Everything We Own Is Broken
I’d like to start by saying that I intend to set up a regular time frame for posting. I keep swearing that I’m going to do this but then I either get excited and post every single day or I disappear for a while. I’m thinking that it will be Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. And I promise that they won’t always be Peter memes that only make me and my friends laugh.
I need to limit the amount of times that I post because I’m trying to add a few chapters to my novel and if I don’t reign myself in, I’ll never actually write them. The hard part is working out what’s actually missing in the book itself, and I’ve gotten that far. Now I just need to write it, and then I have to not drink myself to death while I edit it.
Some of you have asked me what my book is about since I have explained in the past that it’s nothing like this blog. I won’t tell you what it’s about, but I will tell you what category it falls under. The easiest way to explain it is that I categorize it as Magical Realism, which is like 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. I believe those are the two most widely known examples. It’s hard to get published to begin with, but Magical Realism is not hardcore Sci-Fi and it’s not sexy vampires, so it doesn’t fit in many boxes. If Sci-Fi is ice cream and fantasy is frozen yogurt, then Magical Realism is gelato. It’s incredible if you recognize what it is, but the majority of the population is like, “What is this fucked up ice cream?” And maybe you fall in love with it, but you might not even want to try it to begin with because there are no cookie dough chunks in it. Or whatever.
Okay, that metaphor went rogue. I’m really hungry right now. And I’m getting ready to meet Shelby Brooke at the new Kiwi, which is one of those frozen yogurt places with all of the little spouts so that you can fill up your cup yourself. It’s awesome because you can pretend to not be a fat ass by over-filling your cup and then saying,”Whoops! Took too much! Those spouts are SO FAST. They should, like, have a little sign that warns you that the froyo comes out really quickly.” And then you eat all of it, just like you intended.
My point to that entire thing was that I love doing this blog, but I have to nut up and give my book some more attention, since it’s like watery gelato right now. It’s almost there. Needs more churning. Or however the fuck you make gelato. ARGH, WHY CAN’T I LET THIS GO??
Mother of pearl, my brain is so broken. And speaking of broken, that is the intended topic of this blog entry. Over the past month almost everything that Ralph and I own that means a lick of shit to us has broken. That’s an exaggeration, but it was pretty bad. By now Ralph and I seem to be sort for back to normal. We were freaking out for a second there.
It started out simple. Ralph’s car had the check engine light on. Ralph’s car is a ‘96 Volvo with nearly 200,000 miles on it. At this point the check engine light has all of the significance of a string of Christmas lights. It means nothing. It means, “Don’t forget, your car is ancient.”
However, this time it came with another little light that we never saw before. We looked it up in the manual and it turns out that the light means, “Stop driving or you will die a horrible, fiery death!” Ralph’s been driving around with that light on for the better part of a month.
I completely freaked out and forbid Ralph to drive the car, but the only problem with that is that we then had to carpool. I love Ralph and he loves me, but in the morning we kinda hate each other. I spring out of bed without an alarm, get ready in a hot 12 minutes and I’m out the door, already chasing my first cup of coffee by no later than 6:45.
Ralph wakes up and has to break out of a sort of chrysalis stage of super sleep. Basically, I’ve learned that for the first twenty minutes his eyes don’t work and for the first hour of waking his ears don’t work, so anything he needs to know I have to tell him the night before or later. If you try to tell him something you get one of two reactions:
A) He’s quiet and then ten minutes later he says, “What?”
Naturally, he wants to murder me when he gets up at the same time as me and I greet him with sunshine eyes, a glass of orange juice, and a strong desire to talk about all of the errands we need to run.
Needless to say, two days of carpooling was already too many.
The first mechanic said that it was an air bag issue that would cost $2000 to fix. We decided on a second opinion. We hauled it back and forth from place to place and everyone had a crappy diagnosis. Ralph said that they should just changed the check engine light to be a dollar sign, since it would be more accurate. During this time we were trying not to rip each other apart every morning, so we were NOT in the mood when the rest of the shit started breaking down.
My GPS was trying to murder me.
It kept taking me to Burger King instead of to the doctor’s office, so I needed a new one pretty desperately. You can only eat a container of onion rings like twice a year without dying or waking up with all of the space between you chin and your neck filled in with fat. If I didn’t die of obesity then I would definitely die from it trying to make me turn down wrong ways or make a sharp left into a brick wall. I never updated it in five years. It may have been a little my fault. But the voice of it did sound a smidge….calculating. Not recalculating. Calculating.
So I bought a new one of those, but it only has two horribly disturbing voice options: Angry Drunk Grandma or Stephen Hawking. I’m not being mean, the thing sounds identical to Stephen Hawking. So it will say, “Arriving at destination,” and I’ll start crying because I think, “Oh, poor Stephen Hawking!! It’s so hard for him to arrive at destinations.” Angry Drunk Grandma sounds like every time I make a turn I’m making her miss Wheel of Fortune. Needless to say, I rarely use my brand new GPS. So that was a fail.
