I love George’s sister Ruby. She is my favorite sister-in-law. She is also just about the biggest character I’ve ever known.
Ruby went to Erasmus high school in
Ruby has a tendency to go on & on about things, which drives George up the wall. But for some reason, it doesn’t bother me, mainly because I am just so fascinated by the way she talks and by the amusing way she phrases everything. To give you an example, here is an excerpt of one of her tirades about her ex-boyfriend, Kenny:
He’s so lazy. His idea of a good time is to come over to my apartment and jump into my bed in his underweahs. So I says to him “Kenny, why do you always have to jump into my bed in your underweahs? Why don’t you take me out or somethin?” So now he comes over and takes me to dinnah and a movie. And then he comes back and jumps into my bed in his undeweahs. So finally I says to him “Kenny! Get your drippy dick out of my bed!”
Ruby lives about ten blocks from us, so we see her a lot. Unfortunately, Ruby’s relationship with Mama Gin is even worse than George’s. “Worse” is an understatement, actually. I’m talking about a really bad relationship. They get along about as well as Hitler and Golda Meir would have. Think Ann Coulter and Susan Sarandon. Jesus and Satan. In fact, Ruby feels about Mama Gin the way Courtney Love does about a shower. Utter repulsion.
Ruby and Mama Gin generally can’t be in the same room for ten minutes before one of them is screaming and/or hurling blunt objects at the other. I have actually witnessed the two of them coming to blows.
So by this point you’re probably wondering “what does this Mama Gin Files installment have to do with home improvement?” Well, I’m about to tell you the mother of all home improvement stories.
Ruby is a school teacher, and usually takes her summers off. So, one summer when George wanted to do some remodeling in the large entryway of the house, he hired Ruby to paint for him.
This was no ordinary paint job. This job involved tall ladders, days of scraping off peeling paint, and long-arm rollers. Due to the sheer height of the ceilings in the main entryway, this was one of those jobs you’re only too glad to outsource. And Ruby, who is handy with any sort of artwork, was happy to step in.
The only problem was the Mama Gin factor. This time, unlike my previous painting story, there would be no apartment for Ruby to hide in. No door to bolt, no apartment to lock, no window to cover. She would be right out in the open, at Mama Gin’s mercy, for eight hours a day.
I was quite worried about this, but George simply decided that Ruby would have to make her own decisions on how to handle her mother.
As it turns out, I had good reason to worry.
The afternoon of Ruby’s first day on the job, I called in to check our answering machine and heard the following message from Lenore, our upstairs tenant. I could hear a faint commotion going on in the background.
Ummm, George? This is Lenore. I’m not sure what to do here. There’s this Chinese woman doing some work in the hallway, and she’s screaming at your mother. At the top of her lungs. It’s really loud. It sounds like it might get violent if it hasn’t already. I’m really freaked out and I’m afraid to leave the apartment. Do you know who this person is? I’m thinking I might call the police. Please call me as soon as you get this – I don’t know what to do.
It seems that Mama Gin came out into the hallway to keep Ruby “company” while she worked. “Keeping her company” apparently involved standing at the bottom of the ladder for about two hours straight saying “why you scrape ceiling? Don’t scrape ceiling. Paint dry, paint fall off, no good. Don’t paint ceiling, no good. Too hot. Paint melt off wall. Why you paint? You no good paint. Your cousin paint better. Get cousin to paint. Where Georgie? Why Georgie not paint? Georgie get marry? Tom have gurlfriend. He marry, move out. Don’t paint. Why you scrape? Scrape no good. Paint melt, don’t paint. You fall off ladder, no good. Why Georgie no have gurlfriend? Don’t paint!”
Ruby tried her best to block it out, but finally couldn’t take it any more. That’s when she started screaming, terrifying our tenants in the process.
“Moooooothaaaaaaahhhhh!!!!!!!! Shaaaaaaaddddddddddddddddaaaaaap!!!!!!!!!!! Shhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatttttttttttttttt aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaappppp!!!!! Shaaaaadddddddddaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap!!!!!!!!”
Apparently she had quite the little breakdown.
The funniest part is that it had no effect on Mama Gin, who would launch right back in to her lecturing the second Ruby stopped screaming.
Lenore was able to calm down once she realized it was just George’s sister in the hallway. All the same, I think she found somewhere else to spend her time for the next few days until Ruby was able to complete the job.
Next on board: CP & George remodel their kitchen, to the horror of Mama Gin.