I saw a screw

“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.

43 thoughts on “I saw a screw

  1. Honestly. Crying with laughter, sitting here at the front desk of the dental office, while everyone else in the office is neck deep in mouths. Like, I don’t know why they don’t all stop what they’re doing and come and listen to me read this post.
    When I was a single mom, and my kids were approximately ages 10 and 5, after I had worked as a special education teacher all day and probably either tutored a kid after school or taught an aerobics class after school (because I couldn’t live on my teacher’s salary), we got dressed up and trick-or-treated once I dragged my tired bones home. Thank goodness it was Halloween or we’d have looked like greedy monsters. I shut the house up and we walked all around our little neighborhood and collected many pounds of candy. When we finally made our way back home, guess who didn’t have a key to the house? Guess who left all keys locked inside the house? I circled the outside of my house twice, with my little ones following and tripping behind me in the dark. I was hoping I’d find an open door somewhere, or maybe at least a hole in a wall where we could slip in. My two kids were starting to whine about having to search for an open door while they were hungry and tired (as if I wasn’t the one who should be doing that) so I decided to take them next door to my neighbor’s house. Luckily, my neighbors were the sweetest, most grandparentedly people I knew, and I was grateful they were living next to me. When I showed up at their back door with a couple of now half-dressed-up trick or treaters (some pieces of their costumes had been shed and dropped on the front porch at this point), I explained my situation and asked them if they would allow my kids to sit in their den while I attempted a break-in at my own house. And here’s the happy ending to my story: The grandparentedly neighbors had a key sitting on their mantel that my 5-year-old daughter had left at their house months before. They didn’t know what the key fit into, but they had kept it there, on their mantel. My daughter had a plastic car that she was always “going shopping” in, and everyone knows you can’t drive a car without a key, so she had found a key, used it to “start” her car, and then following in her mother’s footsteps, irresponsibly left her “car key” in the neighbor’s driveway. It just happened to be the key to my house. I was there with you, June, tip-toeing across your wet paint.


  2. No, June doesn’t want to date Alf – it’s an occupational hazard that whatever field you’re in, you’ll never complete those tasks in your own home: a plumber’s faucet regularly drips, a carpenter’s door is never hung.

    I needed the giggles today as it was hatey around here, too. Lovely post, pretty June.


  3. I used to have a handyman who helped me when I was single, with you know handy work. He was wonderful and could put together, build and/or tear apart anything I needed. He was a widower. He had a key to my house and raided my refrigerator when I wasn’t home and he was there repairing my money pit of a house. I came home one day to find him gnawing on a chicken leg and drinking out of the jug of tea. He was like Eldin on Murphy Brown


  4. I remember you showing us a picture of the dresser with the mirror propped up behind it. Family visitors are the best reason to finally finish things. I wish I had an Alf in my life. He’d be independently wealthy just off my honeydo lists.


  5. Not that I’m giving advice but if the lock on my back door required a different key from my front door, I would have my locks keyed or re-keyed to the same key. Because it’s key to only need one key for all of your doors.


    1. Me too but I “like” it though because otherwise it’s too much work to carry around all those keys (lazy) and too hard to remember which is which (lazy)!


  6. Wel,l it seems we all love Alf. I think there should be June show, like on YouTube and it can be June and her Friends comedy hour. Like Sonny and Cher kinda, and maybe Barry Gibb can guest star. June, you can wear a long dark wig, and maybe Ned will want to appear. I could have put a question mark after that, but refrained.


  7. With all your Amazon riches, maybe you can buy a cute doormat that covers up all of the footprints – human and feline alike?! (oh how I enjoyed typing that question mark!)

    In other news, I adore Alf!


  8. Jumping on the loving Alf train! I wouldn’t date him though, would hate to ruin the relationship with dumb relationship stuff. He seems like good people. A good egg. A gem among gems. (what does that even mean?)
    Great post June!


  9. I’d leave the SD prints, after all, you own the house!

    Alf is a riot – what a sweet man for getting the painting in before mom comes.


