The Recliner Saga

A week ago this last Saturday, I was in the kitchen (because where else would I be?) when an anguished wail came from the general direction of our family room.  I poked my head around the corner and saw Beloved on his knees, in front of his ancient recliner, weeping gently over the springs which had apparently been mortally sprung.

I sighed…I knew this day was coming.  The poor recliner had been ailing for some time; we had, in fact, done some emergency surgery on him not too long ago when one of his springs snapped, in the way of a couple of clamps Beloved had purchased at Home Depot.  I was not aware, however, of the scope of the damage – along with the aforementioned clamps, there were now wires, twist ties, and was that one of my pot holders under there??

It was.

Before I could comfort him, Beloved came to his feet, looked me dead in the eye and said, “We’re buying a new recliner. Now.”

Not one to argue with a recliner-less man – I have a reasonably developed sense of self-preservation – I gathered up my purse and 10 minutes later My Better Half was happily caressing leather upholstery and trying out foot rests at the Lazy Boy showroom.

Now, our home is decorated in cream, green and gold, with burgundy accents, mostly because of that very recliner.  It is hunter green and I knew it would be a permanent fixture, so I just sort of decorated around it.  Which honestly wasn’t hard, since green is my favorite color.  However, while hunter green was popular in the 90s, I dare you to find any furniture that color these days:  literally everything in the Lazy Boy showroom was brown, maroon or taupe (blech).  Our inquiries into the matter only confirmed what I already suspected; yes, we could get the recliner of our choice in a hunter green, but it would take at least 10 weeks and significantly raise the price.

After wandering a little more and trying out several chairs (including one that could have housed a small immigrant family and cost a small fortune), Beloved settled into a chair that was more-or-less burgundy (the swatch on the chair was labeled “Cabernet”).

“Oh, this is nice,” he said.  I looked at the price tag – it was on sale.  It was, in fact, half off.

“We’ll take it,” I told the sales lady.

“Don’t rush, don’t rush,” he said.  “Here, you sit in it.”

Now, there is some validity to his request.  You see, I spend a fair amount of time in the recliner when Beloved isn’t in it.  Aside from our bed, it is my favorite place to sleep – he’s snoring and I can’t get him to roll over?  I’m in the chair.  My sinuses won’t drain if I’m in a prone position?  I’m in the chair.  I simply can’t sleep and don’t want to keep him up with my tossing and turning?  I’m in the chair with my Kindle.  So I sat in it.

And it was the most comfortable chair I’d ever parked my fanny in.

I looked at Beloved and said, “We’ll take it.”

“Great!” he replied.  “Let’s get two!”

The sales lady, who looked as if she’d just reeled in the biggest sucker fish of the season, said, “You know, I believe we have that very chair in that very color here in our warehouse, and can have the other delivered by the end of next week!” and feverishly began filling out paperwork.

Again, his suggestion to purchase two (which were, after all, half off) had some validity.  You see, he can’t sit in his chair if I’m sleeping in it, and if I had my own chair, well, that problem would be solved, now wouldn’t it?  Our furniture is also kind of old and while our loveseat is in good shape (mainly because no one really ever sits in it), the sofa – which is an incredibly comfortable sofa, as anyone who has ever sat on it (including the dog) will tell you – is showing many signs of wear and tear.  So, after a short discussion on the logistics of just where we’d put two recliners, I acquiesced, and to give me credit did not even flinch when we handed over our first born American Express.

We could take the recliner in stock that day if we could provide transportation for it, and the other could be delivered the following Friday after our return from Hocking Hills (for a mere $69), so Beloved called his father and asked if we could borrow their van.  The next thing I knew, we’d made the 20 minute drive to my inlaw’s house, left them our car, taken their van – from which my father-in-law had considerately removed the seats – and picked up the new recliner…which meant Beloved wouldn’t have to go one single day without putting his feet up while he napped through all of his favorite television shows.

