Although the forecast is calling for heavy rain (oh! something new! we haven’t had THAT in a while!) through the weekend, I can pretty much guarantee you that it won’t be raining at all. Any time in the near future. Or possibly ever. Nope. Gonna be nothing but clear skies from here on out.
How can I be so sure?
Why, my sump pump has been installed, that’s why! Completely obliterating any chance of further rain!
No need to thank me. Using Murphy’s Law to redistribute meteorological events is just another service which I offer.
But let’s back up, shall we? Yes, let’s.
My contractor (he of the Jesus discount), who shall henceforth be known as Christian, showed up right on time this morning. Following close on his heels was his coworker.
The coworker stepped out from behind Christian and I took one look at him and had a hot flash. Only, it wasn’t a hot flash, I realized–it was just an immediate, visceral reaction to being in the presence of testosterone-oozing muscles. Oh. My. All of this was processed in a moment, and in the next moment, the horrible realization that this delicious, hunky, pheremone-leaking man was clearly little more than a toddler, if we’re talking about relative ages. I also noticed he had the remnants of what looked to be an impressive shiner, including a vertical stripe of burst blood vessels just slightly off-center in his right eye.
Introductions were made and hands were shaken while on the inside I berated myself for having impure thoughts about someone who might, in fact, be young enough that I could be his mother. GOD. I have never felt so OLD. I was so busy tussling with my weak-knee-ed-ness vs. my moral uprightness that I COMPLETELY missed his name, on introduction. No matter. I figured it out later, but we shall call him Oscar. (As in De La Hoya. As in, a body just like his. Is it hot in here?)
Christian and Oscar unloaded their tools into the basement, because it looked like rain and they needed to take their truck to Home Despot for the remaining supplies. (For the record: Didn’t rain.) They checked out the pump I bought, measured a few things, and headed out again.
While they were gone, I checked my hair. (Huh. Still short!) I fluffed it a little, feeling like a complete jackass. The kids became engrossed in a game and I tried to do some work.
The men returned, asked me a couple of questions, and set to work. I waited until they called for me, then went down to the basement to admire the hole in the floor. The water level was just a couple of inches below the concrete. I was alarmed (was the water going to come up further? hurry up and put the pump in!) but they assured me that everything was going just as planned. And then Oscar pointed out to Christian that they’d forgotten something they needed, and they’d have to go back to HD.
“What? Wait, you can’t leave!” I stood over the hole in the floor, eyeing the bilge water. “What do I do if the water comes up?”
Oscar laughed at me, though not unkindly. “I think it’ll be fine. Really. We’ll be quick, okay?” I responded with something witty, in my head, but out loud managed something that sounded like “Mmmphh uhhhkay.” They left to pick up the rest of the materials while I tried to collect my dignity and go back upstairs.
The children were playing upstairs, by now, and I checked the clock. I could get in a little bit more work before stopping to make them lunch. I was making good progress when I realized that the kids were awfully quiet. Scary quiet. Doing something they shouldn’t quiet.
It’s really too bad that my tingly mommy-sense doesn’t kick in just a wee bit sooner, sometimes.
It turned out that my darling offspring had decided to sharpen some crayons. How that progressed to turning all of the crayons into a pile of shavings and then ATTEMPTING TO WASH THE PILE OF SHAVINGS DOWN THE BATHROOM SINK, I cannot tell you. I can, however, tell you that a drain full of crayon shavings is not my idea of a good time.
So I spent some quality time shooting flames out of my eyes (which came in handy while trying to clear the drain) and then made the kids some lunch instead of killing them.
I kept going back down to the basement to check the water level. It did seem to be rising. I wondered where the guys were.
Finally, they returned, and I worked until they called for me again. This time, they wanted to show me something about how the drywell was plumbed, and I heard “blah blah blah blah” and tried to chime in at the appropriate time with “Well, what do you think we should do?” and then pretended to consider Christian’s suggestion very carefully before saying “Okay, that sounds good.” I tried not to look directly at Oscar. His cell phone rang and he took it outside, while Christian continued showing me the finer points of how they were configuring the pump setup.
Monkey came to the top of the stairs and yelled down, asking how to spell something for a “report” he was working on. I gave him the spelling and Christian commented on what a great little guy Monkey is. I thanked him, then couldn’t resist the opening.
