January 10, 2006

7:42 am

They came and put in the carpet. They also broke my house.

By the time they left, I had no working phone, no alarm system, no internet connection, and three televisions that let me hear 4 out of every 5 words the TV people say and let me see bursts of static interrupted by wavy lines. I also, although this cannot in good faith be blamed on the carpet people, have no husband. Scott is out of town, and WHAT ON EARTH possessed me to let these guys come tear around in my floorboards with no Scott here to fix whatever they inevitably destroyed? Either a random techno-deamon or the stupids. Possibly both.

ACTUALLY, I DO know. I DID NOT, is the answer. I scheduled them for yesterday morning WEEKS AGO, when Scott was NOT scheduled to leave town until Saturday. His schedule changed. As soon as I was told he had to leave late yesterday afternoon. I KNEW they would break something, IN MY HEART, I knew it. I knew! I KNEW! There are two truthy truisms that are never not true:

1) No man is an island, and
2) No house emerges from recarpetting unscathed.

And by "No man is an island" I mean "There is always at least one other man, and then he comes and breaks your cable." When Scott's schedule changed. I called my contractor twice to make sure the carpet-ers could come in the MORNING, and he in turn called them twice, and they agreed YES YES THAT MORNING CERTAINLY, and I thought to myself, "AH WONDERFUL, Scott can fix whatever they break before he leaves," and then the carpet people interpreted "morning" to mean, "About 4 PM, or as soon as Scott leaves the State."


I have no printable response to this.

My contractor, meanwhile, had to go to JURY DUTY. And when the carpet people did not show up, I realized his BUSINESS CELL PHONE NUMBER was on my...computer. Which was in pieces, stacked in my dining room. I called his HOUSE, but he was of course in Jury Duty and did not get the home message until the State of Georgia released him. He had checked his BUSINESS messages throughout the day, but the carpet people felt there was no compelling reason to call him and mention that they might be a little (say SIX FREAKIN HOURS) late, and *I* had not called him, so he had no idea they had not showed.

When he finished that day's Jury Duty and went home and caught on to what was happening, he drove over to my place and let them in (I was at ballet) and then he sat with me until 10 PM. He was pretty mad, too, and I think someone needs to bake him a REALLY GOOD PIE because he STAYED for HOURS while they put in the carpets and broke the house because Scott was not home and it was dark and late and later and then obscenely late and my house was full of men I didn't know from Adam's off-ox who all spoke only Russian and he didn't want to leave me by myself with them. AND when it became apparent that they had jiggled or jerked or split or destroyed some vital little bit of connective cable-y something somewhere, he crawled around outside clutching one of my children's Mickey Mouse flashlights (the only flashlight I could find) and jiggling splitters and routers to see if the TV responded and following the cable lines all through the ceiling and etc. It was black as pitch and that flashlight emitted about as much useable light as one of the REALLY far stars overhead. I'm surprised he didn't break his neck. (DIGRESSION: If you can find a contractor who will do these sorts of things, you should marry him immediately. You can't have this one though, sorry. He is already married to my friend Jane.)

I sat in my broken house, becoming distraughter and distraughter, because while I love my TV and I love my internets, MY MAIN ISSUE last night was being in a house sans Scott with two little children, no working alarm system, and no phone. My contractor tried valiently, but he couldn't fix it. I couldn't fix it. We agreed between us eventually that it would take one of those rare unicorn-like creatures---a genuine cable repairman ---- to fix it.

My mission became to FIND one of these mythological beings, and after the contractor left, I unpacked my wedding dress and put it on in an ill-conceived plan to look virginal. Then I wandered into the woods behind my house, waving ham and spicy mustard sandwiches (the favored food of the cable repairman) and singing madrigals. This proved ineffective. In retrospect, however, I should have kept at it, because I am now convinced that waving sandwiches in the woods is, long term, a MORE effective way to attract a cable repairman that the second plan I had, which was to call Comcast Customer Service.

You know the word COMCASTIC? If you live anywhere within the range of of Comcasts ubiquitous WE HATE THE DISH commercials, then you do, you DO know this word, "COMCASTIC." To quote Mandy Patinkin in the Princess Bride, "This word, I do not think it means, what you think it means..."

