Columns

2007.04.18 Now I lay me down to sleep...I pray for a plumber

on . Posted in Midnight Musings

By COLLEEN LEDDY

In the 2004 film, Napoleon Dynamite, lead character Napoleon often talked about the importance of having skills. Skills would attract girls, he figured. You gotta have skills.

“Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills,” he observed.

What kind of skills?

“You know, like nunchuck skills, bowhunting skills, computer hacking skills...”

I don’t have those kind of skills, but then I’m not trying to attract girlfriends. I did have a great epiphany the other day after dinner, though.

I was pouring a pot of freshly made soup into a glass container when I realized I’m very accomplished at this chore.

“I can accurately judge which of all our containers to use when I’m putting away leftovers,” I told David.

“Woo!” he said, feigning amazement at my ability.

I can match the right size container for the quantity of each kind of food I’m putting away.

“I think it’s the only skill I have,” I said.

David is pretty much abysmal at this. For example, if he’s putting away a pot of soup, his first inclination is to take a look at the outside thermometer. If it’s cold enough, he’ll opt to put the whole pot on the back porch rather than pack it up in Tupperware.

And if he does put it away properly in the fridge, he’ll choose the oddest assortment of containers, usually mismatching yogurt containers with tofu lids. In any case, he’ll find the weird ones, instead of using the Pyrex or Rubbermaid bought especially for this purpose. He’ll package the one pot of soup in three different oddball containers, so the next day when you’re hankering for a bowl of soup, it’s not obvious that there is any soup in the fridge.

I take pride in eyeballing the soup, to continue with this example, and selecting the container that most closely matches the amount of soup, without its going over and without there being a lot of extra room for more.

I shouldn’t knock David. He’s really a very helpful sort. When I told him I didn’t have any column ideas, he suggested the topic of death.

“When the time comes, you will welcome death,” he predicted. “It will finally be uninterrupted sleep. You’ll never be rudely awakened. You’re going to love it.” 

Was I complaining recently about the birds outside our bedroom window? The car with the thumping bass blaring? Or was I moaning endlessly about the alarm clock that he sometimes sets when he has to make sure he gets up on time, but then he gets up on time anyway and forgets to turn it off?

It’s the most annoying alarm known to humankind and makes me crazy when it goes off. Initially, it has a quiet “beep.” Then another beep. And another. But spaced far enough apart that you think it isn’t going to beep again. But then it does. And then it gets more insistent. Beep, beep, beep! And louder: beep beEP BEEP! Louder and longer. BEEP BEEEP BEEEEP BEEEEEP! And closer together BEEPBEEPBEEPBEEP!

And I cannot figure out how to shut it off. Sometimes I hit a button and it stops. For a few minutes. But just when I am about to fall back into slumber...“beep.” Beep. Beep. And here we go again. Once, I pulled the plug and that worked—but it worked like hitting the snooze button. And then the backup battery kicked in and kept it going.

I don’t know what it was that precipitated David’s death comment. There wasn’t even a funeral going on at Eagle’s across the street. He did mention that I don’t like to be awakened. And that is certainly true. I love sleep. I love being entirely out of it, completely in another world, a dream world, a warm cozy world of flannel and feathers with no responsibilities at all.

Sound like words from the mouth of a stressed out woman? A woman who came home to discover that her husband decided to find that leak in the bathtub once and for all while she and her daughter were on vacation? A woman who walked into a bathroom with a third of a wall missing, the shower surround ripped out and a floor torn up clear to the rafters?

“Uh, Aunt Mary and Uncle Ronnie will be coming,” I said as quietly as I could manage. “How long do you think it will take to get that bathroom back together?”

“You mean I have to hurry to get that project done?” he said in disbelief.

“Well, Maddie is graduating May 20 and her open house is May 19...”

Guess it’s time for me to put my container wizardry on the back burner and develop some plumbing skills.

    – April 18, 2007 

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