So Far So Good

LizzieLou | home & garden | Saturday, January 14th, 2012

This year is off to a good start. One of my major home-owner problems has been solved. Lest you think I have been very productive or something, let me make clear right away that I only watched some handy gentlemen be very productive as they tore down what was left of our retaining wall in the alley and replaced it with a new retaining wall that is so much more substantial and fierce than the previous one that it isn’t even a retaining wall anymore, it is now a “bulkhead.” My dictionary defines this as “a dividing wall or barrier between compartments in a ship, aircraft, or other vehicle.” This works for me.

The wall wasn’t much of a wall before it was turned into a bulkhead either. It was untreated wood, painted blue (sometime after 1925), rotting, soggy, falling down. One day, longer ago than I’d like to admit, I put three buckets-nee-kitty-litter-containers filled with sod and dirt that I swept up on the sidewalk out for garbage pick up. They were not collected. So, I slid them back against the part of the wall that was the worst and there they have remained, collecting more dirt, more weeds, mosquito larvae, and the resentment of the neighbors.


I had spent quite a bit of time back there in the alley staring at that stupid wall, thinking about all the ways I could do it myself and then sadly rejecting them for lack of skill, strength or smarts. I would lie in bed at night complaining to Lolly about the crappy wall and moaning about its awfulness and my ineptitude. To her credit, Lolly did brainstorm lots and lots of ideas for fixing it or shoring it up. However, I would always find some engineering or financial flaw to her idea, and then start whining again. Every time I went past it in the car or on foot I’d moan and crap on about it some more.

After the bulkhead was done, it looked so good we couldn’t stand the idea of putting the old moldy, soggy fence panels back up across the backyard. (And neither could our neighbor who looks directly out upon it who said, as she was nodding her head for us, “That looks so great! You’re going to do the fence now too, right?”) Hence, a new fence. It is six feet high on the yard side, which means there is now a nine foot edifice between the alley (with it’s weirdos and hos and poop kitties) and us. It’s quite imposing as you can just barely see the top of the house poking up well behind it.


Upon completion, I was ready to go out and do some landscaping and planting; alas, it snowed. But I have big plans now. Big Plans!


LizzieLou | home & garden,nablopomo | Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

I really like listening to the rain on the roof. It would be lovely and relaxing except for the fact that water is seeping inside. The upstairs back window weeps rain down the walls. Weeps more than I did about a certain kitty being outside on the porch. I have had three visits from two different handymen and another visit from a contractor to try to figure out what’s wrong. Basically, the persons who installed the window (sometime before we moved in), did it backwards – instead of putting it in from the outside, they put it in from the inside. Years later, despite lots of caulking and more caulking, it leaks. For two years I’ve been trying to fix this, and yes, clearly I could have had it replaced in that time, but I was ever hopeful. Also, I confess to being a little like that old farmer who didn’t need to fix his roof because when it didn’t rain, it didn’t leak and when it did leak, it was raining and he couldn’t fix it. So, I’m a fucking moron. And now it’s pretty much winter already which means we can’t put a gaping hole in the house (even more leaking!) probably until the spring. Blue tarp, here we come.

New TV

LizzieLou | home & garden,nablopomo | Monday, November 14th, 2011

I would like to tell you about our new television. I know it seems odd to want to do a post about a new fancy tv when shit is fucked up and bullshit these days, but I think that is why I’d rather write about it.

Number one. This tv was a gift from Lolly’s folks for us for our birthdays. Free is good.

Number two. This tv is da bomb. It is too big and has hi def and wi fi and 3D. For the latter we’re just like ‘eh, whatever’ because we don’t do the 3D thing and have no special glasses to wear over our glasses. But the HD. Wow. The HD is better than our actual eyesight. In fact, even adverts for the Viking River Cruises are spectacluar. So spectacular in fact that the fabulous vistas presented would never look that good if you saw them in person. So stay home and watch tv! The HD detail is awesome on all those nature shows we like to watch too. And on Kate Winslet…. So lovely. Football is way more interesting… So musclely.

Number three. This tv is even attractive to the kitties and we have seen them watching it now too. Maybe because it is so clear and the movements are more distinct, maybe because the tv is now near the window so they think it is a window… A window of fabulousness!

A Little to the Left

LizzieLou | home & garden,nablopomo | Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

Things need leveling.

