a little. So I quickly scan around for something to hold in front of this scalding stream. I find a small plastic box on the floor in the bathroom that got shot off the windowsill, and place it in front of the steaming fountain of death. It stands on it's own, wedged up with another piece of the box. So I run and get some towels.

A few weeks ago Kinger shook water all over the house so I didn't have to mop. Now, I've got hot water all over the kitchen and dining area. So I'm throwing down towels, and I hear the water finally turn off.

Doug comes upstairs ripping angry, slams the door and throws stuff. The valve for the water shut off in the basement fell apart in his hand when he grabbed it to turn it off, so he had to find a wrench... now he's pissed.

He was mad before, but now he's swearing like a drunken sailor. I heard him say something like "Fuckity fuck fuck fucker," which made me start laughing... I have a potty mouth, and swear too much. He gets after me for it, even gets mad when I say "Aw fer chrissake!" in front of the kids. So to hear him launch full force into a torrent of swears like that of the hot water that he just turned off, that was funny.

He finally got it all lined up. It isn't perfect, the cold water squirts out from around the handle when you turn on the hot water so you have to loosen up the cold handle a little, but you know what? The water flows vertically straight down out of the faucet, and that, my friends, is all that matters.

Doug fixed himself a good stiff drink, I told him I was impressed and that he was my hero. He told me that I am easily fooled, and that he felt like he just won the gold medal in sink repair at the special olympics. I laughed hysterically as he stood there, pissed off and trying not to laugh as well, wet and sardonic, and chugged his vodka and lemonade on the porch.

He got lots of husband points for that adventure... and the tenants were happy to have their water back on. Someday, we'll rip the sink out, put in shut off valves and proper plumbing. That bathroom needs to be redone anyway... the tile in the shower is falling out, and the ridiculous fake tile wall covering is rotting from where water hits it all the time, and the baseboard behind the toilet exudes a bizarre stench thanks to Geoff's bad aim whilst potty training. That room will be getting a face lift as soon as we can afford.

My entry yesterday was a real downer, was it not? I wasn't the only one feeling poopy about the State of the Planet and Its Inhabitants though. And on the whole, I think all of us have been feeling super poopy lately.

I wrote the entry at about 8am, and then we went to church. The guest pastor this time was a woman who works at the diocese office in Boston. She was fabulous. Her children's sermon was awesome. Her grown up sermon was awesome. She spoke extensively about change, and how many of us cannot let go of something from our past that holds us back, prevents us from healing, and addressed specifically what's happening in the middle east. She also wanted to draw that attention to the fact we're looking for a new pastor, and that holding on to some concept of "well, it was THIS way when HE was here..." mentality could hurt what we're looking for in the future.

And she also talked about something that I think of every year, but wasn't in the mood to talk about it yesterday... that Easter is more poignant a time to make a major change in your life than any other time of the year... many people earmark New Years for that resolution... or their birthday. Or if you're a kid you use September, "THIS school year I will do all my homework on time!" But Easter, and spring, are times to rejuvenate, change, rise from the dead of your past and look to the new life, literally, that you want for yourself... just as Christ gives new life to you by his rising.

That's something that is on my mind every Easter and gives me hope and joy and absolute happiness. This year, I wasn't telling myself that. I let the shit of the universe get to me... the stench of our collective human unkindness.

Thank you Reverend Liz. You kick butt.

And now, I feel a little better. I'm not all sunshine and lollipops, pink fluffy bunnies happy about the world. Let's just say I'm less disgruntled, and more hopeful, and trying to recognize that there is new life available to us all, to those blowing each other up in Haifa, to those starving in Calcutta, to those not knowing how to pay next month's mortgage on the farm. There is hope. There has to be.

Here are a couple Easter pictures of the kids. Notice Geoff is missing his tie. He took it off in a fit of exuberance when it was time to do the egg hunt and we can't find it anywhere, damnit! I loved that tie! Ratzenfratzen pingingpulpin friggin kid!!!

I made her wear a dress. I made her wear pink. I even made her wear pantyhose and dress shoes. Look how thrilled she is. Goodness, Lord. She is something else.
I rarely ask her to look half decent and she makes such a production over it.
She looked wonderful... and I love her.

They're hangin' out. And Geoff loves to wear
his suspenders and tie (he's sans tie, notice)...

HA! This face cracks me up. I couldn't get
him to look at me. He insisted on making
weird faces and saying stuff from Spongebob.

After church we came home and mellowed out. Doug and Jessie both read on the couch, and I worked on the two sites I have going on. I'm kind of swamped right now and need to finish them before I get into the meat and bones of Cateringman's site.

We then went to Bonnie's parents' house for desert and coffee after the dinner thing they did. Bonnie and I go way way back... and her family feels as comfortable to me as a freshly washed polartec fleece in a cold livingroom on a day like today -- embracing, comforting... joyful. I love her family. Her mom and dad have always made me feel so special, I believe they genuinely like me, instead of the kind of "oh, she wants to bring THAT friend over for the holidays.... I guess it's okay."

