Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It’s All in the Obit

When I open the newspaper every morning, the first section I read are the obituaries. At work, when I say out loud, “Oh my God,” my co-workers respond, “Who died?” If it were not for celebrity deaths, I don’t know what I would do with my free time.

But, it isn’t just celebrity deaths I find fascinating. My rabbi once said, “If you want to know how to live your life, go to a funeral.”


What will they say about you when you die? Everything you do will be condensed into one sixty-word paragraph, unless our family spends a few bucks and you get one-quarter of a column, which by the way can cost as much as $800. A little tip: if you allow them to run the extended obituary whenever they have room rather than the day of the funeral, it costs nothing. And, you thought you wouldn’t learn anything today.

How do I know this? I have a degree in Funeral Service Administration, and I worked in a funeral home for a while. How many of you made an eww face when you read that?

The first thing you need to know is WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE! The second thing you need to know is YOUR FAMILY IS GOING TO TOUCH ALL OF YOUR THINGS AFTER YOU DIE, AND YOU CANNOT DO A THING ABOUT IT!

For the above reasons, I plan to pull a Chester Arthur. President Arthur, our twenty-first president, also known as the “Elegant Arthur,” “Gentleman Boss” and “Dude President” because he was such a dapper dresser and changed his pants several times a day, burned all of his personal papers the night before he died. He actually changed his pants so often because he suffered and eventually died from kidney disease. June Alyson’s husband also had kidney disease, which is why she did all those Depends commercials, but that didn’t stop everyone from keeping her off their furniture.

All that aside, President Arthur made sure no one touched his things. How do I know this? After I completed my book, Harriet Lane, America’s First Lady (shameless plug), my next subject was Chester Arthur, but there is very little left of his legacy, except all those ashes in his fireplace, which is surprising for the man who signed the Pendleton Act into law. All you DC civil servants owe a debt of gratitude to the man whose career benefitted from political favors and party machinations yet signed a law that completely reformed the civil service system and how federal government employees were hired, promoted, and unfortunately, never fired.
His former New York City residence is now a Lebanese market.

See how much I know? I am not just another pretty face.

Every year, we pass the anniversary of our deaths without realizing it, so when I am finally aware that I have less than twenty-four hours to live, I plan on lighting my trailer and everything in it on fire. It is not that I don’t want people to have my things; I just don’t want people touching them. Even from the grave, that will drive me insane.

Anal much?

Recently, I bought property. According to an old boss of mine, it is the only property I will actually own. Yes, I bought a plot. This weekend, I am finalizing the pre-planning of my funeral. Before my enemies get too excited, I plan on being around for a while … or at least until I pay off the plot and the funeral. I did make one request. There will be six limousines at my funeral. I don’t care if they are empty, but when my procession goes through traffic from the funeral home in Silver Spring to my plot in Southeast Washington, DC, I want all those waiting at intersections for it to go by to say, “Damn, he had a lot of friends.” This is another reason I have to stick around. Limousines rentals are expensive.

How many of you have imagined how your funeral would be? Wouldn’t you love to be in attendance? If you are lucky and not a blonde woman on a beach in Aruba, you should be present at your funeral, right up front, so everyone knows you are there.

Some elderly people who make it into their nineties are now having pre-funerals, where they can see what everyone has to say. I am sorry, but this is not a fair representation of your actual memorial. People have to be nice when the deceased is not ceased. Personally, if I make it to ninety, I plan on having a roast. Let whoever is still alive to remember me over the years come on down and say anything they want. I have a sense of humor and would love to hear what all those dried up, wrinkled old bastards have to say. I don’t want to be awake for my funeral.

However, the obituary is much more important than the funeral. That is because strangers can read about your extraordinary life. My mother felt the same way. A month before she died, we wrote her obituary. I didn’t tell my father or brother because they couldn’t have handled that, living in the state of denial and all, but I enjoyed working on her obit. She wanted to be sure all the facts were correct. Ironically, we found out after she died that half of what we knew about her life wasn’t exactly true, and we had no clue about the other half. The things we learned over the next few years!

As I said, everything you do in life is about the obituary. Did I say that? If not, I am saying it now.

Will your obituary be about your good work or the fact that you went to work? Will it be about the things your owned? Will it be about where you lived or the life you lived?

