For those who were expecting to find my weekly Flashback Sunday this morning, I apologize if, by not being here, it has upset you. Or possibly the space-time continuum — in which case we’ll all be upset soon enough. But just like my missing assignment in Mrs. Flunkem’s fifth-grade class, I have a good excuse. Although this one doesn’t include a vortex swallowing my homework and several of my socks (which I figured my Mom could attest to as a way to bolster my story [And no, it didn’t work]). The reason for this morning’s absence of Flashback Sunday isn’t really an excuse as much as a decision to take this feature in a new direction I’m calling:
Post Traumatic Sunday.
That’s because all the posts that will be appearing in this weekly feature were written during my first marriage and involve my ex-wife. None of them have appeared on this blog before, and only a couple were included in my book. Most only saw print once, eight years ago or longer. I can tell you none of these are mean-spirited, vindictive or intended to put her in a bad light; I don’t work that way. But anyone who knows me will recognize I was coping with my unhappy marriage through humor, even as it was falling apart. That said, I spent time re-reading these and, because I am now married to someone who inspires me to write out of pure joy and appreciation, I can openly laugh at these for the right reasons.
And now we can together…
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As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we are living in our home while it is being remodeled. This has meant making some adjustments in our daily routine. For example: learning to cook dinner while straddling a piano. That’s because the contents of our home are being shifted from room to room on a daily basis.
It’s a lot like having your home decorated by a feng shui expert with a serious drinking problem. Sure, you may expect to find a detached commode somewhere in the master bathroom. What you don’t expect is for the master bathroom to be in your walk-in closet.
Since early June, each morning has essentially started the same way:
Get out of bed.
Walk toe-first into a piece of furniture.
Nighttime isn’t much better. It has taken me years to learn to sleep walk from our bed to the commode. Now, even if I manage to navigate through our maze of furniture and back without getting a concussion, chances are I won’t remember until morning that the commode was removed two days ago.
In addition to the stress of living in a home that appears to have been the scene of a head-on collision between two cross-continental moving vans, my wife and I have entered into intense negotiations over room colors. This started with a trip to the paint store where we were introduced to even MORE colors my wife and I could disagree on. For example, there are at least 30 shades of puce in existence. No one knows why. Nonetheless, each shade has its own official name, such as “Gastrol Sunset” or “Fermented Beet,” as well as a sample card, which professional painters collect and use in a game similar to “Pokemon.”
The rest of us, meanwhile, take these cards home so we can get a clear idea of how frightening it would be to actually paint a room that color. Through this technique my wife and I selected a bold accent color: “Tainted Guava.”
After taking a sample home and painting a large section of wall with it, we realized there was a color we both agreed looked like vomit. We returned to the store and finally settled on a color I say is “plum,” my wife says is “burgundy,” but which is officially known as “Grape Ulcer.” This card is highly coveted in professional painting circles because the only thing that can stop it is the extremely rare “Satin Pepto” card.
Next came carpeting. I figured the worst was over because there were really only three considerations.
Is it a neutral color?
Is it soft?
Does it resist stains, i.e., contain enough Teflon to send our Labrador across the house like a giant hockey puck?
Once again, things grew complicated. Did we want shag or short? Looped or cropped? Wall to wall carpet or area rug? All I wanted was for it to meet the above criteria and be guaranteed never, at any point, to spontaneously roll up like a burrito.
My wife wanted more. She wanted to scare me. She did this by using terms like “tackless skip,” “antimicrobial,” and “dimensional stability,” which made it sound as if we were planning to use our carpet to fly into space and fight microscopic aliens trying to destabilize the universe.
Like most decisions within our marriage, it came down to an exchange of ideas and, eventually, a compromise. In this case, she gets to pick the carpet, and I get to walk on it.
Assuming I don’t walk into something else first.