Thursday, May 26, 2011

I'll Take Two

The Great Salt Lake was to my right and the Wasatch Range was to my left on the day I bought my dining room table. The grinning salesman, in a fine tweed suit, said, “Of course we have tables that seat 12! This is Salt Lake City-the land of the large family!”

The salesman assured me that the table was well made, of sturdy oak, and would last more than a lifetime. The salesman assured me it was a practical choice, perfect for creating years of wonderful family memories.

“How many children do you have to sit at this big table?” the salesman asked me.

“Oh, I don’t have any kids,” I replied, “but I do have 12 place settings of china I just got for my wedding. They are going to look fantastic sitting on this pretty table.”

More than two decades later, that table continues to be just as sturdy and practical as the salesman promised. The table has held up well, despite the destructive behaviors of the children and pets the husband and I eventually acquired. The same cannot be said for my sofa. After more than 20 years of helping to create wonderful family memories, it was shredded.

Two bickering kids were on my right and a mostly disinterested husband was on my left on the day I replaced that sofa. The grinning salesman, in casual Friday apparel, said, “Of course we have a wonderful sofa for you!”

I asked the salesman if the sofa was well made, of sturdy materials, and would last more than a lifetime. I asked the salesman if the sofa was a practical choice, perfect for creating years of wonderful family memories. I implored the salesman, “Please tell me this sofa will not get shredded.”

The salesman paused and then looked me in the eye.

“No. I can’t say that.”

“What? Why? I have 3 cats, 2 kids and 1 husband! I need a sofa that will hold up for a long time.”

The salesman tilted his head to the side. His facial expression softened a bit. I think the corner of his mouth was trying not to smile.

“For goodness sakes, ma’am, I’m going to be honest with you here. You have 3 cats... 2 kids... and 1 husband...your sofa is going to get shredded.”

My new blue sofa was on my right and my other new blue sofa was on my left on the day I sat down at my sturdy dining room table. I looked from the dining room into the living room and saw those 3 cats with claws and shedding fur and those 2 kids with dirty knees and sweaty socks and that 1 husband with the open Mountain Dew bottle and greasy Carhartt jeans.

And they sure looked fantastic sitting on those pretty sofas.

Check This Out!

Always a fan of authors specializing in humorous, honest essays about every day life, I was thrilled to read Sloane Crosley's new book, How Did You Get This Number. I laughed at Ms. Crosley's first book, I Was Told There'd Be Cake. I still have a few pages left in How Did You Get This Number, but have thoroughly enjoyed what I've read so far. You should check out the link above and both of Ms. Crosley's books. You'll be happy you did.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Nice Show, Mom

I was a wide eyed witness to the entire event.

I watched him callously shoot the man and then laugh about it.

I watched the man fall to the ground where he lay motionless. For a brief moment, the world stood still. And then I watched the man get right back up and point his gun toward me. I drew in a quick breath. My boy, with quick reflexes, and clearly competent, raised his controller and killed the man for a second time.

And again, the boy laughed.

I told the boy killing was no laughing matter. I lectured him on death and reality and video games and real blood. The boy assured me he would never laugh if he killed a real man. He told me he knew the difference between video games and real life. I said the game was a bad game. The boy said it was a fun game and thanked me again for buying it for him for Christmas.

The boy tried to teach me to play his video game. He showed me how to navigate the battle scene. I told him that I thought the architecture of the buildings was stunning. He showed me how to hide behind a large tree. I wondered what kind of tree it was and said it looked much healthier than the ones in my yard. He showed me how to pull the trigger and kill a man. I asked him if the man had a wife or a mother or life insurance.

The boy told me it wasn’t any fun playing video games with me. He said I needed to “just go with it” and stop talking so much.

It was clear the boy and I were on different pages.

I was eating my lunch, flipping through the channels when I found the TV show about video games. I learned about the most popular video games, the new releases and the exclusive secret tips that were guaranteed to improve my score. I knew I had found the answer. The boy and I would watch this show together. We would be on the same video game page. We would bond.

I beamed proudly when I sat next to the boy and turned on the show. The boy stared silently at the TV as the games were reviewed. I listened intently, trying to memorize the video game lingo. When it was time for the first commercial the announcer looked into the camera and spoke directly to my innocent boy. “Don’t you dare get off that couch. Don’t you dare change that channel. You absolutely aren’t going to want to miss what we have coming up next! We take a look at the absolute HOTTEST video game sex you have ever seen! I’m talking realistic, smokin’ hot babes here. So get yourselves ready and we’ll be back in 2 minutes.”

Practically frozen in place on the couch, I managed to slowly turn my head to look at the boy. I opened my mouth to speak. “Uuuummmm…..I…….”

The boy casually leaned forward and grabbed the remote. “Yeah…I got this.” He turned the TV off and got up off the couch. “Nice show, Mom. Nice show. I think I’m gonna go in the other room and play my video game-the one with the shooting and lots of pretend killing. That OK with you, Mom?”

Check This Out!

My new favorite book is Restore. Recycle. Repurpose. With the subtitle.
Create A Beatiful Home, this Country Living book by Randy Florke has tons of great pictures of every room in the home. Written from a "green" perspective, this book is full of old stuff, flea market finds and a whole bunch of really cool ideas. It's been super fun to peruse. You should check it out.