Ring on my finger

An unanticipated casualty of weight loss is the reduction of one’s ring size. The reduction though minimal is however especially noticeable on the little finger where I sport my so-called “pinky” ring.  The ring was never tight; but my moderate weight loss (20 pounds) combined with the load of the ring  (40.2 grams) has precipitated a dislocation. The disturbance is so sensitive that it shifts with the change of the weather.  On days when the clouds cover the sky and there is humidity in the air – as opposed to days when the air is clear and dry  – there is less annoyance.  Recognizing the alteration I could only think to go to the local hardware store to search for a rubber “O”-ring which might usefully compensate the increased space between ring and finger. It is not an ideal remedy and requires almost as much attention as not having it at all. Today the difficulty has evaporated as the threat of rain (or snow) increases. The brownie, Nanaimo bar and chocolate/peanut butter cookie I had last evening after dinner in muted anticipation of today’s relieving event (related below) may also have had something to do with it!

As I suggested this conundrum is sidelined by today’s milestone improvement to our small apartment. We moved into this place last April upon our return from a winter sojourn on Key Largo.  Since then we’ve struggled with a number of furnishing issues because a lot of our stuff was too big.  Much of the oversized furnishings has been removed. But the dining room set we got from my sister as a stop-gap was inadequate. Basically it was too antique and as a result too small – namely, low chairs and undersized table.  After unaccustomed and prolonged adjournment from the dilemma, over a month ago I searched for a small dropleaf table and matching chairs, little imagining I’d find something suitable at Leon’s furniture store. Leon’s hasn’t the reputation of the high-end manufactuers in North Carolina, USA.  They don’t advertise “hand-selected hardwoods and top-grain leather”. Yet after scouring Thomasville and solid oak products (some of which require six months to await delivery after order) I came across something at Leon’s which I felt suited our modest needs.  Not trusting the written and glowing commendation on the internet I drove to the city and located the huge Leon’s warehouse where the furnishings are displayed. I found the exact table and 2 matching chairs (a set) I had seen on the internet.  The wood – though only fruitwood not hardwood – was still wood, all of it.

Elated by this find – and even though I sat at the warehouse for almost an hour waiting to speak to a salesperson (who never materialized notwithstanding that I called the front desk from where I sat for assistance) – I ordered it.  My personal examination of the set at the warehouse convinced me that it was perfect for our purposes. What I hadn’t factored was that the set arrives from Vietnam in boxes (“assembly required”). Upon learning this I immediately called Leon’s and told them I wished to have them assemble the set on my behalf.  I was referred to an independent (whom in retrospect I mistakenly assumed was either a subsidiary or sub-contractor of Leon’s). Turns out that Trans Global is an independent retailer for “delivery, assembly and repair” of furniture. At no time was this distance and separation made clear to me; so, while we prepaid Leon’s for the assembly and were given a date for what we thought was delivery of the assembled set, in fact the boxes with the table and chairs arrived over a week before Trans Global appeared on the scene for the assembly.  As a result our tiny apartment was the garage in which the boxes were stored awaiting assembly.

I will say we’re very pleased with the product and with the assembly.  But we had to endure difficulty with Leon’s in the process. First, we were given two different prices for the cost of the assembly, the second being higher than the first.  Naturally Leon’s collected the higher cost.  It was only after having to prove the duplicity and priority that we were returned to the original quotation; but the refund required over a week’s delay. Then, after the furnishings arrived in boxes, we were again required to endure the indignity of having to “argue” with the supervisor (I quickly estranged myself from the front-line server who clearly had no comprehension of the problem) for an explanation of why the furniture arrived in boxes instead of assembled.  It was then – and only then – that it was explained to us that the assembly would take place at our apartment. This clearly violated every experience I have ever had with the purchase and delivery of furniture. The supervisor at Leon’s was extremely abrupt (no doubt for having historically to deal with specious complainants) but finally abandoned her stock retort “you can get a full refund” (which as repeatedly I reminded her defeated the entire project without addressing my problem); she offered a small refund (which again was processed about a week later).

When the Trans Global van arrived on the property earlier today I continued to maintain reservation about the process. I wasn’t going to count my blessings too quickly. Besides I had been “encouraged” to absent myself from the assembly process because I normally engage the agent in distracting conversation. So I only saw the van from my tricycle this morning as I profited by the brilliant sunshine to get some fresh air and exercise. After extending my tricyle ride, upon return to the property I happened to see a gentleman approaching the Trans Global van.  Upon questioning he advised the assembly had gone well.  This I confirmed upon my return to the apartment. Indeed the Trans Global experience (from start to finish, covering the inital appointment, confirmation of the appointment and performance of the service) was excellent. As for Leon’s, their agency for importing passable product and assurance of low price were as advertised; but having to deal with a problem was like enduring a lie detector scrutiny, not exactly the level of social contact to which I am accustomed (nor as a result one which I shall ever repeat or endure).

There is a silver lining to this granular account. The arrival and assembly of this diminutive set has completed my adjustment to the move into the apartment. We have in my opinion and to my entire satisfaction now surpassed the perimeter of necessity. Instead when it comes to furnishings we now subsist only in the domain of possibility and preference. Indeed so enthused I am by this petty demarcation that, after having stewed about this and its associated challenges, I have lapsed into a state of euphoria.  I have by design replaced both an old manual toothbrush and the head for the power brush with new ones; same goes for my lip balm (the old one just coincidentally quit today). Earlier I took the car for a wash and vaccumed the rugs.  I have fled like a stalked animal from any consideration of buying anything new. And cars are right out!  Cars can wait until 2025.  Clothes can wait for Hilton Head Island in several months. Until then, the less disruption about anything, the better. Conveniently I was yesterday fully discharged from the pursuit of a semi-political cause on behalf of a former client. And I arranged to meet tomorrow afternoon with an old friend for coffee and a chat. As I am wont to say, the world has in an instant returned to Middle-C and I am now free once again to lapse into a state of unapologetic indolence. I am celebrating by drinking several cups of strong, black coffee and by listening on my Bose headphones to my “favourite” music (now for example Polonaise No. 6 in A-flat major, Opus 53 “Heroic” by Chopin performed by François Samson).

Samson Pascal François (18 May 1924 – 22 October 1970) was a French pianist and composer.

François was born in Frankfurt where his father worked at the French consulate. His mother, Rose, named him Samson, for strength, and Pascal, for mind. François discovered the piano early – at the age of two – and his first studies were in Italy, with Pietro Mascagni, who encouraged him to give his first concert at the age of six.

Having studied in the Conservatoire in Nice from 1932 to 1935, where he again won first prize, François came to the attention of Alfred Cortot, who encouraged him to move to Paris and study with Yvonne Lefébure at the École Normale de Musique. He also studied piano with Cortot (who reportedly found him almost impossible to teach), and harmony with Nadia Boulanger. In 1938, he moved to the Paris Conservatoire to study with Marguerite Long, the doyenne of French teachers of the age. He won the piano section of the inaugural (1943) Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition.

He married Josette Bahvsar, and their son Maximilien was born in 1955. Maximilien, who published a biography of his father in 2002 (see bibliography below), died in New Mexico on October 11, 2013.

Samson François’s extravagant lifestyle, good looks, and passionate but highly disciplined playing, gave him a cult status as a pianist. He had a heart attack on the concert stage in 1968. His early death followed only two years later.