Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Blah blah blah then BAM, everybody leaves

I hate that Sprint commercial, the one with the girl whose parents have taken video of her every day against a white wall.  The sweet song in the background bolsters the sense I'm a crap parent who doesn't truly love my children.  If I loved them properly, I wouldn't have neglected the memory-making.

Kids, don't watch that commercial someday and think I failed you because we don't know exactly what you were thinking on the first day of third grade.

I also hate the commercial for Ready for Love, that new dating show.  One of the contestant guys says, "I'm not the stereotypical rock star; I can count the women I've been with on my fingers."  We can all count the people we've been with on our fingers, genius, some of us will just have to use each finger a few times.

I was recently a field trip chaperone again. We went to the zoo.  A peacock caused a ruckus when the kids realized it was perched on the rooftop over our heads during lunch. 

But that peacock really blew their minds when it jumped off the roof and did this --

Feathers in your face, motherf*ckers!

One of our classroom girls ran up and grabbed the peacock's feathers.  She was immediately threatened with a lifetime ban from the zoo by people in tan shirts holding walkie talkies.  We chaperones felt the shame; we had failed in our duty to keep the more unruly children away from the wildlife. 

After the assault, the peacock stood absolutely still, save an occasional ripple of feathers, and glared at our group.  He reminded me of a cobra about to strike.  It was obvious he was formulating a plan.

We chaperones began to murmur and pull the kids to a safe distance.  This begat many questions: What's a safe distance from a peacock?  How fast do those things move?  Can we outrun them?  Are they surprisingly fast on foot like a hippo or as awkward as you'd expect, like an alligator? 

To make things worse, Lucien kept calling the peacock "turkey."  Insult to injury.

The peacock followed us slowly as we walked away.  The incident ushered in a new chapter of my life -- peacock nightmares.

When you least expect it, chaperone...

Our occasional handyman recently installed our kitchen cabinet pulls.  They would have been lovely except he installed them all off-center and crooked --

I could use Contractor God's help fixing them.  But the truth is, Banister Abbey broke Contractor God.  He has walked away from it and us, not planning to return.  The loss is painful, both the loss of his knowledge and the loss of his curmudgeonly friendship.

I would love to process Contractor God's departure with my other beloved contractors, Dan the Man and Supermodel Neighbor, but they're both gone, too.

Dan the Man had a falling out with Contractor God and stopped working with him in the middle of the Goddamn House project.  He occasionally texts me, usually when he's drunk, to ask if I'm mad at him. He was at our house for Thanksgiving a handful of months ago and now we don't even talk.  Human relationships are complicated and sad.

Supermodel Neighbor is moving to Portland this week.  Supermodel Neighbor and I are kindred spirits; he understands the necessity of indie music, strange humor and a properly used color wheel.  We went out for beers once and he jumped into a grove of bamboo on the walk home for no reason.  He stood inside for awhile, then called out, "Hey MJ, look how tall these are."

Once I was sitting at his kitchen table drinking coffee and he silently slid a picture of an alpaca in front of me and walked away.  When I asked, "What's this all about?"  he said, "I just thought you might like to look at that."  He was right; I did.

He's beautiful and weird and I'm going to miss him.  And that's all I'm going to say about that.

I wish I would have known the time with my three contractor friends was fleeting, that the shared jokes and beers and pissing matches were not going to last.  I would have hugged them more.  I also would have stood them against a white wall every day and videotaped their thoughts, then put them together in a timelapse montage with a bittersweet song in the background for proper mood.

Mama always told me I was a sentimental fool.  I don't think so -- I just really hate the end of a good chapter.

This is the song I'd choose.  Thanks for this, JP, and good luck.

Hug your contractors tight, people,


  1. Contractor God is gone?! I can't believe this! Didn't he see that Bannister Abbey is a cash cow of sorts?!

    His replacement is subpar, to say the least... will you look at those crooked pulls! Shameful!

    Hey, you document your kids in a blog and entertain one and sundry with it, that's not nothing! Think of the time on the Paris blog when you documented The Loosh complaining about his butt doing funny things and then proceeding to fart all the way home to everyone's delight and dismay? I'm sure he'll be glad one day that it was documented on the Net;))

    That peacock sends shivers down my spine... but speaking of colour wheels... wow! The colour combo on those feathers! (Oh the indignity of being called a turkey with such a plumage!)

    1. Hi Duchesse!

      Contractor is gone, gone, gone.... seems to be having some sort of identity crisis. Either that or he's damn sick of me.

      The guy who installed the pulls is no replacement, believe me. He's more our "odd job" guy. I know not to put him on the big stuff but thought he could handle installing pulls. I was, obviously, WRONG.

      I don't think the kids will thank me for the kind of documenting I've been doing. God, the fart story. Your photographic memory sure does come in handy sometimes, D!

      Best to you, Duchesse.

  2. Blogger just ate my comment!

    Dear god, those handles would drive me insane!

    Feathers in your face! That's so awesome, I'm making it my new catchphrase. My office used to have two peacocks living outside the window. They're assholes. But not as much as the people who regularly tried to steal their feathers, apparently they're worth a lot of money. So no wonder the staff were jumpy.

    My favourite song about goodbyes and regret is Cut Here by The Cure. Also, I think of you every time i hear The Lumineers and wish I was cool enough to live in Seattle so we could bonjello in real life.


      Hi Bec! Feathers in your face! Damn, that's some peacock tale you've got there -- asshole peacocks and feather stealers? I had no idea such things occurred in the world.

      Love The Cure. Nice choice. Melancholy is the mood around here, so many goodbyes will do that to a person. I wish you lived here, too, could use some cheering up! Bonjello in real life, dare to dream!

