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.

51 thoughts on “Marvin’s Hellman’s

  1. Hyphen Mama says:

    Bwahahahah… sent out for wine, came home with mayo! Priceless.


  2. JUNEJUNEJUNE… obviously have a HUGE following of readers..your blog is the FIRST one I read..The colorful visuals you inspire with your writings are HILARIOUS!….and to think there isnt even a furry creature in the whole post!…man animals are funny too!….you rock!


  3. J says:

    p.s. The next time you think you may have a tumor, try the MAYO clinic.


  4. Cyndi says:

    I’d like to introduce Marvin to my husband, Frosty the No-Man. The bookshelves look great, and you got a funny story as a bonus.


  5. Jan says:

    You know… Mayo is a great conditioner for coarse, unmanageable hair. Perhaps Marvin was trying to help you out.


  6. J says:

    What in the hellman’s was he thinking.
    Unrelated random thought – I was just remembering the time you accidentally called Marvin Margin. The husband just barely there living on the fringes of your life.


  7. Lisa says:

    I have been laughing so hard my stomach hurts!! I found your blog through another blog and all I can say is *WOW* and thank you for the best laugh I’ve had in a long time!!


  8. Shelley says:

    I came here from Suburban Correspondent also, and I’m here to help you with your comment problem, which seems to be resolved already, so I will just tell you that I’m glad I stopped by. Funny stuff, going to read more.
    Oh, and the “no” man? Won’t work, can’t do it, hell in a handbasket? Yeah, I’m married to him too. Except his name is Steve, not Marvin. 17 years. Oy.


  9. Tee says:

    I was in Sam’s Warehouse today and noticed they have gallon jugs of Hellman’s. If there is a Sam’s in Greensboro, you might want to send Marvin on over to stock up for the New Year’s Eve party. Maybe while he’s gone you and your Mom can rearrange another room.


  10. Patsy says:

    Hilarious! I would comment more often but I’m not witty enough. I had to comment on this because I too am married to Mr. No. I’m trying to think of a way to get him out of the house for a couple of days so I can rip out the ceiling downstairs and expose the beams but no luck so far.


  11. Darla says:

    ~coughs~ wordpress ~coughs~
    Glad you are keeping the pace with pestering Marvin. 😉


  12. I think my husband must be related to yours. He would absolutely believe that mayonaise is a suitable replacement for wine.
    And he would complain about moving the table. My mother, on the other hand, would give HIM the look that your mother gave your father. Then my husband would go back out to buy more mayo.


  13. Your Pal from MA says:

    I totally know what I’m buying you for Christmas next year! A big bottle of that white, creamy delicacy that everyone enjoys! HELLMAN’S MAYO!!
    Happy Almost New Year again!


  14. Jami says:

    So…did you have a nice relaxing glass of mayonaise to celebrate your lovely shelves?


  15. Em-Cat says:

    I’m one of those bloggers who only gets 7 comments per post (on a good day) so thanks…thanks for rubbing it in that I’m a LOSER! Just kidding – I know I’m a loser and I’m surprisingly fine with it. That was a super-funny post. No really – I’m about to give birth to a 20lb alien and I think my water just broke…


  16. LisaAlso says:

    The “new” bookshelves look maaarvelous! And don’t worry about only getting 7 comments. At least 100 views of my last post have netted exactly zero comments. I know I’m boring, but sheesh!
    Here’s to you and your Hellman’s!


  17. SEVEN comments? You complain about SEVEN comments?
    *sniff* The most I ever got was four. And I am blogging from JAPAN!
    Why oh why can’t I be a glamorous proofreader?! Curse you, stars!


  18. Thank you for the morning laugh.
    And I see you have more than 7 comments.


  19. kcinnova says:

    Suburban Correspondent sent me over, and I’m glad she did!
    We, too, have honey-colored furniture from the grandparents and have stained others to match! My mom, sadly, does NOT get the idea of breaking up bookshelves. Luckily, she keeps them in rooms where I don’t feel like I’m going to be swallowed alive by bookshelves!
    I can still drink Chianti, but only because I haven’t seen THAT movie. However, mayonnaise might be a good replacement — it’s in every birthday photo from my husband’s childhood…. my kids get the wine glass in their photos.


  20. The “NO MAN” method is the only way I decorate, paint…rip up floors…the only way i tell ya’!


  21. Kat says:

    You wouldn’t believe the images that popped in my head at the phrase “staple my nethers”. Ouch.


