day 64 – stories about bill

In thoughts on things on October 28, 2011 at 3:07 pm

allow me to introduce you to Bill.

(for the purposes of this post and confidentiality i have… not at all changed Bill’s name.  his name is really Bill, affectionately referred to as “toenails” and you will see why.)

i met Bill on a hot july day.  i was stressed out and frustrated, having been looking for the perfect place to live with my 2 gal pals, former roomie katie and new roomie anne marie.  time was ticking and we needed to find a place, fast.  we ended up choosing his house, by far the oogliest house we had seen up until that point, but with the best price and most “fixer upper” potential points!  the former tennants had lived there ten years and we could tell they weren’t really into that whole cleaning thing so much.

anyway, Bill started as our super old, clearly suffering from some sort of emphysema, really cute (and really seriously old) landlord.  there was no application – just a one page, Microsoft Word-typed “lease” ensuring that we all made enough money to pay rent each month.  he was just glad we seemed like nice, responsible girls with jobs, more interested in making sure the peeling wallpaper was going to be remedied with Lemon Sherbert paint than about, you know, being in gangs or smoking pot or not paying rent.   and we were in!

those first few weeks of fixing up-ing we solidified our relationship with Bill.  he was always there in his jag (with tv monitors in the headrests… did i mention he is 84 or something?!) ready to paint for 15 minutes and then smoke for 10, paint then smoke, and so on and so forth.  then he started frequently working with his shirt off, just making himself comfortable while cleaning up the house.  and he always wore these old, ratty Adidas flip-flops.

i remember looking down one day at his feet while he was working on something, and it was totally one of those moments that the frame zooms in really close 3 times and you hear Friday the 13th noises, and you realize – he probably hasn’t even looked at his feet in over 3 months.  i mean, i’ve rarely seen toenails this long!  it was like a TLC special.  but he’s so old and sweet!  and drives a jag!  when did simple toenail care go out the window?  we may never know.

the weeks went by and we realized, well, Bill keeps coming.  and coming.  and…. coming, always unannounced and with a new little something he needed to “fix” or “look at.”  the leaky sink.  the baseboards.  the gutters.  at first i was like “aw he’s so cute, coming over to fix things while being SO old”  and then i was all “OMG.  my fourth roommate is NOT an old man with loud emphysema breathing, no shirt, and poor toenail care!”   it was any time of day.  8 or 9 in the morning, while we were still in our pjs, in our beds, sleeping soundly and trying to get used to calling that little house home.  we all frequently sent texts to each other, warning the others about his arrival.  he became a figure in my mind that was always lurking around the corner of the house, hunchbacked and waiting to sit us down and talk about Norman Rockwell or the National Geographic or his wife who he just married 10 years ago.

so we had a few care-frontations will bill, who also has a hard time hearing and, perhaps, comprehending.  not easy.  “come after 11,”  we’d explain, or “just call us beforehand to let us know you are coming.”  we even appointed annemarie as the house point-person, so should bill need to come over, he should call her and she would call us.  nods.  and then the next day, an unannounced 9 o’clock arrival to just “shtain the deck.”  [and NOW is the perfect time to add that every, i repeat every S that bill says is a whistle.  i don’t know how he does it, if he practices, or what.  but without fail, “s” words become whistle words.  it is very impressive and very fun to try and immitate!]

bless.  one side of me is irritated to death by inappropriate landlord-turned-roommate bill.  the other side of me melts from a heart of stone to a heart of mush when he brings us his limited edition leather-bound hardback copy of Norman Rockwell and proceeds to talk about Margarie, his still fairly new wife, who fixes him dinner.  landlord-turned-grandpa.  i know he means well and comes from a different era where you leave your front door unlocked and borrow sugar from your neighbor.  so maybe that’s why he still comes over?  albeit announced in advance, and only once about every 2 weeks.  we are getting somewhere!


so here is a story i have for you about bill.  this was recently.

one day bill came over and anne marie was asleep.  bill came announced, but anne marie was sleeping and wanted to continue sleeping, thinking innocently, “well, bill can continue doing what he needs to do, and i’ll keep my door closed and he should get the point.”

little by little, anne marie hears the encroaching steps of toenails mcgee along with the characteristic heavy breathing that pierces even through closed doors.  “he must be working in the hall bath,” she thought.

nay.  bill knocks on the door “anne marie,” in his old southern smoker voice.  and again, more knocking and name calling.  she hides, pulling the covers over her head, “this CAN’T be happening!” she thought.  well, the unthinkable happens.

little old bill comes IN the room.  YES.  INSIDE!!  sweet grandpa turned slightly creepy keeps calling out “anne marie, anne marie are you here??” to which she plays possum and does not respond on account of being “asleep.”  and what does bill do?

pokes around the bed.  “annemarie, annemarie are you in here?”  and the kicker, starts pulling the covers. i’m blaming it on being senile and crazy.  of course, anne marie fakes waking up surprised and explains that she’s sleeping, so what did he want?!

just to work in her half bath, that’s all.

  1. Just came across you blog via twitter. I am laughing so hard!! Your descriptions of Bill and these events are just hysterical! Oh goodness! Also, does Bill happen to look like an older more senile version of Mr. Bean?

  2. What makes this even more ridiculous is that he came in my room that day even though his project was under the KITCHEN SINK. Whaaaa?!

  3. Remember the time he sat on the couch and watched Gilmore Girls with you?! Favorite.


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