April 30, 2012

Over the Hill

Time has a way of sneaking up on people, whether they like it or not.  This was proved over the weekend when the hubs turned the big "5-0" on Saturday, much against his will--even though I've spent months reminding him that he was going to be officially old this year.  (I figured it would lessen the blow on his actual birthday by giving him a chance to get used to the idea.  Repeatedly.  I'm just helpful that way.)  I'm sure he thought I was being mean, but he needs to realize it could have been much worse; he may have negated my original suggestion to flamingo the yard, but I was completely prepared to throw 50 of his computers (and yes, he almost certainly has that many and more if you include all the parts and not just the terminals) into the front yard and put up a great big sign that read "Another One Bytes The Dust."  For some reason, he didn't find this idea as amusing as I did; I don't know why.  He should just be grateful we moved because if we were still in Memphis I'd have thrown him a big Over-the-Hill party that would make a few of his precious computers in the yard seem positively idyllic.  Lucky for him I'm inherently lazy, so I didn't throw any computers in the yard either.

And you thought I was kidding.  This is only one side of the basement storage.

No one wants to get flocked on their 50th.
Mischief aside, after pondering what to get him for this auspicious occasion for at least a month or two, I finally decided that I wanted to get him one of those great big tool cabinet/chest things that all the serious mechanics and builders on TV have in their workspaces.  The benefit of this is that he'd finally have an easily accessible place for all of his tools and, more to the point perhaps, stop complaining to me about not being able to clean up because he didn't have a place for his tools and he couldn't find what he needed, and so on and so forth.  Getting him a big tool chest was a win-win as far as I was concerned.  Still, like so many other things within my sphere of influence, things did not go quite  according to plan.

First, I started my research.  I figured if I was gonna spend significant money on one of those things, most of which are ridiculously over-priced, I wanted a decent one--no flimsy metal drawers that won't open or get off-kilter easily, no easily scratched paint, etc.  Plus if he griped about the money, I could always tell him I'd only spent $10 for each year of his life.  I eventually found a unit made by Homak that I really liked and in the price range I wanted to pay, but no one here in town carried it in stock.  Shipping one directly to my house cost a minimum of $100, just for regular shipping.  Expedited shipping was three times that.  Naturally.  I was willing to drive to Atlanta to pick up one of the chests, but no one there had it in stock either and ordering it would take 1-2 weeks I didn't have.  I know I should have ordered sooner, but got distracted by my mom's funeral and waited to long to take care of it.

Since I wasn't going to be able to order it in time, I started looking at other brands and ultimately found something similar here in town at Harbor Freight Tools, though it was bright red instead of the pretty blue of the other unit I'd found.  Still, I didn't figure the hubs would care; he is a guy, after all.  Best of all, the unit I liked best was $200 off!  Yay for me!!  It was enough cheaper that I was even able to get another add-on drawer unit and pay for both for less than the one would have been originally with tax.  Needless to say, I was rather pleased with myself--till we tried to load the mother into my van.

Big-boy Toy Chest
 In order for you to truly appreciate this, you need to understand my vision.  Wednesday night the hubs and I went to see Les Mis in Atlanta.  I didn't want to buy anything before that because he would see it in my car.  So I figured I would go and purchase the item on Thursday, after which I could just throw a blanket over the top of it so he wouldn't notice it when he came back from work that evening.  On Friday the plan was to sort through and clear out all the rubbish in the garage, tidy everything up, then unload the tool chest and park it by the wall in front of his side of the garage.  I was going to put 50 of something in each drawer--50 screws in one drawer, 50 Tootsie Rolls in one, 50 washers, 50 nails, 50 Milky Way fun bars, 50 pieces of gum...you get the idea.  Then I'd have a giant bow on the front.  When he'd get home from work that night, he'd pull in, flip out over the new and exciting tool chest, and reel with every drawer he opened at my cleverness in reminding him that he's freakin' FIFTY YEARS OLD.  No one can ever say I lack a flair for the dramatic, however improbable or unrealistic it might be.

