Next month, Paige and her roommates are moving into a house not far from the Texas Tech campus. I can't believe they are ditching a brand-new, four-bedroom, four-bath apartment with a lovely pool and fully equipped gym for a rickety old house, but when was college ever about being sensible?
Unlike the apartment, the house does not come furnished. Also unlike the apartment, the house comes with a gameroom that has a built-in bar, but I highly doubt the room has ever functioned in that capacity. Most college kids don't care where they hang their hat --- my older son lived in a dining room, complete with a crystal chandelier, and the younger one bunked in an RV for two weeks --- but I did hold out hope that my darling daughter was more discerning, that maybe she had a little class. So much for class: THIS is going to be her bedroom. On the bright side, the bar with its large mirror and hot and cold running water will make a dandy vanity.
As I said, the house does not come furnished. I told Paige if she thought I was going to outfit her with a brand-new bedroom suite, she was nuts. I will spring for a new bed frame and a mattress set, but everything else will be second-hand stuff, most of it scrounged from cast-offs in my mother's garage: an end table, a small dining room sideboard that belonged to my grandmother, and an upholstered chair in a nice, neutral color. She's also getting the tall chest of drawers we bought for that long ago baby nursery, that I hung onto for some unfathomable reason.
It's a hodge-podge of stuff, so to pull it together, I bullied Richard into helping me strip and refinish the wood pieces. We've done this before, but it's been years. Like 20.
In 1993, Richard's Aunt Dorothy called to say she was moving, and that her new apartment was too small to accommodate her dining room suite, a set that originally belonged to her mother. Would we like to have it? Would we ever! At the time our house was new and we had an empty formal dining room just begging to be filled. So, being young and cash poor, we jumped at her offer. A week later, Richard and his dad rented a U-Haul and drove to Tyler, in east Texas, to load up our possessions. I remember watching the clock all that afternoon, anxious for them to get home so I could see my new swag.
Welp...to say I was disappointed is an understatement. The two sideboards and the china cabinet were in tolerable shape, albeit some missing hardware. The chairs were upholstered in crushed gold velvet that was so thin, it was like Kleenex, but that could be easily fixed. It was the table that threw cold water all over the homecoming celebration; the very thing that makes a dining room a dining room. It was covered with stuck on fuzz from an old tablecloth. I'm not sure how that happened, but my best guess is that Dorothy must have waxed the table's surface, threw on the tablecloth, and time, heat and humidity did the rest: the wax broke down and caused the cloth to adhere to the table. When Richard ripped it off (literally), it left a fine layer of fuzz behind, like a billiards table. And if that wasn't bad enough, we discovered spiders and spider egg sacs under and behind all the pieces, and so everything had to be hauled back outside, hosed off and dried. I like spiders, but these were the little bitty ones that make me feel itchy.
My FIL could tell I was not happy. Bless his heart, as he tried to inject a positive spin on things, I was trying vainly to find some nice way to say, Thanks, but no thanks. How do you tell your FIL his mother's furniture is butt ugly? That was when Richard declared that we would have the pieces refinished:
Richard: We'll have everything stripped and refinished.
Me: You're crazy. We can't afford that.
Richard: I meant we'll do it ourselves.
Me: You're crazy. We don't know how.
Richard: We'll learn.
Me: You're crazy.
Richard called his BIL, an antiques buff who had done his share of refinishing old furniture, and got step-by-step instructions. And before I knew what was happening, our garage was converted into a kind of furniture factory, and we began the hot, sweaty, smelly and arduous process of stripping and refinishing all ten pieces of the dining room suite.
And we didn't stop, no siree. Extremely pleased with the fruits of our labors, we stripped and refinished a few other antiques: my mother's old desk from her college days, a round table that is another relic from my grandmother, and a small chest of drawers. Richard actually rescued the latter from our neighbors' bulk trash pile one night. He saw potential. I saw a cheap, god-awful little chest, and a husband who had quite obviously suffered brain damage from the weeks spent immersed in chemical fumes. Once it was completely refinished and new drawer pulls installed, it became cheap chic and the husband was hailed a hero. Just goes to show how one man's trash can be, with a little elbow grease, another's treasure.
