Big Billy – Caulk of the Walk

For once, I noticed a problem on my own and said I’d fix it.

I was puttin’ my tea mug in the sink one day when I noticed a strip of caulking Big BIllybetween the counter and the backsplash was peelin’ away from the wall in some places. (Backsplash is the plastic stuff on the wall between the counter and the bottom of the cupboard, by the way.)

Can’t have that, I says to myself. Water’ll get in there and rot out the countertop and the wall.

Now, the problem is, I should have made sure to say that only to myself. But, thinkin’ I could score brownie points, I mentioned it to Minnie as soon as she came in the kitchen.

I went into this big explanation of how the water gets in behind the caulking, and the kind of caulking you should use and exactly how to apply it. Now, I didn’t really know what I was talkin’ about, but every once in a while when I give a speech like that it Minnie lets me pretend I know what I’m doin’.

But I wasn’t countin’ on where she was goin’ with it.

Well, she says, if you’re gonna be doin’ all that work anyway, maybe I could get ya to move the cupboard up a little bit so I can fit the microwave on the counter.

Whuh?! I says. You mean take the cupboard off and move it up the wall?

Right, she says. I was thinkin’ if we could put the microwave on the counter, I could get rid of that little microwave stand and look how much room that would free up by the door.

Now there’s two things happenin’ here but neither one of us is lettin’ on. First of all, the only reason Minnie’s gonna give up what little counter space we have and get rid of the stand, is if she already got somethin’ in mind to put where the stand is. And the second thing is, I wanted the microwave stand for out in the barn, thinkin’ I could use it as a little upright toolbox on wheels.

No problem at all, I says, and we both just nodded, pretendin’ nothin’ else was goin’ on.

I got on it first thing the next morning. I woke Minnie up with the bangin’ and when she came into the kitchen I already had all the backsplash tore off.

What are ya doin’?! she said.

Well, I realized if we move the cupboard up six inches, there’s be a big space under the cupboard where there’s no backsplash, so I ripped the whole thing out.

Couldn’t we have just put a little strip under there to cover it? she says.

I look at the bare wall with the glue all stuck to it in parts, and holes from where I tore it off, and then I look at Minnie.

Well, I never thought of that, I said.

Anyways, Minnie got out of my hair and took Rosie over to visit Cathy and Little Jim. I realized I’d need another set of hands to move the cupboard, so I yelled upstairs about two hundred times for Little Bill to come down and help me.

He finally stumbles down the stairs with his hair all crooked and his eyes all squinty. I don’t know how that boy gets so tired when he don’t ever do anything.

I tell him I need him to hold the cupboard in place while I unscrew it from the wall so we can move it.

So we should take everything out of the cupboard then, right? he says.

Oohh, my son, I says. Life’s all about workin’ smarter instead of workin’ harder. We’ll just use the longer drill bit to go between the cans and stuff and that way we save ourselves a bunch of work unloadin’ and re-loadin’ the cupboard.

I fished the drill bit between two soup cans and into the first screw. Out she popped with nothin’ to ‘er. See that? I says to him.

Now the thing is, each time I took out another screw, the cupboard got heavier and heavier for Little Bill.

When the last screw was about to pop out, I said, Ya got ‘er? and that’s when the whole cupboard fell on top of us. I landed on my back, with most of the cupboard on my chest, and Little Bill had his leg pinned under the other side. The stuff spilled out all over the place and the kitchen was flooded with cans of Zoodles, boxes of no-name Kraft Dinner and some of Minnie’s weird baking stuff, like corn starch and packets of yeast.

When we dug ourselves out, we were both OK, and we both realized we had to get everything cleaned up before Minnie got home or she’d blow her top. Little Bill started gatherin’ the stuff up in a pile and I ran out to the baby barn and grabbed a handful of big nails.

I figured I’d save time by nailin’ it back up instead of screwin’ it. So we got ‘er in place, and Little Bill started loadin’ the stuff back in the cupboard. I ran out to the barn and got a roll of vinyl floor covering I found in the heavy garbage. I eyeballed a piece big enough for a makeshift backsplash and came in and started staplin’ it in place. When Minnie came back, we were just finishin’ the new caulking along the counter.

Wow, Minnie said, that looks pretty good. And then she asked Little Bill to lift the microwave up on the counter and take the stand into the living room.

The living room? I said. What for?

I’m gonna use it to hold my old Sears catalogues, Minnie said. And I just got a new big garbage bucket we can put where the stand was.

But… I said, and that’s when the cupboard fell off the wall and smashed the microwave.

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