August 29, 2005

Tales of Wedding Anniversaries, Front Steps and Brothers Who Might Qualify As "Being Silly"

So, it was a pretty uneventful weekend at the Cake Eater Pad. Does that mean I'm not going to get a long-ish post out of it? Nope. I can ramble away about ANYTHING! It's one of my "gifts." So away we go, kids.

While the weekend was calm, I shouldn't really say it was "uneventful" because there was an "event" this weekend: the husband and I celebrated our eleventh wedding anniversary on Friday. But we didn't do it up in great style---we had some steaks, pasta and salad for supper on Friday and we ate them by the light of candles. And that's it. No presents, no big, fancy meals out. Nothing like that. I'm sure you're wondering why we didn't do more, but really, we're cool with it. I think once you get past the first ten years, it's not really a big deal any more. Sure it's a big deal in the sense that you've managed to stay married for one more year and you should celebrate that. Yet, in contrast to The Doctor and ML who just celebrated their second anniversary and who did it up right with all sorts of presents and everything, we didn't do any of that. We didn't feel the need. The husband bought me flowers and they were lovely, but you just don't feel the need to get all, I don't know, excited about it. It's a special occasion, sure, and the meaning of the occasion doesn't lessen the longer you're married, but blowing the roof off the joint every year to celebrate doesn't make as much sense now as it did when we were younger. Perhaps we've gotten over the "Hallmarkization" of anniversaries. Who knows? Anyway, we had a very nice evening.

To jump ahead to one of the other exciting bits of news, the Friday before last, the husband and I were headed out to supper with Mr. H. and as we were leaving we saw a rather large note from the landlord taped to the front door, informing us that he was going to start doing a little DIY on the front steps and could we please use the back entrance? We nodded, turned around, went back up the steps into the apartment, walked through the apartment, exited the back door, went down the back steps and left the house through the garage. (The house is set up kind of goofy, if you hadn't already figured that out.) When we got around to the front, one of the large stones that partially makes up the front steps had been removed, leaving a large gap and showing a lot of sand and other rubble. The front steps of the Cake Eater Pad have long been a source of discontent for us. They're made out of stone and we assume they're original to the house, which was built in the late 1920's. Of course, they're a crumbling mess. Certain stones have been split entirely because of our unique environmental conditions (hot and cold extremes aren't so good for anything made of rock or concrete). The mortar was crumbling, and the steps were uneven, bumpy, and completely disintegrating in a few places---which is not so good when the steps get icy because you can't remove the ice to save your life. The steps were a big concern for us. As we, the tenants of the Cake Eater Pad, were listed in the lease as being responsible for snow removal, we were constantly living in fear that the Great White Hunter landlord would pass off any lawsuits filed by disgruntled, broken-back-owning mailmen or UPS drivers onto us. We kept those stairs as clean as we could for years on end, while constantly bitching at Tweedledumb to do something about it. But, being true to fucking form, Tweedledumb was deaf as a post when it came to listening to complaints and never did anything about the steps. So, last Friday, we're pretty excited that something was finally being done and we went on our merry way for the evening. On Saturday morning, however, we came out and the landlord was whacking away at the pile of the steps and admitted sheepishly that he may have bitten off more than he could chew.

And was he ever right. I believe he was thinking he could just relay the stones so that they weren't quite as dangerous as before, but unfortunately the job got bigger than he had bargained for. The entire base is rotted out and must be replaced.

So, the Cake Eater Pad currently has no front steps. Over the course of the week the landlord has managed to pull out a lot of the stone (it's actually quite pretty and I'm glad he wants to reuse it). He was prying the stones apart with a shovel for the first few days, but on Wednesday he finally caved and bought a sledgehammer. He claimed the demolition was quite cathartic and I believe him. He said he was actually having fun with it. But I think the fun went by the wayside on Saturday, when the entire block turned out to say "hi" and see what was going on. The poor guy couldn't get much work done because he was too busy talking to everyone. Fortunately, everyone seemed to have better things to do on Sunday, when he was out there chiseling mortar off the stones that were to be reused. He's also hired the neighborhood contractor to do the rest of the work on the steps, so things should move quickly from here on in. Currently, there's a big mound of rubble leading up to the door and the...crikeys, I don't know what you'd call them, but things that look like arms where you'd put pots of flowers are entirely gone, but there are wood frames just waiting to be filled with concrete in their place. We'll just have to see what happens.

