Friday, November 04, 2005

Excerpts from Living With Rachel

For the last month and a half my sister in-law has been living with us. She moved in at the end of September, a mere 4 months after we were married. Yes, that's right, 4 months. You can even go ahead and count 'em if you want - June, July, August, September - but it isn't going to change the fact that I'm a pathetic sissy who caved under the most marginal of pressure and within 4 short months handed control of my life over to the in-laws.

Actually, that's not true. I love my in-laws and all, but I'm still my own man. What's that dear, you need me to do the dishes? Hold on a sec everyone, I'll be right back.

Right, so where was I? Oh yeah, the in-laws. Good folk. But living with Rachel has been an experience. Let me tell you what I mean.

For the past month and a half Rachel has been sleeping on the futon in our living room. She's been eating our food, watching our TV, flushing our toilet, and all the other stuff you'd expect from a parasitic hanger-on. It's like having a child, although in my experience, children throw fewer tantrums.

We've had to adjust our schedule in some big ways for Rachel. She quickly found a job as a temp, filing papers mostly. (After 3 weeks at the same place she's up to the "G"s). For her job she frequently needs to get up early and catch the metro. This means she often wants to go to bed early, and since she's sleeping in our living room, that means we've got to give up the late-night TV/computer/being able to see where we're walking.

This is of course a small price to pay for the immense late-night entertainment that a sleeping Rachel can supply. You see, she frequently talks in her sleep. Better still, she sings in her sleep. Well, that only happened once, but let me tell you, it definitely had a disco beat.

Rachel is also very fond of finding interesting things for us to do in our free time. Like going on "haunted" tours. We went the weekend before Halloween, and the whole tour took place in the park in front of the White House. Our guide wasn't so good, and the "haunted" part of the tour left much to be desired. Our guide would describe some interesting historical event. After finishing the story, to make the tour seasonal, the guide would invariably add the line "So what's the haunted part of this story? Well some people say that on a dark night like tonight they can hear/see/feel the ghost of ..." and then fill in the name of the person the story was about.

The tour got even worse when we got to the middle of the park where there was a statue of Andrew Jackson. You know, the president responsible for the Trail of Tears. At that statue we heard what has to be the worst ghost story ever. It went like this:

"Once when another guide was leading this tour there was a man who claimed to be a psychic. As he walked past this part of the park he suddenly stopped and said 'this is the most haunted place in the park. On this site there was an ancient Indian burial ground, and the spirits of the Indian warriors are very angry.' Well, we've done some research, and from everything we've found there is absolutely no evidence to support the belief that this was ever a burial ground. But if it were, you can understand why Indian warriors would be angry, given who's on the statue above their graves."

Yeah, so as far as walking tours go, this one blew chunks. Thanks Rachel.

And, last but not least, I would be remiss if I didn't discuss the infamous "vacuum cleaner incident".

About two weeks ago Rachel decided that it wasn't enough for Laura and I to borrow our friend's vacuum from time to time. She decided that we needed our own, and started to look around at prices online. Laura's log-in name and password were conveniently saved on, and so Rachel was able to surf to her heart's delight. She found a model she liked and "accidentally" clicked the "purchase now" button. She quickly clicked the "cancel order" button, and when Laura didn't receive a confirmation e-mail we figured the mishap had been corrected. We could totally understand Rachel's mistake. She claimed that she didn't mean to actually place an order, all she wanted to do was find out how much the price would be with shipping.

Apparently the price with shipping was $64.87, because that's the surprise amount that showed up on Laura's credit card bill. Since we hadn't gotten a) a confirmation e-mail or b) a vacuum cleaner, we assumed there had to be some sort of mistake. We spent about 20 minutes on the phone with the credit card company trying to dispute the charge. They eventually told us we had to discuss it with Target. We then spent about 20 minutes trying to figure out our order history on, with little success. After that we decided we'd talk to directly, and placed another 20 minute phone call.

They let us know that we had in fact received a) a confirmation e-mail and b) a vacuum cleaner. Apparently we were misinformed.

Here's what happened: Rachel had also ordered - on purpose this time - a purse* from Target. It arrived on the same day as the vacuum cleaner. When Rachel checked the mail that day she saw that we had packages. Unfortunately she neglected to check how many packages we had. There were two (2). Apparently the vacuum cleaner was no longer of any importance to Rachel, and once she saw her purse she ran upstairs to the apartment to open the package and coo over the fashionable faux-leather material and sensible 3-pocket design. The poor dejected vacuum remained in the package room to, ironically, collect dust.

The credit card bill gave us reason to re-open the investigation into how many packages we had received. There were two (2). And that's the story of how the lonely vacuum cleaner came to live in apartment 723.

I should really end by saying some nice things about Rachel now. After all, she knows where I sleep. It's been great having her around. Plus, she does find good things to do from time to time - it's not all "haunted" walking tours. Also, she cleans the apartment all the time (so very very very much appreciated). And it's just generally been a lot of fun to have her around. Though it'll be nice to have our living room back, we'll miss her when she's gone (1 month, 15 days, and counting).

*Apparently it isn't a purse, it's a bag. Whatever.

I can hear you sing it to me in my sleep


Thinking Fool said...

I was recently informed that they are not purses; they're "handbags." My response? Tremendous.

the marvelous patric said...

okay, so here's what i want to know... did she buy you the vaccuum, or did you guys pay for it? because really, if you guys paid for it, isn't that technically credit card fraud?