In Pheewrap's younger years, a vacation day usually meant having a story worth telling upon your return to the office, classroom, pool deck ("breezeway?"), or what have you. Perhaps your vacation day afforded you a long weekend out of town, or maybe the chance to take in a notable ballgame. Maybe you took the day off and spent it cavorting with a half-dozen friends in the comfortable confines of local watering holes and eateries. Yes, vacation days used to mean all of these things to me, just as Christmas Eve meant Santa, and visits from certain aunts meant smoke-filled kitchens, crying parents and screaming. Unfortunately, it seems the last few years have slowly relegated these halcyon days to the proverbial past. If you'll indulge me, I'd like to illustrate the point through some recent personal experience (note to you, Constant Reader: I'll be doing this quite a bit in coming months).
In the waning days of June, my home sustained some mild damage from light debris sent askew by an ill-timed sunshower:
After the fragile twigs and supple, dew-drenched leaves were swiftly tidied up, it appeared as though a few shingles and a brick or two would benefit from some tender restoration. So - like any good American - I filed a claim and dove headfirst into uncharted bureaucratic waters.
Fast forward now to Monday last, my most recent "Vacation Day."
The first truck arrives just before 8AM. The Two Carpenters knock as Canadian Tuxedo, sexily groggy from an overnight stay, scurries upstairs and secures himself a "fresh towel." Carpenter #1 ascends with me to survey some recent water damage. As the telltale patter of the running shower asserts itself, I decide to preempt any unspoken questions as to who may or may not be wet and naked at that precise moment. A furrowed brow is raised in disdain as I explain that "it's just my brother in there, man." Sure it is, single thirtysomething male - with your vases full of cut flowers, your monogrammed coasters and your lightly scented candles - complete with Yankee Candle Jar Toppers. Suuuuuure it is.
It did not help that CT had also left The Lifetime Channel on from the night before.
Canadian Tuxedo and I effect our triumphant and verynotgaythankyou exit just as the calvary begins to arrive. Nearly five-hundred pounds of Germanic stock strides with urgent, manful purpose towards the street, where parked is CT's vintage Mercury with just the CUTEST Cape Cod plates. In full view of our critics (subjects?) we grunt our way through a menacing farewell and return to our respective caves. Out of the corner of my eye I see Carpenter #2 shaking his head.
Assistant Project Manager has arrived to lead the charge into the attic, where a weekend of rainfall on my roofless home has resulted in some malady. Meanwhile, Roofing Battilion has moved in to flank the property, and in the distance I hear the doomsday rumble of Replacement Dumpster Truck. Suddenly, grizzled men with hands of gnarled bark emerge from my attic clutching soggy boxes full of train sets and wet teddy bears. Carpenter #1 just turns and walks away in disgust.
At full count, nine men took up position around my modest dwelling on that Vacation Day. Trapped in the kitchen, furiously sponging countertops to validate my place and worth in my very own home, I kept a close watch upon the Axis of Labourers. Fat Ones on the patio, Youngish Longhairs shuffling about in the mulch on the side, the Crusty Unionized Veterans out front with so many ashy columns dangling from mouths turned sour from the decades-old passage of rye and unsavory epithets...
Christ....Where was I?