Monday, September 1, 2008

A Helpful Hint from Amy - The Cool Paper Towel

School started last week and although I'm not a teacher, most of my friends are teachers. Did I ever mention that my best friend Amy teaches the 2nd grade? Yes she does. Did I ever mention that my best friend Amy is brilliant? Yes she is.

One of my favorite works of her genius is this:

She keeps a little mini fridge in her class room filled with diet cokes and a life time supply of water-soaked paper towels tidily folded up and individually sealed in snack-size zip lock baggies.

Do you know how many snot dripping, red faced, sniffling, crying jags occur in the daily lives of 2nd graders? Well, I'll tell you, it's a lot. Bumps, bruises, scrapes, headaches, loose teeth, name calling, hair pulling, pants peeing, booger eating - no matter what your problem may be it can all be taken care of by the soothing relief of a cool, wet paper towel.

Amy always says it really fast too - Go get a coolpapertowel and sit down. The smeary red-faced child person goes to the mini-fridge and gets his or her own cool paper towel. Sometimes they even tell her when they might need one.

Mrs. Amy I'm very upset. I think I need a coolpapertowel.

I would like to state for the record that the cool paper towel works on children older than the 2nd grade also. Like 41 year old ladies who have had a bad day at work only to come home and find the kitchen sink full of dirty dishes so that she has to work all goddamn day and then clean up the damn kitchen before she can fix dinner, and clean up the kitchen yet again before bed. I think I need a cool paper towel.

Yesterday there were lots of cool paper towels getting tossed around at my house after my husband, who had started off the day sticking to the original plan of renting one of those Rug Doctors from the grocery store, ended up ripping out all of the carpet in our living room, dining room and hallways.

This is something that I have wanted to do from the minute we first walked in the door of this house, but MDH has always held back because hardwood floor restoration is in our home ownership fear zone, along with pretty much any home improvement project that goes beyond spackling or painting.

Needless to say there was some drama, but as you can see, it's a bit too late to turn back.

I'm not sure we have the skills to refinish this floor properly because it has some pretty bad stains in the wood, and I'm fairly certain that we do not have the money to pay someone else to do it.

Even scarier, MDH, in a similar fit of reckless impulse to the one that caused him to go from cleaning the carpet to tearing at it like a wild animal, decided to call in his brother Miami to see if he could come up and do the floor for us.

Bad. Idea.

Yes. Miami is by trade a concrete foreman and tends to work on high rise buildings, but started off as a carpenter and general contractor, so he knows how to refinish a floor.

He is also a roaring drunk.

Several years ago he nearly ruined the office of our old house when MDH asked him to make us some built in book shelves. Miami was all disciplined and lovely the first 2 days, but after that I'm not sure what happened, but I do know that he discovered the bar down the street kept Valpolicella in stock, and after that the job was rather untidily abandoned. He claimed it was complete, but I ended up hiring someone to come in to fix nearly everything he had done.

The thought of him coming here and attempting to take on our floors makes me need a coolpapertowl. Maybe five.

Even Turtle needs a cool paper towel after this...


Gwen said...

It's going to be ok. I promise. Sanding and refinishing a wood floor is a breeze and shouldn't take more than the two days your BIL seems to be able to give.

Also, you should consider leaving the stains, they will be less noticeable after the sanding and they add character.

SkylersDad said...

"Bumps, bruises, scrapes, headaches, loose teeth, name calling, hair pulling, pants peeing, booger eating" describes my typical night out with my old school friends.

Willow said...

That's settled. From now on I'm instituting a rule in my house. If I say it's a 'coolpapertowel' moment, it means my family better think about what just happened and how they can fix it - as well as getting me a coolpapertowel. Good luck with the floors.

pistols at dawn said...

This is yet another reason I'll never own a home. I imagine I'd go to change a lightswitch and end up tearing the entire place apart like Hackman in the end of The Conversation.

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

Gwennie - Thanks, I needed that. The floors are going to be beautiful, the process of getting them that way could be ugly. I'm scared, hold me.

Skydad - who needs an EMT when you've got a cool paper towel? Sounds like a lovely bunch of guys.

Willow - I promise, it makes all the boo-boos go away. Revenge is also pretty good.

Pistols - I heard that. Sometimes I dream of apartment living - with a tiny, bricked over back yards with no grass and barely enough room for a pot of geraniums and the number of the building manager attached with a magnet to the fridge.

Churlita said...

Those floors do look pretty cool - even in their current state. My brother pulled up his carpet only to find that the hardwood floors in the middle of their living room had been replaced by plywood. Talk about your coolpapertowel moment.

Dr Zibbs said...

My friend "the Child" keeps a wet wipe in his wallet at all times to give him self that "last wipe". know what I mean.

Step Right Up said...

A wet paper towel put in a ziplock bag rolled up and kept in the freezer prior to use also does wonders for hemerhoids.

Do the kiddos in 2nd grade get those, too?


hahaha. I ripped up some really bad carpet once only to find cement underneath, and not the gorgeous expanse of polished floor boards like I was hoping for. DOh!

Hey it will take a little work and maybe the supply of your liquor cabinet, but it'll look good soon ;)

Johnny Yen said...

Unfortunately contractors tend to be be people who can't manage time or projects, can't take directions from other people or who have substance problems. I know, because I used to work for them when I was a construction worker.

Another unfortunate reality is that the majority of contractors who are not in those categories are in high demand and often have year or more waiting lists to do work.

About ten years ago, my parents hired a guy to redo their kitchen. The guy was a Christian recovered drunk who determined that it was his mission to hire other people in "recovery." And of course, they kept falling off the wagon, and not showing up to work, and so their kitchen was in pieces for nearly a year. They finally had to contact the Attorney General of Illinois, who threatened the guy with legal action. He finally showed up and did the work himself.

Needless to say, you should implore upon your husband to hire another contractor.

Renaissance Woman said...

I love the idea that a cool paper towel can fix everything. I work in a high school but am going to offer that to the next student I expell from school for selling drugs. Maybe it will help ease their pain and fear!

The floors are going to be worth it all...eventually.

catherinette said...

You know what else Amy should keep in her mini fridge? Mini bottles of booze.

CDP said...

Gwen's right about the floors; you should be able to get through this with no more than half a roll of coolpapertowels.

The Guv'ner said...

Yep dude, all will be well. You do this:

1) Find out what it would cost to have fixed professionally
2) Faint
3) Have a quart of hard liquor
4) Buy a rug

See? :)
It'll be worth it in the end, honest!

Suze said...

I say you raid the liquor cabinet before the in-law appears. It'll still turn out badly - but what the hell - you'll be drunk.

Leonesse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leonesse said...

I go with Guv and Suze:

Get Drunk and Buy Rugs.

Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

Turtle does look a tad annoyed.

Chris said...

Coolpapertowel. I love the concept! I'm going to go have two right now.

Chris said...

Well, the coolpapertowel didn't work. I'm gonna try a coolrumandcoke...

silverneurotic said...

What a great idea! I think I might have to invest in some coolpapertowels.