The obituaries that I find the most fascinating are the ones that say so little. For example, “Shirley Stanford, Church Member. Shirley Stanford, a member of Some Assembly of God Required Church, died on Friday. She was married for forty years and had two children. Funeral on Monday.” That’s it! And if you read the obituaries, there are dozens like that. If the title says “Church Member,” there is never any substance to the obituary. I sometimes write down their names in the hopes of seeing a more comprehensive obituary in future issues when space opens up in a column or two, but there never is a follow-up.

Can you imagine living your life for eighty years, and all they say is you belonged to a church? This reminds me of Deb on Drop Dead Diva. She died, and when she went to Heaven, she was listed as a zero. No good deeds, no bad deeds, she accomplished nothing! So, she came back as Jane. Great show; you must watch it. Joan Rivers, Liza Minnelli, and Delta Burke have guest starred.

Then, of course, is the picture that accompanies your obituary. For the love of God or whomever your deity, make sure your weird ass family doesn’t put the worst possible picture of you in the paper. I still cannot decide if I want one of me at forty or a good one of me close to whatever age I achieve before looking at grass from the other side. The glamour shots are nice, but if you have an open casket, people are going to remark on how well you did … or did not … age. I am glad I am Jewish. We don’t give Nana a postmortem make-over then scare the crap out of the grandkids.

“Doesn’t she look peaceful?”

“She looks dead.”

When I worked at the funeral home, we had an embalmer, who I swear was a make-up artist from MGM in another life. Every woman had the complete Hollywood glamour treatment for her viewing. No one could draw a lip line or attach a false eyelash like this guy. Little known fact – seventy-five percent of funeral home employees are Gay.
I feel sorry for the hairdressers. These women's actual hairdressers would complete the make-over. Can you imagine getting your last comb-out when you can least appreciate that this one will actually last the entire weekend?

The worst obituary picture I ever saw was of a woman who looked to be seventy, sitting shlumpilly in a recliner, wearing a house dress, her hair an absolute mess, and a large filthy bird was sitting on her shoulder. Her family must have hated her. Her obituary said, “Molly McGuire, former CIA operative, died peacefully with her beloved chicken sleeping by her side.”

Make sure you don’t piss off your family. You don’t want to be remembered like Molly McGuire, sitting in a Lazy-Boy with an angry chicken on your shoulder.

Do you have a cough? Are you getting chilly? Is the room going dark? If so, follow me, tell your friends, buy some property, and buy my book!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Embracing Stereotypes

In this age of embracing diversity and political correctness, we have become cautious about pointing out the things that make us different. The fact is we are different. Instead of ignoring our differences, I think we should embrace them. However, there is a fine line between embracing them and making assumptions based on someone’s ethnicity. I love the word ethnicity. I was once asked to define it, and I said, “Ethnicity is what makes us ethnic.” Brillian, huh?

Also, we may deny we are prejudiced, but let’s face it, all of us have some level of prejudice, especially about people we have never met or cultures we have never encountered. Or, we make assumptions about people based on their behavior. Or, we just believe every stereotype we have heard about a particular group.

How many of you find yourself stuck behind someone going forty miles an hour in the fast lane and think, “Oh God, it must be an Asian woman driving that car.” Then you pass the car, and it is an Asian woman. Then, you think to yourself, “Oh God, I’m a bigot!” You aren’t a bigot. You’ve been conditioned to believe Asians are bad drivers, and try as much as you want, you cannot get that out of your head because many of them are. The ones that aren’t, don’t have a driver’s license.

Before I go on. If you don't understand humor, you will not enjoy this. If you are easily offended, please continue reading!

Here are some stereotypes about people, you may or may not believe:

All people who drive BMWs are assholes. Actually, some are just pretentious queens. I once saw one BMW crash into another BMW in a parking lot. I called it poetic justice.

All shoplifters are black women. Nope. Almost ninety percent are white people. Do you know why? All the floor walkers are following the black women around the store while the white people steal all the merchandise. I have picked up some really good five-finger bargains this way. I apologize to all the black people who have been shadowed in a store while I stuffed scarfs and earrings into my briefs.

