What’s New Pussycat?

posted in: Home Improvements | 0

Well hello everyone. Sorry for the delay in blogging…..It’s been such a crazy few weeks that I’ve been too drained emotionally, physically and financially, to do anything but breathe and whine…..

Where to start……….When I last checked in with all of you it was several weeks ago. I was still in the midst of an interior dust storm. and nasty pipe removal, fortunately not involving my reproductive system or windpipes, just the sewer line….the big fat smelly house sewer line, that is.

Well sh*t is rolling ‘downhill’ now, HOORAY and thank goodness – all toilets are flushing happily – and I can close my eyes and hear the sea when I pull the handles. Hey, little things excite small minds like my own. Most of the dust/mess has been cleaned up, all the tile re-laid, carpet rolled back and stretched, and various and sundry chores accomplished.

Once the plumbers were finished with their smelly work, it was time for the tilers to move in for a couple of weeks. Fabian and Maurelio……both from Mexico, although by their height they could have been from Oz….. Fabian was my instant friend when he told me that he plays in a Mariachi band…..and so of course I had to tell him all about my dad being a musician and having a big band…..we had such good chats. Fabe’s English wasn’t too bad, but we both spoke the language of music!

So each day they worked I set up a little snack bar in the kitchen for the guys to get food and drinks etc. I have no shame in admitting that I bought their friendship with countless candy bars, pop and gummi bears. I also played them music – I introduced them to an old Linda Ronstadt album, one that she’d made as a tribute to her father, who had played Mariachi. The tilers were very interested, so I played the album and they knew all of the traditional songs, they just hadn’t ever heard her version of them. They were delighted and really thought she was good!

They spent the afternoon dancing down the hallway while they worked, singing at the top of their munchkin lungs as I had the music cranked. It was all so bizarre, a melding of cultures. I played them a couple of tunes from BBC Radio 4 which featured my father playing solo, and then we laughed at the irony of a Brit playing British music to a Mexican in Oklahoma. By the time the tile was all completed, I sent them off with their own copies of Linda’s album, and received an invitation to one of Fabian’s gigs which I plan to attend.

The next important event in my recent life was really special. My buddy Maria and I went to see Tom Jones – or as we say Tom Jooooonnnees….(with a Welsh accent of course).

Truthfully, neither of us were massive fans of his, but we went to honour our mums, who had loved all the old hits, and who we believed had harboured a secret desire to throw their knickers at him (that would be panties in America)…..That never came about for my mother, which is probably a good thing. My lovely mum was not a large lady, but if she’d thrown her resplendent granny knickers onto the stage, they would have swept her along behind them like a parachute…..she had very definite ideas about the size of one’s underwear.

So the concert, it was actually really good. Our Tommy’s 83, and he still managed to put on a great show without any apparent medical issues. Sure, he didn’t move around that much, but I suspect that was down to tight trousers and not arthritic joints. His voice was still surprisingly strong. He also didn’t hurt that he had a kick-arse back-up band of 8 musicians. I’m pretty certain that the sum total of their ages probably came to less than 83, but they were awesome! It was a fun and memorable night – Maria had her very first chicken fried chicken (even though she’s been here for years) and then we spent an evening together singing along with a Welshman….such culture!

With Tom, the plumbers and the Mariachi’s in my rear view mirror, I turned my attention to the next task at hand.….the one that Gump was dreading due to the potential of his minimal involvement…..the garage sale…….

First, I hired some guys from the HOW Foundation – This is a non-profit organization where guys are sent to ‘clean-up’ and get their lives back on track from drugs & booze. It’s an alternative for them instead of going to jail, and a really great organization.

On the appointed day, four young men showed up to spend an hour at my house, to help me move my furniture around. I wanted to change the room designation, and make the house look less boring. This was an opportune time to take care of my plans as most of our furniture was still piled up in corners from all the recent tiling and plumbing.

The HOW guys walked in the house and provided me with their muscles and good manners, and in return I provided donuts, sausage rolls and pop. I got to hear about their troubled lives and where they were in the sobriety program, and I also got to answer loads of questions about England. They were hard workers, and I spent most of the time getting in their way as they lifted heavy objects as though the weighed nothing at all.

In the shake of my extra chin, all was rearranged! What a relief, and so much easier than having Gump do all the moving. I didn’t have to listen to his bones creak, or hear him complain about my obsession with moving things around. These young men had no complaints and got everything done within an hour. Gump would have moaned and groaned just looking at the list, and then taken several months to do any of it.

This was such a great idea, except now I had to figure out where all my other stuff would go, you know, home accessories/ artwork etc. Whilst contemplating the new ‘staging’ I would be attempting, I needed to empty every cupboard/drawer/nook/cranny in my house and wash off all the awful mess from the work done, re-line shelves, wash each individual item clean from dust and put away. Wow – what a bloody awful job. The upside was as I cleaned I found loads more stuff for the garage sale. I also burned a couple of calories every time I had to bend over to put something away while also getting a head-rush.

As this gargantuan task progressed, I received a card in the mail inviting me to join the neighborhood’s website. It’s a free site called Neighborhood.com. Well I jumped at the chance – what a great idea! This is a free app that you sign up for, and then you can communicate with all the people living in your neighborhood. You can share information with neighbors about anything you want to share. So I had this great idea – what if I suggested a neighborhood garage sale? I mean, I was going to have a sale myself, wouldn’t it be better if loads of us did a sale on the same day? I’ve never seen that happen around here, we’re a little bit in the boonies, so maybe I needed to be the person that got the ball rolling?

And I did. The response was grand! So many people thought it a super idea, and within one week I had tons of people committed to a specific date! I was pretty excited, even though I was already dead tired and wondering why I hadn’t taken all my crap to Goodwill. But hey, I was the organizer….I couldn’t back out no matter what!

My garage was quickly filling up with items. Three days before the BIG day, I logged on to the website for a sale update. Then I started to actually read some of the other bits and bobs on the web page. And that was the moment I realized that something was very wrong…..I did not live in this neighborhood. In my haste to plan the sale I had not realized my neighborhood was about 4 miles away from the one on the website. What a horrible mistake! I was crushed…all that effort…all that pitching…ugh! When I told Gump that I had made a grievous error, he laughed for the rest of the day. He likes to point out my many parallels with Lucille Ball.

But all was not lost dear readers! As it turned out there was one other person on the website who actually lived down the street from me. So we had our sale anyway. Gump went out early that morning and put up my signs and said there were sale signs all over the place! When people came by our sale, they told us that they hadn’t seen that many sales in the vicinity in ages……Gump just laughed. I got it all wrong but ultimately things all turned out for the best!

So there we are. You are all up to date with my world.

Note: I have intentionally not mentioned anything regarding the presidential race in this post, but I do urge all of you that are eligible to VOTE!

Jude