Thursday, 1 May 2008

les miserables

My Savior, Jesus of Nazareth, was a carpenter. My first husband was a carpenter. A carpenter came with this apartment. His name is Joe, and he was up here to look into my drippy 'men's room' ceiling about a month ago. He was going to get around to fixing it when he had some time.

"That's OK, Joe ", I told him, "it's not like an "emergency. It's the men's room.(Just off the dining room, for added effect) and not like I use this bathroom much."

Below that particular bathroom is a porch,so it's not like it's going to rain down into the guy's apartment below me. I added that it looks kind of artsy with those brownish streaks. Anything not to make his life more difficult. I'll just clean it up in here and fix that wall. Do some painting.

I did my best to soften the effects of water damage, wiping down the walls with a nice spray cleaner. There. I stepped back to size up the effect. You know, it's a nice distressed, shabby chic look which accentuates the hunter green claw foot tub. I love it!

To give a little less of an impression of poverty, I spackled over the spots where I had torn bubbling latex off the wet sheet rock, and painted over the streaming rust colored stains on the two walls. Came out nice. I then hung a little wooden shelf over it and found a lovely French 'Le Jardin' print to hang on the opposing wall.

The neat thing about the print was that it was done to look shabby, as if water were streaming down the walls around a shelf with things on it. The old yellowing and au naturale colors added the perfect ambiance. I couldn't afford to have that picture framed. Way way too expensive. I had decided to mount the print on a piece of 3/4" plywood from home depot. they cut it to match the print exactly. I also bought a bottle of matte finish Modge Podge and a picture hanger. Modge Podge is an Elmer's Glue type of adherent and sealant. You pour it into a plate or cake pan or paint thingy and roll it onto the back of the print and surface you want to adhere it to. Then, when it's all dry, you roll another layer of the stuff over the print. It dries within an hour.I painted the sides of the plywood to match the walls. The whole projecr was less than 20 bucks. 12 for the print which was 60% off at Michaels, 3 for the Modge Podge, and a buck for the picture hanger. I already had the roller on hand. Took me about an hour to complete and hang. Perfect. I waited with consternation for the next hard rain. It came with lightning and thunder. The rains pelted my roof and within an hour I heard the rain falling in the bathroom and had to see it...

Sure as I am the Throw-pillow Queen of Adelphia, the brownish streams of filthy roof water cascaded down alongside and over my print like a fountain at the bank, moistening the Modge Podge leaving a few random white lines which later dried clear. The ceiling dripped with, what I suspect to be, mold ridden tears of joy from various spots, mostly over the old fashioned tub. Drip Drip Drip... Where it was hitting the floor, I allowed it to puddle and stuffed paper towels in the cracks of the pine boards with which the carpenter had lined the 260 year old ceiling. It was almost like being in a cave watching the water drip forming stalagmites or tites. I secretly wondered what was going on under the boards and pushed up on them. The ceiling moved. Oh man...she's gonna collapse one day and I'll be able to bathe under the stars! No rush, Joe.

Now it's dried and you'd almost never know. The whole beautiful scene reminds me of a old man's public bath house right out of Deadwood, complete with my circa 1920s black and white photo of 2 geezers sitting around in a local country store, one smoking a stogie. I've got it so the one looks like he's watching the toilet. The eyes follow. I have a little metal sign which reads "Baths 25 cents...soap extra." Filth can be artful, when it's merely a suggestion or staged. Photographed. I do my best to present a clean image of filth and it's enemy... soap. The soap is staged. A large block of odorless whale fat stamped with the numbers 250 Grams and a wooden brush. I scented the room with somekind of stinking aftershave. Actually that was a mistake. It came with the diffuser and was called Ocean Breeze but it should have been called O'shit Breeze. Or Ocean Fart. It's awful! That stink which is created when you try to mask an offensive odor with cheap sweet aftershave? You don't even need to have an offensive odor going on. This stuff works on your mind to pull up your last run-in with a residual stench. Seriously. I almost puked. So I chucked it out and refilled the ornamental jar with frankincense and lavender oils in a vegetable oil base. The Ocean Breeze wound up spilling outside and now it keeps the ferrel cats away. There's still a remnant of stench which smells just slapped on. Every night now, I am greeted at the door by Old man Ocean Breeze. Pheww! It all sounds so miserable but it's not. Not really. Anyway, I don't use that bathroom. It's reserved for the men who visit. ;) Folks like my Dad. And brothers if they ever need a restroom. Course they can also use the 'Ladies Room' which I did in an Oceanic theme. Sans the Ocean Breeze.

After the heavy rains, I returned to the men's room to assess the damage. Like an artist, gravity had faux painted the walls again. Nice accent to that picture. No one can tell that the ceiling leaks when the wood dries. I bet that's why they put it up there. I think the ceiling is probably like wet cardboard by now. I hope they replace it before the mold comes. Seriously. I wiped up the puddles and threw the dirty looking towel over the tub. As if a dude really lives here. Not a bad idea. I read once about a single woman who left mens workboots outside her door to ward off intruders.

I would very much like someday for someone to actually use that tub, maybe leave a proverbial ring. Maybe I'll hold off on the showers for a couple of days.... The way I'm talking here, that's the only ring I'm ever going to wind up with. That said, any dirt bags need a bath out there? No? That's OK. I know in my heart of farts that Mark Twain would have been proud to use my men's room.

I think I'm going to have call Joe again.

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