Help! Uber!

As fall starts to set in, we’re updating the house and dishing out hope

These are sweet days all right, these cooler October afternoons, when the sun slides in as if stealing second base. Pre-Halloween is riddled with totems of our youth, the pumpkins, the hay bales, the decorations, which are not so different from when we were young.

There’s one thing, right?

As you know, I am 33% Druid, 67% scar tissue. I like the snap-crackle of acorns under foot when I walk the wolf. And though the trees have yet to turn in LA, they glitter with a fine, diamond-dust layer of ash.

Random respiratory ailments aside, it stands to be a lovely autumn.

As always, I’m just trying to be a bright light in an ever-darkening city, dishing out hope wherever possible. In a month, the aspen will be aglow, and you’ll get a little action from the cottonwoods and liquid amber, which blush like maples.

I blush too, so maybe that’s why I’m so suited to fall. Autumn has the scratchy texture of old boots and bomber jackets. By fall, the land has lived a little. As have I.

For a while, it was so hot in LA that the supermarket pumpkins were exploding. This is not unusual, for October is always too hot here, and the markets seem to place the bins of pumpkins out front in the direct sun as some sort of infernal punishment.

In California, even the pumpkins are in danger of skin cancer.

Meanwhile, we’ve Botoxed the house: new paint, new floors – this place has had more work than Goldie Hawn’s lips.

Me, I need to recharge with a good book and a rich meal. I’ve been dragging since finishing the painting and moving all the furniture around like chess pieces, before the floor installers arrived on Thursday.

We pulled the fridge back and found a small leak and a large problem. Mazel tov! 9-1-1 the plumber. Hurry!

I feel fortunate that I could afford the floor guys, otherwise I’d be installing the floors myself, something I could do, but not as well as the pros. I see the cuts they make with X-Acto-knife precision, and how they scallop the ends of boards to fill mortar joints around the fireplace. Superb work. To a homeowner, good tradesmen are like mini-gods.

They have special pliers to cut shoe molding. Callused hands help. I have soft suburban hands, better suited to finessing an omelette or wooing rich widows.

Speaking of the wealthy, I was making fun of ascots the other day, and as life would have it, my new neck gaiter – a fancy face mask — looks like an ascot when I pull it down around my neck between awkward social encounters.

Leave it to me to mock something, then immediately adopt it as a signature style.

Just so you know, I decided to concentrate on rich widows when I realized I’d blown the entire Christmas budget on a new couch. A reader-friend suggested this place in West LA that makes custom couches at fair prices. I was like a customer at Chevy dealership who could only see the Corvettes.

I justified the huge purchase on the premise of: How many more couches will you buy in your life, huh?

That’s a justification — or a rationalization, probably – that propels most of my recent consumer choices. How many more cars will I buy? How many more bottles of gin?

As I update the house – perhaps for the last time – I am accumulating home expenses as if they are massive gambling debts.

Yet, has anyone regretted splurging on beautiful things? Of course they have. I’m still paying off Posh’s tango lessons, for example. And that little Mercedes roadster I bought long ago.

“Invest in the best,” was my line of reasoning back then; hence, Posh and overpriced German roadsters – similar lines, similar smiles.

That car was a catastrophe, and in the end I hired someone to load it on a plane and drop it on Stuttgart. Expensive revenge, sure, but satisfying in a way I can’t begin to describe.

When it hit the car company’s executive offices, the old roadster exploded like a giant German water balloon. Bam! Splash! Ooooooof!

“Nimm das, dudes!” the pilot yelled (“Take that, dudes!” would be the California translation).

So my success rate with impulsive purchases is rather rotten. I’m hoping for better results from this couch. The West LA shop offered too many choices – of styles, of fillings, of fabrics. It was like Build-A-Bear. What I want from a furniture store is what I want from a great restaurant: one great entree.

“What about cupholders?” I asked.

“It’s not a minvan, Dad,” said Smartacus.

“It’s not?”

“It’s not a cabin cruiser, Dad,” the lovely and patient older daughter added.

At that price, it should cruise me to Catalina.

The house is really coming together, thanks for asking. The $33 that I’ve made so far on my new book will certainly help defray the costs (thank you, Bob and Geri, for your investment).

If I sell two more books, I’m hoping to buy a foot stool.