All Jewish women are nymphomaniacs. Only the single ones. Do you know how to stop a Jewish woman from having sex? Marry her.

All gay men have great taste, designer wardrobes and live in tony neighborhoods. Have we met?

All Hispanic women wear tight low-cut jeans with bare midriff tops and show some serious muffin tops. Only in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood in Washington, DC.

The only way an Arab can win an argument is to blow himself up. Have you ever met anyone from the Middle East with a sense of humor? No. That is why there are so many problems. They never smile or laugh. Arabic and Hebrew, when spoken properly, always sound like arguing. I think they should all switch to French.

All black men have large penises. While many do, there are many who don’t. Believe me. I have done my research. I once dated a guy who was one-quarter American Indian, one-quarter Hispanic, and one-half black. He had the smallest penis I ever saw. I guess everything cancelled itself else out. I wonder if he got used to all the looks of disappointment?

All French men have large penises. I wouldn’t know. I couldn’t get past the body odor.

All Jewish men have beautiful penises. This one is true. Take my word for it. It is all in the cut.

Now, how many of you find yourselves believing the above? Especially the Jewish husbands out there? Does that make you a bigot? Only if you say any of them out loud. I wonder how many people in a mixed marriage have scars on their tongues?

There are a few assumptions I have encountered over the years for being Gay and Jewish, which I have illuminated more times than I care to admit in this blog. Many years ago, some guy at the gym was talking about how he entered a bar, and he knew immediately it was a gay bar because all the guys were wearing pointy shoes. Pointy shoes? I guess the guy getting a blow job in the bathroom wasn't his first clue.

However, moving to a trailer park – excuse me – mobile home community, has really brought out the prejudice in a lot of people I know.

I don’t know how many times I have heard, “Well, consider where you live.”

My favorites are the ones with the surprised looks on their faces when they enter my home and they don’t see mismatched furniture – you know the couch and love seat that clearly came from a different set. I hate that. Nothing looks tackier to me than a living room with an unmatched couch and loveseat. A friend of mine’s sister lives in a pink house with an unmatched sofa and loveseat in her living room. Everything in her goddam house is pink, and she couldn’t find a matching sofa and love seat? The Barbie Dream House it ain't.

Sometimes, they are disappointed because I don’t have a refrigerator on my deck … or an old Rambler on blocks out back (actually, it’s under a tarp).

While I have made it my mission to dispel all the trailer park stereotypes, there is one group I cannot help. Rednecks.

This past weekend, I drove out to West Virginia to see a friend and have dinner. I know you are already thinking about West Virginians. When I was in high school, I had a friend who was from West Virginia. She said that whenever she told people where she was from, they looked to see if she was wearing shoes. She graduated number two in our class.

All of us have heard the West Virginia jokes.

Why don’t they teach sex education and driver’s education on the same day? It is too hard on the mule.

Did you hear about the West Virginian who married a virgin? He took her back to her family and said, “If you don’t want her, I don’t want her.”

What has five teeth and an IQ of seventy-three? A PTA meeting at a West Virginia high school.

So, there I was driving through West Virginia in my pick-up truck, so who am I to judge?

Before I go on. My brother is convinced that Deliverance was filmed in West Virginia. He also is always glad when I return home from the great state of West Virginia alive. “You be careful out there. There are some crazy ass mother fuckers in that state.” He doesn’t exactly say that, but he thinks it.

Deliverance was shot in the Tallulah Gorge, southeast of Clayton, Georgia, and on the Chattoogah River, which divides Georgia from South Carolina. As I said, I do my research.

After dinner, my friend drove me around the great city of Inwood, West Virginia, to see the sites, which consisted of trailer parks and just trailers on land (they have a lot of trailers and mobile homes there), the occasional Sheetz gas station, a male strip club – with male strippers (closed for renovation, unfortunately), Dollar Generals, Dollar Trees, and Dollar Stores, and one really nice mobile home community, which as it turns out was managed by the same company that manages mine. The entire time, my assumptions about West Virginia were in high gear.