  22. AlisonH says:

    The bookcases are beautiful like that! And I wouldn’t have thought of it, but you’re right, breaking up the books with open space and small objects that way makes a world of difference.
    I’m a first-time reader and definitely have you bookmarked now!


  23. Alison says:

    I used to get annoyed at my mother wanting to decorate the bookshelves with knickknacks when I just wanted as many books as possible on the shelves. Now that I have my own shelves, I like adding stuff in between the books–I had never put it like you did, but yes, it would be very depressing to have wall-to-wall books looming over you. And I LOVE books, so why would a lot of them depress me? It’s a mystery.


  24. lee says:

    So I finally figured out how to access your blog via my cell phone so in the very long boring drive home from “the Relatives” i could be entertained. I couldn’t figure out how to comment though.
    I don’t even know where to start. And I have been sitting here for 5 minutes and have a complete brain fart. Cannot even come up with a comment worthy of your excellant Christams posts.
    Cheers to 2009, June and Marvin!


  25. pendy says:

    I have been coveting some bookcases for a while and now may have to rethink! Also, I learned long ago, at my mother’s knee, that the ONLY time to rearrange is when the men are not at home. Love the dead Yankee reference!


  26. Donna--of the floating head says:

    Glad you kept blogging over Christmas. I needed a laugh each day and you did not let me down. those teeth! and the shifting of the table—i know what you mean. I had a good laugh at you both getting caught.


  27. Faithful Reader in Pittsburgh says:

    Not on vacation here, only not commenting for lack of anything interesting to say, other than LOL at your funny posts :-).
    I have a suggestion that I think everybody with a blog should use, regardless of the host/system they adopt: use a simple text editor such as Notepad to write your posts, and then cut and paste to the blog. As you write, you can hit save from time to time, and when you are done you can just copy and paste the entire text the blog. If the system crashes at the wrong time and you lose the post, you can easily copy it again from your local computer ;-).
    There’s nothing I hate more than having to rewrite something, and ever since I lost a long, inspired comment I was posting at a professional blog, I’ve been using this technique…


  28. Jenene says:

    Oh June, if only I could mail our wine to you. We have, like, eight bottles (all gifts) and we don’t drink wine, and neither do our friends.
    Are you allowed to mail alcohol?
    Your life is hilarious.


  29. Holly says:

    Great visual of you and your mom caught red handed trying to move the dead Yankee, I mean chest. I agree about the potential over bookiness of bookshelves and using your knicks and knacks to break them up. Another thing you could try, maybe when Marvin is out getting more mayo, is arranging some of your books stacked on top of each other (as well as vertically) with a favorite knick or knack placed on top of the stack. Is that clear as mud?


  30. Ree says:

    Those bottom two shelves are within Tallulah’s muzzle height aren’t they? Feeling a bit brave aren’t you? 😉
    And I so think you should wash out that Hellman’s jar and display it on one of those shelves.


  31. Babs says:

    June! June! OMG! My computer has been down since last Saturday. I cannot tell you the withdrawel I was feeling. I have to catch up on your tales since then! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!


  32. June says:

    Ring out the Hellman’s and ring out the best, Pal from MA.


  33. Your Pal from MA says:

    Hi June!
    Happy Almost New Year!
    Remind me to get several jars of mayo for the party my hubby and I are hosting! Nothing like ringing in the New Year with a good glass of mayo! Our friends will be so impressed! 🙂 hee hee hee


  34. Jessica S says:

    Sleeping Beauty — JOE VS THE VOLCANO. Best. Movie. Ever.


  35. Linda .. the Aussie one!! says:

    Ahhh June you made me laugh. Sitting here in south east Queensland sweating my tits off in this hot and humid sub tropical weather .. did i tell you I hate hot humid weather? Have I mentioned that I much prefer Christmas in winter? Much much more civilised. A girl shouldn’t sweat in the places I’m sweating in. TMI???
    But listen to me .. it has all become about me .. so .. back to you .. I love your book cases .. I love that they bought back mayo .. a common mistake I’m sure .. but I must ask .. are the books on the bottom shelves books you can do without if one of your treasured four legged family members decides she needs to .. ahem .. read?


  36. Tee says:

    At least he bought the best mayo! There’s nothing two women can’t move, especially a mom and daughter. LOL!


