What happens when you don’t say “knock on wood” and then actually knock on wood – or your own head if you want to be silly and fatuous – after you mention the fact that your luck hasn’t been all bad lately, of course, is that the thing you were grateful hadn’t happened yet happens. In my case it was the contractor nightmare. Well, knock on wood, it could have been worse. I had lined up two concrete trucks, some extra workers and the pumper truck to all converge on Friday morning and pour the floor. I even stayed up late baking pies for everyone; so late, in fact, that I dozed off during the baking of the second pie, and wound up with Cajun Blackened Apple Pie, but that was o.k. I had another pie and everyone would get a piece.
Except the driver of the pumper truck, because a) there just weren’t enough pieces to go around, and b) I was pissed off at the company because they called at the last minute and said they’d be two hours late. That’s fine for us, but not for the concrete guys, who have other pours to get to, but at least I had the time to give them fair warning. Then Friday rolled around, and 11 o’clock came and went, the pies were dutifully eaten, both concrete trucks were there, but no pumper truck. He didn’t arrive for another hour, and then there was a half hour of set-up to be done, and by the time the concrete was pouring, it was pretty hot. That concrete had been on the trucks for a good three hours by then, and it was impatient to get on with things and metamorphose from a liquid state to a solid one. If it weren’t for the consummate skill of Roger and his crew, I wouldn’t have a flat floor. But I do. Whew.
So I guess I really shouldn’t have teased Roger the way I did, since I really am grateful for his skillful screeding. Screeding is what you do to spread the concrete around evenly, and it involves standing in the gooey concrete in rubber boots and leaning over to drag a two by four over the surface. Its hard work, in the sun like that, so Roger stripped down to a tee shirt. A tee shirt that wasn’t long enough to tuck into his jeans. Do you see where I’m going here? To his plumber’s crack, naturally. I got close-up pictures of it, to the delight of his fond children, and then when my work happened to bring me and a bucket of water alongside said crevice, I simply could not resist directing the smallest of droplets of water directly into that embarrassing little furrow. He jumped. And just to make my task of being respectful and grateful all that much harder, he proceeded to yank his underwear up to cover up rather than pulling his tee shirt down, and said undergarment was not white. It was striped. Like a convict’s. I’m sorry to report that I could not resist noting aloud that the prison theme was surely not a reflection of some unspoken fetish, was it? He blushed. I’m thinking that my next gift of gratitude to him will not be pie but perhaps handcuffs. I love making men blush.