Archive for August, 2012

Finished with the kitchen floor, we move onto the living-room, using the same hardwood to keep the downstairs uniform. We get the wood, bring it home and let it sit. Again, I engage in pep talks.

The living-room is a long room, filled with multiple pieces of furniture. I suggested my husband cover the furniture before he began work. He didn’t take my suggestion.

He starts ripping up the rug; so far, so good. No problem. He decides to clean up the mess on the floor, before putting the new floor down.

We have a vacuum cleaner. He does not use it. We have a broom. He does not use it. He uses the wet-dry vac. The wet-dry vac sucks the dirt up and then blows it out – All Over The Living- Room. From ceiling to floor, everything is covered in dust.  The ceiling, the ceiling fans, the couch, the curtains, the chairs, the pictures, the television, even the change stuffed between the couch cushions were dust covered. This is one messy problem.

So, as you can guess, work on the floor is temporarily stopped so we can fight. After we fight, the cleanup begins. We cleaned and shined till we couldn’t clean no more. After the fighting and the cleaning, my husband finished the floor.

Once the living-room was complete I looked at the dining-room and think… It’s a small, square room.  It should be a breeze. I don’t foresee any problems.  

After years of living in our house we decided to replace the old, scuffed- up, beat-up kitchen floor. We shopped around and looked at tile, laminate and hardwood. We brought home sample pieces and put them in the kitchen so we could see what it looked like at different times of the day and in different lighting. We invited friends and family for their opinion. We decided on hardwood flooring.

We went to the store and ordered it. We were advised to bring it home and let it sit for a couple of days. Since it was shy and I wanted it to feel like family, I would talk to it as I walked by, “Oh, my, I can tell you’re gonna fit in nicely with our family.” I talked to it the way you talk to a plant.

The day came for my husband to lay the floor down. (Notice how I went from we to him? That’s because my part was done.) Things were going smoothly for him. He put the floor under the table. No problem. He put the floor under the window. No problem. He had help putting the floor under the refrigerator. No problem. He moved out the stove and I cleaned behind it. (I wondered where all the Cheerios went.) He moved the stove back. We had a problem. The stove scraped the floor, leaving a very visible, large scratch spanning the width of several boards. I told him, “Replace the boards and take care of the problem.” Since he was tired and cranky by now, and didn’t want to deal with the problem he told me the minor scratch, “Gave it character.” I informed him, “We didn’t just pay good money for a floor with character.” After some heated debate of the problem and insulting each others character he replaced the flooring.

When it was complete I looked at the living-room floor, right off the kitchen, and told him we have another problem. “Now that we did the kitchen, the living-room looks so bad. We’ll have to replace it.” I don’t anticipate any problems.

“Is the meatloaf still good,” my husband asked as he searched the fridge for something to eat. Over the span of our marriage he has asked that question many times.  With crossed fingers, I tell him, “It should be good,” and hope for the best. Discreetly I move the doctor’s phone number to the front of the fridge.

Today his quest for something edible becomes the reason I needed to clean out the fridge, so I told him, “No, the meatloaf’s no good. It expired a month ago.”

“A month ago,” He exclaimed in disbelief. “Why, I ate some just the other day.”

“And yet, you’re still here, lucky me.”

The trouble with my husband is he lives in an expiration date free world. He’ll eat something from a jar that expired five years ago.

“What about this pineapple? It must still be good. I ate some yesterday.”

“Have you ever seen blue pineapple? It’s bad. Throw it out.”

“Well, what about this casserole with the peas? It was delicious.” “I didn’t put peas in it. I don’t know what you ate. How are you feeling? Any stomach trouble?”

“A little, but I took some medicine.”

“Where’d you get the medicine?”

“I don’t know, under the sink. Why?”

“Because that medicine is expired.”

“Well, I took it and it must have worked cause I’m still here.”

“Lucky me, you’re still here.”

“Are these beans still good?”

“Take a close look. Have you ever seen fussy beans before?”

“I’ll toss them.”

“This pasta sauce must still be good.”

“Look at it. It’s smiling at us.” Put it next to the beans and maybe they’ll reproduce a mutant offspring.”

“I can’t believe everything in the fridge is bad. We’ll have to eat out.”

Lucky me.


Once a year, in August,North Carolina has a tax free weekend, timed with back to school shopping so consumers can buy more and save more. To me it’s become the equivalent of black Friday. Customers wake up early, burst through the doors and wind up buying stuff they really don’t need or want, for themselves or others.

Going to a store the day after tax free weekend is like going to one the day after Christmas. The people standing in line have buyers remorse as they bought something for somebody because the price was right, not necessarily the gift. One lady was waiting to return a green and orange neon stripped backpack for her son who worked in road construction and was blind to the fact that the colors matched his work clothes. Ungrateful kid.

Another lady was returning clothes for the grandchild she hoped and prayed for, but whose daughter had yet to conceive. Ungrateful kid.

A man was returning suits and ties he bought for his son-in-law he made vice-president of his company upon marrying his daughter. Ungrateful kid.

