the day that will live in infamy

it is sean's birthday today.

it was sean who introduced me to the theory of the birthday week, and as such, he's been getting the rrrroyal treatment since monday, when he got his choice of dessert. doesn't sound like much, but he takes his dessert seriously. (he chose warm apple crumb cake with fresh merrymead cinnamon caramel swirl ice cream.) yesterday, he got his ipod speakers. today, his family are meeting us at a nearby restaurant to celebrate his birthday and his grandmother's birthday, which is tomorrow.

there's alot of sean stories I could tell you, having to do with funny experiences with outdoor defecation (there are, seriously, quite a few of those) and drunken debauchery. I could even tell you sweet stories like what he was like at bella's birth or how he proposed. (and I think I did tell you about our first dates at the mexican restaurant and with the cheese sandwiches, right?) but I'm going to tell you (with prior permission from sean) about one of the best sean stories I ever witnessed, which some of you already know - the cat door.

we live in a smallish row home that was built in 1920. as such, we have radiator hot water heat and no air conditioning. in the winter, it's no big deal because the radiators work quite well and the house stays toasty. however, in the summer, we have to put in room air conditioners and partition off all the bedrooms because it's just unbearable up there and the air conditioners only really cool off small areas. so we put an air conditioner in our bedroom and closed the door at night. maggie, our dog, would always follow us wherever we go, so she'd already be in our bedroom when we went to bed, but kitchen, our cat, loves to roam at night.

because our bedroom door didn't really close or lock correctly, the cat would come in in the middle of the night by pushing the door open. if we barricaded the door shut, she'd scratch endlessly at the door to get in or out. so we decided that we should get a cat door for our bedroom door so kitchen could come in and out as she pleased, and the cold air would stay in our room.

I bought the cat door and was intending to install it myself. I had read the directions and it seemed pretty easy. but sean wanted to do it himself, and so at 8am on a weekday while I was at work, he began what he (and I) thought was a simple, couple-of-hours task.

I called him at around noon to see how things went. he answered the phone completely flustered and angry. I asked him what was wrong, and he proceeded to tell me what had happened.

you have to use a template and cut a hole in the door to install the cat door. he took the door off the hinges to work on it, naturally. he didn't want to get sawdust on the floor so he took the door down to the basement. he used the jigsaw to cut the hole, but the blade broke, so he took trent (who was home from school for the summer) to home depot to get another one, which didn't fit. he finally got the saw to work and cut the hole out, installed the door, and heaved the door back upstairs.

as he put the door up to the jamb to put it back on the hinges, completely pleased with himself for not making a mess AND for being a total handyman, he noticed something was very wrong. he said to me "so I got the door back up and now I am so angry..." and before he even had a chance to tell me what happened, I knew. he had cut the hole AT THE TOP OF THE DOOR. so unless our cat was 7 feet tall, she wasn't getting in the cat door. he was so angry, but my god. it was the funniest thing I had ever heard. people two rows down from me at work were wondering if I was okay, because the laughing I was doing sounded more like choking than anything gleeful. in fact, for a few minutes there, no sound was coming out of my mouth at all. I demanded that trent take a picture before sean fixed it.

oh, and fix it he did. I told him to just flip the door upside down and put it on the hinges that way, so the hole was at the bottom. but the hinges weren't equal distances and the door was now 3 inches too tall for the door frame. so sean, having just used the jig saw, and now drunk with power and rage, proceeded to cut this wildy jagged piece off the top without measuring. needless to say, it was way more than the 3 inches we needed. and he also had to reinstall the cat door itself because now it opened upside down.

we never did fix that door. it still has the lock on the outside (great for pranks!) and it still has a jagged 4" gap at the top, making it seem more like a saloon door than anything else. but the cat has her cat door and she does use it. all's well that ends well.

sean, thank you for always making me laugh. happy birthday, handyman.

11 validations:

Kat said...

That is a great story!

Happy birthday week Sean!

NME said...

One of the truly wonderful things about Sean is that he allows you to tell that story repeatedly. If it were me I might have to kill you. But Sean is a far better person than I. He doesn't take himself too seriously and can appreciate the joke even when he's the butt of it.
Sean rocks!

TD said...

Oh how I will never tire of the Tale of Tool Time Smilly and the Dastardly Door. I'm wiping away the tears, and this has to be like the eighteenth time I've heard it.

Happy Birthday, Sean! I may be four days older, but you're way handier. And more metallic.

Rebecca said...

Oh wow. Just... wow.

We once cut a hole in a wall for our cat, but this is so much funnier. Poor Sean.

patrice said...

just so you all know, sean was fine with me telling this story. kind of excited even. he knows it's funny and he is a good sport. if it were me, I'd be like, shut the hell up! but he's a better person than I am. love you, seaner!

lonna said...

Happy Birthday Sean! What a funny story. I am so strange that I would tell people not to tell the story, and then I would insist on telling it at every appropriate moment. I guess I don't have a problem if I tell my own embarassing/stupid stories, but no one else better tell them.

seansylvania said...

Thank you, everybody. I'm going to bury my face in shame now. JUST KIDDING! Thanks for the birthday wishes and for laughing with me on this. Comedy is comedy, and it needs to be recognized even if it is on account of my handy work (or lack thereof).
The saga is not finished yet. I always see that door with its jagged top (like it was part of a gingerbread house and someone took a bite off the top) and backwards doorknob, and I know I can fix it. The project is not finished, so let's just flash white words on a black background: "To Be Continued..."

OldMotherHubbardSharesAll said...

Hey Sean - if educated Doctors have things like this happen - you have NOTHING to be ashamed of.

Gotta say being only a BLOG drop in - I have never heard the story before and I think it was GREAT. In fact I think your even GREATER since you will allow other people to share in your discomfort!

Rock on! My work verification is zigzuugg.....wonder if that was the sound of the jigsaw breaking!

Missuz J said...

Happy b-day to sean, and fuck, that was a funny story.

This year when I put up my christmas lights, I strung them so that the wrong end of the plug as at the wrong end of the house, if that makes any sense. I stood there on the ladder for 15 minutes, looking at it, thinking, there's got to be a way to fix this without taking all of them down. There wasn't.

KATIEmagic said...

How funny! It's amazing how something like a cat door can be so damn confusing and frustrating. Sounds like Sean handled it like a pro :) We always do a birthday week too. It just makes it a little more enjoyable if you ask me. Happy Birthday!

Steph said...

Hurrah for cat doors!!! I love that story, and this retelling made me laugh so hard I snorted and my husband gave me a weird look from where he was sitting across the room.

Sean, you're such a good sport. And it happens to the best of us. Believe me.
We have a pretty wonkey looking cat door leading to our basement that tells the tragic tale.