Kitchen Renovations: The 4th Leading Cause of Divorce

It’s Day 43 of our great kitchen nightmare, I mean renovation project. And, we’re pretty much where we were on Day 7. Ah, Day 7! We were chock full of hope and wide-eyed optimism (and naiveté) that this would all be done in a month.

Here’s an update: Our contractors destroyed, I mean cleaned out our kitchen, removing everything. And I mean everything. This is how you start a kitchen renovation project. Lots of smashing. The frig is in the living room, and plugged in. The stove/oven is in the dining room and isn’t plugged in. We have no kitchen sink.

And, when the contractors smashed up and removed everything, including a bunch of dry wall, they started discovering structural, plumbing and electrical problems. Big ones. Expensive ones. It would be a fascinating episode on one of those HGTV shows if this was an HGTV show and not my actual life. It’s always better when stuff like this happens to someone else! Sorry someone else.kitchen1

So, delay No. 1: Getting a permit. It’s a really complicated and expensive process. I’m going to stop using the word expensive, as it’s redundant, and every time I write it, a little piece of me (and our bank account) dies.

Delay No. 2: Getting a plumber. We’re still in the midst of this one, but he’s supposed to start removing and replacing all the plumbing in our entire house – the entire house, not just the kitchen – a week from tomorrow (knock on wood). Turns out the previous owner didn’t get permits for his renovation. Or do it to code. Which is probably why he didn’t get a permit.

Not sure when the electrician gets here to do his thing, but he can’t start until the plumber starts and/or finishes. And our contractors can’t do their thing until the plumber and electrician finish doing their things. A lot of things seem to depend on other things in a renovation project. And when one thing goes bad … the entire timeline is rubbish.

It’s been even harder on our cats, Louie and Penny, than it’s been on Susan and me. We’ve had to move their bowls/eating area from the kitchen and their litter boxes from the basement (which you get to through the kitchen) to the upstairs bathroom initially, and now, into the attic … in anticipation of the plumber’s much-heralded arrival and work in the kitchen, basement and upstairs bathroom. Poor Louie, he can’t seem to remember where to go to eat … or poop. He’s old and confused and spends most of the day yelling at us. And sleeping. Penny is handling it a lot better than Louie.

Susan is handling it a lot better than me. She’s become quite adept at doing dishes in the bathroom sink and has amazing patience with Louie. And with me. Kitchen renovations projects are the fourth leading cause of divorce in this country. Now I know why!

I’ve become quite adept at fashioning meals from supermarkets. And, by adept, I mean I ran out of new ideas on Day 27 and now it’s the same few things over and over again.

For breakfast we have a yogurt with stuff in it, either fruit or granola. Both on Sundays!

For lunch, we have more yogurt with stuff. Or a PBJ. I’ve learned that it’s really hard to get to the peanut butter on the bottom of the jar with a plastic knife. Three out of four times the knife snaps in two.

For dinner, my go-to is Whole Foods, and their prepared foods/salads, which are somewhat reasonable (for Whole Foods) at $9.99 a pound. Our favorites are the Mediterranean chicken and the lentils with mushrooms. Then again, I’m sick of Mediterranean chicken and the lentils with mushrooms at this point. One more lentil and I may lose it.

OK, time to stop whining.

“It will all be worth it when we have our beautiful new kitchen,” Susan keeps promising me. At this point, this is the only thing keeping Louie and me from a total meltdown. I wonder which one of us will crack first?

Another Great Lost Wedding Band Story: Bob’s Beautiful Hands

You’d think someone would notice if their spouse wasn’t wearing their wedding band. Every day for three-plus years!

Then again, here’s Bob’s story…

pexels-photo-424766.jpegSo, Bob is a golfer and several years ago was in some sort of tournament. “I would put my wedding band in the pocket of my golf bag before I played,” Bob said. “It affected my grip.”

I’m not a golfer, but this sounds plausible.

“At the end of the tournament, I received the door prize of a new golf bag during the post tournament festivities, which included my fair share of adult beverages,” Bob said. “I asked the caddy at the golf club to transfer everything in my current golf bag to my new golf bag and…”

Yep. This story is headed exactly where you think it’s handed.

“Fast forward a week, a month, and I notice I don’t have my wedding band,” the not-so-observant Bob said. The old golf bag was long gone. Hey, did anyone out there ever get a golf bag at Goodwill or a thrift shop and find a wedding band in the pocket? If so, it’s Bob’s band. Contact me and we’ll get it back to him.

