Is everybody back from vacation yet, or do I have to wait another week? I am not ON vacation, so this is boring for me. I do not like getting seven comments instead of 27, and I know everyone who regularly gets seven comments on their blogs wants to staple my nethers right now. Using those really big industrial-sized staples.
Anyway, I wrote you a whole big, long post last night about my mother and the bookshelves, and stupid stupid stupid stupid Typepad crashed it yet again. Have I mentioned I am completely fed up with Typepad? Have I mentioned I have emailed them three times now to fix this issue?
So I will once again tell you the tale of my mother and the bookshelves.
Long about noon, when your hunger’s pokin’ at ya, pokin’ at ya.
Now, see, that’s not what I was gonna say. I was gonna say long about June. But sometimes old Snickers commercials pop into my head, and I often wonder if I could have used my brain to cure cancer or something useful but instead I gummed it up with commercials, such as the theme song to Freakies cereal. Oh, yes, we love our Freakies cereal, oh darling you know we do. Cause it’s crunchy and delicious and it’s good for me and you.
So long about JUNE, my neighbor convinced me to get floor-to-ceiling bookshelves to replace the tiny bookshelves I had strewn hither and yon throughout my house. Or haus, as they often say in Michigan since everyone’s German. I really wanted these bookshelves, and mentioned this to Marvin, oh, six thousand times, but we couldn’t rush out and buy them because it turns out floor-to-ceiling bookshelves cost 11 million dollars apiece.
But finally in November we bought three said bookshelves, and Marvin spent the entire Thanksgiving weekend staining them a honey color to match the 1950s furniture that I got from my great aunt. Then we schlepped all of our books from the tiny bookshelves to these large bookshelves. My mother even paid for one of the shelves, as part of our Christmas present.
And guess what? I hated them. They were so…filled with books. And so wooden. And TALL. They seemed to LURK over the entire living room with their booky selves. Oh, every time I came home I got Nine Inch Nails depressed. It looked like a psychiatrist’s office in 1972 in there. Oh, I detested the new bookshelves.
I am certain that Marvin was wishing he had the strength of Sampson at this point, so that he could lift one of the shelves and bludgeon me with it repeatedly, seeing as he had to hear me wish for these things for five months, and then had to hear me complain about them nonstop.
Naturally, I took full advantage of my friendship with The Nester, who suggested I break up all the bookiness with framed photos, knickknacks, and stuff like that. She said she too got depressed by her all-books-all-the-time bookshelves.
So I was really looking forward to my mother getting here for Christmas, as she has the visual skills and would be good at putting stuff on our shelves. As you know, Marvin and I are not minimalists, and we have a lot of crap that can go on those shelves. If your grandparents had a rummage sale? Marvin and I were there, buying their 1960s martini glasses and their “Put Your G.D. Ashes Here” ashtray. Yes, we do have a “Put Your G.D. Ashes Here” ashtray.
Christmas got here and I was running around the house, and mom was on her mission to improve the shelves, and every once in awhile I would hear Marvin tell my mother, “No, you can’t do that, because…”
Now, here is the thing about Marvin. He is not exactly a member of the Optimist’s Club. Marvin’s first response to anything but sex is no, it cannot be done; it will not work, absolutely not. I do not know why Marvin is this way.
On Christmas afternoon, my mother gave me a look that said come into the kitchen, I need to speak to you in hushed tones. “Marvin won’t let me make any changes,” she hissed. “I really want to move your cedar chest that you’re using as a coffee table, first of all. It’ll make the bookshelves seem less huge if you use a smaller coffee table. Now, I know it’s his house and his table and everything…so the right thing to do is to get him out of here and make all the changes before he gets back.”
I thought this was a marvelous idea. I know this makes us sound like two terrible, scheming, Lucy and Ethel types, but we both knew Marvin would come home and say, “Oh! It looks good!” We have dealt with the No Man before.
I went into the living room, where my stepfather and Marvin were both reading books they had gotten for Christmas. “Why don’t you two try to find a store that’s open?” I suggested brightly. “There’s only half a bottle of Chianti left for dinner.” Then I did the Silence of the Lambs sucking thing with my lips, which I simply must do every time I say Chianti.
Well. You would have thought I’d suggested they grab a couple half-slips and a ukulele and do a hula dance for us before we ate. “I won’t drink any wine,” my stepfather said, returning to his book. The man is a psychiatrist. Couldn’t he have picked up on my subtle clues? I wanted to drive a corkscrew through his temple.
My mother came out and gave him the look. He went into the kitchen, and emerged minutes later with the enthusiasm of Al Reynolds on his wedding night. “Marvin, we have to leave the house for some reason, so let’s go find wine,” he said wearily.
You have never seen two banshees move as fast as my mother and I did. We got the myriad knickknacks off that coffee table in .07 seconds, only to discover the thing weighed eight tons. We couldn’t lift it, and pushing it was going to scratch the floor, so we decided to squat and use the area rug under it as leverage and sort of pull it.
It was in this flattering position that Marvin found us when of COURSE he came back in five minutes later. Now, how many times on this blog have I complained that Marvin is a boomerang, that he ALWAYS returns to the house before we ever actually leave anywhere? Why couldn’t I remember that before he found us doing our Scarlett-and-Melanie-moving-the-dead-Yankee impression?
“STOP MOVING THAT TABLE!” Marvin boomed, as my mother and I giggled a trifle hysterically from the floor.
So, we didn’t move the stupid table, but we did rearrange the bookshelves, and I feel a lot less awful about them. And when Marvin and my stepfather came home with…mayonnaise (Yes. Seriously. They couldn’t find wine, but somehow they thought mayonnaise was a suitable replacement), he, too, agreed it looked pretty good.
Then we all toasted each other with a glass of Hellman’s and had a lovely Christmas dinner.