Blame it on Nella

In family, Humor on November 1, 2014 at 11:36 pm

My brother, Gus, recently moved from Long Beach, Long Island, to Norwalk, Connecticut. My husband, son, and I have lived in Norwalk for nearly 20 years, so Gus asks us for recommendations regarding places to shop, eat, see movies, etc. He recently bought a new suit and the pants needed to be taken up an inch. He also had a sports jacket that he wanted taken in. So, when he asked me for a tailor’s name, I told him that I’d take him to our dry cleaner. Before we left, I scooped up a pile of my husband’s dress shirts to have cleaned there, as well.

Before we went to the cleaner’s, Gus needed to stop at our cable company to trade in an old cable box for a newer, HD version. After he came out of the cable company, we decided to make a trip to Walmart, after going to the cleaner’s. My regular dry cleaner was located on the opposite side of town, so I suggested to Gus that we try another one that was used by my friend, Nella. Nella swears by this cleaner and she has very high standards; therefore, I thought it would be fine. Also, it was on the way to our other destinations. Gus said that it was up to me.

So, we drove around until I located the dry cleaner’s, which I had only visited once before when Nella had to drop off some clothes. We carried in our stuff and I handed the woman at the counter my husband’s 23 shirts (that had been sitting in his shirt hamper for at least six months). My brother gave a few winter coats to a man behind the counter. Then he asked the man if he could have his pants hemmed. The man told Gus to change into the suit pants and then stand on a platform in the corner. Once Gus was on the platform, the man got down on his knees and pulled each of the pant legs down. He didn’t, however, notice that the waistband was hiked up on one side of Gus’s body. Instead, he took a look at the bottom of each leg and said, “This one is longer,” and he pinned up one leg with a safety pin.

I had just finished up with my shirt transaction and turned to watch the adjustments being made to my brother’s suit. Something didn’t seem right. I asked the man if he was going to hem both legs or just the one he pinned up. He said that he was only going to do the one, because the other one was fine. That was when I noticed that Gus’ waistband wasn’t straight across his body. It was the same time that Gus, alarmed, said, “You’re only going to hem one leg?” The man nodded yes, although I don’t think he understood the question; his English skills were very limited. Gus said, “I’ve never heard of such a thing!” I said, “Well, obviously, one of your legs is shorter than the other.” The man nodded sagely. Then Gus said, “I’m not having just one leg hemmed. That’s insane.” The man just stood there. Then I suggested that Gus should pull his pants up evenly around his waist, and that the man should re-measure the pants. Gus straightened out his pants, and the man took out the pin. The man stood back and said, “They are fine now.” “What?” Gus asked incredulously. He then looked at me. “Are they fine?” I said that they looked like they didn’t need to be hemmed at all. Gus said, “But they’re 32 inches in length and my inseam is a 31. I need them hemmed.” The man looked at them again. “They are good,” he said. Gus looked a little exasperated. “Never mind,” he told the man. “Just clean the suit, please. I just hope I don’t look ridiculous when I wear it on a business trip next month.” The man smiled benignly.

Then I remembered that Gus needed to have his sports coat taken in. I handed Gus his jacket and he put it on. It was very loose, and very baggy. The man said, “Looks good.” Gus said, “But, it’s too big.” The man shook his head. “Better too big than too tight. Maybe you’ll wear a sweater under it and need the room.” Gus said, “I am only going to wear a shirt and tie under it.” “It’s okay like this,” said the man. Gus shrugged off the jacket and said, “Great. Just great.” He exhaled loudly. “Just dry clean it, please.”

As Gus and I went over to the counter to get his receipt from the woman who had waited on me, the woman called the man over to her. She was going through the pile of shirts that I had given her. She pulled out a pale blue shirt that was splattered with dark stains. The stains were very large and all over the front of the shirt, the collar, and the sleeves. I hadn’t noticed them when I grabbed the shirts from the hamper. The man looked at me. “This is blood. Lots and lots of blood.” I said, “No, it’s probably gravy.” The man started poking his arm with his finger. “No, lots of pricks. Lots of blood.” “Okay,” I said, “just throw it out.” The woman gingerly picked it up and put it in a trashcan under the counter. As she went through the rest of the shirts, I saw two more that could be thrown out, so I asked the man to put them in the trash. As he bent toward the trashcan, the woman yelped, “Not there! Not there! Put them in a different trashcan!” Finally, we settled our business there and left.

