Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sexy Time

For the past two weeks, Cliff and I have been consumed in our search for a new dishwasher.  We have known this time would come; it’s been on its last legs for a couple of years now.  One morning  I tried to turn it on and it was dead.  No life. It didn't even grind to a dramatic halt.   Our dishwasher just said, “Fuck-it.  I’m done with you Lazenby’s”.  Kaput.  And so, the search began.

There is no glamour or excitement in researching and purchasing a major appliance.  It is a very mundane, grown up thing to do.  I didn't look for ovens when I was 24.  I can’t even attest to having one in my apartment since I survived on bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches from the deli, take-out and the French-fries served at The Bottom Line where I was a cocktail waitress. 

Cliff and I have been comparing, researching, opening and closing doors and stood in many a store wide-eyed and feeling dazed and confused.  We dragged the girls to Best Buy on a Saturday where they had their first lesson in never, ever stepping into and closing the door on themselves inside of a refrigerator.  We unsuccessfully tried to pull information out of the world’s worst salesperson, a dumpy, over bleached twat of a woman.  I asked, “Does this model have a food grinder?”  She would sneer and sigh and point to a sticker on one of the many dishwashers that lines the walls, “Well, all the information you need is right here”  Since I have never bought a dishwasher, I asked her, “Why would I need to take the racks out and re-adjust them?”  She blew out crypt keeper smelling breath at me and replied, “I can’t answer that question for you honey.  I don’t know your dish washing needs. ”   Here we were practically waving money in our hands because why else would a person be shopping for an appliance – this is not a browsing for fun kind of purchase-  and this peach of a woman couldn't wait to go on her cigarette break.

After endless comparisons and conversations about stainless steel interior versus plastic and controls on top or the front, we finally found one in our price range where the store offered a special with free delivery, pick-up and thirty eight dollar installation.  We pulled the trigger and bought it.    It’s a hard trigger to pull – not only because it’s expensive, but online we read hundreds of reviews, and there isn't a single dishwasher out there that doesn’t have at least one review that screams, “DO NOT BUY THIS DISHWASHER!  THE WORST EVER!  IT BURNED MY HOUSE DOWN AND ATE MY CAT AND IT DOESN'T T DRY DISHES PROPERLY!!!!!”

Yesterday Cliff calls me at work and says, “I went back to Home Depot to look at the one we bought and I dunno, I am afraid the racks are a little flimsy.  I was opening other racks and the ones on our model seems…weak.  Can you just come and meet me at lunch so we can compare the racks.”  I said “Sure babe, it’s a big purchase, I get it.   I want you to feel good about it.  And I giggle every time you say ‘compare racks’” .

We meet and there Cliff is in a sea of dishwashers, working up a sweat, comparing racks.  “Look at this, see how it wiggles around, flimsy – right?  And this other one here, more solid.  Do you see it?  Feel it?”  We compare more racks.  When Cliff gets focused on something, his eyebrows are mesmerizing.  They arch up and have a slightly sinister quality to the shape.  His eyebrows do this when he is pissed-off or when listening to some seriously heavy and loud music.  I love Cliff’s eyebrows.  They are one of my favorite things about him.

“I don’t know babe – they all are feeling nearly the same to me.” Cliff says, “You think I’m crazy?  Can we check out one last store just to compare?  How about Lowes.  We haven’t been there yet.”  “No babe, I don’t think you’re crazy.   No crazier than I am.  Let’s go - but I will not go to Best Buy with Mrs. Good Mood over there.”  We jump into our separate cars and race two routes to see which one is the closest and quickest.  Cliff won.

At Loews, the rack slide show begins again and we are approached with the opening line, “Can I help you?”  By a salesman who looks a modern day Grizzly Adams.   I jump in and say, “Quite honestly, we have already bought a dishwasher at Home Depot, but we are having buyers regret and rack remorse.”  I go through our entire spiel with this guy who patently listens.

