Sharing a House with Murphy S Law

Many adventures have kept me away from my computer chair, so I’m a little rusty in the writing department.  The blank screen and a smart-alecky blinking cursor are giving me the stink-eye, but I’m going to give it a try anyway.

It started when doctors discovered a lump in Husband’s prostate – which everyone assured me, “would be fine.”  Everyone that is, except Murphy S Law, who knew immediately that, in fact, it would not be fine.

Shortly after bringing Husband home from his brief hospital stay, sparkly white flakes began to float down from the sky.  Knowing that I’d be spending the next week hovering over Husband, I decided I could care less. I walked over to the (new to me) gas fireplace, flipped the switch and watched, fascinated, as a perfectly effortless fire roared to life.

Can I rock a look or what?

Can I rock a look or what?

I gotta go - BAD

I gotta go – BAD

Soon Murphy S Law flipped his own switch and the gently floating snowflakes turn to brutal sheets of white. Still, who really cared?  Okay, me, a bit.  Husband’s doctor forbade him to do any lifting AT ALL, which required me to fully outfit myself against the storm in order to carve out a path so that aging dog, Lola, could make it to the back yard.

Returning from my walk on the frozen tundra, I buttoned up the house, turned off the lights and went to bed.

******

“Guess what?” Husband said, as I stumbled into the kitchen for my morning cup of caffeine.

“Wha?” I mumbled.

“The pipes are frozen!”

I swear I felt the brush of a giggle against my ear from Mr. Law

I called the plumber that had worked for our hated contractor, but had been one of the few subs we trusted.  The plumber asked “What’s your address again?”  When told, he hemmed and hawed a bit, then said “I’m really sorry to tell you this, but I’ll be filing a lien against you because your contractor never paid us.”

Of. Course. They. Didn’t. – Mr. Murphy S Law’s giggle turned into a guffaw as he firmly planted himself into my life.

What were my options?  I begged the plumber to come anyway. Plumber #1 arrived and said he’d never seen anything like it.  I heard Mr. M S Law cackle.  Plumber #1 called in Plumber #2 who thought he remembered this happening to his dad once and maybe he’d have the tool we needed.

Didn't think this plan through

Didn’t think this plan through

Meantime I’m carrying in buckets and buckets of snow to melt on the stove so that I can pour them in the toilet tank so that we can use it. Picture to the right is my first attempt before I, DOH, realized my gas stove worked.

Plumber #1 and #2 returned with a pair of jumper cables as long as a bus.  They attached one end to the meter and the other end ran through my front door, across the living room, down the stairs and draped across my writing desk, to connect to the pipe that enters the house.

“Now we wait.” Plumber #2 said.

We waited.

And waited.

And waited.

All the time, Murphy S Law is stretched out on my floor, filing his nails.  Four hours of waiting later, Plumber #2 said he’s going to go on home, but just to keep the jumper cables plugged in and he’d be back tomorrow to pick them up.

Plumber #2 returned the next day and, surprised to find us still frozen, called in Plumber #3.  He said “Sorry, can’t help you. Here’s our bill.”

By day four of hauling in snow to melt, I was getting a tiny bit cranky.  I gathered up every unread book and magazine I could find and hunkered down in the worn out, over-stuffed chair in my office.  After an hour or so, husband came down.

“Whatcha doin?” he asked.

“I’m in a terrible mood,” I grumbled.  “Better to just leave me alone.”

“Why are you in a bad mood?” He asked with a bright smile on his face.

“Can’t you just leave me alone for a bit?” I pled.  “I’m really, really cranky and, as my dad would say, ‘don’t poke the bear.’”

“But, how is my talking to you poking the bear?  Just tell me why you’re so cranky and then I’ll leave.”

“For one thing, I’m SICK AND TIRED of hauling snow to flush toilets.”

“Whew,” he said.  “Me too.”

Dark spots appeared before my eyes.  “You?” My hands rose of their own volition toward his throat.  “YOU’RE tired of me hauling snow?” I willed my hands away from him and turned them on me, literally stuffing them in my mouth.

The questioning look on Husband’s face changed to terror as he realized he had poked the bear one too many times and he quickly left the room.

