The Green Fan

One apartment. Five roommates. Countless stories.

Friday, September 24, 2004

The Refrigerator

We've told you about the green fan, and now it's time to discuss the refrigerator. I don't think we actually bought it - I think someone gave it to us. Probably they would have PAID us to take it off their hands. I am sure it was the majority of our electric bill, but hey - it was free. The space for the refrigerator was in a corner next to a wall, and the door opened up toward the wall - very awkward. My boyfriend suggested we turn the door around - it's made to do that, you know. Well, we did, and we failed to realize that you should not do this on an old appliance, since things shift and crumple with age. Anyways, once we got it switched around, it never completely closed. Yep, that's right - the light stayed on all the time. And those lights get pretty hot. So all the food spoiled on the top shelf. My solution was to unscrew the lightbulb - turn on the kitchen lights! But no - I was overrulled. Everyone else insisted that we need a light in there. So that is how I claimed the bottom shelf for mine - the farthest away from the light. The other funny story I remember about our refrigerator is the day we cleaned it out. THE DAY. We lived together for a year, and I can only remember ONE DAY where we cleaned it out. Very scary. Anyway, we were running out of room and things were piling up, and we realized that we all thought the things weren't ours, so whose were they? Me, Sherry, MaryBeth, and Karleen made a date to clean it out. It took us an hour. Four women, one refrigerator, one hour. There were many tupperware casulties that day. Unidentifiable substances. Smells that made us gag. Unbelieveable mold. And still, none of us claimed the items as our own. We blamed everything on our mostly absent roommate, Lois.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Should've, Could've

I saw a green fan at a garage sale this weekend, nearly identical to the one we remember so fondly, only in pristine condition as opposed to ours, which looked like it was on it's last leg.

Should've bought it.

Could've at least taken a picture of it to post here.


Sunday, September 12, 2004

More about Mary Beth...

It's really late and I shouldn't be doing this, but oh, well...

So Mary Beth. The whole gesturing with the kitchen knife thing. Why do we all remember this so vividly? Was it because it was a particularly big knife? Was it because she was the only one of us who could actually afford real food so she was the only one who was ever in the kitchen cooking? Was it because she was almost through with nursing school and should have known better? Don't know. I can see her so clearly in my mind's eye, however.

"Well, you KNOW..." she'd start in from her post at the cutting board, a wise and knowing tone to her voice--and all the time waving that knife around as she joined in to whatever conversation was happening around our little kitchen table. Then she'd reach up and itch the end of her nose with the back of the hand holding the knife, its blade wobbling dangerously close to her face.

The best thing about M.B., though, was her "bedside manner." I'm not referring to how she told other people's boyfriends how she loved them when she answered the phone by her bed while sound asleep. I'm referring to her amazing and uncanny ability to remain calm in a crisis and comfort anyone in any situation. M.B. was born to be a nurse, I'm convinced of it.

Whether it was injury, sickness or some other calamity, the more severe the crisis, the calmer she became. The building could have been falling down around us and she would have greeted us by name with a peaceful smile, a steady voice, a steady gaze, and steady hands to support us.

In fact, the longer we lived with M.B., the more WE began to panic whenever she grew especially calm and serene. Something must be terribly wrong!!

I remember one night her coming into our room in the middle of the night and gently laying her hand on my arm as she quietly and slowly, but firmly said, "Sherry, I need you to wake up." Knowing Mary Beth as I did, I sat up with a start and asked what was wrong. "Don't worry," she said slowly and deliberately, "I just need you to get up now. I need your help with something."

She led me by the hand into her bedroom, where I discovered a hole in her ceiling, roughly the size of a quarter, through which water was gushing rapidly--directly onto Mary Beth's bed--or at least into the wastebasket now sitting on top of her bed.

"I think I have a little problem," she said in a whisper, not wanting to wake the others up. But there was a twinkle of laughter in her eye and soon both of us were laughing hysterically as we scoured the house for more buckets. The others got up and we all scrambled into action--emptying and replacing buckets, mopping up M.B.'s poor bed, and scanning the phone book for an all-night plumber.

