We’ve spent the last several weeks listening to all the fallout from Obama’s comment “You didn’t build that!” and honestly, I’m not a bit surprised how much it rankled the hides of most Americans.
Boy, if anyone ever “put a foot in it,” he sure did!
Reminds me of all the times we’d be going for a drive around town and Hubs would point out a house that he’d worked on.
“I fixed their gas line. It was an A-2 and I had to leave a C93 on it.”
“That house over there, I painted the meter and when I went inside, I had to take apart a 40-year-old furnace and ...” blah blah blah. After the first “I fixed that” story, my eyes have a tendency to glaze over.
Kinda like ridin’ around with DrunkUnk back in the day when he would ask for a ride somewhere and then basically take me on a wild goose chase around town to point out the houses he’d helped build (and would usually skip out on after his first paycheck) before he’d announce wanting to get dropped off at the liquor store.
“Yeah, I put that roof on that house (deep inhale off a ciggie) and man, it was hotter ‘n a you-know-what that day too.” I still am not sure how hot a you-know-what is, but it must be pretty hot to be given in that kind of term.
“Yeah, I worked on ’at house over there ... put in floors, painted, ripped out the bathroom and re-did that, put up a fence,” he’d start as we passed.
“Would you like for me to stop so you can get out and take a picture ... or walk up to the house and knock on the door so you can say hello again?”
“Uh ... nah … I didn’t finish tiling the bathroom.”
“Ooohhh ... so that means you can’t use them as a reference, right?”
Loud exhale and a cloud of cheap cig smoke.
And there ya go.
I used to go riding around with a friend of mine who’d worked at various places around the county as a nurse, and her favorite thing to do was ride past the places she’d worked. I indulged her as she always had a wild tale or two to tell about patients. She wasn’t at any of the places for terribly long as I discovered she had a little secret that she hid in her purse. In the shape of a flask.
We had some good laughs over the stories she’d tell about folks coming in and out of the clinic, primarily the weight-loss clinic she’d spent about a year at.
“Let’s take a ride over there, El, and see if they’ve rented out the space yet!”
The office had closed after she’d left there, with the doctor still owing her a reasonable chunk of change.
So we’d take a ride out, and as it was just across the parking lot from a Costco, we’d nip in for hot dogs as she would re-tell the stories about the patients, nurses, and other employees.
After our hot dogs, we’d go back around to the various places in the county and she’d point out the buildings she’d worked in.
One place we never managed to get to was the county jail.
That was quite a pit of horrors, and she only stayed there about two months. Still, though, the stories were about as good as they get.
Hubs still likes going around on a Sunday and taking his little trips to nowhere, but somehow or other we always manage to find a house that he’s been in and done some gas work on.
Just like when he was doing handyman work for a living and once a week, he’d drive up the hill to look at an outside lamp he’d installed for the HOA where we’d once lived. He’d pull up beside it and stop the truck. Then the window would glide down and he’d say, “Yep! There it is! Still workin’!” and then he’d stare at it for a few minutes while I dug my nails into my thighs to keep from getting snarky.
Up around the hill we’d go after he stared at it for a good five minutes, and then back down to one of the apartment units where he’d taken care of the lawn.
“They’ve let it grow over! I can’t believe they aren’t taking care of it,” and I’d have to sit there for ten minutes while he went on and on about how he’d taken out the sprinkler system and repaired it, cut the grass, trimmed the hedges, pruned the trees ... but all that was for naught as he decided that job wasn’t paying enough so he moved on to something else.
He had little jobs all over the place and used to pay each one a special visit about once a month.
I could never figure it out. He says he can’t explain it, either.
Mind you, this wasn’t just a one-time event at these places.
I knew by heart just about every job he ever did, as we couldn’t even go to the grocery store without a trip down memory lane.
Lord knows he can’t remember names or faces, but by golly he can sure remember who what when where and why when it comes to having done some work on a house!
He’s even got a notebook full of notes he’d make every night about the work he was doing, and then he’d pull that out from time to time and ask, “Remember when I worked over at so and so’s place..”
“Uh ... no, not really.”
“Yes you do! Remember that guy...” and then he’d go into detail as I leaned over the sink, shaking my head and rolling my eyes.
“Oh. OK. Now I remember.” Not.
And then he’d go headlong down memory lane.
It’s almost as bad as when he starts talking about bad incidents he’s had while driving.
Gimme a towel to staunch my bleeding wrists!
And, I kid you not, just as I’m sitting here typing this, a neighbor who has never stopped to say hello before just walked up the driveway to have a chat with Hubs, and informed him that he’d done electrical work in the garage here a few years ago.
I asked Hubs, “And what was the point of him telling you that? Did he want to have a look inside for old times sake?”
Hubs said, “I dunno ... maybe so!”
I guess they all do it.
So, I just want to say one thing to President Obama.
You may think they didn’t build it, but I guarantee you, they will fill you in on every tiny detail of how they did and when they did it.
The neighbor just dropped by to tell us so.