Then Ralph’s MacBook broke. Ralph is a musician, and he records in his man cave/studio/where I like to stuff all of the crap that doesn’t fit in my closets room WITH his MacBook. If he doesn’t have it, then he can’t do one of the three things that make him most happy. (The other two are loving me and eating jalapeno poppers. Don’t worry, I never let him combine those. I have dignity.)
So the MacBook breaking was an epic tragedy in our house. I actually had to drag Ralph back in the house after I found him outside screaming, “MACBOOOOOOOK!!!!” at the balcony and shaking his fists at the sky.
I think the ghost of Steve Jobs is probably running around and killing all of the old, trustworthy Macs so that everyone is forced to get a new one. Sage that shit, I say. Where is Long Island Medium when you need her? No? Anyone else watch TLC way more than a healthy amount? Just me? Whatever.
We took it to Apple and because Ralph was a hedgehog in one life and a snake charmer in another life (He’s cute and convincing. I was a horny unicorn in every past life, if you’re curious.), he got them to take the cost of the repair down from $650 to $230. He also negotiated the car to be a $200 fix. I’m not sure how that one worked out because unless it’s coming out of the mouths of Click and Clack on Car Talk (funniest radio show ever about stuff that you probably don’t care about: car parts), I completely zone out when cars are talked about.
I would like the record to show that I told Ralph to throw in the towel on the Mac and just buy a new one. It’s five years old. Getting it repaired is like having sex with Lindsey Lohan and then taking a vitamin. Too little, way too late. The damage is done.
Still, he wanted to save the money, so he had the MacBook repaired. I’m going to save you the trouble and anxiety of what happened next and just cut right to it: The Mac broke three times in one week. And Ralph went to Apple, three times in one week.
On the third trip I told Ralph I was going to go with him, so that he could play the good cop and I could play the cop that SETS THE APPLE STORE ON FIRE. There is really only one place that I hate more than Walmart and it’s the Apple store. I’m not a huge germ-a-phobe, but let’s be real—the Apple store is a petri dish of E coli. I don’t know why people don’t just pull their pants down and stick the new iphone in between their butt cracks—it would be quicker. There are dirty fingerprints on EVERYTHING.
I also don’t understand why parents think that the Apple store is a baby-sitter. Here is what literally happened to me when we walked in. The store was packed with people, even though it was a Wednesday night. There was only one chair left and it was next to a little ball of ADHD who was bouncing around all over and licking iPads. I sat because another thing that is broken is my back. When I’m stressed out it gets a thousand times worse and I supremely stressed in that moment.
As soon as I sat down I looked at ADHD’s parents, giving them the universal look for, “Your kid is up in my personal space.” But they just glared back. They were there with their teenage daughter, who had a sullen look on her face. It seems that everyone was waiting in line with something that was broken by the ghost of Steve Jobs. Ralph went up the counter and a soccer Mom screamed, “DID HE HAVE AN APPOINTMENT? EXCUSE ME. DID HE HAVE AN APPOINTMENT?”
Yes, he did, Soccer Mom. Also, you should get some fresh air because you are scaring the living daylights out of me.
As Ralph got his Macbook looked at again, ADHD, with both of his little dirty feet, climbed UP ON MY LAP in order to stand on the table, leaving behind two sneaker footprints on my black skirt.
“Moooom,” whined his teenage sister, while I looked at all of them and glared with all of my Apple Store hatred.
“He’s FINE,” said the Mom to her daughter, but really to me. “He is JUST FINE where he is.”
Okay, if you don’t tell your child that it’s not okay to step on the laps of strangers to get what he wants, then he will grow up to be a serial killer because he has no boundaries. Are you going to tell the JUDGE that he’s FINE?
I wanted to say that, but there was already too much hot air in the room, so I just typed it into an iPad behind them.
Then I bathed in anti-bacterial gel and went up to the counter where Ralph was doing his best to get his money back. It wasn’t going so well.
“I can give you free Snow Leopard,” said the Apple guy to Ralph.
I don’t know what Snow Leopard is. It’s some computer program that costs a lot of money. I’m guessing it’s not a game that simulates petting leopards, as I would want it to be.
“Uhhh…I really just want my money back.”
“I don’t think I can swing that man…”
Here’s where I swoop in. “Hi. What if you took all of that money off of a NEW laptop instead of returning it.”
The Apple guy’s eyes lit up.”Oh, that I can work with. I really can do that.”
Me: “Mmm hmm. That’s great. Except we’re also getting an educational discount, so you’re going to need to take that off too.”
The Apple guy paused a little: “Well, I don’t know….”
“You know,” Ralph said, “She was thinking about getting an iPad—but I heard the new Kindle XD was just as good.”