Sometimes you get to forge a friendship with a person where the entire family becomes a part of your inner circle. With my sister, it is her friend Virginia's family. They are so tight. Linda flew down to Florida for Virginia's brother's wedding. I haven't gone to such extremes with Bonnie's family, but I feel the love there even though I'm not always physically there.

We got there and hooked in immediately with Bonnie's brother Mark. It's like I saw him just the other day, but in reality, it's been about a year and a half if not more. I last saw his wife at Bonnie's baby shower back in July, and I'm amazed at how her kids have grown. Their son is 2 1/2 and I fell head over heels in love with him. My son is a wild man, and they try and keep their little boy's wildman side under control. Well, we brought it right out... and he laughed like crazy and made me feel so happy. It almost makes me feel like I could have anot--- oh shut me up.

Their little girl got Doug wrapped around her finger... he was quite taken with her. He hasn't seen these kids since Bonnie's wedding in 2000, so they are quite different, and he had tons of fun. Doug is reticent to go places sometimes, not feeling sociable, or feeling in advance that he'll be bored. He always ends up having a wonderful time, even though he starts out like a crumudgeonly old fart. I love watching that change in him.

I just wish he'd start OUT with a joyful heart instead of having his grinch ticker melted by a gorgeous four year old who loves to rhyme.

And I adore Bonnie's husband. He sat on the floor and played guitar for a while, their baby was out of sorts with the excitement and change in schedule and love overdoses she was getting from the whole family... so this was one of the mellower moments of her afternoon:

So sweet... makes me cry.

Duncan got into this jam thing, and Geoff was right in my face with a sock puppet, so I grabbed the sock puppet and did this retarded rap/improv Barenaked Ladies meets Sifl & Olly style. I sang about Savannah, Georgia, and how they have plants in the middle of the streets and cobblestones and how nice it is. I was a sock and I show you how to rock... that kind of crap. Geoff and Jess thought it was pantsrippingly entertaining, and I could hear Bonnie's whole family, especially her dad laughing butt-off at me. And that alone egged me on and made me laugh. Duncan, he was a sport... kept rocking out. Let me do my thing. I fed off the energy of the audience, man... inspiring. Dude, I found my true calling. Sock puppet rock n roll improv theatre, man.

Oh God, stop. I'm so retarded.

I love her dad. Walt has always ALWAYS made me feel so loved. Without going out of his way. He's had a history of heart problems over the years, and each time something happens to him that lands his ass in the hospital I think this is it-- they're gonna lose him. Ugh. And the man rebounds. It's incredible, but I guess he's not meant to leave this family yet... there's still so much to do and so much love.

Killer emotional kind of thing for the family. Everyone loves pops.

At Bonnie and Duncan's wedding, I got to read a passage as part of the ceremony. Walt had been emotional at the rehearsal the night before, and made everyone cry just by being silent and standing there holding Bon's hand... when they got through the ceremony, and to the reception, that high emotion was still flowing, and there was such a sense of elation in that house... I remember standing in the living room and Walt comes up to me and hugs me, a big, enveloping hug. And he started crying into my hair. And I cried my ass off... He sighed and said wonderful things to me about how he was so happy I was there and how "Our Bonnie" had found the most wonderful man and he was so thrilled and happy...

And I cried, not because of the same reasons, but because I love this man. I so love him. And there was nothing better than being there that day at that moment in that room with that family.

I've got a family, don't get me wrong, I LOVE my family. But, that one moment was probably the most intense moment in my memory of any family moment I've had. And it will never leave me, even when he finally does.

Last summer, right before the baby shower, Walt had a heart attack while fixing the stone wall in front of the house. They took care of him, got him back on his feet, and he was at the party... most men would have asked the wife to postpone a week. Most men would have just said "Hi," and gone to crash up on the bed to get away... not Walt. When I called that morning to get directions, he was mopping the floor.

Can't keep a good man down.

I wrote him and Barb a letter letting them know how much I love them, and how I wanted him to know before anything else happened that could take him out of commission. I was schmoopy and weepy. But I had to get it out. Had to let them know. And in some ways I feel guilty that I adore them so much, I'm supposed to adore MY family to the point where the concept of losing one of them would move me to tears. What's wrong with me?! My family loves me and I love them, but it seems a lot less schmoopy with my family, not less meaningful, just less touchy. Not sure why. Perhaps it is that way with you too... that you feel love for them but it's like Garrison Keillor said "Of course I love you, don't be stupid." Instead of "OHMYGODILOVEYOUUUUUU!!!!"

If I lost one of my parents, I'd of course be sad... but I don't think about that. I don't take it for granted that they'll always be alive and then when they are dead I'll be completely crushed and gnashing teeth by the graveside. I love them. I honestly do. There is just something about Walt... makes me adore him and love him, and I get weepy at the prospect of losing him.

Oh I have to stop thinking like this. Enough. Live in Joy... You've got things to do today Christine... quit journaling! Anyway, I'm all misty here... Tito, hand me a tissue. Sniff.

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