Do Ya Feel Lucky, Punk?

It’s been an interesting week… if by ‘interesting’ you mean ‘a blood-pressure-spiking, rant-inducing tragicomedy of ridiculousness’.

Or in other words:  ‘Same-old, same-old’.

We started the process for our second floor renovation in early August, reasoning that two and a half months was lots of time to get a permit, frame a storage closet and a bathroom, and insulate before the weather turned cold.  I sealed my doom by signing up for a six-week watercolour course to begin in mid-October, because the construction would be done by then, right?

Ha.  I reckoned without the glacial pace of structural engineers and bureaucracy.

Last week when we were rushing around getting ready for the framing inspection (we did the framing ourselves), I finally lost my grip… on everything from my paintbrush to my temper.

In our last watercolour class I had foolishly bravely decided to paint along with the instructor.  I didn’t expect great results; but what the heck, if you don’t try, you’ll never know, right?

I actually did okay for a while.  I laid in washes for sky and water, and underpainted my trees… and then my coordination short-circuited and my paintbrush (loaded with brown pigment) flipped out of my hand and bounced… not once; but twice… onto my painting.

Two gigantic dark-brown turds splotched down in the middle of my misty landscape.

I burst into uproarious laughter.

Taking their cue from my continuing chuckles, the rest of the class converged to giggle and cheer me on while I tried to convert my turds into dock pilings jutting out of the water.

I failed, but at least we all had a good laugh.

In between construction and turd-painting I’ve also been hard at work on Book 13, and apparently I need new reading glasses.  For a few days a muscle under my right eye twitched wildly, making me look like a female version of Dirty Harry on speed.

That turned out to be fitting, because when I discovered water puddling on our floor from a leaky door, I completely lost my shit and fired off… *ahem* …a strongly-worded missive1 to our home-builder, who has been ignoring my deficiency reports since May.  I doubt if it did any good, but at least it relieved my feelings.

After that banner week, I couldn’t help snickering in anticipation of comedic disaster when I looked into my kitchen junk drawer.  It contains everything from screwdrivers to matches to notepads… and also a tube of lip balm, a black Sharpie marker, and a Tide pen all in the same convenient compartment.

Now, what could possibly go wrong?

So if you hear about a woman who accidentally poisoned herself by using a Tide pen instead of lip balm, you’ll know who it was.  Or who knows?  I might unwittingly use the Sharpie to enhance my Dirty Harry image with a permanent black moustache.

So whenever I make a blind grab for that tube of lip balm, I have to ask myself:  “Do ya feel lucky, punk?  Well… do ya?”


1 Even though I really wanted to fill that email with enough profanity to make their eyes bleed, I didn’t use any swearwords at all.  Aren’t you proud of me?

40 thoughts on “Do Ya Feel Lucky, Punk?

  1. I wish I could send you the latest piece of kitch to clutter up your new home. Your virtual gift just in time for the holidays is a new Chia Pet in the form of Bob Ross. Perfect for the indoor plant lover and painting enthusiast. (It makes a great gift!) 😉


    • That’s fabulous! I loved watching Bob Ross – whether you liked his style of painting or not, he was so gentle and encouraging that I’m sure he must have inspired a lot of people to give painting a try. I actually have some Bob Ross brand paintbrushes, and when I was in an art store the other day, the salesperson told me that those brushes are now sought-after. Who knew? 🙂


  2. Good air in . . . bad air out . . . repeat . . .

    I feel for you. But I admire you – still a tremendous sense of humour in the midst of all the poop! That’s better than a lot of people would do. And no swearing in the letter? MAJOR POINTS RIGHT THERE. I hope things improve at some point. You’ve been a good sport much too long.


    • Thanks, jenny_o! I feel as though we’re finally getting there. We’ve solved the issue of the water filter going off like a rocket under our bedroom at 2 AM; and now that our upstairs is insulated and we don’t have to try to hold the heat in with pieces of cardboard, our heating system is working better, too.

      And despite being told we’d have to wait until Monday for our rescheduled insulation inspection (after the inspector failed us because she went to the wrong address), miracle of miracles, an inspector showed up today and passed us! Hooray! The end is in sight. It’s paved with sticky black-tar caulking and coated with drywall dust, but… it’s in sight! 😉


  3. Okay, call it fleeing from the fumes if you like, but it sounds more like something we’ve had to do from time to time. We called it ‘taking a mental health day.’ Yep, just what it sounds like: Taking some time off and getting away to keep from GOING COMPLETELY CRAZY ON SOMEBODY’S ASS!!

    See what I mean?

