It's not about the house.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Adventures in Wine-Making, Step Two

Ha ha! I fooled you! We're still on Step One! Step One takes a long time!

That's because nobody involved can stand the thought of maybe, possibly, putting their hand in the bucket for a grape and coming up with an earwig, so somebody came up with the novel idea of putting the grapes in the sink and covering them with water and watching the earwigs float to the top, flail about, scream tiny little dying-earwig screams, and drown. But it takes a long time for them to give up the creepy ghost, and while they're getting on with it some of them actually try to crawl out of the sink, so you have to rub the edges of it with oil first sop they can't get a foothold, because who wants to be the one to try to squash an earwig with a wad of toilet paper and have it get all soggy so the nasty thing can pinch his nasty little pinchers through and actually touch you with them? Not me!

Another reason it takes a while is can you only fit so many grapes in the sink at one time, so the earwig-drowning must be done in several stages. And every time you accidentally lay eyes on a living earwig, you have to scream and do the heeby-jeeby dance and take off all your clothes and give yourself a steaming Silkwood shower. Plus once they are dead -- once they're all ex-earwigs, as it were -- you realize that the grapes are in the kitchen sink, a-doy, so there's no way for you to run the demised bastards down the garbage disposal, which is what you usually do in this sort of creepy-crawly situation. Well, either that, or you wad them up in toilet paper and flush them down the loo, but someone is afraid of earwigs squirming back up the bog hole and pinching him on his dainty little nutsack.

So you have to scoop them out of the water-and-grape-filled kitchen sink with a paper cup (which you'll then burn) -- because who wants to stick their hand in a sink full of grapes and water with a bunch of what-if-they're-not-really-dead earwigs in there? Right! Not me again! -- and collect them in the mop bucket, then dump a whole mess of bleach in on top of them, just to be sure. And you have to repeat this whole process about seven times (although it would be nice if, just once, you remembered to use the other sink. Der!), and when you're done, that whole bucket o' earwigs-'n'-bleach goes straight down the disposal with the hottest water you can get out of the tap and a giggle of maniacal glee.

I don't think you'll be too upset (or surprised) to learn that I didn't take any pictures as this process was going on. So instead I'll show you a grocery list I found when I was retrieving notes from my notebook on Saturday. I don't remember writing it, but...

... it must have been one hell of a drink!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wine-Making, Step One

Okay, not Step One.

Step One, actually, involves crawling around on the sidewalk in the grapevines and sticking your head under leaves and into places where you just know there will be spiders, but you do it anyway because you think there's going to be jelly at the end of it. And then there isn't. Because you waited too long to pick the g-d grapes, which we've already discussed, and so now we're talking about the wine-making part of the process, which to this point is not any different than the would-be-jelly-making part of the process. Which is this:
Separating the non-food parts from the actual grapey bits.

This photo is not the total non-food collection, obviously. This is just the start. You have to take the whole twenty-two pounds (or however much you have) of grapes, and remove from them the stems, the leaves, the rotten fruit, the unidentifiable animal hair, the cobwebs, and the earwigs.

Oh yes, Beardo, there are earwigs. And they are Legion.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bad News

No grape jelly this year...

I know, I know, it looks like there will be grape jelly this year, but there won't. Because Johnny and I? We're really not that bright. We never even thought about the fact that all the rain we had this summer meant the grapes would ripen early. And so we didn't realize they were ripe until we smelled them, by which point it was too late. For jelly. Jelly wants slightly underripe grapes, ideally, though regular-ripe grapes will do. The jelly might not so much jell in that case, but it will taste just as good, spread a hell of a lot easier, and be really, really yummy over ice cream. But overripe grapes? Overripe grapes are no good for jelly. It would come out like syrup, and it would be much too sweet. So I suppose it would in fact be grape syrup, after all, and while grape syrup, too, may be really, really yummy over ice cream, lord knows I don't need five-plus gallons of that.

You know what overriped grapes are good for, though? And you know what I might could maybe use five gallons of?

So stay tuned over the next few days and weeks. I'll talk you through the saga of The First Time Johnny And I Are Making Wine Together From Our Very Own Grapes. You won't learn anything, but I hope you might wind up a wee bit entertained.

I know I will!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

There's a Hole in the Wall

It must've been the fall that got 'im...

A Poo Story: The Encore

I went back the next day and there was no smell in the house, of pee or poo or anything. But neither had she used her litter box in twenty-six hours.

So...

I have either been saved by the miraculous mercy of a very sparsely-peeing cat, or I am the best cat trainer in the world -- having conditioned her in one short day to do her business in a secret place. Or else her bladder burst and she is slowing dying of urea-head.

She seemed fine when I was there, though. Refused to play and hissed at me and everything. So that's a good sign.

Right?

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Poo Story

My Lady is away this week, and when My Lady goes away, I take care of her cat. For most people, this might involved popping in every few days and scattering some crunchy bits about, but this is My Lady's first-ever cat, and she's still under the impression that it actually notices when she's away. That it (get this) actually misses her.

I kid because I love. My Lady is a Dear Heart, and her concern for the lonely beast stems from her empathetic tendencies towards everything. So when she's away, not only do I feed and water and change the litterbox, I also stick around for an hour or two and "play."

Damn cat wants nothing to do with me, so "play" usually means I throw a mouse a few times, get ignored, and then sit reading a book while Damn Cat hisses at me until her throat gets sore and she stalks off to bed, but My Lady pays me well -- I mean, not Leona Helmsley well, but well enough -- and so I do it. Plus, because she is a Dear Heart, I would do anything for her she asked, even if she didn't pay me.Yes, I would.

So anyway, yesterday, I dropped Johnny at a dentist appointment (long story; get to it another day) and went to My Lady's house to visit with the Damn Cat. Johnny caught the T up there when he was done, rang the bell, and came in for a minute to use the bathroom before we went home.

The toilet is another thing My Lady is particular about regarding Damn Cat. She thinks, if you leave the lid up, Damn Cat is going to fall in and drown. I know there's a very slim chance that this will happen, but how hard is it to put down a toilet lid in order to indulge someone you love?

Hm. Where have I heard that question before?

No, no, the cat did not drown. He did leave the lid up -- and the seat, for that matter -- but he also, fortunately, closed the door. Unfortunately, the litterbox was behind it.

I smelled poo as soon as I walked in the house -- although it's not really a house. It's really just a two-room condo, which explains the concentrated odor. The half-bath we're speaking of is off the hallway that connects the rooms, directly across from the elevator that I enter the condo through -- so I smelled it and saw the closed door at the same time.

And what did I do first, you ask? Why, I called Johnny!

"Johnny!" I said. "You closed the bathroom door and now the cat has pooed somewhere and I'm going to have to tear this house apart to find it, and then clean it up and put everything back exactly where it was! Who knows how long that could take? And what if I don't find it!?"