One of my coworkers once told me I am a “bubble off plumb.” [Yes, that’s plumb, not plum. Me = duh] I took it as a complement, but when Lolly asked me what I wanted for my birthday I told her I wanted a level, a regular sized one with the three bubbles.

I can now erect retaining walls, put down flag stones, hang pictures and install shelves. Trouble is, however, that our house is saggy. So do I make things level with gravity, or do I make things parallel with the house?

The Week in Review: Housepainting, Misdemeanors, Wild Kingdom, and Reading to Achieve

LizzieLou | home & garden,reading,wildlife | Saturday, June 30th, 2007

First, for Eelaine…
here is the house


all decked out in “Hidden Sanctuary.” (It actually makes the house more noticeable.) The trim is “Brilliant White” and the porches are “Platinum Gray”. None of the immediate neighbors have yet commented.And the rest of the news…

1. I crankily report that the painter has not returned to do those last few spots. The four ladders that were in the yard for a few days have one-by-one disappeared. There are still the buckets filled with paint slop. After our talk last weekend when Mike said he might come back after dark and “take care of them” (and then gestured towards a house down the street that is being gutted – thus indicating to me that he might go dump them there), I am a little relieved that they haven’t vanished mysteriously, but a little bit pissed-off that they are still here. I will have to take them to the other side of the city to the household hazardous waste site; a strenous and messy undertaking I put off again today. For the most part we have our backyard back.

2. I have an amusing story from a co-worker that I am not supposed to tell anyone involving something lost, something found, some trespassing, some crying, some breaking and entering, something being tossed over a fence, and some bureaucratic neglect. (I am unsure if I should spill it or not.)

3. I commuted rather uneventfully every day this week. I didn’t get into a fight with anyone, was harassed not at all, and grossed out very little! Amazing! However, it was a critter intensive commuting experience. I witnessed a crow eating a dead pigeon (which is not something I had ever at all imagined in my head to my self until now even once) and I had to do a little do-si-do two-step with a pair of medium sized grey rodents so we could avoid stepping on each other. I did have a little Eek!-A-Mouse-or-wait-maybe-that-was-a-ratty moment, but not because I am normally one to say “Eek!” but because of the curiously bendy scampering and the near squooshing.

4. I have taken up the library’s challenge to all adults to read three books this summer. I am well on my way to finishing the first three in order to procure my Big Reward of a Starbucks(TM) coffee card and to be entered into the Big Bookbag of Crap Sweepstakes! I have to fill out a form which includes a few sentences about each book, presumably to test that I have actually read them. Will someone be checking? (Janie?) In my youth, my mother issued a similar challenge where for every 10 books I read, she would take me out to buy a new one. My first three entries are:

“The Discomfort Zone” by Jonathan Franzen (a rambling but ultimately engaging memoir about growing up awkwardly, experiencing the death of one’s mother, and discovering the joys of birdwatching, which includes the word ‘eidetic’);

“Cross” by James Patterson (the latest in the series of popcorn detective novels that I began reading when I worked at Barnes and Noble where the first not very challenging book was left in the breakroom, which does not include the word ‘eidetic’); and,

“Intertwined Lives: Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict and their Circle” by Lois Banner (because once an anthro major, always an anthro major and who could resist the riveting drama of well-known academics, their lesbian love affair, and dollops of biographical information on anyone they ever came into contact with ever, which also uses the word ‘eidetic’ multiple times).

5. And finally, if anyone asks, you saw me at 78 different parties this weekend and I was having an AWESOME time at each one.

Misty Primered Latex Memories

LizzieLou | home & garden | Monday, June 25th, 2007

… or “OK for Girls Part II”

Last weekend the temperamental weather and the rather erratic behavior of the house painter had us sealed up in plastic for many days. With the Serious Painting Business expected at any time, most of the windows had been sealed over and taped up on Friday, but as I noted previously nothing much happened.