      Bye, Bec.

    2. That peacock's an asshole, that cat's a dick, squished mice... No wildlife is safe on that blog!;)

    3. Don't forget the murdered spiders.

  3. Those cabinet pulls would make be go absolutely batsh*t crazy every time I walked in the room. But then, I AM one of those annoying picture-straightener-type people.

    "Empty Abbey Syndrome"?

    1. Hi Lisa,

      They are making me batshit crazy. I can't even look at them, just fumble around with my eyes closed until I find a spoon. I am also a picture straightener. And I am also annoying.

      Empty Abbey Syndrome. You hit the nail on the head there, Lisa. Thanks for putting a name to it. My people are GONE, GONE, they're just GONE.

      Too early for a drink? Clock says yes, dammit.
      Don't leave me, Lisa!

  4. those pulls have to be

    from a major picture straightener in the north.

    1. Maybe I'll leave them that way and post pictures of them weekly so we can all deal with our anal-retentive issues together. Like immersion therapy.

    2. My God! Are we all picture straighteners on that blog?!!! No wonder we get on so well!

  5. i'm sick over contract god what the hell know it reminds me of artists... you know .... crazy... can't sell or get rid of their art...maybe the thought of completion TERRIFIED him committment phobe-i don't know but dammit don't be a quitter stomache hurts...and dan the man too...i cannot take it-the job wasn't done and the relationship after all these months...SO SAD! every contractor/handyman i hire does work like those pulls-and it would drive me crazy-because in my own house -with sh#t like that-i am crazy and i keep looking at it- touching it-talking about it like that will make it better...oh mj i am so sorry for the emptiness of BA .... peacock story was pretty cool though!

    1. Oh g, thanks for feeling the pain. I think you nailed it -- the relationship was the key. Now I feel like I've just been thrown back into the dating pool and dammit, I don't want to get to know somebody else. So much work, so much "so do you have any kids?" and "where are you from?" blah blah blah.

      The fact he was a friend before he was our contractor complicates things, as does the fact he lives on the Street of Dreams so we will continue to see each other.

      I get the sense Contractor God isn't a "long term relationship" kind of guy. He's more of a "slam, bam, there's your house, ma'am" type.

      I will survive. These are first world problems, as they say...

  6. The Peacock Story is brilliant. As I've been told, peacocks strut their feathers when they are trying to impress a potential mate. As far as the little girl is concerned, pulling at a feather is perfectly appropriate (as if to say, 'Ef off, I've no interest in dating the likes of You')

    Lucien is also perfectly correct - what, after all, is the difference between a turkey and a peacock? Perhaps he knows that they both taste like chicken? --- Just kidding, of course, ... but it could be true!

    So sorry to hear that Contractor God pulled a 'build and ditch' routine. Time to cancel the check to the handyman who can't see straight and look for a new one on Angie's List. Your house is your haven and you deserve to feel relaxed in it.

  7. Hello Fly Away. I've heard that about peacocks, too, which begs the question: which one of us was the peacock hoping to mate with? I hope it was me. I've been a little rough around the edges lately, could use a confidence boost.

    Don't think our handyman will be a regular on the blog. He will also not likely be a regular in our lives. Connected!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  8. I can't believe this could happen! I thought Contractor God would be working on your house for the rest of your lives! Or his life. I hope my contractor never leaves us... he's adorable, his name is Ed, and I love everything he does except when he flooded the kitchen floor when he hooked up the dishwasher wrong. No matter, I got a new kitchen floor out of it, and he was grateful we didn't tell his other customers about it. Anyone can make a mistake right? Did I say he's adorable?
    I went to the zoo too, and came back with every kid I started with. In one piece too. Thank god we didn't see any peacocks, they are scary!

    I feel for you, MJ, he had no right to leave you with that handyman! It's not too early on the east coast, have that drink! I love the music too!

    1. I can't believe it either, Lou. We were supposed to be together forever.

      Can you send me Ed, just a loaner, promise to return him?

  9. A friend and I were stalked by peacocks at the zoo once. It seems they were waiting for us to feed them McD's fries. Since we didn't have any, they were not happy. One even followed us to the next exhibit and glared at us through the glass, like a large, pretty pigeon that had learned the skills of intimidation. We left via the back door.

    1. I am learning a lot today. Primarily that peacocks are weird and scary. And perhaps of superior intelligence? They are also possibly my spirit animal if they're into McD's fries. Delish.

      Bye Bev, way to escape those crazy cocks!

  10. Watching The Breakfast Club on AMC.... Ally Sheedy 1985...gosh she looks like someone i know.... you!

  11. First. I concur with all previous comments captured here. Must focus on biggest shocker. No. Not that Contractor God is gone. The real SUPER SHOCKER. You guys had pissing contests?**!!! Where? Off the climbing structure in the yard? The top floor? Must know. And must try to understand why I wasn't invited to compete. I'm a pretty darn good when piss comes to shove.

    All seriousness - love this piece. Please keep writing. Never stop. I'll come fix the damn pulls if it gets you in front of a computer.


  12. I am a reader from your Paris blog. We keep peacocks on our property in rural Kansas. This is my spring to re-stock the flock...peacocks, in my head, are not meant to be caged, and so periodically some go by the wayside: foxes, coyotes, etc. And then there was Manley Peacock, hit by a semi. Boo to the kid who grabbed a bird's feathers. Really??!

  13. WHY have I been not keeping up with your blog?! I miss things like peacock-grabbing and neighbors and Contractor God!

  14. Oh baby! I always read, and never comment, but I'm feeling your pain over the loss of the contractor guys. Big sigh. You said it very very well.