Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Perfect Excuse

Have you ever had a meeting, appointment or an engagement you just don’t have to time to attend? Have you ever had something you would rather do than something else so you make up a lame excuse to one so you can do the other? Well I promise I have the best, most original, undisputable excuse for you. Now before I tell you what it is I will tell you how it came to be.

I have mentioned on here before that a long time ago I was the owner in residence of a 100 year old house.
(You can read about it here:!83D9B59407F3C62F!897.entry
With that dubious honor also came the dubious pitfalls of owning and maintaining the money pit. I have come to believe in the years since I left the haunted mansion that it was also bequeathed with a curse. A curse that was much more frightening than the ghost who haunted it. The curse though is fodder for another story. The money pit is where and how I learned of the most perfect excuse.

When I first decided to purchase the money pit, I eyed the ragged but salvageable golden oak wood floors and decided that before I moved in those would be refinished. I called all the flooring contractors I could find before I settled on one who came highly recommended by my painter. My painter was a great guy and stuck with me through some pretty incredible episodes and events in both his life and mine. Remember Eldon from the old “Murphy Brown” shows? He came to paint for Murphy and ended up practically living there? Yeah that is what my Eldon did. He came and stayed for years. Anyway Eldon recommended this floor guy, Leon, and told me he did excellent work. He was reasonable in his price in fact he was quite a bit cheaper than everyone else. I would find out why later.

Leon came early one morning got out his strippers and sanders and got to work. He completely stripped all the old wax, stain and polyurethane off of my floors. He pulled up thresholds and trim. It looked like he was going to do a thorough job. I was thrilled. I mean how often do you find a contractor who was so precise and he cleaned up after himself too. It was great. While Leon was getting busy on the floors, Eldon and his crew were busy on the outside of the house. My mother and I had cut and pulled down the English ivy that threatened to break the bricks and the house with them so that Eldon and his crew could get busy. I was getting to know my new house by having furniture and personal items moved into rooms where mass destruction was not taking place. The crew of guys I had hired to help move the heavier furniture pieces had just finished moving the items into the garden room and to do so had to pass through the living room. This made Leon very upset and he decided he would pack up for the day.

Leon loaded up his green trailer and left. The movers finished trekking across the newly sanded living room floor and Eldon and his crew continued working. I had to go back to my real job before my boss fired me. I had been at my desk for less than thirty minutes when my cell phone rang. It was Eldon and he was just a bit shaken up. He informed me I needed to come to the house right away. He would not tell me why and he would not tell me what was going on.
I of course panicked and immediately thought an errant meteor had come hurtling to earth in an attempt to squish me into radio active mush only I, thank goodness, had left too early. I arrived at my house with all of Eldon’s crew running to greet me. They all were wide eyed and frantic. Eldon walked over to me and said “I want you to take a deep breath, count to ten, and the exhale.” Oh NO! I thought this isn’t going to be good! I did as I was told, inhaled counted to ten then blew out every ounce of breath I had. Eldon then told me what had happened. He said “Ms. Gladys, me and da boys were up chere on dis here scawfoldin when we hurd an awful thunderin. Then there was a wush and big ole bang and lots of smoke and dust. We all jumped off of da scawfoldin and ran around the house then we seen it. Look right there in the leevin room.”

I again did as I was told, because well like I’ve said before I always do as I’m told. I peered through the French doors that lead to the living room. At first I didn’t understand what I saw. What I should have seen was my sanded living room floor; instead what I saw was dirt and concrete. I was both intrigued and horrified. I ran around to the front door with Eldon on my heels chattering away. I stopped short of the entrance into the living room. I turned to Eldon and said “Where is Leon?” Eldon scuffed his foot and said “Ms. Gladys, Leon done left for de day. I don’t spect he’ll be back til tomorrow.” I sighed a huge sigh of relief and said “Well, Thank God for that!” Then Eldon and I entered the damaged room. There on the newly stripped, sanded and prepped golden oak wood floor sat in shattered hunks the opposing ceiling. My entire living room one hundred year old plaster and lathe ceiling had fallen, corner to corner into my floor. It had come crashing down in one huge pile of rubble on my prepped unfinished floor. I wanted to cry but Eldon wouldn’t let me. Eldon grabbed my hand pulled me down on my knees and started praying. He prayed his thanks to God for no one being harmed, he prayed for a quick and easy repair to my living room and he prayed that whatever had caused the ceiling to fall would be the only problem I had in my house. All but one of his prayers was fulfilled.

