Back when we initially ripped out the carpet in the house, it was at the end of April–about a full month before Memorial Day. So we kind of figured that the new floors would easily be put in over the course of that month.

Not so!

I’m frustrated. On one hand, I get that with my father-in-law doing it, we’re not customers and he knows we have two months left on our apartment lease so there’s technically no hurry, but man, has it stalled everything else. We don’t want to move furniture until we have floors in, obviously, and as is very, very typical of me, I hate having to wait for other people to do things.

We decided to go ahead and keep our planned Memorial Day party on and spent a weekend buying some furniture for our nice, big deck. And despite a sectional couch, nice cooler, coffee table, and two chairs with another small table, one whole end of the thing still looks empty. Both sets of parents brought over folding chairs so people could sit inside if they wanted, but a lot of us hung out outside, despite the heat. And that’s the thing–normally, Memorial Day would be nice and sunny and warm, maybe border on hot, but not quite the level we got. It wasn’t unbearable, but it wasn’t ideal, either. We skipped spring and went right into summer scorchers, plus a lot of rain.

That aside, though, I think we threw a good informal party. Plenty of food and alcohol, good stream of people, and it was nice to get everyone over and hanging out, even though it was heavily dominated by my friends and family and not Paul’s. But he chose not to invite them, so…

One of the things we’ve noticed over the years is that everyone’s busy, obviously, and ends up trying to juggle much-needed downtime with wanting to hang out with people, and that a lot of times, someone needs to take initiative. Everyone always says they should get together more and never does, and frankly, I don’t buy that that’s just a thing people say to be nice. Some do, for sure, but when people easily get caught up talking for hours, they really do want to hang out more. So I decided we have decent space–certainly a lot more than we have in our apartment–so we’re gonna be those people. Not everyone has to come every single time, it doesn’t have to be a huge thing every single time, but damn it, if it’s a holiday and people are off from work or cousins and friends are in from out of town, we’re gonna say, “Come over!” We leave things like this saying we had fun and wish we saw so-and-so more, so damn it, we’re gonna make it happen.

Otherwise, the minor work continues. We had a few paint spots to touch up pre-party but ran out of time, so that needs done. New carpet is going into the bedrooms hopefully next Monday, if they can get us in that day, and if I have my way, bedroom furniture will get hauled over soon after and we can at least stay there and be out of the apartment and just haul the rest of the furniture over when the other floors are done, then take our time moving any other little stuff and cleaning the whole apartment before we have to be out. Something went awry with the lawnmower that’s more than likely fixable, but we decided to invest in a new one anyway, party because that way, we can both be out there at once and get it down faster.

Basically, we’ve been spending a lot of time and money at Home Depot, but I think the end is in sight.

And the apartment is slowly being overtaken by boxes.


Saturday 9: It’s Impossible

Saturday 9: It’s Impossible (1970)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) In this song, Mr. Como maintains it’s impossible to ask a baby not to cry. When did you most recently hold a baby? Did you ask him or her not to cry? I held my friend Stephanie’s baby on Memorial Day, but I did not ask him not to cry–he was pretty chill the whole time they were over, and really, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him particularly fussy, so it wasn’t a concern. And he’s since celebrated his first birthday the other day!

2) Perry Como was known for his casual, easy going style. Therefore people were surprised to learn that he could lose his temper. His long-time musical director reported that bad drivers really got under Perry’s skin. What is one of your pet peeves? Bad drivers is a good one. One that’s been really getting me lately is whoever in my building keeps leaving one of the main doors propped open overnight.

3) Though Perry Como was born in Pennsylvania, he didn’t speak English until he began grade school. His parents were Italian immigrants and the family only spoke Italian at home. Do you know any words/phrases in Italian? Fun fact, he was born in Canonsburg, where I work! I pass a road name after him on my commute. Anyway, I know a little Italian. Not much.

