Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Handywomen are good to have ...

... especially when you're married to one :-) I've always been rather clumsy with my hands and shied away from "manual" work [which was one of the reasons I stopped racing Honda RS 125s -- those bikes needed to be worked on constantly], which would have spelled trouble sooner or later if left on my own. Thankfully, Christina is pretty much the opposite, probably something she inherited from her dad -- she can [and does] fix just about everything. The only time I get called is when brute force is needed.

While we've been in Boston, she's

- helped somebody paint a house
- re-chromed our bathroom faucet and pipes
- spraypainted a few of our chairs to make them fit in better, color-wise, with all the wood paneling etc we have
- started to tear up the wallpaper in the apartment building's stairwell [it was really grotty] in preparation for repainting the entire stairwell

Her desire to do the last bit actually led to a pretty funny exchange with our landlord, Jose. Some background on him: he apparently came here from Portugal 20 years ago with nothing in his pocket and is now worth millions because he owns 100+ rental properties in Boston. However, he still does a lot of the required maintenance himself -- when we came to check out the place the first time, he was painting it, together with his wife and kids. Talk about work ethic. Of course, that also means that some of the work is a bit on the, uhm, hasty side -- we've found things like hair etc varnished to the floor because it was only cursorily cleaned before it was varnished for the next set of tenants. On balance, though, I prefer a landlord who is very much present, even if he does so-so work, to one who is absent.

In any case, Jose was around yesterday and Christina induced shock and awe [who knew that was actually a real military term, not just something Bush's speechwriters came up with on the spur of the moment?] in him by showing him the re-chromed bathroom. While he was still in a weakened state, she then proposed that he allow her to rip down all the grotty wallpaper in the stairwell and repaint it. Though still shocked and awed, Jose wasn't totally defenseless and was able to negotiate terms such that she's allowed to have her way with the bottom floor hallway and then, if he likes it, she can do the rest. I have no doubts that the entire stairwell will soon look exactly the way Christina wants it to :-)

After the negotiations were concluded, he repeatedly exclaimed
"This is great ! My wife, she do nothing ! I have to do everything !" and proceeded to thank and congratulate me on having such a great wife.

And I have to agree -- she sure is cool.

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