Bad Reputation

shower.jpgWe have recently been doing some renovation on our guest bathroom.  As is often the case in tract homes, the builder used a cheap bathtub that rusted through and began to leak water into the garage, which is directly below the bathroom.  Some heavy-duty caulking stopped the leakage for a while, but in July, the drip-drip-drip started again.   We called our friendly neighborhood plumber (he really is, here) and had our tub replaced with a high-quality cast iron one.  The plan was to remove the lower portion of the tile tub enclosure, but when that was done, it revealed some water damage to the framing behind the tile, so we had the entire enclosure removed and the framing replaced.  Then it was time to call our friendly neighborhood masonry guy (also really is, here) to redo the enclosure.   This was turning into a marathon (to the tune of the ka-ching ka-ching of money leaving our bank account).

In our neighborhood, Tuesday is street-sweeping day.  At approximately eight o’clock, the street sweeper comes, followed by the Street Sweeper Nazi in a white car with flashing lights.   The Street Sweeper Nazi issues $80 citationssweep sign for any vehicle parked on the street.   So … on Tuesday morning, I told the masonry guys to park in the driveway so they wouldn’t get ticketed.   Many, the lead tiler, looked at me with wide eyes and said, Oh, I remember the last time.  You really got into it with them.  You called them a *&^%ing *%&hole.   Yikes.  He was the same guy who’d done our kitchen renovation and he still remembered my Colossal Meltdown years earlier.  It was both hilarious and embarrassing.

Back then, the situation was the same, except I’d forgotten it was Tuesday and parked both our cars on the street.  From my office, which is in the front of the house, I realized my error when I heard the sound of the sweeper coming up to the street, but by the time I got to my wife, Muri’s, car the SWN was ticketing it.   I tried reasoning with him.  You don’t earn a nickname like the SWN by being reasonable.  I tried yelling at him and he began lecturing me on chickenmaturity and responsibility.   You don’t call Marty McFly Chicken and you don’t lecture a pissed-off curmudgeon on maturity when he’s embarrassing himself by being the opposite.  I treated him to a demonstration of my ability to string together unusual combinations of vulgar insults while the tile guy watched with wide eyes.  It might have ended there if he hadn’t then headed for my car, which was parked further down the road.  Without thinking, I ran to my car and drove off before he could ticket it or get the license plate.  I was now officially on the run.  After what seemed like an appropriate interval, I returned home and parked in the garage which had to remain open for the masonry guys.  The SWN returned several times during the day but couldn’t get my plate number because … wait for it … I’d taped cardboard over it before I went back to my office.

In my travels from 50 to 70, I truly believe that I have become a calmer, easier-to-deal with man.  I rarely lose my temper and even when I’m angry, I deal with it appropriately.   But before you take that for granted and mess with me, remember, I have a Bad Reputation with the masonry guys … and my Inner Curmudgeon can still let it rip when provoked or embarrassed.

Epilogue: The SWN placed a ticket for me on Muri’s car, too, sans plate number.  I paid it like the good citizen I usually try to be.

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One Comment on “Bad Reputation”

  1. barrythewiz Says:

    I still love that story! I never even knew you had a temper :). Yet another thing we have in common.


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