We’re (Always) On the Eve of Destruction

Impulse control is not a tool in Nate’s arsenal. He’s a man-cub who spontaneously lives his every thought, whether he’s verbally spouting whatever comes to mind in a torrential stream of consciousness that would make Joyce proud or he’s coming up with a great idea (to him) and doing some renovations around the house.

Since we live in a former Bed & Breakfast, nearly every bedroom has its own bathroom. Nate has one, which he loves, and had once decorated with a series of Word documents: bathrooms, Simpsons, you’ve heard about this before. When he decided to take them down, and saw the pitted walls, victims of hundreds of push pins, Nate took it upon himself to spackle the holes with soap. Technically it worked. The spots were gone, and the room smelled of Irish Spring. It was funny to us, but not to our painter who, when it was time to redo Nate’s bathroom, yelled at him as he sanded away in a mist of soap flakes.

One of our downstairs bathrooms has a shower that I use occasionally when Karen is locked away in the master bath. One of the secrets of the first floor shower is that it gets hot quickly and stays that way. That was my little secret until a few months back, during a cold spell that resulted in complaints from Joey and Rob that our upstairs shower wasn’t hot enough. It was then I spilled the beans.

Happily, the two have been enjoying the consistent warmth until this week. That’s where Nate comes in, once again. After a weekend visit from Rob’s girlfriend, I headed to that side of the house to clean up and noticed huge swaths of missing Southfield Green from the area immediately above the shower wall.

I don’t why I thought at first that the damage was perpetrated by someone other than Nate. Of course it was him, who else? I asked, he denied, I asked again, and he confessed.

“It was peeling,” he answered as if that were reason enough to strip chunks off, leaving the drywall bare.

We let the other boys shower once, but that was a mistake. The cardboard under-surface got soaked.

I can tell you Robbie and Joey were mightily pissed off that they couldn’t use that shower this week. First, the wall had to dry, then Karen had to prime and paint, and that had to dry. (I don’t do that kind of work. I’m notoriously bad at it. Once, I caulked a shower in our Lincolnshire home and did such a horrible job that when a professional came years later he asked Karen if Ray Charles had done the work.)

All is back to normal this morning and with great joy Joey entered the kitchen chipper and refreshed after his steaming shower. And maybe, just maybe, Nate learned a lesson about damaging our house and how he affects others, though I’m not holding my breath.

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About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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