The Village Idiot

Home Ick

It seems to be taking an awfully long time to remodel the guest bathroom, but that’s partly my fault. Apparently you can’t just put a shower anywhere you want, because they have to move the pipes. And moving the pipes is very expensive.

But what’s money to a guy like me? I bought stock in Incredible Meat, because who wouldn’t want to eat a hamburger made out of peas? You put ketchup, mustard, tomato, pickle, onion and lettuce on it, slap it on a sesame seed bun, and you can barely tell the difference.

The stock went from $45 to $239 in two months. Maybe it’s time to put in that eight-person hot tub in the side yard. But maybe not ... I don’t know seven people that I’d like to see in bathing suits. And then they’d drip water all through the house. No, instead, after they finish the guest bathroom, I’ll have them put one of those tubs with water jets in my master bath. Life is good.

Monday, the workmen tore the guest bathroom apart. I’ve never seen a crew work so fast. They put the toilet and the vanity on the front porch, and said they’d reinstall them in a couple of days once the new tile and shower were in place. “At this rate, the job should be done by Wednesday,” I said to myself.

The toilet has now been on my front porch for five weeks. I don’t even notice it anymore. It’s as if it’s always been there, like a birdbath or a shrub.

My Incredible Meat stock has been falling all month. What do people have against pea burgers all of a sudden? It’s not like it would kill people to eat a few vegetables now and then. I’m telling you, if you didn’t know it was made out of plants, you’d swear you were eating ... something. How am I going to pay for the new bathroom now? The spa tub dream just went POOF!

I’d forgotten that the whole point of redoing the bathroom was that when I had company, they would no longer have to use a john that looked like it came from a mining camp in 1873 or an episode of “This Really, Really, Incredibly Old House That Should Be Condemned.” If someone fell through the floor in there or got bitten by a brown recluse spider, all of a sudden I’d look like the bad guy.

A month ago, I’d invited friends over for dinner, knowing I would have a new bathroom to show off by then. (Friends I didn’t want to see in bathing suits. That didn’t mean they wouldn’t show up in bathing suits, but one can hope.) “By then” finally arrived last night, and when my friends showed up, they all mentioned the wonderful porch toilet that I had long ago stopped noticing.

“It must be so easy to clean,” said Susi.

As they all sat at the table, I asked if any of them had worked with my contractor, Fly Bynight.

“No, but I hear he uses a burner phone,” Ted told me. That made sense. I had probably been leaving two months’ worth of voice messages on a phone that sleeps with the fishes.

“You didn’t give him any money up front, did you?” Fred wanted to know.

“Just a big down payment. I’m sure he’ll be back.”

“What is this?” asked Susi as she gracefully spit out a mouthful of the Incredible Meat burger that I had just taken off the grill. I figure if I buy a lot them, it will drive the stock price back up. I’ve got a freezer full of them, but several other plant-based burger competitors have suddenly appeared. Now the money is flowing from Incredible Meat to things like Plantastic Burger and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Cow.

“How many times do I have to tell you? You can’t refreeze meat!” said Susi.

“It’s Incredible Meat,” I told her. ”See, if you put ketchup, onions, pickles, coleslaw and barbecue sauce on it, you can’t tell the difference between it and out-of-date hamburger.”

(Contact Jim Mullen at mullen.jim@gmail.com.)

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