Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bob Chronicles - Third in a Series

This is my absolute favorite Bob story ever. I knew I wanted to share it on this Blog, but have been so afraid that I would not be able to describe the events well enough for someone reading it to grasp the hilarity of the situation. I am just going to tell it as best I can and hope that it can translate to the hysterical situation that it was.

For this Bob Chronicle, I was there and I was personally involved so this will contain no hearsay or second or third retelling. I lived it and can vouch for its accuracy. Here is a little background information.

My mom and dad come to visit us in Texas a couple times a year. We LOVE having them here, not just because they are fun and entertaining, but because we always get some home improvement projects done. I am the home improvement person in our house. My hubby doesn’t even like to change a light bulb, much less change an entire light fixture. He would rather have teeth pulled – REALLY. My hubby really enjoys their visits, but dreads the Home Depot and Lowe’s bills that rack up when they are in town.

I will give you a quick summary here of some of the heavy projects we have tackled together:

We replaced the decorative tile in the master bathroom. Busted out some really outdated country blue diamond tiles and replaced them with plain white. It was so hard. We pulled up the carpet in the same master bathroom and replaced it with those lovely tile squares. We painted over the wallpaper, patched a hole in the wall, replaced the faucets and shower head. It was a complete overhaul. About midway through the project I would have taken those blue tiles and crazy floral wall-paper back and loved them forever if someone would have offered to come in and clean up the mess we made. Turned out great but it was hard work getting there.

Here is a glimpse of the chaos before:

Here is the final product when they pulled out of the driveway three days later:

Here is a classic vacation picture from one of their trips:

Some vacation, huh? Makes you want to pack your bags and head to our house right away doesn’t it?

Honestly, we have a ball doing these projects. We laugh until we cry, but we also cry until we laugh sometimes when we get involved in some of the more complicated projects.

There is one thing you can be sure of when the three of us are working together on a project and that is my Mom is the brains of the operation. She has an uncanny ability to put things together, figure out hard stuff and is an insanely talented seamstress. She pretty much has to hold our hands and tell us what we need to do on just about every single project. To Bob’s credit, as he has entered retirement and worked as an apprentice under my Mom, he has gotten quite a bit more talented with a drill and is often left unsupervised to do some easy things like change out a light fixture.

That is how this story takes shape - the two grunts were left to their own devices to replace a light fixture in the guest bathroom. Bob makes sure the wall switch is turned off, he takes down the old light fixture with no one getting shocked or electrocuted. I am his right hand man. Holding the screwdrivers and light bulbs as he removes the old fixture. Keep in mind that with the old light fixture out it is a little dark in the bathroom. There is a small window in there and we have the hallway light on, but no direct light in the small bathroom. There is also a kinda busy wallpaper on the walls. Nice, but definitely busy.

We take the new fixture out of the box. The first step is to put up the bracket to hold the new light fixture. No problem. This is about the third or fourth fixture we have replaced in this house alone.

The bracket is a flat piece of metal with two holes. You are supposed to mark inside the holes where you want the bracket to go on the wall. Bob is in charge and puts the bracket on the wall, pulling all of the wires through the hole in the middle so it will lay flush on the wall and he can mark where he is going to drill to secure this baby to the wall. I hand him a pencil to mark the holes and he puts a small tic mark, hands me back the pencil, pulls the bracket down, picks up his drill to make the pilot hole. Whoops, he sees the pencil mark on the right, but not on the left. Dang, didn’t write hard enough. We do it again. Bracket up, wires through the middle, right hole over the previous pencil mark – now hand me the pencil again. He gives it a firm, hard press this time to make sure the mark will show up. Undo it all again. Hands me back the pencil, pulls the bracket down, picks up his drill to make a hole. Whoops, he still can see the pencil mark on the right, but not on the left. Well, darn.

This is not alarming at all to us. Every project we ever take on requires two or three attempts, at least two trips to Lowe’s or Home Depot, and/or multiple undos and redos.

Bob remains calm and suggests we use an ink pen, maybe the wall paper has a slick spot right there that the pencil just isn’t showing up on. I find an ink pen and we go through the whole exercise again. This time, when he marks the hole on the left he really gives it a good solid mark. Confident that we have this figured out he takes the bracket down, picks up his drill…and damn, still no mark.

Now we are really puzzled. He asks for a flashlight to look for the mark in the darkened bathroom. He can’t find it. He starts to give me a look like I have given him a faulty ink pen. I say, you saw it writing, it isn’t the pen. He says, give me a Sharpie that will work for sure. Off I go and we do the whole exercise again. This time the mark he makes in the left hole is ridiculously large. Bob is a little frustrated so he fills up almost the whole space on the bracket. He pulls everything off and goes to put his drill up there and still cannot see the mark on the left.

We are baffled so we do what we always do and he starts hollering for my mother. We obviously need some help. As she is walking toward us, he holds up the bracket to explain to her what the problem is and just starts cracking up. There on the back of the bracket, covering the hole on the left is the manufacturer’s UPC scan sticker. In the light of the hallway, you can see all the angry tic marks with all the various writing instruments. So every time he made a mark, it was on the sticker and never on the wall.

After we laughed ourselves into complete and utter exhaustion, we pulled the sticker off and finished up the job. A job that should have taken 15 minutes has taken well over an hour, but I wouldn’t trade anything for the times we have shared doing projects just like this. It is these memories of my parents that I cherish the very most. I love that I can walk into just about every room in my house and see the results of a project we have worked on together. My house is prettier for it and my heart is full to know how blessed I am to have such wonderful parents. I am a very lucky daughter!

1 comment:

  1. Too...funny! You painted a beautiful picture with your words. Your Dad has progressed beyond the apprentice title for sure. I remember when your Mom and Dad first moved to their present home. Bob was such a novice that he would not even attempt to change a switch plate cover without throwing the main breaker to off. I remember your Mom and me trying to tell him, just unscrew the screw, remove the plate and replace with new switchplate, then secure with screw. It was a moment I won't forget. And now look at the two, a team of pros...They have tackled plumbing, electrical wiring, flooring, tiling, and who knows what other feats they have tackled. And by the way, the bathroom turned out spectacular.