Shitzville: Where Fixes Go Horribly Awry
I know this place well, as the Universe has apparently bought me a timeshare there. And it is not a nice place. There is no beach, no mountains, and no way out. This place is so real that I gave it a name: Shitzville.
Shitzville is where you end up when the stuff you do to fix other stuff sounds great in theory but goes terribly wrong—the fix is worse than the original problem. It’s like the time I looked around and decided my kitchen wallpaper was outdated. That was a problem. The fix was to peel it off, prep the wall, and paint. Easy-peasy. But the paper had probably been up for thirty years, and the important prep-the-wall step had obviously been skipped. By the time I realized I didn’t have the wherewithal to successfully remove the wallpaper, which ran all the way up to the vaulted ceiling—perching atop a six foot ladder on my tip-toes was a bad idea—the damage was done. The hubster, being the sweetheart he is, jumped in to help without even saying, “I told you not to do this.” In spite of his valiant efforts, our kitchen walls still looked like victims of some dread disease with drywall showing through here, wallpaper melded on there, and splotches of cracked, yellowed glue exposed like pus in a gaping wound. It would be many weeks before we found and vetted a painting contractor to come in and clean things up. It took three guys three days to complete the job. And it wasn’t cheap.
Another time, my father-in-law—Papa—cooked haddock for dinner one night. It was tasty, but had the decided downside of a lingering odor. Have you ever been around when someone reheats fish in a microwave? Soak a teenage boy’s dirty sweat sock in week-old pureed shrimp and then pull the sock over your head, and you might come close to that stench. For some reason, the preparation of the fresh haddock resulted in the entire house smelling like microwaved reheated fish. The nastiness permeated everything, to the point that a week later there was still a strong odor.
No problem, I thought. I’ll fix this right up. I put water in a soup pot, added cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, a couple of halved lemons and oranges, and turned the heat on high. It’s a great potpourri in a pinch. Boil that concoction for an hour and the whole house smells like the holidays. Except . . .
Papa came into the kitchen where I was boiling my spicy stew.
“What’s that?” he asked, hands in his pockets, peeking into the pot.
“Potpourri,” I said.
He stepped back and sniffed the air. “Huh. Makes everything smell like cinnamon haddock.”
It took the better part of three weeks for those melded odors to dissipate. And we never had haddock again.
More recently, my car was infested with tiny ants. I don’t know how, but it was. They appeared out of the blue one day and we couldn’t get rid of them no matter what steps we took, and we took many. They had no food or water source, so we couldn’t figure out how they survived everything we did to be rid of them. Finally, out of desperation, the hubster blasted the inside of the vehicle with enough ant killer to drop King Kong. Windows up, we left the car in the garage to boil in the heat. After a week or so, we opened it up. The ants were gone for good, but the smell had affixed itself to the interior and it was daunting. No problem! One of those little Febreze thingies on the a/c vent would do the job, right?
You’d think I would have learned from the cinnamon haddock. But no, not me. It was another trip to Shitzville, and for the next week the inside of my car smelled like cranberry pesticide.
Last, but not least, my hair! I’ve been vacillating between either continuing the grow-out or returning to the pixie but couldn’t make up my mind. Well, it was decided for me. The little gal who has been cutting my hair—and doing a great job—took a trip to Shitzville. My guess is that she clipped a little too much and had to keep clip-clip-clipping. She’s a nice kid, so I tipped and paid for the terrible cut. Also, to be fair, I was a little in shock since the cut was 100% not what it was supposed to be. But, you know, we all have those “off” days. In any event, I came home with the lower half of my head shorn so close it will take months to grow back and the top too long—like a little mushroom cap sitting on my head. The hubster, ever supportive, says he likes it. God bless him. He’s such a trooper! But even without my glasses I know this haircut needs help.
But I’m afraid of going to Shitzville, where the fix will be worse than the initial problem! I might just wait for the whole thing to grow into . . . well, something better than it is right now. I don’t know. I haven’t decided. All I know is that I don’t want my “hair fix” to join the ranks of cinnamon haddock or cranberry pesticide. I may wait this one out due to the fear of a train ride straight into the Shitzville station.**
What trips have you taken to Shitzville lately? I’m sure I’ll see you there sooner or later. 😉
**Hair update: The fix is in. I couldn’t stand it, so I went back to the salon and the owner took good care of me. I still don’t like it, but I can live with it now. And honestly, it’s not the worst haircut I’ve ever had. I’ve come home with some doozies over the years. What about you?
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