OK, back to our story…

Miraculously, Heather “didn’t say anything,” Bob said. He’s safe. Or so he thought.

pexels-photo-280218.jpegFast forward again, three naked-ring fingered years, and Bob somehow gets a gig as a catalogue model for Wolf Ovens. It’s a company that makes high-end ovens, which is why I’ve never heard of them.

Bob is part of some group shots at the modelling gig. I can imagine a bunch of good-looking people gathered around a gleaming Wolf, oohing and aahing at a bubbling pot of pasta sauce bubbling away atop all those glorious flames. Darn, I’m getting hungry. Anyway, they need a close-up shot of a man’s hands for a photo, check out the digits of all the male models and…

“Yep, he chooses me to be the hand model,” Bob said, adding they gave him a prop wedding band to wear.

Fast forward eight months and, finally, the new Wolf Oven catalogue starring Bob and his hands is available and…

“We look at the hand-modelling pic and Heather says, ‘that’s not your wedding band!’” Bob said. “I’m busted.”

handsHe told me this story recently during lunch. I looked, and sure enough, Bob really does have beautiful hands (that’s them in the photo). They’re exquisite. Insert George Costanzo joke here. And, for extra points: What was the name of the famous hand model in the Seinfeld puffy shirt episode whose career was ruined because he wasn’t master of his domain, over and over again until his hands became clenched into deformed claws?

I looked again, and Bob wasn’t wearing a wedding band. Turns out he never got a new one.

“How’d you get away with that?” I asked.

“Heather trusts me,” Bob said.

Answer: Ray McKigney.

Here’s the link to my previous post on great lost wedding band stories. If you have a good one … well, what the heck are you waiting for? Email me and tell me all about it. steve.wartenberg@gmail.com

 

Yet Another Totally Great Week for Trump!

trump1Here’s a CNN headline from earlier today: Trump’s Absolutely Disastrous Week.

Are you kidding me? This has been an absolutely fabulous week for the Prez. He and his base relished and rejoiced in all the dysfunctional insanity and free, non-stop publicity, TV coverage and obsessiveness over all things Trump. It was all Trump all the time, which is pretty much his philosophy for governing. Me, me, me. And it’s working. It was such a great week that Monday, Feb. 19, is Trump Day. Some call it Presidents Day, but let’s be realistic: Every day is your day when you’re the Donald. And in charge.

The fake-news CNN article “claims” it was a disastrous week for Trump because he “was buffeted on virtually every front — the Russia investigation, issues of his personal conduct prior to becoming president, staffing at the White House, crisis response…”

Again: Come on, are you kidding me?

Allegations he had an affair with a porn star is a tremendous publicity strategy and proof of his amazing virility. It’s not like a normal man can have sex with a porn star. Could you? I doubt it. Could I? No way. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. You have to be a totally macho, skyscraper developing, golf champion, intellectually awesome kind of guy to have an affair with a porn star. Especially if you’re married to someone else at the time. And she just had a baby. I don’t even think George Clooney could pull this off. Only the Donald. And maybe Charlie Sheen.

And remember how his grab ‘em by the you know what moment propelled him to the White House? This one’s even better. I can’t wait for the next awesomely inappropriate revelation about the Donald. Whatever it is, it will surely guarantee a second term.

The Rob Porter debacle?

Again: What debacle?

It only proves that nobody other than Trump can lead this country. Everyone else in his administration is a lesser human being and Trump should just fire everyone and run the whole damn White House, country and world by himself. In fact, who needs a government at all when we have Trump. He’s already fixed healthcare, immigration, the environment and taxes. I mean come on, if all this stuff benefits billionaires, it just has to be good for the rest of us, right? I’m more than happy to pay $350 more a month for my Affordable Care Act coverage this year, and am totally not worried it could go away in 2018. I just won’t get sick. It’s really that simple. So, stop all your whining about not having health coverage – and just don’t get sick. Like Trump. He’s never been sick in his entire life. Except for the bone spur thing, but the Donald conquered that with pure tenacity and willpower and can now walk at least 30 yards at a time – maybe more if a porn star is at the other end of the bedroom.