In real life, what happened is this:  I pulled my van around back of the tool shop and opened the hatch.  It occurred to me that I should probably have taken out one or two of my seats before going shopping (which of course I didn't), so I released one of the back seats and piled it on top of its neighboring seat.  Piece of cake.  The tool chest should slide right on in.  Have I mentioned I lack spatial skills??  One guy comes out with the thing in a CRATE on a forklift.  I took one look at it and thought to myself:  "This does not bode well."  The guy lowered it to the ground and proceeded to dismantle the crate.  He then had to remove the unit from its box because there was no way it was going to get in the back of my van with all the cardboard and stryrofoam surrounding it.  Next, Dude #1 calls to Dude #2 to help him lift the thing into the back of my van.  Dude #1 gets back onto the forklift and hoists the chest (which weighs close to 300 lbs) up into the air, the idea being to try to get it as close to my car as possible.  After some tricky maneuvering to get it close without ripping my back door off, the two dudes push and pull and grunt till the front end is in my van.  Dude #2 then climbs over one of the middle seats (which I have folded down for him--where's a freaking Stow n Go when you need one?) so that he can pull the unit from the front while Dude #1 pushes from the back.  This proved to be an even bigger challenge than first anticipated because the attached casters kept getting hung on one tine of the forklift.

Eventually the guys managed to clear the forklift, only to discover that they couldn't shove the chest up and over the last few inches of my car because the bumper angled the chest up enough that it got stuck on the ceiling.  Lovely.  I offered to shut the door with bungee cords since I didn't have far to go, till Dude #2 pointed out that if I hit any bumps the corner of the chest might shatter my back window.  This was not helpful news.  So the guys climbed out of my car and pulled the chest back out.  I told them I could go home, deposit my seats, and come back, but by this point I think they were just determined to get me loaded up and out of their hair, or at least Dude #1 was.  Dude #2 was much friendlier; he even told me he "wanted to come home with me" when he saw the lovely gift I was bringing home to someone.  Shoulda told him it was for me...wouldn't that have dropped his jaw??  Instead I told him that if he came home to help me unload this beast, I'd make him any dinner he wanted.  He liked the idea of a home-cooked meal (students are all the same), and we jokingly discussed menus.

That forklift driver was the BOMB.
We folded up the other middle seat, released the other back seat, and piled them all on top of each other.  The guys then flipped the tool chest on its back on the forklift, again drove it towards the back of my van, and managed to manhandle the thing into the rear of my van, flat instead of upright.  Dude #1 then shoved in the boxed extra drawer unit, made me sign a paper, and took off.  Dude #2 let me have some of the styrofoam from the original box so that I could put it between the seat latches and the tool chest to keep it from getting scratched.  I drove the load home, with the rear of my van noticeably riding lower than usual.  Once home I looked at the load.  Even with the main chest on its back, the boxed unit still filled my whole window and there was no way to disguise it from the hubs, much less unload the monster by myself.

Just minutes after I got home the hubs pulled up.  I acquainted him with my glorious vision of how this was all supposed to go, then informed him that he had to help get the chest out of my car.  I went next door to try to borrow my neighbor's muscles, but he wasn't home yet, so the hubs and I tried to unload the units ourselves.  He managed to remove the box single-handedly, then got in the van to shift the main unit out while I braced it from behind.  All in all, things went much more smoothly than I might have expected, and we were able to tip out the chest and slide it to the ground, after which I braced the wheels so we could flip it upright.  A few minor scratches from the driveway and dings to the back courtesy of the Dudes later, and the hubs had his birthday present.  A man of few words, still he salivated with glee at the thought of filling all the little drawers with his tools.  Nerd.  I told him we had to clean out the garage first, though, so there would be a place to put it, to which he happily agreed.  I planned to spend Friday cleaning the garage, with which he could help when he got home, so he could spend all of his birthday playing with his new toy.