We decided to get ice cream, since I am always watching my weight and careful about my diet. As we pulled up to this cute retro ice cream stand that looked like something right out of the 1950s, I noticed a vintage car, if you can call it that, parked two spaces down. It was a 1967 Corvair 500 (the base model; my family owned a red 1965). The car was blue, had mismatched wheels, one hubcap, and the interior was … how shall I put it … less than perfect. This wasn’t a daily driver; it was a relic. Two guys were sitting in it waiting for their pizza to be ready to take home, and I asked if I could take a picture of their car to send to my brother. One of the guys actually called it the redneck VW. 

The guy in the passenger seat said with a smile that had maybe three teeth at the most, “Sure, let me hold up my beer, so you get a picture of that, too.” He was embracing his own stereotype and quite proud to be a West Virginia redneck. I respected that.

I took the picture, then said to my friend, who by the way was raised in West Virginia and still lives on the land where he was raised, “Oh my God, you cannot make this stuff up. He should be the poster child for West Virginia rednecks.”

He agreed and laughed.

Am I a bigot? No because I like rednecks! And let’s face it; they are proud and make life so much more interesting.

Are you embracing your diversity in your community? Are you a redneck? Follow me, join me, or just buy my damn book!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

From Mullet Hair to Mullet Dress

I am a slave to fashion. I only wear the most trendy styles from the most exclusive designers. I go through my closet every three months and say things like, “That is so last year.” “Maybe some poor fashion impaired homeless person won’t notice how out of date this is.”

As a matter of fact, I spend seventy-five percent of my salary on clothes.

Have you spit up your lunch yet? I just tasted mine.

While I don’t pay much attention to fashion, I am hooked on Fashion Police. I get all excited when I hear, “These are the five must-see looks of the week.” Then, I cringe when they all fawn over some expensive piece of drek. “Those shoes cost $5,000.”

That is when I scream, “Just because it’s expensive, doesn’t make it pretty!” For example, Camilla Parker-Bowles. How much did that skank cost Dumbo?

This reminds me of Gay A-Lister’s artwork. It is always so damn big and takes up an entire wall.

“Do you know what he paid for that?”

“Too much?”

I have never been accused of having good taste, but in my defense, I don’t spend thousands of dollars on crappy paintings just so I can say “That is an original Charpontier” (there is a Trivial Pursuit answer for you*).

As a Jew, I abide by the rule that art is what matches your couch. End of discussion.

Even though I am not a slave to the latest decorator or fashion trends, I am always color coordinated and so are my living spaces (although I change color schemes more than my underwear, see my last blog).

Denita Wise, a classmate in ninth grade, taught me how to match shirts with pants and to color coordinate accessories. All of this was surprising considering the fact that my mother at the time worked in an exclusive ladie’s boutique – La Vogue of Newport News. Then again, my mother never really noticed those around her. She would also tell me to wear one of the three shirts I owned with one of the two pairs of pants I owned because that is good enough.

Excuse me, while I dial my therapist.

What I realized early on was that trying to be trendy only works for normal sized people. Giants are excluded from such friviolities (my new word). Look at the Jolly Green Giant? He wears spinach leaves and calls it an outfit. When Jack climbed the beanstalk, he didn’t say upon arriving at the castle, “Damn, you’re big. Nice pants.”

The best dressed giant I remember was Lurch. He wore a 1920s-era tuxedo while Morticia wore a Nolan Miller gown.  It was one thing to be called Lurch; it was another to dress like him.

My favorite fashion decade is the 1920s.

Back in 1977, I took tennis lessons for three weeks during the summer, and the five-foot-six tennis instructor kept calling me Lurch. I asked him to stop. He didn’t. I threatened to sign up for six more weeks of lessons if he didn’t. He didn’t. I did. He never taught tennis again. Sadly, I still suck at tennis.

Where in the hell was I? Oh yes, fashion.

As I said, being gigantic and fashionable do not go hand in hand. For example, before the internet and Zappos, to find shoes in my size – fourteen, I had to go from store to store and be disappointed and depressed. How many times did I hear, “We only sell up to size twelve, but they fit big.” If they fit big, they would not be size twelve. When I finally did find shoes, they were usually some ugly crepe-soled walking shoes or wing tips. I had one pair of shoes throughout high school – a pair of brown leather oxfords with crepe soles. It was depressing. I looked like a middle-aged Jew with bad feet … which ironically, is what I am today.

