The title for this blog is a cause for alarm. It tells you in a nutshell (how very appropriate) that the recent graduation week was brimming with enough stress and drama that it could not be conveyed in only one installment.
“You know it is only about 2 weeks or so until Bathsheba’s graduation, don’t you?”
This comment was leveled at me by Brunhilda the Taskmaster, my full-time bride and part-time nemesis. With those words, all hope of calm and relaxation for the next month was dissolving before my very eyes. I have learned how to understand the language of “womanspeak” and I knew that this was not an effort on her part to furnish information. This was Brunhilda the Taskmaster way of telling me that my home was about to be disassembled and put back together again to her liking, the same way that it was for Cleopatra’s graduation. It was also her way of telling me that I was going to be directly in the project in the role of grunt labor while she assumed the role of manager/boss/slave driver.
The demands of the typical graduation these days elevate the stress level of this event to something akin to a wedding. I have not experienced stress levels this high since I rented a tux and gave my daughter away in holy matrimony, only to have my new son-in-law’s first act as a husband was to drink my daughter’s soft contact lenses which were in a water glass in the bridal suite bathroom. But that is another story about how astute and alert he was.
But today’s story is how Bathsheba’s graduation couldn’t be covered in one installment. It seems that when a few things start to go wrong, it picks up momentum and only gets worse. Planning these affairs (to men) even make the sanest and most rational men a little crazy. But between the team of Bathsheba and Brunhilda, I had as much chance as that fatted steer which I referred to in part one entering a slaughterhouse preaching passive resistance. Bathsheba’s demands are many and nearly always excessive. And Brunhilda’s obsession with detail would drive even a colony of workers ants to the couches of ant psychiatrists.
The contractors had left a couple of days ago and the kitchen had undergone a complete metamorphosis. I figured it would be safe to be a good spouse and offer a helping hand with Brunhilda’s growing to-do list of menial chores before the hordes showed up to devour a three month supply of groceries and booze. I offered to take a day off work and stay home doing the undemanding chores that needed to be done. The offer was quickly accepted without much time lost in careful reflection. Brunhilda was still due at work and without her “to-do” to “guide” me, I could work at my own sluggardly pace.
Allow me to make short work of this fantasy. Brunhilda sandbagged me on this one. Yessir, I didn’t think she had that much meanness in her, but she did it too me big time. When I awoke in the morning, she had left for work already and I strolled leisurely into the kitchen expecting to find a pot of coffee, the newspaper, and a list of light chores like watering the roses.
What was actually awaiting me should bring tears to your eyes. There on the kitchen table were six double rolls of wallpaper and all the wallpapering tools and supplies that I thought I had safely hidden away. And this cheery little note that said “This is our new kitchen wallpaper. Isn’t it nice? I can’t wait to see the finished product when I get home.” I have to tell you gentle readers, that I might as well have mention something about plunging rusty daggers into my heart.
That night about ten o’clock my wobbly knees came down that ladder for the eleventh skillionth time. I was done. Brunhilda came in for her final white-glove inspection. She saw that I had about a half roll of paper left.
“Why don’t you use the rest of the paper to do behind the fridge?”
“Are you kidding me!?!? Because it is behind the fridge and you can’t see it anyway. I am going to take a bath now. I’m tired.”
Let me cut to the quick here. I ended up papering behind the fridge. Never in the history of man, was a job more unnecessary than this. But now the job was done and I was REALLY tired. It was after eleven now. I grabbed my newspaper, poured a big snifter of cognac and was taking them to the bath water I had filled the tub with. It wasn’t taking me too long to mellow out.
Things did not stay mellow or quiet for very long. Bathsheba came running up the stairs yelling that water was running down her ceiling and falling on the bed. So much for relaxation! I now had a water leak in the house and it after eleven.
I determined that it was coming from the fridge. I pulled the fridge out again and, yessir, it was leaking. When I had moved it to do the damn wallpaper that was unnecessary in the first place, I had loosened the connection to the icemaker and the water was now pooling and leaking to Bathsheba’s downstairs bedroom.
Again, I will not bore you with the details, just let me say, that by the time I got back to my cognac, newspapers and added more hot water, it was past midnight and I was well past tired. But I am a stubborn old cobb once in a while and I wasn’t going to bed without reading the paper and drinking my cognac. I slipped into the warm bathwater, took a swig, and started with the sports page.
The next thing I remember was Brunhilda shaking me. “Get out of there, and come to bed! It passed two o’clock and you have made a horrible mess.”
I was horrified. There I laid, still in the tub of was now cold water. The water was also black from the newsprint from my now soggy newspaper. The water soaked newspaper was stuck across my belly and I looked like a partially paper-mache’s beached manatee. To add insult to injury, Brunhilda had just finished off the last swallow of my cognac and went to bed ahead of me.
This graduation week was just getting off to a hell of a start!