Big Billy – Deck the walls

Hard to believe it’s only a month until Christmas, eh? I dunno if it’s just that or that bit of snow we got the other day, but I guess Minnie got the idea in her head maybe it’s time to clean the house and get it ready for the ol’ ho ho.

Now see, if men ran the world (and of course we don’t, not really), the way you’d Big BIllydecorate for Christmas is, you’d haul out your boxes, stick up all your decorations with tacks or tape or staples, and that’d be the end of it. There’d be streamers and ribbons stuck everywheres so quick you’d have lots of time to catch the start of the hockey game.

But with Minnie in charge, decoratin’ for Christmas is a giant process with a whole bunch of steps and at basically each one of the steps, somethin’ in the house gets cleaned for at least an hour.

I knew somethin’ was goin’ on when I went to sit in my chair and seen there was a cardboard box in it full of all the pictures she had on the wall. Of course, a normal person would think that means somebody’s about to clean the wall. But no, she came in with the soapy bucket and a sponge mop and started on the ceiling.

Now, again, my idea of cleanin’ the ceiling with a sponge mop would be to dunk it in the water, run it over the ceiling and voila. But Minnie’ll tell ya pretty quick that just ain’t how it’s done. No, ya gotta run it over the first time wet and soapy, then ya gotta wring out the sponge at the end of the mop, then you go back over it again with the dry sponge, then – get this – you rinse it out again, put a dry rag over the sponge, and go back over it again to dry it.

My cripes, Minnie, I said, watchin’ her go over the same spot for the third time. Do ya gotta go over it so many times? We’re not disinfectin’ for an operation in here, are we?

That’s a good idea, she said. I wonder if we can get a doctor to make a house call and see if we can finally get your head out of your arse.

Oh the laughter, I said without crackin’ a smile, but she ignored me anyways.

Look at that, she said, showin’ me the yellowy dirt on the rag. It wouldn’t be so scummy if you didn’t smoke like a chimney in here.

I bit my tongue then, I tell ya, considerin’ Minnie’s at least as bad a smoker as I am.

Anyways, after about 800 strokes on the ceilin’ she’s finally ready to move onto doin’ the wall she took all the pictures off. But of course, before she can do that, she gets me to go out to the barn and get my hammer so I can pull out all the nails that were holdin’ up the pictures, so she wouldn’t snag the sponge on them.

A good 35 nail-pulls later, she finally gets the wall scrubbed down, three times over every square inch of ‘er, and foolish me, I thought we’d put the pictures back up.

What are ya doin’? she said, lookin’ at me like I did somethin’ mental. We can’t put them back up until we clean them.

Well thank cripes little Rosie came downstairs and seen what we were up to and offered to help. She went to work windexin’ the pictures and I started hammerin’ the nails back in the wall.

By the time we got to the third wall in the room, it was over three hours later and the hockey game already came on. And even though I had it on the TV there while we were tryin’ to wash down the room, I wasn’t too happy about the whole situation.

It seemed like every time there was a goal or a huge save or somethin’ I’d be lookin’ away doin’t somethin’ else – I was missin’ the whole game.

Well, desperate times call for desperate measures, so when I realized if I stood in a certain spot, I could see the hockey game reflected in the glass of our wedding picture above the couch. So from then on, while Minnie was busy scrubbin’ the wall, or dustin’ her little figurines, or handin’ Rosie more pictures to clean, I’d stand there pretendin’ to be busy, watchin’ the hockey game reflected in the wedding picture.

It worked great for the longest time. Every time Rosie went to clean a picture – especially any of the old ones – Minnie’d tell her some story about when the picture was taken, and Rosie’d ask questions about it. If you walked in on it, you’d think you were in the middle of a family history lesson, not a Christmas cleanin’ session. It just couldn’t have been goin’ any slower and it was drivin’ me up the wall.

Of course, I got distracted watchin’ the hockey game, pulled a nail too hard and drove the head of the hammer *POP* right through the gyproc. Minnie basically went mental. But we eventually finished cleanin’ the room and I told her I’d have it all fixed up the next day while she was out.

I drywalled the hole that night and let it set, and the next morning at Hortons when I was tellin’ Cyril about it, he offered to let me use his new belt sander to smooth it out.

I was probably at it a good two or three minutes, goin’ back and forth over that little piece of drywall. It was only when I shut it off and turned to tell Cyril how smooth it was that I noticed a good quarter-inch of plaster dust was settlin’ all over everything in the room.

I’m watchin’ the hockey game at your place tonight, I told him.

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