The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Flashback Friday!

Did you ever run across a deal you just couldn't refuse? A freebie that was so good you just HAD to have it. No matter how many hoops you had to jump through to get it? Well, this Flashback Friday! is the tale of a deal like that. I'm dusting off a tale of SuperG and the life she left behind. Follow me, if you will, into a Flashback Friday! that will, hopefully, illustrate to you just how costly a free lunch can be.

This story has so many potential tangents (and we all know how dangerous that is for me), but I will attempt to stay on topic as much as possible. Wish me luck.

First, though, before I dive in, I want to mention that, when I checked my blog this morning, I noted that I'd had, to date, over 10,000 visits. Which, to me, is simply phenomenal. So, let me say 'Thanks!' to everyone who has taken the time to stop in, whether you've commented, or not, and to say 'I deeply appreciate you!' to all of those who have given me the encouragement and have made this such a fun venture for me. All right. Enough mush. Without further ado, here's today's Flash!

My ex (and he's gonna figure alot in this story, so I'm gonna use his blog handle here, rather than 'my ex'), Baron, and I bought a house together about four years ago. When we divorced, Baron bought me out of my half-ownership of the property (which is a whole OTHER story and we shan't go there today), and he still resides there today. It's a lovely ranch style house with a (predominantly) finished basement. And so our little family of five moved in straight away.

Not long after, one of Baron's uncles (one of his mother's brothers) passed away, and Baron's mother called him and asked Baron if he'd like to have the pool table that had been in the basement of his uncle's house for many, many years.

Now, my favorite part about our new house was how very spacious it was. Not the least of which was the very spacious family room in the basement. Prior to this time, we'd had a game table and plenty of floor space for the kids to play. But Baron really wanted that pool table. And what Baron wanted, Baron got.

Getting the pool table was no exception.

When I was in junior high, my dad had had a pool table in our basement. Aye, a mammoth beast it was, and the slate top weighed six hundred pounds. That is no exaggeration. When we moved, my dad had to hire a company to disassemble the table and move it.

I shared this bit of wisdom with Baron and explained to him that a free pool table was nice, but that we didn't have the money to hire people to move it for us. He insisted that we could move it ourselves. And by 'ourselves', he meant he and I. The two of us. Feel free to scratch your heads here. I know I was.

Now, my kids will ask me to flex my guns for their friends (and sometimes I do), but carrying my share of six hundred pounds seemed...I don't know...INSANE? Yeah, that's the word. Baron was sure, however, since the table was slightly smaller than my dad's had been, and because the top was made of slatron or slatex or slatorg or some other faux-slate material, it would be something we could do. Hey, he will still smoking a great lot of marijuana in those days...and I still trusted him. We've both come a long way since then.

My dad caught wind of the screwball scheme and, without my approval (I'd like to note that up front), showed up on the day we planned to move the pool table, to help. We'd also caught a break in that Baron's youngest brother and his brother-in-law happened to be at his uncle's house when we showed up. Ah, more conscripted labor!

The lay-out of Baron's uncle's house was such that the basement stairs were directly across from the back door. And if the porch stairs had gone straight out from the door, instead of turning right, we'd have been home free. But they didn't.

And even though there were four strapping men (though one of them sixty years old) carrying that pool table top with the near-slate in it, it was kicking their asses, but good. Since they couldn't get it out the door and make the turn for the steps, and because of the size of the table, they ended up having to lift it over head to get it over the back porch railing. That's right. Overhead. And their knees were buckling and their faces were red as they did it.

They finally got it to the back of the pick up truck and there was much rejoicing and playing of horns, as the men lay down on the ground and praised their makers for bestowing them with the strength to meet the challenge laid out before them without taking their very lives for attempting it. (Even if it did look a great lot like exhaustion and prayers for sweet embrace of death on the faces of the brutally beaten.) Until the reality set in that it would have be unloaded when it reached it's destination.

