Did I ever tell you about that one time...

One time, about 8 years ago, we needed to get our house painted. This was not a voluntary decision on our part, oh no. The city wrote us a nicely worded letter citation and gave us, like, 2 weeks to git 'er done. Because who DOESN'T have $8,000 laying around in an envelope that reads only to be spent on getting the house painted, f*ck the plumbing. So I, of course, flipped out. Shut up. I was either pregnant or post-partum AND I GET VERY TEARY WHEN MY HORMONES ARE OUT OF WHACK.

My husband-at-the-time and I discussed this predicament in a calm, rational manner freaked the shit out, using all sorts of grown-up words such as troublesome, unexpected really bad swears like f*ck! and sh*t! and a**hole! Only we replaced the asterisks with actual letters. We were that upset. 

So I did what any mature, self-supporting and adult woman would do. No, that's a lie. I actually started crying and then I called my parents. SOBBING. HYSTERICALLY. AND LOUDLY.

Now, before I take you any further into this story, I need to tell you something about my dad. My dad has worked hard for everything he has, and he expects the same of others. He also isn't one to judge others based on the gigantic shit sandwich that life has handed them (i.e. if you're poor, or homeless, or live in a van by the river, he'll help you out. A little.)

So when my dad told me he would buy the paint, I thanked him profusely. When he told me he had a guy lined up to paint the house, I was ecstatic. When he told me the man's name was Stinky, I was curious. When he told me Stinky lived in a van down by the river, I felt bad. When he told me that Stinky was the only name this man answered to, I was quietly accepting.

Because hello??! Free paint job!

After two weeks of waiting, because it was too humid to paint, Stinky showed up on my doorstep one fine Thursday morning.

Allow me to paint a mental picture for you. Old, gray, potbellied, unshaven, smelly (hence the name), torn and dirty undershirt, bloodshot eyes, greasy work pants and monosyllabic.

Oh. You say you have problems visualizing the written word? Let me help you:

First, Stinky told us we would need to buy 18 gallons of plain white paint. We were painting the house gray, with blue trim. Fortunately, my husband was good at math and quickly deduced that the amount of paint Stinky was requesting would cover the White House three times over. So we bought 5 gallons.

The second day that Stinky was on the job, he painted on the second story. My daughter, who was 5 at the time, ran screaming into my room. MAMA!!!! There's a gross, dirty old man on a ladder looking into my room! We need to call the police!

Do you know how hard it is to convince a 5 year old that the gross old man outside her window is there at her parents request?

It's really freakin' hard.

Secondly, Stinky did what I would consider a "half-assed job". By this, I mean that he spent hours scraping the paint off the house, but he then used a sprayer (that my dad had probably supplied), to haphazardly paint the rest of the house gray. Even the parts that weren't supposed to be gray. Like our antique cherry-wood porch ceiling.

Thirdly, he took like, 6 weeks to paint the freakin' house. Seriously. He'd show up at 10am, paint a bit, stop, smoke a cigarette (grinding out what was left on the sole of his shoe and carefully placing it back in the pack), eat some cold beans out of a can and wander around checking out our neighbor's garbage cans to see if there was anything worth taking, before finally coming back to take a shit behind the garage and calling it a day.

After 6 weeks, Stinky was done painting our house. He insisted on showing me the entire house, but he glossed over the attic windows that he'd neglected to paint. Plus, he mumbled, so I was never completely sure of what he was actually saying. So when he mumbled, "Clfif yodokfk hvkdls yrksr clitshsk?" I said, "Sure!"

Apparently he was asking me if he could have the retractable clothes line that went between the back of our house and the garage. So he took it.

And that's how we got our house painted and lost our retractible clothes line, all in the same month.