IMP. NOTE: Author is taking a break. Last blog until July 12th!
Do you know what I discovered this week? Within the month of June, my husband (WW, a.k.a. “White and Wonderful”) had a minor operation, we sold a house and bought a new house, my witch of a doctor refused to turn over my medical records to move with me so I filed a legal complaint against her, I launched a 2nd book (Fleeing Oz) and reworked my website to support that book. I am launching an advertising campaign, while trying to maintain a humorous blog (getting not so funny by the minute), and I am turning 67 on the same day I celebrate my 36th wedding anniversary with the love of my life (I got married on my birthday). I am also trying not to have a heart attack!
In the midst of all this higher than normal stress level, I thought it would be a good idea to buy a couple of items of outdoor furniture online for my lovely new home, have them sent to me in the old house, so the movers could load them along with the rest of the household goods and plant them nicely on my new screened in porch and deck. If I do say so myself, I have exquisite taste and I went right to the outdoor rich-bitch furniture store catalogue. I picked out a charming porch set consisting of one dark wicker/aluminum couch, two love seats with ottomans, one rather large coffee table, and an expansive patio set with six “rocking” chairs, a massive stone-carved table, and an eleven-foot umbrella. Did I mention that the wicker set was offset by copious “simply-to-die-for” sky-blue cushions, topped off by a shameful overindulgence of floral throw pillows? All I had to do was convince my husband that this was a necessity for the new house. But that was the problem. WW was in no mood to hear about me wanting to spend more money after what it cost to sell our old house and purchase our new one.
Now normally, WW is a very generous man, but there are times when he becomes quite parsimonious—a dyed-in-the-wool Ricky Ricardo, and I become (out of necessity) a “crazy, conniving, lost her marbles” chocolate Lucille Ball when he starts to worry about the bills and ties a knot in the purse strings. During those situations, desperate times have to call for desperate means by moi. After 36 years I always know how to get what I want because WW has a weakness: if you get it on sale—whether you need it or not—he’ll acquiesce. (I could buy a mink coat to wear to Saudi Arabia in the middle of a heat wave if I got it on sale for 60-75% off.)
MOI: Hey Babe? [The wife has waited until the husband is preoccupied with reading the news on his iPad.]
MOI: You know, our new house has such a lovely, HUGE deck and that great screened in porch; wouldn’t it be great if we got some new furniture to make the deck and porch just pop? I mean, wouldn’t you just love to mix up some gin and tonics and sit back in cushioned rocking chairs while we gaze out over the nature preserve that our deck overlooks?
WW: What happened to our old furniture?
MOI: That’s just it—it’s oooooollldddd! Besides, it’s gone. I gave it to the Junk Man—I paid him to take it away.
WW: You did what? You gave away our great furniture? That furniture was still good. I had just broken in the seat cushions to just where I like them to cup my butt. There is no “testing, testing, testing” as I ease into my spot; I had broken the cushions in so that I just aim my butt to the general location and it guides itself in like a heat-seeking missile. We could have used that deck furniture until Jesus came back, and it would have been fine by me.
MOI: Seriously, Dude? That furniture was sooooo ghetto. I can’t go living around White folks in that gated community you’re moving me to looking like I’m on welfare. I’ve got a rep to maintain. I’m pretty sure our outdoor furniture is the reason Jesus is tarrying—he’ll come back when he has something decent to sit on. Take a look at the gorgeous furniture sets I want from Showoff Magazine—the mag for people who have more money than God!
WW: Uh-huh, and that’s not us. This furniture costs thousands of dollars. You need to sell a hell of a lot more books, Cutie, if you want to get this because there is no budget for that kind of extravagance.
MOI: Humph. What was that quote you told me about from the retirement seminar at work? “Money is in motion when life is in transition.”
WW: I knew I was going to rue the day I ever told you that saying. Yes, we are in transition but our bank account cannot move too much in the downward direction or we’ll have to come out of retirement. Can you say “Fixed Income” twenty times front and back—it works either way.
MOI: Well, what if I could find what I wanted at a cheaper price—say 60-75% off?
WW: Really . . . 60 to 75% off? I’m listening. [The wife looks into the camera with a wry smile as if to say to the audience, “What did I tell you?”]
MOI: I found the same porch and deck sets at our local big box store with free delivery!
WW: Yeah, what’s the catch?
MOI: No catch. Just “some assembly required,” [The wife says in a soto voce manner] which I’m sure a man as brilliant as you will have no trouble putting together. The way the description reads, there will probably be no more than two boxes—tops!
. . . AND THEN THE FURNITURE ARRIVED . . .
(This is how I imagined my lovely furniture would arrive . . .)
