29 November 2005


It all started Thursday night, when I said the Wrong Thing™ and thus was encouraged to take the evening air. So, there I stood on the porch, with cigar and Jesus-juice in hand (a legacy of my Irish heritage: "…Take this and drink, for this is my blood, which, the freaking Oirish will go and distill, no doubt".) and watched the town rise slowly about me.

Fuzzily, I realized that towns don’t rise, and that I must be sinking, but alas, too late. A man of lesser girth may not have broken through the rotten wood, and he certainly wouldn’t have gotten stuck. Eventually, my cries for help were answered, but only long after my supplies were gone. Sober, I returned indoors. Honor demanded that I wreak gratuitous and bloody vewngeance upon the porch.

It was going down.


The dumpster arrived at 7:00AM, and soon thereafter I was hacking and bashing at the porch. Wheezing Fred soon showed up with a Sawzall, anxious for an excuse to avoid “Black Friday” shopping with his Missus and consume my beer. He was welcome.

Not so welcome was Ray, who is still in my bad graces for wrecking my truck. He came for the same reasons.

Now, Ray isn’t the brightest candle on the cake, but he brought his son Mike, who while only eight, shoots at a tenth grade level, and his extortion skills would put many college students to shame. I like that kid.

Mike spent most of the time with a sledge hammer, helping with demolition and keeping the lemming population down.

What? It’s not sick; the damn lemmings are probably all Norwegian spies and besides, it’s therapeutic for stress.

Lemmings are nature’s bubble wrap.

Anyhoo, with the four of us bashing and hacking away, my worst fears were soon confirmed. The porch was rotten from one end to the other. The previous owners had effected some repairs by nailing good boards to rotten ones, and backfilling earth against the sill plates. The support posts all floated on rotten plywood, cantilevered several inches out from the foundation. Why the roof hadn’t collapsed, is a mystery. We shook our heads and filled the dumpster.


Saturday was just plain cold. The temperature stayed well below freezing, making each hammer blow to the thumbnail hurt that much more. By four in the afternoon, Ray was pretty oiled and tripped while handing me the nail gun. For the second time in three days, I was stuck to my porch.

Ray decided that it was time to go home while I was pulling the nail. Luckily, it went between toes, so that all I got was a bloody sock and an interesting bruise.

I’ll let Ray live.


Things went much more smoothly without Ray. Mike spent the day with Fred and me, bringing us beers and gathering up the many nests of dormant wasps. He said he had a use for them at school. I didn’t ask, preferring to read the police report at a later date. He’s been bugging his parents for a death ray. I think I’ll give him one for Christmas.

By the end of the day, the plumbing and wiring was roughed in, and all the doors and windows hung. I’ll finish the sheathing this week, and I can then finish the interior at my leisure.

Monday, I slept.


Ray came to my house last night in a tiff. It seems that Sunday night when Mike returned home, His mom asked if he learned anything while he was here. He said, "Yes ma’am!"

She asked what and he replied, "Well, I learned that the damn door don't hang that way it goes the other way, and the dumpster doesn't go there, the son of a bitch goes over there, and the lumber yard delivered the wrong f@#$ing windows."

His mom immediately told him to go to his room until his father comes home. Later, Ray came home and after the mother informing him of what took place, he called him down and asked what he said.

"I told mom that the damn door don't hang that way, it goes the other way. And that the dumpster doesn't go there, the son of a bitch goes over there, and the lumber yard delivered the wrong f@#$ing windows."

Ray was very upset. He explained that they didn't use that kind of language in the house. He told Mike to march outside and get a switch.

Little Mike turned to his dad.

"Screw you!” He said. “That's the electrician's job!"

And that's the way I likes it.