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Weekend as Hassle Magnet

Why do these little shenanigans always happen on the weekend? And why is my house falling apart?




After much banging and thrashing, I pour a glass of cranberry juice (tastes a lot like Campari), pick up the laptop, and Ruby and I stumble out to the front courtyard, where the human can take in the afternoon air and the dog can bark at passers-by.

This latter: not needed. The Lesbian women who moved into the transferred military family’s house are having a small party. One of them has such a loud voice that as she carries on and laughs, you can hear her clear over here. At first I thought they were fighting, and that one of the ladies was shouting at her partner. Not so: they’re just exuberantly enjoying a good time.

So the crumbling fixture of the day: All these houses are plumbed so that the water into the tubs and showers is regulated with a single faucet handle, one of those annoying Mixet-brand things. I hate those things, but there’s nothing you can do about it, if that’s the way the damn house was built. So OK, there’s that.

At one point, a year or so ago, a plumber replaced the annoying round faucet thing in the middle bathroom, where the tub is.

Yesterday I’m in the tub and…POP! The goddamn handle comes off.

Its set screw has worked loose.

How hard could this be, right?

Well:. Very. Nigh unto impossible. The decorative goddamn handle has a little chrome plate whose sole purpose, far as I can tell, is to look pretty. Well. It hides the set screw, which is nice. I guess. Said set screw is now rattling around inside the “compartment” created by this inspired arrangement. And I can. not. get. the. chrome plate. OFF. Can’t prize it loose with my fingernails. Can’t prize it loose with a screwdriver (of any size). Can’t prize it loose with an Exacto knife.

Perhaps my expectations are too high…

So I schlep it up to the Ace Hardware and ask if they can get it loose. And by the way, do they have a staple gun?

Yeah. The staple gun episode. 

Cut to the other project of the day, re-hanging the (genuine!) Navajo rug on the rebuilt wall in the family room, whence I had to remove it for the Great Plumbing Disaster of November 2020. The wall is now rebuilt, replastered, and repainted, and all that is needed to restore normalcy is to return that rug to its vaunted place.


Isn’t there always an except?

When I moved in here, I’d attached the spectacularly expensive hand-made rug to the wall by stapling strips of the low, flat side of Velcro. Not the coarse krinkly tangly side, but the side that the coarse krinkly strip hooks into. These are just clingy enough to hold the rug on the wall, but not rough and coarse enough to tear at it. Worked perfectly.

So this afternoon I go to re-attach the strips, which the drywall guys have kindly set aside. And…

I can. not. find. my. staple gun. Searched from pillar to post and could not find it anyplace. Only thing I can figure is I must have “lent” it to someone, never to see it again. Hence, the trip to Ace: buy a replacement goddammit.

Their guy gets the decorative gadget off the faucet handle. He sells me a staple gun and a box of staples (can’t find those here, either).

Getting in and out of this strip-mall’s parking lot is innaresting, because for reasons that defy comprehension, they’re building a large QT in there. They’ve taken out a venerable old restaurant that died during the plague and are now putting up gasoline islands and a junk-food joint. But it being Sunday, there are no workmen, which is good because I have to go back up there right away.

The staple gun comes encased in a carapace of plastic that I cannot break into. My scissors will not cut through it. None of my tools work on it. So…I schlep it back up there and say you get it open.

Which they do.

Meanwhile, I did manage to get the faucet handle back on so as, for the time being, it works. But…in the course of things, forgot to insert the plastic ring/washer thing in first, causing the silver cap thing to slip inside the top of the compartment and get stuck there. Looks fine if you don’t know what it’s supposed to look like, so I decided that’s…what it’s supposed to look like.

Finally back in the house with the freed staple gun, I manage to put the rug up. And realize that when I first put it in place, the job took me all of about 10 or 15 minutes. This time, the chore has consumed half the afternoon! I take this (no doubt correctly) as a manifestation of advancing age. Nothing about this little project would have confused me or frustrated me 15 years ago. I remember putting that thing up after I moved in and thinking what a great, simple, easy idea it was.

Still haven’t found the old staple gun, which was infinitely superior to the new one — like all old stuff is infinitely superior, I suspect. Better made. Easier on the hands. Less chintzy in appearance.

The day started with a similar little fiasco. When I woke up at 3:30 as goddamn usual, I remembered ohhh shee-ut i’ve gotta be at the dentist’s at 7 a.m. Goodie gum drops. It’s early so I’m reading the client’s copy and cruising the news sites when I think…wait…this IS Monday, right? Who knows, when every day is the same…. Look at the computer’s date line and yup, it says “Monday.”


So along about 6:30 it’s out the door. You can see where this is going, right? After a suspiciously uneventful trip, I arrive at the mid-town high-rise where his office resides. Park in the pay multi-story parking lot…sliding in because the pay-ticket arm is up. Only one other car is parked on the ground floor. Odd. But dawn has barely cracked, and besides, the quarantine is still on. I still don’t think much about this.

Get parked, walk across the plaza to the building’s door…Locked. No security guards in there, either.

Screw it: I turn around and head back to the Funny Farm. Once here, I turn on the computer again and see not Mon in the little date line but Sun.

Jeez. Just the way I love to start the day. Not one day, but two days a-running.