4) He met Roselle, the girl he would marry, when they were both still in high school. Tell us about a high school classmate you were crazy about back in the day. I joke that I got my bad-boy phase out of the way really early and before it could cause me any problems–I never dated any, but almost every guy I liked in high school was kind of a jerk. But my brother and I were friends with this guy named Ian. I’m known for my frequent concert-going, and in our youth, my brother and I did a lot of that with Ian. Our parents would switch off driving us, really. And I had a huge crush on him at one point, and looking back, honestly, I think we had on-again, off-again things for each other, but never at the same time. He has a kid now, and I’m married.

5) When he was just 14, his father’s ill health made it essential that Perry begin working after school to help support his family. He apprenticed to a barber but was so short, he had to stand on a box when he cut hair. Again, going back to school, were you taller than your classmates? Shorter? Or were you the average height for a kid your age? I was on the short end, but most of my fellow lady friends were about the same height.

6) While taping his annual holiday special in 1971, he fell from a platform and broke his knee. He had to wear a cast and endure 8 months of rehab. Have you ever broken a bone? No, never! It’s one of the things people are usually surprised to learn, but anyone who’s known me for a long time wouldn’t be surprised. I wasn’t a very active child and I hated sports in my teens. I’m more active now, but not likely-to-break-a-bone active.

7) During the decades when he was a recording and television star, Perry Como was also an avid golfer. He was so popular that many of the best pro golfers of the day — Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, etc. — were happy to play with him. It’s estimated that it takes about 4 hours to play 18 holes of golf. What celebrity would you most like to hang around with for four hours? Just about any of the musicians I’m a fan of, as well as any of the writers. Maybe a handful of filmmakers.

8) After he retired, Perry’s passion switched from golf to fishing in the waters near Palm Beach, Florida. His catch of the day often ended up as his family’s dinner. What’s for dinner at your house tonight? No idea yet. I have a feeling my husband’s gonna suggest getting takeout or something since we have errands to run.

9) Random question — They say “birds of a feather, flock together.” But that’s not always true. Can you think of an area where you are out of step with most of your friends/family? Politics with most of my extended family, with the exception of my cousins–most of us are really closely aligned in that sense. But I’m also the only writer of the family.

Saturday 9: GI Blues

Saturday 9: G.I. Blues (1960) 
Unfamiliar with this week’s song? Hear it here.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday that honors men and women who served and died in the United States Armed Forces. We want to make sure that message is not lost this weekend.

1) Are you a veteran? Are there veterans in your family? Do you know anyone who is active military? (We are grateful and want to hear about it.) I’m not, but I’m surrounded by military. My dad is an Iraq vet who was wounded in combat, my brother’s reserves, one of my brothers-in-law just left the Marines, both grandfathers were in and one was also a Marine, I had a few uncles in, at least one great-grandfather, who I believe was killed by mustard gas, and I’m sure plenty of other cousins and uncles along the way.

2) In this song, Elvis sings about marching, and complains that the Army doesn’t give Purple Hearts for fallen arches. Do you have any aches or pains to report this morning? I have an ear infection…again!

3) This song is from the 1960 film of the same name. In the movie, Elvis is in The 32nd Armor Regiment of the United States Army. That’s the same regiment he served with in real life. He had the 32nd written into the script as a shout-out to the soldiers he came to know, but realized he’d likely never see again. Is there an old friend you’re missing this weekend? All my friends, kind of! We don’t get to see each other often. Adulting.

4) Memorial Day kicks off the summer season. What’s your favorite picnic food? I’d say potato salad or pasta salad, but I eat both of those year-round.

5) Let’s celebrate the Memorial Day holiday with ice cream. What’s your favorite flavor? Cone or cup? It can change, but generally, strawberry, and that hasn’t changed for a long time. I’d say overall, I enjoy cones more, but sometimes, you just need a cup. Keep it simple.

5) This marks the weekend when Americans step up their outdoor activity and do things they may not have been able to do during the winter months. For example, when is the last time you applied mosquito repellent? Probably camping last summer.

7) Or swam? Man, I don’t know. I don’t remember if I made it to a pool at all last summer. It was too cold at camp to go in the river.

8) As you answer these questions, is there an air conditioner or fan on? Nope. One of the positive things I’ll say about the apartment we’re in the process of moving out of is that in the early summer months, it’s kind of perfect. Something about it keeps it cool enough that even though it’s been getting in the 80s, we haven’t had to turn the air conditioner on. This is kind of the best time of year for the utilities–no need for that or the heat.