By the way, all this new furniture my older daughter ordered comes unassembled, from stores she found online, made in places I can’t locate on a map: Spankslӓden, East Biscotti. It will take months to put together; it would’ve been faster to mill the furniture myself.

I told my daughter I was going to request an Uber, then when the driver showed up, bribe him or her into assembling the tables and the chairs, one jigsaw puzzle at a time.

I figure 10 Uber drivers ought to do the trick. More? Maybe I’ll order 10 Lyft drivers as well. Hello, Dominoes? You’re in too.

We’ll make a game of it, as we Druids do of most everything.

Otherwise, I’ll be here forever, twisting Allen wrenches into hex-head holes, when really I should be wooing rich widows with wine, Lindt chocolates and stories about my glory years in college intramurals.

Young love is so invigorating, and Christmas is closing in fast.

I would even show the rich widows the little zipper scar on my chin. In college, I got heel-kicked while diving to make a tackle, on a fine October day laced with laughter and leather footballs.

Did I make the tackle? No, but I made the dive.


RSVPs have gone out to the first 50 who signed up to the Rose Bowl hike. If you missed out, you didn’t really miss out. We’ll have another in a couple of weeks. Thanks for your patience. Cheers!

23 thoughts on “Help! Uber!

  1. The floor and walls look great! But, please tell me you didn’t leave the painter’s tape on too long! It is difficult to remove if you leave it after the paint dries. Don’t ask me how I know…

  2. Congrats on the botox in progress. We’ve finished two bathrooms and are tackling the kitchen next (after the holidays). Because I use the Hallmark design method (I care enough to only steal ideas from the very best), can you share what the flooring is? It’s pretty much what we’re looking for. Also, if your installers are that terrific, would you refer them?

    And really? “the sun slides in as if stealing second base”! You just make our days with that kind of imagery! Thank you!!

    1. Hi there. We used Burbank Flooring Center. They were great. The product is a high-end laminate, not wood. It’s made by Paradigm. It’s called Long Board, Gold Coast. Here’s the key number to know: PAR2008LB. Hope that helps

  3. This was so good. Love the imagery of “sun sliding in as if stealing 2nd base.” Baseball and Autumn intertwined. And I can’t picture LA in the Fall so I appreciate the vivid descriptions. I sent you some amazing Daily Herald shots of Autumn trees in the burbs. Not sure if they got there but were breathtaking. The floors are gorgeous. Good thinking getting it installed. Don’t want to re-injure the schnitzelfritz. As always thanks for the midweek smiles and laughs. 😁

  4. yes ~ the sun stealing second base ~ brings to mind Robert Frost’s “October” ~ “retard the sun with gentle mist, enchant the land with amethyst ” ~ ~ ~
    and isn’t it called “toe molding” ~ not shoe ~ ? northeast native here ~ ~
    the delivery guy from pizza hut was quite happy to get my $20 “tip” for carrying suitcases and boxes up to the second floor after sonny boy and his pals “forgot” to show up ~ ~ !
    rock on ~ ~ lady k

  5. Or Anne of Green Gables, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” 🍁🍂

  6. Remodeling…almost as bad as moving! But when it’s all finished, worth it! Just like having children; when you’re in the middle of it , you think, ‘what did I get myself into!’When the end result is perfect, it’s all worth it!!!

  7. My floor choice looks similar to yours. You’ll love it! Very easy care!
    Enjoy your new look. Nancy

  8. I so look forward to your stories…just makes my day! I’m not a widow and I’m not Jewish, but a single Irish, catholic . (oh, and I’m not rich) but I do own a 1925 bungalow cottage, with original windows (which allows the water to drench my floor whenever it rains) ,a gorgeous garden which my 2 rescue dogs love to trample during their afternoon naps… great neighbors, a great bottle of vodka in my freezer and fresh limes from my own tree. I wouldn’t change a thing!

  9. I am encouraged by the way you are embracing change (not to mention rich widows). I am traumatized by opening a new toothbrush nowadays. Hope you enjoy your new couch..

      1. DARNIT! I’ve been really looking forward to a happy hour hike. Unfortunately game four of the World Series is at exactly the same time as the hike! And the Dodgers are in it! I’ll have to wait till the next one.

  10. Chris. Love your columns! Looking for a sofa. Can you share the place in WLA where you ordered yours. Thanks, Dianne Gorsey

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