I had a friend in need and I am a friend indeed. About a week ago, a friend of mine asked me to help her out because she was going on vacation to the Bahamas and needed someone to straighten up her apartment and give the keys to some women she was letting use her place. When she mentioned what day she would need me, I realized it would be my birthday, but I didn’t tell her because she would be upset that she asked me and then have to scramble to find someone else. I mean really how hard could this be? Clean up the apartment a bit, make sure the sheets were clean and meet them with the keys about 6:00pm.
I figured I could do the work in the morning, then go to the office and be back in time to let them in. WRONG! She had left her keys with my doorman a few days earlier. When I opened up the bag, I saw a LOT of keys, unmarked of course – Not a good sign. And then the phone calls and texts began… There was a set of keys with an orange tag and those keys were for some office space in another borough, possibly someone might come and pick them up, possibly… And by the way, if it hasn’t rained lately would I please water the plants in her garden? Oh sure.
On the morning of my birthday, I woke up in a bad mood, didn’t open any of my cards or the two presents that were there. NOT a good start to the day. I went to my friend’s apartment and after trying each of the 15 keys in the bag, I finally got in. Once I was in the hallway and in front of her door, the dog across the hall started to bark and bark and bark and bark. It sounded like a very upset German Shepherd!
I’m in the apartment and putting away some clean dishes, mugs and silverware left in the dishwasher and there was something wrong with the silverware drawer – there really wasn’t one. Apparently, the forks and spoons went in one drawer, the knives in another and the utensils were in big jars. The drawers seemed jumbled so my OCD kicked in and I straightened them out. Since I know how I am about putting things in their appropriate place, I felt the the strong need to do the same in her apartment. That required a couple more calls; like where does the small glass bowl go and oh by the way, did she know there were only four bath towels in the closet? “NO” she did not! So could I call the laundromat and have them pick up and deliver the dirty towels in the hamper? Well at least she didn’t ask me to do the washing myself!
I had asked Peter to come with me and maybe between the two of us we could whip this place up in no time. So you (Peter) do the watering and I’ll make the bed. Oh for God’s sake, he couldn’t find the hose. So like a jerk I call her instead of looking around myself and when she tells me where it is, I point it out to you know who and of course if it had teeth it would have bitten him in the ass. Then I’m hearing that he didn’t know gardening was part of this favor and he’s wearing white suede shoes. So? So don’t get them wet!!! Believe it or not, he couldn’t figure out how to turn the hose off – I’m not kidding at which point I screamed, “please go home and leave me alone”.
Finally we’re done and I’d come back before the women arrive to receive the laundry and then open the door for them. I left all the keys in the apartment except for two on a little ring. Peter was to pick out two of the loose keys and match them to the ones left in the bowl on the table by my friend; Those were the two keys that would open the main door and the apartment door.
I went back to my own apartment, it was gray and chilly out, not too propitious for a birthday. I wasn’t in the best of mood so I decided to just stay home, do the laundry and iron the last of the summer clothes. So far the best part of this day was getting a free Venti Americano from Starbucks because it was my birthday!
I went back about 5:30pm thinking I would give myself enough time to get the laundry delivery, put the towels in the closet and wait for the guests. I couldn’t get into the building! Neither of the keys fit – damnation. I ring several buzzers and finally someone lets me in after I tell them who I am and where I’m going. As soon as I get to her door, the monster dog across the hall starts barking and barking and barking. The keys won’t open her door either. I can’t f_____g believe it and call Peter up screaming about the wrong keys being on the ring. He feigns no knowledge of such a mistake so I hang up on him. I frantically call my friend and try to have a conversation with her while the maniacal dog across the hall continues to bark at the door. We discuss a locksmith and then she says, try a credit card. Of course I don’t have one with me. Just then Peter shows up and luckily he had an old card we could use. After 20 minutes of dog barking and trying, he actually gets the door lock to slip and we’re in! Thank God! I send him home and sit down to wait for the laundry and the guests.
My cell phone rang, it was my daughter grand kids all singing Happy Birthday to me! Of course they’re on cell phone speaker so it’s hard to hear with all the background noise but I was thrilled to hear from them. Just as I am talking to my daughter, my cell phone is beeping in with call #2 and it is my friend. I hang up with the kids saying I will be home in 30 minutes or so and let’s do FaceTime. I don’t even remember why she called!!
It’s now about 6:45pm and no one has arrived. My phone rings and it’s my son calling from California to wish me Happy Birthday. Since he asked I start to tell him some of my so far shitty day and the door buzzer rings. I ask him to hold on. I open the apt. door to go to the front door and realize it will lock behind me so I stick my Kindle in the door frame. I’m back on the phone and my cell phone beeps again and I see it is my friend so “…can I call you back Joel”? No of course not, he has a photo shoot and a rehearsal and even later tonight will not be late enough for him so I suggest the weekend and hang up. It’s my friend wondering if I got in and did the laundry arrive? YES! And can I leave a set of keys with my doorman for another friend to pick up just in case someone needs to get in while she is away because I am going away next week? YES I will do that.
At 7:30 there are still no guests. At 7:45pm I call my friend and beseech her to find out just where the hell these women are! Apparently their train was delayed an hour and a half – so why didn’t they call???? By 8:15 they have arrived, exhausted from their 8 hour train trip and I have a fixed smile on my face while I show them around and give them keys and suggest they go to the diner for dinner. Maybe I’ll even see them there since I’m still in jeans and a tee shirt and it’s my birthday and I’m sure not cooking!
I call Peter once I’m outside and tell him to join me because I’m not coming home – I want to eat something. As we round the corner heading to the diner, I see Arturo’s, a very nice neighborhood Italian restaurant and once inside with a glass of wine I am finally enjoying some of this birthday. AMEN.
It never ends sometimes and Mercury is in full retrograde. The next day I left the keys in an envelope addressed to Jennifer per instructions and a messenger was to pick them up. Then she ( my soon-to-be-ex-friend) texts me some message I really don’t understand so I text back an inane reply. The house phone rings and it’s our doorman saying there is a man here to pick up an envelope for Fay. WHO? Oh geez! I tell him to have the messenger wait and I will be right down. Apparently the text was to let me know that the keys were going to someone else BUT the messenger was supposed to know that the envelope was addressed to Jennifer BUT of course the doorman was clueless and he wasn’t going to give the envelope over. I straightened all of that out and the keys left – Thank God!
Once I got to the office I felt better, that is until I tried to print something!!!!