Pink House Alexander Manitoba

 

Pink House Alexander Manitoba

(rough copy)

September 2020

Dad and mother sold the nice house in the suburbs of Brandon Manitoba where my fancy new bike for riding on the paved roads and sidewalks fit in. We moved to Alexander Manitoba to a big 5 bedroom house with a sloped roof and big yard. Dad wanted the bigger yard and a place to build a shop of his dreams. The house we were told was built from lumber when they torn down the first Manitoba Pool elevator to build the new one. The fellow who built the house was not a carpenter like my dad so it was only fitting that dad continue with mistakes after mistakes. Back in the 1970s there were no home improvement shows on TV for the “do it at home builder” it was all in books. Dad would order these book which were huge volume sets from Readers Digest and Popular Science. Only problem was I picked up the mail and could not carry these books sets when they arrived. I had to walk home and get my wagon then go back to get the boxes of books. Basically this books were 10 years out of date because of when they were published and contained really north of education value. The book sets were tossed in a spare room after only being glanced through a couple of times. Now if he had spent his money wisely on a Playboy Magazine subscription then there would have been hours of enjoyable reading.

The house original design had a one car garage at the east end of the house but the fellow who built the house decided to take out the garage door and built a fire place out of rocks from farmer’s fields around town. Nobody told us the fire place did not work for some reason because it was never designed properly. Through out the summer we gather wood for the fire place because that will reduce the cost of heating the house. Then when the first cool fall day arrived it was a big event to light the first fire in the fire place. The smoke would not go up the chimney and we had to open all the doors and windows to let the smoke out. For the next 2 months dad and mother would not give up on the fire place and smoked out the house numerous times trying to get it to work. Dad brought home a non English speaking fellow from Europe who was in Canada visiting. This fellow in his broken English kept saying “wrong” over and over. But he did get a fire going in the fire place and the smoke was going up the chimney with a few changes he had made. Then the fire was getting hot in the firebox part and you could feel the heat in the room that is when the rocks used to build the fireplace would exploded. Little bits of rocks were flying every where and they hurt when you got hit by them. The fire place was total built with the wrong rocks so it was officially no good and a waste of time. Dad built a wall to hide the fireplace and keep the heat in that room which was the family room that had the colour TV which was state of the art back then. Being colour blind I could not see what the big excitement was over this expensive colour TV because it looked all the same to me.

Over the winter dad and mother had people come and inspect the fireplace to see if it could be salvaged because it is suppose cut our heating bills down. One of the fellow to visit looked at the house house and told dad that the family room is heated and the concrete pad extends outside where it is cold. This is cause the concrete to lift up and it pulling the family room away from the main house. Inspection of the concrete pad came back as not worth cutting or try to save. Then dad got mad and we ripped that part of the house off because it was falling off anyways. We smashed the fire place apart and dragged to the dump east of town. We spent the summer making the old family room an outside deck area with the cover roof for the rainy days or snow days.

The first winter in the house was disaster because of the water and sewer and anything else that could possible go wrong went wrong. It was the following summer that the shop got build and that was an adventure. Dad dug out the footing for the shop using the ground as level because it looks level. Then the concrete guy showed up to get the forms ready to pour the concrete but the ground was not level. When they set up the fancy surveyor level and stick they marked where “real” level was which was about 18” higher the dad’s ground level. Now the panic is on and the local contractor comes and helps dad with more gravel and get it level to the marks the concrete guy left. With that drama done and everything is ready for the concrete guys to start on Monday with forms and pour the concrete. Dad and I are in Brandon and we stop by Beaver Lumber to check on the delivery of the new shop materials. The lumber store has a problem on getting the wooden arch rafters in the size dad order which the concrete pad will be poured for. But have bigger ones in stock for Wednesday delivery which is right after the concrete being finished. Dad just agrees and we rush home to see if the local contractor on a late Saturday afternoon can haul more gravel to make the pad wider for the bigger building. Dad was able to get a hold of the concrete guy on that Saturday and he drove out to Alexander and sited in new lines for dad and the contractor to follow plus he knew to bring more material on Monday because the cement pad is now bigger.

Everything worked out well and construction of the new shop is under way. All their friends show up the first day to help stand up the rafters and build the new shop. After that is it just us building the new shop because that is what friends are for. Dad was not very good with height and the sister and I standing up and walk around on the roof or on the rafters made him nervous. After he fell off the roof by sliding down the curve part and landing in the garden he would only come up to the top of the ladder to instruct us on shingling the roof. We had no power nailers it was all hit the nail with the hammer and go to the next one. Helping build the shop paid off in the end when I got older and dad was complaining about me using the shop too much. That is when I would point out to him if it was not for me there would be no roof on this building past 10 feet because you are afraid of heights. The shop was enclosed by winter and it worked out good because we had a place to work. Even if it was something for the house.