And that’s what’s really important, isn’t it?

While the new recliner was being loaded into the van, Beloved turned to the sales lady and asked, “What’s the warranty on this?”

“Lifetime on the parts, one year on the labor,” she replied.  A strange expression passed over his face, but I didn’t think much of it.  But when we got home, Beloved made a bee-line to the old recliner.

“That’s what I thought,” he muttered.

Yes, the old recliner is a Lazy Boy.

He called the showroom, and discovered they could fix it for less than $100, and it would take less than a week.

We unloaded the new recliner and loaded the old one into the van and drove back to the Lazy Boy showroom.

We cancelled the order for the second recliner.

We took the van back to my inlaws and thanked them.

We went to Hocking Hills and played many games, ate much barbecue, drank much wine and lounged a great deal in the hot tub.

We came home and picked up the newly repaired chair, which cost a whopping $42.

And that, friends and neighbors, is how I got a brand new Lazy Boy recliner.

Bachelors #1, Bachelor #2, Bachelor #…Whoops

RomanceThe Spin Cycle this week is about dating.  My dating days are far behind me, thank goodness.  However, I’ve done my share of it, and I’ve written about it.  In fact, I can’t think of anything else to say about the subject top that post, so I hope all of my long-time readers will forgive me if I re-post my little ditty on the trials and tribulations joys of internet dating.

In 1997, after my relationship with The Young One’s father limped to an end and we did the “let’s be friends” thing (which we have, quite successfully) I decided after nearly 16 years of long-term, exclusive relationships it was time for me to play the field a bit.  Unfortunately, it had been so long since I’d actually dated I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it.  Hanging out in bars wasn’t going to cut it – I’d had my fill of that in the year before I married the first time – and there was the fact I had three kids at home and worked full-time.  I was pretty sure I could make time for dates on Friday or Saturday nights, I was just worried about how to meet people to date.

Oddly enough, it was The Young One’s father who came to the rescue.  Just as anxious to get on with his life and a bit more computer savvy (at least when it came to the opposite sex, but then again, he’s a man), he’d already dipped his toes into the waters of internet dating and found them to be just fine.  So, I asked a few questions, which he answered, and before I knew it I was back on the meat market.

Now, you’ve got to understand this was over 10 years ago – Match.com was in it’s infancy (in fact, it was free in those days and yes, I had a profile – I even met a pretty nice guy through the site) and eHarmony hadn’t even been conceived.  Most people put ads on various online bulletin boards, and that’s how I started.  You also have to realize that Google was very, very new (and therefore not the powerhouse it is now), search engines were far more numerous (and far more inaccurate), and you couldn’t just do a search for something like “rules of internet dating” and find 4 million websites dealing with how to safely meet and date people online.  It was pretty much a “learn as you go” process and brother, did I go and learn.  Very quickly.

But all of that is for another post.  For now, I’ll just tell you about My Four Most Memorable Internet Dates.  Because honey, I’ll never EVER forget them.

#1 – Cyrano de Bergerac I think out of all my internet dates, this one was the most disappointing.  I exchanged emails with Cyrano for over two weeks before we decided to meet for dinner. I was so excited to meet him – our email exchanges had been marvelous.  He was intelligent.  He was eloquent.  He was sensitive.  He was charming.  He was very, very witty.

He was a goddamn fraud.

We met for dinner at a restaurant halfway between his place and my apartment; good neutral ground. Okay, so he never told me about his Popeye-esque forearms, but that didn’t bother me in the least – I’m sure I’d downplayed the size of my ass.  But we sat down to order and…he said nothing.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nada.  Bupkis.  I dealt every conversational gambit I had in my hand, and was met with monosyllables followed by eerie silence.  I’ve never sat through a meal that dragged on the way that one did.

And at the end, he paid the check, looked me dead in they eye and said, “So, do you want to go back to my place?”