    Oh, that? Yes, the fumes were giving me a headache…


    Get in the car! I’ve booked a couple of nights in that Motel 6 in the next county, because that’s JUST BARELY FAR ENOUGH AWAY to keep me from caving that moron’s flaming head in!! No, screw the luggage. Just get in the car and SHUT UP!! We’re leaving NOW!!

    Po-tay-to, po-tah-to, as you say. 🙂


    • Oh, don’t get me started. We just failed our insulation inspection today. Why? Because the inspector “couldn’t get in the gate”. This despite the fact that she has a cell phone and our building permit information, which includes our telephone number. And Hubby was home all day. Did she call? No.

      This ALSO despite the fact that there’s a big sign on our gate that says “Please close the gate” (this being intended as a clue that, yes, the gate’s default position is closed).

      ALSO despite the fact that the chain was dangling loosely with the padlock unlocked at the end of it… though I’m willing to allow that people often see a lock and chain and just assume that it’s locked, so it might be an honest mistake. (Or, more likely, she was too lazy to get out of her vehicle.)

      BUT, failing comprehension of all of the above clues and allowing for the possibility that she for some reason didn’t have our phone number with her and didn’t think to call back to the main office to get it… the sign on the gate also says, “For access please call…” and includes TWO PHONE NUMBERS!

      AAARGH!!!! In the spirit of your second scenario, tonight’s hotel might have to be in Timbuctoo.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Heh…I was impressed you actually thought of a creative way to work the turds into the painting…irrelevant whether you accomplished it or not…you at least thought of something to do with them!!! Stand tall and be proud!!


  5. I was hoping you’d turn the turds into brown bears catching salmon. I am also convinced that indoor plumbing is against the laws of nature. Just go to any hardware or plumbing store and imagine the things that can go wrong with all those different parts and fittings.
    Always remember to laugh, even if it is a bit like Jack Nicholson.


    • Oooh, brown bears! Hey, it’s not too late! The dock pilings didn’t work out, but I might still be able to make a bear-shape out of them.

      And I’m trying very hard not to think about all the things that can go wrong with the plumbing. Really, really hard…


  6. Oh very proud. I wanted to throw in some swear words on your behalf! As to the painting if it is any consolation my entire canvas would look by turds and that is before I flung the paintbrush like a magic wand gone bad. Hang in there.


    • Bahahaha!!! Oh yes indeed! And I didn’t make that connection with the metaphor, but you’re absolutely right.

      The latest joy has been insulation – the insulators finished up yesterday and the smell of caulking is so strong that I developed a migraine and accompanying nausea and had to flee to a hotel in the middle of the night. And the smell isn’t dissipating as quickly as I’d hoped, so it looks as though I’ll be hotelling it tonight, too. Sigh. At least tonight I’ll plan ahead enough to arrive before 1 AM…


        • An excellent plan… except that all our various construction “adventures” have stretched our budget to the point where we don’t want to spend the money on places with amenities like a hot tub. But at least the little local motel is clean and quiet, and I can fill the bathtub with hot water and bring a beer with me from home… 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Too funny! I’m proud of you for your verbal control. I’ve had to use it myself this week, but alas, ultimately the relationship broke down all the same between my brother and me and he would never dream of examining his own culpability in the breakdown. I have to keep in mind that although he was never diagnosed, it is very likely he has Aspburgers and can’t relate to other people socially as well as he was diagnosed a week ago with colon cancer and it will be a while before they determine an optimal treatment or likely outcome. Of course he is tense and far from his best and reviewing his youth in the poorest light imaginable. I was urging him to be kind and forgiving to wards his youthful self, but his youthful self did things his adult self can’t reconcile. Ah well…

    Let’s talk for a moment about my favorite thing- art. I don’t consider myself much of a watercolor painter but I keep myself informed of what is new in the marketplace. A great watercolor artist I know gave a lecture on his work. He said that if he paints 200 sheets of watercolor paper, he can expect to toss the vast majority of the 200 sheets away as beyond salvaging. He is left with maybe 20 that aren’t embarrassing, 10 worth selling, and 5 worth framing and offering as giclée prints. I have to say that those 5 are great paintings- the subject matter is not my taste, but the paintings are wonderful. So here I am again, urging someone to be kind with themselves.

    Fairly new on the market is a product designed to fix things like brown turds upon a misty landscape or to allow a watercolor artist to paint on objects other than paper. It is called watercolor ground. I haven’t tried it out myself, but several companies manufacture it. It can be painted over turds or other such mistakes and bring the area back to white and the ground will restore the area to similar working properties to the original unstained paper. I’ve not heard if the stuff works as well as advertised, but it might be worth it to try it out. In case your paper isn’t bright white, there are versions available to match the nuance of white by brand of paper. Painting will make all those nasty building issues go away for a few hours. Happy painting.