  10. You know how sometimes one color close to another will make it seem to have a different hue? It could it be that the purple door makes the porch looks more lavendery than it really is. I’d totally leave the footprint on the porch. Did SD leave any? That would be so cute!
    Is Alf taken?


  11. Something about you getting your vanity screwed back together made me snicker.

    I so love Alf. Please let him be a regular guest star. With all the money you’re making as the new Amazon mogul, you should be able to keep him on retainer!


  12. Is Alf a single man? Why do I feel like most (all) of us are matchmaking June and Alf in our collective heads? Anyone? Help? Go!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I weren’t married, I’d matchmake myself with Alf. “If the women don’t find you handsome, at least let them find you handy!” I keep telling my husband that but he does not take a hint.


  13. I say show Alf that photo I posted of the door in Facebook of June – there are grey steps etc. there and they look grey. He needs to get that sort of grey. Today is only Wednesday so perhaps you can be foot and paw print free by Friday?


  14. Mommyfied! I love Alf, and I NEED an Alf. My husband is very handy, but he is not allowed on ladders since he cracked his back.

    I was going to ask if there were cat tracks on the porch when you got home, but you got to put your track on the porch first. That made me laugh out loud.

    I understand the frustration about your phone, we have been without our home phone two days, I didn’t miss all the annoying calls, but I missed the internet connection. I was very glad to see the repairman arrive, but annoying calls have already returned.


  15. I was going to suggest that it is possible to tell people only part of the story, to avoid ridicule. I don’t mean with us, with coworkers and Alf. You could just say “I dropped my phone while shopping at Lowe’s and now I have to get it fixed!”
    But now I think about it, how much fun would that be?


    1. kiwords acts like this possibility has never OCCURRED to me before, but I promise you Ned has suggested that many times. “You don’t need to tell everyone EVERYTHING.”

      We’re broken up now.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. June not sharing every detail would not be a June, that would be a grey February. I don’t want to read the Boring Book of February!!


  16. Dear June, lovely post! Here lately, it feels as if I hate everything, too. There is no reason for this other than I don’t especially like people anymore. Some days I barely tolerate MY people.


  17. June,
    Reading your blog is like watching an episode of I Love Lucy! You make me laugh every day. Thanks!


  18. You must leave the foot prints in the paint….must.
    Alf Alf he’s your man if Alf can’t do it no one can!
    So your porch is girl kitty gray?
    I noticed when SD was in your car the other day he isn’t as gray as the interior , but in photos by himself he looks SO gray.Maybe because the door is purple it makes the floor look a bit purple AND too , when it dries it will be a totally different gray.


    1. My car interior is black, so that’s why. But he’s super gray. He’s so gray he’s purple. Like my porch.

      The circle of life. Boom.


  19. I was hoping you’d crawled through the window. But now that Alf has to touch up, tell him to get a different gray. The door is pulling out the lavender base.

    Also too, I would have screamed if I saw a screw coming through the vanity!


  20. I love Alf! And now I’ve been thinking about that Alf show I used to watch and we all thought it was the funniest show ever!
    I am impressed by your stretchiness. I probably would have left a butt print after falling on my ass trying to get it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He just called AGAIN and is aghast that I have no key for the back door. “Oh, I’m a WRITER. I’m CEREBRAL. I don’t need things like KEYS.”

      Liked by 1 person

  21. laughing OUT LOUD here at work. SD, the unruly, lovable teenager. was that his birthday present to himself?

    mommyfied. is alf single? he sounds like he’s on your humor wave length.

    i dare to ask…when is the phone being fixed? because, hey, all about me, i miss your photos.


  22. I like Alf.

    You know what I hate as much as you hate the “help?” People who want suggestions for something that type the following: Places for good coffee? And GO!



  23. If I wasn’t up at the ridiculous hour here on the West Coast prepping for my GI test this morning, I would never be the FIRST COMMENTER OF THE DAY!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. OMG! This would be me, trying to make it across the paint and failing.Good try, June!


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