Uh…no.  I went home.  I never emailed him again, and he never emailed me again.  I don’t know about him, but I wasn’t sorry in the least.

#2 – The Stock Broker He was a little pompous and self-important to begin with, but we really had a lot of common interests.  I enjoyed our correspondence.  And, I have to admit, after 16 years of what couldn’t quite be described as penury (but wasn’t far from it), I was not going to turn down a date with a real, live stock broker.  With whom I apparently had a lot in common.

We decided to meet at an “English pub” not too far from my workplace because I’d recently become enamored with Black Velvets – like a Black and Tan, only with hard pear cider instead of Harp’s lager – and because he wanted to see if their Shepherd’s Pie was “authentic.”  *sigh*  Yeah, I should have realized then, but I’m nothing if not optimistic.

We’d no sooner sat down and ordered dinner when he apparently decided we’d dispensed with enough pleasantries, thank you very much, and began to plan, in great detail, our next date – which included sex.  And more sex.  And nothing but sex.  When I asked him, “Don’t you think we should get to know each other a little better before we discuss that?” he looked me dead in the eye and replied, “We’ve already gotten all of that out of the way.”

I did NOT wait for my beef and Yorkshire pudding.  I don’t care how authentic it was.

#3 – Hair Club for Men This date is memorable for so many reasons.  Our email exchanges had gone pretty well – ten or twelve years older than me (or so I thought), he was suave, sophisticated and experienced.  While we didn’t share the immediate chemistry I’d felt with Cyrano, our correspondence was such that I believed we might be able to develop something more than just friendship, and his maturity intrigued me, especially since I was older than both The Ex and The Young One’s father.

I’m afraid I embarrassed myself a tad when we met for lunch, because although he was waiting for me at the hostess’ station of the restaurant, in plain view, I kept looking around.  You see, he was at least twenty years older and 50 pounds heavier than the picture he’d provided.  And he had something that resembled a dead wombat on his head – it took me a few minutes to realize it was a toupeé.  I must have recovered really well, though, because he was every bit as charming as I’d anticipated as we sat down to lunch and I really enjoyed myself.  I was quite willing to meet him for another date when he suggested it.

Until the check came, at which point he looked me dead in the eye and asked me if I minded going dutch, because his wife controlled their expenses and he didn’t want her to see anything suspicious.

Back to the drawing board.

#4 The Really Creepy Old Perv There’s just no other way to describe this guy.  Nothing he told me about himself was true – not his age, not his looks, not his marital status, not his motive.  Nothing.  I went to the restaurant to meet him – mercifully at lunch, so I had my job as an excuse to flee the premises as quickly as possible – only to find a man in his early seventies rather than his mid-forties.  Nor was he interested in maintaining any sort of pretense once he had me at the table with him.  He was very straight-forward, I have to give him that.

It was the only thing he was getting.

Because he looked me dead in the eye and announced he and a very close friend (who was the same age) were interested in the occasional-yet-regular threesome with a young, attractive woman.  They were prepared to pay handsomely.  I was prepared to run like my life depended upon it.

And I did.

I don’t want you to get me wrong – I had a blast during the 18 months I dated via the internet and met a couple of really great guys.  Most people out there are just who they say they are – perfectly normal individuals with varied interests and lifestyles.  I really believe you can meet the person of your dreams that way.

I also know I’m not the only person out there with blind date horror stories.  What’s yours?

Let the Good Times Roll

B.B. KingToday, we will drop Scooter off at the kennel for the weekend.

Next, we will take The Young One to Cleveland and put him on a plane to Texas for Spring break.

Then we will go raid Half Price Books.

After that, we will check into the Embassy Suites in downtown Cleveland and take a nap cavort wantonly through our two-room suite.

Then, to cap off the day’s festivities, we will stroll two or three blocks to The House of Blues, where we will eat dinner, drink ourselves silly and be entertained by the legendary B.B. King.

