If you weren’t aware, we moved last week. Also, if you weren’t aware, I have a black eye.
The first night in our new house, not only were the babies all in our bed from 2:30am to almost 5, but the cats went completely berserk. With joy. That’s what I’m telling myself at least.
I had passed out sometime between 4:30 and 5, the only real sleep I’d get that night, and woke up to a paw, claws out, on my eyelid. I don’t know exactly what happened, but I presume my darling Dexter hopped up onto the bed and launched himself off my head.
I stirred, rubbed my eye, and mumbled something like, “Ouch. I think that’s going to bleed…” and promptly fell back to sleep.
When I awoke (sadly, for the day) at 6:45am, I had completely forgotten about the cat-face thing. Until I started brushing my teeth. I looked up at the mirror and gasped. I had a two-inch scratch and a dark purple bruise on my eyelid.
Bar fight, I thought to myself. No, a lamp fell on me. No, one of the babies threw a Weeble and I sacrificed myself to save his sister.
My battery-powered toothbrush vibrated in my hand, splashing peroxide-scented foam all over my face.
You should see the other guy…
“Crap!” I yelled to my husband in the bedroom, “Dexter gave me a black eye!”
“He what?” he asked groggily.
I walked over to the bed and closed my eyes. “Look!” I dared him. “I look like you beat me!”
He didn’t answer.
“Well, do I look like I got beaten?” He didn’t answer.
“Well, do I?” I demanded.
“Yeah, you do,” he said sheepishly.
“Oh, great,” I mumbled and headed back to the bathroom.
The neighbor kids had already been over twice, once to welcome us to the neighborhood, and the second time to see when they might be able to play with the babies.
Well, you see, ah, my cat, he’s kind of dumb, and he was so excited that we moved, he gave me a black eye…
That clearly wasn’t going to work.
I Neosporined and massaged my eyelid in the vain hope that the bruise would magically disappear. It didn’t. I tried some undereye circle concealer. No dice. I tried mineral powder, foundation, and undereye circle concealer, and nothing.
That bruise wasn’t going anywhere.
To sprinkle on a bit of additional intrigue, my left arm was significantly bruised as well, in a vertical line of fifteen needle pokes from my allergist.
And, luckily, for me, the weather was warm, so we had broken out the short-sleeved shirts.
My husband and I had things to do, though. There was no getting around it. I couldn’t sit in the house until my wounds were healed, so I had no choice but to suck it up and march boldly back out into the world.
Polly Pancake (I think her name was Candy, which, really, was no better) worked in Window Treatments at Home Depot. We had been trying to nail down our window treatment lady for a good four weeks now, and every time we went, Polly Pancake was there. Alone.
Tall and lanky, she wore large, wire-rimmed glasses and had hair like the Little Dutch Boy. I was thinking English teacher, librarian, school marm at the very least. But there she sat, like an accidental beauty queen, in Window Treatments at Home Depot.
Polly Pancake had dodged us twice before, the first time because we were “Michelle’s customers” and we had “so many windows”. She said she couldn’t help us until someone input all of our measurements into the computer, which would take a long time. So she was lazy. I got it.
I picked at her a little the first time, asking if, perhaps, there was someone else who might be willing to help us, as our time was at a premium. There wasn’t, she apologized. I dismissed her, somewhat pejoratively, and told her we would come back another time.
The second time, she spotted us, and quickly disappeared into an aisle. I was impressed by the lengths she went to avoid doing work, but I didn’t have time to waste. That time, I sneaked up to her laser printer, pulled out a piece of blank paper, and wrote her (and her ever-absent colleague) a note, asking someone to call us so we could get this finished.
The third time – well, the third time I had a black eye and was covered in bruises. Ironically, this was also the time she realized she could dodge us no longer.
We sat down with her and went through a few options. I wondered aloud why our quote was built using the most expensive products in the department, I inquired about colors, and we decided to make a few changes to our order.
She saw my black eye. She was staring at it. Hell, the guy in lumber saw my black eye. I could see my black eye. I had a black eye.
She also saw the bruises on my arm as I leaned into the desk to make a few calculations. I felt her eyes darting back and forth. Arm. Eye. Arm. Eye.
I could have addressed it, but I didn’t. Instead, I decided to have a little fun.
My husband and I were at odds about our family room. It had drapes. I decided we didn’t need anything additional on those windows, but he wanted more coverage.
“Oh, you’re so cranky,” I said to him, patting his shoulder, as we argued about the family room.
“No, I’m not,” he grumbled. He knew what I was doing.
“See? Cranky! Isn’t he cranky?” I asked Polly. She laughed nervously and tried to redirect us to the window treatments.
“Ugh, he’s been so cranky! Jeez, why are you so cranky?” I prodded. Pancake didn’t know where to look.
“I’m not cranky, Steph,” he urged through gritted teeth. I could tell he was aggravated, but I had gone too far to turn back.
I had leaned in to make a few more calculations at the desk when she said, “Oh, that’s it! That’s! Oh, you see,” she wagged her index finger at me. ”That’s what! Yes. I’ve been looking at – and – yes, that’s it!” What the hell was wrong with this woman?
“I’ve been looking at you because I’ve been trying to figure out – You look like someone! And I figured it out! A young Judy Garland!”
I was shocked. She’s been staring at my eye and my arm for the better part of an hour and came to the determination that I look like a young Judy Garland?
Fine, I’ll play along.
“Oh? Really? Wow! That’s the best compliment I could ever get! She’s, like, my idol!” I responded enthusiastically, widening my eyes and slapping my hand on the table.
“Really? She is?” she asked, incredulously.
“Yes, really.” That was true. She is one of my idols. I even Pinned her.
I knew I didn’t look like Judy Garland. And, to her credit, it was a wonderful cover up. A brilliant save. But what a long and unbelievable trip to take me on…
She eventually managed to shoo us away, for a third time, explaining how complicated a process dinner breaks are at The Home Depot, and how nearly impossible taking one after her scheduled time would be. But not after I dragged out the meeting for another thirty minutes.
Long story short? We haven’t ordered anything yet for the windows. In fact, I think we’ll be going elsewhere to get that done. My husband, though slightly peeved, wasn’t really enamored by Ms. Pancake, either, so we both got a much-needed laugh, unfortunately, at her expense.
And my black eye and I? We sure had fun. I think I may miss it when it’s gone. It seems to bring out the best in people.