don't laugh. it's true. or, at the very least, it's not funny. it's disgusting. it looks like old lady. there are two creases on the fronts of my ankles when i bend them. there are deep marks across the tops of my feet where my sandals make fruitless attempts to contain them.
the water from the showerhead this morning helped mask my tears as i propped some of my weight on the top of my head on the shower wall while i attempted to shave my pasty, bloated legs while my back and cooter clenched up on their already worn muscles.
we had a parade of incompetence in the last week. not that we don't experience parades of incompetence on a near-weekly basis. brian finally got around to scheduling the cable hook up. but comcast refused over and over again to install a new outlet, proudly proclaiming: "we don't go up into attics!" as their battle cry. enter marco. he had done some work for brian up in carrollton. on day 1, he was grand. he showed up at the sliding glass door on our balcony simultaneously with the cable guy. and they spoke spanish to each other (which is a good sign because spanish people love it when they find someone else to speak spanish to during their daily business... not that that's a hard thing to find here). marco had already run most of the cable and done as much as he could until Cable finished up his business. so marco was going to come back after work that evening. he didn't. brian had gotten a hold of him via cellphone call to learn this. he didn't show up the next day either. brian told him he'd call him saturday morning to firm up a time then. he left marco a message and never heard back (marco later claimed to have lost his cellphone. and, apparently, his ability to call from a different phone). on monday, brian was no longer friends with marco and called the Electrician's Company. marco was MIA. (grashupfer later reminded me this was hispanic walk out on your work day). around 8:30am tuesday morning, marco calls brian's cell to tell him he's standing out on our balcony. how charming! so brian hangs around for another hour or so into his work day waiting for marco golightly to finally finish up his work and thusly instigating caucasian walk out on your work half day.
not 2 hours after marco was gone from our lives, karl showed up. karl was contracted through our home warranty company to come out and see why we were being increasingly choked by moldy-mildewy smells in our closet and every time we turned on our a/c. we worried that the leak which found its way through the a/c unit in the ceiling of our closet during the torrential rains several months ago might have spelled disaster with its water stains. and the hoa refused to do anything about it since it's an interior issue... never mind that it was caused by an exterior issue (as confirmed by their own workmen). they might, perhaps, deign to reimburse part of our expenses after the fact if it was proven to be a result of the leak. well, the smell wasn't going away and i didn't feel good about the baby being passed mold.
so there's karl. i already had my misgivings about him before even seeing him as a result of his mumbling conversations on the phone and his grumbling over being at the sidewalk gate instead of the parking lot gate and what essentially was him hanging up on me unless, perchance, he had mumbled a good-bye in there somewhere before the silent static of the dead line had set in. and then there he was. he was shortish, oldish, largish with fingers the size of sausages. i think he might have had an odd contusion on the side of his upper forehead, but i could not discern if it was old or new without staring into his hairline. he immediately mentioned a leak that we never mentioned. i led him to the closet and explained it had become stinky.
karl: well i know how to get rid of that smell!
beth: oh? how?
karl: wash all your clothes with bleach!
beth: oh... our clothes are fine, but how do we get the smell out of the a/c?
karl: bleach! you need to pour it through the drain pain. you should do that once a month for six months out of the year. bleachity bleach bleach bleacher bleaching bleach bleach (or something like that).
[for a moment, i thought that was all i was going to get for my $55 and, frankly, i wasn't sure i was buying this bleach story as home warranty companies are notorious for band-aiding problems instead of spending the money to fix the root of the problem.]
karl: so, you got any bleach?
beth: no... i'm pretty sure we got rid of it all (because super toxic chemicals are horrifying], but i'll go check.
beth: turns out we do have some.
so i hand karl bleach and then retrieve a smallish container per his request which he proceeds to fill halfway with bleach and then precariously places his oversized meathooks up in the a/c and starts to pour. i'm already squirming over his dexterity as i race back to the kitchen to frantically locate papertowels to mop up the splatters of bleach on my blond two drawer ikea chest from where he filled the container. he informs me you pour it into one side and it comes out the other.
did i mention this is in the ceiling of our closet?
karl pours another container's worth of bleach into the drip pan.
somewhere in there, i suppose the bleach starts coming out the other side and i suppose karl began "catching" it with his meathooks and the container. then he asks for a paper towel. because bleach is now dripping on to my great grandmother's antique suitcase sitting on the closet shelf.
karl: heheh. there's one way to get it clean... use bleach!
beth: uh... well, i hope not since it's my great grandmother's suitcase.
my 20/20 hindsight is beginning to sharpen at this point. too late, of course. i'm frazzled with wiping up bleach and making sure bleach isn't where it shouldn't be and not having the ability to fully concentrate on what karl may or may not be accomplishing.
he steps down off the dainty little bent plywood step stool (which, surprisingly, had not splintered under his weight in the first place... especially considering it had been purchased as a more visually pleasing replacement for the ancient, smudged step stool my 10 pound cat enjoys sitting on) and dabs at the bleach spotted all down the front of his shirt. i believe this might be the point i dab it off the step stool and start feeling a little sick.
i escort karl back out so he can write up his paper work... which takes some time, because karl is not nicknamed "Speed Racer". he comes back up and then leaves again to retrieve his credit card print maker mechanism which he has no idea of how to use and we spend literally five minutes watching him try to mastermind the contraption. did i mention karl is not nicknamed "Speed Racer"?
karl finally leaves and i speed race back to the closet to discover at least three articles of my friend christie's maternity clothing splattered with bleach as well as three of brian's dress shirts. there was bleach in the foot bed of a sandal on the floor, but considering the level of wear and stink on them, that was probably doing me a favor.
needless to say, i was livid. brian took the reins and phoned the home warranty people who were kind enough to call the a/c people and give them brian's work number without his permission so karl could call and leave brian a 70 second mumbling voice mail message saying how he was just trying to do us a favor and save us some money. never mind we paid for services rendered and he would only save his company money since we were just paying a flat rate service call fee. and never mind he tried to back pedal and say bleach only got on the two drawer chest. as if two drawer chests don't matter! how's the front of your shirt looking, karl?!?
bleach! poured all over our clothes!
now i have to go drink more water so my ankles don't puff up more and float away without me.