The landlord's been a busy beaver in the past couple of weeks. I think he's trying to keep himself occupied since his roommate died and that's not an entirely bad thing, on the whole. At least he's got a big project to occupy himself. The poor guy was was pretty ripped up over Eric's death. I also think his girlfriend is either moving in, or is lobbying to move in, now that he's got the space. She's a sweetheart and the husband and I like her a great deal, but she's been a busy beaver over the past week as well and it's making us wonder if she's actually keeping house or is just playing house. I was just down in the laundry room and she's cut up a carpet remnant and has placed that in front of the washer and dryer (which is awesome because it means I no longer have to wear shoes down into the basement! WooT!). She's also been painting and cleaning in the landlord's apartment and it's looking a bit too homey, if you take my meaning, for a bachelor's apartment. So, she's either just helping him out (because pretty much every last stick of furniture in the place disappeared when Eric's girlfriend came over last weekend. The landlord didn't have so much as a chair in the living room when she was done.) to make the place more homey for him, hoping he'll see what a great homemaker she is or she's just biding her time at her old place and is making the place habitable for the both of them. Again, we shall have to see.

Finally, as far as the "brothers who could qualify as being silly" in the title is concerned, well, my brother, Steve, it seems, about gave the Cake Eater Mother a heart attack. Steve is Montana's answer to Donald Trump when it comes to car dealerships. The dude and his partner own the largest chain of dealerships in Montana and in the past year they've expanded their business to New Orleans. Steve worked for a dealership in New Orleans years ago---like when I was in high school---and because of this connection he and his partner were offered a stake in a Chrysler dealership down there last year. The dealership is located on Canal Street.

And the doof was in New Orleans last week---and didn't leave until Saturday afternoon.

You have to understand that Steve, God love him, is the King of Procrastination. He leaves everything until the last minute and then finds himself in the position of moving heaven and earth to get things done the way he wants them done, whereas if he'd just left himself a little bit of time...he would have been fine. But Steve is a stress puppy. He loves stress. He loves that go-go-go lifestyle. He's always flying here or there or anywhere to do this deal, or get that done, or meet with these people. And he's good at it. Exceedingly good. This is how he runs his business. Once you get used to it, it's no big deal. However, the only problem is that not everyone else understands how he can work and live this way. Our mother would be chief amongst these people. She's worried he'll keel over from a heartattack before he hits fifty. I don't think so, because he's in great shape, but moms will worry and if there's nothing to worry about, well, they'll find things to worry about. At least our mom will, and Steve apparently gave her plenty of reason to worry this weekend. According to our sister Christi, who I just talked to on the phone, Mom was worried he was going to miss his flight out of New Orleans on Saturday because he'd leave it to the last minute and would miss his flight. The fact that Mom's a hurricane junkie and a Weather Channel devotee did nothing to ameliorate the situation. But, like I said, this is nothing new when it comes to Stephen. He's always cutting it too close for comfort. But this is a situation where cutting it too close might mean putting yourself in a life-threatening situation and that was enough to freak Mom out. Fortunately he did get out of town. He got to the airport and caught his plane and all is well for the time being. But...

...say a Hail Mary that his dealership doesn't completely get trounced from the storm. Fortunately, it's an in-city dealership, so they don't have an acreage just chock-a-block full of brand spankin' new cars. Hence they managed to get all of the new cars up onto the second level of the dealership, where they have a large showroom, and where they should be protected by the rising water. So, that part is good. Unfortunately, however, they couldn't do anything about the used cars that are on the lot. So, they're just sitting out there, being flooded and pelted with debris. If nothing else happens to the actual structure, they'll be ok: they can handle the loss of a few used cars. But if the structure floods excessively, well... I think you can use your imaginations to good effect on this scenario. Keep your fingers crossed, kids, eh?

And therein ends the tales of the weekend and of silly brothers who shouldn't be scaring their mothers to death.

Posted by Kathy at August 29, 2005 02:44 PM | TrackBack
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