Sunday, September 14, 2014

Monster House.

“We’re just gonna have to do it the old fashioned way.”

Call me spoiled, but there is no way in hell that we’re doing this the old fashioned way. I don’t have the time and I’m fairly certain that any attempt on my part to go “traditional” will only lead to a painful rash and an exceptional case of irritability. 

Squatting deep, staring at the drum full of water and listening to the high pitched squeal that hurts my teeth like nails on a chalkboard, I can’t help but wonder.

Why. Me?

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that my husband’s death seems to have set off a chain reaction whereby if it can break, malfunction or otherwise operate in a manner that is inconvenient, expensive or undesirable, it’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of when. I’m now six years into my own personal Monster House.

The pool motor has been completely overhauled. Twice. Whether or not the electrical outlets work on any given day is our version of the game Battleship. Large damp patches of yard tell me that something nefarious is happening subterranean. The dryer failed to … er … dry. The bed broke. Light bulbs seem to be on a weekly rotation of failure and the cupboards are splitting in unrepairable ways courtesy of the heat. The garage door stopped opening and the irrigation plumbing my husband insisted on doing himself burst in a rare Phoenix freeze. The car has been dead on arrival two long weekends in a row and there was that whole “let’s eat a brown recluse” that the dog thought was a sound idea.

And that’s just the highlight reel.

Maybe I shouldn’t have warily watched the laundry room for signs of rebellion. But something was gnawing at me. We’ve been in the house for nine years and four months and now that every warranty has expired … everything seems to be … expiring.

Which is why the washer stopped washing in the middle of a load. Which is why my kids thought a soapy-water-and-washboard experience would be fun (but clearly hadn’t thought past it to the mom that would be on the other end). Which is why I showed up at my parents’ at 7 a.m. with five overflowing loads of laundry and a hamper of wet, soapy and still dirty towels and hockey gear.

But no laundry detergent.

We’ve had a lot of bumps in six years, some small and others not so small. Some expensive, some less expensive. All highly inconvenient and frustrating. Every one of us has to deal with household calamities and they are never convenient. But there’s something about flying solo – unwillingly – that makes them that much more infuriating. Two hands cannot do what four did, and these two hands make Tim the Tool Man look like a genius.

“Dude, we are not doing this the old-fashioned way. We’re doing this the smart way.”

“What’s the smart way?”

“I’m calling my Mom.”