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So I’m sitting there, calm, quiet, at peace with the world, when Esther says, “I’m thinking of buying a bookcase I saw at Jysk”.

My heart sank. That was the end of my peace and quiet. If there’s any two things I hate  to see come together it’s this: women and furniture.

Each of those items is great by itself. I like women. Married two of them (no, not at the same time). Had the world’s best mother. Admire the many things they’re capable of. And furniture is just fine. I enjoy stretching out on the sofa. Lying back in my recliner chair. Eating at Esther’s antique family table.

But the problem is, women are never satisfied with their furniture. I watch Esther staring at a set of chairs or a china cabinet with “that look” on her face and I get a sinking feeling. In my heart and in my wallet.

Oh, it’s not the cost that bothers me so much. It’s the simple fact that getting a new piece of furniture requires moving it. Picking it up. Carrying it through the deck (we are in a ground floor condo). Through the doors. Around corners. And--at earlier dwellings--up stairs.  Banging the knuckles into door frames. Bringing out the worst in me: the language St. Peter will remind me of at the Pearly Gates. Aching back. Sore knees.

And then, when you get the new piece in place  you have to go through the same ordeal with the old piece it replaces.  Plus the problem of getting rid of it.

Now since my first marriage I have moved my household--often with children--twelve times. Each required loading every piece of furniture  and other possessions  into a grain truck or rented van  (never hired a mover). And then unloading and moving it all in at the destination. And then swearing to never, ever on God’s green earth to do it again. (A lot of things I swear to never happen.)     

Well, Esther buys her bookcase, calls me to help her carry it into the deck and says we can put it together when we remove the old bookcase.  PUT IT TOGETHER ? It’s not assembled? No-o-o! The only thing worse than transporting, and hauling furniture around is taking 40 boards of varying sizes and shapes, ten pounds of screws, bolts and assorted other metal items and finding ways to fit them all together. It’s much like trying to put a 200 pound jigsaw puzzle together. (I hate jigsaw puzzles too, by the way.)

“Read the instructions, they’ll tell you what to do,” we’re told. Surprise, surprise: the instruction booklet for our bookcase is illiterate. No words, just black-and-white drawings.

At 83 I have too little time left to spend that much of it doing something I abhor.

With that attitude you’re guessing Esther and I will not have a fun time together on this project. You’re right. Divorce takes place in June. Just kidding. Esther has patience. I’ve never had a lot of that quality, but at my age I get too tired to fight. So the job gets done. And it actually looks pretty good.

I remember the last time--10 or more years ago--that we put a very large piece of furniture together. There was far more frustration, exasperation, and shouting that time. Poor Esther. I’m sure thoughts of divorce, separation, perhaps even murder crossed her mind. So I guess we--especially me--have learned a little patience. But please, Mrs. C, never again.

I have on these pages accused the antivaxers and anti-maskers parading around our country as thoughtless and even stupid. Perhaps that’s not quite right.  What they likely are, instead, is uninformed and gullible. They haven’t considered that the researchers and doctors who have been familiar with the way diseases work from years, often lifetimes, of studying them and working with the patients, though still learning, are more qualified to inform us than  the idiotic conspiracy theorists. The  paraders should get their information from the newspapers, magazines and other media that have been around for many decades, far more credible and knowledgeable about gathering information.` Freedom does not mean, has never meant, that I can do whatever I want even if it endangers  others.  And vaccines, masks and distancing are all very important in saving lives by the millions.

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Wednesday August 4, 2021