“I wonder why she made such a fuss over which trashcan he used?” I asked my brother.

“Because the blood-covered shirt was in the first trashcan,” Gus said. “She probably wanted to keep that shirt as evidence. That’s how murders are solved. Personally, I’m more concerned about my clothes. Who ever heard of only hemming one leg of a pair of pants? And why wouldn’t he take in my blazer?”

“That is odd,” I had to agree.

“I don’t think he even knows how to do alterations,” Gus fumed. “They have no right to have a ‘tailor’ sign in their window. Why does your friend, Nella, like this place so much? Are you sure she goes here?”

“Well,” I said, “I think this is where she goes. And if it is, she spoke very highly of them.”

“Great,” said Gus, “just great.”

When we got home and told my husband that his shirt might be in the custody of the Norwalk police, he wasn’t amused. “Why?” he asked. “Because the cleaner said that it was covered in blood,” I answered. My husband rolled his eyes. “It was coffee. Remember when I told you that the coffee machine blew up all over me at work and I had to wear a coworker’s extra T-shirt all day?” “Oh, that’s right,” I said. “I remember now. But the cleaner thinks it’s blood.” “What kind of a cleaner can’t tell coffee from blood?” he asked. “Why didn’t you just go to the cleaner that we’ve been using since 1995?” Gus chimed in, “Yeah, why?” I had no answer. “Blame it on Nella,” I said.

Addendum: After Nella read this post, she called me and said that she hasn’t gone to this cleaner since it changed ownership two years ago. In the interest of not causing Gus’s head to explode, I think I’ll keep this new information to myself.

Jumping for Joy

In dogs, Humor, pets on October 30, 2014 at 12:36 am

RudyAnyone who has ever had a dog knows how hard it is to change a dog’s regular food. So, when you find yourself out of it one night, and don’t feel like going out  to get more, you’re often forced to offer human food to your four-legger, or a bag of doggie biscuits. Dogs are always willing to eat any kind of human food or canine treat, but just try to give them a new kibble. They’d rather starve than do more than give it a dismissive sniff.

So, the other day when I was in Walgreen’s, I remembered that we were out of dry dog food for our golden retriever, Rudy. Walgreen’s carries his particular brand, but only in small bags which cost three times as much per pound as the large bags that I usually buy elsewhere. Looking for something to tide him over until I could get to a grocery store or Walmart, I spotted Kibbles ‘n Bits, and they were on sale, so I bought a bag.

I was a little nervous when I got home and poured it into Rudy’s bowl. I suspected that he’d take one look at it and walk away. I couldn’t have been more wrong. He watched me with great interest as I put out his food and water bowls. Then he went over to sniff his new food. Rather than ignore it, he started jumping up and down with glee. He literally leapt for joy before scarfing down every morsel. When he was finished, he jumped up and down some more.

I should have been relieved that I didn’t have to go out again to get his normal food. And I was. But I also suspected that I had just fed him a big bowl of cookies.

Hair Today

In Humor on October 27, 2014 at 4:38 pm

I need a haircut. However, I haven’t had one, specific place to go for a cut in a long, long time. I’ve been hopscotching around my neighborhood, with mixed results. As I was pondering my next location, I checked my statistics on WordPress. Exactly two people read my blog today and one of them read the post I’m reposting below. It made me laugh, and I hope it will make you laugh, too.

REPOSTED FROM MARCH 23, 2013, ORIGINAL TITLE: Did You Get a Haircut? No, I Got Them All Cut.

Did you ever notice that one day your hair looks perfectly fine and then, the next day, it looks overgrown and shapeless? It happens in a matter of hours, probably when you’re sleeping. Hair growth spurts are exactly like kid growth spurts. A child goes to bed in his size 3 long-sleeved, long-legged pajamas and wakes up wearing a wife beater and shorts. Anyway, my hair had a growth spurt—or a sprouting—so I had to act immediately before I met up with my inlaws.

