I don’t want to spend the money; I don’t think we will get a good return on our investment; the house will be a total mess for six weeks; it will be extremely stressful; and, I really don’t care if we have soft-close cabinet doors and roll-out pantry shelves.
I only agreed to remodel the kitchen because I was sure that once the construction began, I’d find lots of humorous things to write about, which is way more important to me than granite counter tops with beveled (or did we decide on rounded?) edges.
Just like the dentist on an old Seinfeld episode who converted to Judaism because the jokes were funnier, I’m in this project for the laughs and I will be very disappointed if I spend all this money and come up with nothing to write about. That’s the only reason I agreed to new carpeting last summer. I had this idea for a column titled “50 Shades of Beige” and I needed a story to fit the title.
Hiring the right people to do the kitchen is my wife’s job. Her criteria involve careful perusal of catalogs and confirming ratings on Angie’s List. Several of the design people came to our house to offer renovation ideas. “Did you like the proposal from the guy at Kitchens Galore?” asked Mary Ellen.
“Not really,” I said. “I don’t think he is going to be funny to work with.”
“You mean ‘fun’ to work with?”
“No, ‘funny.’ I’m not shelling out the big bucks and then have nothing to show for it.”
“I wondered why you agreed to this remodeling. You’re just looking for a new topic. Be honest: is that why you wanted to go with me when I looked for kitchen lighting?”
“Yes, I thought you would be funny looking.”
“Let me re-punctuate that. I thought you’d be funny, looking. You’d be walking up and down the aisles examining fixtures, asking about wattage, amps and lumens. Gotta be laughs in that somewhere.”
It’s true that much of my life is spent just hoping something weird happens to me that I can turn into a funny story. Two years ago, my supplemental health insurance plan notified me that they could not cover my prostate exam because they had me listed as a woman. “Why are you happy about this?” asked Mary Ellen, who, by the way, was almost 100 percent sure that it was a mistake.
“Because I know when I tell them I am on Medicare, they’ll ask me which parts. And I can say: ‘the parts you’re not covering.’”
Mary Ellen’s misfortune also makes good copy. Like the morning the cat bit her foot, then that night on the way to the movies it became swollen and infected. I told the nurse at Medcheck that because of our great health insurance, it was to going be a cheaper evening for us at the clinic than buying two movie tickets and a large popcorn. I did feel badly that Mary Ellen was in a lot of pain, but what a funny column that was.
We are about a week away from the kitchen being torn apart. Completely remodeling that room will require a huge investment and will create a major disruption in our lives. Making this commitment is not a laughing matter. But I’m hoping to change that.