Friday, October 21

Domestic Tranquility

You'd think--but you'd be wrong--that in three decades my wife and I would have made some inroads into efficiency, but it never fails: I find out she's on vacation the morning the vacation starts, and if I happen to mention that, which I don't anymore, she insists she told me.

And she's generally right, although it usually amounts to a brief declaration dimly remembered from three weeks earlier. My wife thinks that so long as something is in her daily consciousness it's in mine, too. (That seems to be a big club.) There's a calendar in the kitchen where I write things down. She doesn't. Maybe I could start writing this stuff down. I don't. The course of true love an' all that.

Today, as you might have guessed, was the first day of Fall Break and I hadn't cleared the decks. I spent the morning rearranging schedules and the afternoon rearranging furniture, and I will spend tomorrow morning trying to get out of bed. About a month ago I heard, on one of those home remodeling shows that occasionally turn up on teevee, some decor hipster say something like, "Nothing says 80s decor like a roomful of videotapes." Welcome to Casa Riley. Set your watches back 25 years.

Every piece of furniture we have weighs at least 150 pounds. There are wires running everywhere along the baseboards. It's not that I don't see the point of a teevee you can hang on the wall and couches you can dust under. It's that I'm cheap. The teevee works, and the screen is large enough to see. The couch doesn't fall apart when you sit on it.

And look, the videotape thing: yes, I've lost count of 'em, there's two shelves in the bedroom stacked two deep and two high with stuff, and two big storage boxes (with indexes) parked by the closet door. Upstairs there are two five-foot carousels that'll hold 200, except they also hold the CD collection and the DVDs. I took a couple measurements while I was moving them around. A standard DVD collection is about the same width as a video cassette. Two regular DVDs equal one tape. Most of my tapes have two films on them, or sometimes six one-hour shows. So the fact is that if I'd been born thirty years later I would, by this time, have roughly the same bulk looking for some floor space. There just wouldn't be anything stashed in the basement. This made me feel better, except for my back. Because if I were thirty years younger I might give a shit about being twenty years out of fashion.

The sudden appearance of a four-day weekend's worth of projects means that I don't have a single idea in my head, nor am I quite sure what day it is. I do have a note to myself which says, "Lindt chocolate," a reminder of the commercial I saw a couple days ago for my favorite example of Swiss engineering. In it there are a lot of people wearing chefs' whites. One guy is holding a bowl of chocolate he's recently been beating by hand, and he's gazing almost carnally at the slowly dripping whisk. The next shot has two cuisiniers, one of whom is pouring brown gold onto a desk-sized marble tabletop while the other stands poised with a spreader. The note was to remind me to relate that I shouted at the screen, "Maybe if you quit standing around and made the stuff in commercial-sized batches IT WOULDN"T COST SO MUCH!"

Have a pleasant weekend, all.


Anonymous said...

This sounds like the coming week for me. We have another housemate moving in, which requires we build a shed to house the yard implements in order to make room in the garage for more boxes, as well as other various end-of-year projects. All necessary projects, some long overdue, but by next Friday the house will reek of BenGay and Tiger Balm. I wish you much rest.

Anonymous said...

I've totally abandoned the concept of end-of-year deep cleaning and clearing off the ignored balcony's plant detritus and such this year. I'm still pretending it's because of the surgery, but honestly, I'm just lazy.
Well, that coupled with the reality that we're a four person two cat household here, folded in from four individual homes at various points in time, the last two pretty recently. So no matter what I do, there's going to be boxes of stuff shoved everywhere they'll sort-of-fit anyway.
I keep the smoke alarms tested and the fire extinguishers handy and pretend the rest of it isn't any of my business.

Lindt is good stuff. But it's no Fran's. And it's way, way cheaper than Fran's, too. But my gods, a grey salt caramel is a thing of beauty.
I'm cheap too, but not about chocolate. Priorities!

nolo said...

Yikes. Sounds like your wife did to you what I did to my SO this weekend. Poor bugger didn't see my sudden urge to move our ancient and weighty Sony Trinitron up the stairs to the newly revamped home "office" (like I ever get work done at home) and to rearrange all the living room electronics coming. In my defense, though, I will say that I did all the heavy lifting in the office, and that I helped with the electronic crap. And I made dinner.

eRobin said...

"Nothing says 80s decor like a roomful of videotapes." Welcome to Casa Riley. Set your watches back 25 years.

Uh oh. I think I joined you in the Wayback Machine. But worse than the fact of the tapes is that I don't label any of the them. That makes me outmoded AND a dope.