Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Kingdom For a Fork

Hello all. This week's APR Challenge theme is "Make Me Laugh". When I thought of this theme I wasn't sure right away what I'd do for it, but I did look forward to the wonderful laughs from all your art! I gave some thought to the stories in my past and came up with the perfect one to illustrate. Let me tell you this story before I show you my artwork.

My best friend from high school and I decided to get an apartment together as we started our sophomore year of University. My parents had moved across the country to Vancouver at the end of the previous school year and I had spent my summer with them, right up until a week before University started. I therefore had relied on my best friend to find us a suitable apartment. I hadn't thought it would be that difficult, but I guess it was as Sue could only find a little basement suite with no kitchen and a tiny bathroom. The living room was split in half with blankets attached to rods so Sue had some form of privacy in her "bedroom". She was generous enough to let me have the one actual bedroom. We were promised upstairs kitchen access from our landlady (who lived on the main floor) and we were grateful to have "in house" laundry facilities.

Within a week we realized that the landlady was a Froot Loop and her teenage son was no better. She accused me of stealing her peanut butter and she shut off the hot water for our laundry because she said we washed our clothes too much. Her son used to take out the light bulbs from the stairway and laundry room so she would accuse us. (we saw him do it) Now that I'm thinking about it, I'm guessing he was also the peanut butter thief, lol. It was a very, very strange existence, and that was only the first couple of weeks!

Since we had no kitchen and therefore no kitchen sink, we had to wash all dishes in the bathroom. The pedestal sink was NOT conducive to clean dishes. There was no counter to put either the clean or dirty dishes and the sink was the size of a popcorn bowl! It was ridiculous but both Sue and I refused to ever step into our landlady's kitchen again. Because dishes were SO hard to do we tended to let them collect until we just plain ran out of stuff to eat on or with.

It was the end of one of those weeks, when both Sue and I had been busy with exams, essays and other stuff, that we hadn't gotten to the dishes. Sue worked as a waitress at a friendly Irish pub and many times got home very late. It was one of those late nights when she got in at 3:00 AM and wanted to eat something that led to the biggest blow up she and I ever had. 

"King of Dirty Dishes" by Temy Ong
I wake up at about 4:00 AM to banging of pots and clinking of utensils. Bleary eyed, I enter the "living room" to find Sue angrily doing the dishes. "What the heck are you doing??", I ask.

"The dishes!", she mutters vehemently.
"But at four in the morning? It's the middle of the night !!"
"A fork", she says as she glares at me, soapy hands going up into the air.
"A FORK, all I wanted was a FREAKING FORK!!!!!!!! I just wanted to eat something and I couldn't even find a fork clean enough to use! We live in a pig pen and I can't STAND it anymore!!"

She looked close to either tears or hysterics. I started to laugh. No, this wasn't the most compassionate reaction but I just lost it. This nightmare of a basement apartment, with it's missing kitchen, bathroom so small your knees touched the wall when you used the facilities, no hot water and spiders the size of baseballs just finally got to me. I looked at my best friend with soapy bubbles up to her elbows, long blonde hair matted and smelling like a smoky pub and wild eyes tracking me and I let out a belly laugh that hopefully woke that crazy b*tch of a landlady upstairs. Sue looked at me with horror until I squeaked out, "a fork, all she wanted was a freaking FORK!!" through my giggles.

The tiny tweak of a smile started in the corner of her mouth and within a minute we were rolling around on the ridiculously small couch, killing ourselves laughing. We laughed until our sides ached. When finally the hilarity of our situation settled into the reality of what we were living in, we got down to cleaning our "apartment" up together. It was spotless an hour later and I had made us both Dagwood sandwiches for a job well done and hey, there was no need for a fork. ;o)

So, here I present you Sue's forks. At the time I should have bought her 100 plastic forks with a big red bow tied around them as an apology for my contribution to the unholy mess. I'm just glad we got out alive, before one of those spiders ate one of us in our sleep!

Title: "Sue's Forks"

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  1. Oh Jenn, that was hilARious! I laughed out loud - to the quizzical looks of my wee one, lol.
    Fantastic picture of 'Sue's Forks' - I hope it makes you chuckle every time you look at it :-D x

  2. I've led a sheltered life, never did Uni or left home until I was married, boy did I miss out on lots of fun!! This is hilarious, it has all the makings of a great short story. Nutty landlady, crazy room mate, no kitchen etc. The only thing you will have to leave out is the spiders. EEwww, I have severe arachnophobia, so severe that I get terrible chest pains from them, even reading your story gave me the shivers. Oh enough of that, gone all cold...
    Your picture is fabulous and even more special with the story attached. They look just like metal, fabulous job. I love the colour of the pot.

  3. LOL!!! Monday, we are moving my oldest daughter into her first apartment with 2 of her college friends. As funny as this story is, I hope she doesn't have to put up with a crazy landlord like yours. However, just like the rest of us, I'm sure she'll have stories to tell. Blessings!

  4. Love the story, love the artwork.
    I'm yet to think of anything funny to add to this weeks challenge but I'll be back next week!

  5. Great story - love your forks (well Sue's forks) all the more.

  6. That is hilarious and the fork are great... loved reading the story and it had me giggling and smiling all the way through... those early uni years are always full of madness and fun aren't they...xx

  7. Ahhh, laughter is good medicine for sure! I'm just glad she did not throw the fork at you before she too saw the humor:-) Excellent job on the forks! Really really well done.

  8. Brilliant Jenn,
    I think you might have a comedy episode for a new tv series there...the mad landlady and the devious screwball son for a start!
    How good is it to have laugh with a friend. I used to work with a friend and we laughed daily (nearly all day some days) the belly ache kinda laughing with tears streaming down our face...oh they were good days!
    Brilliant forks ~ they look like you've been busy polishing the silver for hours!
    Enjoy your weekend whatever you get up to xoxo

  9. I love your story. Yes it's funny...but even more...a beautiful tribute to your friendship.

  10. Ahhhh, another "Thelma and Louise" or "Laverne and Shirley" episode. Thankfully, it sounds as though you and Sue were of like temperament. I still giggle remembering my then-boyfriend (now husband)'s cleaning lady telling me that I should "forget about" a relationship with John as we'd never get along, what with his OCD and my ... well ... "creativity" in the cleaning department. Shows how much SHE knew! Eighteen years later and I broke him of that twitch he gets when the fringe on the Oriental carpet isn't combed. And then some!! Oh, I should do better, but there is so much else to do than to win the tidy award.

    P.S. I stole the peanut butter!

    Much love,
    aka The Birthday Monkey
    aka Hopalong (still!)

  11. What fun days to remember. I hope your college roommate is able to see this tribute to her fork-less-ness!
    Great story and painting,Jenn. Thanks for another great week. I will miss you this next time as I leave early tomorrow morning for a five day pastel workshop in Door County Wisconsin at The Clearing Folk Art School.


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