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Jewish World Review June 7, 2001 / 17 Sivan, 5761

Greg Crosby

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Consumer Reports

Home Sweet Home -- IT'S been ten days since we moved into our new home .... I use the term "home" loosely, because so far the place doesn't feel much like home. So, what DOES it feel like? Well, it feels more like ... let's see, what's the word? Hell. Yes, hell is the word. Or perhaps a nicer way to put it, would be "a work in progress." Make that "a work under construction," because what has been going on in this house for a week and a half might be called many things, but "progress" would never be one of them.

Ten days since moving day and my furniture is piled up five feet high and upside down in the middle of every room -- that is, what furniture I actually have in the house. Much of our belongings are still outside on the patio soaking up those wonderfully wet, balmy evenings we've been having lately, or in the garage providing new nesting environments for spiders, beetles, and whatever else lives and breeds in garages. Up until three days ago all our clothes sat outside in cardboard wardrobes. Now our clothing is, at last, in closets in the house -- that's some sort of progress, I suppose.

For reasons too complicated to go into here, we had to start the interior painting of the house on the exact same day that we had six movers unloading our stuff out of two moving vans. We had a cleaning crew there on the same day (all in vain, as it turns out). We had wall to wall carpeting installed the day before, but the carpet guys forgot their scissors, so they had to come back the next day when everybody else was there. The Pac Bell man came that day too, right in the middle of all the action. The entire day was right out of some 1930's screwball comedy, except we weren't laughing.

While the movers were asking us where to put things in the house, the painters were telling us NOT to put ANYTHING in the house. A lot of the furniture wound up in the garage including my Disney animation desk, a leather recliner, an antique washstand, a small drop leaf desk, two bookshelves, four swivel chairs, bathroom items, about a hundred boxes of books and records, and our formal dining room table and six chairs. Only thing missing was the proverbial kitchen sink. Fortunately, that was already in the kitchen.

On the first night we slept in our bed. On the second night we slept on the couch because our bedroom was being painted. On the third, fourth, and fifth nights we slept in motels because our house was turned upside-down and reeked from paint. On the sixth night we slept at home and breathed paint because we didn't have the energy to leave again.

Everything we did those first few days was a chore. Just locating a change of clothes, tooth brush, and other necessities was exhausting. Everything we needed was not there.

We walked around day after day attempting to reassemble our lives, dig out our stuff, and put things away. It soon became apparent that this could not be done while painters were still working and moving our things from room to room. So we stopped trying to be productive and just wallowed amongst the stacked cartons, covered furniture, and plastic drop-cloths.

Our eleven year old golden retriever, Moose, followed us from room to room and garage to patio wishing he could "go home," I'm sure.

One thing we discovered after a day or two, was that if we put anything down, we'd never find it again. Needless to say, the pockets of my shirt and pants were full of things I was afraid to set down. By the end of the week I gained ten pounds in keys, pens, reading glasses, pocket change, plastic eating utensils, and tape measures. And I STILL lost stuff. Since the kitchen was unusable we brought all our meals in. And eating fast food gets old really fast. I never thought I'd get sick of French fries or Pizza, but right now I'd sooner have broccoli or cauliflower. Well, broccoli anyway.

I couldn't write my column last week because I couldn't get my computer up and running. First, I couldn't find it. Then, like all the king's horses and all the king's men with Humpty Dumpty, I couldn't put it together again. Then the mouse jack was bent, so I had to replace it with a new mouse (for a techno-moron like me this is a very big thing). Now my computer works and I have finished my first column from my new house. But if you think that's that ... just wait until next week.

JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. You may contact him by clicking here.

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© 2001 Greg Crosby