Once again, Baron insisted that he and I could get it out of the truck and down our basement stairs. (This after seeing what it had just done to the four of them.) No amount of reality was going to deter him from that either. Luckily, the others saw a few gaping holes in the plan. My dad followed us back to our house, as did Baron's brother and brother-in-law.

The four of them, unenthusiastically, set about carrying the top from the back of the truck to our basement. The layout at our house was a little different than the house from which we'd picked up the table. It was necessary to take a sharp left turn just inside the back door, to get into our basement. A 4' x 8' piece of slab just isn't that flexible.

They tried and tried, turning it this way and that, but every time, they'd run up against the stairwell wall and not be able to work the giant down the stairs. I was sitting in the living room, with Baron's mother, when I heard the first pounding.

At first, I wasn't sure what it could be. And when I fled to the kitchen, my brother-in-law simply stated, "You don't want to see this, Tammy. Everything's okay. Just go on back in the living room." Highly unlikely. This was my brand new first house. And I wanted to see what was going on.

When I rounded the corner to the basement stairs and saw Baron busting out the stairwell wall with a hammer, I thought I'd faint. My eyes got big and he told me, he had to do it to make just a liiiiiittttlllle more room for the corner of the pool table to get into the basement. AUGH! The fucking pool table. I hated it already. He assured me, even as he was making it bigger...and bigger...that he'd fix it right away.

I had to walk away. Had to. But it didn't do any good.

The hole was the size of a dinner plate and they still couldn't get the damned thing down the basement stairs.

They took off the back door and part of the frame. It just wouldn't fit.

I started thinking about all the damage that was being done for this thing...this free thing...this thing that I'd never wanted in the first place...this thing that neither of us had ever expressed an interest in having...and I just kept getting madder and madder. Clearly, I wasn't the only mad one in the house, either.

When they started talking about cutting studs in a bearing wall, I put my foot down. Not one of them a carpenter. Not one of them qualified to be doing what they were doing. Not to mention that a great percentage of the electrical wiring to the kitchen was in the wall they were so anxious to demolish. Oh, I don't think so. Tammy don't play that.

Exhausted and beaten by the gargantuan gaming table, they left it in my carport. By this point, the legs of the behemoth had been removed. It's corners had been disassembled, and it looked as beaten as the four men that it had been wrestling for the previous five hours. Beaten, maybe, but the evil emanations from it were far from finished.

When my mother called me at work very early the next morning, I never saw it coming. It was like Tutankhamen's curse. My father was in the hospital. And he was scheduled for hernia surgery that morning. Damn thee, free pool table. I rebuke you! And I didn't need the guilt on top of everything else, either!

The parts sat in our carport for a couple weeks, as Baron tried to find someone who might know how to get them into our basement. He consulted gurus and mystics and yet, no one had the answer. Working in the construction industry, I thought that, perhaps, one of the fine superintendents in my office might be able to offer a suggestion. Clearly, the table wasn't going back to whence it came (despite my urging) and I wanted it out of the carport.

When Pete [real name changed so that when I KILL him, it won't be presumed to be premeditated] came over, he carefully measured and examined the large pool table top and then the door openings and the angle of the door swing. It took him about five minutes. His professional opinion? "That top won't fit down those stairs." Great. Don't let it be said that I don't work with MENSA candidates. So how do we get it down there, Genius?

As long as I live, I'll never forget his words of wisdom. After looking the house over, his best guess was to take a reciprocating saw (they look like this, if you don't know), and to peel the carpet back in my living room, cut an evil pool table sized hole in the floor (preferably between the floor joists, making a slot), and lower this several hundred pound white elephant into the basement. Then we could just patch the hole. Put the carpet back down. Put the pool table legs back on and we'd be good to go. Nothing to it.

Uh huh.