9) Random question: How do you define success? A mix of the personal and professional, basically focused on my personal terms rather than, like, societal ones or other outside sources like friends and family–reaching goals I set for myself but above all, being happy. I may not be in some prestigious, high-paying job, but I’m consistently progressing towards what I want and where I want to be in life and I’m happy, so I’d say I’m already pretty successful.

Friday 5: Break of Day

  1. When did you last break something made of glass? I don’t think I’ve done it recently, but my husband (jokingly) gives me a hard time because when he moved in with me, he brought these nice glasses with him, and I managed to be responsible for breaking all but one of them.
  2. When did you last break something ceramic? Again, not recently, but I think a bowl or plate.
  3. When did you last break something electronic? It was definitely a phone. That’s also been a few years, but I can’t remember which is more recent–the one that fell in a public toilet or the one that tumbled out of my waistband at camp and landed not in the grass all around me but facedown on the only nearby rock.
  4. When did you last break a non-traffic-related law? I was a willing participate in letting my underage sister-in-law imbibe alcohol.
  5. When did you last break a promise? I have no idea, but it was probably one to my husband. I probably promised him we’d go somewhere or do something, then we didn’t. I’m not one for breaking commitments. I hate it being done to me, so I say I’m gonna do something, I really try.

As always, from Friday 5.

The last couple of weekends have kind of been packed with plans. First, there was Mother’s Day, which funnily enough, both sides of the family decided to celebrate a day early. We started with lunch with my mom around Belle Vernon, which is about the halfway point between where my parents live and where we live, with my brother and his wife not too far, and then went to said brother’s place to meet their new cat.

Jacob and Katie are officially back from a few years living in California and Julie and Michael came down from Erie, so Saturday afternoon was kind of all the kids/siblings over at my in-laws’. And in the evening, the over-21 couples of the group went to a bar in the middle of nowhere that Michael’s gone to a few times for more food and drinks, which was nice. We hung out with Julie and Michael up in Erie before, but it’s been awhile since we’ve been with Jacob and Katie, so it was nice to have a little bit of time for us three adult couple to go off on our own.

Sunday, we headed back into town to give my godmother her gift, and we squeezed in plenty more, too. First, coffee at the place near our apartment, then a brief mountain trip with my parents and the dog, then straight down to my godmother’s house, where we hung out for about an hour or so before she and her husband went to eat with their own mothers. Then we stopped at the mall, since I still buy CDs, only to be let down by the selection and general state of the mall.

In an effort to get as much done at the house as possible so we’re ready as soon as Paul’s dad can install our new floors, we’ve been there almost every night for about a week or so, doing coats of paint and primer here and there and returning the next night when it’s dry and we can do another coat. We’re almost done–we can easily be done with the painting by the end of this week, but we’re not sure about the floors. We may not have them in for Memorial Day, despite planning a cookout, but we’re gonna go ahead with that plan and just hang out outside, since we have a nice deck.

This past Friday night, we picked up Paul’s sister Emily and took her with us to see Jukebox the Ghost in Pittsburgh. We took her to lunch Saturday, then left her to nap while we met my parents (and Seger, again) to pick out furniture for the aforementioned deck. We got a small set of chairs and a table that’s sitting out there now, then a bigger sectional sofa set to be delivered tomorrow. When we got back, Emily decided she wanted to head out to the South Hills for trips to Lush and Sephora, despite originally saying she didn’t need to spend the money, and when we were done shopping and after I had spent entirely too much money, we took her home and hung out there for a little bit.

Somehow, in the day or so since, I’ve managed to not feel so great–I have a bit of a sore throat right now, so I called in sick and slept in. I’m hoping I’ll be fine by tomorrow.

