My husband has finally joined me here in South Florida. I am helping him through his adjustment period and truly, it is an adjustment. I haven’t written much since he arrived. I’m trying to make sure he’s happy here. After all, it was me who wanted to move much more than him. He likes winter. He skis, likes ice fishing, and loves chopping firewood. But he was ready for a change so I’ve been trying to ensure his first days here are fun. As they say, first impressions are lasting.
Although we are not retiring, I now understand what women mean when they say, “I can’t get used to him being home all day.” When I first left my job, we were still in N.H. He left for work every morning while I spent my time writing, tweeting, pinning, and blogging. I attended book clubs and started my second novel. When I got to Florida, I added blogging for the Huffington Post to my list of things to do. I was living alone for the first time in thirty years. I had my own schedule. I stayed up late writing, got up in the middle of the night to write, slept late after all that writing. I could eat scrambled eggs for dinner and leftover pasta for breakfast. I temped at an accounting job two days a week but other than that, my time was my own, to do what I pleased, whenever I pleased.
The first week back,I showed him around the area, we went to the beach, we had drinks at waterfront bars. On my two temp days, he met the builder he will be working with and unpacked his things.
The second week rolled around and my temp job came to an end. He wasn’t starting work for another week. I was ready to get back to writing. I desperately needed to write. Ideas were churning in my brain but there was one small problem. We had no TV. We decided to leave our old clunker behind. We’d put the TV armoire out on the road, a FREE sign taped to the door. It was a beautiful piece of furniture but a white elephant, as it seems we are one of the only families in America who have not converted to a flat screen TV. I had been living without TV for over two months now and didn’t miss it at all. I was hoping my husband could make it for awhile without TV, too.
But it was the height of the golf season, the Celtics were in the playoffs, the Bruins were still playing hockey. “This is the best time of the year for viewing sports,” he complained. I gave him some books to read; Travis McGee crime novels set in South Florida, written by John D. MacDonald. Instead, in the evenings, he commandeered my computer and watched movies on Netflix. We started shopping for a TV.
Little did we know how complicated and expensive this would be. Do we go with the plasma or LED? How big a screen do we want? My husband wanted big, at least fifty inches big. These things cost from seven hundred to a thousand dollars? Then we had to think about pixels and Hz. What is Hz? We went to Best Buy, Costco, Walmart. We shopped on-line. Next we needed to find a table to put this behometh on. Or then again, we could mount it on the wall.
Now time to deal with Comcast. It was Tuesday, the new TV was in the house. We had cable because it came with my internet service, a special package called BlastPlus for $56.99 a month. But we needed a box. I called Comcast, a long process of punching numbers and answering questions until I finally spoke to a human being. They could deliver a box on Friday. “Friday!” my husband shouted. “I can’t wait that long, let’s go to one of their offices.” We drove to Boca and joined the other disgruntled Comcast customers sitting on plastic chairs, eyes glued to a computer screen that had a list of names. Sheila B was number 49. There were four Comcast employees manning the service desk. It was one o’clock, the woman sitting next to me had been waiting since eleven. I decided this might be a good time to catch up on my tweeting obligations which I had been neglecting since my husband arrived.
Time moved slowly. I could no longer think of any more witty things to say using only 140 characters. We had inched our way to the 39th position when Elaine G was called to service desk #3. This was when I almost started a riot. A man in his early forties stepped up to desk #3 then a few minutes later a woman, obviously Elaine G, stood next to him, looking confused and angry.
“Hey, that guy jumped ahead of Elaine G,” I said loudly. Other people started asking what happened and I explained what I had just observed. Elaine G looked at me gratefully then started complaining to the Comcast representative. In his defense,the forty year old guy’s wife said, “He was called earlier but he wasn’t here.” An elderly man sitting near us shouted, “You snooze, you lose. Get to the back of the line.” My husband shot me a look, “Why are you causing trouble? Let’s get out of here. I can wait until Friday for TV.”
We left. Later that day, we discovered our apartment complex has a Comcast rep who could deliver a box on Thursday but he forgot a wire we needed for HDTV, another new option we were unfamiliar with. That arrived on Friday, after I’d gone off on a rant about the evils of monopolies and deregulation. My husband ignored me, biding his time until he could slip into his recliner and channel surf to his heart’s content.
Today is Monday. Last night, after the golf and some basketball (not the Celtics, they lost in the first round of the playoffs), we watched an HBO movie, Untamed Heart, which we both enjoyed. Yes, my husband added HBO to the cable package. So much for the inexpensive BlastPlus deal. But today is Monday. He has gone to work. I am writing and all is well in South Florida.