Until Tuesday. This day was a flurry of activity, which I did not have to endure being away at work. The whole crew came, Mike and RescueMe and the Cousin, sealed up the rest of the house and started spraying primer everywhere. Everywhere it was supposed to be I should note, for the most part. When I got home from work every door and window was covered and I imagined finding a fresh Lolly sealed inside the house – if I could only find a way to open it up. Soon we were able to squeeze in and out the basement door and encountered Mike on to escape the stiffle within. “Now, you say you haf changed mind, rright? Now all white. Everythingk white!” Yes, yes, that’s very funny. We suggested: how about roof white, and walkway white, bushes white, grass white, everything white! “No? I kiddingk!” There is always time for kidding. He insisted that on Wednesday there would be real painting. Reallllly? I was afraid to hope for too much. They left as it was getting dark and I walked around and started feeling anxious about places that were still peely under the primer, places that looked Not Ready For Paint. I spent too much money on paint.

Wednesday I couldn’t go to work. I couldn’t stand not being around for the Big Day. I was ready in the morning to go over the progress and voice my concerns and make additional requests. RescueMe arrived first surprisingly. I found him sitting at the patio table, silently still and waiting. Not working, or looking at the house, or having a beverage or a cigarette, just sitting. I told him about some of my worries and the peely spots but he couldn’t do anything until Mike got there. Nonetheless he assured me they would fix all that. (And eventually they did.) Meanwhile we made small talk: he wears shorts year round, he’s from Minnesota, he wore shorts in Minnesota year round too, he goes to bed late but he gets up early, did I know that seven people were murdered here? He said that every time he works at a new place he looks up things about it online. To my embarrassment the thought that passed through my head the instant he said that was, “No way! I totally would have sensed something like that.” Then I called bullshit and he laughed. He’s a kidder too. (Although there was that old stained and rusty hatchet that I found hidden in the basement after we moved in… ) Mike finally arrived. Lolly and I left for lunch and to get the boys some beverages. When we got back it didn’t look like much had happened and there was a problem with the sprayer. My anxiety returned. We hung around the house a little while, still covered in plastic, and now even more plastic as the window frames and things were done. We left again and as we passed they made the Everything White Joke again.

Around dinnertime on our way home, as we neared the house we could see a color emerging from down the street. It was… PINK! One side of the house was almost entirely pink! Excitedly we shut ourselves back in the house with our sandwiches and listened. There was a lot of activity out there, but it was getting later and later and supposed to rain in the morning. But then there were the sounds of ladders being moved and of cleaning up. We crept out the basement door. All PINK! But Mike said, “I make new colour! I mix pink width white. You like?” We were like… huh? He seemed very excited, “New colour! Here! Liddle white, liddle pink togethder. New colour!” Ohhh. Yes, funny, that’s just where the paint sprayed over. “HA HA! Joke!” We sat outside with them for a bit, gawking at our clean pink house. It looks bigger. Is nice. Is good. Is OK for girls!

After the flurries passed things got back to normal on Thursday and I went back to work. Mike was coming back to do touch-ups, take off the rest of the masking, do the porches, etc. Around lunchtime Lolly noticed Mike and RescueMe had arrived and were sitting on the front steps smoking, having beverages, talking about women (perhaps the bikini contestants) and admiring their work. Then they were gone again. Then they were back again briefly. This is the level of activity I was used to. They had painted the top step of the front porch and all of the plastic was now down, but there will still touch-ups that weren’t done. So what was done? Shopping. Added to the box with the VCR tapes there were some clothes – a denim jacket, a shirt, a belt – and two sets of 4 Lenox Tuscany Season Martini Collections Glasses in amber, amethyst, blue, and green – Authentic! Brand New in Box! All of these items were also moved into our basement.

We began to suspect he may be taking up residence.

Friday the porches did get done and some touch-ups too. He said he would be back on Saturday morning to do a walk through. He showed up around 10 a.m. looking swell in his play clothes, bejeweled and… bescented? becologned? I told him about the few spots that still needed to be done and he said he might be able to get to them on Sunday when he would have a truck and would get the rest of the painting stuff, the trash, and his things. He asked me if I knew of a place to have his watch fixed. He’s had it for four years. He said he would give me back the $30 he asked for the other day to buy masking tape. He said he couldn’t stay and talk any longer because he had to go to the bathroom and that he would go to another neighbors’ and use theirs. That’s what friends are for.

