Sunday, December 02, 2007

I love the smell of sawdust

There's been some exciting progress at the house over the past week. I walked in on Friday to the smell of sawed wood floating through the door, which is right up there with freshly cut grass and apple pie. Must be from my old days in my seventh grade woodshop elective when I learned how to use the drill press to make a pencil holder in the shape of a six-sided die and spent so much time lining up the holes correctly that my teacher finally took me aside and famously told me, "Heather, if you don't chill out, you're going to get an ulcer before you get to college." So yeah, it's kinda just like that.

The sawdust was from two sources. One was the counter I had to get chopped up. I have to rearrange the layout of my kitchen, plus the entire cabinet system needs to go eventually because the guy who put them up was an idiot. I need to take some measurements and come up with a game plan for the fridge location and counterspace.

The second source was because my gate guy -- who put up my new gate to complete the entrance to the backyard, woo! -- found out that some of my window sills were rotted (because the genius before me used untreated wood). So that was another $200 to have a handyman come and saw them out to splice some good wood in there, enabling my gate guy to secure the windows in later this week.

Yesterday, Brian came over to graciously help me with the really glorious task of hauling all the crap someone dumped in my backyard to the junkyard. He has a friend with a dumptruck, so Brian relearned to drive a five-speed (if by "relearned" one means that when you pull up to the junkyard, the guy in charge of the junkyard says, "What's that smell?" and the only answer is, "Um, I think that's clutch.") and we backed it up to the yard. After filling it to the brim with old roof tiles and two by fours spiked with rusty nails, we realized we were going to have to make two trips. We took a couple nice tours of Catholic University to find the DC transfer station -- which is actually good to know about. You can just pull up with any kind of car and dump your old house repair trash, leaves, whatever, all for free if you have a DC license (although, they didn't actually look at mine). After a quick call to his friend, Brian got the bed off the ground and we headed back for the second trip.

Then it started to get real fun. Turns out everything that was left was just a stack of garbage bags overstuffed with plaster -- too heavy to lift in the best of conditions, and this was already 2 hours into the ordeal, with my fingers officially too numb to wrap around anything to pick it up.

As we finished up as best we could, I did the unthinkable. I grabbed my bag from inside the house, twisted the doorhandle lock...and the door swung closed, with its previously broken window I'd just repaired sidling up to my eyes just in time for me to see MY FUCKING KEYS WERE INSIDE ON THE WINDOW SILL. I can't even remember the last time I locked my keys inside something, but there they were, leaving me with options totaling nothing short of breaking something on my house I'd just gone through great lengths to repair.

Eventually Brian and I decided we were not going to get to the dump before it closed in 15 minutes if we dealt with the key situation, so even though I'd just had my fucking gates installed, I was going to have to leave them unlocked and risk coming back to my house in the same Broken Windows state I'd bought it in. When we got back, we parked the dump truck out front and decided we'd have to take a manual screwdriver to the board covering the window that's still broken, even though the board was put back up with a power drill and drywall screws.

But when we got to the backyard, Brian realized the screwdriver he brought was too big, so ran around to the truck while I waited. I stood there thinking, "There's no way this is happening. There *must* be a better solution than spending the next 1-2 hours dealing with this after a 6 hour junkyard day." I mean, What Would MacGyver Do? And then it came to me -- if I was on TV, obviously, I'd take out my Mastercard and finally make it USEFUL for a change. And it worked! It seriously worked! I jimmied that lock in 8.5 seconds like a common criminal. Woot! Then I did a victory lap around the alley back towards the truck, where Brian probably thought I was sprinting from some backalley mugger.

The last chapter of this little drama is called: When The Dump Closes Half An Hour Earlier Than You Thought. We got to the DC dump for our second trip and they'd already shut down for the day. Brian said the Fairfax dump was still open, and it would cost me a little money, but not too much and it was, at that point, our only option. Of course when I hear Fairfax I sort of think, "Just Outside the Beltway." But oh no, we just kept driving...and driving...and driving. For awhile I thought I misheard him and we were actually headed towards Fairbanks, Alaska. But it does turn out that when you drive 45 minutes into Virginia, there are things there. Like junkyards. And TGIFridays.

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