This monkey wrench is all on me


Minor setback. Delay of game. Hitch in the plans. Monkey wrench in the works. All of the above happened about 3:30 Saturday afternoon.

Everything had been going pretty much according to schedule other than the pending rain and cold front. I had been inside working on the bedroom rebuild all day and wife Danny was out in the front yard refinishing an enormous antique bed we purchased for said room. The headboard alone is a seven-foot-tall mass of oak that weighs a ton so, occasionally I checked on her to make sure she had not been crushed by it as the breeze picked up, and occasionally she checked on me — probably to make sure I was keeping up my end of the bargain. I was and she was.

This room is one of the last projects involved in restoring my great-grandfather’s approximately 150-year-old house just outside the city limits of Sebastopol. This room was also in the worst shape of any in the house and required the most effort of the restoration project. We had hoped to finish it up over the weekend and move in this week. That didn’t happen!

The new ceiling had been finished last weekend as well as the wall paint, trim and facings. My attention was on the floor all day Saturday and it was coming together nicely. The last coat of paint had been applied, the attic fan was on to suck out the fumes, and my big “hurricane” fan was focusing its fury on the floor in an effort to speed the drying process.

I walked back outside to check on the progress of the bed and took a seat on the front steps to offer up any needed advice on the stripping progress. Danny seemed to have it all under control and asked me if I might cut up some rags for her to use in her project. So I grabbed a couple of old kitchen towels and my utility knife and commenced to splitting them into four equal pieces.

That knife is kind of like a little switch blade and also has a small serrated area that can be used for sawing, I suppose. That serrated area snagged on the pink dish towel and when I yanked it loose the razor blade portion of the knife, which I had just replaced mind you, sliced across the top of  my leg just above the knee.

There I sat on the front steps with two halves of a pink towel pressed to my leg and they were quickly changing color so I lifted ‘em up and took a gander. Sure enough there was a big gaping gash in my leg about three-and-a-half inches long and a little more than an inch deep.

Minor setback. Delay of game. Hitch in the plans. Monkey wrench in the works. Yep! All of the above.

“Oh my God, we’ve got to get to the hospital,” the lady working on the bed screamed and dashed into the house, grabbed the car keys and my wallet and, for some reason, turned off that “hurricane” fan. As for me, all I can remember thinking is wow that looks nasty but it didn’t hurt at all. It was the strangest thing.

The emergency room at Lackey Memorial Hospital seemed to be having a light Saturday afternoon, and then about the time we got all signed in everybody else in town lined up at the door. We moved to three different rooms to allow the more seriously ill a spot and I told Dr. Mary Ann Griffin that I was sorry this was such a waste of her time. She assured me that it was not a waste of time and that we were looking at a major wound, as she began to tie off the first of 14 stiches.

Until Saturday I had not been a patient for illness nor injury in probably 40 years. I did have a broken nose repaired in1978 and twisted my ankle sometime back in the early ‘80s. As a matter of fact, I’ve never even used my insurance card...well, I have now! That said, I can’t really compare the service at Lackey, but for my money they did an excellent job.

They were professional, kind, courteous and had us in and out of there in no time. Granted, I hope I never have to see them again — in that context anyway — but when it comes to the minor setback, delay of game, hitch in the plans business, the monkey wrench definitely isn’t on their backs.

Nope, that’s all on me!