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Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2006
Yesterday I was rambling on about the lad who wanted a few bits of moulding put up in his real estate venture, aka a house in the ‘burbs. It was a sunny day, a rather pleasant and warm day. He and I both acknowledged that it would be a fine idea for me to do this venture. We scuffled feet and talked of beer and how lumber from Lowes was significantly more agreeable than lumber from the Despot.

Now, it was early in the morning when we did this. And I know it wouldn’t take me very long to go and fetch the mouldings, motor back to the house, set up saws and ladders and swing the crown mould skyward with a stitching of nails.

Why, oh why I didn’t do so is part of the mystery of the feeble minded. Because today it’s raining like the preamble for Noah. Roof beating, gutter rattling rain.

“But Outfoxed,” you might be prompted to say. “You work indoors. Why the monotonous ranting about rain? Surely working under roof is more desirable than standing outside and getting soaked, isn’t it?”

Oh, little children. Gather near and learn.

Most people regard rain as just an annoyance. An excuse to gather umbrella and Gilligan hat, sit a little longer in traffic on the I-495 or whatever. A greeting for the office: “Did you see the rain? Yes, I did as well.”

Not so for the slack jawed whose employment depends on the opening of a tailgate on an aging yet comforting Ford F250. Where you might carry a briefcase or a backpack, I have 128 cubic feet of a nightmare. Where you might dash from parking lot to desk, open your satchel and remove laptop or legal briefs and begin your day with steaming cuppa caffeine, I have things I need to get that are at the very front of said 128 feet, and they are buried under a stack of their brethren (it’s a very neat stack, but it’s buried nonetheless).

I then need to transfer said things, in the rain and at a brisk pace, inside the domicile so that the magic can commence. I need to do this several times. Then I need to shut the tailgate, lock it, go inside and gear up with much suspender laden leather accoutrements. Within 5 minutes, I’ll be doffing the leather and running back outside to get the stuff I forgot to bring in. This happens EVERY single time.

Now that I’m soaked, and depressed, and dripping all over the floor like some great Carhardted Beast, it’s time to make sawdust. Which naturally will affix itself to every wet surface as if it were ionized particles, creating that interesting material we like to call Glop.

Additionally, one of the reasons I was tagged to pick up the mouldings was one of conveyance. “I don’t have a big enough truck to get those long pieces of moulding Outfoxed,” said the customer. “Those 16 foot runs would be all over the road before I got them here.”

I’ve heard this war cry many a time, and it’s mostly horseshit. If you wanted to get them, HAD to get them, you’d find a way. Tied off to roof, dragged behind the car, something. You see it every weekend if you stand out in the parking lot at the Despot long enough.

The real reason for tagging me to fetch mouldings is simple - he just didn’t want to do it. It’s a pain. It interrupts the day. There’s beer to be had. I know all this.

“It’s no big deal,” said I. “I just open up the back window on the truck and the front window on the truck shell and slide the whole thing in there - from the back of the shell. I can get 12 feet worth of stuff in there and still be able to shut the rear hatch. No problem.”

No problem indeed. So long as the sun shines. Why, you could leave it in there overnight that way if you were so inclined. Sliding windows on truck and shell aren’t much of a security issue, there’s barely an inch worth of space between ‘em.

But that inch might just as well be twenty feet if it comes to rain.

I had the foresight last night to yank the moulding out of the truck altogether and slide it into the Dwarf Garage. Shut the sliding windows, lock the truck.

Reversing the process, in this morning's monsoon?

Now I’m looking at a problem. In the time it takes me to travel the five miles to the job, I’m gonna have some severe water issues. Front of truck bed? With large amounts of ‘spensive tools? Wet. Rear area of truck cab, with my exposed neck? Wet. Moulding passed betwixt the two? Wet.

[I’m channeling the pantomime of my Watering Hole buddy Chief Mo, here. He has this ritual along the lines of ‘Animal House’, where he is quick to slam! the bartop with open palm and exclaim, “Nedemoyer? Dead!“ - slam! “Arafat? Dead!” - slam! “Shelly Winters? Dead!” - slam! et cetera, et cetera.]

So you see, my dear friends, working the indoors side of the trade isn’t, shall we say, all its cracked up to be. My exterior comrades have it significantly more well thought out in this regard than their indoor cohorts. ‘Twer I an outside carpenter, I would have heard this same rain this morning, a-beating on my roof, and would have merely rolled over and gone back to sleep.

We have this whole phraseology worked out for this very situation. We call it Rolling Over. It’s simple, and explanative. Watering Holes nationwide yearn for Rollover Days, when roofers and outside mechanics wander in at 8 am noontime, and say “Did you see the rain? Yes, I did as well.”

They have nothing but gleeful contempt for me, the inside guy. “Heh. Those saps working inside today. Can you beat it? Yes, (slam!) I believe I will have another beer, honey.”

Time to go put on my booties and poncho, and make the mad dash. It’s just like my fourth grade teacher used to say to those of us who didn‘t ride the bus home, using raised eyebrow and wagging finger. “Walk between the raindrops, and you won’t get wet!”

She might have had something there.

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