“I’m really not sold on the iPad,” I said.
“Let me go talk to my manager,” said the Apple guy.
We ended up getting everything that we wanted from the Apple store. Back in the car, Ralph said, “That bit about the iPad was good.”
“Yeah—I meant to tell you. I actually do want an iPad.”
“That’s nice,” said Ralph.
“I’m getting an iPad,” I said. I was taking advantage of the fact that Ralph was getting a brand new Mac AND he just purchased a new digital SLR camera, but even more than that I was taking advantage of the fact that I had to listen to Ralph’s EXTENSIVE nerdy research on both of those products for literally about 56 hours of my life because, unlike me, he does not just buy the prettiest thing and call it a day. I also saved his hiney in the Apple store. And maybe it was shifty, but a girl’s gotta have toys too.
Then I bought an iPad and beat that ADHD kid to death with it.
Just kidding—I use it for Pinterest.
After the Apple store we went back to the house and decided to just unwind, try to forget our stress and watch some Daily Show. As I watched the show, though, Jon Stewart’s face turned neon purple, then green, then grey, then it disappeared.
“No,” we both said.
I ran into the bedroom and turned on our TV in there. For once, the trouble was not Comcast. It was the first time that I actually hated Comcast for working.
“Why would a $1200 TV die after less than three years?” I said slowly, trying to comprehend it.
“Actually…it was $1500,” said Ralph.
I puked in my mouth a little bit.
You know if you read this blog that although I love books, music, and art I also need my damn TV. It is my crack. I have to watch Amish people try sushi for the first time or see Christina Aguilera’s creepy boobs move independently of each other. I need New Girl and Glee.
The true irony of this is that Ralph’s favorite movie of all time is Back to the Future
“Just order a new TV right now. AND YOU ARE NEVER WATCHING BACK TO THE FUTURE ON IT AGAIN. Don’t give the new one any fucking ideas.”
You’d think this is where our trouble ended. The universe was like, “LOL. NOPE.”
The new TV was supposed to come on Thursday, when Ralph planned to take off work and be there to sign for it…except at 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday night a knock came at our door. It was our creepy, creepy old neighbor who Ralph and I consider to be a combination of Norman Bates from Psycho and his dead mother. Could we come into his apartment? He signed for our enormous TV that morning.
On the paper on the TV was a huge note that said, “DO NOT DELIVER UNTIL THURSDAY.” We never got a phone call, voicemail, note—nothing. I guess the TV delivery guy was the motherfucking Easter Bunny because he expected us to find that TV on our own. We would have sat around on Thursday thinking, “Where is our new TV?”
It’s with the neighbor who chills you in your very spine and who’s name you don’t even know. NO WORRIES.
This is getting ridiculous now, but hang in there because we had to. On Wednesday when we hooked up the new TV the cable box didn’t work. Ralph spent hours on the phone with someone trying to get the right codes to make the remote work again, but they eventually told him to go to a nearby town and get a new one. The next day he went to pick one up and—yes, that location had been closed down for three months. So, he drove all the way in the opposite direction to another location and THAT PLACE closed down an hour early. That’s when my sweet, mild-mannered Ralph nearly broke down a glass Comcast door while threatening to kill their employees with slow, remote control related deaths.
They unlocked the door and gave him the new remote.
He drove home and…the new remote didn’t fix the problem.
The next day, Ralph again got on the phone after work with Comcast while I watched the only channel that we could get, which was the Home Shopping Network. They were selling something from Elton John’s personal jewelry collection from what I could tell. I wanted to die all over again. This was a big day because it was the season opener of Glee.
I heard Ralph say over the phone to the Comcast guy, “If you don’t fix this before Glee comes on, my wife will put us both in the shitter, man. …No, I paraphrased. What she actually said was much worse.”
That night ended with me screaming, “TELL HIM TO GET THE FOX CHANNEL ON AND THEN SEND OUT A REPAIR MAN. I WILL SHRED COMCAST SKIN WITH MY NAILS IF I MISS ONE SECOND OF THIS SHOW. RACHEL WENT TO NEW YORK WITHOUT FINN FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.”
The list goes on forever. The Comcast guy came and went through SIX. Honestly, six, cable boxes.
“I can’t figure out what’s wrong!” he said.
“Oh, this apartment is where electronics go to die,” I said.
He ended up fixing it with an old cable box that I believe he said was stolen merchandise that they “recovered.” Ummm….Okay.
After I shattered my last wine glass and it exploded so badly that I had to pick glass out of my hair, our luck began to turn around. Nothing has broken for an entire week and I am almost afraid to move around in here. Just reliving the last two weeks was too much for me, so I’m going to go drink a glass of wine out of a plastic cup and take it easy by watching some Honey Boo Boo. If there’s anything that can help when all of your stuff breaks, it’s watching some broken people. On my new TV.