When I was a kid and lived in New York, my family and I would make regular shopping trips toNew Jersey to save on tax. We would make a list of who needed what, pile in the car and drive to the garden state. Along the way we’d stop for gas, pay the tolls and talk of all the money we were going to save by shopping in Jersey. At the store we’d buy the items on our list and then some. We’d wheel the overflowing cart to our car and stuff the trunk with the merchandise we needed and didn’t need. Then we’d go to dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant and spend just a little extra since we had just saved a little extra. Then we’d go to the drive-in theater to spend the last of the money we just saved shopping tax free. I’m not sure how much extra we spent by shopping tax free, but, I do know, now that I’m an adult, looking back, that the memories are priceless. I’m grateful for that.

I’m reading a book by an English author, set in England, with English characters that use words like lift for elevator. At first it was a little challenging to read as I had to look up the definition of certain words. Once I had settled into the book I found myself reading with an English accent, replacing myNew Yorkone. I began to read the newspaper with the accent. I read junk mail with the accent. Tossing out junk mail never sounded as classy since I sorted through it saying, “Rubbish, rubbish, rubbish,” instead of, “Junk, junk, junk.” In my mind I had acquired the queen’s voice.

In my car I would wave to people who cut me off, not just with one finger, but with the whole hand; which I gave a robotic motion to imitate the queen’s wave. When I acquired an English accent (even though it was just in my head) my whole persona oozed class. I oozed it until the other day when I went to the bookstore.

I sat down at a table in the café to read a book. The guy at the table next to me began reading aloud, in Italian. His accent was louder and stronger and clashed with my English accent.  I’m familiar with Italian as my father and grandmother would talk in Italian (well, actually they would scream in Italian) when I was around. One minute they were talking in English and before I knew it, things got heated, voices were raised and arms were waving madly, and the Italian accent would kick in. From being witness to such exchanges I learned certain words and hand gestures.

Sitting next to this guy I felt my newfound class leave my body and the Italian take over. In my mind I gave him an old, familiar hand gesture that I’m sure the queen mother would never use. It wasn’t the least bit classy.

I don’t mind the summer heat, so long as I’m inside where it’s air conditioned. When we moved from the North to the South I told myself it would take awhile to adjust to the extremely hot, humid summers. I’m still telling myself that. But, even though it’s hot, I bring a sweater with me whenever I go somewhere as business owners like to make it as cold inside as it is hot outside.

When I’m in a grocery store, walking down the frozen food aisle, heaven help me if I stop to long as I’ll become as frozen and stiff as the TV dinner on the shelf.

When I go to the movies, heaven help me if I don’t bring a sweater as the ushers would sweep me up along with the box of Junior Mints on the floor, thinking I was a lifelike, frozen piece of garbage.

Heaven help me if I go to a restaurant and don’t wear a sweater as the chill from my body could turn my dinner’s companion tea from hot to cold in a second.

But, having said this I must tell you I keep my house cold. My husband says, “Everyday feels like December in our house.” Guests have learned to dress appropriately and bring sweaters, gloves and scarves to wear with their shorts. We sit on the couch watching TV beneath several layers of blankets. We could make a fire and not have people think twice about it. One day I saw a mouse take off his sweater, run outside and warn his buddies not to enter. I think I heard him squeak, “It’s not worth it.”

This is why when our air conditioner broke this summer I had a hard time adjusting. My husband, on the other hand went to sleep with a blanket. When I looked at him in bed, sleeping, I saw waves rising from his body. I became concerned. Was he alright? Should I call a doctor? When he turned and gave a sigh of pleasure I realized he was fine. The man was finally defrosting! We got our air conditioner fixed the next day. When I watched my husband pile the blankets on the bed I thought – heaven help him!

Since I experience shoulder pain I’ll get a massage from time to time, always with the same person. There have been times in the past when I was on the table, relaxing, feeling the tension leave my body that the phone would ring. The shrill ring would break the mood and bring my whole body to a state of tense alertness, undoing what was done. But, the few times it happened I didn’t say anything as I understood the guy worked from home and didn’t have a receptionist.

The last time it happened I spoke up and he asked if I would rather he let it ring. When I replied, “That would be great,” I sensed it was not what he wanted to hear. He became offensive and informed me that he answers the phone in case a family member is calling or a client to make an appointment (basically, anybody.) I questioned if anybody leaves a message and was told, “No.” When I stated, “I just can’t believe nobody leaves a message, especially in this day and age of voicemail,” that he got upset. He told me, “If that’s how you’re gonna be, then we’re done here. So, not even ten minutes into my session, I got up and got dressed.

On my way out I told him when I was on the table I wanted to feel like I was top priority, after all I was paying him. When he answered the phone he never did tack the five minutes to the end of my thirty. I find it a little sad you can’t find peace and quiet anywhere.

I tried reporting him on YELP, as suggested by a friend, but was unable to since he works from home.

So, now that I’ve lost my masseur I will start a search for a new one. What hurts more than the pain in my shoulders is knowing he got away with crappy treatment of a customer. Any suggestions?


Thank you.