Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thanks, Carl

Sometimes I get discouraged. Like last week, when I broke one of the dining room storm windows while trying to put it back up. (I patched it with clear tape. Looks real nice.) Or like I did on Sunday, when I looked at how much of the house I have left to paint. (The high parts, the porches, 14 windows, and almost all the guttering.) Or like I did on Monday, when I cut my right forearm and almost fell off the ladder trying to put up a storm window by myself. And so Monday evening I gave in to my discouragement. I acted like a girl. I leaned my forehead against the house and put a paper towel on my bleeding arm and cried. "Need some help?" I heard someone ask and, still sniffling, I turned to see who it was. My neighbor Carl. He and a friend of his picked up the storm window and propped it into place. "Now get up there on that ladder and put those screws in, kid. We're not standing here all day. You know, things are pretty bad when you have to depend on two old guys to help you. Where the hell are those firemen you work with? Where's that boyfriend of yours?" I bit my bottom lip hard, climbed the ladder and while putting the screws back in, explained that the firemen are a bunch of whiners and my boyfriend disappeared sometime during the Great Overtime War of last month. "Well, I'll be damned, honey," Carl said. "Looks like no one wants to work. Don't worry about it. Just look how far you've come. And I'm still having that party for you when you finish the house. Hang in there, the end's in sight." We finished hanging the storm window and I climbed down from the ladder, wiped away my tears, and said to Carl, "Thanks so much. For everything. I'm knockin off early today." He awkwardly patted my shoulder and walked back across the street to sit on his porch with his friend and drink cold beer.
And me? I soaked in a hot bathtub, supervised by Baby Cat, while drinking a big glass of cold wine and listening to The Wreckers. And afterwards, I wrapped up in my big fluffy robe and dug out photos of the house from last summer. The one in this post was taken the last week of June last year. Carl's right, I have come a long way. Thanks again, Carl.


  1. Thank goodness you found those pictures! You have come a long way, Jayne. I think all those shingles you removed would have sent me packing. Hey, the worst is over in my opinion.;D

    And BTW, be sure Carl sends me an invitation....I might just show up to celebrate with you!

  2. Every time I look at your house, I think how beautiful it is, and how it's getting even more beautiful as you make progress on the painting.

    Great neighbors you have, lucky you.

    I was just thinking the other day that my house stuff is going to take forever, so it cheered me up to see someone write the same thing. We will all get this stuff finished, and then won't it look great?

  3. We're so much alike sometimes it's scary. Girl, you've accomplished WAY more than most women would even think about. It's frustrating, I know. But it will all come together eventually.

  4. I'm sort of echoing everyone else here, but ...
    Girlfriend, it must be the THE week for house blues! Sorry about your injury – glad it wasn’t any worse! (I know how you aren’t big on ladders.)

    I know you’ve heard my mantra. I’ve said it at least 500 times already this week. But, it always bears repeating:
    “It WILL get done. It will look GREAT. It will all be WORTH IT.”

    Muttering that – in between an occasional string of obscenities – has gotten me through more than one bad spell! :-)

  5. Sometimes a bubble bath & a glass of wine are what it takes to make progress on such a large project!

    You have worked wonders on your house. Please hold that picture in your hand & go outside and compare to the house today. Even with only some mascara she looks so much happier and even younger than a year ago.

    Keep up the good work & I hope your injury heals quickly.


  6. Thanks, everybody! I have wonderful friends.

  7. Ugh, if only I was somewhere nearby, I would be there helping. Stupid geography!

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  9. I can't even imagine doing the work you've done on your own. You've done more than most people of either gender would ever take on. Maybe you just pushed yourself too far that day and you needed a minor injury to slow you down before you really hurt yourself. Whether there actually is a Guiding Force or not, sometimes it puts things in perspective to just believe there is.