Where We Attempt To Not Burn Down the House
Mr. Big and I made a mad dash to finish up a few renovation projects at the chalet before the kids arrived for Spring Break so that the house didn’t appear to be quite as much of a wreck as it actually is.
As per usual, most of the projects ended up about 90% complete, but at least the kids got the general idea. I found myself saying over and over again, “Well, NEXT time you come, this will have x.y.z…” or, “When you come back for Christmas, THIS will be/not be here,” or “Try and picture x.y.z…”. Work in progress, people, work in progress. At least they all had clean towels and no one had to sleep on the floor.
One of the things we really pushed for before they came was installing the new fireplace. You can’t expect someone to come for a ski holiday and not have a fire. This was a huge undertaking. The chalet came with a perfectly good, working, functioning fireplace, which I, of course, hated, and began to sledgehammer almost immediately upon arrival.
Most Swiss husbands come home from a long, hard day at the bank and ask their well-manicured Swiss wives, “Gleebenarbeiten Gleibenachstellerung Glaubenausfahrtich?”, which in Swiss-German means, “Hi, Hausfrau. Did you have a lovely day with the ladies grazing through the Zurich stores?” To which Frau will respond, “Ja, Ueli, Gebensterichtnicht und Drubenzeibenglaubengloben”, which translates to “It was fabulous. I picked up a new Bally bag and a snappy pair of alligator pumps.”****
Then I get to hear, from the garage, “TRAILING SPOUSE!!! WHERE’S THAT PIECE OF 50 MILLIMETER PLASTIC TUBING THAT I WAS SAVING? AAAH! WHERE’S THAT CHUNK OF CONCRETE THAT USED TO BE RIGHT THERE BEHIND THAT ROTTEN PIECE OF PLYWOOD? FOR ONCE IN YOUR LIFE, WOMAN, WILL YOU PLEASE JUST STOP TOUCHING MY STUFF?!!!”
Fast forward five months later and the new fireplace arrived just three days before the kids. Now, the new fireplace design calls for it to be suspended from the ceiling. And, it rotates 360 degrees. It’s freakin’ cool, I tell you. Let’s not even go into how many metal drill bits and metal saw blades Mr. Big consumed in the installation. Let’s not even talk about how I finally suggested we get the jack from out of the back of the Defender to hold up this monster while we screwed it into the ceiling. (The jack idea was mine and only mine after I discovered that Mr. Big thought it would be keen if I GOT ON ALL FOURS AND HELD UP THE STUPID FIREPLACE ON MY BACK while he screwed it into the ceiling.)
That was such a fun day.
Me: So, does this mean I can’t light a fire?
Him: Honey. Can you not see the 3 feet of empty air in Small Son’s bedroom where the two ends of the pipe are not touching each other? If you light a fire right now, you will burn the house down.
Me: Well, technically, no. One cannot SEE empty air, can one? Is this situation Duct Tape fixable?
Him: Please help me, Dear Lord, to not strangle my wife on this or any other day.
Oooh! Aaaah! It’s so cool! But, wait. What is all that black smoke pouring out into the room? And, why does it appear to be, well, there’s no other way to say it, MELTING?
“Hmm,” she says. “I believe you have a faulty primer coat here. See, see all of these bubbles on the outside? See how they are popping and I can just rub away the paint off with my finger? The manufacturer didn’t use a high enough heat-resistant paint. You got gypped, Dad. You shoulda called me before you bought this thing.”