"I'm sorry, hon," he said. "I didn't know."

"No, I know you didn't know. And at least you saved her from drowning."

"Want me to come in and help?"

"No, by the time you get here I'll have found it, hopefully. Jesus. Hopefully."

The best way to do this, I figured, was methodically. So I tore apart the kitchen first -- fewer places to hide, easier to clean up. The kitchen is really just a corner of the living room and, needless to say, it wasn't there. This Damn Cat knows which side her bread is buttered on, and she certainly knows better than to shit where she eats. (How do you like that idiom twofer? Pow!).

I moved on to the lving room, and then the corner of it that serves as an office. Moved everything, sniffed everything, shook everything, put it all away. Like Yukon Cornelius, though, I kept coming up nothing (but at least I wasn't dumb enough to taste my searching tools). I already knew it wasn't in the hallway, since the hallway hasn't anywhere to hide, so from the office I went directly to the bedroom.

And there it was. In a little pile. Smack-dab in the middle of the bedroom's berber rug.

You know, maybe the best way to do this would have been to walk through the whole house first, and then begin searching methodically.

So I picked it up with a little baggie, and I scrubbed the carpet with vinegar and a rag. I think it's clean. I'll know for sure when I go back tomorrow and it's had a chance to dry. Unfortunately, if it isn't, and I have to try again, it won't have a chance to dry again before My Lady gets home. This is not the part that disturbs me, however, because I know the smell is gone and if there is a stain then I'll just tell her it was puke and come back with Resolve.

No, the part that disturbs me is that, even after I found the poo and picked it up, I did search the bedroom, and then I searched the kitchen and the living room again. Nowhere -- despite the fact that the Damn Cat had been alone in the apartment for about twenty-six hours -- nowhere did I find a trace of pee.

Oh...my...God.

(I am dead)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ten Things You'll Hate About Me

I got tagged to do this list, and I was supposed to do it on Wednesday so I'm really, really, really trying to get it in under the wire. It's supposed to be just Ten Things About Me, but I've been so open (some might say indiscreet) on this blog, a lot of you already know a lot of things.

So I've tried to come up with ten things I've never mentioned. I could be wrong. If it turns out I have mentioned any of these ten things before, well, then, please point it out and I'll make up a new one!

I mean come up with a new one. Not make up. These ten things are all true, I swear to god.

10. When I was in high school, I won a state-wide award for bread-making. I went to Chicago and had a tour of the Fleischman's Factory. No matter what I do, however, I cannot make a decent loaf in the goddamn bread machine, so Johnny thinks I made this story up, and if bread is going to be made in this house sans machine, he insists that he make it. I love him, but Johnny is just not very good at from-scratch bread. He rocks on the machine, though.

9. The number of people I have slept with is more than are allowed on the field at any one time, fewer than are allowed on the roster. That is all I'm saying. You pick the sport that would make you feel most comfortable with this information. (Not tennis.) (Or golf.)

8. When I didn't eat meat for twelve years, I secretly, sometimes, ate bacon.

7. I walk hard. Really hard. Like, that movie that was called that could have been written about me, if it had had a different plotline altogether. My heels hit the floor and shake the house. People call me Storm Trooper. I have been getting comments on this as long as I remember, yet I do not understand how a person is supposed to walk any differently. Johnny thinks this might be why my back hurts.

6. When in doubt, I always choose yes. Because if you choose no, the question will always still be out there, really.

5. I really, honestly, genuinely never wanted to buy a house. I still think it was a really bad idea. And there isn't anything I imagine could happen that would change my mind. (Maybe I have referred to something along these lines before.)

4. I recently found out there's a healthy chance we've been committing tax fraud due to ignorance for the past two years. I believe this does not matter, because said possible fraud involves property we own in another country, to which we can always flee if necessary.

3. Speaking of which -- ooh, nobody knows this one (sorry, family): we have started to begin preliminary hypothetical discussions regarding the conceivable likelihood of considering possible necessary fleeing should a certain Republican candidate emerge victorious in November. Seriously. Anybody want to buy a house?

2. I've been writing on my shower-walls lately. That is not a double-entendre. I mentioned to One Friend that inspiration tends to hit when I'm in the one place where I am powerless to catch it, and she mentioned that when she used to do underwater marine research they wrote in pencil on PVC tablets. My shower is made of PVC, and I own a pencil, so voila:



(In case you can make any of it out, I would like to clarify that in the middle it says "I am a shareholder," not "I am a slaveholder." Though you'd be forgiven for making the mistake. I've made the mistake myself, and I wrote it. About me.)

And finally, what is the thing I've decided deserves to be number one on this list of Things About Me? What could possibly top leaving the country, bread awards, and bacon? Well....

Hm....

Um....

Oh! Okay!

1. Until last night, when I watched the last five minutes of VH1's "Top Songs of the '90s," in which it clocked in at number one (oh god, you're going to hate me when I admit this) I had never (jeez, I already told you about the nirvana of a job that I held throughout the 90s, didn't I?) heard the song (oh man, is it too late to say nevermind?) "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

WAIT! I've also never seen hail in real life! Or been to Taco Bell! Or stood on my head in a rainstorm reciting the lyrics to "Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie"!

Oh, okay.

Fine.

Whatever.

Go to town.

Would You Rather...

...be able to read everyone's mind all the time, or always know their future?


This is a toughie. Hearing all the thoughts that swirl around could surely drive a girl insane pretty darn quick. All those accents, first of all! And the setting everything to a little tune. Not to mention the insecurities and the psychotic ramblings, and the random, never-to-be-fulfilled, spontaneous desires -- whether of the jumping-on-a-stranger or -in-front-of-a-bus variety...

As if it didn't go without saying at this point, my own thoughts keep me plenty busy, thanks.

On the other hand (and here is where my occasional and shocking altruism rears its inconvenient head), if I had to see  what lay in store for every single person I ran into, I'd feel obliged to become some sort of superhero/preacher on constant spoiler alert -- warning strangers of the consequences of their every minute decision:

"You don't want eat that supermarket sushi!"

"Take the bus today, just trust me!"

"He has CRABS!"

(Yes, that last one I probably would holler at those decibels. I've never had crabs, myself, but I almost did. And, as a preventive measure, I took the cure. It ain't no fun, I tell you what. So if I were a superhero I think I'd make crabby (becrabbed?) people my bete noire.)

Anyhoo, it's also true that, in seeing people's futures, you might get to see some things that are good. Prizes won, professional success, certain hated houses burning down, the births of lots of babies (if you like that sort of thing, or the non-births of lots of no-babies if you don't) -- maybe just a really good night's sleep for a change, or that long-awaited, elusive, healthy poo. These are all good tidings, tidings I'd be thrilled to be the bearer of.

Although, when they say you'd "know" their future, do you suppose that means you'd actually see it? Hm...