It was Sunday afternoon and I thought it would be the end of the story. Mike came with a truck as promised (and a woman who might have been his girlfriend!) to collect his things. (Well, everything but the buckets of dirty water, the four ladders, the plastic sheeting and some other work-related miscellany.) As he was carrying his belongings out of the basement – the sprayer, the box for the sprayer filled with other things, the box of tapes, the clothes, the Tuscan Season Martini Collections Glasses, and the electronic dartboard in a small wooden cabinet – I felt a pang. “I feel kinda sad,” I told him, “I feel like you’re moving out.” He laughed a little and said, “Da! I cannot stay heere any longker. I haf to move out! Is like I am movingk!” He looked around at the house again. “Is nice, thdis colour. I like.” I told him we did too, that we were happy. “Is good. I like to make heappy.”

Is OK for Girls

LizzieLou | home & garden,lolly palooza | Friday, June 8th, 2007

We are having our house painted.

Last summer I scraped, sanded, sealed, primed and repainted the garage (with help from my mother who was visiting and the next door neighbor who is skinny enough to squeeze between his fence and the building). One afternoon out in the alley working on the door a guy came by me and said, in what I assumed was a Russian accent, “Not bad job, thdis.” He told me he was a house painter working in the neighborhood and then quizzed me on my plans to do the rest of the house. “You’re doingk house? rrest of house? I could make house look nice. Now looks like shit – up thdere peelingk, needs scrrapingk, needs caulkingk. I could do house, fence, wall, whole thingk! I give good prrice. You do thdis colour? Thdis is pink?” And he made a face. “Bah, I dunt know. You like colour?” When I told him that I did and that we had, in fact, picked it out on purpose and wanted to do the house in the same (which you can see below) he reconsidered. “I guess is ok, you know… for girls.”

He said that he would come by and leave his number because I was definitely interested in having the house not look like shit anymore and I can’t do the high stuff myself. I think I saw him occasionally after that, having the same conversation – yes paint house, other houses in neighborhood good, yes pink, maybe summer. I remembered to tell Lolly that if a Russian guy came around not to worry, it was only “Mike” and he wants to do our house.

Some time later while getting out of the car in the garage, Lolly was unexpectedly cornered by a guy speaking animatedly in the doorway. She squinted at him and stepped back cautiously looking for a weapon and wondering how she would escape when she realized… that he sounded kinda Russian… and that he seemed to be gesturing at the garage and over to the house… and that perhaps he is covered in paint splotches because he is the painter… ahhah. He then seemed to realize that he had cornered a stranger, a woman, in her own garage and he took a few steps back. Unable to answer any of his questions, or really even understand much of what he was saying at all, she gave him my cellphone number.

The weather started warming up. I started to consider this thing more seriously and took a bid from one of those college painter groups. 7K? Too much money! I waited for Mike. Finally last month I was walking home through the alley and he was back there talking to the Swastika Santas. (Definition: the Truck-driving Men With Piles of Junk Around Their House. One item of junk was once a good-sized, plastic, lawn santa with a black swastika spray-painted on its belly. It was only there a day or two but made a lasting impression.) He shouted, “Heylo! heylo!” and trotted after me to ask if we were ready to paint. I told him to come along and give me the Good Price. Only 2K? That’s more like it! We made an arrangement to meet so he could show me the house he was finishing a couple blocks away. “If you like, I paint for you.” He had done several in the neighborhood. “Thdis guy over here, I do thdis one. One on corrner? I do thdat too. But thdat guy thdere, I didn’t do. I, ehh, no like him. I only worrk for people I like.”

One of my coworkers noted that I might end up on the local news special investigation into fraudulent handymen. I figured that if he really was a scammer he wouldn’t still be hanging around the same neighborhood where he’d been scamming. Right?

So he was coming on Monday to start, with pressure washing. I met him that morning and while he was explaining that the pressure washer hadn’t been working properly because he had let his friend use it and there was air getting in somewhere and that was bad but he had it fixed even though this one is like new but not as good as the one he had that got stolen it will be okay, I noticed that his t-shirt read: Official Bikini Contest Judge. The pressure washing began on the back of the house. I put towels down in the doorways to keep the water from coming in and Lolly drove me to work. She kept me apprised of the progress (lack of) when she got back home:

Subject: we’re peely . . .
but everything else is fine. Just got home. No water a’tall on towels by front door, or anyplace else. Back of house facing back fence now seriously peely in places it wasn’t, like under kitchen window. Front of house still seems dirty to me, but maybe it doesn’t get washed. Or mebbe he’s not done. Maybe he stopped due to rain. Not sure, but no flooding, no worries there. No waffley on the paint job, though. It needs it now fo’ sho.