If you are interested in taking on such a project, but aren't sure what to do, please go to my blog under the Construction Zone tab above.
Laying it all bare,
11:17 PM, TUESDAY, JUNE 4 -----
I am unable to sleep because, in precisely 1 hour and 13 minutes, I am due to take my second dose of SUPREP. SUPREP, to borrow a phrase from Miami Herald columnist Dave Barry, is a nuclear laxative. This is the stuff the doctor prescribes to cleanse the bowel the day before a colonoscopy.
I took my first dose at 5:00 PM. The doctor's instructions said to prepare the SUPREP in the morning and refrigerate it because it tastes better chilled. He was wrong. There is no way this vile, nasty, disgusting stuff can taste "better" chilled, hot or any temperature in between. The best way to describe it is to think of a slightly thick, slimy, exceedingly sweet, very salty cherry Kool-Aid. With every mouthful, I groaned, gagged, cursed, shuddered and took the Lord's name in vain. Richard said he didn't remember it being that bad, but this is a guy who actually rescued a freezer-burned pot roast that was destined for the trash, cooked it on the grill --- yes, GRILL --- and pronounced it tasty.
A friend of mine, Kay, had a colonoscopy several months ago. Her doctor prescribed OTC meds for her cleanse: 4 Dulcolax tablets, a bottle of Miralax and a 64 oz. bottle of Gatorade. I'm not a fan of Gatorade, but this regimen sounds far more palatable than SUPREP. Even so, Kay swears she hasn't been able to eat or drink anything that is orange flavored since.
2:08 AM, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 5 -----
Memo to self: Never, ever sneeze after downing 16 oz. of SUPREP solution, followed by a 32 oz. water chaser.
P. S. Don't blow nose, either.
5:32 AM -----
After two hours of sleep, I was up at 4:40 AM to shower and dress since I have to check in at the day surgery center by 6:00. I am moving very gingerly because of the massive amount of nitroglycerin sloshing around in my innards. I dithered for a good five minutes over what pants to wear: dark blue jeans or beige capris. The jeans would better camouflage any accidents, but they were too tight for my bloated state. The capris, on the other hand, were stretchy around the waist, but would be very unforgiving if I sneezed. I finally decided on the capris, and prayed I would make it safely to the day surgery center, even though it is only five minutes away. I told Richard to please watch for potholes and no sudden stops.
5:54 AM -----
Arrived at the day surgery without any mishaps, but I was right to be worried about the drive. Richard chose a route through a residential neighborhood that, unfortunately, is pocked with speed bumps. He swears he just forgot.
After checking in, the nurse, Jodi, took us both to the pre-op area. I chose to leave my hearing aid at home, so Richard was pressed into service as my interpreter, just in case. Despite my preoccupation with the alarming rumbles in my tummy, I managed to lip-read quite well through the medical jargon. Score!
Just before wheeling me away to the OR, Jodi informed me that my urine tested negative for pregnancy. At the age of 54 (55 in August), it was good to know I was not in the family way. Sorry kids, no baby brother or sister for you.
The OR was huge! I had it in my head that the procedure would be done in a mini-suite outfitted just for that purpose, but this room could have held an entire transplant team. I was rolled over onto my left side and another nurse injected the sedative into my IV. I don't even recall feeling drowsy...
APPROXIMATELY 8:10 AM -----
...and woke up in recovery. Richard was sitting next to my bed talking with the doctor. After the doctor left, I got dressed, a little shakily, and then the nurse wheeled me to the car for the trip home. I was given a red envelope with post-op instructions that basically said to take it easy, don't drive, don't operate any heavy machinery, and don't enter into any binding contracts. The envelope also contained four pictures of my insides in all its Technicolor glory. I'm not real sure what purpose is served by giving me these pictures, because I sure as hell am not going to pass them around at the next cocktail party.
For a truly hilarious take on the colonoscopy experience, please read Dave Barry's column.
I go back in five years for another screening. Hopefully, medical science will come up with a better tasting alternative to SUPREP by then.
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