Friday, September 22, 2006

The Mama Gin Files: Home Improvements - Part 1


Mama Gin likes to help out whenever we engage in a home improvement project. Of course, her definition of "help out" is to torment you to the point where you'd choose to torch the property rather than deal with her for one more second.

My first home improvement project, a number of years ago, was to paint our apartment. This was quite an endeavor, since at the time the apartment was jam packed with furniture and other items. Just prepping for the job took several days.

When I finally began the actual paint job, I started with the trim around the front windows. Although it was January, I kept the windows open while I worked to protect myself from the fumes.

What I had forgotten to take into account is that Mama Gin comes to our windows to spy on us about three times a day. This would surely cause trouble. When Mama Gin went outside eventually and saw that I had the windows open, she became alarmed. She came down to the apartment and knocked on the door.

"Why window open? No good, no good."

"I'm painting."

"Why you paint? No good."

"To make the apartment look better."

"No, no paint, too cold. No good."

"It will be ok, don't worry about it." I closed the door.


We repeated the above scene about six times in the next twenty minutes. Finally, I became so frustrated that I just complied with her request, shut the windows and took a break.


A little while later, George came home. I told him Mama Gin was harassing me as I was trying to work.

"Don't worry about it, just keep working. I'll take care of it if she comes down again." So I opened the windows and resumed the job. Sure enough, five minutes later we heard the rapping of Mama Gin's greasy knuckles on the door.

"Ma, get out of here! Tom is just trying to make the place look nicer. Leave him alone." A heated discussion in Chinese ensued, after which George chased her back upstairs and bolted the door so that she couldn't come down again.

But Mama Gin is not so easily defeated, and in about three minutes was once again standing outside our living room window.


"No no no!!!! Close window!!! All heat go out, you cold, no good!!!" Why she cared, I have no idea since she doesn't pay the utilities for the house.

She kept on at me until I was ready to scream.

"George, I can't take this! Make her stop!"

"Just close the window. You can open it once in a while to air the place out."

I followed his advice, which worked rather nicely except for the fact that Mama Gin did not go away. She put her face right up to the window pane and rapped on it as she continued to admonish me. It was getting creepy.

Finally George suggested we do exactly as Mama Gin does with her own windows, which is to tape newspaper on them to prevent anyone from looking in. I did.

For the next several hours I continued to paint the trim around the front windows, to the muffled sounds of Mama Gin crying "Don't paint! Don't paint!"

Stay tuned for the next installment. It gets even better.

16 comments:

Old Lady said...

Well, in Mama Gin's defense-one shouldn't paint in the dead of winter, spring or fall is best. Outside of that, she is one butt-headed woman.

Coaster Punchman said...

Or, get rid of the "headed"....

Bubs said...

Good lord.

Have you thought of just repeating everything she says back to her, imitating her accent:

Mama Gin: "No, no paint, too cold. No good."

C.P.: "No, no paint, too cold. No good."

Repeat as necessary until she screams and goes away. Yes, I know you're not getting work done in the meantime, but think of the satisfaction it might give you.

Coaster Punchman said...

Oh, we've tried just about every trick in the book with her. Like this one. Sometimes they work, but not for long. She's like a cat with nine lives. She always returns.

Old Lady said...

catsinsinks.com
kittywar.com

Anonymous said...

well just look at it this way it makes a funny post. But wouldn't want to trade with you. But then I HATE doing homeimprovemnts.

Beth said...

I wanna be a Mama Gin when I grow up.

Dale said...

All you need to do is get the entire neighborhood to create a diversion for several hours. How hard can it be?

I look forward to hearing more.

Creepy said...

Have you tried using a firehose on her?

Anonymous said...

There's a reason you live there, right? Like a really really REALLY good reason?

Coaster Punchman said...

OL - I just saw "Cat in Sinks" from Megan's blog - what will they think of next?

Katy, if you had to choose between dealing with Mama Gin and painting the entire city of Detroit, you'd choose the latter. Trust me.

Beth, just be very, very careful what you wish for....

Dale, when anything alarming happens in the neighborhood Mama Gin takes it out on us in the form of an OCD episode. Nice try though!

Creepy, funny you should mention that. In fact, George has actually used our garden hose on her. And another time he threw a shovel of dirt in her face when she harassed him while he was gardening. George would like the way you think.

Megan, complicated family stuff. We're working on an exodus at some point, trust me.

Creepy said...

LOL I like the way George thinks!

jin said...

LOL!!!!
You know how I LOVE these stories!

I was going to suggest wearing headphones of some sort so you can't hear her...but then I wondered if she would throw things at you???

PG of the MG said...

The only way that one could possibly escape the onslought of the MG is to induce a state of Tommy. Please refrain from any further attempts to improve life, it may cause infertility and loss of matrimonial instinct.

Coaster Punchman said...

Tommy, the deaf dumb & blind kid? Yes, that state would protect us from MG.

Coaster Punchman said...

Jin, George has thrown things at MG in utter frustration, such as the shovel of dirt described above - but I've also witnessed the hurling of general household items such as remote controls etc. Quite the spectacle.