This past Monday, Cory and Barry, the two maintenance men it took to replace Kenny (the earlier maintenance man who had left the job after Hurricane Katrina in order to move to a place in Mississippi far from the fabled Gulf stream waters south of us that help to make this land the land for you and me), finally came over to install the ice maker in the refrigerator our landlord had installed to replace the old pre-K refrigerator that didn't need to be replaced in the first place.
Let me backtrack a bit.
Shortly before Katrina paid her eventful visit back in 'ought-five, Bobby had purchased the left hindquarter of a very large cow and deposited it in our refrigerator's freezer. Yep, that Whirlpool was a keeper.
When the time came to make our move to evacuate, we unloaded all the food and condiments and packed them in ice chests with all the ice cubes we'd accumulated up until then from our trusty ice maker.
Because of that quick thinking, when we returned from our exile, we found our refrigerator free from spoiled edibles, mold and mildew, and maggots.
What we didn't count on was our landlord's quick thinking in filing for the insurance to replace all the other soiled refrigerators in our building. So it was that, as soon as trucks could start to make deliveries in the city again, we found a shiny new refrigerator outside our front door.
We pleaded not to lose our baby, but our landlord, being a lawyer and a former Louisiana state legislator, wasn't about to cheat an insurance company, so we had to say goodbye to our trusty and dependable companion and welcome this new tin and plastic box into our kitchen.
Even though she didn't come with an ice maker as part and parcel of her dowry.
This was something Bobby could not endure. He cajoled and badgered, making himself a nuisance for the next three years, to get an ice maker added to this new appliance, and early on Monday, there stood Barry and Cory on our front step, holding the little box that would complete Bob's world.
All of the hardware from the previous installation was still in place, but Cory could not get it to work. He put the blame on Kenny's shoddy workmanship, ignoring the fact that that workmanship had indeed worked in its day and ignoring, too, the probability that any unused plumbing might go bad after three years of disuse.
The hookup for the original ice maker had been done in our tiny first-floor bathroom whose back wall adjoined the left side of our kitchen. After their masterful inspection of the previous setup, Cory and Barry decided all the hardware had to be removed and renewed. In doing this, they found that the little makeshift cabinet under the tiny sink in the teeny bathroom was pulpy and dilapidated and had to go.
Say, did we want a new sink?
Well, now that you mention it, and having already dismantled the cabinet, I guess we do.
Now, rather than wait the three or four days it would take for them to get permission from upper management to make the replacement purchase, I gave them a hundred dollars to go and buy another sink.
Off went Barry and Cory on their reconnaissance, and since they only shop at a certain Home Depot out in Kenner near the airport, they were back in a mere three hours with what they considered a beauty of a sink and cabinet combination and ten bucks plus a few coins in change for me.
As they proudly unpacked their trophy and carefully pulled out the new porcelain sink, something about it struck me. What it was that struck me was that it seemed to be - what was the word I was looking for? - large. Well, larger than the other sink, the old one they'd just taken out.
I hunted down a tape measure and examined the dimensions. Yep, it was larger, seventeen inches deep, in fact, when it should have been no more than twelve. Too deep to allow the door to close.
This was not a problem for Bobby or me, but there are occasions when ladies might pay us a visit (it's happened), and ladies, you know, always use the bathroom wherever they happen to be (that's just something ladies do), and ladies like the privacy a functioning door provides.
"We didn't think to measure it," Barry said.
"I did," said Cory, "but they don't make 'em that small no more."
"We'll take it back," said Barry.
But Bobby said, "Why not use this one to replace the sink in the upstairs bathroom?"
"Will it fit?" I asked.
"I'll check," said Barry as he raced upstairs.
"It'll do just fine," he shouted down.
"Then here's what I'll do," said Bobby. "I'll go to Lowe's - it's not that far - and find one smaller. That's the one we'll put downstairs." To me, he said, "Do you want to drive with me?"
"I think I'd like to take a walk instead," I said.
Some time later, when I returned, the new new bathroom sink and cabinet had been installed. (The old new bathroom sink and cabinet were sitting back in their box in the middle of the living room, waiting for Barry and Cory to return another day.)
I went into the bathroom, swung the door. It closed with plenty of room to bypass the new sink.
I looked at the sink.
"Bobby," I called out, "is this a crack across the front of the sink?"
"Um, Cory knocked it against the door post. They're going to return it and get a replacement next week."
I wondered if a Lowe's would replace a part of a package, but I kept my thoughts to myself.
As for the old sink, well, Barry left it in the alleyway alongside our apartment. I don't know why. I imagine, after some time has passed, that Bobby will plant a plant in it. Until that happens, I hope I don't forget it's there during one of my early-morning perambulations - nekkid - round the courtyard. I'd hate to trip over it and go sprawling, gashing my head against the pavement, and dying there from blood loss.
I mean, what would the neighbors think when they stepped out to start their day and found me there dead in front of them, a big, fat, pulpy, bloody mess?
I'd die of embarrassment.
Oh, and as for the new ice maker ... It doesn't quite work. You see, it seems that Cory and Barry cut the copper tubing a little too short. Instead of pumping water into the little ice-cube cubicles, it shoots its stream directly into the basket set underneath to collect the cubes.
We have, instead, a block of ice, the kind our great-grandmothers used to buy from the iceman as he passed along the cobblestones with his horse and cart.
Barry and Cory are going to fix that, too, next week.
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