Then, I discovered the Stuart McGuire catalogue. I even sold Stuart McGuire shoes for a while. Some of our neighbors were regular customers, and to this day, my family never knew. Now they do. Their shoes only went up to size thirteen, but I managed to squeeze into a few pairs. Unfortunately, fifteen years ago, I had to have foot surgery to repair the damage from wearing shoes that were too small. And you thought that only happened to women. Surprisingly, I could always find stilettos in my size.

Thank God, Al Gore invented the internet. Now I can shop for shoes in my size! And shop I do. But don’t get too excited, America. My choices are still limited and are never trendy, but when I do find something, I buy every color available in my size. That is why there are at least thirty unopened shoeboxes in my house. Imelda Marcos would be so proud. Since I am known for having clean shoes that show no signs of wear, by this time next year, there will still be at least twenty-eight unopened shoeboxes.

Footwear aside, fashion always eluded me. I never got trends. Until I started watching Fashion Police, I never knew what a bodice or peplum was. I am still not sure. While finding shoes was a problem, finding clothes was worse. No one understood that with height comes a long rise.

Get your mind out of the gutter. That is the distance from your crotch to your waist.

Add to that an enormous tuchus. My ass was and is so big, I could moon Boston. When I was younger, my family would call me fat ass. Lovely people, the Sterns. I was the only member of my family with a tuchus, except for Nana, whom I look like in drag. What was once a hindrance will in my future be an asset. When all of us are walking around the lake at Rainbow Acres, your pants will be falling down, while mine will have a nice shelf on which to be hitched. Hell, you can put a tray on my ass and serve drinks, which was always convenient when I worked as a waiter.

In the era of high waisted pants, I was wearing unintentional hip-huggers. I once bought parachute pants, and I looked like Laura Petrie. Then baggy jeans came into vogue, and I looked as if I were wearing slim fits. Now jeans cinch at the hips, but on me that is the knees.

Underwear is always a problem. Briefs end up being thongs. You cannot imagine what I have lost in the crack of my ass over the years. Some people find change under the cushions of their couch … I jingle when I walk.

Someone asked me why I roll up my shirt sleeves. Then I rolled them down. All my shirts are three-quarter length. I call them blouses.

What some don’t get is that to get enough length in a polo shirt, I have to buy a bigger size, so I often look as if I am wearing the latest fashions from Georgia Tent and Awning (another Trivial Pursuit answer**). I could buy tall, but the manufacturers of tall clothes, really only understand big. For tall shirts, what they make are dresses with short sleeves – shirt dresses in the high fashion world.

Fat people have it easy. Whenever I go to a big and tall store, I find the nicest things in the big sizes, and in the tall section? Pin-striped suits and wing tips. I once bought an athletic-fit dress shirt in a big and tall shop. Now, are you sitting? I wear an 18.5-inch neck, 38-inch sleeve dress shirt. The waist on this dress shirt was 50 inches! This was athletic fit! What kind of athletes? Sumo wrestlers?

And don’t even get me started on one-size-fits-all. All what? They make condoms in different sizes for a reason.

To add to my dilemma, my arms are three inches longer than my legs. Yes, my knuckles have gravel marks. Not only can I unlock all the doors in my car without moving from the driver’s seat, I can also unlock the doors in your car. When the dealer asked if I wanted power windows and door locks in my new truck, I laughed. What for?

Once, I needed something from the cargo area in my station wagon. I didn’t even get out of the car. I reached back, flipped the knob for the seat, folded it down, and retrieved my desired object from the back of the car, while driving on the interstate! It was safer than texting because my eyes were on the road the entire time.

For all these reasons, I gave up on trying to be fashionable years ago. This doesn’t mean I didn’t try at some point. In 1980, there was a short-lived fad where guys would wear skinny neck ties with T-shirts. I came to school like that one day, and everyone laughed at me. Then the grandpa collar shirts came in style, so I cut the collars off two old shirts I found at a thrift store, everyone laughed at me. In the early eighties, International Male sold those skinny striped shirts with the micro sleeves. I bought one, and no one laughed at me. They called me crab man. With my long arms and pumped biceps, I was a sight … or shall I say, fright. I did barbell curls and little else. Flat chest, narrow back, skinny legs, and these pumped up biceps. I see pictures of me back then, and all I can do is laugh.

