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Monday, Jun. 13, 2005
I guess it’s worth recording. Just got back from the title company and the little house on the ‘burby is no longer ours. Turned in keys, garage openers and instructions for the lawn. Which were pretty basic - “Make sure you cut the damn thing on a Thursday ‘cause trash pickup is on Friday“. I’d hate to have any mix-ups on the buyers behalf.

We pick up the check tomorrow. WE PICK UP THE CHECK TOMORROW!

Sorry. Had a moment in Aruba there. Matter of fact, that’s exactly what and where the title gal, Broker Bob and I all decided. That only one of the Outfoxed duo needed to pick up the check. And Ally having to work all day and all . . . well, leaves the details of check picker-upping to yours truly, doesn’t it now.

I did tell her I’d call from Aruba. I owe her that much.

Curiously, the buyer guy who also happens to be a broker/developer never showed up. I don’t know, maybe he does this sort of thing everyday and doesn’t want to wash with the peasants in the stream of property exchange, but I swear. Fella ought to at least show his face when he hands over that kind of dough. I was raised different.

I believe I’ve made that point abundantly clear over the past umpteen posts.

And hopefully, with a modest 6 figure check nearly in hand, Ally will just go ahead and buy me dinner tonight. I’m starved.

I hate to even relate this, but the people who Ally works for are without doubt quite insane. They’re good employers, a husband and wife, they’ve found a little niche in the world and are exploiting it in a reasonable manner. They think the world of Ally. More’s the better.

But they have issues with their housemates. Specifically, their 4 cats and 2 dogs and what has been described to me as an unknown quantity of Chinchillas. The difficulty began at ground level, the flooring of their home, and the not infrequent anointing of same by a quantity of mammals not often seen outside of your local zoo.

The carpet had to go. Needed some laminate flooring, they did. And they thought of me, because my wife cannot resist an opportunity to spread the news that there is nothing her husband isn’t willing to tackle when it comes to wood products and the heinous bludgeoning that can be endured when piling such things in front of my saw on any given sultry day. Flooring was procured, the house readied and the call went out. Can you come? It is always and forever so in my little world.

But it had to be started on a Sunday. That being the only day when a reasonable amount of oversight by the employers could be done at their leisure. They know me, or at least they think they do. But willing to let me into the den of mammalia? Not without a proper introduction. Oh no. Sunday it would have to be.

So Sunday morning found me rousting my esteemed (and thoroughly pissed off) wife from her slumber at an indecent hour somewhere south of 8 am. Ally does mornings poorly, but does Sunday mornings more poorly than the rest. The conversation (suitably whitewashed for this publication) went something like:

“Why are you waking me up you-moron-you?

I was positively buoyant. “Why, we’re to take to the road and install flooring at your employers’ home today dear. A happy and delightful excursion, where flooring will float unaided from box to floor, effortlessly encouraged by my loving hands and snapped in place by busy elves I’ve liberated from the cobblers employ. . .”

“Wait a second. I thought you were getting Stu to help you with this deal. What’s he up to? Oh God is it really Sunday already?”

“Stu, my precious one, is quite allergic to animal dander. Cats most of all, and I believe you mentioned the presence of one or more of the little darlings, did you not?”

“Yeah. She’s lousy with ‘em.”

“Well now, I felt sure that, having volunteered my services, you’d be just the one to want to lend a hand yourself! Come come, the hour is at hand and your noble employer has already rang me once. I have coffee available in the salon.”

There was a noted lack of enthusiasm on the whole getting out of bed part, but the coffee part went over well. Ally never has turned down a cup of my gearhouse coffee. Or three.

I felt energized by all of this. Ally rarely accompanies me on one of my jaunts but is a good and willing helper when need be. Given the whole employee relationship (not to mention the fact that Stu had already told me, and firmly, that cats were out of the question) I thought she’d be well suited for it.

45 boxes of flooring, a pool table and 30 boxes of just plain ol’ stuff squatting on the floor in question greeted us on our arrival. Did I mention that the disease of packratism had infected this house? To a staggering degree? To a degree not seen since the first packrat came to this country and set up shop in the Smithsonian? And cats? I did mention the cats, right?

There are days, my friends, when being me becomes a whole new and target rich prospect. I greeted the employers, inquired after their health and immediately assumed the role I was expected to. “Get that pool table off MY floor, move all that knick knack stuff, burrow the cats and get the hell outta the way.” I thought that was succinct enough.

The employers got doe eyed pretty quickly. To their credit. They knew the score. The avalanche was upon them, the mighty waters were rising and the shit had just hit the fan.

I have to say, and I know it sounds enormously egocentric, but the only way I’ve found over the course of 30 years of doing this sort of thing with homeowners is to just give them the boot and take over. Overwhelm and conquer. It’s not unlike meeting the girl of your dreams and giving her the rush, or being president of a frat and zeroing in on a wide eyed freshman. You know what’s gonna happen. Everyone needs to just assume a role and play it out until normalcy can reign again. And my role is to be a totalitarian, overbearing almighty know-it-all who is there to pillage the wood products. Because I can, and have often done so. Even the wood products know. They rest much softer in the hands of the asshat with the tool belt and the saw.

Mayhem ensued. An unexplained neighbor appeared from thin air and helped move the pool table. Ally, fueled chiefly by thick coffee, started tossing boxes of flooring out of the way. Dust bunnies rose as a cloud from a frantic broom. Cats scattered everywhere. And I mounted the big saw onto its stand, the deliberate placing of which in someone’s typically innocent front yard is the signal that, by God, there’s a reckoning coming, and that right quickly. I established power to the beast, gave it the obligatory test pull, and the starting flag dropped.

I’ll say one thing for Ally. She was willing. “Open them boxes of floor. Don’t turn ‘em that way, the tongue needs to face out. Roll that underlayment and tape it. Faster! Where’d ya hide my pry bar? Here, stand on this while I mash it home! Come on, come on I don’t wanna be here all day!”

It was 10 hours worth. A little longer than I like to be on any one given project, but then I don’t stop at any given time either. It’s one of the things people quietly seem to like, that I finish a whole thing and don’t just stop because a dinner bell is clanging or the more pedestrian 8 hours has gone by. There are no time clocks in my world.

But at 6, it was done indeed. Another quarter acre of lustrous flooring, an anchor to the home, an obliviator of spillage and mindless dirt tracking and animal dander. Not to mention animal spoilage. The employers were swooning.

And felt, in the insane way that I mention much earlier, that perhaps the furry little darlings, kept at distance for much of the day by a myriad of door fences and just plain fenced-in yards ought to, at last, survey the new and spiffy. Ally was aquiver, the female boss visibly palpitating.

I was coiling extension cords in the front yard. Which is why I only heard the shrieking as a muffled thing when the more senior of the two dogs hiked trou’ and pissed all over the floor.

I dunno. I guess you’d have to be me to understand why I didn’t feel the need to go diving for the roll of paper towels. My moment of being the Tall Dog had ended, and the time of the house dog had begun. It is to shrug, at times.

And I still have to do the second floor.

Thanks for reading, it’s been a busy day of selling house here at Outfoxed central. I understand that all requests for endowments can be forwarded to the Ally’s House Sale website at But that’s just my wife talking.

You just know I’d give it up if you asked me nice.

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