I called it "The Transformation". My so-so, dull, humdrum living room was being transformed into a world only a few would be privileged to enter. A lot of sacrifice went into the financial aspect of this transformation. Walking instead of taking my car – saving the gas money. Eating lots of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch – much to the amusement of coworkers. Being Scrooge with my niece and nephews this year over the holidays (and blaming it on the recession!). With this one I sacrificed my former five years running title of "Best Uncle in the World". My brother Charlie, who hated kids, got the award. The worst sacrifice, though, or rather, most painful, was what I called the "Weekend Sacrifice". I gave up my weekends. When you don’t want to spend money on a date, how often does a girl just want to sit around a guy’s living room and watch t.v. and eat popcorn? Oh, every once in a while, sure. But not EVERY weekend – especially when the guy only has a dinky little tube t.v. with basic cable. And a barely working dvd player. And cheap beer (another sacrifice!).
A year was a long time to sacrifice and suffer…but now, it was all going to be worth the time and money not spent….because my living room was about to be transformed into the Ultimate Experience. I was recreating a home theater environment in my living room! And D-Day – Delivery Day – was here! I had shopped for the best in home theater entertainment last weekend, and arranged for delivery this weekend when I knew I’d have two whole days to arrange and set up and put together components and do everything involved in having the perfect home theater. I had told no one – except the salesman – my plans. I wanted no interference – no help from those who had gone before me. This was my baby, and I wanted to do it all by myself. I was not an expert, but not an electronics novice, either. Somewhere in between, yet confident enough that I could do it all. Decorating arrangements had already been worked out and marked on the wall, especially where the huge HD 3D flat screen would be mounted. Well, I might need a little help with that one – perhaps my neighbor, Sam? Oh yeah – he wasn’t talking to me ever since I refused to lend him ten bucks a couple weeks ago. Maybe
I could call Charlie, my brother? Except he, too, hated me now – ever since the title of Favorite Uncle was bestowed on him. Which also meant I couldn’t call my brother in law because he was still grumbling about the parts of the dollar store toys I had gotten my niece and nephews for Christmas …..which basically meant I was doing it all by myself. Which is what I wanted in the first place so maybe it would be okay.
By late Sunday night I was finished, in more ways than one. The Ultimate Home Theater System was up and running. Surround sound surrounded me as I lay on the floor in the middle of my living room, too tired and achy to move. Inception was playing on the wall. Leonardo DiCaprio’s head appeared much bigger than usual….
But I had done it. I had one of the best – if not THE BEST – home entertainment theaters in my state – in my city – in my neighborhood – in my living room! So why didn’t I feel more happy, more exhilarated? Besides being tired, sore, and ready for a shower and bed, probably because I realized there was only one thing wrong with this picture.
Me. There was only me to enjoy this; only me to tell me what a great job I had done. Only me to give me the kudos I deserved for making my dream happen. And I couldn’t think of anyone I could call right now who would willingly come over and admire it.
Next weekend – I’d have a party – that’s it! A party! Invite coworkers, neighbors, sister and her husband, brother Charlie – a couple girls who still talked to me – oh wait – wouldn’t work! I could just picture it now – drinks spilled on my new speakers….crumbs….smears….people touching everything, dancing on my things….
I’d have to do this gently, easily – one person at a time. Starting with the one who still loved me – who loved me – at least right now – more than anyone else did. So next morning, before I left for work, I made a call.
"Hey, Ma – what are you doing next Saturday?"