  37. Lisa says:

    I love this post. I love the part about toasting with Hellmans. You should use everyday Hellmans and toast every day.
    Blogger is superior, as well.


  38. Cathy says:

    The shelves look absolutely lovely, June’s Mama. Aren’t Moms the best? I toasted with Hellman’s once. Gagamaggot!! You know I can’t stand Chianti anymore. Thank you very much Sir Anthony.


  39. SuburbanCorrespondent sent me too. I love it. I too have a husband that doesn’t see things my way. I have gotten fairly adept at making things look like his idea.


  40. Carolyn says:

    Oh my word June. You are still the hysterical June I read months ago. I would love to link this baby, but it may give you too many comments and I may loose another follower if they find out about you!
    I love reading all of your stories,… and just so ya know, I’ve done this get him out of the house many times so I could do something…because my DH is a lot like Marvin…and he even likes Hellman’s too! Go figure!


  41. Blogger is better than WordPress. Don’t listen to Eva.


  42. chickadee says:

    i wanted to contribute to your 7 comments. i’m not on vacation, or i’m always on vacation. i don’t work. maybe i’m on maternity leave. i’ve been in my pajamas every day except for the 24th. it’s been great.
    love your posts even though i don’t always comment.


  43. Eva says:

    LOL… All of it 🙂 Funny 🙂 The book cases look lovely right now.
    Cheers Eva
    PS: move to wordpress… never crashed on me or ate a post or anything…


  44. Paula FROM NEW YORK, DAMMIT says:

    I …
    Oh, June …
    Tee hee hee hee! …
    Sniffle, snort, glurp, hiccup.
    I’ll have to come back when I compose myself. I’m giggling too much to write a cohesive comment. GOD, you crack me UP.


  45. Bonnie says:

    Nice job. And all this was managed with a sense of humor — including the mayonnaise, which is more than I could have mustered.


  46. shana says:

    True story, as God is my witness: Christmas Eve day, prepping up my house for our big shindig that night, trying to turn my guest room/sewing room into a poker room (because that’s what baby Jesus would want on his birthday and all). Trying to move my 500 pound 1967 sewing machine in a sewing table and not scratch the floors, so I put a big beach towel under the table and was attempting to drag it across the floor in a squat position. I commented to my husband (who was watching, not helping) that it was like trying to haul a dead Yankee.
    He totally didn’t get it.
    June, you complete me.


  47. Sleeping Beauty says:

    I have no response to that (name that movie line!), but am only responding to help you with your comments problem. Who thinks she’s your best friend ever?


  48. amy says:

    I came here from Suburban Correspondent, and well, that was worth the trip, I tell you. Thanks for the laugh. It was the silent kind, because the baby is sleeping in the sling and if I laugh she might wake up, but then at least I could finally shower.
    You probably didn’t need to know that, though.


  49. Gladys says:

    OMG! I’m crying here. A tall glass of Hellman’s. Now see I would have been on the floor trying to scoot the table and my mother would have been cussing. My husband would have come in and moved the bookshelves because they made the table look too big.
    So was it the Hellman’s Light? Hellman’s with Olive Oil? Did it have a nice pique? Did you have it with Fava Beans?
    What are Fava Beans? Oh wait I have to save that for ask June.


  50. Blogger beats Typepad by a mile. You should move.
    33 million dollars on bookcases? Really? You must have gone to the Container Store. I went to the Container Store with my husband once. Let me mention here that I was, at the time, 40 weeks pregnant with our fourth child. As in, very pregnant, in a don’t-mess-with-me sort of way…
    Anyway, there we were, looking for bookcases or some such thing (because at that point we still had just about zero furniture that we hadn’t found at the apartment dumpsters on moving day). I was a tad disgruntled to find that each bookcase/shelving unit cost approximately gazillion dollars, but I was still willing to investigate the possibility of spending our children’s college educations on crappy furniture. Or, at least, my husband was, because he was tired of living in a house filled with dumpster specials.
    What pushed me over the edge was the realization that the Container Store charged extra for such accessories as shelves, say, or the hardware to hold up said shelves….I can’t help but feel a little bad for the saleswoman who enlightened me on this matter.
    So we left. Larry still claims I embarrassed him that day. I claim that the Container Store is the one who should feel embarrassed, blatantly ripping off customers like that.
    Did you ask for this long story? I think not.
    Oh, and I like your mom.


  51. Karen says:

    Oh! You are killing me!
    Just the laugh I needed!


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