DIGRESSION: Here I COULD tell you about how the chain of ENDLESS menu options I selected led to the ROBOT OPERATOR refusing to recognize my phone number, saying I was not a customer, not giving me an option to return to any previous menus, and then hanging up on me. After I realized the system would not recognize my phone number because I was callign from a CELL PHONE and not that phone, which, Hello! Can you say, "CATCH 22" because how can one POSSIBLY call on the phone that is not working to say THIS PHONE IS NOT WORKING? Obviously, you cannot, but if you call from a DIFFERENT PHONE it hangs up on you for not calling from the right number---SEE HOW THAT WORKS??? I bet that realy cuts down on the number of service calls they have to take! ANYWAY! I chose a different menu option, and the 'bot intoned a 1 800 GET CABLE NOW number at me in its enragingly sympathetic contralto and hung up on me. THE THIRD TIME I CALLED I simple refused to press any buttons at all, even the SPANISH OR ENGLISH one, and eventually the menu switched me to hold, and the first service rep I talked to tried to transfer me to the correct department and HUNG UP ON ME, and then I repeated the process, and the SECOND service rep told me a technition would come on THURSDAY and when I began to explain how I would have headed to a mini mall with an ouzi before then she tried to put me on hold to see if she could get me priority service and she ALSO hung up on me, and the THIRD time I called----and what with the no button pressing this third WAIT OUT brought my ON HOLD time to WAY OVER 90 minutes so that it was getting on close to midnight---- BUT! I shall not tell you all these things in any detail because if you have ever called the cable company EVEN ONCE, ANY cable company, then you have had this exact experience, this exact number of disconnects, this exact CATCH 22, and you KNOW you were on hold for a minimum of an hour and a maximum of you-called-three-days-ago-and-are-reading-this-blog-entry-to-pass-the-time-while-you-STILL-hold. SO. I won't go int all that. I will just say that when I called the cable company....

I was at some length connected with a service rep named Beautiful Beautiful Gilbert, who, if a truck hits him, will go directly to heaven immediately without even passing GO or collecting 200 bucks while the truck driver is sentenced irrevocably to be poinked in the buttocks with tridents by the really BURNY demons in deepest hell. I poured out my tale of woe unto Beautiful Beautiful Heavenbound Gilbert, and when he said there was no service rep available until Thursday I just sat there and wept, wept unil I was gagging with it, wept until my eyes felt like they they were made of grit, wept and wept and wept, and he put me on hold ---and this part is key his double Beautifulness and Heavenboundedability -- put me on hold WITHOUT HANGING UP ON ME and THEN, after a brief hold music pause which I assume he used to feed 10 or 12 thousand people with a single special order of fillet of fish happy meal while moonwalking along the surface of the Chattahoochee River, BBH GILBERT came BACK on the line and said he had found me a repairman who will be here today between the hours of 8 am and 8 pm, which is kind of a LONG service window, but ask me if I am complaining. OH NO I am not. I will sit here from 8 until 8 and I will not even BATHE lest I miss the repairman's radient arrival and I will sing the praises of Beautiful Beautiful Heavenbound Gilbert and all his sons, yea, down until the seventh generation, because I CANNOT spend another night alone with no alarm or phone which ups my anxiety which activates my insomnia which can generally be treated and overcome with TELEVISION of which I have none. If you follow me.

BECAUSE LAST NIGHT after I hung up with BBHG, I lay awake wondering if my eyes were melting and if that was a squirrel or a killermans scrabbling around in the attic and counting the number of manical grinning clown faces that are hidden in the patterns on my plaster ceiling (27) and engaging in suchlike other activities until about three AM, and then was up at 6 am to get my son off to school.

Did I mention I got about 3 hours of sleep the night before last, too? Did I mention the part where half of my eye-parts are melted and all the other parts are made out of grit? Just checking.

I finally fell asleep last night in the children's playroom where the TV had the best sound-like eminations and where I could faintly make out the shapes of people (or possibly Yeti) moving about behind the snow and wavy lines. After I got Sam off to school, Maisy was still asleep, so I thought I would go back to sleep too, but I was worried about missing the REPAIRMAN who would no doubt sense I was sleeping and creep past my door on little cat feet at 7:59 and then bound away, never to be seen again, so I tried to set the alarm clock for 7:30 and SOMEHOW I hit this SECRET BUTTON that apparently alarm clocks have that makes them explode into noise. I do NOT know what that button was...it was like I had poked a jumpy cat in his Spook Spot. Ever done that? The cat leaps straight into the air and all his fur poofs out as if he's hitched a ride on some lightning. Well it was like that, only it was an alarm clock and it exploded into UNTURNOFFABLE racket which woke Maisy.