Because those last few tidings that I listed, I'm really not so sure I'd want to watch.

You're up! What would you rather do?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hollywood, Schmollywood

Emmies! We won Emmies!

Oh no, wait. No, we didn't. So how exactly does the local news manage to put a Townville dateline on this story?

Record 13 Emmy wins for ‘John Adams’

By Robert Aicardi

Mon Sep 22, 2008, 03:52 PM EDT

Weymouth -
“John Adams,” HBO’s seven-part miniseries about the Braintree native who became the first vice president and second president of the United States, won a record 13 of the 23 Emmy awards for which it was nominated, including five that were handed out during a prime time Sept. 21 ceremony on ABC.... etc. etc.


Well, let's see: Abigail Adams was born here, and the Abigail Adams Historical Society is based here, so if you interview its vice president (in paragraphs seven through ten of a thirteen-paragraph article) then apparently that qualifies.

So what does this local expert have to say? What insights can she, with her inside expertise, provide regarding this historic miniseries and the occasion of its historic sweep? Can she, for example, explain why Tom Hanks thinks he has to run up on stage first and hog the microphone every single time he's involved in any big group anything?

Well, no. No, she can't. We'll just have to keep assuming it has something to do with shame still lingering from Turner & Hooch. But here are a few choice examples of her oh-so-obviously Townville-tied reaction:

On the series in general: "People who aren’t history buffs may have found the pacing a little slow and thought that there wasn’t enough action, but what I liked was that the story wasn't sugarcoated."

For the Emmy-winning Giammatti: "I’ve seen him in comedies, and I think he did an excellent job."

And finally, for the pair: "Sometimes in a movie, an actor and an actress don’t quite click as a couple, but they (Giamatti and Linney) clicked as a couple."

Now, I happen to be two degrees from Giamatti -- someone I know went to high school with him -- so I think it behooves me to see if I can't pass this woman's name along. After all, whoever he's got doing his publicity for him, they can't possibly top the skill of a woman who, when the article goes on to talk about the Adams homestead over the bridge in Quincy, doesn't manage to say Word One about the Abigail Birthplace museum here in Town. Man, you just can't buy that kind of press!

Ah well. Elsewhere on the local news site they're still debating about whether or not there ever was a pee-pee cake, even thought the ex-police chief who allegedly delivered it has since undergone bypass surgery in an attempt to change the subject.

Maybe someday, they'll make a miniseries about that.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Just Another Manic Monday

I had a whole other Music Monday post planned for today, but I'll put it up next week. Because somebody sent me this, which -- even if I am late to the game -- it truly must be shared.

For those of you at work who can't play videos, I'm going to have to insist that you log on when you get home. I laughed, I cried.

Well, I laughed until I cried, which is really, after all, the better way to go about things.

Please enjoy! Or Ernie & Bert'll pop a cap in your ass!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I Did It!

 I have been very busy this weekend, putting the finishing touches on something that I can't even begin to talk about, but I can tell you I got it done!

Now comes phase two, which will take twice as long and be at least three times as much work -- but hopefully, when it is finished, I'll be able to tell you what it is.

In the meantime, since I seem to be Jinxy Julia these days, all I'll say about today's matchup is this:

 
(Oh, and that I stole -- and modified -- this image from here)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

For the Record...

I did not do this...


That crack was in that glass when I opened up the cabinet.

I may have come damn close to dropping it and smashing it when trying to take the picture, but that is neither here nor there.

Yours Truly,


Destructo

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Take A Long Draw on the Skull Bong and Recant the Tale of the Master... Part 2.

Some time ago, never mind how long precisely (okay, it was July 18) I wrote a post about all the jobs I'd ever held, and I gave it this same title. I said the title had come from one of those jobs and dared people to guess which one, and then I completely forgot to ever give the answer.
I know, I know. So unlike me. I'm the master of the details and organizisation these days, amn't I?

The thing is, only three people guessed answers -- and two of those guesses didn't come in for three days after I put the post up, so I didn't think anybody really cared. But today I got an email from that one person who placed her guess on the the same day, and she's fed up with waiting for an answer.

The other thing is, one of those two late people got it right, only she seems not to know it, and she freakin' worked there!

Here's the story:

*          *         *

The summer camp I worked at throughout all my teenage years was a horse camp. We had eighty stalls -- twenty for staff and sixty for campers. Kids brought their horses with them and, instead of learning regular camp things like archery and gods' eyes, we had classes like dressage and fit and show.

We had counselors like any other camp, then we also had instructors who came in just for the day, and then we also had a Barn Manager and her (it was always a her) Assistant. They lived in a small shack called The Shack down by the stables, and it was their job basically for one of them to be there 24 hours a day. They also had real responsibilities -- checking in every horse and verifying paperwork, arranging for necessary ferriers and things, running stall inspections every morning, and organizing the horse show we held each Friday, rain or shine -- but really, to us, their most important job was Being Cool.

For most of the years I worked there, the Barn Manager was a girl named Cathy Barry. I just googled her, and apparently there is a British porn star who shares her name. That isn't her. Our Cathy Barry was The Shit. Frizzy brown hair; sturdy, mannish legs and hands; freckles all over her moon-shaped face; and a voice like Joe Pesci's would have been if he were ever a 20-year-old girl. She smoked Marlboro Reds by the carton, drank White Russians every night, went to UMaine Orono, drove a 1973 Cadillac Fleetwood that used to be a hearse, and slept with the cutest, nicest boy in the entire camp. He was three years younger than her -- which is a bigger deal at 20 than it can be at 39 -- but she didn't care. Picked him out of the lineup much the same way Angelina Jolie chose Brad Pitt: "I'll take that, thank you very much." And he went along with her the same way, too: a bit stunned to be chosen, but thrilled pantsless nonetheless.

We all wanted to be Cathy Barry.

The summer of 1988, Cathy Barry (I'm sorry, but I can't talk about her without using her last name; it's like a regal thing) brought a video with her that she'd taped off HBO. It was called "Mr. Miller Goes to Washington," and it was the stand-up performance that was eventually released as Dennis Miller's Off-White Album. This was before Mr. Miller went conservative. Before he had a talk show, before he got his ass kicked trying to do color on Monday Night Football, before we knew him as anything other than the smart-ass newscaster on Saturday Night Live. Cathy Barry had decided this performance was the funniest thing going, and so of course we all decided it was, too.

Which was helped enormously by the fact it really was.

We memorized the entire 55-minute performance, and quoted parts of it back to each other in daily conversation. "Loosen up, Mummenschanz. Get a limbo stick!" "How do I know ... that the color blue to you ... is the same ... as the color blue to me?" "Get right up to the precipice, pivot, and jeté back to coolsville."

If you know Miller's comedy at all (or if you were paying attention with those excerpts quoted above), you know that it is full of cultural references and vocabulary words that even the most dedicated fans don't always know. I still learn about things sometimes and think Oh! So that is what he was talking about there!

