Some of you have questioned my whereabouts over the last two weeks, wondering if I "ticked someone off to the point of extinction" or if I've run out of "wisenheimer remarks." Au contraire!
Fact is, I recently moved into the first home I have owned, and I'm full of more smart aleck comments and tasteless cracks than ever before.
So, I say now … beware!
Although I could have written on Aretha Franklin's being Diva-ized, Brooke Shields remarrying, or perhaps even Eminem's little slap on the wrist via two years probation, I have instead decided to fill you all in on my moving experience. It is vastly entertaining and indeed, relates to the topic of entertainment in a number of ways.
The Friends Housing Fantasy
My new home, a townhouse similar to the one in the opening of the Ted Knight sitcom Too Close for Comfort, is nestled between the marshlands of New Jersey and a major highway. At first you might think, "Why would anyone with a brain larger than that of a caterpillar buy a piece of property in an area like that?" To which I would respond, "It's close to New York City, making the commute less heinous than normal, and you get more bang for your buck in Joisey than you do in the Big Apple."
You see, folks, the apartments depicted in Friends are make-believe. The reality is the average affordable pad for a twentysomething in NYC offers about 700 square feet, where the kitchen and bathroom are combined. Monica and Chandler's apartment would go for roughly $4,500 a month in what we call "The Real World."
Back to me …
The day I moved in played out like a calamity of errors à la The Three Stooges. The movers — and there were three — arrived at the wrong place, took out a row of lights at the storage facility, brought my things to the wrong house and mucked up my new carpet. After seven hours, all the boxes had been tossed in the incorrect rooms, and I had to beg Moe, Larry and Curly to leave me while I still had a working lobe.
I Want Knobs
Upon first inspection of the new digs, I noticed several things that just didn't seem right. (Kind of like that feeling Melanie Griffith got after her first encounter with Michael Keaton in Pacific Heights.)
The walls in the master bedroom were rippled and bumpy with boils, similar to those on the face of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen in the film Dune. I learned from a knowledgeable friend that these hideous bulges were actually called "nail pops." I also learned you're NOT supposed to have them. I found this troubling, as my new furniture was scheduled to arrive the next day. Not only would my armoire never sit flush against the wall, but it was so full of lumps, Sly Stallone could've used it to practice rock climbing before he filmed Cliffhanger.
Next up, my master bath, which was void of some fundamentals … like a knob to turn the shower on and off. Call me spoiled, but even in The Money Pit, Shelley Long and Tom Hanks had handles in their bathrooms. Besides that, the upgraded toilet I paid for had not been installed. In its place was a standard toilet, big enough for Webster, but certainly not me.
As I continued my way around, I noticed a particular floorboard that creaked louder than Lestat's coffin in Interview with the Vampire. Had Tom Cruise in fact been hiding under the carpet, I probably could've let it go, but being that it was just poor workmanship, I was left feeling ill at ease over my floors too. I assumed one day I would awaken on the second floor having fallen through the floor.
(I think something like that happened to Lenny and Squiggy, who ended up landing in Laverne and Shirley's basement apartment.)
Bustin' the Goodfellas' Cubes
On to the kitchen, which is more the size of a powder room with appliances. I opened the refrigerator with excitement, as it was the first time I had one that was big enough to stand a bottle upright.
Low and behold, nothing — no power. I pulled it from the wall to reveal that not only wasn't it plugged in, but they hadn't bothered to run the copper tubing for the water and ice maker.
I knew this task would require the plumber returning to finish, and based on his previous work, there would be more trouble for me. My neighbor's first day in the house ended in a flooded basement because the toilet pipes were backed up with building materials.
All I could think of was the episode of Home Improvement where Tim Allen fixes the kitchen for his wife, only to give the dishwasher so much power, the dishes shoot out the back of the wall.
Suffice it to say, all did not sit well with me and I was forced to discuss my problems with the contractors, who I will honestly say, without exaggeration, not only talked like, but also resembled the cast of Goodfellas. When I questioned their building abilities, I was berated with comments similar to that used by Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro. One Goodfella told me in no uncertain terms that I was "busting his cubes."
My response was to threaten him that I would crush his cubes much like my refrigerator would crush ice, IF IT WERE WORKING. He didn't think that was funny.
After balking and screaming, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore," far louder than Peter Finch in Network, the necessary repairs were made.
Of course now I'm finding little idiosyncrasies with my humble abode each day. These are being documented on a thing they call a "punch list." I thought this list would allow me to give a close-fisted smash to the builder for everything that was wrong with my new house. I would finally experience the rush of adrenaline that Brad Pitt and Ed Norton found in Fight Club. This was not to be so. Instead, I found out this "punch list" is submitted to the builder within 30 days of closing and, in turn, he has 30 years to fix stuff.
All in all, I'm glad to be in the new place, regardless of the problems. And whether it turns out to be The Amityville Horror, or my Little House on the Prairie, it's mine, boils and all.
Heidi Oringer is director of entertainment programming at ABCNEWS Radio.