SO. Here I sit, writing a blog entry I can't post anyway and feeling DEEPLY sorry for myself.

JUST TO ADD INSULT TO INJURY: I was 'SPOSED to take Maisy into town today to have lunch with my friends Karen and Maureen and go buy myself ANY CHAIR I WANT (Scott said) at the new Atlanta IKEA. Then this afternoon, I had a playdate with my friend Julie and her kids at Wild Horse Park because we have this weird unseasonably warm gorgeousness fo weather. Instead, I will sit here and wait from 8 to 8 for the service rep and thank BB H Gilbert for the privilege with NO IRONY because I seriously cannot survive another night like last night. Seriously. Can. Not.

LET'S PLAY A FUN GAME. WITH PRIZES! Based on the time at which this automatically POSTS ITSELF (and therefore I demonstrably have working cable) GUESS my mental illness number. Let's cap it at 100, where 1 means you are SO sane that you would never never even THINK of running for a political office and 100 means you are paddling about happily in the blood of the neighbor you just ate. It is as I write this January Tenth at 7:42 AM, and my MI# is currently holding steady at about 22. I am relying on the hope I have gleaned from BBHG. Now look at the time (and DATE) when this posted and GUESS what my mental illness number was AT THAT TIME. You can leave your guess in the comments. I will WRITE DOWN what my mentasl illness # was in the MINUTE before the cable repaiman came (so there is no tricksiness where the answer is ONE because NOW the cable works) The two people who come CLOSEST WITHOUT GOING OVER (like on Price Is Right) will win a small piece of super secret BETWEEN, GEORGIA swag. No, not galleys, sorry --- I do not have two extra copies of the Galleys---I am down to ONE copy and I am keeping it. I had to send my two extras to an author I hope will blurb it and the other is going to the HKNC. So. But this is a cool little thingy. You will like it.

On the bright side? The carpet? Looks FANTASTIC.

Posted by joshilyn at January 10, 2006 3:03 PM

Your MI# at posting was about 47. This however plummented to a cool 8 by the time you finished posting it due to the pleasant calm affect of new carpet and newly restored 21st century Stuffisms.

Posted by: Tina at January 10, 2006 3:17 PM


Posted by: DebR at January 10, 2006 3:18 PM

Waiting around 7+ hours for cable to be repaired? I'm guessing it got up to around 87 before you cought sight of the guy.

Posted by: Holly at January 10, 2006 3:28 PM

42.5, which is a number of points higher than mine.

Off topic:


Your blurb is the most gorgeousest thing!!!!!!

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Cornelia Read at January 10, 2006 3:29 PM


I sort of feel ashamed of myself when I read blog entries like this. I laughed until I cried reading "7:42" just like I did when you blogged about your horrific night at the hospital when Maisy was having febrile seizures and you asked for Ativan....

You are at your best when things are at their worst.

Posted by: Elizabeth at January 10, 2006 3:58 PM

I'm going to guess your mental health number--after being up roughly ALL night and breaking down on the phone with a customer service AND spending 8 hours waiting AND missing your lunch and chair buying--at roughly 99.

That's what mine would be at, if not over 100.


Posted by: Alicia at January 10, 2006 3:59 PM

Damn, someone guessed the number I was going to guess already...so I'll say 62.

Posted by: lizardek at January 10, 2006 4:05 PM

Oh my. MI # 44, which would have been higher probably but for the anesthethic effect of the new carpet fumes...

Posted by: Diane at January 10, 2006 4:07 PM

I'm going with 84. A little high, I think, but it seems mathmatically correct. Whatever the number, I hope it is nose diving back to a respectable non-spooky spot number.

Posted by: chris at January 10, 2006 4:21 PM

someone guessed my number too, so i guess i'll have to think of a new one. my guess is 93. i'm glad it's down now though!

