Thursday, January 9 2020

cleaning the basement, goulash, and art scams

1001 words

⟵ home


Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! How are you all feeling today? This morning I feel like I was hit by a very tiny train. Last night Marissa and I attacked a corner of the basement. In merely an hour, we broke down about twenty cardboard boxes, filled our trunk with things ready for Goodwill, and set aside three black garbage bags for the recycling center. I put a tiny speaker up by the window sill, and we worked feverishly. “I’m feeling pretty motivated now,” said Marissa as we were wrapping up. When we were all done, we retreated upstairs to create more work cards, then we crashed on the couch. Sitting there in our living room, I was grateful to be finally relaxing on the couch, and that beer tasted like something sent from Heaven. Work feels good, doesn’t it? This morning, even though I’m sore and still a bit exhausted, I’m still enjoying the afterglow. This morning, I just went downstairs to walk around and admire our work. I’m feeling proud, and I too am feeling motivated.

Cleaning the basement was a vigorous ending to a great day. I worked from home pretty much all day, and Marissa hung around the house too. In the afternoon, we swung by my work building so I could pick up a charger from IT, then we went out for pizza. As we ate, we couldn’t help but overhear the table beside us - two guys who had already finished their lunch, one of them dressed in all khaki like some kind of forest ranger, and the other in regular street clothes. They were very loudly talking about the specifics of their new start-up which was to farm and sell honey. “So… what if somebody comes along and SUES us,” they continued, as Marissa and I smirking at each other. We left Ian’s, still chatting about the encounter. “Well they were probably at Ian’s Pizza for two and a half hours, this new company must already be going great,” I cracked. “Yeah, and remember, they were already done when we got there, and we left together,” Marissa added.

I worked through the rest of the afternoon, then spent a few minutes at the family computer looking for a new dinner recipe. “What are you in the mood for?” I hollered to Marissa in the living room. “Something salad-y,” she said. I rolled my eyes. “What about something soupy?” I asked.

“How about you do soup and salad?” she suggested.

“You can’t do soup and salad,” I sneered. “It’s soup or salad.” Marissa, who had joined Rodney at his train table dismissed the technicality. As we were arguing, I stumbled upon a recipe for goulash that sounded pretty good. “I’m going to make goulash,” I yelled. “And I’ll pick up a salad kit on the side.”

Rodney, enraptured with a good playtime session, didn’t want to go to Hy-Vee that evening. I was on the same page - Wednesdays feel different since I hang around the house, so I wasn’t offended. Plus, my goulash would need plenty of time on the stove. I speedily left for Hy-Vee, buying macaroni noodles, onion, ground beef, and canned tomatoes. Back at home, I happily assembled the goulash while putting away the groceries and cleaning the kitchen. As the recipe neared completion, I started to feel like a grade-school lunch lady, occasionally stirring the big pot of brown liquid.

Over dinner as we ate goulash, Marissa recapped her afternoon. She had spent some time at a Dentist office on the west side of town setting up her art. The deal was they would display her art for a few months, and in turn they wouldn’t collect any commission on the sales. At the dinner table, we kicked around the pros and cons of the arrangement.

“I suppose if these were really bad dudes, they could suddenly up and leave town with all your art,” I said chewing a mouthful of noodles. “What if it wasn’t even a real dentist office?”

Marissa chuckled. “Yeah, I don’t know about that. I saw a lot of dentists and patients walking around,” she said.

“Actors,” I interjected, wagging my finger. “They might all be actors. Here’s what these people do. It’s a fake dentist office. All the equipment is stolen, and that location you visited - they’re probably just squatting. They find an artist on Instagram, get them to agree to loan art, then suddenly they’ll disappear. You’ll go back and it will just be an empty building.”

“I don’t know, that sounds like a lot of work,” Marissa said laughing.

“Oh sure,” I said. “It’s a lot of work, but after you wait a year for things to cool down and slowly sell the paintings…”

“Somewhere other than Instagram, because I would see it,” Marissa added.

“Sure, somewhere other than Instagram.” I continued. “Then pay off all the extras that played fake dentists and patients, I bet you could make it out with a cool twelve hundred dollars.”

“Which is not a lot of money,” Marissa said shaking her head.

“Sure - but that’s just one artist. You’d be doing this to maybe twelve artists at a time, and as long as they don’t know each other, it will work.”

So that was yesterday. Today, I’m grateful it’s already Thursday. I have a code screen in the morning, then I have some more coding to do in the afternoon. I’m pretty tired, but kicking it with my family this weekend and hanging out at the bowling alley sounds so like a fitting reward. At this point, I’m probably as excited to go bowling this weekend as Rodney is.

I hope you all have a wonderful day. Whether you make your money farming honey from bees, or working as a fake dentist for Instagram art con men, I’m sure you deserve a restful weekend as well. Hang in there - we’re almost there.

Have a wonderful Thursday, everyone. Here’s to the near weekend!