How I got talked into getting a whirlpool a day after I lost my “dream” apartment on the Upper West Side, I don’t know. All I know is that when my dad woke me up at 9 AM Saturday after four hours of sleep, I was ready for distraction. Growing up as a “white hand” as they say in Russian, home improvement is about as foreign to me as clubbing to an Amish farmer. And Home Depot is unchartered territory. They don’t sell any of the products that usually pique my fancy–food, books, and gadgets.

Sasha met us in the Bathroom section, where a lineup of plastic, porcelain, and metal tubs sat on oversize shelves. Left drains, right drains. The cheapest jacuzzi was only $100 more than the only tub that suited my drain orientation. After pointing out to Sasha that L x W more likely designates length x width rather than “left-side drain” at the cash register, the stoned-looking bathroom “specialist” wheeled the tub back for a replacement while I went to rent a van. 10 minutes later, Sasha wheeled over a similar unit that he said was scratched and therefore 10% cheaper.

“You’re a lucky guy,” he smirked after double-parking in front of my building.


“They gave you a $700 jacuzzi.” We paid about half that for the unit. Sure enough, the morons at Home Depot accidentally wheeled out the wrong jacuzzi–the 8-jet turbo-powered model. “Big enough to fit two,” he said, and I thought he’d end the subtle insinuation. “You can bang girls in here,” he clarified. Here was a man who got his message across. I was starting to like Sasha…


Ex-Soviet immigrant turned wanna-be scribe. I bite off more than I can chew, but at least I've got good teeth.

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