6 thoughts on “Weekend as Hassle Magnet”

  1. How many ways do I identify with this post? Three ways, so far.
    1) It takes me longer to do just about EVERYTHING these days. I don’t do much with my walls anyway, but I certainly wouldn’t attempt to hang an expensive Navajo blanket. I can hammer nails and that’s pretty much it. In my defense, I’ve never been very handy, and I haven’t improved with age.
    2) It takes me longer to remember where I store certain things, but I blame some of that on having to reluctantly move last year. I am always discombobulated for several months after moving because some things have to be stored in new locations. Sometimes I get rid of things during a move, then forget that I donated/chucked them. *sigh*
    3) I too get confused about what day it is and I work outside the home! One of the reasons I love my wall calendars is that they are great references, not just for what day it is, but what’s planned for that day.
    Let’s also not forget just what a sh@tshow this year has been. I’ve had brain fog since March, when I was first laid off, but it is starting to lift a little now that we will have a new Prez and our terrible boss at the restaurant just got fired. YES!!!

    • LOL! Well, I’m glad I’m not the only one! Maybe it’s as much a function of the pandemic isolation as old age. EVERYTHING that I used to do to maintain some semblance of a social life — which also brought regularly repeating events and order into my life — is shut down. Choir is sorta kinda put on Zoom, but I really dislike Zoom, and that does nothing to keep me participating,. As a result, every day is the same as the last: one long stream of solitary monotony. It is, in fact, much like being in some prison’s solitary confinement, except there presumably guards bring you food now and again.

      But there’s no question about the memory/cognitive issues. When you hit the age of about 50, you do start “losing” things if you don’t put them down in a regular places. Keys and glasses seem to be the worst of these.

      I not only have the wall calendar, but also lists — in Excel and on paper. And on whiteboard. The whiteboard list in the office records the (fewer and fewer!) things that need to be done today. The calendar keeps track of appointments. The lists on the refrigerator are for groceries and for immediate things to do. The list in Excel, which may be the most important one, lists when I took some pill and how the PN was feeling at the time. That backs up the pill container, which organizes doses by days of the week. Thus in theory I should be able to tell what day it is by looking at the first slot in the container that holds a pill.

      The annoying thing about all this write-it-down sh!t is that none of is stuff that’s very important. I’m having to hoop-jump to keep track of annoying trivia: hoop-jump I could do without to keep track of stuff I could do without!

      Worse, I fear, is a vague sense of disorientation when I’m out and about. Sometimes I’m not altogether sure where I am in a trip around the city, or which way I’m supposed to turn. Or if I’m even supposed to turn. Nine months in lockup is not enough for the cityscape to have changed in any significant way. So the problem obviously is not with the roads but with me.

      Nine months of unrelenting terror over the disease has not helped. Living in fear for ten days or two weeks every time a plumber or AC guy or drywall guy or lawn dude has been here does not help your state of mind, nor does feeling afraid to go to the grocery store or sit in a doctor’s waiting room or pump gas into your car. Or take the dog to get her teeth cleaned. Or get your own teeth worked on. Or get your hair cut!

  2. We are lucky enough to not have those single handle faucets in our showers. The plumber wanted to put one in and I said not now. And thinking about it later, I definitely don’t want one. At 72, I don’t want to switch to a new style faucet that I have never liked when we used to travel. They are always too hot or too cold. I had to get a new kitchen faucet because the old one leaked. The old one wasn’t too bad; but the new one has too narrow of a spread to easily get warm. It is either scalding or cold.
    I started a list in my phone called “Where it is” for anything that I’ve put away and can’t find later. When I do find them later, I add them to the list. Mostly it’s things I’m hiding from other people. But I can’t remember anymore, so I end up hiding them from myself.
    My husband & I are both handy. We even cut our own hair, though now we have to assist each other with the back because the arms don’t reach as far.
    I was thinking lately that I didn’t include the cost of having someone doing all the things we do for ourselves now in our retirement budget.
    I never thought about all the things you might not be able to do later.

    • LOL! I used to be able to cut my own hair, too…but in my dotage, I can’t reach the middle of my back anymore. And also, this house doesn’t have mirrors that are lighted well enough to see what I’m doing.

      I’m only just beginning to figure out how to operate the iPhone my son gave me. Hmmm…sez here you can make lists in “Notes.” That would he helpful. Good idea to note where you stashed the “things put in a safe place where you’ll never ever be able to find them again”!

      And yeah: the problem with the one-handle things is that you can NOT get them to dispense water at the desired temperature. You end up having to fill the tub (or sink) 3/4 full with near-simmering water, then add cold water to get to the temp you want. HATE that!

  3. Yes the iPhone is still a partial mystery to me to. Somehow I turned on the flashlight and my 5 year-old grandson noticed it was on. Then he had to turn it off for me.
    I want him to get old enough to help me with my computer when Google can’t. I can just hear him now, “Grammy, you don’t know how to do that!”

  4. I started using Notes on my iPhone to remind me where I’ve hidden items at home when I travel. It’s labeled “Where’s my stuff?” and was started after one trip when I couldn’t find my extra credit cards for a week after I returned home. It’s sort of like naming a Word document. Everything seems so logical when you’re filing it (or hiding it) but that logic eludes you when you try to retrieve things.

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