Chapter 15: A Lifetime Guarantee
My Totally Tan MAN arrived late Thursday. I was anxious to use it, but decided to wait until I was home alone. Just last week, Garrett had said at dinner, "Hey, Dad, guess how many times the brown truck came to our house last week?" John wasn't amused.
So, I resisted the impulse to open the box. Instead, I dragged my MAN into the basement and brought it out on Friday afternoon, after I had taken care of a few chores. Both kids were going to friends' houses after school and wouldn't be home until Saturday morning. Perfect.
I lugged the MAN upstairs, one step at a time, and pushed it to my craft room. I took it out of the box, moved a pile of stamps and inks and card stock scraps, and set it up on my craft table. It was so beautiful. There's something special about being one of the first people to use a new product. It made me feel special. Nevertheless, it was much larger than I thought it would be. It took up half my table and the cord couldn't reach the electrical outlet. I went to the basement and returned with an extension cord. Luckily, I was smart enough to buy the "bundle," which included the MAN, directions, a couple of gallons of liquid glue, some cardstock, and sheet after sheet of dimensionals. I set everything other than the MAN on the floor.
I read the directions twice. The front of the pamphlet had a picture of a woman smiling and holding up a multi layered card with a perfect quarter inch border. How hard could this be?
I followed the diagram and assembled the MAN. It took almost an hour to assemble and by then, it was almost 4. I should have stopped then, but I couldn't resist. I filled up the tank with the adhesive, and set the gallon jug of adhesive back on the floor.
I plugged the MAN into the outlet, and, as directed, let it heat up for about 5 minutes. I realized that I needed to clear some space on the other side of the MAN so the layers would have room to come out of the machine. To make room, I moved some jars of embossing powder, my precious heat gun, scissors, and a few containers of buttons on the floor.
I inserted my cardstock layers, one on each platform, hit the "permanent liquid adhesive" button, and pressed "on." My MAN started making a low grumbling noise. The directions didn't say anything about noise and the ads for it mentioned "whisper quiet." But a lot of machines make noise at first so I wasn't really concerned.
Nothing happened. I added more glue and carefully put the jug back on the floor. I glanced at the buttons and embossing powder and briefly thought about putting the lids on, but then the MAN starting moving. The platforms were moving in the right direction through the MAN! Ha ha! No more scotch tape. No more kindergarten glue sticks! I was adhering like a professional!
Within seconds, though, the platforms stalled again. I waited. I figured that the MAN needed more glue, so I filled it to the top. The directions said to stop at the line, but since it wasn't working, I figured more glue would kind of grease the wheels. Finally, I could hear the adhesive being applied and the platforms were moving again.
Then, my MAN half coughed/half exploded. Suddenly, glue was everywhere, bubbling and gurgling and spilling out of the top and out of the platforms. It slithered onto my table and then onto the floor, adhering the dimensionals and buttons to the carpet. The glue was headed for my heat gun. I pressed the off button, but it didn't make a difference. Then I pulled the plug out of the outlet, but the glue kept flowing and was headed for the foyer near the front door.
I jumped over the glue on the floor, and knocked over the open gallon of glue. I didn't stop to pick it up. I figured it was more important to get a towel to wipe up the glue before it hardened. I got a towel from the kitchen, ran back, and tried to jump over the glue again. However, I missed, and my foot slid in the glue and I fell and burned my hand.
Quickly, I got up, ran back to the kitchen, and ran cold water over my hand. I ran back, headed towards my craft room. I stopped when I got to the foyer. Glue was everywhere, running down the foyer.
I couldn't get close enough to see what the MAN looked like without walking through the steaming hot glue. Was I smelling something burning? I was afraid the MAN would burst into flames. I didn't know what to do, so I called 911.
"911. What's your address?"
I gave her my address and then the operator said, "Thank you, ma'm. What's your emergency?"
"My MAN is completely out of control. There's glue all over the floor and its headed down the hallway towards the kitchen and my hand is burnt."
"All right, M'am. I've alerted an ambulance. Listen carefully. I want to make sure I understand. If you are telling me that a man is in your house and burned you with hot glue, just say to me: "How long will it take for you to get here?"
"What? I don't understand. Listen, my hand really hurts and I can smell something burning. How long will it take for the police and ambulance to get here? Someone needs to stop my MAN from setting my house on fire!"
"All right, M'am. I understand. Stay calm. I've alerted the police to the situation. I'll stay on the phone until the police arrive."
I was so relieved that help was on the way that I didn't notice she was sending the police.
And then I started crying.
"Ma'm, have the police arrived?"
"Yes, I hear them pulling up."
"All right then. I'm hanging up now. Good luck."
Even though it all happened lightening fast, it felt like everything was in slow motion.
I opened the kitchen door leading to the garage, leaned into the garage, and opened the garage door and ran outside. I didn't know why the police were there, but I didn't want them coming through the front door because they would just run into the glue. The police car came to a stop in our driveway and two officers jumped out with their guns drawn. Right after that, two fire trucks and an ambulance pulled up, sirens blaring. Before I could say a word to anyone, John arrived home from work and came running over to me.
One police officer, with his gun pointed right at John, ordered him to lie on the ground. John's eyes opened wide. He looked at me and then back at the police.
"Sir, get on the ground now!"
John dropped to the ground and started yelling, "This is my house. This is my wife. I'm a lawyer! What is going on?"
While one police officer frisked and handcuffed John, the other came over to me and looked at my hand and asked me if John had burned my hand. Suddenly, I realized that the 911 operator had told them that John had thrown hot glue on me.
"Listen," I screamed. "You're making a terrible mistake. This is my husband! He didn't do this to me. It's the MAN in the house. It's out of control."
Both officers, still with their guns drawn, ran into the house, leaving John writhing on the driveway and yelling. Unfortunately, the police headed towards the front door, which I had opened earlier in the day.
"NO!," I shouted, but too late. The police ran into the foyer, which was covered with hot, bubbling, glue. One officer fell down into the glue. The other kept running, tracking glue everywhere.
I left John, still handcuffed and yelling on the ground, and ran through the side door into the kitchen. I could hear one officer yelling; the other was upstairs. I could also hear the MAN, still gurgling and making weird sounds.
An hour later, and the police, fireman, and paramedics were gone. The MAN was sitting on our patio in the backyard, cooling off. I didn't have a chance to see how my cardstock layers looked.
Much of our first floor was covered with glue, and as advertised, it was permanent. John called our homeowners insurance and they agreed to send a disaster recovery team to the house on Saturday. He seemed a little upset, so I told him, "Listen, John, this isn't my fault. I followed the directions!! And the MAN comes with a lifetime guarantee. That must be worth something! I'm sure the manufacturer will pay us a lot for all of this! We should hire one of those disaster lawyers and sue them. We'll make a fortune!"
John walked over to the counter. He picked up his car keys, turned to me and said, "M, your stamping days are officially over. Find another hobby." And he walked out the house.
Next: Chapter 16