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Opinion

It was supposed to be a simple dinner date...

I’ve learned my lesson and I never.

It all started when my wife asked me if I wanted to go out to dinner. Of course, I said. I love going out to dinner. Especially with my favorite person in the world. It’s always exciting. After the initial hurdle of trying to figure out where we’re going, you still have the world of options on a menu.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, however. She’d bought some furniture – something I since have learned is called a “hutch” that looks like any other set of shelves but, apparently, warrants a special name and I can’t put books on it. (Right now, it is reserved for glassware and bottles of wine neither of us will ever drink.)

She’d purchased the hutch at a store about 35 minutes away, but didn’t have room for both pieces in her car at the time, so we needed to head back. While we were there, we might as well get dinner.

It doesn’t hurt that my favorite bookstore is in the same city, so I planned on leveraging a trip there, as well. Let’s kill three birds with one excursion, right? Hutch, food, books. This is shaping up to be a pretty good Saturday.

It’s a quick drive and we get the rest of the hutch without incident, although I’m not sure why this portion of it doesn’t count as a “cabinet” because its shelves are enclosed with doors. I assume people with degrees in furniture know the ins and outs of these designations the way a biologist knows the Latin names for plants and insects.

Dinner also is without incident, except for the waiter who apparently showered at night instead of before work. It was only a problem when he was near our table and, thankfully, he wasn’t a very good waiter, so we didn’t see him all that often.

Regret set in as we got home. The hutch is old school and made with wood. Real wood, not the particle board stuff I’ve used since college and all through my bachelor days. And it’s already assembled, something I’ve always fantasized about while trying to put together drawers in an IKEA apparatus. Transport is decidedly harder when it is big, heavy and awkward.

After fighting with the hutch through the doors, up in the elevator and down the hall, I thought that was the end of it. I could slide it around on carpet, put it in place, and everyone is happy and I can go to bed.

Nope. The hutch is going to the place where a bookshelf is already. Of course, this bookshelf is out in the open, not my hovel of an office, so it has the nice looking hard-backed books instead of the easy to handle and move paperbacks. We unload the books, move the shelf to the other side of the room, then reshelve the books. Then we can put the hutch in place and assemble the shelves and cabinets together.

We sit down on the couch, the newest addition to our family at our side, holding all sorts of stuff. Success.

Except now, the wall across the way looks a little crowded. See, there were shelves above the television and next to the new home of the bookshelf. The shelves don’t hold anything useful, though – decorative spheres and a bowl of what I think is mulch? – so it’s no big loss if we take them down.

Those shelves have been up since the Bush administration, however, and the many attempts to get them to hang onto the wall have long since been forgotten. Imagine our surprise when the remnant of the previous failures, once ingeniously hidden, are now visible in the white powdery scars of holes in the drywall.

No problem, of course. We only need to patch the holes and paint over them. Right?

No one can remember the color of the paint on that wall. My suggestion of “green” was met with disapproving eyes and labeled “not helpful.” Probably, it’s really named something like “Little Shop of Horrors Green” or “Absinthe spirits chartreuse” or whatever they name colors these days.

So now the whole wall has to be repainted. (My suggestion of a racing stripe down the middle instead is met with an even sterner look than I received previously when I said it was green.)

I wanted to go to dinner on a Saturday night. I foolishly admitted this. Now, the bookshelf, a shelf of knickknacks and the TV center all have to come down and be rearranged to paint the wall.

I swear I’m never eating a flat bread again.

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