Another memory, though, shows the irony of another side of M.B.--she could clean us up with no problem, but she couldn't handle the sight of her own blood.

I remember coming home from class early one day, mid-morning, and finding Mary Beth, still in her bathrobe with a towel wrapped around her head. She was sitting at the kitchen table and playing solitare--madly. She greeted me with a very nervous sounding high-pitched voice and was madly slamming her cards down on the table at record-breaking speeds. She was clearly upset. When I asked her what was wrong, she tried to gather a calm voice, but it trembled uncharacteristically (man, that is a long word!). "Oh nothing, I just cut myself shaving, that's all."

I glanced at the washcloth tied into a loose knot around her ankle, which was propped up on another chair. "Did it just happen?" I asked.

"No, it was about an hour ago or so, I guess."

Cards flying. Solitare had never been played with that much intensity.

"Do you want me to take a look at it for you?" I offered, as I knelt down next to her elevated leg."

"Would you?" Her cards stopped flying and her wild eyes pleaded with me. It was clear to me that she was paralyzed with fear and might have to sit there all day if faced with caring for it herself. The deck of cards wouldn't hold out much longer. It was time for me to act.

Forcing myself not to make any smart remarks about her role as the nurse and what a total chicken-butt she was being, I gently removed her washcloth and calmly cleaned and bandaged her cut--doing my best to imitate her own typical calm and comforting demeanor. She thanked me, hugged me, hopped up and limped to her room to finally get dressed and dry her hair.

It wasn't that bad of a cut, but I knew she was embarrassed, so I didn't bring it up again. Sorry, M.B., for making light of your pain now, but it was pretty funny and it's been more than a decade now, so I'm sure you can handle it.

Mary Beth, Mary Beth...Love you, woman!

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Midnight Phone Calls

When you are in college, there seems to be no phone protocol. There is no time that is considered too late to call. Too early, maybe. Too late, nope. Five girls in one apartment - with one phone line - we got many late calls. Most of them were from Joe, who was somewhat of a mystery to us. He was Karleen's friend - boyfriend? - and he lived in a different time zone, and he seemed to party pretty hard. My favorite call from Joe was when he called from Florida because he was lost and couldn't find his hotel and wanted to see if Karleen could help him out. (All his late calls are forgiven, since he is now Karleen's husband.) My absolute favorite late phone call story is when Stuart (my boyfriend at the time, now my husband) called for me and Mary Beth answered the phone. Well, Mary Beth answered FIRST, followed by Karleen, who woke me up. The funny part is that Mary Beth was asleep, and in her half-woken state, she had quite the conversation with Stuart. She told him she loved him. Several times, apparantly, until Karleen interrupted with a stern, "I'll get Sheila now!" and Mary Beth signed off. I didn't learn of the love talk until the next morning in the kitchen, where we were all making breakfast and packing lunches. Mary Beth was in the middle of slicing bread with a large knife, and she says to me, "You know, Sheila, I think I told Stuart I loved him last night! Isn't that funny?" All this time, she is gesturing with the knife in her hand. I thought it was pretty funny - you'd have to know Mary Beth, and you'd know she's just not the boyfriend stealer type. Karleen, however, was all seriousness, furiously making her sandwich, not looking at me. I think she thought I would be pretty upset. Well, I thought the whole thing was pretty funny, and we all had a good laugh. Later that day, when I saw Stuart, he tells me "Mary Beth told me she loved me last night. Was she asleep?" See, even all the guys knew Mary Beth was no boyfriend stealer. This is one of our favorite stories - Stuart and I tell it frequently, and Sherry and I always remember it when we are together. The really ironic thing is this: I don't even remember what we talked about on the phone! I have no idea what was so important to warrant a late night call that woke all of us up.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Having Trouble Publishing...