    • “20 that aren’t embarrassing” – that’s a goal to strive for! Thanks, el Tea! I was thinking of you as I wrote this – I knew you’d understand. 🙂

      It was a fascinating course, but unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to paint. The instructor usually spent about 1/3 of the class looking at the work people had done since the previous week and offering suggestions, then another third or more was spent watching her demonstrate techniques. That usually left about half an hour to actually paint. She encouraged people to paint while she was critiquing and demonstrating, but I didn’t want to miss anything she said. That’s why I decided to throw caution to the wind and paint along with her on the last day.

      She did mention the “correction fluid” – I can’t remember what it’s called at the moment, but one of the women in the class gave it a try and it did work. She said the finish was similar to hot press, which didn’t really match the paper she was working on, but at least it gave her another chance.

      I didn’t get as much actual painting time out of the class as I’d hoped, but I learned SO MUCH! I’ve joined an informal art group so I’ll be forced to show up and paint for three hours once a week. (I’m hoping the Gods of Chaos won’t interfere.)

      I’m so sorry to hear about the difficulties with your brother – the bond between siblings is wonderful when all is well, but it can be so hurtful when things go wrong. And a diagnosis of colon cancer must be causing a lot of stress for all of you. I’m sending good wishes to him for an uneventful treatment and full recovery; and hopeful wishes to both of you for the recovery of your relationship.


      • Thanks for the good wishes for my brother’s health and our relationship. I want to add support and love rather than add any more stress to his life and wish he wasn’t living a half-continent away. I’m done being angry with him and he’ll cool off soon if he hasn’t already. It’s just hard that he relates to Spock and I keep trying to encourage him to be at least half human.

        I don’t envy you both sides of building issues, sorting out what went wrong with the initial build and finishing what was left for later. And at the same time you juggle the rest of your interests and obligations. Not that #13 is an obligation, no, no! I’m sure it’s all joy!


        • Honestly, writing IS all joy for me. So is editing, believe it or not. The only time writing stresses me out is when I don’t get to do it – then I feel guilty because I’m not making any progress. If I could write as often as I wanted, I’d spend days locked away inside my own brain. When I have that kind of quality time I can write a novel in a couple of months. It hasn’t happened since Book 3, but I keep hoping…

          Then again, it’s probably better if I’m forced to join the real world on a semi-regular basis.

          I’m smiling at your description: “…he relates to Spock and I keep trying to encourage him to be at least half human”. Yep, I can see some potential for conflict there. 😉


          • A quick update since I hate to leave stuff incomplete- my brother and I did smooth things over within 36 hours of the issues. He just got word that he has been given the go-ahead to have surgery, which is what was the outcome we hoped for. No word yet on what all is ahead of him.

            I’m so glad you love to write. You write, I’ll read. I kinda miss the whole gang, and eagerly await whatever is next.


            • I’m so glad things are better between you and your brother! What a relief.

              I didn’t get much time with Aydan and the gang this week, but our house is crawling with drywallers today so I hope the coming week will be a matter of letting them do their work while I do mine. Word count, here I come! 🙂


    • I’m glad you got a laugh! I don’t think the poor instructor knew what to do with me – most people don’t cut out laughing when they wreck a painting. But the size and colour of those shapes was hilarious!


  8. I hesitate to pat you on the back for your absence of profanity in the HERE’S ANOTHER ADDITION TO YOUR ALREADY LONG LIST OF DEFICIENCIES THAT NOW INCLUDES YOUR MOTHER AND WHATEVER YOUR FATHER WAS letter. I’ve mentioned this before, but the time I spent in the Army is best described as a great profane noise. Basic Training was even worse, except in one particular regard. One of the Drill Instructors (not mine, but I can’t really say if that makes it worse or better) did not use foul language. Period. And I mean NEVER. Zilch profanity.

    That’s the upside.

    The downside is that he did not have to. His command of every facet of the English language–including the most horrifically vile insults–was generally characterized as a high art form. His colleagues would gladly stand aside and let him have at some hapless nincompoop for any infraction, either real or perceived.

    The guy’s use of grammar was flawless, too, and that’s a diabolical combination: Bad attitude, humongous vocabulary, and impeccable grammar. And he could spew this stuff almost faster than most, er, *normal* people could even listen.

    So, to coin a phrase…I PITTY DA PO FOO who, uh, stirs your ire. If you wish, you may consider it a challenge to up the ante, so to speak, with every, uh, correspondence with those who bungled your build so badly. Which reminds me. The DI was an utter genius at alliteration….


  9. I am VERY proud of you…although knowing you they are probably there, just coded in invisible ink. Just like when we used to write with lemon juice, and you had to wave it over a match or a candle which caused dried juice to change color and magically appear on the page.


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