Anyway, I swear this title came from that video, but I've been googling for hours now and I can't verify. He did a bit about getting high and watching Star Trek and trying to guess which white dot was going to turn into the Enterprise. That, somehow, led into a thing about Kung Fu, and in the middle of that he described how he and his friends would "take a long draw on the skull bong and recant the tale of the master."

At least, I think he did.

Though we'd have to ask Cathy Barry to know for sure.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

If You Went To Jail, They'd Make You Sell the Buick, Anyway.

Hey kids!

It's Would You Rather Wednesday!!!!

Yay!!!!


What does that mean? Well, Jimmy, it means I ask a question from my magic box, and all the boys and girls get to take turns giving us their answers!


Oh don't you worry, little Georgie, there aren't any wrong answers in this game!

Sound like fun? Yes? Yay! Let's play!

Now sssshhhhh... Gather 'round and listen close...


The category is Appearance/Embarrassment, and the question is: Would you rather...

Meet your greatest heroes and vomit on them -- OR -- in trying to meet them, be arrested and publicly accused of stalking?

Okay, here's the thing. First of all, most of my heroes are dead, so der. Obviously, I would totally rather puke on a dead guy than get accused of stalking one.

Right, Joe?
Secondly, any of my heroes who are actually alive, I probably have already ralphed on 'em at one point or another.

Right, One Friend?
Yeesh!

But okay. If there were an alive hero-person I could think of whom I hadn't already blown chunks at, then I guess I would rather show them the old technicolor yawn than get arrested and publicly ridiculed for mooning after a b-list celebrity like some defrocked Catholic priest.

Right, Father?
Besides, something tells me my alive-hero-person might just worship the porcelain goddess occasionally his own self.



Right?




Whoops, I forgot to say: Now you're up! What would you rather do?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

All I Need's a Stabby Little Straw

Yes, I know it's Tuesday, and I know I'm supposed to write about Townville on Tuesdays, but I just spent a half an hour stuck on the g-d bridge behind a Ted Turner look alike with a McCain/Palin bumper sticker on his big black Escalade -- which he, incidentally, left idling the entire time, presumably so he could run the air conditioning in 70-degree weather and listen to Rush Libaugh snort oxycontin and talk loofahs with Bill O'Reilly.

So you'll forgive me if I don't feel terribly tenderly towards Townville today.

Instead (and apropos of nothing, I swear to god), I've decided to present The Complete List of Insults I've Invented.

Which are two.

1. crap-packet: an utterly useless person; a corporeal being functioning solely as a physical delivery system for... well, you know
Viz. Rush Limbaugh
"I just spent a half an hour stuck on the g-d bridge behind a total crap-packet"

I made this one up a couple years ago, and unfortunately I don't remember the exact coinage anymore. This is the first time I've seen it written down, though, and I have to say: I'm not sure how I feel about the hyphen. Honestly, I'd much rather do without it, but then I'm afraid the eye would read those two p's as a single consonant sound -- crapacket -- which is not how it's supposed to go at all.

I don't actually use it all that often because, although I know it will shock you to hear me admit as much, I am charitable enough to think that most people are not 100% useless. I mean, hell, I just got two halfway-decent jokes out of Rush Limbaugh in the span of 60 words, so even he probably doesn't fit the definition anymore.

Viz. Sarah Palin?

2. juice-box: um... I'm not sure exactly what this one means.
Viz. The guy who cut me off in traffic.
"Oh, now what does this juicebox thinks he's doing?"

I just made this one up the other day, so I really am not sure what it means. (I do know that I'm okay either way on the hyphenation thing, though, as you can see by the way I'm playing loosey-goosey with it.) Maybe it means something along the same lines as the first one, if I thought about it. But I didn't. It just came out of my mouth -- and I was all alone in Chuck (TFT) at the time. I was so tickled by it that it made me lose my road rage, and I called my One Friend when I got home to let her in on just how gosh darn clever I could be.

You want to know what her response was? After she laughed at me, I mean, for being so ridiculously elated with myself?

"You didn't make that up," she said. "It's already a word."

Have you ever?

"Yes I know it's already a word," I sighed, "but...

"Oh, never mind."

Juice boxes.

Everywhere.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Walk the Line

Is there anybody out there (besides me) who's a little bit pissed that everyone loves Johnny Cash now?

I mean, I'm glad folks are getting their due -- and of course I'm happy when folks like Johnny C. get theirs before they croak it -- but sometimes, man, sometimes that song was mine, and I'm browned off to have to share.

I drive down the street, and "Boy Named Sue" comes randomly on my car radio, and I crank it, and I realize that I'm listening to MikeFM (which I don't hate, by the way), and I know I'm no longer the only one on the road who knows this freaking song.

And I do, you understand, realize that I wasn't the only person who knew the song before this happened. Just I -- we -- were usually the only ones who might have been playing it in the car at 10:00 in the morning. It used to be we could exchange a secret nod between cars at a stop light. And now every girl cranking Rihanna from her PT Cruiser in the next lane gives a little "Hey now" to the rebel yell from the man in black.

Yack.

So, obviously, I'm shy to share things I think are good. But I don't pretend to think this little blog has any influence on anything. And I've been listening to an album this weekend that I don't understand why nobody knows about. They ought to.

This:


I spent the '90s learning and reading and interviewing musicians about what it was like to hear things like the White Album and Astral Weeks and Highway 61 and Big Pink and White Light/White Heat and Red-Headed Stranger for the first time. When they were new. Before they were classics. When it shocked your ears to experience such sounds.

This album rocked me then. And it still does.

That's all I'm saying.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Whoa, Back Up!

This...

...is not such a terrible thing to have to look at for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon:

Hubba hubba! What bushel have you been hiding your light under all this time?

We'll see how it goes today. The money isn't on those boys to win against the brand-new Jets and their slightly aged pilot, but if #16 at least keeps his head and puts on decent show, I might just go ahead and buy the t-shirt.

(For the record: I'm kidding. I never did buy #12 -- or even #54, for that matter. Too popular. Too following the crowd. The only team jersey I have is that fella on the left there. And what that says about me is that I may be indecisive at times, I may occasionally waste time jitterbugging while looking for an easier way through, but when the chips are really down, watch out, cuz I will go all Corey Dillon on your ass.)

Update:
Patriots 19;Jets 10

It's a Small, Jackeen World

Johnny just walked into my office (wearing nothing but socks and jocks, I might add, which is all he's had on all day today. It's not pretty. The socks are green.) and he asked me a question:

"Erin," he said. "This kid who was in the Youth Club that me & McGuigan did is in this movie I'm watching. Come and see."

Okay, so that's not so much a question.

"You mean he's in the movie?" I said, as I got up to follow. "Or it's about him?"

