The mostly humorous ramblings of my day to day existence.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Firkroy Has an Aching Back!

Yes, it's nice to receive something free, but does it really have to hurt so much?
My wife is in the other room on the phone when I hear “We got it! Yaaa Hooo!” We were the first ones to respond to a message that was put out to the parents of my son's social group for autistic kids. Long story short, the organization owned the large wooden play structure, but it had been used by a family who lived on top of a steep hill behind an automated gate. I thought it was a strange arrangement but I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.
I called the woman that lived in the house on the hill, and after a brief conversation she told me that she would text me the phone number of her nanny, so I could make arrangements with her to get in the gate. She is a doctor, and texting is her preferred way of communicating.
Now I may be Mr. Technology, but I really don't like texting, and being constantly tethered to something like a smart phone is not my idea of a good time. I had a Crackberry when I was on the road selling processors and diodes to most of the state, and it made sense for me to be able to see my email on the road, or to be able to find directions to a factory. But most people don't really need these things, and I'm constantly getting stuck behind some jackass staring at his wiener poking away at his gizmo as the light turns green.
A well placed “HONK!” usually gets him rolling, but I really think smart phones are the worst things that have happened to traffic in recent history. I use a $10 Virgin mobile phone that can painfully spit out a text if I really have to, but it's small and makes clear calls.
For two days I wait for the text message from the lady on the hill that never came. Finally I decide to use my cheap ass phone to send her a text message. “7777” gets me an S, “666” an O, this is just painful. I finally get the message out, and she finally responds back to me with the phone number of her nanny.
I contact the nanny, then go out to the house on the agreed upon date. The nanny let's me in the gate after a buzz at the intercom, and I maneuver down a narrow winding driveway with a drop off on one side, and stuff to run into on the other.
“Backing into this place with a trailer is going to be a nightmare” I think to myself.
But it's what has to be done, and “No guts, No glory” has always been my motto. The play structure was old, a little rotten where it had touched the ground, but I decide I could just make it a few inches shorter and it will be OK, so I decide it's worth the effort. I then made arrangements to come back the next Monday to start work.
Monday rolls around, and I drive out with the my old trailer that's made from half a Toyota pickup in tow. I have to drive into the wrong lane in order to back the trailer into the driveway entrance, but I manage to do it without getting killed. I get out of the car and hit the intercom buzzer. Then I wait, and wait, and wait. I then hit the buzzer again, and wait. Finally a man's voice says “yeah.”
“Hello” I say cheerfully, “I'm here to start taking away the play structure.”
“Oh, OK” the voice says as the gate starts to swing open. Backing my Blazer down that driveway was a real nightmare, with the drop off, the turns, and shrubs in pots on the other side, I really had to put my skills to the test. The man of the house was standing by the garage, a tall man that looked as if he had spent some quality time at the gym pumping iron. He watched me back up with a little concern, but once I stopped, he introduced himself, we shook hands, and he headed back into the house.
I had hoped that Mr. “Arnold wanna be” might have helped me with the dismantling of the kid castle, but it wasn't in the cards. I got to work wrenching off nuts, and loading seventy pound wooden chunks into the trailer. After a few hours I was sweaty, dirty, and experiencing new aches and pains, but I had managed to load the trailer, and made arrangements to return the next day.
I started driving down the hill, and across town looking like Jethro Bodine; a soak in a cement pond sounds good right about now. Everything was strapped down with bungees, and I'm sure I violated some sort of laws by having things stick out all over the place, but luckily no officers of the law were interested today.
The next day I once again arrive at the house on the hill. I back into the driveway entrance out of traffic, and hit the buzzer. I wait, and wait, and wait, buzz again, and wait... no answer. I resort to (yuck) texting the doctor again, “222” for C, “33” for E. It just sucked texting this lady. No reply, so I just sat there.
About ten minutes later a different lady arrives, this time it's the maid. She asked how long I had been waiting, and I pleasantly told her about ten minutes, and it was no big deal. She lets me in, and I slowly back the trailer down the trail of death once again.
It had been raining the night before so this time it was muddy around the play structure. When I got a chunk detached, I would make my way up the slipper wet grass and run it through the garage to the trailer. But today it seemed like the maid was adding obstacles. There were two open buckets of what appeared to be paint thinner that I had to tip toe around, bicycles that hadn't been ridden very much, and all sorts of things that could get bumped and fall down.
I worked for hours, and was starting to imagine driving away from this house of pain, and never coming back. A slim smile was coming over my face when with about fifteen minutes worth of work left, the sprinkler system came on.
“What the hell, you've got to be shitting me.” I say to my self.
I'm muddy, sore, skinned up, this was just icing on the cake. Do you think they could have at least turned off the (insert favorite profanity) sprinklers while I was out there? I guess not.
Well, I've only got to do a few trips through the sprinklers, so I trudge through getting a few nice cold showers lugging up the last pieces; at least some of the mud got washed off. With my mission accomplished I strap down my chunks, and do another Jethro back home with my final load.
I get a text from the doctor at about 7PM saying “she thought you were coming at 10”
I wasn't sure who she was, but I poked at my $10 phone, and thanked her.
Sometimes the things that you have to do are hard, but the satisfaction of knowing my kids will get years of enjoyment from this play structure (after I fix it, and put it back together) was well worth getting hit with the lawn sprinklers, and trudging through mud.
Yesterday we headed out to a farm, and I lugged two fifty pound pumpkins into the minivan for my kids, I guess I must really love the little stinkers. And who knows if I keep lifting heavy crap maybe I too will start looking like Arnold.

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