Now, I dress as if I shop for Garanimals at Sears. Same style shirts and pants every day, but color coordinated right down to the belt and shoes. I have not changed my style in twenty years.

I have rambled on before about the wearing of pants half off the ass, but lately another trend has taken the fashion world by storm – the mullet dress. Forgive me, but who the fuck came up with this thing. If you have not seen one, it is a dress where the skirt is very short in the front and very long in the back. I think it is the most ridiculous thing since bobby socks with high-heeled shoes. Every time I see a woman in one of those mullet dresses, I think she is going to give birth. That is what it is – a birthing dress.

But, on Fashion Police, they love the mullet dress. I am just glad I don’t do drag anymore. I cannot imagine lip synching to “I’m Every Woman” in a mullet dress.

Besides, they wouldn’t have it in my size.

*/ The artist in the I Love Lucy episode, “Paris at Last.”

**/ Where Suzanne Sugarbaker joked she should shop in the Designing Women episode, “They Shoot Fat Women, Don’t They?”

I apologize if you have a mullet dress. I also urge you to burn it. Even fashion-impaired homeless people wouldn’t want it. Follow me, join me, tell your friends, buy my book!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Laura Petrie Syndrome with a Touch of Mrs. Ricardo Disease

There was an episode of the Dick Van Dyke Show, “Give Me Your Walls,” when Laura declares that once they paint the walls, they will need to replace the curtains, then the carpet, then the couch and so on. This is Laura Petrie Syndrome, and I have been suffering from it all my life.

I have had more living room furniture than Lucy Ricardo, who had five different living room sets in six seasons! The writers knew the ridiculousness of this when Lucy wanted to buy sectional furniture, and Fred looked under the coffee table for the price tag since she had only had that set for a few months. However, I never perform a complete makeover of a room, I start with one item, and next thing I know I am replacing this and that. Therefore, I definitely have Laura Petrie Syndrome rather than Mrs. Ricardo Disease even though I do display symptoms of the latter.

The problem is I get bored easily, and if I have nothing to do on a particular day, I start changing things. I have a friend who likes to fix up his homes and always has a project going. Once he runs out of things to do, he sells his house and buys another project. The one he is in now has turned out to be a complete restoration, so he has been living in it for ten years. I have never seen him so unhappy.

My mechanic tells me that this happens a lot with car restorations. Someone will spend years and money on a restoration, and once the car is done, they no longer want it and look for another project. Some people just get bored with new cars. My brother has had more cars than Anne Romney.

I would like to say this all began with my first apartment, but it goes way further back than that. For reasons, which are not worth mentioning here, my mother decorated my brother’s bedroom with furniture she stained herself, nice curtains in a red, white and blue scheme and matching bedspreads and lamps. He even had a desk and chair. When she was done creating the royal prince’s quarters, it looked great, until he moved back in. I love my brother dearly, but he was a slob back then. Within minutes, his room looked like the donation room for a homeless shelter. There was more dust in that room than in Lily Munster’s basement. We thought he had wall-to-wall carpet – a fungus had grown on the floor. My mother always complained about it.

Nana was visiting once, looked in my brother’s room and said, “Your mother’s room looked like that when she was his age.” I thought I would die laughing. I believed her because my mother’s idea of cleaning a room was to not use it. As a result, she never dusted or vacuumed the living room. She thought cobwebs were artwork.

My room, on the other hand, was where all the old furniture went to die. My bedroom set – if you could call it that – was a dresser and twin bed that dated back to the 1930s, including the mattress, which had springs that poked through. The dresser drawers would fall apart whenever I opened them. My hair would get caught in the splinters in the headboard – not good for a Jewfro. My curtains, which I think once had a colorful diamond pattern that was very mid-century modern, were nothing more than threads held together with moth spit. My parents bought me one of those finish it yourself desks. My mother never finished it. She got mad when I reminded her that she spent so much time finishing my brother’s furniture. Apparently, I had insulted the evil stepmother, and I was sent to bed with a crust of bread and no invitation to the ball.

It was also during this period that I first heard the phrase, “This is good enough for you.”