The trouble is, awhile ago, I had a falling out with the woman who had been cutting my hair. She is really talented and her haircuts are reasonably priced, but once we became bitter enemies, I lost access to her. She probably would still cut my hair—money is money, after all—but my mother warned me that I might be scalped. My mother seemed to think that scalping me would be understandable, considering what I had done to my former friend. I don’t think that I did anything wrong, by the way, but my former friend does, and she would be the one wielding the scissors.

Anyway, after I lost my stylist, I tried a salon that was voted “Best Hair Salon in N——” in an local online publication. Six people voted for it. I imagine that the owner and his one stylist triple-dipped in the voting box.

The first time I went to the best hair salon in N——, the hair cutter barely removed any hair, but what she removed gave my hair some shape, so I was happy. In between my first cut and my second cut, I suspect that she met and became best friends with my former friend/stylist and swore to exact revenge on my ex-friend’s behalf. My second cut looked like it was done in a blender.

So, today I was at loose (and split) ends. I decided to take my chances at S——, a bargain hair salon chain. A new branch of the chain recently opened close to my house, so I went there. My husband had warned me that this branch was sketchy. If by sketchy he meant that the hairdressers had hacked, badly permed, multi-colored hair and facial piercings, then he was right. If they thought that they looked good, then who knows what they’d do to me? There was one hairstylist who looked normal, at least in those surroundings, so I prayed that I got him. My prayer was answered in the affirmative. As soon as the guy was finished with his customer, he meticulously cleaned his area, and then called my name.

Now here’s where it got weird. The stylist’s first language was Spanish and he didn’t seem to speak much English. When I asked him for a “beachy” cut, he stared at me. I asked if he understood the term, “beachy,” and he shook his head no. I wasn’t sure if he didn’t understand the term, or the question. So, I kept it simple and asked him to give my hair some shape, and cut off about two inches. He nodded like he knew what I meant.

I thought about flinging off the coverup and running for the door, but by this time the other three employees, all women, were talking about me in Spanish and I didn’t want to give them more to talk about. My hair cutter, Jorge, and his three coworkers were having a good laugh at my expense. I knew this because all four of them were pointing at me and smirking.

I stared down the three women and Jorge finally turned his attention to my hair. During the time that he was mocking me in Spanish, he also picked up fluency in English. He proved this by picking up a strand of my hair and saying, “I think that two inches is too much to cut off. Let’s start with an inch and see how you like it. I’ll also even out the back and layer the front, around your face.” His very long announcement didn’t hold a trace of an accent. He was obviously having fun with his latest patsy. And he wasn’t done.

“So, how long have you worked here?” I asked.

“I started here yesterday,” he answered. “Yesterday was the very first day that I ever cut hair.”

Now, I knew this wasn’t true because, while I was in the chair, a woman had come in and requested that Jorge cut her hair. She asked for him by name, indicating that she had been there before.

“If that’s true,” I said, “then how does that woman know your name?”

He grimaced in defeat and replied, “Okay, I’ve worked at this branch since it opened. And I worked at the branch in W—— for a number of years.”

“That’s good,” I said.

“Why?” he asked.

“Because I don’t want you making beginner mistakes on my hair.”

“What do you want for $15.95?” he asked.

He had me there. I had nothing to say, so I let my wallet talk. “If you do a good job, you’ll get a really good tip.” Now, in truth, a good tip could be less than four dollars at this particular hair place, but I think he understood that I would go higher than that.

At that point, he buckled down and spent about twenty minutes concentrating on my hair. That’s about three times longer than most cuts take at that salon, so I figured the tip accordingly.

When he was finished, he gave me a mirror and let me look at the back of my head. That’s always a good sign. I was very happy with the cut and thanked him profusely. Then I tipped him twenty percent of a $50 haircut, and paid the $15.95 bill.

Everyone was happy, at least while my hair was wet and looked good. Once I got home and it dried, it looked like he had cut my hair while blindfolded. It was the worst haircut in the history of haircuts. As I fumed, I remembered Jorge’s words, “What do you want for $15.95?”

I wanted blood, his blood. So, I went back to his shop and killed him.

Okay, I didn’t really, but I wanted to. Instead, I went to a different branch, got a good stylist who not only fixed Jorge’s mess but didn’t charge me. She did, however, get a good tip from me, and a really good laugh when she looked at my hair as I sat down in her chair.

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