I went outside to catch my breath, call my insurance agent and let Leon know not to come the next day. I did all those things and then my cell phone rang. It was my secretary’s husband informing me that my nineteen year old assistant was dead. She had died of an overdose. That was it. I was done. I wanted to curl into a ball and suck my thumb. I wanted my mommy. I was overwhelmed. Eldon had been sitting next to me when the call had come in and he again took my hand and started praying. I was grateful that Eldon was there. Once again it proved that my problems were small compared to others.

The clean up took several weeks. I was given the green light and I instructed Leon that the floors would be accessible to him the upcoming Monday. Monday came and went and no Leon. Five Mondays came and went and still no Leon. I called and he did not answer. I left messages that went ignored. I wrote him a letter that was returned. I was livid. I was rabid. I had the red ass so bad it had ran down my leg and given me the red foot. One of the things that upset me so was that I was at a loss as to how to proceed. I went to Eldon with my problem. Eldon picked up his cell phone and dialed Leon's number. He looked pensive as he was listened to Leon’s voice mail instructions. Eldon said “Ms. Gladys donchew worry bout a thang. I’ll go and find that sapsucker and have him chere tomorrow.” I had complete faith in Eldon. Unfortunately, even he was unable to track down the elusive Leon.

Then one day as I was driving up “McMansion Row” I spotted the familiar green trailer parked in front of one of the stately old mansion houses. I made a u-turn and sped back to the spot under a huge Magnolia tree I had seen the distinctive green trailer. AHA! I had found the evasive floor finisher. I jumped out of my vehicle and stomped up the walk. Just as I reached the front door and the bell that would bring my unfinished floor finisher back to my house the door opened. Leon bolted out of the door and grabbed my arm as if to walk me back to my car. I was having none of it. I wanted him to finish my floors, I wanted an explanation as to where he had been and I wanted it now.

I turned on Leon and spat out my questions and accusations of job abandonment. I stopped and looked at him waiting for some type of an explanation or excuse. That is when I heard the very best excuse ever. Are you ready? Leon looked at me as sincere as any politician and said “Ms. Gladys, I am shur sorry I didn come back to your howse. You see I done got sick and then I ranned a real high fever. Then my brain done swole up and I jest flat out forgot about chur howse.” My jaw dropped to the ground, my eyes rolled in the back of my head and I all but shouted “Do WHAT? Your brain swelled and you suffered temporary amnesia? You expect me to believe this cock and bull story? Do you think I’m stupid?” Leon looked at me with these big old hound dog eyes and said “Eets da truf. I may drank, and I may gamble, but I don’t lie.”

Now you have your perfect excuse to get you out of whatever may come your way. Forgot to do your homework? Just answer “My brain done swole up.” Didn’t make it to the parent teacher conference? Just answer “My brain done swole up.” Hey it works for either side. What you didn’t go to work or call in sick? Just say it. You see it works for any occasion.


Bob said...


Anonymous said...

yeah that's it!!..I am not quirky, my brain just swole up:D:D

love ya,
quirky cousin

terri said...

Oh, you're HERE! I'm so glad!

I just had to say that. Now I'm going to go back and actually read your posts. :-)

terri said...

Yeah, but did Leon ever finish the floors? I think the guy was onto something. Life's too short to get stressed. Just let you're brain swell up until all the stress is forgotten!

Girly Stuff said...

This sounds like a "lost" episode of ER...or House. Whose brain swells and unswells that fast? And without a hospital stay?

My friend used to say...if any excuse will do, then here is mine:

"Because ice cream has bones"