To make matters worse, my bedroom was ten by eight. As I have relayed before, half my closet contained my mother’s clothes, so with that little space, I had to make due. And, make due I did. Neat freak that I was and still am, I decorated and redecorated that room more times than Mrs. Ricardo. I rearranged my furniture every week for fifteen years. Technically, that was my first studio apartment. I had artwork on the walls, a sitting area, an area rug, and at one point, an easy chair. None of it was new. All of it was someone else’s discards. The table and two chairs were part of an old kitchenette that belonged to a neighbor. The easy chair belonged to Aunt Flossie. Daisy loved sleeping in that chair; she did not like Alex’s room. Even a dog knows a mess when it sees one. I think this is also where I learned how to optimize space.

One would think I would outgrow this need to redecorate. One would most certainly be wrong.

I don’t think I have owned a couch for more than three years. In the last twenty-five years, I have owned eleven living room sofas. The one I have now is three years old, and I am already thinking of replacing it. I'm bored with the color.

The one bright spot in all of this is I never buy anything expensive. I always use the excuse that with dogs, furniture would be damaged, so why spend all that money. The truth is I know I will get bored with whatever I have, so why spend a fortune on something I will be either putting on the curb or taking to Goodwill in eighteen months? I am also cheap, and I think this is good enough for me.

The downside is my taste changes as often as my hairstyles. For a while, I couldn’t get enough mid-century modern, including a Formica and chrome dinette, Dick Van Dyke Show-inspired sofas, and those fabulous lamps. I even had a Formica end table with a top that spun around like a Lazy Susan – it was quite ugly as were a lot of the pieces I have owned over the years.

Then I went through my Quaker-style period. I had so much Mission and Quaker style furniture that I had to put an orange triangle on the back of my car.

Following all that came the blonde wood period. I don’t know what I was thinking, but in the middle of blonde wood era, I bought this entertainment unit from Ikea. You know all about Ikea furniture. Everyone owns at least one piece from Ikea, and when you go to any of their homes, they say, “Oh that. It’s from Ikea. I’m going to replace it.” They never do replace it because it took six hours to assemble, and they want to redeem their labor hours. In addition, it weighs a ton, and every time you move it, it comes apart. That piece will remain in their homes for the next several decades and in the same spot as well, and they will continue to say, “Oh that. It’s from Ikea. I’m going to replace it.”

When I bought my manufactured home (the trailer for which this blog is named), I swore I would not turn into Lucy Ricardo moving from an apartment into the country. I did not go with Betty Ramsey and get a discount on Early American furniture for an Early American home. Besides, Betty Ramsey would not live in my neighborhood. There is no country club nearby where she can entertain Barbara Eden.

What is appropriate for a trailer? Other than a couch on the porch and a Chevy on blocks? Manufactured furniture?

I can honestly say that I kept the couch. Unfortunately, everything other piece of living room furniture had to go … with one exception. You guessed it. The blonde wood entertainment center from Ikea. Bitch took four hours to assemble and had more moveable parts than Steve Austin; I was not about to put it on the curb, especially after I had to reassemble one of the drawers after the move.

I decorated the office, then the living room and the dining room. I had worked my way from one end of the house to the other. Old pieces kept moving toward the master bedroom, which is on the opposite end of the house from the office. Ironically, my first ever master bedroom became the place where all the old furniture went to die, including the piece from Ikea. I was ten years old again, and it was all good enough for me.

There was already a dresser in the bedroom that the seller’s left for me, since I gave my old bedroom furniture to the movers. So you see, I started before I even moved in!

I also decided to wait to decorate the bedroom to save some money. Ha!

Then my inner Laura Petrie took over.

I replaced the curtains in the bedroom. Then the headboard didn’t work, so I replaced that. Then the dresser that came with the house didn’t work, so I put it on the curb. Then the mirror on the wall didn’t work, so I replaced that. Then I did the unthinkable. I decided to get rid of the Ikea entertainment unit, which was occupying prime real estate in my boudoir.

I took the Ikea piece to Goodwill. They refused it. You know it is a piece of shit when even Goodwill won’t accept it. This is why everyone is stuck with that one piece from Ikea. Nobody else wants it!

The question now is when will I get bored with the office and start all over again?

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