06 Jun

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!

stressed meme

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.)

Lucille Ball and Ricky

MOI:      Hey Babe? [The wife has waited until the husband is preoccupied with reading the news on his iPad.]

WW:      Hum?

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!


(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.”

Delivery Packages

Photo Credit: CBS

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.

Some Assembly Required

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 spider face

Lucille Ball’s classic “spider face” after a screw-up



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.



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!

 Marriage Imperfect Human beings


“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

Love and Marriage



Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Anniversary Toast




Posted by on June 6, 2015 in Uncategorized


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  1. Daddy Bear

    June 6, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    Reminds me of what I told She Who Must Be Obeyed before our wedding: “It’s important to remember that this relationship will only work if each of us is willing to do 90% of the work it requires.”

    Good luck on the move!

    • etomczyk

      June 6, 2015 at 11:50 pm

      Thanks Daddy Bear. Hope all is well with you and your entire bear family. 🙂

  2. Diane Bramos

    June 7, 2015 at 5:58 am

    Always makes me happy to know there are others out there like me. You crack me up!!! The shenanigans my bestie and I would get into (before she MOVED) would make our spouses sigh and shake their heads. My hubs says he can’t take me out in public… Happy Anniversary to you!! Enjoy your new house and furniture!!

    • etomczyk

      June 14, 2015 at 7:42 am

      Thanks Diane for stopping by. This moving stuff after all these years has given me at least three months of blog fodder. I’m taking notes! Take care.

  3. valentinelogar

    June 7, 2015 at 6:25 am

    You give me hope, truly you do.

    Good luck on your move, though I believe with the two of you it isn’t truly luck you need just continued good spirits. I will wait (impatiently) for July to come so you can regale us with your tales, in the meantime enjoy the move (really).

    Happy anniversary and Happy Born Day.

    • etomczyk

      June 14, 2015 at 7:41 am

      Thanks Val. This moving stuff does try men’s (and women’s) souls. Although, I have taken all your suggestions and it has made things a lot easier (cleaning service, packers, movers, etc.) Thanks for the much needed advice. See you in July and wishing you all the best.

  4. silentlyheardonce

    June 7, 2015 at 6:41 am

    This is a great write. I enjoyed reading your effortless flow of writing. Your skills are masterful.

  5. aFrankAngle

    June 7, 2015 at 7:01 am

    Not sure where to start.

    Oh dear … a mink coat in Saudi Arabia? You have lost it!!! … oh I know … just stylin’! … Happy Anniversary & Birthday! …. Moving is more than stressful … 20 boxes of furniture with instructions? … You be payin’!!! … You forgot something for your long list of stresses – that’s is workin’ on that third book you crazy woman! … cheers.

    • etomczyk

      June 14, 2015 at 7:36 am

      Hi Frank.

      That mink coat story is truer than you can possibly imagine. When the kids read this post (both in their 30s), they sent us text messages that said they learned at the age of five years old if they told their Dad, “You can get the greatest deal on such-and-such” they would most likely get what they wanted. As adults they now start out their purchasing communication with WW like, “Hey dad, I just bought a new car and you wouldn’t believe the deal I got!” And he proceeds to beam with joy at their purchasing skill-set. Very funny!

      I can’t believe you’re teasing me about the third book. I’m still shaking from stress from finishing the second book! Yikes!

      • aFrankAngle

        June 14, 2015 at 8:38 pm

        Too funny about your kids reacting to a deal. Awesome! In terms of teasing you about book #3, you laugh … but you know it’s true!

  6. imagesbytdashfield

    June 7, 2015 at 7:24 am

    Good luck with the move…we’re trying not to kill each other (read me throttle him) as we look for a new home. I want “this” kind of house and he keeps reminding me that this is the time we should be downsizing if I want to become a famous around the globe travel photographer one day when the retirement bell sounds 😉 And happy anniversary.

    • etomczyk

      June 14, 2015 at 7:29 am

      Hi Teri.

      We also had that discussion. Ended up with the bigger home (the dream house). Fortunately, WW fell in love with the house way before I did, so it didn’t take any persuasion on my part. It was the kids we had to convince (now in their 30s and living on both coasts). They felt we should do the condo in the over 50s compound. WW and I laughed hysterically and said, “We will never be that old.” I say buy what makes you happy because at this stage of the game it is our last hurrah! Good luck!

      • imagesbytdashfield

        June 14, 2015 at 7:48 am

        Yeah, we are leaning towards a condo because neither of us is going to do yard work or outside repairs and we like to travel too much (plus save up more for the eventual retirement)

      • etomczyk

        June 14, 2015 at 9:01 am

        Teri. I hear you on that one. We love, love, love to travel and plan to do so as long as we can, but we also love to entertain. I know that WW and I have the gift of hospitality. I have been told over the years that when a visitor spends time in our home, they leave so much better than when they arrived–full of joy, happy memories, and invigorating conversations. Hopefully, we’ll be able to balance both. All the best in your search, and if you are ever down our way (Williamsburg, VA) shoot me an email because I would love to meet you and DH and serve you some lunch on the deck overlooking the nature preserve.

      • imagesbytdashfield

        June 14, 2015 at 11:49 am

        Any historic photography spots or other photo worthy spots near you? Trying to find a way to get there one day 🙂

      • etomczyk

        June 14, 2015 at 4:19 pm

        Of course: Colonial Williamsburg, Historic Jamestowne, Jamestown Settlement, Bruton Parish Episcopal Church (the oldest church in America that still has an active congregation and services–George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe worshipped there), and Yorktown (battlefields of Revolutionary War). Not to mention Busch Gardens, Water Country USA, and Kings Dominion if amusement parks are your thing. My grandson thinks he has died and gone to heaven and never plans to return home after his first visit with us. 🙂

  7. becomingcliche

    June 7, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    I’m forwarding this to my husband. We’ve assembled a few things together. It never ended well.

    Happy anniversary!

    • etomczyk

      June 14, 2015 at 7:24 am

      Hi Heather.

      WW made an announcement after everything had been assembled that he will never, ever, ever do “some assembly required again.” Of course he will also never, ever pay full price for something so we might be at a stalemate for the first time in our 36 year long marriage. Stay tuned. 🙂

  8. Lorna's Voice

    June 8, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Looks like you have an excellent start for your next book! Good luck with everything (and by “everything” I mean I hope you get to relax a little, too). 🙂

    • etomczyk

      June 14, 2015 at 7:21 am

      Hi Lorna.

      I’m afraid there will be no rest for the weary until we get to the other side. Getting rid of 36 years of “stuff” is truly overwhelming. But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and planted squarely in that light is a delicious gin and tonic on the deck of my new home.

      Take care.

      • Lorna's Voice

        June 16, 2015 at 8:04 pm

        Now that’s something worth sorting and unpacking for! 🙂 Drink up!

  9. Elyse

    June 13, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    I am pretty sure that there are stats on the number of marriages that collapse as a result of unassembled furniture. Positive, in fact. So glad that yours made it through the ordeal! But of course, I am not at all surprised.

    Looking forward to our rendez-vous!

    And thanks for that great “Stress” picture. If the hair were curlier, that could be me!

    • etomczyk

      June 14, 2015 at 7:19 am

      Elyse, I am pretty sure you are correct–this “some assembly required” is a trip!

      I’m also looking forward to our lunch–it will be a welcome distraction and an oasis of peace in the midst of moving hell.

  10. Dawn Quyle Landau

    June 15, 2015 at 12:48 am

    Oh. My.

  11. aFrankAngle

    July 2, 2015 at 9:42 am

    PS: Hope you are enjoying your break … but this is perfect for your enjoyment.


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