One of the unfortunate things about sleeping during the day is that sometimes you're still in your jammies when a friend knocks on your door at 5 pm. Wednesday was one of those days, and when I shuffled to the door in my pink plaid flannel jammie pants, LifeFlight t-shirt, and fuzzy gray slippers, I saw Mare at the door. (Brief backstory for anyone who doesn't remember Mare: We dated a very long time ago, he taught me pretty much everything I know about old houses, when I'm not feeling murderous towards him I consider him one of my best friends, and he helped me rebuild the front porch a few years ago.) You know what happens when it's 30-some degrees outside and a woman is wearing a t-shirt and no bra and she opens the door? Yeah, that. And you can bet Mare noticed.
"Well, hello there!" Mare said. "You look happy to see me."
"Hey, creeper, my eyes are up here," I said, and grabbed a coat off the hook next to the door.
For almost 15 years, Mare and I have had this sort of ESP thing going on. I think about him, or more precisely I think about a project on which I could use his help, and the man mysteriously shows up at my door within the next day or so. It wouldn't be so unusual if he still lived down the street, but his house is two hours away from mine.
Anyhow, I showed him the ceiling in the Room of Shame.
"Holy Moly!" he said.
"Ain't it pretty?" I asked.
"Yeah, pretty awful!" he declared.
So I explained how I wanted to tear the dropped ceiling out, and the asbestos, too, and put something else up and Mare said, "Meh, that's nothin'. It'd be kinda fun. A two day job."
On the way into the Room of Shame he noticed that I finished the bathroom and told me he thought it looked nice. "Is it really, really done?" he asked. (The man knows me too well.) "It is, mostly," I said, "but I really need a vent fan in here, it still doesn't have any HVAC, and I lost the only outlet when I removed that old light fixture." Mare pondered this a minute. "We could branch off from the ductwork in the basement for the HVAC, add an outlet from the back side of the wall since you're gonna tear up the other bathroom eventually anyway, and it wouldn't be that big a deal to put in a fart fan. A two day job."
Then conversation turned to my plans to scrape and paint the rest of the west wall of the house and the whole back of the house (if it ever warms up enough so I can) and I said, "But before I can paint the back of the house I have to tear out all those uneven clapboards on that door patch and replace them all the way across from the end of the addition to the edge of the back door. I'll need your help for that." And Mare said, "That's not that much. A two day job."
While we were standing outside on the patio (me with my winter coat well wrapped around my, um, chest) Mare said, "Whatever happened to the floor on that side porch? You fall through it yet?" I explained I hadn't yet fallen through it, but since it's in very bad shape that's a real possibility, and he said, "That porch is pretty small. It wouldn't take long to replace the floor." Y'all know what came next: "A two day job."
Now I'm not very good at math, but the way I figure it, I'll be spending eight work days with Mare. If past history's any indication, it oughta be interesting. Stay tuned.