If I ever meet anybody who’s seriously planning to move to our little slice of paradise and build a house, I’ll be honor-bound to tell him/her about the local curse.
No, seriously. It must be a curse, it must be supernatural in nature, and it must be malignant as hell, because today I saw something that cannot be explained in rational terms.
To my certain knowledge, there has never been a bathtub or toilet, in any house in our little community, that went in right the first time. That is, not needing serious adjustments to the plumbing – up to and including the breaking up of concrete floors. Never, not one.
Now, up to this point I had simply put that down to a common failing of inexperienced builders. Neither Landlady, M, me, or our neighbor J were ever professional builders. In fact I was so sure that was the explanation, that I never really gave the matter much thought before this morning.
But this morning I went over to D&L’s place, because he needed help getting their big soaking tub planted in the painstakingly-constructed framework in their not-to-be-believed strawbale-and-earthbag extravaganza. (Remember Woodhenge? It’s all grown up now.) Which they may at some point actually move into.
You’d have to know D&L for this story to have any real meaning. These are people who retired to the boonies for the purpose of learning how to BUILD. He must have spent his whole life as a frustrated finish carpenter and she as a frustrated mason, but they’re making up for lost time now. And these two are made for each other: Each is far too OCD not to drive anybody else melancholy mad. I mean, these two are METICULOUS.
(They are absolutely my best friends among the full-timers. They are wonderfully, gracefully generous and caring neighbors whom I love like family, and woe to the one who insults them in my hearing. And yet…)
Anyway, when I showed up to help D lift the tub into the framework I naturally assumed that the fit would be…meticulous. Not to mention absolutely, positively, and in every other way correct. And so it seemed, at first. The tub fit slickly into the frame, exactly as if the frame had been made by a committed expert for that tub alone.
Then we got on our knees to look at the plumbing. And even to my inexpert eye, there was something terribly wrong.
It couldn’t be. It was simply, physically impossible. The tub was a good three inches too low, couldn’t be connected to the plumbing in the floor, and that was…impossible. Three inches? I make that kind of mistake all the time, it wouldn’t surprise me at all. But D? Impossible.
D was shocked. He was utterly humiliated. I really think my presence made it that much worse – he could share news of the disaster with his wife, who was similarly staggered, but to have an outsider see his shame…
He whipped out the drawings. Yes, careful architectural drawings from every angle, with neat columns of figures. This frame had been planned to a fare-thee-well and yet … somehow…
It’s a curse, I tell you.