I put the computer away and went to bed thinking, what’s the worst that can happen? These Moe’s will be here in the morning and will either fix the problem or be taking home a wet, smelly square of wool mold. I fell asleep rather quickly but woke up at 3 a.m. convinced that I was being smothered to death by an old sweaty jock strap still attached to my father-in-law’s bag of balls. With the air running and pillows under the doors the stench still managed to seep through the walls and laugh at me. My restlessness and severe oxygen deprivation made Dave wake up out of a deep sleep and when I told him I couldn’t breath he looked at me as if I had personally ruined the rug of death.
I went back to bed with a sleep aid in my system and a t-shirt over my mouth in case I breathed in any spores that might decide to rent out space in my left chest cavity. When we woke up in the morning we opened all the windows and cleaned out a place in the dining room for Otto to play while we waited for Tavo and his under paid vacuum brigade. 9:30 came and went and 10:00 just mocked us. 10:30 took a shit on the floor in front of us and by 11:00 Tavo had called to say his van had broken down and he was waiting for a mechanic. Let me repeat that. HIS VAN WAS BROKEN DOWN.
Then the garbage disposal broke, filling our kitchen sink with nasty bits of carrot, egg and fury and we were now waiting for the landlord’s plumber to arrive as well. This dolt is as animated as a piece of plywood and had a keen ability to never do the job correctly. He had fixed the downstairs toilet three times in four months, the garbage disposal half a dozen times and always tracked in dirt on his boots while leaving behind a stench only a farm girl from the old country could truly distinguish between that of man or swine.
We put Otto down for a nap and crawled into bed to hide from the world until the Moe’s arrived. At 2:30, exactly five hours late, Tavo and a tan Lenny from “Of Mice And Men” walked into our house only to be enveloped by the smell of a rotting cardigan sweater the size of a Honda Civic. Tavo tried his best not to react to the odor but his sidekick had the poker face skills of a serial killer on a one hour NBC drama. Tavo tried to explain to me that he and Lenny would clean the rug again while we looked on and suddenly, my years of speaking grammatically incorrect Portuguese at home with my small, brown, Brazilian father, learning dirty Spanish words from cute Latin busboys while waiting tables and the two years of averaging a low C in high school Spanish suddenly kicked in. I told him in no uncertain terms that he and Lenny would be removing the rug immediamento and cleaning at un otra lugar and if it still smelled he would have to give us the dinero for it, por favor.
They agreed without argument as the fumes of a failed job overcame them and all four of us rolled up the stinky mess and carried it out to the van while I cracked a joke about a hauling of a dead body in Spanish. When they both laughed at my pathetic attempt at bilingual humor, I actually thought I might forgive them for ruining our entire weekend and our lung tissue but decided to wait a few more days for that Hallmark moment just in case they returned the rug in worse condition. After watching Tavo, Lenny and the putrid Wooly Mammoth drive away, Dave and I bleached the floors, high-fived one another and realized we liked the living room better without our funky shag.
I really did love that rug more than life itself but after being stuck with it decaying under my nose for three days and screaming at me with its rancid smell of failure, our relationship soured (no pun intended) and I do not know if it will ever be the same. Besides, our living room is now Otto’s very own tennis court and if it took this debacle to insure a place for him at the 2025 Wimbledon men’s finals, than so be it.