The house was it original brown and white colours for first couple of years that we lived in it. Then there was the big house paint party and all their friends show up the first day for the beer and food and never come back to finish the job. Dad and mother never said the colour but everyone helping to paint the house had some good comments which some were pretty funny. Since I’m colour blind I was painting the house grey. Everyone thought that once the paint sets in the colour would change but it didn’t it became more pink. But to paint the house 3 more times over the years and even after the Paterson Grain elevator burnt down causing heat damage to the pink house. This would have been a prefect chance to change the colours with professional painters doing the work instead of non-professionals drinking beer and painting. But no, the pink paint was repainted

The pink house was built as a non open style living room, dinning room and kitchen. Mother wanted an open style. Not sure why they did this because when you drove past the house on the front street you could look through the house and see if someone was in the back lane because the big windows lined up perfectly. We got to help dad rip out walls and rooms on the main floor to make the open-ness. In one wall we found a prefect skeleton of a mouse that died inside the wall. Since it was Xmas time we put the skeleton in a chocolate candy tin container. The sister took the skeleton to show her class and everyone thought she was going to share Xmas chocolates. But they got a surprise when the tin container was opened and the skeleton was there. Having a complete skelton was rare back then so it was good science project. As our pets died we buried them in the front flower bed like the previous owner did. Then people asked why there was no flower in that part of the flower bed and we explained it was a pet cemetery. Dad and mother got a bunch of little stick trees given to them when we first moved in to the pink house. We planted them and had to weed and water them like the garden. It was a pain in the ass by once the trees grew up all the hard work was worth it.

Once the sister and I got older we did not attend all the hot rod runs on the weekends with dad and mother because we had jobs so we just stayed home. The sister was always ratting me out for having too much fun in the pink house on the weekends. This one time I only had a couple of friends over to watch the new release of Maximum Overdrive which was Stephen King’s first film he ever directed with the AC/DC rock band doing the sound track. The film came out on VHS and I had the new VHS player with surround sound. The film did not excite us but the sound track was excellent. The film went on to be a cult classic by the year 2020.

It was a relaxing evening watching the film and enjoying a few beers with a couple of friends. When they left to go home, Naughty Natalie enjoyed a bottle of Johnny Walker Scotch that was in dad booze cupboard since there was no more beer. Being young and skinny, we both got really drunk really fast and spent the night throwing up. In the morning we got up and left the pink house and head to Brandon to work because that is all we seem to do. When I returned to the pink house that night. The empty bottle of Johnny Walker Scotch was on the counter that I made sure it was in the garbage and the house was clean. Mother said I had some explaining to do. I knew the sister ratted me out again. I told her we watched the movie and when we ran out of beer, we drank the bottle of Johnny Walker Scotch because were not going driving to get more beer when we have been drinking. Then Mother is all upset that Naughty Natalie spent the night here in the pink house. My reply was “she was too drunk to leave”. That did not impress mother. Then mother starts in on the usual speech about having sex in her house. That is when I pointed out if you are looking through the garbage what else did you find??? Now she is even more mad and the fire is in her eyes. Then I told mother that we were too drunk because we were throwing up what we drank. That is when dad got mad, first you drink my Johnny Walker Scotch that I was saving, I interrupt saying “15 years” was not a good idea on my part right there and then. Then dad says “what pisses me off the most is you threw it up” that is a total waste of good booze. Then I really hung myself out to dry by saying the Johnny Walker Scotch bottle was most likely was past the expiry date. That is when he got more mad and did not say anything more. I told them the house was clean and nothing happened. I’m going to bed because I have had a bad hangover headache all day while working then to drive home in the 37 Dodge with the 3” side pipes does not help.

It continued all summer with the sister ratting me out but it was OK if Naughty Natalie and I came home to the pink house full of her 1980s Disco Queens (queen stands for male and female). The hardest part of walking through the house to my bedroom upstairs was that these people would just stared at us as if we were freaks. I always wore Heavy Metal Rock tee shirt and blue jeans while Naughty Natalie wore tight painted on blue jeans and a low cut top showing her cleavage plus hardly any make up to show off her natural beauty. Half of the sister’s Disco Queens you could not tell if they were male or female by the clothes they wore and the amount of make up they layered on. Since my bedroom was beside the bathroom there was little chance we could get any sleep because the Disco Queens were power flushing the toilet as if they lived in the city. When we get up in the morning we don’t even eat the usual corn flakes breakfast like we always do but just leave. There are Disco Queens still in the house which is not my problem because we have to go to work.

When I get home that night after work mother is all upset because someone had dad’s 1980 Super Trooper Album by ABBA out and the record was not put back in the protective sleeve. Of course the sister is trying to blame me. I just ignore what mother is talking about and get ready for bed. As if I would be listening to ABBA when it is all Judas Priest, Quiet Riot and AC/DC for me. Then mother says maybe your friend Naughty Natalie? That was when I laughed at her and told her she is grasping for straws. Maybe one of the sister’s Disco Queens that were power flushing the toilet was listening to the album? Mother says nothing and I went to bed. My days were numbered living in the pink house.

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