Renovation Saga Week 4: Chainsaw-Wielding Crazies
The renovation saga continues this week with even more toe-curling excitement. Remember this tree that was in the living room?
You may recall that we discovered it was totally rotted through and resembled the texture of balsa wood. That’s not exactly the kind of column you want supporting a roof, especially when that roof is meant to be planted. So the big order of business this week was to take down the tree, and let me tell you, we totally got our white trash on in the process. Anyone would really, because it’s just not possible to remain classy when you’re operating a chainsaw inside a living room.
Somewhere between ripping up the living room floor so we could expose the crawl space below and actually hacking up the tree, I realized our house in its current state would make the very best setting for a horror film imaginable. There are woods, a marsh, all manner of ominous torture devices such as sledgehammers and crowbars, and now, a gaping hole in the floor that would be perfect for a bodice-slashed heroine to plunge screamingly down only to impale herself on one of the many sharp protrusions poking up from the foundation. A few rats could scurry out from beneath her lifeless corpse as the sound of a chainsaw faded off into the distance… it would be an instant classic.
Luckily the reality of our remodel isn’t quite so macabre, although if you’d told me a month ago that I’d find myself standing ankle deep in sawdust in my living room after my husband and his childhood friend went primal on a tree, I would have thought YOU, not ME were crazy. But the tree is down now, and the dust has settled. We’re just waiting for the steel column to go up sometime this week, and hoping our roof doesn’t collapse in the mean time.
We’re still finding things we need to get rid of from the previous hoarder owner, so I’ve continued my flirtations with Craigslist, despite my better judgment and your many admonitions. On Sunday, I posted this ad:
Within minutes, I received a phone call from a jovial dude named Marty. He chatted for roughly 20 minutes about his intentions with my oil chamber, and when I finally told him to cut to the chase and come pick it up, he heartily agreed. Then he called me back five minutes later to get my name. I told him it was Linda, and he said, “You and I need to get together because that’s my girlfriend’s name! That way, when I’m with her I won’t need to worry about calling out the wrong thing in the heat of passion”.
Most of you would have been appalled, I know, but I was intrigued by what sort of fellow might utter this gauche statement to a woman he planned to pick up a free oil tank from via craigslist. In the interest of safety, I gave him my husband’s number and told him to work with him to schedule the pickup. Over the course of the next three hours, during which Marty found a friend, a prybar, a trailor, some lunch, and various other things, he kept both my husband and me informed of his every move via phone. I received seven calls from Marty, my husband nine.
My curiosity was so piqued as to what Marty looked like at this point, I made sure to be at the new house when he arrived. He did not disappoint.
From his sweat-drenched camo ballcap to his carefully hiked-up white tube socks, Marty was peopleofwalmart.com fashion gold. His wifebeater advertised World Gym, which I learned was one of his favorite places before The Accident. The Accident was a bad one, and it occurred while he was on shift at his former occupation as a pilebuck. Marty is now retired.
Pilebucks, in case you are wondering (and I was), are construction workers in the marine environment. Every time Marty referred to The Accident, his eyes glazed over and he became dark and moody. Over his wifebeater, he wore a lifting girdle, which I was thankful for, because I really didn’t want The Accident 2.0 to occur in my garage beneath an 800 pound tank of oil. Under his girdle, Marty sported cutoff jean shorts. I am told they are making a comeback in the 20-something hipster set, but I can assure you, there was nothing ironic about Marty’s wardrobe choices.
You have undoubtedly already noticed the single greatest feature about Marty’s outfit- his fly did not boast even a hint of closure. It was so wide-open, in fact, that my toddler kept pointing at it and I had to take him away from Marty so I could get a good picture before he noticed and buttoned up. It turns out I need not have worried. Marty could not give two shits about his fly being opened. I learned that most things Marty decided to verbalize, he also “could not give two shits” about. In the beginning I was taking surreptitious pictures of Marty, thinking I was being all sly pretending to check my email, but Marty saw what I was doing and he “couldn’t give two shits” if I wanted to take his picture, he even said he’d pose like Popeye except he had lost a lot of weight since The Accident.
He chose the Popeye moment to also inform me that he was pumped full of steroids because of The Accident, and he couldn’t wait until they took effect. It was pretty clear to the rest of us that Marty’s steroids had already taken effect.
Did I mention that Marty brought a friend along with him to help him lift? This friend did not say a word to anyone, including Marty, and he reminded me of a cross between Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Devil. He dropped his pants to his knees in the middle of our driveway and stood there with his ass out for at least a minute. None of us knew what he was doing, but we were not about to ask. Marty kept referring to this dude as “my back,” as in, “I always bring My Back along with me everywhere I go since The Accident.”
At one point, Marty busted out a chainsaw. We were scared. Turns out he just wanted to show it to us, which he did by starting it up with no explanation other than the piercing wail of the engine. He then apologized for being 15 minutes late to pick up the oil tank and said he’d cut down a tree for us to make up for it. Marty enjoys cutting down trees.
Partly because we need to eventually clear some land for our future chickens and goats and partly because nobody in their right mind would mess with Marty, we gestured toward a tree and said have at it. It took Marty and his 24” blade all of 15 seconds to get through the very large tree, which he felled in our driveway, thus blocking the way between him and his truck, which he had pulled out to the road. This was no problem for Marty; he merely said his goodbyes to us and hacked a path through the newly-fallen tree with his chainsaw.
As Marty was leaving, he told us to call him if we needed any extra help with anything at the house. He said, “You can trust me because I’m in recovery. We all are. I used to be an addict but I don’t do drugs no more, couldn’t give two shits about them, in fact.”
I wondered where the steroids fit in to the no drugs thing, but he had started his chainsaw again before I got a chance to say so out loud.
I am ashamed to say that Bentley, who will be four next week, witnessed basically the entire interaction with Marty, except for the part where Silent Devil took his pants down, thankfully. Marty is now Bentley’s hero. He has taken to calling himself Chainsaw Man and wearing his little nighttime wifebeaters to school. This is what remodels reduce parenting to, in case you were wondering.
I really hope next week’s renovation update is full of seriousness, progress, and pretty things, but if the last few weeks are any indication, tune back in here for more stories from crazytown.