“Yeah, yours too. I mean, Oscar’s about six, right?” I giggled as he cracked up. “Okay, let me guess. He’s, what? About twenty?”
“Yep,” Christian fixed me with an approving look. “Very good. Most people assume he’s older, you know. He’s really good at this stuff, and he’s a very level-headed guy. Really responsible for his age, great worker.”
“Well, he seems great. At his job, I mean. But yeah, he’s clearly a FETUS. Cute and all, but–” Oh. My. God. I just told my contractor I think his assistant is cute. What the hell is the matter with me? “Ummmmm. Young. That’s all,” I finished lamely.
“I love working with him,” Christian continued, seemingly oblivious to my foot-in-mouth disease. “Really on the ball.”
“That’s good,” I said. “You guys certainly seem to be getting the pump in pretty quickly.”
Oscar came storming down the bulkhead stairs.
“DUDE.” He flung his cell phone down on top of one of the tool boxes, while facing Christian and barely noticing me. “That was my neighbor. She cleaned me OUT. She came back to the apartment and took EVERYTHING. He said the place is empty. She took the TV, the washer and dryer, my computer, my COMFORTER. Who takes a comforter??” I stood there, frozen, having no idea how to extricate myself gracefully. Oscar turned to me. “My ex-girlfriend is CRAZY. She left a couple of weeks ago and I KNEW this was going to happen. I knew.”
“Is her name on the lease?” Christian was all business, all solutionary. “If her name isn’t on the lease, dude, call the police. File a report.”
“Nah, her name’s on the lease. They won’t do anything. She took the comforter and the pillows. And the plasma TV. Her mother put her up to this, I know it. Christian, I’ll be right back, okay?” Christian nodded, and Oscar grabbed his phone again and hopped up the stairs and back outside.
Christian and I stood there a minute, looking after him.
“Poor guy,” I said. “That really sucks.”
“Yeah, he wasn’t kidding, his ex is kinda insane. I can’t say I’m surprised. You know, his parents go to my church, and I’ve been trying to get him to come, too….” I couldn’t help it. I started laughing. He raised an eyebrow at me.
“Well, you should be all set, now. Guy just lost everything. ‘Job! Time to get to church!'” We laughed together.
“He’s been boxing,” Christian added, “which’s been great for him, you know? I mean, he makes good money for it, but it’s a whole ‘nother thing for him to think about, that’s for sure.”
“Is that what happened…?” I gestured to my eye, and Christian nodded. Boxing. Of course. That explained the shiner, and the body chiselled out of marble.
We moved on to discussing how to run the dehumidifier directly into the sump pit, and by the time Oscar came back down to the basement, we were wrestling with the valves on the dehumidifier and trying to attach the tubing. Oscar strode over to where I was craning to see up into the underside of the unit and picked it up and held it at an angle so that I could attach the hose. He was standing directly over me and smelled way better than any other contractor I’ve ever met. I tried to attach the hose with my ten thumbs and scrambled out from under his gaze as soon as possible.
The pump works great. The dehumidifier drains directly into the pit, and can be left to run now without having to check the bucket four times a day. It all looked fine to me. Christian started cleaning up, and explained that they’d need to come back tomorrow morning to fit a lid over the pit.
“Does it NEED a lid?” I actually rather enjoyed watching the pump suck the water out of the bucket every few minutes, truthfully.
“You don’t want your kids falling into it or anything,” Christian pointed out.
“Hmmm. That’s a tough call, Christian. Today, I might not mind them falling in.” Both men peered at me and I gave them the Cliff Notes version of the crayons in the bathroom sink. They laughed. Oscar suggested having the lid fitted, but then just taking it off for child-dunking as needed. Ha!
The entire afternoon had passed and the guys reloaded their truck and got ready to leave. I thanked Christian and wrote him a check. I bid Oscar good luck with getting his stuff back; he just sort of chuckled and shook his head. Then he shook my hand again, before they left. It’s very hard to act casual when your hand is on fire and you feel a deep desire to BLEACH YOUR BRAIN. But I think I pulled it off.
Tomorrow morning they’re coming back to fit the lid. After that, I can return to my regularly scheduled urges-free existence. And enjoy the upcoming drought, courtesy of my new sump pump.