Saturday 9: Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

Saturday 9: Last Night a DJ Saved My Life! (1982)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) This song is about a girl who is heartbroken about a boy who won’t take her calls. Do you screen your calls, deciding to let some go to voicemail? Or do you pick up whenever you possibly can? (We’re referring to calls from people you know.) From people I know, I almost always pick up, unless I think it was a butt dial, like from someone who usually doesn’t call. My best friend, for example, is not a phone person, so if I get a call from her, it’s almost always because she hit the wrong button. Occasionally, she’ll message me to tell me to answer because it’s her niece wanting to talk to people.

2) When she was feeling her lowest, she heard a song on the radio that lifted her spirits. What’s the last thing you heard on the radio? I came in from the car a few minutes ago, and I can’t even remember what I was listening to!

3) This song includes the sound of squeaky wheels, indicating a sudden stop and perhaps a near-miss. Tell us about your most recent traffic mishap. My husband isn’t the most attentive driver, so I’m frequently telling him to stop or slow down because he’s not paying attention to cars slowing or stopped ahead of him. I’m honestly amazed he’s not rear-ending people.

4) “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life!” is featured in the 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Do you spend much time on video games? No, and this has come up a few times recently. I enjoy them and do play them when I can, but with the other things I like to do on top of things that need done, I don’t play often. It’s not uncommon for me to go months without touching a game.

5) This week’s featured artist, Indeep, was a trio. We’ve had many groups, some duos and tons of solo artists on Saturday 9, but not many trios. Can you name another popular trio? I saw a trio in concert Friday night–Jukebox the Ghost!

6) The last time Indeep performed together was in 1997, at a New Year’s Eve show in Paris for French TV. Have you celebrated a holiday in another land? No, but I’ve always wanted to spend Christmas at the beach.

7) Britain’s Royal Family is in the news this weekend, with attention centered on the nuptials. The Royals made news in 1982, as well. When this song was popular, Michael Fagan gained momentary fame by breaking into Buckingham Palace. He found The Royal Bedroom, where he came face-to-face with the Queen. He reports that Queen Elizabeth sleeps in a nightie that “reached down to her knees.” What did you wear to bed last night? A pink T-shirt and fleece pants with penguins on them. Yes, it’s May and I’m still sleeping in fleece, and I’ll likely do so until we move into our house that doesn’t have central air. But even then, I can’t imagine I’ll feel the need to sleep in shorts, so…

8)  In 1982, you could buy a loaf of white bread for 50¢. Today, the national average price for that loaf of bread is more than $2.50. When you go grocery shopping, do you comparison shop and make purchases at more than one store? Or do you prefer one-stop shopping? We generally do one stop, with the exception of going to get a few things in bulk every couple of months.

9) Random question: What’s the first famous quote that comes to your mind? The one I have framed calligraphy of hung on my living-room wall: “Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” By Henry David Thoreau.

Friday 5: How About a Knuckle Sandwich?

  1. When did you last punch someone?  Alternate question: When did someone last punch you? The answer to both is probably very similar: probably as a kid, probably involving my brother.
  2. How many of those frequent (whatever) stampcards/punchcards do you have, and which are you most likely to fill and redeem? Maybe about 10? Not a ton, but not a tiny amount, either. Most likely to be redeemed, at least in the near future, is one for frozen custard. It’s only a seasonal thing, but of the ones I have, I probably go there the most.
  3. When have you had a really good fruit punch? The restaurant where one of my cousins had her bridal shower back in March served a really good punch. It was some sort of delicious peach Bellini concoction.
  4. What are your thoughts on boxing? I kind of enjoy watching it–there’s a side of me that likes that kind of roughness and grit. It’s like it satisfies something violent in a kind of acceptable, organized way, which is odd because otherwise, I don’t condone or enjoy violence at all. I think that fact that it’s taking place in a designated sporting event is why. That said, I don’t think the damage it does to the boxers is worth the entertainment factor or worth them making that their career. I think we have a few sports/recreational things we as a society ought to reevaluate and stop prioritizing the entertainment over health and wellbeing.
  5. When do you usually punch in and punch out? Well, I’m late pretty much every day, so a few minutes after I’m supposed to start. 7 a.m. on a normal weekday, 6 if I’m going in early. Typically, I punch out a little after 3, but I’ve been known to stay until close to 4 to finish up something.

As always, from Friday 5.