When it comes to chores, my wife hopes I won’t
by Allen Delaney
Some household jobs are better done when the wife isn’t home. At least that’s the case around our house. If my wife hears any sound other than the lawn mower or paint being applied, she rushes like a linebacker on steroids, only meaner, to investigate what I’m doing. She’s convinced that if I do anything other than mow or paint, including laundry, disaster will surely raise its ugly head.
Several months ago, my spouse pointed out that the outside dryer vent was broken. She was concerned about birds getting into it and building a nest. I carefully eyed the situation and told her, “It can’t be fixed. It’s being held to the wall by the stucco plastered around its seams.”
The wife looked it over and said, “I’ll call someone to take care of it.”
Of course I knew I could fix it. I just didn’t want her to be within the tri-county area, or America if possible, when I started chiseling.
Fortunately, she had to visit her daughter over the weekend. Perfect. I could pick up a new vent during the week, install it on Saturday, and I’d be a hero upon her return.
As soon as she left, I grabbed hammer, chisel and safety goggles and carefully began chipping the stucco away from the vent’s edges. Slowly working my way around the corners, I could feel the vent loosening. With just one small piece to be removed, I gave it a good whack. A piece of stucco the size of a serving platter crashed to the deck, shattering into dozens of mini serving platters.
Maybe she won’t notice, I thought.
That was a whimsical notion, and I would have laughed, if only my life weren’t now in such grave danger.
My wife can be clear across the room and yell, “Don’t wear that shirt; it has a spot on the back.” I search for the alleged spot, finally asking her to show it to me. Rolling her eyes, she holds the shirt up and points out what appears to be a spot that had been applied by the tip of a single hair. Her not notice a good portion of the wall missing? Right.
I quickly pulled out the old vent cover and temporarily stuck in the new one. Then it was off to the hardware store for some stucco stuff, or whatever it’s called. Up to now, I have never stuccoed before.
The salesman sold me a tub of pre-mixed stucco plaster and a flat piece of metal with a handle attached to one side. He said I was to use that to apply the stucco. He assured me that any moron could do the job and that it should take no time at all.
A mere four hours later, the stucco was up and the new vent was held firmly in place. As I proudly gazed at my efforts, my spouse walked up behind me.
I turned around in time to see her lower jaw bounce off the deck. “I got the vent replaced,” I announced. She stared, trying to mouth words.
She was obviously flabbergasted that I could do more than just mow or paint.
Finally, the words, What Did You Do came screaming forth.
I was taken aback. I explained that a small piece of stucco came off, so I simply patched it when I put in the vent.
“This plaster looks like it was applied by a drunken baboon with a serious drug problem!” she shrieked. She began to stomp off, abruptly turning around, eyeing the vent, and said, “By the way, you installed it upside down!”
I looked up. Sure enough, the flaps that prevent birds from entering, were hanging open.
I yelled after her, “I’ll call someone to take care of it!”
Allen Delaney, of Prince Frederick, has kept Bay Weekly readers laughing since 2000. His last was 2008’s Infamous Block Party Adventure (No. 28: July 10).