Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Whistle while you work...ha!

I'm saving up to buy a haz-mat suit. What could I possibly need a haz-mat suit for? Well, my current job is a bit....grimy. No, that word doesn't really do it justice. More like filthy, moldy, gritty, smelly, and parasite-infested. Those are all good, but I still don't think that covers it. Here's the deal: I'm helping my mom clean out my 100 year old aunt's farmhouse. The house was built in the 1700's and has been in our family the whole time, just sitting uninhabited these past 6 years while Auntie was in the nursing home. However, now the house has sold and we have been given the near impossible, Herculean task of cleaning it out...the house, the cooper's shed, upstairs workshop, barn and carriage house. I think we'd have better luck with the Augean stables. The entire house is full of family heirlooms...furniture, old tools, books, dishes; you name it, it's in there. And everything is covered with a fine sheen of dust and mold, because the drafty house is right on the ocean. And in the cooper's shed and barn, everything has this dirty, grimy, rusty coating. And that's not counting the splinters. So, I spend my day, weeding through the mess, room by room. Some items are in good condition, under the filth, and are going to museums. Other items I stuff in garbage bags or if they are too big, drag them out to the 30 cubic yard dumpster we rented. If that wasn't enough, there are times when I have to crawl into the dumpster, either to rearrange some larger items so there's room for more, or for a more specific purpose, like the Tale of the Tell-Tale Fire Alarm. Perhaps you'd like to hear the tale? Like you have a choice.

So, we get to the house later than we normally do. Sitting in the car, we set our game plan for the remainder of the day. I am distracted, however, by a strange constant ringing noise. Like mom's hearing aid battery is going...only this sound is not coming from the seat next to me. It is outside the car. I think that I'm hallucinating at first, and try to block it out. But it doesn't stop. So, I get out of the car and with my head cocked to one side like a deaf old man, I amble around the yard, pausing every few seconds to verify whether the sound is growing louder. I finally narrow it down to the dumpster and question my mom to see if she hears it too, or if I am, in fact, hallucinating. Mom hears the sound too, and with dawning comprehension she says "oh, it must be the old smoke detector," and turns to go into the house. Hey, hey, I remind her...there is a big sign on the dumpster indicating their "no-no" list, and batteries are one of them. And I think they'd notice, what with all the ringing. So, guess who gets to climb into the dumpster and find said annoying ringing object. Yeah. That'd be me. So, wearing my sandals (the one and only day I do, considering how hot it was...but it really wasn't appropriate footwear in all the gucky stuff) I clamber into the dumpster and pick my way over to where mom thinks she dropped the trash bag containing the offending alarm. "I know it was over on this side," she assures me, "in with the kitchen stuff. It's one of those little round ones...should be in one of those three black bags." So I start ripping into bags, tossing them around, trying to locate the point of origin of the sound, all while making sure my feet don't get poked by metal or broken glass. Everything echos strangely in the big dumpster, so after about 5 minutes searching, I start getting frustrated. I've uncovered something because the noise is now louder, but I still haven't found the damn thing. So, I grab a small mattress that's in there, toss it over the pile of bags, and start jumping up and down like I'm a school girl on a trampoline. Nothing happens. No breaking noise. No muffled noise. No absence of noise. Just the infernal ringing! At this point, my foot jostles a nearby box and the ringing gets very loud. I look into this CARDBOARD BOX (not trash bag) and pull out a few rectangular items...finally realizing that the noise is now coming from my hand. Not a little round alarm, but a big RECTANGULAR one! In fury, I rip out the battery and chuck it over the side. However, the possessed alarm is still making squeaking sounds! What the hell! So I rip out the wires and make to heave it against the side of the dumpster, but in my aggravated state, it sails over the top of the dumpster into the pucker-brush, where my laughing mother almost falls off the ladder as she goes to find it. Several minutes later, she's fished it out of the bushes and given it back to me where I proceed to slam the thing into the metal side of the dumpster. The cover merely springs open. Ahhhhrrrgghhh! I shout in impotent rage and physically rip the cover off. I then pummel it into the wall repeatedly until it finally dies. I then turn to my mother and demand a pay raise.
(This whole thing reminds me of a Friends episode, where Phoebe does battle with a smoke detector in the middle of the night..I can't find the full clip, but you should watch it if you ever have the chance. I believe it's episode 12, season 7)

Incredibly enough, I manage to avoid cutting myself on any hazardous materials in the dumpster. My week has been a bit accident prone...I've managed to give myself a slight concussion, been hit in the corner of the eye with a ladder, and had heavy, rusty, foot long corkscrew drill bits miss piercing through my skull by this much (holds finger and thumb about an inch apart). I felt it was a miracle that I sustained no injuries in my fight with the demented alarm. I should have known better. My first trip out to throw things away, after subduing the alarm, I get stung by a bee. Now, my dad is really allergic to bees, and I hadn't been stung before, so both my mother and I are sort of looking at each other going..."should we call someone or something?" Holy Crap, I have never been in such pain. It felt like I was getting a toe block. So now, in addition to feeling lame because I'm crying like a little girl over a bee sting, my foot is in pain, I'm already all dirty, and we've barely started work. Screw the pay raise or hazard pay...I think I want life insurance.

After I wash my foot in salt water, I feel better, but I resolve to be much more careful in my goings-on. I'd like to stay in one piece.

Putting my crazy stunts aside, the work on the house has been going pretty well. The closing is on August 8th so everything needs to be finished by then. That leaves me just enough time for my sister-in-law's wedding on the 12th, and then job interviewing for the remainder of the summer. I really really really hope to have something lined up before fall. In the meantime, I'm working on our new house and story hours at this little town library. Next post I'll put up some pictures of the Harry Potter Party I did for them, plus some interiors of our new place. I know, I know, I've been saying that, but this time, I really mean it! I've been horribly out of touch and probably no one reads this anymore, but I'm going to try to get back on track blogging, especially with hubby on call most nights. Until then...

No comments: