Have You Heard the One About the Two Portly Ladies and the Scotsman?

So, about six months ago (maybe longer), our roof started leaking. It was near a skylight, so maybe it was just a crack in the skylight seal, or maybe it was a problem in another part of the roof that was pooling at the skylight. This was A Concern.

Iain, who is afraid of heights, made a good attempt to get up on the roof, but the leak was at the very top of a two-level roof, and he couldn't get up to the second level. Nerve damage in my left foot makes me useless on a ladder, so I was no help. We had to call in a roofer.

I started making calls…and making calls…and making calls… No one would call me back. I got referrals and made more calls. No one would take the job. Too small. Oh, pardon me. I will call back when the leak has created a ten thousand dollar problem!

Coincidentally, Shakesville contributor Portly Dyke, a former contractor with roofing experience, was thinking about how she could get money together for a trip out to the Midwest. Though we've been friends for years, we've never met—and she hadn't visited her parents at their home in quite some time. One day, on our weekly Wednesday chat, I said jokingly, "I'm getting so desperate, I'm going to fly you out here to fix it!" Long story short, we flew Portly out here to fix it.

And, of course, so we could visit in person for the first time—which was OMG SO FUN!

Portly arrived on the 30th of September, and stayed until a week ago today. It was deeply unfortunate that I was couch-bound for pretty much the entirety of our visit because my back is made of garbage. It's not like we were planning to go out dancing, but, for our first visit, I would have liked to have been able to, you know, cook some nice meals, or walk, or sit upright, lol.

Still, it was nothing less than great to get to meet in person after knowing one another for so long online—and it was definitely one of those meetings where you feel like you've never not known each other in person. Luckily, I can still natter endlessly while lying on a couch covered in furry beasties. (Who, by the way, also all loved Portly to bits, natch.)

Portly and Dudz hang out on the couch
Portly Dyke and Skinny Dog

Iain and Portly thoroughly (and adorbzably) bonded over beer. Portly introduced us to West Wing, a rite of passage, and we introduced her to RockBand.

Video Description: Iain and Portly perform Electric Six's "Gay Bar" on Rock Band—Iain is singing (tragically, I just missed Iain belting out, "I've got something to put in you!") and Portly is playing guitar. Lots of beer has been drunk. At the end of the song, Portly expresses surprise that they still managed to get four stars, then asks if I took a picture of her. I tell her I was recording her performing "Gay Bar" with Iain McEwan, then giggle. She demands another song!

(Posted with both Iain's and Portly's permission. Portly: "Yes—definitely post it. Nothing like a fat drunken lesbian in a filthy shirt to brighten a Shaker's day!!!" Truer words, never spoken.)

Regrettably, neither of them thought to record my AWESOME rendition of the Stone Temple Pilots' "Plush," which has the stupendous lyric, "When the dogs begin to smell her / Will she smell alone?" Uggghhh.

On Monday afternoon, Portly and I hung out with Mama Shakes and we three funny portly ladies together watched funny portly lady Melissa McCarthy host Saturday Night Live while sharing some tasty sandwiches and sweet potato fries Mama Shakes had brought. It was the kind of Great Broads afternoon that I hope all women have in their lives, as often as possible.

The roof, as it turned out, took no time at all to fix (as an aside, Portly is Spider-Woman, just FYI)—and, despite the fact that there is no way I could have gotten a roofer out here for less than probably three times what Portly's tickets cost, and the relief from worry and further damage alone was worth more money than I will ever have, Portly, at her insistence, also took care of a few of those little projects that we could do ourselves, but never get around to doing. She tightened a bathroom faucet that needed tightening, replaced a hallway light fixture with a new one we've had sitting in the garage for five years (yiiiiiiiiiiiikes), replaced our front door lockset which had broken, fixed a fubared front porch lightswitch, and replaced a kitchen light fixture, too.

(Hilariously, the fixture Iain and I had bought for the kitchen turned out to be crap, and did not provide enough light for our kitchen. Portly offered to replace it with a second new one, and I was like, "Hell no—you're done!" But when she and Iain ran to the hardware store for some roofing supplies, they bought another fixture and she installed it without my knowledge, then called me into the kitchen. "You two assholes!" I exclaimed, as they laughed uproariously at having fooled me.)

image of new kitchen light fixture
Great new fixture photographed with shitty mobile camera.

I was sad when Portly left, because, fuck, we live really far apart and we're not going to get to see each other very often. I will miss being able to talk to her face to face, and break bread with her, and mush our big boobs together when we hug. But every time I turn on a light she replaced or hear raindrops tapping on the skylight, I will feel her in my home.

I don't believe that everything happens for a reason, but I do believe we can give reason to things that have happened. And so, as frustrating as it was that I could not get a local roofer to call me back, I ultimately couldn't be happier that they didn't.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus