“Hey, it’s Alf, your ridiculous handyman,” said Alf, my ridiculous handyman, who clearly reads my not-blog.
Alf was recommended to me by a coworker, a coworker I had to go down to another floor to see yesterday, to ask him to call Alf for me cause I was unable to retrieve Alf’s number, which lead to me explaining how my phone is broken and how it got broken, and you always want to say “pet psychic” to command respect at work.
And that is how Alf, my ridiculous handyman, came to call me at my desk, there, at work.
“How’d you break your phone?” he asked, from below someone’s house. He was in someone’s crawl space, and he said it was sealed off in such a way that all the dead mice and chipmunks had been perfectly preserved, like mummies.
When I explained to him how I broke my phone (oh, read yesterday’s post, ya fussbudget) (because I can hear it now. I can FEEL, I can SMELL the upcoming “I don’t know what you did to your phone?”–with the inappropriate question mark–comments. I know you all too well), and then I had to explain what happened, and one thing my ridiculous handyman Alf enjoys doing is droning on about a thing he finds amusing.
Go ahead. Ask him how he feels about Edsel being on Prozac.
Also, here are sentences that don’t need a question mark after them:
I thought you weren’t…
I wonder why…
A lot of people have been writing to Dear Prudie (on Slate) (oh, she’s marvelous. Read her!) lately and ending their query with, “Help?” and it’s like to give me a stroke.
The REASON I called Alf was to see if he could come put my vanity together before my mother gets here. Ned and I took it down to, I can’t remember anymore, move it? Something fell off–YES! The glass shelf in it fell off, and we had to take it down, and then Ned started putting it back together and I SAW A SCREW come through the middle of that 1940s vanity that belonged to my great aunt, and I
and he got mad and refused to put it together after that. So since then it’s been functioning, just with the big round mirror part leaning behind it and it’s been bugging me for months and HIGH ON MY LIST of next husband is “handy.”
“You still have a MOTHER?” asked Alf, delighted with his own self. Alf, who is exactly my age, so. “Yeah, I can come by Wednesday after work. When’s your mother get here?”
“Well, you need your porch to look good before then. Don’t you need me to paint the porch and the steps?” See. This is what I like about Alf, my ridiculous handyman. He remembers his clients’ stuff, and he’s generous. See below.
“I do, but I didn’t schedule you for that cause I couldn’t pay you till next pay period, which is Saturday.”
“Oh, just post-date the check. I have some paint already so you don’t have to buy that. And you want to get it done now, so your mom doesn’t get here, climb up your wet steps, and stay frozen there and mummify like these chipmunks down here. She’d be mommyfied.”
See Alf: Ridiculous.
He was flummoxed by my functioning with a broken phone. “What will you DO all night?” and similarly flummoxed every time we spoke again yesterday, which totaled 5 times. “From my DESK, again, Alf.”
Anyway, at the end of yesterday, he called to say the task was done–the porch part, at least. He has to get matching paint for the steps. “You can get in your back door, right?” he asked.
Oh my god. I had no idea. “Yeah, of course,” I said. “Well, keep me posted,” Alf MRH said. “I can’t. I won’t have a phone,” It reminded him, and then I had another approximately 25 minutes of teasing about my lack of phone.
I got home and there was my porch, all nicely painted, although to tell you the truth it’s supposed to be gray and it looks maybe a little…lavender.
The first person to ask why I don’t get out my highly functioning phone and take a picture gets her liver painted purple.
And, you know, I like lavender, but now I look like one of those weird people who likes purple a lot and makes everything purple and whose coworkers go on vacation and bring back a purple St. Louis Arch or whatever. “This was so you, I had to get it!”
I used to collect snow globes, and when I was a receptionist, the accountants where I receptioned would always bring me back snow globes from wherever they went. “I guess I gotta get the damn receptionist one of her snow globes.”
My point is, I went around to m’back door, so to speak, and guess what.
Or, if you want to give me a stroke: Guess?
Yeah, I don’t have any fucking idea where my key for that door is. Alf just put that door UP like five or six months ago. I’m certain he gave me a, you know, key. I wonder if I hung it on the door-length keyholder thing on the inside door of the pantry, a thing I just a few weeks ago looked at and said, “I hate this keyholder thing in the pantry, and I own this house, so” and I unceremoniously unscrewed it from the door and put a notice on Next Door and threw in the front yard only to have it vultured 47 seconds later.
I know how I am, and there were keys hanging off that thing, and I’ll bet I said, “If I don’t know what these keys go to, why am I keeping them?” I can HEAR, I can SMELL myself thinking that.
I stood uncertainly on my deck while the pets, those who were inside, were staring at me expectantly from inside the house. wy she not come inz?
Eventually, I decided to drive somewhere and eat, which I did, and then I considered going to a movie, hoping the paint would be dry by the end of said film, but I really had to clean the damn house and do my freelance work, so what I ended up doing, in what I’m sure was another installment of June’s Neighbors Make Popcorn and Stare Out the Window, was I S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D across the wet paint with one leg and unlocked the door, then PUSHED it open and screamed at Edsel to stay inside, then S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D the other leg, which DID NOT QUITE MAKE IT and there’s free yoga at work and I never go and who’s sorry now, and with ONE STUPID FOOTPRINT IN THE PAINT, I got in.
“Well, goddammit, I messed up one little part. Alf can cover it when he comes back to do the stairs.” I thought, trying to not be too disappointed with myself.
And that is when Steely Dan ran up the yard and across the wet porch, with his stupid stupid paws.
Aaaaand here’s today’s link to Amazon.