I can't even remember all the hell I caused for this man in the subsequent weeks. I can tell you it was substantial, though. Do you remember that scene from AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN, when Lou Gossett, Jr. is spraying a water hose in Richard Gere's face while he is running in place and raising and lowering a rifle over his head? (Don't act like you never saw it. You know you did.) Well, imagine that with a white chick playing Lou Gossett's part and a heavyset construction worker using a reciprocating saw (in lieu of the rifle) and it's a start. You know. Stuff like that.

Talking crazy smack in my house and advising my (then) husband to cut a huge hole in the living room floor of my brand new house, (being careful not to cut the floor joists and make the entire living room cave in) and then lower a several hundred pound pool table down through it. What the HELL was he thinking?

Anyway, I made it pretty clear that THAT wasn't happening, unless we had a qualified carpenter do the work and we couldn't AFFORD a qualified carpenter to do the work, and the free pool table just needed to be carted off. End of discussion.

Except. Not exactly.

Baron ended up completely disassembling the top so that the slatron-like material was in two large pieces (considerably more narrow). And he and I carried them down the basement stairs, along with many, many other pieces and then he put the whole damned thing back together again.

The hole in the stairwell wall stayed there for months and months. At some point, he hung a picture over the hole to disguise it, rather than fixing it right away, as he'd assured me he would. I finally (some six months later) had to get a carpenter from work to do the drywall patch and then Baron did the stucco finish.

I can't tell you how many arguments this stuff caused over the weeks leading up to getting it, over hospital visits and recuperation efforts for my dad, the mess in the carport, the hole in the stairwell wall. Blood, sweat and tears to an extreme. The very stuff of nightmares, I tell you.

But the free pool table is sitting there today. Watching. And, I'm sure, waiting.



Blogger MJ Norton said...

Wow! A free pool table!

::running away::

7/07/2006 10:41 AM  
Blogger Opus P. Penguin said...

SuperG (or is it SuperF now?) - This is hysterical. And I'm so glad it's in the past. I try not to be home when large objects are being maneuvered into the house. Inevitably there are loud sounds and swearing, and I don't want to be there for it.

I did garner a couch that way. A second-floor neighbor couldn't get it up the stairs, so he gave it to me. (on the first floor, with a nice big front door.

7/07/2006 10:43 AM  
Blogger MJ Norton said...

Congratatulations on the well-deserved hit-counter milestone and another excellent post, too.

7/07/2006 10:47 AM  
Anonymous L.C. said...

hahahahahha. I loved that story.

I hate pool tables because we tried to move one once also. Never ever ever again.

Have a great weekend!

7/07/2006 11:35 AM  
Blogger Highlander said...

Wow! Maybe if Baron ever moves out of that house, we could get that pool table... we have a big basement... baby, put the knife down... BABY...!

7/07/2006 8:24 PM  
Blogger AaA said...

Okay, I'm shaking I'm laughing so hard.

My friends Orlo and Jojo have a pool table in their house. It was the previous owners. For some reason they did not want to take it with them when they moved...

I wonder, once a pool table is installed in a home, does it stay until the owners die?

7/08/2006 6:12 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Mike -

I'd advise you to duck and to serpentine...;)

Opus -

Yes, I'm delighted that this particular incident is in the past. And, while that which does not kill us makes us stronger, I'd like to avoid even a small percentage of it once in a while.

We actually ended up with TWO sleeper sofas once when we were living in a third floor apartment and the father of one of the two girls living across the hall came to move them out and gave up moving the heavy furniture and offered them to us. We were tickled to take them both...until we got ready to move...

LC -

Yeah...I'm thinking once is really all the lesson you need on this one.

H -

While I'm not anxious to get ANY pool table, the thought of getting THAT pool table is more than a little disconcerting...and eerie.

Nate -

Glad to have cleared up that mystery for you.

7/09/2006 7:42 PM  
Blogger Rose said...

This is interesting. I was just reading on your website the other day, having come across it randomly. I enjoyed your flair for telling a story. And now, today I find you have left a comment on my site. Thank you for that, I appreciated the comment!!

7/11/2006 5:22 PM  

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