Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Tisket, A Tasket, Just Not Another Basket!

My wife is the Queen of Storage. I’ll walk out of a room full of items in our tiny house as she sighs, “Where am I gonna put all this stuff?” Moments later I’ll return and everything’s gone.

I have no idea where some of it goes. I leave large vases on the back room counter because there’s just nowhere to put them. I come back later and they’ve disappeared without a trace. I’ll search every cabinet high and low, twice, with no luck. Then I’ll bring home flowers, and Nancy will say, “Oh, yea!” step into the back room, and return seconds later with three large vases in hand.

“Where the heck were those?” I demand.
“In the cabinet,” she says.

Right. The hidden, secret spy false-wall cabinet built by moonshiners during the Prohibition, I suppose. It’s like turning your back on David Copperfield at Ellis Island, then looking back and *poof!* the Statue of Liberty is gone. Then your turn around once more, and it’s back again.

But my wife can do it with everything.
Well, almost everything.

There is one item she hasn’t conquered, one trick she has yet to master. The ultimate disappearing trick of them all: the Mystery of the Vanishing Wicker Baskets.

If you have even one, you can imagine. If you have several, you know my pain:

They can’t go on the shelf cuz they’re just too tall.
They can’t go in the cabinet cuz they’re wider than the wall.
Forget about the closet cuz the door won’t close.
Can’t hang them from the ceiling cuz they’ll smack you in the nose.

And you can’t get rid of any of them, because this one was expensive, and that one was a gift, and we actually used the brown one once about six years ago.

“Just put them in the garage,” comes the voice of wisdom.

Ah, yes, the Room of Impossibly Shaped Items, where the lawn mower and the bikes and the 16-foot tall, 200-pound patio umbrella all dwell in lonely, motionless silence.

But not the baskets. Their shapes and sizes (and handles!) refuse to cooperate. The first three let you stack them easily on the ledge, so that when you push your luck and set the fourth one on top, they can all leap off and bounce around to the ground together. You’re sure you hear them whisper, “Yee-haw!” and “Kowabunga!” and “Aim for his nose!”

So if anyone can get me in touch with David Copperfield, I’ll send you a gift basket.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Other Ladies of the House

I used to think of my wife and me as masters of our dwelling, and myself as Lord of the Castle.

But the truth is: we are not alone.

Side by side with us dwell The Dress Forms, more properly known as The Other Ladies of the House.

I only recently learned this about them. I had always thought they were just dummies. Then I learned otherwise.

“Where do you want that thing?” I asked one day, as we re-arranged furniture.
“What thing?” my wife inquired.
“That thing in the other room.”
“What thing in the other room?”
“You know, that tall standy thing you put dresses on. The dummy.”
“Oh,” she said, indignantly. “You mean Colette?”
Colette. She has a name? She doesn’t even have a head.

But I have to admit, she does have a presence. I discover it late at night when I walk past her in the dark, and nearly jump out of my skin with fright.
I see it when she’s dressed to impress in the latest garb and accessories my wife has adorned her with.
And I sense it when I stand near her, worn out from a long day of cleaning, and especially from a long day of moving her from place to place. Lifting her from place to place. She weighs a ton, and her stiff, scratchy metal wheels aren’t nice to our wood floors.

So I stand there, sensing her presence, huffing and puffing as we accost each other.
I glare at her in my indignation, trying to make her feel bad for doing nothing to help me.
But she is unimpressed, unphased whatsoever. She simply stands there, proud and tall, disdaining me utterly, then seems to end our standoff with a simple air of “Hmph!”

And I am beaten once again, humbled out of my imagined title of Lord of the Castle and back into Colette’s view of the guy around the house.
So I slink off to take out the trash.

But I have one consolation: she also is not alone. She has some competition:

Meet Della . . .

. . . and this is Marie.

What’s that, Colette dear? You’d like me to move you – that is, lift you – across the room, so you can better watch the sunset? Golly, I’d love to, but I’m afraid I’m otherwise engaged: Della needs a dusting. You’ll just to have to imagine it. Ta!

That’ll show her. Putting on my own airs, I turn my back and saunter away, to go and serve – another dress form?

OK, so who’s the real dummy? You don’t have to answer that . . .

(Sorry for my long absence. Thanks for coming back! ~BILL)