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Sunday, April 22, 2007

what you've been missing around chez nice guy

there is a reason that the last post wherein i said anything of substance was on april 9, eons and light years ago: my in-laws arrived. they starting building us a kitchen. they are gods who walk among mortals and i must devote much time praising them--sacrificing small woodland creatures, ululating, writing epic poems about them to be recited only in the accompaniment of a golden lute.

being crippled only makes explicit the invisible impotence of my core being. here it has been made painfully plain for all to see how ineffectual i am, as i gimp about and whine, in direct contrast to my father-in-law, who, not a young man, is doing the work of a contractor, an electrician, a plumber, a carpenter and a saint. all the payment he has so far demanded is beer and ice cream at the end of the day--the consumption of which he is also my better. the man will live to bury me.

people have all kinds of kitchen renovation horror stories. i have none: twice i have had to wash the dishes in the bathtub, uncomfortable because of my knee, but that's been the worst of it. my mother-in-law has been working hard at her husband's side AND improvising epic one-pot meals, tiny epicurian miracles, on the 30-year-old electric wok she brought from home. mrs nice guy has been overseeing the enterprise with a keen eye for the intersection of form and function, ensuring the timely delivery of appliances, floors and cabinetry--even when she was called into jury duty for three days. having extra eyes and ears on the scene to help with the kid hasn't hurt either and i have been able to reach levels of productivity nearly unparalleled in my own personal history (which, i'll be honest, is saying very little).

a couple things, though. you may have heard about a week back that new york city received it's second worst rain storm on record. well at 1 pm the day of the tempest, a screech emerged from the basement "it's flooding!" water was trickling in from the west side of the house. mrs nice guy and her mother ran downstairs to do triage as my father in law skipped off to lowes to buy a wet vac and a shallow water pump (we have
no sump, only pump--note to self: have sump installed before next biggest rainstorm on record). thank god he did because after they got everything under control and the basement dried .... it flooded again at 11 pm. and by flooded i mean it looked like the boiler room of the titanic. all hands were instantly needed on deck--my crippled-ass was set to mopping as best as i could. i felt like some aquarian sisyphus, bailing water at half the rate it was coming in. the 16 gallon wet vac was filling up in about 80 seconds. water was creeping up to our ankles. my knee ballooned with sympathetic fluid intake of its own.

and then, suddenly, after about 2 hours of throwing down towels and spinning them in the washing machine to get them dry enough to throw them down again, vacuuming water, mopping and sobbing, it stopped raining and we regained control of the basement. we won. we went to bed at 1:45 in the morning.

the toddler started howling at 3.

and so it goes. lots of tot-wailing at 3 these days. nobody is sleeping. she cries. because my kitchen-building in-laws are in the room next to her--and they clearly need their sleep more than we do--we are stressed out over every peep. she starts crying and usually it's mrs nice guy who goes to solace her (occasionally i'll struggle down there on my CLUNK-CHUNK crutches). we are all so very tired. too tired even to argue as a group of incredibly stubborn people on very little sleep is wont to do. plus i am a little worried for the child: i am begining to think the first meal we cook in the new kitchen will be Tot a l'Orange.

and yet for all of our stress about waking up our live-contractors, whenever one of us goes to see why the kid is crying, invariably my mother in law is already in there soothing the her. she must be some rare breed of nocturnal omi, this woman. the other morning i went in at 3:30 to beg, bribe or beat the child out of a screaming fit. although i couldn't see anything in the pitch blackness, i swear i heard my mother-in-law, already in there, hiss at me as she rocked the child. i think i caught the distinct glint of bared teeth. so, a bit guiltily and a bit relieved, i slinked back to bed.

which might explain why my daughter no longer calls me "daddy." every time she sees me on my crutches, she points and shouts, "GIMPY DADDY!" i do not like this very much. she also has taken to strongly rebuking my paternal overtures. "NO KISS, GIMPY DADDY!" i did not teach this word to her. nor did my wife. and the rejection heaped atop insult is starting to get to me down. i suspect i know who has been coaching her though, in the dark at 3 am, taking sweet revenge for three solid weeks of kitchen-building and interrupted nights without a single day off. oh, i have a rough idea.


Blogger Tracysan said...

Wow! What karmic lottery did you win to have a family that amazing! Rock on, Gimpy Daddy, Rock on!

4/23/2007 12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gimpy Daddy!!!

I love it. You must be so proud!!!

4/23/2007 2:24 PM  
Anonymous samantha Jo Campen said...

Damn you're a good writer. I love how you tell a tale.

And I love your in-laws.

4/23/2007 11:33 PM  
Anonymous L.A. Daddy said...

Gimpy Daddy, huh? Yeah, that's the kinda thing that can really stick with a fella. I'd fight that, if I were you. It could come back to haunt you at the worst time.

But, I will say -- a rough nickname is a small price to pay for a kitchen. And 3am soothings...

Run with it, man! Err... gimp with it.

4/24/2007 2:23 AM  
Blogger sisco said...

Sweet jesus, pretty soon Gimpy Daddy will be sleeping in the drippy cellar.

I really can't wait for your kitchen to be completed, though. Home improvement is so exciting! (Lest you think I jest, I don't.)

4/25/2007 12:54 PM  
Blogger cape buffalo said...

Kiddo asked last week with a big sigh, "mommy, will daddy ever be able to walk again?"

My answer: "I guess so?"

Hope you are healing well.

5/02/2007 12:35 PM  

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