Tuesday it was time to pressure wash again. Again, Lolly kept me posted while I was at work:

Subject: currently getting pressure washed [9:06 am]
I closed all the windows and reapplied the towels. There’s also a dude here who looks just like one of the actors on Rescue Me. I talked to them and Mike said (upon seeing me walk out the back door), “But I just called the tall one!” I said I was the one there today. He got a little flustered but I think he’s regrouped by now. He said he’d be done pressure washing today, so no more worries about windows after this.

Subject: Re: tsk tsk [10:29 am]
They were definitely in the back and on one side doing something, but now they seem to have left again, and nothing has been done to the front. ??? But they told me they’d be done after today. It did rain, perhaps that’s why they left? But they surely knew that would happen, and told me they’d be done today anyway. Are they coming back today? I have no idea what’s up now, they just vanished. When I sent the last email, I assumed they were staying until done. That doesn’t seem to have occurred. I am totally confused, and don’t know what to think about windows and towels.

Subject: more . . . [11:14am]
Well, the pressure washer is still in the yard. Maybe I’ll toss it down the back stairs, cover it with a blankie, close that door, then act dumb when they come back. (You think that’s how that other one went missing?) Washer? Who? Huh? Where? What? It’s raining. Everything’s clean now. I’m tired. Are we done with these towels?

Subject: they’re baaaaaaaack . . . [1:54pm]
I guess the bikinis and piroshkies have been properly wrestled under control, and it’s time to return to the issue of our Dirty Dirty House. They’re wambling about in our backyard again.

Subject: Mike is currently ON [2:28 pm]
the roof. As in, on. Walking about a bit. Weezie Meep doesn’t think this is a great thing. She’s looking annoyed. For some reason they didn’t think I’d closed one of the upstairs windows, so RescueMe rang the front bell. I went and double-checked, and it was closed. Already. ??? But in the course of making sure, I pulled aside the curtain and . . . smiling Mike head waving back at me. Inches from me. OH! IS CLOSED THEN! YES! VERY GOOD! You just don’t expect to see another human head looking back at you just inches from yours, while looking out a window not on the first floor.

Subject: Gomez . . . [4:40 pm]
is experiencing distress. He does not know where to go or what to do. He is currently parked midway up the stairs. Both upstairs and down have apparently taken on suspicious qualities. He was tucked in bed till he saw Mike on the roof. Yes, Gomez. I’d feel the same way. RescueMe is standing right outside my window as I type this, halfway up a ladder, holding on with one hand, smoking a cig with the other. I need that man to hold on a bit better. Hold on, RescueMe. Hold on. Hold on NOW, smoke LATER. Weezie just growled. She’s in the office with me.

Before Mike and RescueMe left that day they stopped to ring the bell at the front door with some final comment or question for Lolly. Mike was holding a molded cardboard box with holes in it. The box had been out on the back porch since they returned from lunch, but Lolly could now see that it was an animal carrier. She asked what was in the box. “Is snake.” was the reply. Mike and RescueMe started to giggle. Lolly was unfazed; she thinks they were expecting her to say “eek!” or recoil in horror. “But no, I joke. Is no snake… IS KITTEN!” And the box opens and out pops a little black and white kitten head wearing a tag that said “Timmy.” Mew? While away for lunch they went to the PAWS animal shelter down the road and Mike got a kitten.

On Wednesday, there was some more washing.

On Thursday, there was some scraping. A little maybe. Maybe some on Friday too. RescueMe almost fell off the ladder explaining to me that some wooden parts of the house were rotten. Mike was kept up the night before by the kitten, “biting nose, biting feet.” He might name him “Tiger.” On Saturday it rained a lot.

On Sunday it didn’t rain but no one came. Nothing happened on Monday either. On Tuesday maybe something. Wednesday? I don’t remember. At some point there was a lot of talk about how realtors and people who are selling houses do many bad things like painting over parts of the house that need to be fixed just to make them look nice and fool the people who buy them. A box of movies on VHS appeared on the back porch.