Posted by: liz at January 10, 2006 4:28 PM

Now I'm exhausted.

50 (good round even number).

At least the carpet looks good.

Are we talking office chairs? If you find one that you can sit on for hours straight without feeling like your femurs have been rammed into your hip sockets, let me know.

Posted by: Edgy Mama at January 10, 2006 4:48 PM


Because although I can't even remember if it's better to be closer to 1 or closer to 100, 48 is the number Joseph used when he was about three years old to explain everything in the universe. It was "48 o'clock" and he was "48" years old and he weighed "48 lbs." and he had to wait "48 minutes" for a kiss and he had "48 fish sticks" on his lunch plate.

Posted by: Laume at January 10, 2006 5:22 PM

I'm going to go with the cool triple of your starting point, figuring you'd reached double by lunchtime and triple when the cable went back on. So, 66.

BUT MAY I JUST SAY that the higher your MI#, the freaking funnier you are? I will forever now have the mental image of you in your wedding gown, waving mustardy ham sandwiches in the woods, now....

(P.S. I was going to call you today, but I'm sort of glad I didn't, now, as I would've worried if the phone was all keflurgety. Mayhaps I will call you later once the kidlets are sleeping.)

Posted by: Mir at January 10, 2006 5:50 PM

73? And I must say how glad I am that we no longer have Comcast.

Posted by: Laura at January 10, 2006 5:53 PM

My guess would be 68.

Posted by: Drew at January 10, 2006 6:10 PM

51. I'm going for that "just above the midpoint" strategy - I know I'd be seething after that wait.

I am glad your repairman arrived eventually.

Posted by: Corrie at January 10, 2006 6:35 PM

I don't know if it is laughing with you at your misfortune or the fact I am really bad at all things mathmatical. But I thought it was kind of a mensa type thingy and if you were 22 at 7:42 you'd be 22 at 7:42 when it posted. But I am going to be really brave and say at 7:43 your heart swelled with so much joy and blinding happiness that your mental illness number receded to 5. Did I mention that I am really bad at math but usually really good at mensa questions? But this is a mental number math thingy.

Posted by: Cele at January 10, 2006 6:45 PM

69. If 100 is the roof, then I see 70 as the number that separates mental illness from MENTAL illness. Under your circumstances, I'm thinkin' you just barely missed it.

Posted by: Cathy at January 10, 2006 6:59 PM


Starting at 22, times 7 (hours waited), divided by 4 (phone, tv, internet, alarm), plus 10 (Scott's out of town), plus 10 (missed lunch), plus 10 (no new chair today)

Glad you like the carpet, cause if you didn't... oh, that would really suck.

Posted by: Deb at January 10, 2006 7:14 PM

77! And that's if he showed before 5pm. Sometime before 6, I'm guessing 82. Before 7, 88. Between 7 and 8? 94. Your neighbors are very lucky that BBH Gilbert was right about him showing before 8.

Posted by: Laura at January 10, 2006 7:15 PM

I'm guessing 78.

Posted by: Katrina Stonoff at January 10, 2006 7:41 PM

I hate to trael. Bad things happen when I trael. Being on the road is positily Comcastic.

Based on the previous three sentences, can you deduce what computer I'm working on?

Posted by: Mr. Husband at January 10, 2006 7:59 PM

Sorry, Joshilyn, I won't guess your number. I have to say, though, since I am married to the contractor, I laughed until I cried! Also, this is the first I have heard of the flashlight...

Posted by: Jane at January 10, 2006 8:00 PM


And i laughed till I cried....loved this post

Posted by: Carrie K at January 10, 2006 8:43 PM

Mr. Husband is on the road with the No-Working-V laptop!

Posted by: DebR at January 10, 2006 9:13 PM

I think you were at 77. Because that's lucky and that's where you would stop because to go any higher and you would not have been fit company for the repairman and you would have been unable to post because, even though you are pretty, you would be needing bond posted for having put a serious hurt on the repairman when he showed up, which wouldn't have been good, but thank you oh wonderful one for lowering my MI# due to the laughter, I will however be sending you my plastic surgery bill for the laugh lines and crows feet you deepen every day.