Photo credit: USPS News Consumer Affairs
This is something like how my furniture did arrive (in about 20 different boxes—crushed, torn, and open) delivered by two “fresh off the boat” Africans, barely able to speak English who kept saying over my screams, “LADY, WHAT DE PROBLEM? No worries. Boxes a little broken, but hey, if problem, call us back, we take away, bring you others. Happens all the time with us. It’s okay? It’s all good. Sign here. We go now.”
Photo Credit: CBS http://www.newyork.cbslocal.com
I was standing in the garage trying to figure out how to camouflage my 20 crushed, mangled, and dilapidated boxes of furniture so that my husband wouldn’t have a heart attack when he saw them, when I heard his footsteps in the driveway as he yelled, “CUTIE, YOU HAVE SOME EXPLAINING TO DO! WHY DID I JUST FIND A STREAM OF NUTS AND BOLTS ALONG WITH SEVERAL ALLEN WRENCHS TRAILING DOWN THE STREET AS FAR AS THE EYES CAN SEE? WOMAN, WHAT HAVE YOU GOTTEN US INTO?”
As I sheepishly handed WW the paperwork to the 20 boxes of furniture pieces, I tried to moonwalk back to the house as he looked down in horror at the four pages of “some assembly required” instructions. I could have sworn I saw a tear course down his left check [The wife looks at the camera and whispers: “If you remember from an earlier episode, being a handyman is not WW’s strong suit”]. I am absolutely sure I heard a string of guttural swear words I never heard come from a human before.
WW was inordinately quiet, and just when I thought I was home free, I heard my husband softly say (you know, that kind of still, small voice that you better not mess with, because that person has had it up to his eyeballs with your manipulation and shenanigans): “Eleanor, you will be helping me with this debacle for the six days and nights that I am sure it is going to take us to put it together—that’s if we have all the parts of which I am doubtful. Please bring me several different sizes of Allen wrenches, all of the regular wrenches you can find, several screwdrivers, my tool belt, my tool box, and a stiff drink!”
I gave him that classic Lucille Ball look that she always gave Ricky when one of her schemes had failed, and I quietly returned in my work overalls (my fat jeans with my “Ask Me About My Book” oversized t-shirt), with a handfull of pliers instead of screwdrivers (who knew, I thought they were the same thing), the tool box, a stiff drink, and no “Steve wrenches, honey, because I couldn’t find them.” I had no idea what an “Allen wrench” was—just remembered that it was a man’s name—so “Steve wrench” sounded good enough to me. WW let out a huge sigh, quietly went to get the Allen wrenches himself, and hugged me when he came back, and we began to dig amongst the boxes for bits and pieces of furniture parts to try and build beautiful furniture together. Whew! Good thing this man loves me, that’s all I can say.
Lucille Ball’s classic “spider face” after a screw-up
MY A-HA MOMENT FROM MY LUCILLE BALL SHENANIGANS THIS WEEK!
I am discovering that marriage cannot be entered into with any hope of success unless both parties realize that they come together with “some assembly required” labels. Some arrogant wannabe pastor once told me that people have to be two perfect wholes before they can marry and make a success of it (he had an affair and divorced his wife within a year of that stupid statement). There is no such thing as a totally perfect human being. When we fall in love with someone, there are nuts and bolts dripping out of both parties, squished cardboard packaging covering our frames, some of our pieces might even be missing, and it takes a lot of spiritual wrenches and screwdrivers to make the two humans fit together in a cohesive manner that over a lifetime will make a beautiful endearing entity. Marriage takes a lot of hard work! If a couple has the glue of friendship, it will go a long way in building a strong unit, and if they have the screws of “stick-to-it-ness” they may even leave a loving legacy for their kids to follow.
HAPPY 36TH ANNIVERSARY WW (“WHITE AND WONDERFUL”). I LOVE YOU MORE THAN ANY WORDS COULD EVER EXPRESS. THANKS FOR NEVER GIVING UP ON ME. JE T’ADORE!
TO MY READERS: I am going to take a blogging break so that I can actually survive June! The next time I see you, I’ll be in my new home, in another city, with a lot of chocolate Lucille Ball stories to regale you with as I try to start a new chapter in my life. I will probably return in early July! Until then, be good, tell all your friends and relatives about my new book, Fleeing Oz, and God bless!
“Maybe what we say to each other is not so important after all, but just that we are alive together, and present for each other as best we can be.”― Anne Lamott, Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son
“Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife.”—Franz Schubert
“When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.”—Friedrich Nietzsche
“To keep your marriage brimming,
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;
Whenever you’re right, shut up.”—Ogden Nash
“There is nothing nobler or more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.”—Homer
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