Thursday, November 14, 2013

In which Primo makes the semi-annual haj to Sly and Doris' house

Primo is visiting Sly and Doris so there will be lots of good stories. Unfortunately, they do come at a price. Primo has to live through this.

1. Sly had a list of chores for Primo. Primo is supposed to replace the shower head and supposed to power wash the porch screens. He wrote to me:

Primo: I'm cranky. They bought a pressure washer and want me to clean the "screenarium." They claim that they tried hiring someone but he didn't do it right. Jack should be doing that kind of work.

Me: What? WHy did they BUY a pressure washer?
And how does someone not do it right for pressure washing?
and why won't they ask Jack to do this stuff?

Primo: They say that the guy who didn't do it right did a half-assed job. You hired Amish Bruce, so you know how things work sometimes.
Maybe I should ask Jack to do this stuff. I've been mad at him for years because of his effect on their long-term financial picture. He's never going to come up with money to pay them back, so in my opinion helping them is the least he could do.

My dad is eager to make excuses for Jack. He doesn't seem to think Jack owes them as much as I think he does.

2. I wrote to Doris about how Primo and I had investigated hiring a cleaning lady but it would be too expensive. I told her the story of being on a business trip to the Middle East and talking to one of the women in the office there, who was horrified when she realized that I did not have daily help. "But who cleans your house?" she asked.

"I do," I said. I explained to her that in the US, it is only rich people who have maids.

I mentioned that story to Doris and she got all upset, telling Primo on the phone that she and Sly have a cleaning lady but they're not rich.

I pointed out to Primo that actually, his parents are quite well off, and that usually, "maid" refers to someone who comes every day whereas (I think) a cleaning lady is more of an occasional things.

Doris then had to write to me to tell me that they were not rich. Not rich!

I wanted to write back and ask, "And yet you spend hundreds of dollars on booze, you have a cleaning lady, a gardener, a big-screen TV. You eat out all the time. You are not poor."

In the letter, I also mentioned that my boss had been acting erratic and irritable and my co-workers and I were speculating that he might have early-onset dementia or might have a drinking problem. I commented that we all walk on eggshells around him because we don't know what might set him off.

She had nothing to say about that.


  1. lol! as a Muslim, I'm very amused by the use of the word 'haj,' (even more ironic spell check is trying to change it to ham…). Poor Primo, he has the patience of a saint…I don't think a cleaning lady will last very long with Sly and Doris' and their very specific way of doing things.

    1. Sayya, and I realize now that it is a completely inappropriate use of the word "haj," as a haj is supposed to be a good and holy thing, which visiting Sly and Doris is not.

  2. yes you're right- it's a sacred and holy exercise- but it's also a sacrifice because you travel very far from home and you're away from family and loved ones and anything can happen. Also, lucky for you, this Muslim has a sense of humor and a degree in literature :)