76: Number Two

76: Number Two

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home

Number Two

You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.

~Franklin P. Jones

Our fixer-upper was in need of repair to various parts of its concrete construction. With each cement job, my husband Larry would smooth out a nice, even finish. We would walk away with pride.

We would return later to admire our work, only to find a “Z” etched into the cement. One of our many children had become a Zorro fan and was leaving Z’s everywhere possible. We would question the children as to who had left their mark, but, as any true Zorro knows, anonymity is of utmost importance.

One day after smoothing out a new step in front of the bathroom, Larry pleaded with me to guard the step while he went after more supplies. He then asked that the children not etch any Z’s in the new step. When he left I set up a chair and grabbed a book to pass the time while I kept watch.

But I was called away from my post — probably to break up a wrestling match turned rough. And when I returned there was something new in the cement. Not a Z; a 2.

I wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t mess up the step, so I called Larry’s cell phone to ask him what tool to use to make the cement perfectly smooth again. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hi, babe. Sorry to interrupt your shopping, but I need to know how to fix the cement. One of the kids made a number two in it.

Him: WHAT? Why would they do such a thing?

Me: Oh, you know how kids are… So how do I go about fixing it?

Him: I just don’t understand kids sometimes. What on earth were they thinking?

Me: Listen, babe, it’s no big deal. I can just smooth it out.

Him: SMOOTH IT OUT? You can’t just smooth it out. That’s disgusting! Why didn’t they just use the toilet for the number two? The bathroom is right there!

I don’t know why it took me so long to catch the obvious miscommunication, but when I did, I couldn’t contain the laughter. It must have been contagious because he began to chuckle too.

Finally I was able to compose myself and explain that is was a numeral two that someone had drawn in the cement.

To this day, this is not only our funniest adventures in miscommunication, it is our favorite home renovation story.

~Carrie M. Leach

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