Saturday, we are going to spend a large part of the day at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, where we can view a cast of Lucy, then perhaps the Cleveland Museum of Art, and then off to dinner at the Flying Fig (they have a “small plate” of chorizo-stuffed Medjool dates wrapped in bacon, garnished with a roasted red pepper sauce that are to die for).

Let the good times roll.

Have a lovely weekend, y’all.

The Chemist

ChemistryI knew my bloggy friends weren’t going to let me off the hook when I posted seven things about me last week, and I wasn’t disappointed.

So here’s the story.

I’ve written before about some of my more horrifying interesting experiences with internet dating.  Re-reading it (which was fun, actually) I see I did mention that I met a couple of nice guys.  The Chemist was one of them.

The Chemist was very cute, very sweet, very smart and very, very naïve.  Not only did he have PhD in chemistry, his first degree was in Byzantine History.  That tickled me to no end – it still does.  It was just so…arcane.  A couple of years younger than me, he’d never been married or had children; indeed, he’d spent his entire adult life in the hallowed halls of higher learning ivory towers universities.  Don’t get me wrong – I have the utmost respect for anyone with a college education, especially a PhD, but he was 33 years old when I met him and had never done anything but go to school.

When we met via the infant Match.com, he’d only completed his doctorate the year before and had accepted a research position at OU in Norman, Oklahoma, about a 4-hour drive from my Dallas residence.  Moving to the heart of the Bible Belt (from Canada) was an interesting experience for him, because he was a rampant liberal…a fact that probably doomed the whole thing from the get-go; I don’t think he could quite reconcile his liking for me with the fact many of my family are members of the NRA and they all vote Republican (hey, don’t judge – I’m from Texas, after all).  And while my politics as well as my stance on the Second Amendment have changed somewhat over the last 15 years, that wasn’t the only thing that kept the relationship from being something more serious.  We were just too different.

Anyhoo, we dated for five months.  On the weekends the kids were with their father, I drove up to Norman to see him; on the weekends the kids were with me, he drove down to Dallas to visit with us.   It was during one of those trips to Norman – the weekend of the Texas-OU game, as a matter of fact – that we found ourselves in the deserted chemistry lab at the university, checking up on an experiment he was in the midst of.

Let’s just say that experiment wasn’t the only chemistry going on.

He did not have an ulterior motive in taking me to the lab – I initiated it.  He was extremely cautious by nature and would never have thought of it.  We didn’t date much longer after that, although I don’t think our little adventure in the workplace had anything to do with it.  I think it was more that my situation frightened him; I was, after all, a divorced mother of three (and a struggling one, at that).  Nor could I have any more children; I’d had a tubal when The Young One was born.  I think, too, that if he had decided to take the step to make our relationship a serious, committed one that I would have probably gone along with it – like a lot of single mothers, I worried about finding the right man to bring into the lives of my kids, and The Chemist was a genuinely nice guy who would have taken his responsibilities as a step-father very seriously.  Looking back, I realize he took everything very seriously and we’d probably have killed each other if we’d try to make a go of it.  I just can’t take life that seriously – I can’t take anything very seriously.

So when he stopped calling and emailing (we spoke on the phone and emailed every day for the five or so months we were involved) it didn’t take me long to see the writing on the wall.  It was upsetting, sure, but it was more the manner in which he handled it that bothered me; it was such a cowardly thing to do.  What was wrong with saying, to my face, “I really, really like you but I don’t want a ready-made family”?  It would have been perfectly reasonable, and I’d have accepted it.  Surely, after five months, he could see I wasn’t a drama queen and would have let him go with a hug and a “good luck – I’m so glad I got to know you.”  Because that’s what would have happened.

I don’t believe in fate or karma or destiny, but things like this usually happen for the best – or at least they seem to.  After The Chemist, I decided to give up dating and pretty much give up on men in general.  And that was my frame of mind, just a few months later, when I met Beloved.

The rest, as they say, is history.