By Kerry Hoffman
For the past two summers, we have allowed one college-aged employee to live in our basement. It is a win-win for us and for the employee. We have an extra person staying in our home who helps wherever needed and the student gets to live rent-free to save up for the following school year.
Tarah Steinbrenner, who has worked with us for about two years, asked if she could spend the summer living like a meerkat in our basement. Meerkats live in extensive underground tunnels, which is exactly like Tarah's room in our basement. She has so much stuff packed into the
bedroom, I stand in the middle of the room and wonder how in the world she packs it into a small, little dorm room.
Tarah is from Boise, Idaho. (Every time I say, or think, Idaho, I want to say it like Mr. Potato Head in the movie Toy Story.) In Idaho, during the throes of summer, the temperature maxes out at an "unbearable" 90 degrees F, on average. In the winter, the "blasted" cold can dip as low as 40 degrees F.
Sounds bone chilling, doesn't it?
Tarah has experienced a Minnesota winter. In fact, she experienced one of the most dreadful winters of recent memory. She managed to survive and rarely missed work.
She has never lived through a Minnesota summer.
Remember folks: It's not the heat that will kill you, it's the humidity.
Well, Idaho doesn't have humidity. Poor souls. Humidity makes a person tough!
When she asks about our summer weather, every person in this house just makes an evil laughing sound.
Speaking of laughing sounds, it reminds me of another great reason to have a woman living in our basement. She has joined my fashion police force.
During the Pre-Tarah time period, the fashion advice I would dole out to my beloved men in the house, pretty much went unnoticed.
For instance, say Steve comes down the stairs wearing black socks and sandals. I would say, "You are not going out of the house looking like that!"
He would simply shrug it off and tell me, in some way, that he "really doesn't care about what other people think."
"Well, then I am going to walk 20-feet in front of you and when you call my name, I will continue to keep walking."
My opinion slips by like my goldfish slips out of my hands when I clean his tank.
I am doomed to look like a grumpy single lady as I walk down Minnesota Street.
The other day, said husband sat on our stairs and proceeded to put on a pair of black socks with a pair of black shoes. That's normally not a problem, but he just happened to be wearing shorts.
I looked at him with my are-you-kidding-eyes, but said not a word. It wouldn't matter if I did offer fashion advice.
Well, Tarah walked in and her eyes are more effective at signaling, "Are you seriously going to wear that?"
So, the three of us argued about what type of footwear Steve should put on his size-13 feet.
"Let's just solve this quickly," Tarah added. "Go put on a pair of jeans."
I looked at Steve and he looked sadder than a child whose mother just said, "I am NOT buying you a sucker, ever!"
He took off his sexy black shoes and socks and moped upstairs. A few minutes later he was back at the bottom of the steps wearing pair of dark blue jeans.
Gosh it's swell having another woman in the house.
I guess before Steve left Wednesday afternoon to meet with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, he stopped in Tarah's room and asked her, "Does this outfit match OK?"
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