Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dear Oprah

Dear Oprah,

We've been together a long time. I've watched your show for ages. I've even been to several of them. I hoped and hoped one of the ones I attended would be about what not to wear or even the famous giveaway show but that never happened. You did give me a very nice globe at your show about what the world thinks of the U.S. There was no giveaway at the show about the abusive alcoholic husband. After that one I decided to stop going for awhile because the topics kept getting heavier and heavier. I figured maybe it was me. But I don't hold a grudge. It was very cool just to be in your studio hanging with you. BTW, thanks for the globe--it is in Boy #2's bedroom and he really likes it. I don't need another laptop or a teeny-tiny video camera anyway.

We've been together thru good and bad hair days, various diets, the whole Tom Cruise-jumping-on-the-couch-thing, book club. We even went to that Grammy event together. I could definitely see you, me and Gayle together on the next road trip. We have so many good memories, you and I. That's why I'm a little confused about something. I have been a loyal subscriber to your magazine, O, for years. I recently bought subscriptions as gifts for a couple of friends at the price of $18 per year. That's why I was so surprised to get a bill for my own renewal at $28 per year. I called the magazine customer service line last night and spoke with Jenny. I told her I thought the regular price was $24 per year. "OK, we can make it $24," she said. "But I just paid $18 each for gift subscriptions," I said. "OK," she said, "we can make it $18." I never realized I could set my own price. Have magazine subscriptions become like airplane tickets--where every passenger pays a different price? And shouldn't loyal returning customers get the best price without having to call and ask for it?

I'm not mad or anything--don't get me wrong--I'm just wondering. It's no big deal--and I'm not going to let this affect our relationship. We'll still see each other every weekday. Oh, did you know we don't live too far from each other in CA? If you are down my way and want to come hang just give me a call. Jen-Jen and Gayle can come too--it'll be a girl thing. I'll pick up some sushi and get the pomtinis ready. See you soon!!

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Last week was kind of hectic here. Mr. Minivan's father passed away and we had a ton of company. Friends, relatives, and other assorted visitors. Nice to see everyone--not so nice why we were seeing everyone. Anyway, Mr. Minivan's brother--we'll just call him Doug--stayed with us for about a week. It was lovely to have him and in between composing a eulogy, demanding expensive out-of-season berries and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, and trying to beat Boy #2 in ping-pong, he came up with a few decorating ideas for me. "You need a TV cabinet to put all this equipment in. I don't like the table the kids' computer is on. And you need a new computer chair." He also had a solution--"Let's go to IKEA and get some things and I'll put them together." Naively, believing he was the handier of the brothers, I went along with his idea. I guess I had forgotten about the magic of IKEA. A few years ago I bought a CD tower there and got to work. 200 parts, 4 hours, and a sore shoulder later, I had it put together. I seem to remember at the time thinking, "I'll never do that again." But, of course, I forgot that soon after. Anyway, we set off to IKEA, over the hill and through Burbank, and emerged with an "antique stained" wood TV cabinet, a small computer desk, and a very comfortable computer chair that somehow fit into an almost-flat box.

We got home and he began to work. I was online in the next room, surfing to the comforting sound of an electric screwdriver when the first sounds of trouble disturbed me. "Oh no!" he said. "What??!!" I asked as I ran into the other room. "False alarm," he answered. A few minutes later, "Oh, no!" and then,"Sh%$^t!!" That didn't sound so false to me. "What, what??!!" I asked again. Turns out that the instructions, sketches really, with not a word of English or even Swedish in sight, were a little confusing, and that the cabinet doors or maybe the shelves, were put on backwards, and were difficult to remove. And when I say "were put on backwards", I think you know by whom. The cabinet was functional, but not as attractive as it was supposed to be. All of a sudden I remembered why I had made that mental note a few years ago to only buy items I could carry alone--not furniture--that is, at IKEA. But I also remembered my new mantra "Don't sweat the small stuff" and I told him not to worry about it. But he worried and stewed. "Maybe I can take the doors off and drill holes on the other side," he said. "Don't worry about it. You've done enough," I said. More than, in fact. "Why don't we take it back and get another one and I'll put it together." I stared at him. I mean, I've heard that "measure twice, cut once" thing, but this seemed a little extreme to me. "Well," I said, "if you and Mr. Minivan want to load this thing into my van and take it back you can but I'm not going back there."

So that's exactly what they did. And our friends at IKEA gave them a really hard time about returning it but after a long conversation with several employees and the manager, agreed to keep the cabinet and put it together properly. Which, as I thought about it, was a win-win. For me, that is. I went back the other day and picked it up. I told the guy helping me that I needed the name and number of the guy who put it together because he was probably going to be my next husband. He laughed as if it were a joke....can you believe that?

The cabinet looks great in our family room. IKEA's not so bad after all. I was just browsing through the catalog and there is this cute little coffee table....