On Thursday, there was a lot of activity. It was going to rain again and we were all behind schedule. Another guy joined the crew, a cousin who is better at the work. I could see it; he got things done. One of the things they got done was to put plastic all over the windows and door in preparation of priming in the morning. After the cousin left I found a cassette type out where he had been parked. Someone had designated it as “avnili dhe grupi.” I showed it to Mike. “Oh Avnili dhe grupi! Is music. You have cassette player? you want listen? You listen. You can dance to Armenian music!” He left, with RescueMe, and I went inside to play the tape and dance for Lolly. She had a headache and preferred a nap to my Armenian dancing. A carpeted cat scratcher appeared on the back porch.

On Friday morning it rained. On Friday afternoon the 2 returned with the paint sprayer. Is new. There was no painting however, just a little more scraping and then we put the sprayer in the cellar so it wouldn’t get stolen.

On Saturday, it was supposed to rain later in the day, but the morning was clear. So they were back and then gone and then back. We got the sprayer out of the cellar. There was a little scraping. Some of it by me. It was too windy for painting and rain was coming and so the sprayer went back in the cellar. It was joined by an electronic dartboard in a small wooden cabinet.

…. [to be continued]

Blah Blah Blah

LizzieLou | home & garden | Sunday, May 27th, 2007

I am going to write some boring-ass posts to try to get better and into the habit of posting. I can only think of things to post about when I am away from a computer. Like when I am chopping the hell out of a giant grass shrub thing. I don’t know what it is called – pampas grass maybe? I hate it. It is Satan’s Shrub. The Realtor’s Revenge. Gardener’s Folly. But truly, I’m lying – I didn’t think of anything to post about when I was whacking the wide weed, instead I had that song from The Three Little Pigs on an endless loop …”I built my house of straw – I built my house of twigs”… because I thought that the only reason someone would purposefully plant the skin-shredding murder grass was to harvest its tall frondy things to build a thatch hut.

Ah yes, after a quick search I can confirm: it’s pampas grass. I’ve found a lovely little column at All About Lawns warning against this lamentable landscaping. The clump that I’ve been fighting this afternoon is about four times as large as it was when we bought the house. This, even after I hacked the crap out of it a year or so ago. I can’t believe it is just going to get bigger and bigger and bigger. I wonder if that would be a good place to install a second bathroom?

An Acceptable Reason to Stay at Home

LizzieLou | home & garden | Saturday, December 16th, 2006

Today I peeked out the back door to check the weather before I went to work and noticed that there was a chunk o’ something on the lawn. With the record high winds the city experienced last night I figured some beeblehead left his garbage pails or recycling bins out and their trash ended up by the rhodedendrons. Then I noticed something on the garage roof. To my surprise… it was the garage roof! The wind had peeled back the tar paper and the (what I would come to learn by the end of the day was called) torch-down back like a sardine can lid, so it rolled up and snapped and probably kept the rest of it from flying off into the house too.

Oh crap.

I guess I can call work and tell them I’ve got some house issues to deal with so I won’t be reporting to the office just yet. Second thing, I guess I should call the Dad, the Man Who Fixes Things (but lives 3000 miles away). Third thing, I think I need a big blue tarp.

Dad’s out but I tell the tale to Mother and email her the photo, and after my sister coincidentally calls me (“What do I want for Christmas? A new garage roof of course!”) and helpfully suggests that if I was a Christian I could ask the Holy Spirit to guide me in my journey through the yellow pages to pick out whom to call for estimates, I get to call Dad back for advice. His suggestions are a bit more secular and include: start calling now, look out for the bunches of crooks, and how to rig up the tarp to make a giant shower cap for the garage roof. I start calling around by noon. Any spot that advertises “flat roof” and “free estimate” and “Seattle” gets a buzz. A bunch are busy or don’t answer, but I set up four estimate calls. And wait.

In the meantime I go out and get a big ol’ tarp, and some xmas presents, return home and wrap them, and wait some more. Finally at 4pm a mister calls to say he is on his way to assess the situation. I am in the process of spreading the 15′ by 30′ tarp on the roof without actually having to go stand on the roof (fear of falling through and all). He was the only one to show up today and a sweet dude at that. I haven’t received the estimate yet, so maybe he works for one of the “crooks,” but he was cool enough to help me finish securing the tarp as I was his last call of the day.We’re measuring and stretching and he asks me to reach up and secure the tie-off. “You’re so tall!” he says, “now I feel bad.” “Yeah,” I say, “but I can’t tie a knot and I can’t fix my roof!”

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