lundi 26 avril 2010

There ain't no sunshine

Buggley eyes

or something like that

We're at a standstill. I have called the mason. I left a message.

I have called the electrician. I left a message.

I called Georges. Voicemail answered and failed halfway through. I called again.




"C'est Madame Sisyphe."

"Ah, oui." Silence. It sounds the same in English as in French.

"Ca vous surprend que je vous appelle, Georges?" More silence.

"Ah, non." He wasn't offering a thing. It felt like calling a guy who promised to call after your last date, and never did. Not that I was yearning for him, or anything like that. No fucking way. It's more like when you want to see just how big a weasel he is and how little courage he has so you can gloat in his misery, but not completely like that either. I just want my damn house finished, and I am so upset with my husband for paying them that 50% on the final contract before they finished the work in it that I could scream. For once, he is not defending his decision because we are basically screuxed of half our money because even if they do ever show up again, they will only do the very shittiest job they can for the sheer pleasure of getting away with it. My husband sees that now.

The lessons hard-learned.

"Georges," I went on, "ça fait une semaine que j'attends votre rappelle et ça fait bientôt deux mois depuis que vous êtes parti dissant que vous seriez ici à nouveau pour finir dès que vous auriez reçu la brique." I did not say that I know the brick has not been ordered. "Je veux savoir quand vous venez satisfaire votre contrat."

"Ah -- je peux vous rappeler? D'ici un quart d'heure... 20 minutes?" Like hell he was going to call back.

"J'espère que cela ne changera pas votre réponse," knowing full well that whatever he would do in the next quarter hour or 20 minutes would absolutely change his response, if it weren't just a way to get me off the phone and buy him a few more days behind which to hide. "J'attends votre coup de fil." I hung up.

Of course, he hasn't called back in the three hours that have passed since I called. I did alert our attorney.

Of course, the electrician hasn't called back. He might suspect me of being too liberal for his tastes, but let us hope it is not that. He let me know a little more about his politics than I cared to know, and I just might not have been quite adamant enough in my (lack of) enthusiasm for them. I did try to show the sort of empathy Barack Obama might while listening to a Tea Partier, though.

Of course, the mason is working like mad on someone else's job. He is nothing short of the most hard-working and efficient person I have ever come across, with the exception of one architect who worked with me, who will know exactly who I am talking about if she reads this. (Thank you.)

So, I am reduced to exchanging long gazes with the frogs, that or treating the roses and other flowering plants against the various evils that threaten them: black leaf, insects, Japanese Beetles, that powdery white stuff on the buds. I'd oil the teak furniture, but mon mari bought deck oil (no wonder it was so expensive), not teak oil for furniture, and he has the receipt to return it for the right stuff.

I could make drawings for the wood casings, cabinets and other woodwork in the "petit salon", but I am obsessed with the floor I cannot get done.

I am also obsessed with the misery of all the things weighing on me that more properly belong in the fiction I am not writing. Today, it all feels like too many drinks in a room with too much smoke the day after, and the sun has gone away for the first time in three weeks.

Ain't no sunshine when she's gone.
It's not warm when she's away.
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
And she's always gone too long anytime she goes away.

How can I be reduced to thinking of my subs when I think of those lyrics, or of turning them around and thinking of my husband's toxic waste of a superlatively manipulative and narcissistic (the first goes without saying when you mention the second) ex when I turn them into her negative image presence in our lives?

The Clematis 'Daniel Deronda' bloomed today in its sad spot behind the stoop, waiting in its little store pot to be planted. It's a miracle it survived the year this way. Two others did not.

Murder in the garden.

Anyway, in answer to one reader, I can't go back on the solid oak flooring, no matter how tempting the finished concrete sounds right now. My husband would never listen to me again if I were to change my mind after all this. Besides, it's bought and paid for and been sitting in the "petit salon" waiting since March 24. I am also a stickler for solid wood, at least on floors.

When they aren't going to be beautiful finished concrete.
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