Plus, the Prez did eventually say domestic violence was bad, really bad, after several days of debate about whether or not he thought domestic violence was bad. What a great PR strategy by the Donald. It put domestic violence – and Trump – in the spotlight 24/7 (even with the Olympics going on) and his all-powerful, brilliantly delivered 7-second condemnation of domestic violence has pretty much ended domestic violence forever! See, another problem solved.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point: It was a great week, a tremendous week for Trump. With many more to follow. He’ll have so many more great weeks we’ll actually get sick of all his great weeks.

 

 

Some Random Thoughts … and Pizza Pictures

pizza26*Is forgetting something a thing that you did or something you didn’t do?

*I don’t like Facebook posts that make you read to the end, and then prove you read to the end by posting the “secret” word in the comments section. Seems a little needy, and I refuse to play along based on principle. It’s up to me or you (the writer of the post), to make the post so fascinating, interesting, funny and/or informative that people will want and need to read it to the end. It shouldn’t be a test of loyalty. It should be a test of good writing. So, it’s totally OK with me if you don’t read this post to the end. It’s my fault for being boring. I’ll try harder.

*We have (finally) started watching The Handmaid’s Tale. Wow, what a rollercoaster of emotions, most of them sad and terrifying. And, what with a wanna-be-dictator Prez in office and out of control, a little too real for comfort. A few questions have popped into my mind while watching:

1.Wouldn’t it have been a helluva lot easier for everyone involved to instead use artificial insemination?pizza22

2.After binge-watching a couple episodes of Handmaid’s Tale with your significant other, have you ever then been in an amorous mood? If so, you may have a problem.

3.Is the virus from Handmaid’s Tale in any way connected to the virus in The Last Man on Earth?

*In real life nobody eats Chinese food directly out of the white, paper-box containers. And yet, they do it all the time on TV. You have to mix the kung pow chicken in one container and the rice from another container together, in a separate receptacle, and then you can start eating. Even if you’re in the F.B.I. or N.C.I.S.

pizza21*I always thought the woman who plays Sheldon’s mom on Young Sheldon seemed like a younger version of the women who plays Sheldon’s mom on The Big Bang. Wow, what amazing casting.

Well, it turns out Zoe Perry (Young Sheldon’s mom) is the real-life daughter of Laurie Metcalf (older Sheldon’s TV mom). Learned this while listening to Marc Maron’s WTF podcast with Laurie. I also learned she once dated John Malkovich. I’ll bet that was intense. And maybe even a little scary.

*Thanks for reading this post to the end.

 

 

Would You Please Shut Up!

Here’s what I’ll do – and say – when I’m a little more courageous…

cascade1“Excuse me, may I have everyone’s attention,” I’ll begin, standing up by the edge of our table in the crowded, noisy restaurant. My voice will be calm, but authoritative. “It would really help me if everyone would talk softly. Please use your indoor, bedroom voices. You see, I have a traumatic brain injury and am very sensitive to loud noises, especially when they’re coming at me from several directions. And tables. All your yelling and loud, cackling laughter is really hurting my head. Plus, if everyone would speak softly, it would change the entire ambiance and make this dining experience so much more pleasurable for each and every one of us. Really, it would. I swear. And please, for the love of God, would the person in charge of this restaurant turn down the damn music so we don’t have to shout to be heard over it.

“Thank you, please return to your meals. I recommend the salmon.”

Ah, the Cascade Effect. It happens all the time in restaurants, and ruins what would otherwise be a pleasant – and possibly even romantic – dining experience.

It happened again recently. It was a Thursday night, and Susan and I went to an Italian place. It was packed.

“It’s a suicide mission,” I told Susan, knowing what was coming.

Sure enough, we were seated next to a table of 11. Eleven people! They were at a long, narrow table, and for some reason the people at either end of the table needed to talk – I mean shout – at one another for pretty much the entire meal.

Susan seemed to be talking to me. I could tell because her lips were moving.

“What, I can’t hear you. What?”

She spoke a little louder.

And, to be heard over the table of 11, so did everyone else sitting around them. And then, everyone sitting around the people sitting around the table of 11 spoke even louder so they could hear the person sitting across the table from them, and so on until it sounded like we were at a basketball game. The noise increased exponentially in concentric circles. And then there was the music. Frank Sinatra singing too loudly about strangers in the night and how someone had gotten under his skin or maybe he’d gotten under their skin or…

Enough already with all the skin and the noise!

“I’m putting in my ear plugs,” I told Susan. “Text me if you want to talk. Enjoy your meal.”

PS: Valentine’s Day is coming up soon. I think we’ll eat at home.