They say lots of things about comedy. That it’s harder to pull off than drama. That many a standup comic is crying behind the punchlines. That life is never quite as funny as you’ll see up on the stage or screen. And that comedy is in the eyes of the beholder. But what I’ll say is that nothing is quite as comic as the predicaments I end up getting myself into right here at home. You just can’t make this stuff up. To wit:
Living in our oft-described quirky apartment in an older building, renovations and repairs come slowly — to paraphrase the Eagles in Sad Café, “if they ever [come] at all.” And so, it often falls on us to make these changes on our own dime, in our own time. In this particular case, because waiting for new carpeting is like waiting for Godot, we’ve decided to replace our large, 15-year-old area rugs instead.
The easy part: finding fabulous rugs online. Brilliant colors, the perfect size (6′ x 9′), the right number — three total, two for the living room, one for the office area.
Fun Fact #1: While the two living-room rugs are identical and were shipped from the same exact place at the same exact time, one has managed to get lost. Yup. One made its way through the proper channels to USPS and landed outside our front door this morning. The other? It managed to find its way, incorrectly, to UPS and is now lost in shipper-to-shipper hell. It should be here tomorrow. Or the next day. Or sometime after that. The advice provided to me? If it’s not here in two more days, opt for “cancel and replace.” And if it arrives after I do that, I can just return it for free. Except that it’s a 6′ x 9′ rug — not exactly drop-it-in-the-mailbox-and-off-you-go returnable. Laugh meter: a knowing chuckle.
Fun Fact #2: Replacing the old rug in the office should have been a piece of cake (if you don’t count moving dozens of B.’s floor plants, two rolling file cabinets, one mega-heavy piece of wood that serves as the desktop, and two desk chairs). Except. In an effort to start the process on my own (because I have the patience of a gnat and didn’t feel like waiting for B. to finish what he was doing), I managed to move almost everything out of the way — while blocking both exits to the office in doing so (thank you very much). Which means I then had no place to move the old rug, no way to access the new rug, and no path to the bathroom when the diet Coke I had ingested for that boost of caffeinated energy hit my bladder. Good times. Laugh meter: enough to make one pee.
Fun Fact #3: In our household, B. is the one with the great sense of space relations. The one who can visualize a floor plan and where things should go. The one who measures twice and cuts once. So, by all means, let’s have me take charge of the living-room rug exchange. (Insert eye roll here.)
Even though the second living-room rug has yet to arrive (I figure it’s circling LAX by now), we decided to put down the first one. Move coffee table out of room, check. Move oversized arm chair out of room, check. Move sofa as far from wall as possible to vacuum behind it, check. Switch out old rug for new one and replace everything where it was. Wait — why? Why not embrace the new season by making a change? (Cue violin-playing cherubs here.) Because that idea makes no sense, that’s why. Apparently.
I was so sure I was right. Never mind that the cable connection requires the TV to remain where it is. That the natural light requires the plants to stay where they are (yes, more plants — B. has the proverbial green thumb). That unless we want the loveseat to block the TV, the bookcase to offer zero book access, the coffee table to be relegated to the kitchen (at least it’s near the coffee), and the side tables to be beside the point, everything needs to stay where it is. Which B. knew from the beginning (gotta love that about him). And I figured out only after being knee deep in the wrong floor plan (gotta love that about me).
And so, a one-hour-max chore turned into a multi-hour event (hey, pouting, stamping my foot, tripping over the ottoman because it was in an unexpected place, and being proven wrong all take time). And we get to do it again when the missing rug shows up in a few days. Laugh meter: Lucy meets slapstick with a sprinkling of choice dialogue (not necessarily fit for all audiences).
As with all comedy, the laughter lesson learned is the same. Leave ’em rolling on the floor.
©2021 Claudia Grossman