"No, it's the actual kid. He's a lot younger than us. He was in the club when we were running it. I think it's called Once? They said it won the Oscar?"

Fuck me.

Sure enough, it is called Once, and it did win the Oscar.

You know how it used to be a standard bad joke to ask every black person if he or she knew Sammy Davis or Muhammed Ali? Well, it's a pretty safe bet, I'm learning, to ask Johnny if he knows this or that famous Dubliner. Especially if they're involved in the arts, or grew up poor.

Not Colin Farrell, though, I've asked him. Because Farrell grew up on the NorthSide of Dublin and Johnny and all his mates grew up on the South. Which makes Colin Farrell the Andrew McCarthy to Johnny's Ducky in a Dublin version of Pretty in Pink.

Which has nothing to do with why neither of us think he ought to be let play Brendan Behan, which the Boston Globe recently reported he's slated to do.




There isn't enough makeup in the world.

P.S. Johnny never knew Brendan Behan, either; because Johnny was only 4 years old when Behan died. But Johnny's father knew him.

And that's a story for another day

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Little Souvenir From the Old Home Town

We had been in the AssVac for one year, almost exactly, when Johnny went home to Dublin for a visit and came back with the news that his nephew would be coming over in a month.

“To visit?”

“No. To live.”

Huh.

“With us?”

“Naturally.”

Naturally. Huh. I bet, in some houses, both people get to decide these kinds of things.

But no matter. I’d met Damien when I’d gone to Dublin in 1997. I liked Damien. He was a bouncer at a nightclub then – which is saying something, because he’s no bigger than Johnny – and he’d shown me a pair of scars he received when he stopped a guy from stabbing him the face by blocking the knife and letting it go clear through his forearm. Damien was tough, but he was also artistic and sensitive. We have a Celtic Monk on our mantlepiece that he carved and gave to Johnny, and that we’ve displayed in every house we’ve ever lived in. See?


Pretty neat. Huh?

So I liked Damien, and I liked the idea that he’d be coming here and getting away from the rough-and-tumble world that had a tendency to put big scary knives through arms and things. But then again, there are seven surviving siblings in Johnny’s family, plus another one or two who survived long enough to reproduce. It's possible there was another nephew kicking around whom I had not yet met.

“We are talking about Damien, right?” I asked, to clarify.

“Nope,” said Johnny. “We’re talking about John Conroy.”

Huh? Johnny is John Conroy. And he, I might add, already lives here. What is he saying? And since when did we start talking about ourselves in third person?

He must have seen the confusion on my face, because at that point he added: “Martin’s son.”

Oh. Martin’s son.

I’d never heard of this John Conroy before, but I knew Martin. Marty. Also (affectionately) known as “the feckin eejit.” Marty is Johnny next-oldest brother, but for all intents and purposes he’s really the youngest. Johnny’s da died when Johnny was three months old, after which baby Johnny was sent away to be cared for by an aunt and uncle (I used to think he went to the nuns, but recently discovered that I made that detail up). By the time Johnny came home, at 4 years old, Marty, by then nearly 6, was firmly ensconced in his place as the baby and to this day he’s not given it up. As long as Josie (their mother) lived, he was his Mama’s boy, and therefore when they were little he was the one the rest of them beat up (once, memorably, hog-tied and ball-gagged and hung from a hook on the back of the bedroom door). He knocked up a girl when he was nineteen and married her, but after twelve years they got divorced, at which point he moved back into Josie’s house and never left. He lives there still, in fact, though Josie’s gone now and Johnny and I technically own the house, but at the time we’re talking about she was alive and not entirely well, he was providing for her comfort and care.

This nephew John Conroy is not that knocked-up baby. He was the second child of that fated union, and he was – I only recently found out – named for my John.

“Ahem:

“Johnny!”

Sorry. Named after my Johnny.

So anyway, apparently this other John Conroy was coming over to live with us. Apparently he was in some unspecified trouble of his own, and Johnny had determined that the best thing for him was to put an ocean between himself and whatever it was. He would come here, live with us and work illegally for a friend of ours, until he could get his proper paperwork and go legit.

Huh.

I mean, it’s not like I'd have said no. He is family, after all, and you do these things for family. But it surely would have been nice to have been asked.

I didn’t go to collect him at the airport. I don’t remember why, but I think I was in bed when the two of them came home. I was sleeping then in what is now the guest room, and we’d set him up in this room where I’m typing now. Until a couple weeks before, it had been floor-to-ceiling with un-unpacked moving boxes, but I’d carefully moved them all up to the attic one by one. We gave him a dresser and a desk, but all we had to offer by way of bedding was a blow-up mattress, which had a tendency to blow gently down in an hour or two – faster, if you had the audacity to ask it to support your body weight. So John and Johnny’s first order of business on arrival was to blow up and try to patch The Nephew’s bed.

(That’s what I called him, the whole time he was here: The Nephew. Or just Nephew, for short. I tried the first few days to say “John” and “Johnny,” but they both answered to both, and I found “Nephew” to be easier – and much less formal – than using middle names. He, in turn, called me “Auntie,” which made for big fun when we went out drinking, considering that, at 26, he was only ten years younger than I.)

I got out of bed and put some pants on, rubbed my eyes and splashed my face and stumbled into the newly-appointed guest quarters to meet my new roommate and extant kin.

He was not too much taller than Johnny – none of the Conroys are – but had significantly more meat on his bones. Most of which was covered in tattoos. He also had very short hair, bleached blonde at the tips and dark beneath, and small but sturdy hoops in both his ears.

Holy crap, I thought. We’ve adopted ourselves a freaking Dublin club kid.

The biggest tattoo he had – on his left upper shoulder – was in the shape of Superman's crest. He had, he explained, a fascination with Clark Kent’s alter ego in every incarnation. (Except, I figured out, any incarnation that required him to read.) He bought the DVDs of the trilogy and watched them time and again, insisted on commandeering the television when “Smallville” was on, and doodled the logo on any spare scrap (or book) he found. I’m not quite sure what the attraction was for him -- all he'd ever say was "Ah, it's rapper!" (which was, I gathered, jackeen slang for "good") -- but if there are two things I learned from the Nephew’s sojourn at the AssVac, it’s that Richard Pryor must have needed the money pretty badly, and that “Smallville” is not rapper at all.

He did not move here permanently, in the event. He lasted just a half a year, growing gradually more and more homesick all the while. He worked some – he was a mason; he put the tile down for us on the en suite bathroom floor -- but, being a 26-year-old club kid at heart, he didn’t like living so far out from the heart of the city as we are. He didn’t like the bar culture in America, as opposed to the pub culture he was used to from back home. And he didn’t like not getting to see his own niece and nephew on a regular basis as they were learning to walk and talk and crawl.

