Victory in unexpected places

It began with a discussion about where we’d put our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. The wife wanted to break from tradition and move the tree to a different corner of our living room. This plan involved the moving of furniture and several other unpleasant duties that may or may not have involved me sliding down our chimney in a pair of ladies underwear. When the discussion was complete, the tree was in a new place, a sofa table had been moved to a different part of the house, and I was getting in touch with my feminine side.

The move also involved the realtively easy movement of a small cubish table from underneath one of our front windows, which I accomplished despite my new light in the loafers leanings.

“MOLD!” the wife screamed and ran to our neighbor’s house, carrying the kid in a bubble.

I gave her a ring on the cell and informed her that the stain on the carpet wasn’t mold. It was obviously a stain leeched from the cheap-ass cube storage table. Of course, I knew it was mold, but I wasn’t about to let her know that. My guess was the kid had spilled his water under the table at some point. No reason to worry. I coaxed the wife back into the house with an assortment of chocolates, a sex toy, and the DVD box set of Extreme Home Makeover.

So, we went to the Bahamas and the moldy conditions at the five-star Atlantis Resort and Casino somehow allayed my wife’s concerns about our house. It was clear, if the opulent Atlantis had mold problems, our five-inch-square stain wasn’t a really big issue.

Upon our return home, I made the mistake of packing my bags and once again leaving the house. This time, I left the wife behind to care for the kid and home. It was an annual boys’ trip and, frankly, the lady was handling it very well. In fact, my cell phone only rang twice while I was on a four-day binge of sleepless poker playing and silliness. One time, the wife was calling me to tell me the boy was wearing big boy underwear for the first time. It was a sweet moment and one for which I was happy to take a break from my endeavors.

The second call began, in part, like this:


In fact, no more mold had developed. But my wife, as is her wont, had discovered a whole new calamity.

“The floor is wet. I mean SOAKED.”

Some very heavy and persistent rains were hitting Mt. Otis and, apparently, there was a leak. The floor was wet and the prospect of more mold was, apprently, more than immediate. In fact, around the same time my wife called, Atlantis announced a new ad campaign that began, “Atlantis: Now with less mold than Mt. Otis!”

Of course, as a good husband, I offered to catch the next flight home and stick my finger in the dike. My wife said she would endeavor to persevere. She, the kid, and the dog took turns making sure the mold didn’t spread to the neighbors’ home.

Though the crisis was averted with the passing of the rain, the entire problem of the wet floor remained. While, upon my return home I could find no evidence of the dampness, my wife insisted it existed.

A brief aside: My wife, whom I love with every fiber of your being (and mine), believes everything is broken, especially if it isn’t working for her. Just this afternoon, her computer told her it was about to shut down.

“What’s happening? Something is wrong!” she exclaimed in her best ‘this is broken’ voice. A little investigation showed the laptop had not been plugged in for a couple of hours.

Okay, so though I could find no evidence of wetness (and likely won’t for some time after this post), I agreed we should call Pike’s.

Pike’s, you ask?

Indeed. This is the company we employed to spend an inordinate amount of time at our house last year so that we may spend an inordinate amount of money to make sure the outside of our house looked inordinately better than our neighbors’.

So, for the past six days, I’ve been expecting the worst. The worst, you say?

Yeah. I expected the guy’s from Pike’s to show up, sniff my house, and tell me I needed to tear it down and start over. It only got worse last night when the wife was watching Extreme Home Makeover and the entire premise was that a guy fucking died from the mold in his house and the rest of the family had to run off to parts unknown until hotboy Ty showed up to MOVE THAT BUS.

I didn’t make it to bed until around 5am Monday morning. Work went later than I expected. When I crawled under the sheets, the wife said, “Man, 10am is going to come pretty early.”

The implication was clear. She expected me to be up to negotiate the demolition of our house at 10am. I thought quick, told her the kid was sick, that she was feeling sick, and that none of us should leave the house. The ruse worked (or the wife was feeling exceptionally sympathetic and only woke me up once this morning, before giving up and letting me sleep as long as I wanted).

The denouement of all of this went as follows: The wife walks in at about 10:20am and says, “You want to hear the good news?”

Still half-asleep, I tried in vain to figure out if she was slow-playing the bad news. Before I could process much more, she informed me that one piece of siding near the offending window was askew. That was likely the cause of the leak. What’s more, any fears of a mold outbreak were apparently unfounded.

I woke up an hour later in a good mood. Somehow, before my day had even started, I had scored two victories. First, the guy from Pike’s had not done what EVERY OTHER service person has done when I’ve ordered them to my home. He had not found something wrong that would cost me a minimum of $500. Not only that, he apparently didn’t charge us at all to pop the siding back in place.

The second victory was a little sweeter. I was able to quietly nod and not say I told you so as I recognized that my wife’s fears of our house being irrepairably broken were based on little more than a wet floor.

So tonight, as she sleeps off the second round of the Mt. Otis Malaise, I sit comfortably knowing I was able to sleep in this morning, beat back my wife’s fears that our house is broken, and am not one penny poorer for it.

Of course, all of this means that when I wake up in the morning, the dishwasher will be leaking, the fridge won’t be cold enough, and the kid will need braces.

But for now, I’m content.

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Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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2 Responses

  1. Denouement?! Okay, that one gave me flashbacks of a certain high school English instructor we shared. I am absolutely positive that “denouement” was one of her beloved “words of the week.”

    I am also positive that I have never since used the word, or even considered it for that matter…in fact I don’t think I’ve ever ever come across that word again. Until now. And with that, I have been briefly accosted with high school flashbacks. I don’t especially enjoy high school flashbacks. And the “denouement” of all this is that I feel like I need to be on the receiving end of some therapy today rather than on the delivering end of it. But if you don’t tell my clients, I won’t either.

  2. “Okay, so though I could find no evidence of wetness (and likely won’t for some time after this post),…”

    Best line I’ve read in a long time!