Thursday, December 23, 2010

Phish, Whine and Grease

I got an email recently from someone who basically said, "You're account with Cox has big problem. Please reply with proper login and password and I will fix problem. Thankyou. Cox Support Team." Ummmm, yeah. I can't imagine the dope who would reply to this. And then Satan says to me, "You're life have big problem... do THIS and it will fix it for you. Jesus Support Team." And I fall for it. What a dope.

This week I almost bit my tongue off. Well, part of it. It happens every so often because of my inherited dental issues and my lack of health/dental insurance. The last dentist I saw said it would be like driving a Mercedes Benz into my mouth to rebuild my teeth. I told him, "At my age I have no one to impress and if I had that kind of money laying around I'd buy my wife the vintage 'Vette she's always wanted." Besides, I don't plan on having an "open mouth" funeral so people can see my 40K of dental implants. Anyway, biting a chunk out of the side of my tongue doesn't make for good diction or chanting of the Nativity services.

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is always anxiety producing for self employed construction people. Generally, no one builds stuff during the holidays, especially now during this recession. I've managed to get steady work since Thanksgiving, mostly "fix-up/spruce up" stuff, but it's work. This week I am working for a handicapped, old, anal, anger-management issues, angry, lonely man. We're remodeling his house that he will die in probably sooner than later. I'm there to paint the house. Last night he "hired" a guy in the plumbing aisle of Home Depot to put in a new shower valve for $20.00. If all went well, it would have taken about 30 minutes to install. I'm sure the plumber was thinking "Bonus! Christmas money!"

Short story: 6 trips to Home Depot and 5 hours later it was in and not leaking. The last trip the client insisted on driving me to Home Depot to get parts while the plumber disassembled the unit and prepped it. We drove in a rainstorm with the client in a blind rage. We almost got in several wrecks because he had to look at me instead of the road while he ranted and drove.

While the client (a former Navy man) swore like a sailor at every blip and drip, the "plumber" kept looking at me like "SAVE ME!!!" I could have walked out at any time because I'm only the painter and none of this had anything to do with me. But I stuck around to do damage control and, if nothing else, out of compassion for the plumber. To his credit, he stuck it out and finished the job he said he would do. I gave the guy some extra money "on the QT" and told him I would get it back from the client somehow. Merry Christmas, I told him.

This morning I got to the job and the client had gone to a local 24-hour Mexican fast food joint and bought Chorizo and egg breakfast burritos for me and the tile setters as kind of a penance/peace offering for his rages yesterday. I dared not turn down hospitality (neither did the Mexicans). Unfortunately the burritos were "nuclear" and I ended up painting the only functioning bathroom in the house in between 4 construction workers... well..... it wasn't a great day. Hopefully the paint will stick to the walls.

This is the world Jesus came into.

I missed the "Royal Hours" tonight, but I think, even though I missed the readings, I have a pretty clear picture of the state of the universe that demands the Incarnation of God.

May God grant me the grace to be a presence of peace and good will toward all men, even my client. Blessed Nativity to all.

13 comments:

Tim said...

Have a most merry and blessed Christmas. I do hope your tongue heal up quite quick.

And even if you can't lead the chanting for a bit, remember: God loves the songs of His children, even if they're not always in key.

Matushka Anna said...

I know it's a little early, but Merry Christmas! You're going on the prayer list.

elizabeth said...

This is not easy. Yes, how much we need Christ; thank God Christmas really happened and Christ is with us.

Anonymous said...

I've done a lot of plumbing work. That whole thing with the mixing valve was the plumber's fault. You and I both know that "you don't know what you're getting into until you get into it", and you build that into your bid. $20?! If things are that tough for a plumber to accept work for that kind of money....

A Merry Christmas to you and yours, Steve.

Anonymous said...

I have also had a difficult "Nativity Lent Holy Week." The most difficult I've had so far. May God help us endure the medicine He has given us for our illness.

Blessed ForFeast
Anon.

s-p said...

Anon1, Exactomundo. I've done enough plumbing to know that it is a minimum of 3 trips to Home Depot to do even the smallest job unless you are a "real" plumber with a fully loaded truck (which this guy wasn't). I felt for the guy... while he was working on the valve his daughter kept calling him about something getting turned off unless she got 75.00. Things are still tough here for construction people. I've done work that amounted to minimum wages the last couple years. "Pride comes before a fall, lack of pride comes before a meal."

Emily H. said...

Merry Christmas with love!

Anonymous said...

That's true about the trips to Home Depot. When I was a "real" plumber, I probably had $6000 in inventory in the van. That was just stuff, not fixtures like faucets and such, which I bought by the job. And about the same amount in tools. That's why plumbers charge $80 an hour. It is really expensive to haul that much sunk money around. I still have a $120.00 Moen faucet cartridge pulling tool around here somewhere.....

DebD said...

you said: This is the world Jesus came into.

Indeed.

ouch on the mouth. I have issues with my mouth...and actually spent the last 3+ weeks talking funny because of a similar issue. Mine's related to allergies, but do I listen to my body and avoid trigger food - of course not. Biting my tongue every night in my sleep didn't help.

Have a joyous Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Dear Steve, You know you can come to Siberia and get your dental work here done. I've lived here for 8 years and the quality of service and the modern office facilities are on par. I get any teeth fixed for 15 or 30 dollars a tooth. In the U.S. it would go into the hundreds of dollars. If you can get a plane ticket we have a spare apartment in Omsk, Siberia to stay in and there are many Orthodox pilgrimage places here as well.

Sasha said...

Steve, blessed Nativity to you! Peace and grace. :)

Hira Animfefte (Xera Anymphefte) said...

Hey Anonymous, are there any jobs in Omsk? Gavaryu pa-russkii chut-chut, no mozhet byt ya magu stait profesor angeskovo yazika? No mozhet byt ni magu.

Anonymous said...

Well, yes there are jobs to teach English here. It it quite a nice life in this city of 1.3 million people. Private lessons go for about 350 rubles, about 12 dollars?/hr. And a middle class life can be had for 10k a year, or for a large family 15k.