As he got more homesick, he got more irresponsible. His bedroom stank with dirty laundry and positively fetid shoes. He would fall drunk into the ocean, stumble home wet, and leave his briny outfit in the clothes hamper for weeks on end. I bought him that clothes hamper, because the dirty pile was threatening to take over his room, and I thought a full hamper might give him the impetus to do some laundry. I was wrong. I bought him his own towels, because I couldn’t stand the thought of my ones sharing space with that crawling pile.

He started picking fights with strangers. First in a good-samaritan kind of way – defending the weak and standing up for those he imagined to be oppressed – but eventually he ran out of genuine victims and just started mouthing off in bars. Finally, one night, a couple guys he’d mouthed off to decided to drive home and get themselves a 2x4. They drove back while he was walking home and played a game of mailbox-baseball with his head.

He woke me up when he got home that night – bloody, scraped and swollen – and told me in a slurred voice he was scared. I was not a little bit frightened by the sight of him myself, and I’m not sure if it makes me a bad person to admit I raised my voice. I told him to get the hell out of my bedroom, and waited till he was well out of the doorway before I had the nerve to pass through it myself to go for Johnny.

Johnny scolded me later. He said I could have been a bit more sympathetic to a boy who really, at that moment, just wanted his mum. I know on some level he’s right, but the fact is I am not a mother – let alone his mother – and I simply don’t have those switched-on instincts in me. And when I explained to Johnny what it was like to wake from a sound sleep to the light switched on overhead and a moaning, bleeding, tattooed Nephew standing over me while I lay – naked, half-awake, confused – in my own bed, he understood.

That was the straw – or 2x4, if you will – that broke the camel’s back, along with the Nephew’s head and spirit. Two days later, I got home from work to the sullen announcement that he was going home. He had a reservation, in fact, in a couple hours. I expressed all the proper sorry sentiment and dutifully tried to change his mind, but I can’t honestly say I was unhappy when I failed. I drove him to the airport and I bought him a beer and I gave him a big hug and I said good-bye.

It took me a couple days to get up the nerve to clean his bedroom. I put on rubber gloves and threw away everything of his that I found – not out of spite, but just because there was no cleansing out the stench. There wasn’t much: shoes, DVDs, a random t-shirt or two. I opened the window and sprayed Lysol around, and when I took the TV off the desk, look what I found:


It's lighter now than it was when I found it, because I tried to take it off with rubbing alcohol. I was really mad at first, but it’s not like it defaces a good desk -- it’s just an old, unfinished, barely dorm-room quality hand-me-down. More, I guess, I was appalled at the idea that a presumably grown man would have to be told not to draw pictures on the furniture. I was embarrassed for him that what he chose to draw was a comic book superhero. And I was saddened to see he wrote his home address in the space where Superman's rock-like head’s supposed to be.

The trouble Nephew was running from back home, I later found, was a burgeoning cocaine addiction. I would never have allowed him to come here if I'd known -- which I presume is why nobody told me -- but it appears the AssVac rehab worked. He did not do drugs the whole time he was here, and hasn’t touched them in the three years he’s been home. He did knock up a colleen of his own, though, almost as soon as he touched Irish soil, so Johnny and I are Great-Auntie and -Uncle now (though I supposed we were, already, to Marty's other grandkids and probably to a couple more). He didn’t marry the girl. Times have changed since his da was in the same situation, and there wasn't anyone (including us) who'd hold the shotgun now. But the next year, at least, he was nice enough to knock her up again.

So the Superman logo on my hand-me-down desk does not upset me anymore. Someday I might paint it over, but in the meantime, when I look at it, all I think about is how lucky – and how smart, and strong-willed, and stubborn – my own John Conroy was, to have gotten himself out of the Dublin scene he was born into while he still had the chance.

And to have had the good and common sense to wear a jimmy hat every single time he got his leg over.

Even when, by doing so, he broke the law.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sick-A-Bed: A Prose Poem

I.
When I was little, and probably before that, we had an expression in our house:

"Sick-a-bed and two chairs."

It meant that you were ill enough to be not only confined to your (hopefully well-apportioned) bed, but that the well ones had taken the extra precaution of sliding two chairs along the edges of it , just in case -- in your fevered state -- you should happen to fall out.

(Here's a marginally-related hint: despite their apparent similarities, two chairs do not work as well as conventional bed-gates in restraining a nearly-four-year-old Football Buddy. If you rely on them to do so, you will be woken at ungodly hours by a soft tap on your elbow and the repeated, chanted mantra: "Auntie Erin. Auntie Erin. Auntie Erin.")

II.

When I was not so little, I used to call my parents with the slightest sniffle to announce that I was sick.

"I'm sick," I would announce, and then sit back and let the sympathy wash over.

Eventually, as I aged well into my twenties, this became a sort of joke. I would still call with the announcement, but instead of genuine sympathy and genuine chagrin, we would exchange a mutual sarcastic pity-party.

"I'm sick."

"Oh, poor EGE. Are you going to survive?"

"Yes," heavy sigh, "I suppose so."

III.

At some point, I don't remember when or how or why, I have stopped calling.

Maybe it's because I have someone in my house now who notices and sympathizes when I sniffle.

Usually.

IV.

Someone in my house got a drunken massage from a similarly drunken friend a couple weeks ago, and woke up the next morning with some torn muscles and a couple fractured ribs. It's not the friend's fault. Mostly. Those two ribs had been broken once before and, the way I understand it, broken ribs don't ever really heal. But sneezing? With a factured rib? Hurts lotsly.

So when I started sneezing this time, and wondered aloud why the allergy pills weren't working, Someone In My House was understandably inclined to shy away.

V.

Achoo!

VI.

By the time I realized I was actually sick, I didn't even think to call my mother (and I couldn't call my nana, because she isn't my real nana and besides, she lives in New Zealand and I never know what time it might be there). Mother would have given me sarcasm or sympathy -- and she would have known by the sound of my voice which one I wanted -- but all I really wanted t that point was to be well.

VII.

I am not sick-a-bed and two chairs -- I'm not even sick-a-bed -- but I am, apparently, actually, sick. And I don't have any time this week to be so.

I have recently gotten over my habit of buying cold medicine every time I have a cold. I have recently (and only recently) grown up enough to remember that a person doesn't actually drink an entire bottle of NyQuil in a 4-7 day virus-duration, and it's therefore worth peeking to see what a person (and Someone In Her House) might have in the medicine chest/closet shelf/pile that might make her able to think/work/breathe again.

What's this?

Looks like a baggie of Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold medicine, in Night and Day incarnations. But why is it not in its boxes? And, if I have this, why would a person -- a person who is proud of having gotten over her drug-buying habit -- also be in possession of several incarnations of the generic kind still in its generic boxes?

VIII.

Oh, Holy Good Stuff, Batman!
IX.

That is not an 8, my friends, that is a 3.

This is the shit.

X.

My sister found it in her medicine chest/closet shelf/pile when she tore said closet out to biggerize her bathroom. She -- being normal and afraid to die and everything -- was inclined to throw it out, since it was five years past the expiration date. But she remembered that I'm not so mori memento, and she recalled this post I did about how the new AlkaSeltzer doesn't work as well as the old stuff, and so she called me to ask me did I want it.

Did I?

XI.

That was two days ago. I'm better now, and only ever took one single dose. I've decided to save it up for when it's really necessary. Like that old "The Sponge" episode of Seinfeld, I will from here on out be judging every sniffle: Bad enough? Or not worth wasting The Good Stuff on?

XII.

This started out as a prose poem, but did not end up so much. So here's a quickie for the winners:

Su
Saw the tissue
Where the TP
Supposed to be

Janice
(A.K.A. Nana)'s
Who cottoned the
Sickness of me

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's Been A LOOOONNNNGGGG Time!

I realized (and it was sort of pointed out to me) when I wrote that sad, sad poem the other day, that it has been a long time since I ran a contest around here. Three whole months plus one week, if you can believe it! So I lopped the beginning off the post I planned for today and decided to run it by itself as a miniature quiz/competition.

One Friend and Khurston (and Chris, by extension, just in case) are disqualified, because I've already told them this little bit of information, but for the rest of you... The first person who guesses the correct answer to the following question gets a guaranteed-hysterical poem/photo montage posted right here in their honor sometime this coming weekend.

Aren't you excited? I am!

Ready? Okay!

What can you deduce about me this week (as opposed to last week or, hopefully, next week) from the following photo of my desk?


Think of what you know of me, look at old pictures on the blog if you like, find the difference between this picture and others, and then imagine what reason there could be for such a difference.

So go! Guess! Play!



Oh, and because it's been a long time since this, too (two months! holy crap! no wonder I feel faint!), here's a little something-something to warm the blood on these crisp early autumn morns:

I could make a really foul joke here about clams, but I'll refrain.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Would You Rather...

.. be one of five survivors on Earth -- OR -- be the only earthling on another inhabited planet?


Discuss!

Oh, me?

I'd rather be the only survivor left on Earth. But if you could put the other four unlucky bastards far enough from me -- like on the South Pole or something -- and I get the rest of the whole entire planet to myself, then I'd rather be here with them than on the Death Star with a bunch of ugly, one-eyed, probably telekinetic ooga-boogas.

(No, as a matter of fact, I'm not having a very good week. Not at all. Why do you ask?)

Now you're up -- what would you rather do?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

No Joy In Townville

The outlook sure was brilliant for New England’s team that day;
The record 0-0, a whole season left to play,
And then when Sammy slipped his grip, and Pollard took his aim,
A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

As our hero got up to go, we heard his pain expressed,
And with him went the hope from each and every human breast;
They thought, "It is still football, everybody takes a whack—
We'd put up even money now, with Brady gone, that’s that."

We felt for Matty Cassel, the mood was like a wake,
When he comes in, people go home, but there's too much now at stake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat;
For there seemed but little chance of happy news from Brady’s CAT.

But Matt let drive a bullet, to the wonderment of all,
And Moss, the much despised, got his glue-hands on the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,
There was Randy with a first down and Matt Cassel’s fear deterred.

From sixty thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
And 81 looked to the door, hoping for number twelve;
Alas, the door was empty, they were cheering now for Matt,
Because Brady, mighty Brady, was not going to come back.

There’d been pain in Brady’s countenance as he stepped from his place;
There was pride in Brady’s bearing, but the truth in Brady’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, Randy kept looking back,
No stranger in the crowd could want anything more than that.

Ten million eyes spent hours trolling for the latest dirt.
Five million tongues were wagging on how badly he was hurt.
The papers had to write about the game they played to win,
And wait for news from Foxborough of the condition Brady’s in.

And now theories aplenty came hurtling through the air,
Who would they sign, how would they do, would anyone still care?
Closed-mouthed stood Coach as always, close-knit the team he led—
Until "He ain't okay," admitted Belichick. "That’s it!" the haters said.

From the city, from the people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore;
"Kill him! Kill Bernie Pollard!" shouted some wackos on the web;
And it's likely they'd have killed him had not Sammy kept his head.

With a look of resignation, Morris took the questions on;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade them move along;
He signaled to reporters, as once more the question flew;
“Do you think the hit was dirty?” “Look, I don’t think he meant to.”

“Foul!” cried the boy who'd looked in vain for his best friend
And “Blood!” cried some who didn’t want the dynasty to end.
But Coach is stern and cold, which is just how Coach plays the game,
When he tells us it will be a year till Brady moves the chains.

The cool has fled from Brady’s brow, the teeth are clenched in pain;
He pounds the ground with violence on the tape loop once again.
And now the QB holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Pollard’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
But there is no joy in Townville — mighty Brady's knee went out.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

#!@#%&!#%!!!!!!!!!!

Why do I say these things?!

Stoopid Patriots

I hope they lose.

What? What? I said it. What?

I hope they lose and get it over with, and we can all moan and cry and everybody else can make fun of us, and then they can just get on with the season and forget all about last year. Until the Superbowl, when they can Avenge.

Unfortunately, they're playing Kansas City. So they won't. Lose, I mean.

Oh well, I guess I hope that they do next week.

Except for, well, next week they play the Jets. And I kind of don't hope that they they manage to lose that game.

And the week after that is Miami, and they damn well better not find a way to screw that up.

And the week after that is a bye week, and after that...

Oh man, here we go again!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

More Gross Stuff That Happened To Me

Okay, so um... this happened yesterday:
At least, I think it was yesterday. I mean, shoot, I hope it was just yesterday. I would sure hate to think I slept under that mess for a night or two. Or twelve.

It's cat puke, in case you haven't already figured that part out already (or in case you were thinking I was still in college), and it's all over (and I do mean allllll over) my dry-clean only -- Ralph Lauren, I might add -- down comforter. (It was a gift.)

This happened on a Friday night, and the dry cleaner that does down comforters is all the way in Quincy, which isn't too-too far (I did, for example, just drive roughly that distance in order to purchase my special brand of IPA) but it's right next door to where I park the car for work, so it doesn't make any sense for me to go all the way over there today, when I know damn well they don't actually do the cleaning on the premises and I highly doubt they'll be sending it out till Monday anyway. So the comforter, in that picture as in real life, is on the porch for now, while I decide whether I'm going to bring it in before they close or leave it there and look at it for a while and -- oh, it's just a big old nasty mess.

Suffice to say the cat got yelled at really bad last night, and maybe he got stomp-chased around the house with a cat-puke stained down comforter, and perhaps he was warned to just not be where anyone was going to lays eyes on him for a while.

It's possible that all these things were done to him. By someone. But I'm not saying who.

And then, when that certain Someone told her One Friend what had happened -- told her about the stomping and the comforter and all the shouting -- One Friend might have said "Poor kitty doesn't feel good!"

And when Johnny heard what happened, from I don't know who, he might have said "Could it maybe have something to do with the flea medicine making them sick?"

And then Someone -- I'm not saying who -- felt really, really, bad.

Now, because of the extent of the mess created, I assumed it was Dodo who threw up. See, he's had a bit of a drinking problem lately. He'd always been a bit of an emotional eater but, what with the diet he's been on for the past couple months, his food dish is empty these days more often than it's full. So when he goes now to drown his sorrows (or relieve his boredom, or redirect his anxiety, or any of the thousand other things that folks like him (and, not by any stretch of the imagination, me) try to get food to do) he's been turning to the water dish to fill his empty soul.

Poor kitty. Doesn't feel good. And Some mean Body yelled at him.

Anyway, I cried a little bit for the terrible person that I've turned out to be (I mean, Somebody; I cried for the terribly humanity of Someone), and then I opened up a can of Starkist Chunk Light so as to spread a little Tuna Juicy Love. I put his wee glass dish under the kitchen table where he always gets his juice, and then I ... well... Then I could not seem to find Girl Cat to give her hers.

And I couldn't find her.

And I couldn't find her.

I looked in the attic, in the basement, under all the beds and chairs. I looked on the porch, in the laundry room, even out under the front-door stairs. I called Johnny and asked if he had left the doors open at all today. He said he hadn't. I did not believe him (because I am a Terrible Human), but I decided not to pick a fight. Then I looked in all those spots again. With a flashlight, this time.

And I couldn't find her.

So I gave a half-hearted search of the dark spider-yard, then walked around the house moaning and crying and waving a flashlight at every dark corner. Behind doors, under dressers, up against cases of empty bottles and cans. And I thought to myself: so this is how it ends. Fourteen years, three apartments (five, if you count when they stayed with my brother and my sister when Johnny and I were gallavanting off in Europe). plus the AssVac. And now one unacknowledged open door... and poof.

This isn't the first time I've been through this. Once, when they were three years old, I threw the boy away. He'd crawled into an empty box, and I dragged him right out with the trash. This was when I lived in the South End of Boston, and this was in February, but when I noticed him missing and remembered about the box and ran outside in my underpants, he was still there. Curled up at the bottom of the box and sleeping, like the idiot he was then and still is. I cried and laughed when I found him, and to this day shudder when I think about the fate he would have suffered in the morning.

He's pulled that sort of shit a few more times over the years, but sister's really not a run-awayer. Leave a door open, she tends to shrink back to the opposite wall and scamper. When he escapes, he always turns up behind the shurbs or under the porch or something, but if she got out and something spooked her -- which something surely would have in the hours since I last knew for sure that she was here -- then she'd be gone.

Or ... what if she was here? What if she was here, and she was the one that's sick, and she had crawled into some small dark corner to feel sorry for herself? Or to simply (gulp) just up and die?

"Sister! Oh, Sister! I need you to show your face! Mommy needs to know that you're okay!" I'm not embarrassed to admit it, I was really crying now. I started overturning mop buckets and picking up old pillows. I was looking in the pot cupboards and opening the showers. Finally, in desperation, I embarked upon the full-house sweep again.

And then I found her.

Under the bed in the guest bedroom, the very first place that I'd looked. And the sixth, and the fourteenth, and the twenty-seventh, and the seventy-third. There is no way I could have missed her there all those many times I looked, which means she'd been one step ahead of me the whole entire fucking time. I didn't care. I was so happy to see her that all by myself -- with my bad back and my tennis-elbow -- I shoved the king-sized bed out from the wall so I could get at her to give her a I'm-so-glad-that-you're-still-here-with-me squeeze. But when I moved the bed she ran, scared to death, out of the guest room, through the dining and living rooms, and out onto the porch.

Well, at least it's an enclosed porch. And the outside door was closed.

Johnny got home about twenty minutes later. He found me snuggling with the boy cat on the bed. I asked him if he'd go fetch Sister for me, and he did. He came back in the bedroom holding her awkwardly in his arms, her looking pissed off at everything in the universe but him. After a minute of examination we determined she was fine, physically speaking. Though she refused to eat her tuna-juice out of pure spite.

So anyway, I washed the sheets of cat puke, but I did not entirely make up the total bed. It was late, I was lazy, so I just put the bottom sheet on and slept covered in a lightweight blanket -- which, to be perfectly honest, is probably how it will stay till the down comforter gets back from the dry cleaners.

And then, this afternoon, there was a little note left for me on the naked bottom sheet from sister:

Then, in case I hadn't got the message, she left a little PS on my pillow:

Need a close-up? Okay, I'll show you:

Fog!

I know these are her footprints because she's the only one who walks across the headboard. I still do think it was him what sicked all over, and I believe she was just hiding (and footprinting) because she's pissed-off that I yelled. Which is funny, because she loves to yell at him -- and hit him, which I expressly didn't do.

Him, though? He doesn't care.
Whuh? Wud'd I do? Wha happened?
See?

Friday, September 5, 2008

What's Good For the Goose

Just to be clear:

This is not what sexism looks like in America today...

This is:
Because if you think this photo-op would have ever even been considered:
You are wrong.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Arr! Ack! No! Part 2: The Return...

Why is Johnny never here when these things happen?
And oh holy shit, by the way, are those eyeballs on the top there? Or grabby jaws? Or little fists? Whatever they are, I didn't notice them until I saw this picture. Which is a good thing. Because otherwise I would never have found the gumption to do this:

Well, what? You didn't think I was going to touch the thing directly, did you? No freakin' way! Not even directly with a wad of toilet paper, and especially not wedged into that crack the way it was. What if it jumped, for god's sake? I could have broken my neck! (You know, with the twitching and the screaming and the slipping and the falling?). In fact, I did briefly consider leaving it like this:

But then I remembered that that's the shower there, and it gets wet, and if there's one thing I remember from my years at summer camp, it's that wadded-up balls of wetted toilet paper stick like glue. Forever. So I screwed up all my courage and did this:

Ha! Ya bastard! Now who'll have the nerve to tell me I need to clean the crack around my shower? Seriously, if anyone out there could tell me how to clean that crack, I'd love to do it. In the meantime, you should all just count your blessings that I managed to crop the following pictures carefully enough so as to hide the ring of crud I somehow failed to notice accumulating around the edges of my toilet bowl:

Ha ha, I say again! Look at him, bleeding all over the place. Hm, though, do you think I might have used a bit more toilet paper?

Ha ha ha! Uh oh...


How did that happen? Oh no!

That's it. From here on out I'm peeing with my pants on. At least until the snow falls, anyway.

And even that I'm only doing when Johnny is freakin' home.


Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to twitch, scream and fall down...