samedi 8 mai 2010

Back to the metal framing on Grande Rue

The rain comes


Scritch, scritch, scritch.

That and far worse sounds were coming from the garden below my window, where I had gone to hide in my bed from the other storm brewing; the one I had set in motion this morning, bringing up the installation of the metal framing system for the sheetrock in the "petit salon", when he mentioned getting to the electrical work this weekend.

It was time.

It had to be done.

It was probably why I woke up catatonic. He thought he had finished. I did not.

"En fait, l'électricien vient mardi." I have forgotten to mention that here. I called yesterday, and he picked up.

"Bonjour, Madame Sisyphe."

"Mais! Comment le savez-vous que c'est moi?"

"Je reconnais votre numéro maintenant," he said, not adding, "after all these calls."

It appears that he came a couple weeks back and waited for me, that I was to have called to confirmed that I would be here and not at the airport. That was the week of the canceled flights, after the volcano blew in Iceland.

"C'est vrai?" I asked.

"Je vous ai attendu. Vous ne vous souvenez de rien?"

No, allowed; I didn't remember a thing of such an exchange, that I had said I would call to let him know if I would be at the airport or not. Funny, though, because I was not at the airport the morning he was waiting outside the gate. I am, however, reassured that it is not my support of President Obama that he does not want to come again. If it wasn't our discussion about race and immigration keeping him from coming, but my having stood him up, then there is still hope for the people of the world.

"Alors, je viendrai mardi. C'est sur? Vous serez là mardi matin?" Oui, Monsieur.

"Bon, alors," said mon mari, "tu ne veux pas que je fasse l'électricité dans le petit salon." It was sort of a question. The kind that is a restatement for clarity.

"Non. Il va la faire, mais cela nous laisse le temps de revenir à la préparation de l'installation du BA13." BA13 is 13 mm sheetrock. I waited for it to come.

"Mais, c'est fini," he said. I had to say it.

"Non, pas vraiment." And we were off. I said what I had to say, he blew, we argued, I exited, and from my room, I listened from the shallow depths of a light depression-induced doze.

Scritch, scritch, "Putain truc! Merde alors... fait chier -- argggghh", scritch, scritch -- stomp, stomp, stomp. Creak, creak, creak (he was climbing the ladder, bit of metal in hand; I could see it in my mind's dim eye). Bang, bang, bang-bang-bang, "Mais! Merde alors, allez! Al-lez, pu-tain!"

I rolled over and tried to remain unresponsive, still, absent while time continued its progression. I would eventually have to come down.

I did. He spoke to me civilly.

"J'ai fait un pet (you pronounce the "t", for those who want to know) dans le parquet." It is the same word as "fart".

I didn't ask to see the dent he had made in the floor. He had placed sheets of thin plywood from the old storage system he never finished under the legs of the ladder. I was going to cover the floor in kraft paper, or at least a sheet would have been a good idea. Every time he climbed up and down and brought the hammer down, twisted on that ladder in frustration with a bit of metal, he ground the plaster dust he was causing to shower down under his hammer blows right into the new floor.

I shrugged. I thought of Sam the other day and said, "Ca va lui donner encore plus d'authenticité." I'd have even preferred that it not be set so tightly, but that we had left larger joints between the strips of oak. My husband wanted perfection.

I walked back out of the room.

He says it's never serious when he swears and pronounces oaths against inanimate objects (or people); it's a "soupape", a valve. A safety valve. We have talked about this before, somewhere here. Ah, here it is. Funny, it's the same activity. Not funny. That's why I knew I'd take to my bed while I was still in it this morning.

I hear him sighing. Loudly. And then, "Ah la-la la-la la-la, mais qu'est-ce qu'il me fait chier celui-là!"

I started to see the room, and the rest of the house, never done. Never, ever, ever done. The misery stretching out into the finite infinity of our lives before us, a reminder of his ill humor and the fact that we can't just hire people to do things for us.

"You, sir, install that metal framing!"

"You, sir, hang, that sheetrock!"

"You, sir, I'd like three more units like the last wall system you built to specification."

"And, you, sir, clean up that paint dribble."

No. It's our work. All of it, and it isn't any fun at all because some parts of it just aren't his thing, and if he doesn't want to buy that terrific tool for cutting through metal framing like butter, then I am not going to make it mine.

No, sir.

We all makes our beds and lie in them, don't we?

Rapide knows what I'm talking about, don't you, Rapide?
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