I was just settling in to a nice peaceful summer, relaxing, entertaining relatives from Chicago and generally enjoying retirement, when all of a sudden WHAM, I get blindsided by my wife with two successive columns where I am slandered, kicked and generally thrown under whatever bus, locomotive or steamroller that passes by.
Let’s start with the installation of a 300 disc CD player “with all the cords and wires.” This wiring consisted of a rats nest of tangles that made a backlashed fishing reel look like child’s play. Imagine spaghetti tied in knots. And who in the world needs 300 CDs? Our little project has already morphed into a frustrating, timeconsuming mess that accomplishes only one thing: raising my blood pressure.
Next, we move on to the appropriation of my bookcase. I love to read history and I have accumulated a nice little library. I like having them accessible. Well, my books got moved to “an easier place to get to.” Sally’s nose grew four inches when she uttered that falsehood, and I was left with the sad understanding that I would never see my books again. Pulitzer prize-winning authors were replaced with Barry ?!X>#% Manilow.
Now let’s talk about the actual installation of the stereo/CD player. When I was busy untangling the wires, I failed to note that the guy who designed this setup was a sadistic rat. The main wire connecting the two components went from the rear left backside of the tuner to the rear right side of the CD player.
Thinking that the wires would reach without any problem, I drilled my holes in the rear of the case accordingly. Imagine my surprise when the wire wouldn’t reach. This necessitated another hole being drilled and the cord stretched to its limit just to connect. For once, Sally didn’t exaggerate when she said I got busy swearing in three different languages.
Before you go tsk-tsk about my demeanor at this point, please remember that I’m an overweight, 65-year-old man with a lousy back who is lying contorted on the floor trying to drill holes and feed wires into difficult-to-reach places.
Sally makes a point about me having tools scattered about, but she is very fortunate that I didn’t have one of my favorite tools within reach—my sledgehammer. Believe me, I would have put it to good use busting up that equipment and bookcase right down to lucifer matches.
The rest of that column evolved into plans that Sally is making for turning my good old lake place into some sort of fantasyland of paint jobs, clocks, mirrors and doodads scattered all over the place. Every garage sale on the Iron Range for the last 30 years is going to find a home in my beloved, quaint place. Woe is me.
Sally wasn’t satisfied by just putting me on the Barry Manilowmobile to the looney bin, no siree. She followed up that column with another one portraying me as a Stanley Kowalski kind of lout who sat around playing solitaire all day—a man so lazy he must be horsewhipped just to get him to take out the garbage.
Can you imagine the nerve of someone who has just written a column describing how she tricked her poor husband into a torturous installation job that almost drove him around the bend and then describes how he doesn’t tidy up the house to her satisfaction. Cinderfella is what I am.
Anyway, the main course of the second column was devoted to—are you ready for this?— the installation of a toilet seat. It’s a sad state of journalism going on here, folks, when a toilet seat becomes the focal point of a newspaper column.
Once again, I was held up to ridicule for taking tools into the bathroom to do a job. What seems like a lot of tools to Sally is, in reality, a crescent wrench and a screwdriver. I took my drill kit in just in case the cheap plastic used in toilet seat manufacture might bust and then have to be drilled out. Fortunately that wasn’t necessary.
Sally then moved on to ridicule the fact that the wrong-size toilet seat was installed. Did anyone notice that she glossed over the fact that she bought this seat at a garage sale for a $1 “bargain.” She acted like I was supposed to wave a magic wand over the thing and have it stretch to the correct size.
The final insult I had to endure in that multiparagraph pack of lies is when she said, “I gave him one job, folks.” Ha! First, she gave me this job with the wrong material that she provided. Second, she gleefully ignores all the other jobs that have been passed to me over the years.
Evidently the fact that I mow six to eight one-half-acre lawns per week is a pleasurable experience right up there with going to a Twins game. The fact that I drive to Virginia each week to mow her and her daughter’s lawns isn’t a job, merely a little euphoric exercise before going to play Trivia.
I do virtually all the cooking here, but that’s not a job, we’ll call it a labor of love. Semantics, if you will. This last week I had to uninstall and then install three air conditioners. But that’s not a job if you don’t notice it because you’re watching soap operas or the “Bachelorette.”
I’ll admit that I play Solitaire once in a while when things are simmering on the stove, or if I take a break from trying to figure out what the heck Sally has charged on her credit card. I read where FDR played Solitaire as a way of relaxing while he tried to figure out a way to end the depression and stamp out Hitler. I think I could have worse diversions.
You know I’m starting to wonder if this shrewd cookie I’m married to doesn’t write these pack-olies columns just to evoke a defensive response from me. She gets a week off that can be devoted to laying on the couch eating bonbons and watching reruns of “Mad Men.” I’m going to have to monitor this.
Mark and Sally Yuccas live in Virginia, MN.