It turns out this guy was the guru of dishwashers.  He explained why some racks feel loose, (because of their removability) and the ins and outs of how Maytag, GE and Whirlpool are one company, which are built in the U S of A and how Boch is anal retentive because it has a printout of how to precisely load each wash.  Cliff and the guru get into the minutia of why he should not get too hung up on exact make and models when looking at consumer reports and no, Home Depot is not trying to unload a bunk dishwasher on us. 

I think Cliff felt a bit better.  His eyebrows came down and relaxed.  “Thank you so much” I said, “I’m sorry we aren't buying one from you.  This has been so helpful.”  “That’s OK.  Glad I could help.  Seems like you did buy a decent dishwasher.   But here’s my card – because someday you will need a fridge.”

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Every picture tells a story

Sophie is in an awkward phase right now – at least that is how I am seeing it.  Her body is growing in all directions, she walks into desks, trips over imaginary dust bunnies, her legs are hairy, her teeth are growing in all crooked and her hormones are beginning to play tricks on her brain.  Poor thing.  Even though I think she is lucky with the group of girls in her grade – I am starting to see which girls are going the too cool for school route, working the “What evah” attitude on for size.  Sophie has a heart as big as the great outdoors coupled with social naiveté  - I do not predict that she is going to be too cool for school any time soon.

She is in good company, because I never was cool at that age – or really anytime in those grade/middle/high school years.  You can’t rock, “What evah!” with thick glasses, a broken beak of a nose and braces.  But hey, if I wasn't saddled with those character builders, I wouldn't have developed my stellar sense of humor.  I pity all those pretty girls who turned out to be bland in their twenties.  At this point, their asses must be huge too.

To help Sophie through this time, twice a week for ten weeks, she has participated in Girls on the Run at school.    It is an amazing program that promotes self esteem and empowerment through workshops and exercise.  This program culminates in a huge girl power 5k.

This Friday when I picked Sophie up after school, she was a hot mess - didn't understand her homework, all sweaty from gym and lost her sweater.   As she flung herself up and over to look in the lost and found, she slipped and twisted her ankle.  The same one she cracked pretty bad at practice a month earlier.

I was hoping it would be fine – because I knew that Sunday – today - would be the big 5k day.

We arrived on time.  The weather was perfect late fall, sunny and crisp.  The stadium was filled with pop music,  teammates, coaches and parents vibrating with excitement,  ready to run and celebrate.  Sophie and I start off the race at a respectable  pace – and barely and half mile into it, she starts slowing down.  It was her ankle.  Her slow down became a stumbling walk, which turned into sobbing and limping.  Crying and leaning on me, she came to a complete stop on the side of the road.  We sat down in the grass and she bawled in my lap.  It was all over before it even started.

This event that she has worked towards all fall was just shit down the drain because of a clumsy move days earlier.  My poor little Calamity Jane.
My heart just hurt with disappointment as she was crying and watching groups of girls running by, doing what she should have been doing.   Disappointed for my own unrealized expectations – I was looking forward to this event with Sophie and as a family.  I was saddened by the sweet signs that Cliff and Katie made for us that they barely got to wave.  Disappointed by my expectation that together we would run over the finish line, smiling, buoyant with mother daughter love gliding in on Spice Girl size girl power.

It was a total letdown.   I was simultaneously wrestling with wanting to shake her and yell, “Are you kidding me?!  Your ankle hurts?!!!   Get up off your ass and do this shit!   It can’t hurt THAT BAD!!”  And my heart broken in two for her.

At this point Cliff and Katie have found us.   Cliff and I try to regroup and pull some parenting shit out of our asses.  Nothing had gone as planned.  We both looked at Sophie and said, “We think you would feel better if you get up and finish this last loop and cross the finish line.  Just walk slowly.  OK?”  She balked at this.  That was when I then said, “You will get up and you will walk across that finish line.  I don’t care how slowly you go – but we will do this.”

She was not too happy about it.  She protested.  She cried.  But Cliff and I stayed united on this one. 
Sophie, Katie and I made it across.  Not in any way like I expected.  But we did it.  Our car ride home was quiet.  Just Sophie and I.  At one point Sophie quietly chirped, “I love you Mama.  I’m so glad that I have you as a Mama.”