You learn things by moving, and the first thing you learn is to never do it again. The second thing is that you don’t have as much money as you thought you did.
TIP: Sell your old house, buy a doublewide trailer, fill it with all your belongings and drag it to the new place. Empty furnishings into your new house, burn the trailer and collect insurance. Otherwise you move into the new joint with nothing but some suitcases and a toothbrush.
Filling an empty house with the assorted stuff that makes it livable is something none of us have ever done before, except for A) your college dorm, and B) a rental unit that at least had a ratty couch, a few dishes and a lamp. All you had to do was tack up your posters, buy some sheets and remember your toothbrush.
Trying to fill your new empty house by going to the store one trip at a time is like trying to fill Grand Canyon with sand one bucket at a time. You’ll finish the same year the Cleveland Browns win the Super Bowl.
Someone told us to get everything at Goodwill. Nice try. Go to Goodwill for, say, silverware, and you’ll come back with 26 pieces, only four of which are forks, all small, and weird batches of spoons that don’t match. Some spoons we bought have teeth marks bitten into them.
The Goodwill table wobbles. The chair smells funny. You go to an antique store to buy dishes and wind up with grandma’s set of China from the 1920s that can’t go in the dishwasher, at least not twice, nor into the microwave oven we don’t have.
After the stores all close you realize you don’t have a corkscrew and you’ve never needed one more. You also don’t have toothpaste. You heard baking soda works but you don’t have that either.
Tomorrow’s to-do list: Coffee maker, toothpaste, vacuum cleaner, TV set. This is why you don’t have as much money as you used to think you did.
Now it’s tomorrow and it starts without coffee. At least our teeth won’t get stained. At Best Buy we get a TV set with a screen two inches wider than the space on the wall it‘s supposed to fit into. The 11-year old “sales associate” then steers us over to the vacuum cleaners and picks us out the same one he picks out for everybody.
Because you’re old you haven’t bought a vacuum cleaner in 40 years, back when they weighed 35 lbs and had names like Electrolux and Kirby. Now they weigh 12 ounces, come from China in a cardboard box and are 100 percent plastic, including the silver aluminum tube that is both a handle and suction piece.
Did you know you now have to assemble them? Dump the parts out of the box onto the floor and you’ll have a big pile of black and yellow plastic Legos to snap together. A few others you screw in place with the screwdriver you don’t have, along with pliers and toothpaste. When finished it makes a whirring sound similar to a Kirby but that’s the only thing it has in common with a real vacuum cleaner. We take it back and exchange it for one capable of sucking up little things like dust, but not big things like cigarette butts.
The TV sits in a box in a corner for a few weeks until a team of 11-year old “assembly technicians” can have their parents drop them off at our house to plug everything in, and that’s when we find out we don’t have an extension cord, or a screwdriver. Back to the store for another bucket of sand.
DARE I DONATE?
We’ve attended performances of a terrific Symphony Orchestra that plays monthly at a local theater. It’s great, blah blah, etc., and it’s the first High Culture I’ve experienced since Demolition Derbies out at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds.
The local nonprofit that puts the shows on got my email address and sent a pitch asking if I’d like to become a (capital D) Donor in support of the orchestra and other productions.
Symphony orchestra? I reached for my checkbook…and a tiny voice whispered “Beware!”
NOTE: You should always listen to the voices inside your head except at 4 a.m. when they chatter about taking all that money doing nothing in your pension fund and putting it to work betting on the Browns to win the Super Bowl.
Symphony Orchestras are one thing, but what if Donors are also expected to attend wine and cheese fundraisers? What if my money goes to funding performances outside the safe zone of symphony orchestras?
I’ve spent a long time in California and I’m suspicious that any “community arts” organization will likely involve itself in all kinds of mischief I’d be horrified to pay for.
—Children Dance Ensembles where little kids jump around and bang on things, a few older ones display breakdancing techniques, and teenage narcissists do Michael Jackson impersonations.
—Performance Art practitioners wearing capes while moving around the stage striking poses and demanding that audience members re-examine their empty, meaningless lives. —Poetry readings by people who call themselves poets because they don’t want to list “Unemployed” on applications.
So no, thanks. Sorry Vivaldi. My apologies, J.S. Bach. Instead I mailed a check to the Ukiah group sending those young baseball players off to Indiana’s Field of Dreams camp. I hope they learn about the Infield Fly Rule.
(Tom Hine wonders if Ukiahans have started grumbling yet about how they’re just so sick of all this rain. Tommy Wayne Kramer, whose name appears on this column but doesn’t know qwerty from dirty, barks a friendly hello to all his friends in Mendotopia.)