It's the weekend, and time for another installment of my WIP. This is part of the chapter entitled, "Flotsam and Rugsam."
I purchased my first house for $17,900. Granted, this is Missouri, and I do appreciated a good bargain. The price is deceptive. It's not like I cheated anyone out of a valuable abode. I'm not as bad as my friend Bo, who bought ten acres and a trailer for a song, right out from under a single mom with three kids running around the yard in just their underpants, eating raw hot dogs out of the fridge. My seller was happy with the price. Or perhaps just pleased to unload her albatross.
The house needed a little bit of work. Hick, my future husband, decided the first order of business was a new subfloor. That meant the floor joists had to be replaced, which led to the purchase and nailing of more wood products, eventually resulting in cushy new carpet in my living room. Which sounds deceptively simple, if you forget that repairs always take more time than expected. Especially when your master carpenter doesn't show up because he was incarcerated over the weekend for a bar fight.
Somewhere between the time half my house was up on jacks, and the time the last nail was driven into the subfloor, Hick became my full-fledged husband. So like him to hitch his wagon to a star. A star with a $17,900 house.
While we walked around on three-quarter-inch plywood, waiting for Master C to make bail so he could add a computer nook to the front of the house (where a blue tarpaulin flapped over a six-foot span), and thus allow us to make final arrangements for the carpet...my grandma gave us a rug.
The rug's previous residence was in front of Grandma's fireplace. His job was to soak up burning embers that popped out through the black mesh screen, keeping them from setting her carpet on fire. He performed admirably, as evidenced by the myriad of crunchy, charred craters in his braiding. He was a stately oval fellow, some twelve feet by eight feet in dimension. His rounds of green and brown and black foiled the gusts of cold air which were wont to gush upwards through the cracks between the plywood sheeting.
On the chilly evening we laid the Grandma rug, as I plopped myself onto the couch to watch television, sound turned up to fight the flapping of the tarp, my socked foot snagged on something sharp. I commanded Hitch to get down on the floor and see if there might be a staple or paperclip caught in the rug. Hitch crawled over and felt under my feet. "Here it is!" He jumped up, holding the culprit over his head, much like a nerd clutching his "Best Technical Lighting in a Documentary" Oscar.
It was a toenail.
Specifically, it was a giant, ragged, man's toenail. My 5' 2" humpbacked little old grandma could never in a million years have cultivated a toenail of such proportions. I gagged. Not only a toenail, but a mystery toenail.
The next day, Hitch flung the braided rug over the clothesline, and beat it within an inch of its non-life. Even after the carpet was installed, we couldn't throw away the rug. It was, after all, an heirloom of sorts. After we had kids and built a new home, we unrolled it to use on the basement tile, in front of the television and gaming system. When the kids were old enough, we told them the story. We had to.
I named it the Toenail Rug.