The next day, the sun came out and…we still had frozen pipes.  But, the day after that…we still had frozen pipes.  Eventually they did thaw and we spent the rest of our record-breaking-low-temperature winter with the water running in the bathroom sink, day and night.

All this is a long, convoluted way (would the Mayor of Crazie Town do it any other way?) of saying , Citizens of Crazie Town – I’m back and thanks for sticking around!

 

 

 

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The Night of the Living Smoke Alarm

It was a rough night.

First, the stupid coffee shop gave me a real latte instead of a decaf. I lay in bed, staring at the ceiling until 1:00 am, vowing over and over to never to consume another latte if, The Sandman would just let me sleep.

Guard dog grade: F

Guard dog grade: F

Then, at 3:00 am, Lola, the seventy-pound chicken/dog, came galloping into the bedroom to try to squeeze her giant body behind the rickety bedside table I’ve been vowing to repair. I roll over in time to catch a lamp before it crashes to the floor.

“There’s a noise in the house,” Husband mutters sleepily and pulls the covers over his head

I don’t know how this ever happened, but in our marriage, I’m the one to go investigate noises. Actually I do know how it happened. One dark and stormy night I heard someone rooting around in the kitchen. I shook him awake and demanded that he go investigate. Instead he rolled over and started snoring. I discovered that the “someone” was a raccoon, but that’s another story.

“What noise?” I ask my now snoring husband.

Then I heard it, a high-pitched BEEP, followed by Lola flinging herself behind the bedside table.

“Hey!” I shook Husband awake, balancing the lamp in my arms. “It’s a smoke alarm.” I slid out of bed, put the lamp back on the table and wrestled into my sleeves-inside-out robe.

I walked down the hallway, listening.

BEEP

“Which one is it?” Husband shouts from the bedroom.

“I don’t know!” I shout back.

He finally gets up and together we wander around the house, pausing under each smoke alarm until we hear the BEEP from the smoke alarm that we are not standing under.

Not actual Husband

Not actual Husband

Husband pinpoints the offender in the dining room but can’t reach it by standing on a chair, so (still in his underwear) out to the garage he goes to retrieve a ladder. He climbs up and takes the battery out. He climbs down and we stumble off to bed.

BEEP

Cursing, Husband climbs back up the ladder to see if he can disconnect it from the electrical wires. He struggles for quite a while and I decide I can help by retrieving the flashlight from the laundry room closet. As soon as I open the door, Lola throws herself on to the bottom shelf of the metal cabinet I put in there. Obviously a three-foot tall dog is not going to fit on a one-foot tall shelf, but this doesn’t stop her from trying. The room is pitch black and she is pitch black and I’m flailing around holding the still-dark flashlight in one hand and trying to grab a body part of hers that will enable me to drag her away from the shelf with the other hand. Then there’s another BEEP, followed by a curse from Husband, followed by Lola redoubling her efforts.

Actual photo of me

Actual photo of me

Eventually I give up and return to the dining room, flipping every light switch along the way. I shine the flashlight at the offending smoke alarm and try to ignore the sound of Lola’s toenails frantically scraping the metal shelf.

Husband still can’t figure out the smoke alarm and asks me to think of where – anywhere – we’d have a nine volt battery we could use. Just as I’ve resigned myself that it will require a trip to an all-night store, I remember there’s a battery in the sprinkler system. Along the way to the garage, Husband stops long enough to drag Lola out of the laundry closet and shut the door.

We spend the next fifteen minutes with Husband at the top of the ladder, trying and failing to insert the battery into the smoke alarm, over and over again.

Meanwhile, Lola is darting from room to room, knocking into chairs, looking for a new place to hide.

At every BEEP I add my opinion.

BEEP “I’m pretty sure the battery goes the other way.”
BEEP “I’m very sure the battery goes the other way.”
BEEP “TRY IT THE OTHER WAY!”

I take a deep breath and turn my head away, vowing not to lose my temper again. I look at the bank of windows behind us and renew my vow from last week, to buy curtains this week.

Then, my focus changes and I see the scene that all my neighbors can see; Husband in his underwear, standing at the top of a ladder, with me shining a spotlight on him.

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