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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Good Time Was Had By All

Sunday morning I had a cleaning job with my friend Mary, a helluva cleaner, a very funny person (and a possible pickpocket, according to mjenks, who is also a very funny and, I’m sure, perfectly clean person in his own right).

It was the cushiest of jobs, Sunday’s. There was a bucket of hot soapy/bleach-y water, rags of varying sizes and stages of rag-ness, polishes and scrubs. There was a vacuum (go Dyson!), a free computer chair that wasn’t going to make the move, and a hundred-dollar bill at the end of it all.

Sounds almost too good, dudden it?

Hear me, O Short People! Let Mary and I serve as your what-not-to-do guides!

First of all, did I mention that this was a cushy job? A completely empty two-bedroom apartment (other than a very large wok we found in the kitchen), one bathroom.

We cleaned our way toward the door, closing doors behind us. And there, hanging in the little entry was this (or a reasonable fascimile thereof).


The tiny dessicated corpses of dozens and dozens of insects were visible through the bottom of the fixture.

"What do you think?" Mary asked.

"I think that thing comes down and I wash it," I said.

Mary grabbed the abandoned office chair. "It spins," she said, "but you can handle it."

The brain cells I'd been saving for a rainy day fled the room laughing as I climbed up onto a chair on wheels and, reaching as high as I possibly could, unscrewed the four nuts holding the light to the four hooked chains that hung from the ceiling.

The mummified bugs were given a proper burial (i.e., heaved over the deck railing into the woods), and I washed the light fixture.

OK then. We'll just put this back...

But while I may have been tall enough to unscrew the nuts, I was not nearly tall enough to fit the fixture back over the hanging bolts, not nearly tall enough to hold the fixture over my head with one hand, get the bolts to fix through the holes and then screw the cute little nut on to the exposed bolt…

We took turns, the two of us, standing on the revolving chair, making grunting noises as we revolved, slowly, the blood draining from our trembling arms, alternately laughing and swearing in that delightfully feminine way we have…

We did that for 25 minutes.

Mary brushed her bangs away from her face. “I’m going to the neighbors. Somebody’s gotta have a taller chair around here.”

She came back two minutes later with two women carrying the most beautiful carved-teak, tapestry-seated chair I’d ever seen.

We took our shoes off.

It was a slightly higher chair, but not enough to make a difference.

“I geet my husband,” one of the neighbor women said. “He taking nap.”

A wonderfully tall man appeared moments later, rubbing his eyes and grinning sheepishly.

“You need some help?”

He stood on one chair, Mary stood on the other, and I, as the shortest one in the room, stayed on the ground, catching falling washers, passing up the nuts, and slowing Mary’s counter-clockwise revolutions on the Office Chair of Nausea.

The gleaming light fixture was back together in 10 minutes.

There's a lesson here, people, but danged if I know what it is. Where there's a will there's a way? Put a plan in place before you start? Have a laughing good-natured woman with you at all times?

Hard to say.

33 comments:

Jodie Kash said...

Although it's wrong to love a thing, I love my Dyson. It sucks in a very good way.

underOvr (aka The U) said...

Good morning Pearl,

I read your earlier post in which you indicated having a, "pathological need to keep busy". And the method of choice for you this weekend was a cleaning job.

I feel like Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny asking, "You wuz serious?"

I'm glad the weekend was a sparkling success.

U

darsden said...

LOL, I would have boosted you up via shoulders..rotflmao! I drag a ladder just about everywhere I go. Seriously, I still use my "first step" stool.

mbuna53 said...

What? You trying to take jobs away from us tall people now?

Thanks alot!

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

See, this is exactly what I was talking about! When you're up on the chair of nausea, and laughing, and having a hi-old time, nickels and pennies and even the odd Sacajawea dollar are rolling out of your pockets, and you are powerless to stop Mary from snatching those things up off the ground!

And, if Mary isn't doing these things, then I've lost all respect for Mary.

The Jules said...

I was totally expecting some kind of 'Only Fools and Horses' chandalier style disaster there. Can't say I'm not a bit dissapointed . . .

Prefers Her Fantasy Life said...

I think the lesson is to always wear high heels. You never know what it could lead to.

IB said...

I think the lesson is: "All of the Above"

Under the Influence said...

This could have been a Lucy and Ethel skit from way back when...

Just Kids said...

funny !!!

Jess said...

