Monday, November 15, 2010

All Hail White Trash Bob

So this morning I got up extra-super-early like normal people do (8 a.m.) in order to make some serious progress on staining the fence.  With my sharp math skills, I calculated that if it took me almost three hours to stain both sides of a 3-foot section of fence, I still had about a bazillion hours to go.  There I was slaving away, paintbrush in hand and paint roller in the tray on the grass beside me, slowly staining the fence and cursing whichever furry occupant of my house gnawed one of the earpieces completely off the earbuds for my mp3 player.  (The remaining one doesn't work now.)  Staining a fence is so much more tedious without Bruce Springsteen.

And who should walk down the alley at that moment but White Trash Bob.  "You know, that would go a lot faster if you had a paint sprayer," he keenly observed.

"I know it would.  I sure wish I had one," I replied.  He gave me a look as if I were not quite bright.  Then it occurred to me:  some weeks ago, WTB had told me he'd loan me his sprayer.  Oh.  I really am not quite bright.  Especially at 8 in the morning.

So we walked across the street to fetch the sprayer, which is a really nice Wagner airless sprayer that, as it turns out, makes short work of staining a fence.  Forty-five minutes later I was better than halfway done with the fence, and out of stain.  This necessitated a trip to the Blue Box Store.  There are two stores 40 minutes away from me, one to the west and one to the south, so I thought I'd better thoroughly clean the sprayer so it wouldn't gunk up while I was gone.  You just can't mummify a sprayer in plastic wrap like you can a paintbrush to keep it wet til you come back later.  So I thoroughly cleaned it. 

Now here is the part where I prove beyond any doubt that I am not quite bright.  It wasn't until my return from the Blue Box Store almost two hours later that I remembered WTB's admonition to spray water through the thing to get all the little nooks and crannies clean.  (That's not bright, but it's not the stupidest thing I did today.  Just you wait.)  Still assembling the sprayer, I walked outside to my back yard.  My back yard that is covered in thousands and thousands and thousands of wet leaves.  I filled the hopper thingy with water, turned the sprayer on high, pulled the trigger, and blasted the yard in a big sweeping arc.  The sprayer didn't spray quite right.  Hmm, what could be the problem?  Perhaps it is clogged with stain.  I upended the sprayer to look at the nozzle.  (Here comes the stupidest thing I did today--prepare yourselves.)  Hold on.  This is so not-bright that it requires visual aids to fully demonstrate the depth and breadth of my stupidity.
Wagner paint sprayer.  Note guide-thingy at far left.

It was then that I recalled sticking the spray-pattern-guide-thingy in my jacket pocket.  Without the spray-pattern-guide-thingy, there's nothing to hold the plunger-nozzle-thingy in place. 

Piston (at left); 2 itty-bitty-plunger-thingys (at right)
The plunger thingy is about half an inch long and about a quarter-inch in diameter.  I had just ejected it from the sprayer into the ocean of leaves in my back yard.  Oh schidt.  I called the Mom & Pop Hardware Store in my teeny hometown to see if they sell replacement parts for Wagner sprayers.  As I was tapping in the phone number, the futility of this occurred to me.  They never have anything I need.  Ever.  They lived up to those expectations again today.  So I called the hardware store/lumberyard across the river, which always has everything I need.  Always.  They disappointed me today.  "Lowe's or Home Depot probably has one, hun," the lady there said.  They probably do...but I just left there...and if I drive all the way back down there again today there won't be enough daylight by the time I get back to finish the fence...but if I don't, I can't finish the fence today anyway....

About this point in my train of thought, WTB came walking up the alley.

"How's it going?" he asked brightly.

I thought I'd better just confess straight away.  "Well, um, I sorta lost the little plunger thingy..." I replied, not brightly.

"Oh, did you wash it down the sink?  Happens all the time," WTB said.

I studied my paint-spattered shoes.  "No, I, um," I sighed.  "It's  like this, Bob, I sprayed it out into the yard."

This startled him.  He looked at the sprayer, then at the yard, then back at me.  Then the enormity of my stupidity dawned on him.  And he laughed.  He guffawed.  He threw back his head and fairly brayed.  When he was finished saying "Ooooh....wheee....ooohhh" and wiping away the tears he said, "Well, that's no problem, you can just get another one for me at Mom & Pop's."

"They don't have one, " I said.  "And before you ask, neither does the place across the river."

"You need some more stain anyway, just pick one up when you go down there," he said. 

I pointed to the shiny new can of stain.  "Just came from there," I said.  "Before I lost the thingy."

"Oh," he said.

 "Well then," he said. 

"Hmm," he said. 

And then instead of hollering at me about what an idiot I am (which is what would happen, I think, if WTB were more like 97% of the men in the world) he went home and MacGuyvered a thingy from another sprayer to make it work so that I could finish staining my fence today.  All hail White Trash Bob.


  1. Yep, sounds like you. Hee hee! Is it metal? Can you use a magnet to find it?

  2. Sharon, it's plastic. Bob said, after he finished laughing at me, "Now all we need is a plastic detector and we'll find it." LOL

  3. This sounds like an I Love Lucy episode! You are too funny!

  4. That man is a candidate for sainthood, hands down!!!

    I loved this story. It was so ME! ;-)

  5. If he is ever single, he had better run, as hundreds of diy women will be after him! Congratulations for having him as a neighbor! Do you want to share... he will only have to come to nowhere, Ohio!