This weekend turned out to be less than ideal for working on Sputnik.
The trouble started at around three o'clock as hubs and I were plugging away. I had been polishing and sandblasting for a couple of hours and was covered from the neck up in black soot. I looked like a chimney sweep. So in puffs the very personification of Piggy from Lord of the Flies, albeit a grown man. Thinning white hair, a big pot belly strapped in by both suspenders and a belt, a perfectly spherical pink head that was sweating profusely, and small, unfocused eyes blearing from behind a pair of round coke-bottle glasses. He is hot and flustered, for he had to walk all 30 feet from where his car broke down in the driveway to the nearest open shop door. My kind and patient husband first attempts to jump his battery, then offers to let him use the shop phone to call home. Five minutes and several wrong phone numbers later, hubs is now holding the phone and dialing for Piggy, who keeps switching numbers around every time hubs redials. Finally, he remembers his phone number and says his son is coming to get him.
The next 45 minutes were torture.
Piggy takes one look at me and says "What is on your face?" At this point I was holding a pair of metal shears and trying to cut a new front panel. I politely inform him that I have been polishing aluminum. This seems to satisfy him and he shuffles over to the trailer and sits on the bumper, causing Sputnik to groan under the weight. Now I am starting to get a little peeved. Hubs offers him a stool to sit on instead, which he stares blankly at, but remains on the bumper. I then tell him that I am not sure how strong the bumper is and offer him the stool, repeating this three times in a very loud voice. When he realizes the implications of fat man + broken bumper, he stands up quickly and looks at it like it bit him. Apparently unable to remain vertical without putting his weight on something, he leans both arms on the unsupported window frame.
The metal is bending and I am beginning to stew in my own juices. He then notices the shiny metal and reaches over to put his sweaty paw on what I had just finished polishing. He does a little walk around the trailer, absent-mindedly placing his palm on the polished skin, leaving grease marks every few feet.
Steam is issuing from my ears.
I try and distract him by walking a good distance from the trailer, then quietly asking him a question so that he says "EH?" loudly and takes a few steps towards me. He gets a better look at my face and then nearly shouts "What is that on your face?" Fortunately for him my face was covered in soot, otherwise he would have seen the 12 shades of mad I turned. For the next few minutes, he tells me about all of the failed businesses that he has owned over his lifetime. I am not surprised in the least. Then I get to hear about his wonderful 1995 Buick with only 48,000 original miles on it, that is now immobilized in the driveway.
Finally his adult son shows up to take him away, notices the trailer and says, "Wow, and old Airstream! What's it gonna be?"
In spite of Mr. Bumbling Incompetence, we are able to get the front panel off and new metal cut for the front and back.