Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Our son-in-law Phillip is a hook-up guy. 

To save eight bucks on parking at a familiar family attraction he’ll declare loudly, “I’ve got the hook-up. I know a spot.” 

We then drive way out of the way, artfully dodge security, run from sharks, and crawl through muck to a free parking lot, only to hear Phillip wonder, “Man, when did they put that barbed wire up?” 

I am personally against the hook-up for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that 1) I feel like a complete idiot trying to beat out the parking attendant for eight bucks, and 2) I enjoy being able to complain loudly if I don’t get my eight bucks worth. 

Pay the money and you’ve bought the right to gripe—loudly. That’s my motto. That and the fact that hook-ups never work for us—ever. Somehow it always costs us more than full price anyway.

Last time we painted our house Phillip got us the hook-up. A house painter friend of his had a free week and an empty paint pan. We had a blue house. We needed a tan house. The hook-up.

For an excellent price and a promise to hand out business cards we agreed to have our blue house turned into a tan house by a ten foot tall Jamaican man named George.

Our painter named George, ten feet tall, accompanied by myself, two feet tall, sailed off to purchase paint and supplies. We went in George’s van. Let me just say this about George’s van, it looked like it had personally immigrated from Jamaica via the Gulf Stream at high tide. There was a couch in the back of the van in lieu of seats.

We did okay, for a while.

We made it to Sherwin Williams. We made it down highway 192. We made it to Walmart. And we almost made it out of the Walmart parking lot. Almost.

With paint, brushes, rollers, primer, tape, and hope we headed toward my soon to be tan house when George, in the lovely, lilting accent of his homeland, said, “Oh mon, I have no brakes.”

I perked right up. “Define no brakes and are we going to die?”

“It means that I cannot stop this van and maybe.” The couch in the back of the van slid six inches toward the rear doors.

And he couldn’t and we almost did. Coasting is the best description of what we were doing around that parking lot. Me and George. 

“We be coast’en, mon.”

We tried some stuff. We tried more brake fluid and a consultation with a mechanic. We tried prayer. Finally, we just threw good sense out the broken van window and coasted to my house where George painted our house a beautiful light tan. The house looked fabulous. George got his van stuck in the muck ditch in our yard, where it stayed stuck for over a week.

Actually, it was more an adventure than a hook-up.

It’s time to paint the house again. I’m going to paint it myself. It’s not that big. I own a ladder. Besides George moved to New York City where he and his wife could have a baby for free. The hook-up.

Linda (Paint by Number) Zern

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