Posted by: Gabi at January 10, 2006 9:14 PM

OMG, Scott, could you BE any more cute and lovely, er, loely? ;)

Posted by: Mir at January 10, 2006 9:22 PM

73.... for no reason other than it's a number no one has said and it's HIGH which is where mine would have been....but not SO HIGH that I might suddenly be mistaken for a Yeti attempting to play Aimball with severed body parts.

Posted by: wendy at January 10, 2006 9:42 PM

unless of course I go back just to make sure and see that I am, in fact, a doofusy moron, and Laura already guessed 73.... DUR!

So I will say instead:

79 -- and hope that I don't look even more like an imbicile because someone has guessed that as well.

[going back into lurking - it's SAFER there.]

Posted by: wendy at January 10, 2006 9:45 PM

I'm guessing..... 33. Don't ask me why... it just came to me :P

Posted by: Ailema at January 10, 2006 10:05 PM

I'm so horrible at these guessing things and I can't keep straight what everyone else guessed so... well,so.

My guess since it is daytime (I'm thinking overnight would have sent you rocketing toward eleventy billion) but it has been many hours and every time you looked at the clock your number probably rose (mine would have)... hmmm...

54. No idea why. Above is all a lot of crap.

Hope it's back down to a manageable number. Oh, and thanks for the laughs (even though it makes me feel guilty - and apparently a bit heavy with the parenthesis - or maybe that's just the late hour.)

Posted by: heidi at January 10, 2006 11:33 PM

I'll guess 72.

Life is bad when husbands are gone. You have my sympathy. When I'm alone at night I turn on all the lights in the house, except the childrens' bedrooms. I even keep it on while I'm sleeping, lest killermans sneak up on me while I my guard is down.

Posted by: Jensgalore at January 11, 2006 12:15 AM

Ok, I'm delurking for the first time to guess. I think you were at a nice round 72.

I just simply could not resist delurking after your incredible post, and it IS delurking week after all. I wonder if I can use the word delurking again somehow?

Great post, as always!

Posted by: char at January 11, 2006 12:17 AM

Well, shoot. Jensgalore beat me to the 72. Make mine 72.5. :-) Not so round, but whatever!

Posted by: char at January 11, 2006 12:18 AM

Because I think you're JUST THAT STABLE.

Posted by: Kira at January 11, 2006 1:04 AM

Oh, I've got to participate this time! Can't resist after such a "gripping" post!

53 is my guess!


Posted by: Charlene at January 11, 2006 9:50 AM

Wow, so many numbers, and people are trying to not pick twice?!

I guess 57.

I can't believe you actually saw the repairman! Last time I needed one I missed him *three* times, because he never showed when they said he would show. grrr.

Posted by: Bonnie at January 11, 2006 10:08 AM

Edgy Mama, the hiefer, got my "nice round 50". So, I will go 50.25.

And, I will not be able to read that post ever again because it EXHAUSTED me.

Posted by: Angela at January 11, 2006 10:17 AM

First of all...bwahahahahahahahahaha! Oh...and *sproink*. And I'll guess 44.

Posted by: Aimee at January 11, 2006 10:25 AM

53 is my guess.

Though I sincerely hope it was lower.

Posted by: Autumn at January 11, 2006 11:46 AM

63 is what I shall guess. I have also had dealings with the Comcastic people and had just a Comcastic time that made my number go sky high. My heart goes out to you.

Posted by: shawna at January 11, 2006 12:00 PM

Been there.

After the night you had, waiting for repairmen of any kind would be very, very, very vexing.

This waiting tends to make for much higher MI#s than in other vexing circumstances.

Bottom line, I'm goin' with 89 and banking on the hope that the neighbors are intact.

Posted by: Allan Dix at January 11, 2006 12:56 PM

I think you'd be at 55 -

I love your blog and your books - Keep Writing!!

Posted by: Pamela at January 11, 2006 1:47 PM

OMG, look what happens when I take a day off from reading FTK! Good Lord, Tulip, I would have committed mass murder under these circumstances. Those carpet guys would be sleeping with the fishes. SO...if you say you're only at 22, I say: Good on ya! I'm with Kira, I think you're pretty stable. I'll say 39. Now I'm going to read today's entry and find out how the saga ends. Hope it wasn't too late to guess! ;)

Posted by: Amy-GO at January 11, 2006 5:17 PM

64. At least. I'd be at a cool 80.

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