Well, you know what they say about tall men?

Yep. They can put light fixtures back up.

Ms Sparrow said...

Ah yes, Pearl, bin dere-done dat.

KiKi said...

Soooo descriptive! Loved it! Could see it in my mind like a movie...a very funny movie! :-)

Jenn Thorson said...

I think the moral of the story is...

"Always geet tall husband."

Even eef tall husband must for to be borrowed. :)

Kate Coveny Hood said...

That reminds me of one of Augusten Burroughs' short stories about a short cleaning lady he had who would only clean as high as she could reach. So the floor would be spotless, but cobwebs would remain in the high corners.

I'm not particualrly short...but I don't clean very often, so it all evens out for me.

Jess said...

You have an award over at my place...come pick it up!

Ann's Rants said...

How many short good-natured helpful midweterners does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

Sounds like a might fun day to me! I was thinking you were going to say you got to keep the light. It's kinda cool looking.

Douglas said...

"Always bring a short ladder"

It's a rule I live by.... even though I am not short.

GutsyWriter said...

Great post. Made me laugh cause I have a similar light and I stand on the dining table and pull the vacuum up and clean the dead bugs that way.

ICKY said...

HeHeHe...you said pass up the nuts !

Sweet Cheeks said...

Um....I dispute the validity of said 'Proper Burial'...

Don't you watch scary movies?! Those mummified bodies needed to be disposed of on hallowed ground.

They're coming back to get you Pearl....and their wok.

:)

darsden said...

ps hope you feel better real soon.

Michelle said...

Pearly-Q today I was in Whole Foods eyeing some red chard that was up entirely too high in the produce section. So, I stood there like a complete dork waiting....for somebody, anybody a bit taller than I was to help me. So, yeah I can relate about the light fixture. Sort of. Red chard, light fixtures...all the same right???

Pearl said...

Jodie, the Dyson is an excellent value!

U, it’s both a need to keep busy and a fear of not having any money.

Darsden, now THAT would be a blog, me on your shoulders!

Mbuna, power to the people!

iNDefatigable, Mary’s safe around change. It’s SHOES she wants.

The Jules, “Only Fools and Horses”? You have me at a cultural disadvantage, I’m thinking. No chandeliers were harmed during the cleaning of that apartment.

Prefers Her Fantasy Life, see? Now that’s a life lesson I think we all can use…

IB, I think you’re right. It was a damn good time and we made a couple of bucks as well.

Under the Influence, Mary and I may have some things in common with Lucy and Ethel. If only one of us had a handsome Cuban…

Just Kids, thanks!

Jess, I would recommend a tall man, yes.

Ms. Sparrow, there should be a book somewhere…

Jenn, that’s a very good moral!

Kate, I haven’t read that but I should check it out.

Jess, thanks!!

Ann! Very funny! :-)

Blogging Mama Andrea, it really was a good time. Both Mary and I can be described, 90% of the time, as unflappable. No flapping over here.
And it was a pretty cool light!

Douglas, I will be packing a step ladder on all future jobs, I assure you!

GutsyWriter, do you know that at one point we both pretty much blurted out that we probably could’ve vacuumed the damn thing…

Icky, always the high road with you!

Sweet Cheeks, but I do watch scary movies and I can’t believe I missed that one! Remember me fondly, Sweetie, when the insects have their way with me…

Darsden, thank you, honey. I’m shocked by (and completely bored with) how long this sick thing has gone on.

Pearl said...

Michelle, when you can't reach it, it's all the same.
:-)

Jocelyn said...

Perhaps it's "people with accents get the job done"?

Daisy said...

Thank god for the tall husband! I'm impressed you took the challenge on though- too many people would have just left the light and its occupants for the next person.

SweetPeaSurry said...

Lesson: Always bring small step ladder to cleaning sites. JIC!!!

I'm a shorty ... I KNOW about light fixtures. Even with a 'sturdy' changing the light in my bathroom gives me the heebie jeebies!

ladyfi said...

Hilarious! Loved this post... Remember to take a ladder with you wherever you go.. or stilts.

Lisa said...

'the lesson is dear Pearl, 'when cleaning on a Sunday- NOTHING above eye level is dirty" make that your mantra- over my head is clean !

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

If Mary is devious enough to amuse the shoes right off you, then I respect her even more.

Crazy Mo said...

Geez, I was getting dizzy just reading that!