Instead, I woke Friday with cramping pain in my lower right abdomen.  After spending some quality time with the bathroom, I assumed the pain would recede--but it didn't.  I started to wonder if I'd regrown my appendix.  I spent the entire day walking hunched over just like I did after my surgery and googling things like "What does a hernia feel like" and "gall bladder attacks" and "kidney stones."  As if that weren't enough, my sinuses started kicking into gear, finally deciding that two weeks in a holding pattern was boring and they need to get on with torturing me.  Not surprisingly, I didn't do squat in the garage.

When the hubs got home we did go out and work on cleaning it out, and by "we" I mean that "I" opened my van's sliding door and sat on the floor cleaning dust and scum off of stuff that's been sitting in the garage for 2 years while the hubs moved stuff around.  Moving, albeit slowly, seemed to help a little, but it was still a rather uncomfortable few hours out in the hot garage.

Saturday morning, I showed the hubs this video to brighten his birthday morning:


Then I wished him a "Happy Uterus Liberation Day."

After lunch, the hubs went off to his nerd show antique computer group meeting and I hobbled through Lowe's to get a few more organizational devices for the garage.  Afterwards I went to the local minor med and demanded to see my bestest bud, the FMD.  I know you aren't supposed to ask for specific people at the minor med, but considering the entire waiting room was empty, I didn't figure they'd care all that much.  Even so, they tried to palm me off on a nurse practitioner.  I politely told her "no offense" (which I'm sure there was), but that I would really prefer to see FMD.  Him I know, him I trust.  Plus, he has a little more understanding of my recent ailments than the NP.

FMD came in and examined my abdomen, asking all the sorts of questions one might ask if they thought you were having kidney issues, all of which I was able to answer in the negative.  After digging around and palpitating the tissue, he decided that if I did indeed have a hernia like the surgeon said after my appendectomy, it was still very small and more importantly wasn't strangulated.  I was relieved to know I hadn't blown it out shifting the hub's birthday present.  He told me he thought I'd probably just torn a few muscle fibers around the baby hernia, and they just stiffened overnight which is why they didn't hurt or feel pulled when we were unloading the tool chest, then he told me not to lift anything for a few days.  FMD then had a look at my ears and throat, and while my sinusitis was not yet very advanced, he did say that I had fluid in one hear and my throat was starting to look funny, so I "definitely have something brewing."  Then he gave me a prescription for some antibiotics to knock it out before I even have a chance to lose my voice.  I love this man.  He gave me something I've never used before, called "Omniflex," which just sounds like it ought to be a brand of workout machine at the local gym.  I like it, though.  My nose was running like a faucet all day Saturday, and after only one pill, the drainage stopped dead in its tracks.  Can't beat that!

"Omniflex--Give Your Germs a Work-Out!"
Later after the hubs returned from his geekfest computer meeting, we finished cleaning out the garage (with me continuing to move slowly) and organizing what was left, then I swept the floor thoroughly.

The ladders are well-hung.

Acting sweepishly.

Telescopes and extension cords always go together, no?

The birthday present in its new home.
Afterwards we were both pretty tired and sweaty, so rather than go out for a birthday meal like usual, we ordered in pizza ("Well, it is my birthday...") and vegged out.  I made a chocolate birthday cake with mint icing, which I decorated with a lame scythe out of green sugar because I was too tired and lazy to mix up decorator's icing and draw a grim reaper on the cake.

Yeah, I know...cake decorating fail.
Sunday afternoon the hubs finally got to go out and play with his new toy, loading all the filthy and disgusting tools from his boxes in the basement into his new tool chest.  So much for making him clean everything in the garage before putting it away; I guess he didn't think his tools were included in the cleanliness edict.  The drawers still need to be labeled, and he could do a better job consolidating some of the drawers so they aren't all either stuffed to the gills or half empty, but it's a start.  I suppose not everyone can be gifted with organizational OCD like me.  More's the pity.

Playing in his drawers
And that is the story of the epic birthday present that was epic for entirely unexpected reasons.  I just hope the hubs enjoys using his present after all that.  He'd better...if not, I can still pitch his computers in the front yard--at least once my groin pull heals.

Happy Half-Century, Honey.


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