I can always tell the progress of a household repair project by the running commentary Beaven provides. It’s very predictable and usually starts out with a simple and innocent “Uh-Oh” then graduates to a string of “Oh $$%#@” then advances to “Well, ain’t that the drizzlin’ s$%#@s”. By this time I’m trying to not laugh. He never breaks the third commandment but I can tell the project has reached its apogee when he proclaims that the guy who designed the thing should have part of his anatomy amputated. I can’t quote him exactly because I just remembered there’s a link to this blog on our church website.
We put in a new microwave last week and I figured we were in trouble right off the bat when we set a bath towel on fire. He was taking out the old vent-a-hood to put the microwave in over the stovetop. I could see tiny but important screws falling into the stove between the electric coils. So I set a towel over the stovetop. Then he must have turned a burner knob to “on” with his stomach or belt or hip. Who knows. But you have to be just a little impressed by any man who can cook with his stomach.
Beaven knows just enough to get himself into trouble. He decided to move an outlet which sounded like it meant re-wiring the whole house. Usually, once we graduate to him telling me to “get a pole” I know it’s time for me to step in and stop the whole project.
The “get a pole” instruction comes from his knowledge of electricity that tells him there’s a chance he could accidently touch a wire conducting a billion volts of electricity. When this happens, he says he’s heard stories of guys who couldn’t let go of the wire because the voltage caused their muscles to contract. His answer is for me to get a wooden pole and "poke him” (his exact words) to release his grip on the wire. The pole is to keep me from having the electricity do the same thing to me. He’s thoughtful this way.
Once he tells me to get a pole I usually grab the camera while I’m at it so we can have a recent photo for his obituary.
I can’t make too much fun of him, though. Besides the towel, I’ve set fire to our pasture three or four times. There is debate on the number since the fire department came twice in one day for the same fire.
Beaven used to travel 4 or 5 times a year doing remote broadcasts or attending conventions. He’d be gone a week usually. I would either give a party, wallpaper or paint. He got into the habit of setting his bags down in the entry way when he got home and smell for paint before he went any further. He knew if he couldn’t smell paint he could expect to find new furniture.
Linda Peavy was my running buddy for these household projects. I would think up some dopey scheme like painting a rainbow on the girls' bedroom wall and Linda would help me enact it. She was Ethel to my Lucy. Beaven eventually figured this out. One time he called from out of town just as Linda dropped the curtain rods on her foot and when she screamed in pain, he asked, “What was that? Do you have Linda Peavy over there? What are you doing?” It was always best that he didn't know.
Linda was the Queen of Wallpaper. She never trusted the paper that said it was pre-pasted and always put on more paste for good measure. Her wallpaper never came off. It took a nuclear blast to get it off. In God’s special sense of humor my daughter bought Linda’s house when she and Carl bought a new one. The first thing Emily wanted to do was change the wallpaper in one bedroom from a teenage boy theme to baby clouds. I told her, “You’ll never get that paper off. You'd better just paper over it.” Sadly, nobody ever believes their mother, especially a mother who has the Volunteer Fire Department on speed dial. I think that project took about six months of steamer rentals, chemicals and scrappers plus some curse words, I’m sure.
Then, about five years later, after a three year detour to Ohio, Emily and Steve moved into our old house. And, again, the first thing she wanted to do was change the wallpaper. “I hate to tell you this but Linda Peavy helped me put that paper up.” This time she just painted over it.
Beaven went out of town last weekend to a Ham Radio convention, what I call his annual Nerd Convention. My first plan was to throw a big party like I usually do. But I gave up on the party when only one person could make it. Instead, Traci and I made a party of our own. We painted the kitchen, recovered the chairs and tried to re-wire a lamp until it exploded. I had heard of folks who “had their wires crossed” but never knew so many sparks were included in the process. We accomplished a lot around the house and solved several of the world’s problems in our spare time.
I think Traci wanted me to show you the paint job. I can’t take credit for the chairs, though. She did them by herself while I made pizza, buffalo wings and chili dogs. Saturday afternoon, Elizabeth and her friend, Erica showed up just in time for the chili dogs and they finished the painting.
I have a new kitchen and Beaven came home with a $20 gizmo he’s incredibly proud of. A good time was had by all.