“The Wife”

Happy 2008!

Well, New Year’s Eve was quite an eventful one for me, so I have to tell y’all about it.  First of all, I’ll just say “the Wife” made an appearance.  This is not a good thing.  But on second thought…that’s not necessarily true.  Sometimes, “the Wife” has to make an appearance.  Before I get into what happened on NYE, let me tell you how I came to get the nickname of “the Wife.” 

It was way back in 1980.  I was a young mother living on Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado with my husband and toddlers.  My stint in the Air Force was long over, but Frank was still on active duty.  I won’t go into the long, drawn-out story, but let’s just say that I got into an altercation with the Barney Fife of Security Policemen when he tried to treat me like I was still an airman, giving me a ridiculous order that I had no intention of following.  That’s when he threatened to take me to jail, and I taunted him to do it.  He didn’t, and the little scene ended up with me taking my kids home, and calling up this loathsome little man’s supervisor to give him a piece of my mind.  Barney Fife got an official reprimand for overstepping his bounds, and I got the nickname, “the Wife.”  (I’d overheard the supervisor on the phone stage-whisper, “it’s the wife!”)

The Wife hasn’t made an appearance in some time, but it happened on NYE.  But it all began on the afternoon before.  Frank & I had booked a condo at the resort where we own in Williamsburg, and our friends, Diana & Jim, joined us there.  As usual, when we checked in, we got the usual spiel from “the welcoming desk,” inviting us to attend a “welcome meeting,” the next day to update us on all the “exciting news” that Wyndham owners have in store for them.  Well, we’d been through this just four months ago down in Myrtle Beach–and we just weren’t in the mood for the thinly disguised sales pitch they called “exciting news.”  But Karen, the woman at the desk, was most insistent–even after we’d refused three or four times. 

“Tell you what,” she said.  “You come to this appointment, and I guarantee I’ll get you in and out in 45 minutes.  With $100 cash in your hands.”

That got my attention.  $100 cash?  Just for listening to them for 45 minutes?  As visions of outlet shopping danced in my head, we gave in to Karen, and got our appointment for the next morning at 10:30.  So we made our plans with Diana and Jim.  At 11:00 sharp, Jim would call my cell phone, and we’d tell the salesman we were meeting them for lunch at 11:30.  What could go wrong?

The next morning, we met our salesman–yeah, let’s call him what he is–a salesman.  He was nice enough I guess.  A typical salesman, though.  Real friendly at first, but as soon as he realized he wasn’t going to get anywhere with us, he got progressively cooler.  That happened pretty fast, actually, because the first words out of my mouth after our introductions were: “We’re meeting friends at 11:30, so we really can’t stay beyond the 45 minutes Karen said it would take.” 

At 11:00 sharp, my cell phone rang, and I spoke loudly for the salesman’s benefit. “Yes, Jim.  We’ll definitely be there at 11:30.”  I couldn’t have been on the phone more than two minutes as Jim and I arranged where we’d meet, but when I got off–the salesman was gone. 

“Bringing up our files on the computer,” Frank said.  Ten minutes passed, and Frank & I were still left cooling our heels at the table.  Finally, at 11:14, I got up and went looking for the salesman.  Found him behind a counter at a computer screen.

“Excuse me,” I said in my best “the Wife” voice.  “We have to go.  And I want my money.”

He looked up from the computer with this pained look on his face.  (Maybe it was gas.)  “But I’m just trying to help you,” he said.

“No, thanks,” I said.  “I just want my $100 cash, and we’ll be on our way.” Suddenly he wasn’t Mr. Nice Guy anymore. 

“Go on out to the front desk, and I’ll be there in a minute,” he growled.So, we did.  15 minutes passed, and he didn’t show up.  But several other salesmen did, and I sent each one looking for him.  I was just getting ready to ask for his supervisor when he appeared–with this dumbfounded look on his face.  “What are you doing out here?”  he said.  “I told you I’d meet you (somewhere else).”

“Oh, no you didn’t,” I snapped.  “You said at the front desk and that’s where I’ve been waiting for almost 20 minutes now.”

“Follow me,” he said, leading me and Frank back through another door.  Stupid me. I thought he was taking us to the cashier.  Instead…and this, I still can’t believe…he took us to another salesman!!!! 

So this new guy gives me this big, cheesy grin and sticks out his hand.  “Hello, I’m–“

“Oh, no,” I said, glaring at him.  “I’m not talking to anybody else.  I want my $100 and I want it right now.”

And before I could throw a real hissy fit, another man–his supervisor apparently, stepped in and said, “Give her the money.”

They led me and Frank to the cashier, and moments later, we walked out with $100 cash.  Total time spent: 1 hour and five minutes.  As we walked to the car, Frank snickered.  “You are the wife!

 That $100 paid for our dinner at The Trellis that night.  Not a bad way to start the New Year.  Maybe next time, Wyndham won’t try to force us into one of their little “welcome presentations.”  But if they do, I’ll be more than happy to take cash off their hands.

Congratulations to Carol Ezovski from San Jose, California, winner of my December website contest.   Be sure and stop by my website, www.CaroleBellacera.com, to enter January’s contest.  And don’t forget–TANGO’S EDGE comes out next month on Valentine’s Day.  Check out the prologue on my website.  🙂  And while you’re at it, stop by my MySpace page, http://www.myspace.com/carolebellacera and add me as your friend!!!




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