To any follower of this column, it’s no secret that I wanted Barack Obama to win the presidency in 2008. Among my reasons was his outspoken opposition to Bush’s disastrous, unnecessary and probably illegal war in Iraq. (Other than that, it was fine.)

So what does Obama do? He sends 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Having interviewed Pat Tillman, Sr. (father of Pat Jr.) I called him for a quote. “My condolences to the families in advance,” he said.

Inconsequential by comparison, another “wish” of mine that backfired was when Fox owned the Dodgers and it was painfully obvious that either they didn’t know what they were doing or didn’t care. So, I wished they would sell the team. Enter Jamie and Frank McCourt. Talk about from bad to worse.

The last of these wishes involved my apartment where I’ve lived for the past 27 years. I wished for new carpet. Actually, it was my older sister’s idea. So I put in a request to building management and this past Monday, I got new carpet.

New carpet is wonderful, but the process of moving all the furniture (aka “junk”) I’ve accumulated over the past 27 years was a nightmare. It was so stressful and exhausting that the lesson I learned is, be careful what you wish for. Or, in my case, be careful for what your sister wishes for.

It was most generous of my landlord to provide the carpet and installation crew. That said, our previous landlord used to provide maintenance staff to move the furniture for you. These days, you’re on your own. I was told I could store some in the hallway and some on my balconies. As a result, for days my balconies looked like a cross between Tobacco Road and the Beverly Hillbillies.

At the risk of sounding ungrateful, I wasn’t thrilled with the carpet color choices I was given. Actually it was choice, singular. It’s light colored but has flecks which I’m told hides the dirt. I suppose when your carpet is dirty, that might be an asset. But when it’s brand new and looks “dirty,” I’m not so sure how terrific that is.

I must apologize to friends over the years who have insisted that before entering their apartment I’d have to take off my shoes. It always struck me as pretentious like, what did they think we were, in Japan? Well, after going through the moving furniture ordeal for days, I’ve adopted a no shoes rule. I don’t know how long it’ll last, because it’s a bit tedious and pairs of shoes outside my door looks weird. Plus, when walking around in my socks I have an odd sense I’ve shrunk.

In moving everything I own in preparation for the carpet I found myself examining furniture, clothes, dishes, appliances, basically everything to see if the item was “move worthy?” Everyone says it’s a great feeling to throw things out, but each time for me there was a pang, “But what if I need that?” My litmus test was, “When’s the last time I used the item in question.” If the answer was during the Reagan administration, it went into the dumpster.

In 27 years I’ve managed to collect a bizarre assortment of useless junk that defies logic. Consider my electrical extension cords collection. It’s with considerable embarrassment that I tell you I had over 60!

I can assure you I didn’t buy them all. And yet, unless extension cords have some sort of inanimate-object sex and reproduce, I’m at a loss to explain how I have so many. I’ve already given a half-dozen away as almost everyone can use an extra electrical cord, just not 67. I also have over 30 phone cords of various lengths, and 24 coaxial cables. Since I have three TVs, that’s eight cables for each TV.

More puzzling, however, was what was under my old carpet. There was enough sand to build a decent size castle. As the Latino installers shoveled scoops of it, I heard them chuckle, “La playa, la playa.”

While I often go to the beach during the summer, I’m baffled how the sand not only got through my shoes, and socks, but then somehow worked it’s way out of my shoes and socks and through my carpet and padding in such quantity as to require a shovel to pick up.

Here’s a thought, albeit a bit morbid. The carpet will likely outlive me. In the meantime, exhausted as I am, and a congenital procrastinator, I have yet to put everything back into place. Speaking of which, if you can use an extra extension cord, feel free to e-mail me. But if you come over to get it, be prepared to take your shoes off. With that thought, I can only think of one word to end with. Sayonara.

Thanking his sister Brenda, brother-in-law Dave, dear friend Margie, and especially Russell Braunstein, for their invaluable help on carpet D-Day. Jack can be reached at

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *