It's not about the house.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Oh, Balls

I so started to write my poem for today.

I was writing, and working, and listening for the knock at the door and handing children candy.

And then I ran out of candy.

And then I ran out for candy.

And then I turned my ankle.

And then I broke.

I couldn't finish the poem, because I hurt too bad. I think I am not actually broken-broken, I think I am just sprained. Or, actually, I think I'm torn. I'll know more tomorrow. I'll let you know.

Oh, except, for those of you who might expect to be let know more personally -- you won't be.

Because, see, I called (or, actually, Johnny called, because I was a bit distraught) Lady #1 to tell her she would not be seeing me at work tomorrow (and she was very understanding, as she always is), but when we dialled the number to call Lady #2, the phone line broke.

I heard her -- I can hear all of you -- but you can't hear me.

And Comcast doesn't give a poop.

They say they can't get here till Friday.

So if anybody out there sees my Lady #2, please tell her that I'm broken. I'd be there if I could.

Yes, I know, I have a cell phone now. I left it at my Dad's last weekend. So?

Rare and Radiant

As soon as I got back from dropping Johnny to work yesterday, I realized 60 degrees was nowhere near toasty enough. And since it was already October 30th for crying out loud, I went ahead and programmed the thermostat to 65 degrees all day. 60 at night.

The real impetus behind the switcharoo was that I was going to work out, which necessarily involves taking off most of my clothes. Brr! I may (sometimes) be thrifty but I’m not (always) dumb.

So I put the heat up and, while I waited for it to come on, started my workout in a hooded sweatshirt -- with the hood up -- and flannel pyjama bots (mine, honestly, is not the most strenuous of workouts). I wasn’t halfway through (about twenty minutes – I told you: not so strenuous) before it was warm in there and, even without the flannel, I was sweating.

Twenty minutes! My bedroom! It has not been warm in there in twenty years! Or, okay, I exaggerate. I have no idea how long it’s been since it’s been warm in there. Certainly not since Johnny and I moved in, and at least a couple rotten years before.

See, these radiators (two in the bed, one in the hall) are the last three on the circuit. The previous owner shut them off because the room was rotting and dying anyway: why heat the fucker?

We gutted and bleached and scrubbed and built and plumbed and wired and boarded and plastered and floored, and Johnny wire-brushed and primed the radiators, painted them white and put them back on. One had to be moved to make way for a door, another had to go in at a funny angle because the room didn’t used to have baseboards in it and now it would no longer line up with its pipe, but they were finally in and on and finally working.


Okay, well, two out of three ain’t bad.

I want heat, I need heat, but there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna get heat…

I was so sad.

We tried everything, asked everyone. Went around the house fiddling with all the little knobs and dials on all the other radiators. Got new knobs and dials installed on all of them when that didn’t work. Tried to get the system bled, only to learn that you don’t have to bleed steam systems, just hot water. It was even suggested to us (by someone who obviously misunderstood the whole barefoot-in-a-parking-lot phenomenon) that painting the radiators white had caused the problem.

Nothing worked. And it was bad enough that it took almost three hours to get heat in the main part of the house, but we had to crank it up to 90 and leave it there all day to get anything to happen in my bedroom. Which I wouldn’t do. And so I froze.

I slept with my head under the covers, which suffocates me so I would stick out just my nose. I'd fold the king-sized down-comforter in half so it would be like having two. The blanket, also. Sometimes the sheet. And still I’d wake up unable to feel my poor proboscis but, in some sort of sick cosmic tradeoff, perfectly able to see my breath. For three years.

Okay, two. But still.

Common sense (well, my common sense -- which, I must admit, is embarrassingly common) told us this was normal and there was nothing to be done. The thermostat was in the dining room: it had no way of knowing how cold it was out back. Even the interweb said three hours for steam heat was normal: set your thermostat for 3:00 a.m if you want it to be warm when you wake up. And be glad when you're dead you bastard, you.

I had a space heater, but only used it if I was afraid the pipes in the en suite would freeze. I couldn’t stand how much it cost to run. Especially considering that we were already burning $500 worth of oil every month to not-heat the place. I considered – actually, I planned on – getting a gas fireplace installed back there. Someday. When we could afford it. Ha.

When the suit came from the plumbing company that Keyspan sent in June, I explained to him how it never got warm out there. How it, in fact, got so very cold. He said to fiddle with the knobs and dials. He did price the bedroom gas line for us, in the event, but not separately. He lumped it in. With that $6000 figure, which we told him to cram up his you-know-what.

Well, no we didn’t. But you do know what. And you know about the summer-long ordeal with Keyspan and the Kid and everything. So anyway here we are back to yesterday and me turning on the heat and the warm, warm, warmness in my room at last!

Everyone was wrong! The internets and plumbers and suits and everybody! What we’d been going through was not normal at all! It was just a gunked-up furnace, burning oil and not heating any steam! For $500 every month! For three years! Really, this time! But now that the boiler had been replaced, steam was flowing freely through the system at long last, like it was supposed to have been doing all along!


And then, when I got home from work, there was a big-ass puddle in the hall.

Apparently when steam flows freely, you have to be absolutely sure your radiators don’t have any holes.

I put a drip-pan under the leak for now. I plan on dealing with it properly next year. When I can afford it.


If you're still reading, let's have a POEM CONTEST:
Why'd I choose this title, on today of all possible days?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I Turned the Heat On. So?

I used to pretend to try not to touch the thermostat until Thanksgiving, but I never once managed to make it. So I finally admitted the whole thing was a big fat lie, and a couple years ago moved the official cutoff date up to November 1st.

Still, we’re usually the last people I know to put it on. If we go over to other people’s houses, they’re all snuggy warm in October, like a twenty-first century person ought to be. Even my parents, the ones who taught me this whole New England Thrift thing in the first place, had their heat going this week when I was there. But then again, my parent’s never paid three bucks a gallon for heating oil (neither did I – I'm exaggerating for effect. Have we not met?).

But when I say “we’re usually the last people,” I really should say “I’m the last person.” Because Johnny does not subscribe. The minute I leave the house, if he’s home, that sucker goes up to 67 and stays there till I get back.

And I’m lucky if he only cranks it up to 67. Johnny is of the belief that the colder it is in the house to begin with, the hotter you have to set the thermostat for it to do any good. If he wakes up shivering, he’s liable to crank the damn thing up to 95. And then go out. When I get home six hours later I’ve been known to open windows in January just to cool the damn place down. And thank god we don’t have a tankless water heater anymore – which also, in Johnny World, required cranking the thermostat up to 95 just to get a decent shower. Always worked just fine for me, though. Go figure.

So I program the thermostat to all these random hours staggered throughout the day, set specifically to turn the heat back down if (when) he cranks it up. Most people have theirs set to go on in the morning and off at night – maybe one extra boost before they get home from work. Me, I’ve got mine set for 60 degrees at 4:30 a.m., 8:00, 1:45 p.m., 4:15, 7:45 and 10:00. Johnny’s usually asleep by 10:00. Or else not paying attention anymore.

Except I haven’t admitted that we’re using heat this year yet, so I haven’t programmed any of it in. And I went away last weekend. I left at 3:00 on Saturday and got back at 8:30 Sunday night. Heat was on the entire time.

Monday, I worked but Johnny didn’t. Ditto.

When I woke up this morning the thermostat said 59, and the sweatshirt I was wearing was not cutting the mustard. I reached for a second sweatshirt and then thought to myself: What am I waiting for?

November first is the day after tomorrow. Johnny’s been using the heat for the past three days. It makes no difference whatsoever if I go ahead and use it, too – and without that extra sweatshirt I might just be able to move my arms. Besides, it’s 59 degrees in here, for crying out loud! There ought to be a rider on the rule that says all bets are off if it drops below what the thermostat gets set for.

So I spent ten minutes and programmed the whole shebang, then I took a breath and clicked the little knob over to “Run.”

Ahhhh. Toasty. That one extra degree makes all the difference in the world.

What? You didn’t think I cranked it all the way to 67? That would be madness, I tell you. Madness!

Actually, Prudence tried. But Goody wouldn't let her.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Oh, Thank God, This ISN'T!

Johnny got home yesterday before I finished writing that last post. I was going to put one more picture up, of the pink and green together, but he walked in at the last minute. He asked me what I was writing and I said "Nothing!," hit "publish," and shut down.

Here's that picture:
And actually, I'm lying. That's not the picture I took yesterday. The sun was too bright yesterday and it made the the pink of the porcelain look white. I took this one just now. It's raining now.

But I'm right. Right?

So anyway, another thing I didn't say yesterday was that he had left the bathroom door closed and the fan on to blow the fumes out. When he got home, he asked me if I'd looked.

I said yes, but that was all I said.

He said "I didn't have enough of the grey to do two coats."

Oh, that's right. It was going to be the same grey as the other bathroom! This grey:

Yeesh! Remember him? Sorry, Dad...

Anyway, it's barely grey at all -- you may not even be able to tell in this picture that it isn't white -- but it isn't, and I love it, and that's what this other bathroom was supposed to be.

But there wasn't enough left.

See, when Johnny (painter, remember) finishes a job, people never want to keep the extra paint. I don't know why they don't, you never know when you might knock a chair into the wall and need to do some touching-up. But then again, the people Johnny works for tend to be the kind of people who a. would never knock a chair into the wall because they're classier than that and besides, each one of their chairs is probably worth more than I paid for my car; and b. if, god forbid, they did, they'd call Johnny back to re-do the entire room.

What I'm saying is: these folks can afford to throw away a quart of paint.

But Johnny doesn't throw it away. He keeps it. Our basement is a veritable museum of custom colors. And when we've got a wall that needs a coat or two, Johnny doesn't visualize a color from thin air, and he doesn't flip through a color wheel. He goes shopping. In the basement.

The first criteria for what color a thing will be is whether or not we have it. The second is whether we have enough. Third comes slapping samples on the wall to see what sticks. Something usually does. But not always.

There's never enough of anything down there for an entire room. Or, rather, there aren't enough acceptable choices. There may be enough of one or two things, but they may not be appropriate for the task at hand. So then he sucks it up and puts his Mastery to work. The sage green in my bedroom he had made, and paid for. The soft sand in the living room as well. They're both wonderful -- but, honestly, not any more wonderful than the leftover (and free!) colors he uses in the smaller corners of the house.

So whither this puke green in the bath?

We were in the car on the way back from the thing we'd planned to do together yesterday afternoon, when he finally piped up:

"I didn't have enough of that grey to put two coats on the bathroom."

"Yeah, you mentioned."

"I can get some more -- Larry's got some, I'll get it from him next week." Larry, the fella Johnny works for, who curates the other half of the Paint Collection. "But I had to get a coat of something on there so I could finish up the prep."

I've lived with him for ten years without ever noticing that -- for Masters, anyway -- there is a final stage of prep work that gets done after you put on the first coat of paint.

"So..." I'm treading delicately, but I have to clarify. "It isn't green, then?"

"No!" he says. "Unless you like it."

"No!" I mean, "I like the idea of the grey much better."


So that was yesterday. Just now I asked him what he would have thought if I'd said yes when he offered to leave it if I liked. He winced.

"No," he said. "It's just a primer.

"I was only trying to be nice."

Friday, October 26, 2007

This Cannot Be

I just got home from work and Johnny isn't here. He was supposed to be here, because we were supposed to go do something together this afternoon. But he's not. This ain't unusual. Irish time, remember?

But he did paint the bathroom while I was away. Huzzah! This is the bathroom we first stripped the wallpaper off in March. Of 2005. That I blogged about him getting pink eye from washing the old paste off back in February. Of this year. That I posted pictures of his joint compounding when I was ballsing up the closet. In June. So it's finally painted.

Yay! Right?

Well, here's the thing. Johnny and I have an unspoken but heretofore very happily agreed-upon arrangement, whereby he does all the painting and related work, and in exchange he gets to pick all the colors. This has always worked out well in the past. He is, after all, a Master Decorator, with a degree in whatever it is Decorators get degrees in. Decorating, I guess.

He picked the burnt sage (which I wrote about in my very first post) in my bedroom, and it's lovely. He picked the pale yellow in the back hall. Sublime. I had a hard time holding my tongue when I saw the can of goldenrod-type color he had chosen for the entryway but, once more, he spot-on. I still don't understand the explanation he gave me as to why a barely-grey was better in my en suite than a linen white could ever be, I just know it is.

But this? Um. The best way I can describe it is to call it Pepto-green. I think the color's actually called a mint of some sort, but I have never -- nor would I - eaten a mint that looked like this.

This picture doesn't do it justice. It is really green.

(Nice little reflecting-sparkles off the toilet-water, no?)

Maybe you're thinking, even ratcheted up a notch or two, it doesn't look so bad. Maybe you're thinking, with that deco tile, the kitchy, throw-back color might actually work.

Well, you're wrong. May I remind you -- because you've obviously forgotten -- the color of this bathroom's sink and tub?

Pepto pink!

Now, we've talked about replacing the sink and getting one of those bath-fitter things over the tub, but some accepted wisdom says the pink is period to match the tile and we should leave it as it is. Which is all well and good. I'm all for bringing things back to their original charm and everything. But this color gives me nauseau. Heartburn. Indigestion. Upset stomach. And that other thing.

So it can't go with its minty cousin. It just can't.

Which one of you good folks volunteers to tell my husband?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Insure vs. Ensure

There’s a lot of talk these days about insurance. Homeowner’s insurance, I mean, specifically.

Wildfires rage in San Diego, and commentators on NPR (on NPR!) are speculating that maybe these people just shouldn’t live in an area that tends to burn. Or, if they insist on living there, maybe they should expect to take the heat.

This same talk was happening two years ago, when certain houses in certain places were floating clear away. Except the metaphor that time was whether these people should expect to be bailed out.

But the thing is, most of us? We don’t choose where we reside base on its geo-meteorological conditions. Most of us live in the general area where we were raised. If not, then we probably moved here for a job. Some of us, certainly, retired to where we hoped we wouldn’t have to freeze to death or shovel snow – but we didn’t choose an isolated spot and build a house. Not unless we were rich enough not to have to worry about the repercussions in the first place.

Me, I live where I grew up. Not specifically, but within 50-60 miles of it. And when I bought this house I discovered that I had to pay extra insurance dividends because it’s in a “high wind area.” Granted, those high winds were what blew the tree branch into the house, which punched the hole in the roof, which started the back half of the house rotting away, which made it so that poor, poor pitiful us could afford to buy the AssVac in the first place. But it goes to show: you never know where danger's gonna come from.

You don’t. You don't know. But the insurance companies sure as hell do. They have whole fleets of boring people whose job it is to run the numbers on just this sort of thing. And if they insured you there, then they have to pay.

As I understand what’s going on, they are. Or have. Or will. I don’t mean to imply that any company is shirking on its contracts. It’s the guilt trip about the whole thing that’s got my knickers in a twist. So herewith, a ten-step proposal:

How All Of Us Can Live Happily Without Costing Anybody Anything

1. Wherever you live, it’s a danger. Move.
2. Take nothing with you. Your things are just a burden on us all.
3. When you get there, hunker down. Bad times are coming.
4. And when I say “hunker down,” I mean like this:

5. Of course, you can’t insure that. It’s just dirt.
6. But dirt is where we come from to begin with.
7. And where we all are headed, anyway.
8. So just suck it up and suffer till it’s over.
9. And be glad when you’re dead you bastard, you!

Okay, that was only nine steps. But they were fun, weren’t they?

The Longest Yard

My yard looks like this:

Except there isn't really a flag at the corner of it. That was a mistake.

My house is here:

My house is blue because my house is blue. It won't be for long. But then, I thought it wouldn't be by now, so who knows. Maybe it will always be this way. And that bump there? Let's just say that it's the chimney.

There are big old silver maples here, here and here:

And a really giant one back here:

It's really giant. That's the one that threw the branch through the roof that made the house rot so we would be the only suckers dumb enough to buy it. I love it anyway. The tree, I mean. It's really giant. As you can see.

There are (I think) beech trees here and here:

They are black like death. That's why I'm not sure what kind of trees they are. They have no leaves. No branches, either. Just bare trunks with little tufts of greenery at the very tippy top. Like giant q-tips. Someday those trees are going to have to come down before they fall. And smash the AssVac. God forbid.

There are also two very tiny apple trees, here and here:

We planted them last year. This dogwood, too:

It's red because it's a red dogwood. But not quite as red as an apple. Though the apple trees aren't exactly red their ownselves, either, are they? Especially not this year, seeing as how they didn't bother to bear fruit. Maybe the black-death beeches scared them fruitless.

So those are all the trees I have. Oh, and my clothesline runs here:

Can you see it? I made it grey because I couldn't make it white like it really is. Except for that it's probably, actually, really pretty grey by now. I never checked.

So that's my yard!


If I used those trees to hang up great big nets -- like so:

And so and so:

And so and so:

Do you think I could get away with not raking the yard?

I think I could.

But how would I get the nets down?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

You Know What?

Screw this kid.

He was on Ellen while I climbed the stairmaster this morning, and I just so wanted to hop off and give him a monster atomic wedge right through the TV screen.

You have to play the video. You'll want to wedge him too.

And, judging from the dance he did at the end of his segment on the Ellen show, people are going to be wanting to wedge him for a good long time.

I tell you what, though: I googled him to find that link to put up there, and from what I saw...

I wish to hell I had his publicist!

A Helpful Household Hint

Do you have cats?

Do you have a backlog of projects you've been meaning to get done around the house?

Then use any brand of natural pine-shaving kitty litter!

Your house will have that fresh-cut smell of new construction, just as if you were actually getting something done!

Been meaning to build an extra closet in the guest room? Put the litter box in there and close your eyes!

Been putting off replacing wall studs in the office? That empty closet makes a perfect kitty loo!

Can't afford to renovate the last half of your kitchen?

Well, okay, maybe don't put the cat box in the kitchen.

But wherever else you place it, the pine litter will fool your brain into thinking work is actually being accomplished. Especially when it's freshly dumped.

Until something else is.

Order now!

Again with the poop jokes, Prudence?

Yes, Goody. Suck it!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I Never Wanted The Beeping Thing In The First Place!

I just spent twenty minutes chasing a beeping noise around the house. It started all of a sudden when I was typing at my desk. Two beeps -- loud! I thought it was a truck or something on the street, but then it happened again.

The second time I got up to look around. There was no truck or anything, and so I sat back down. Then it happened again.

This time I was pretty sure it was coming from inside my house. And the only things I know that make beeping noises inside houses are alarms of one sort or another.


Then it happened again.

Without even realizing I was doing it, I started counting after the second beep and kept counting as I wandered around. It happened again on the stroke of sixty.

Two beeps, every sixty seconds. And loud! What could it be?

Because it wasn't happening continually, I could not pinpoint the culprit. I stood under every smoke alarm for sixty seconds waiting to hear the beeping come from somewhere else. I even stood for 45 seconds in front of the junk drawer where the spare smoke alarm is kept, until I remembered there's no battery in that one.

I worried there might be some sort of gas alarm that I don't know about on the new furnace, so I stood in the basement and counted sixty seconds, even though I couldn't smell anything unusual down there.

I worried it might be the CO2 detectors, until I remembered I never got around to installing CO2 detectors. And now I don't have to, because I don't burn oil anymore. Right?

I thought it might be coming from inside Johnny's trunk, so I took everything off it, opened it up, and counted sixty.

I stood on the porch.

I stood in the attic.

I stood on a chair in the back hall.

I'm telling you, I am the all-time, world-wide expert at counting to sixty!

You know where it turned out to be coming from? My stupid cell phone. Because its stupid battery was stupid dead. Which explains why I didn't hear it ring when Johnny called me yesterday for a ride home. Stupid.

I plugged it in and sure enough the stupid beeping stopped. But jeez, that thing was loud. I'm sure glad it didn't happen when I was on the subway yesterday, cuz I'll be damned if I have any idea how else to make it stop.

You think this sort of thing is covered in the owner's manual? You think maybe that would have been a handy thing to keep around?

Whoops. I guess I meant to say CO detectors, not CO2. And I guess I do need them after all. Okay, I'll get them -- at least one, anyway -- before I turn the heat on. I promise. If this house is going to kill me, it's sure as hell going to be more dramatic than just drifting off in my sleep.

Doomed. We’re All Doomed.

Abridged from the Scranton, PA, Times-Tribune:

A West Scranton woman could face up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $300 for allegedly shouting profanities at an overflowing toilet while inside her home.”


“‘The toilet was overflowing and leaking down into the kitchen and I was yelling for my daughter to get the mop,’ she said. ‘A guy is yelling, “Shut the f--- up,” and I yelled back, “Mind your own business.”’ ”

Damn straight. You go, girl!

Her next-door neighbor, Patrick Gilman, a city police officer who was off-duty at the time, apparently had enough of her foul mouth and asked her to keep it down, police said. When she didn’t stop, he called the police.”

Screw you, Patrick Gilman! I don’t know why I hate you more: because you’re a nosy neighbor who can’t myob when told; because you can’t understand why a girl might feel the need to curse at her uncooperative crapper; or because you think your position as a cop makes you the boss of everybody, always.

Patrolman Gerald Tallo responded and charged [the woman] with disorderly conduct. The citation accuses the defendant of using obscene language or gestures ‘with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm ...’”


“‘There was no intent to do anything,’ [the woman] said.”

Damn straight. You go, girl!

An attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union—”

Oh, thank god. A voice of reason.

says: ‘You can’t prosecute somebody for swearing at a cop or a toilet.’”

Well, I’m glad we cleared that up!

“‘We bring one of these cases a year, and sue some police departments because they do not remember that they are not the language police.’”

Yeah! Get ’em! Language police, my ass!

Imagine what would have happened if she’d been dangling participles out that open window…

Monday, October 22, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

I hate recycling. There, I said it.

I hate everything about it. I hate having to have a whole other separate trash can that doesn’t fit nicely anywhere and therefore involves a long annoying walk with every empty box or bottle. I hate having to wash my trash. I hate having to organize my trash. I hate being made to feel individually guilty for the destruction of the universe if I toss out my junk mail instead of taking the twelve steps necessary to ensure that noone will pretend to be me and claim my rightful prize from Ed McMahon. I even hate the dumb blue box itself.

But I do it.

Mostly because Johnny makes me.

The last time I lived alone was before the Blue Box edict came down and enslaved us all. And it’s a good thing, too. Because the studio I lived in then had barely enough room for me and the two cats. I had trash collection twice a week there (it was in the city proper) which was also fortunate because on the rare occasion that I filled a bag and removed it from the can before garbage day arrived, I had to put the full bag in the shower.

Now, of course, in this god-forsaken house I have a bit more room. I can put the insufferable bin in the back hallway, where it’s only in the way if you want to walk from one end to the other. But if I lived alone, that thing would be in the attic full of Christmas ornaments where it belongs.

But, like I said, Johnny makes me. God forbid I should one time get lazy and throw something recyclable (and tiny) in the trash – a NyQuil bottle, a bandaid box, a tuna can – when I do he picks it out and lectures me about it. What does he expect, a freaking Prize? I should get the damn Nobel for giving in to keep the Peace around here!

Sometimes, though, I throw something away and bury it under what’s already there. Just so I know, even if nobody else does, that he’s not the boss of me. Except for Johnny smokes, and I have a coffee problem. Our kitchen trash is usually so foul with ash tray detritus and soggy filtered grounds that the thought of touching anything in there sends me screaming to the bath.

(And if I hear one word about composting coffee grounds or what I ought to do with all those cigarette butts, I swear to god I’ll moderate the comments from now on…)

So yeah, mostly I put the damn recyclables in the damn recyclable bin. Mostly because it’s easier than fighting about it. But here’s the thing:

Trash day around here is every Friday. Recycling only happens every other week. So by the time recycling day rolls around the damn bin is overflowing – and we’re not even big can-and-box-food kind of people. I can’t imagine what it’s like if you have a whole family eating Lunchables. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if Lunchable containers don't recycle.

Anyway, we can never keep track of which week’s what. Our usual method is to wait until Friday morning, notice that everybody else has put their bins out, and then when I get back from driving Johnny to work I put our bin out too.

I do.

But a lot of times, for some reason, they don’t pick ours up. I don’t know why. Could be cause it’s too close to the car, but it’s always in the exact same spot and most of the time they do. Could be cause we separate it wrong, but we do it the same every time and ditto. I think what it boils down to is, we’re the first house on a street they have to back the truck down – I think that, in the midst of the complicated back-and-turn maneuver, they just sometimes forget that we exist.

The first time it happened, I dutifully brought the hated bin inside to pile up for two more weeks. A month, in all. Never again. Since then, I have a new plan:

The recycle guy comes at around 9:00 a.m. Trash guy not till noon. I leave for work on Fridays at 9:30. If, when I am leaving, the recycle guy has come and gone and left our bin untouched, I dump it in a garbage bag and put it in the barrel with the rest.

I don’t feel guilty about this in the slightest – in fact, I tend to feel a little giddy while I’m in the act – but I think it’s funny that, two pages into this post, I’m second-guessing my desire to admit it here. Like I don’t want you people to know this shameful thing about me. Like you all are going to think I’m an awful person. Like I might as well just say “sometimes, I kick the cats.” Or: “when I babysat this weekend, I locked the baby in the bathroom and got drunk.”

No matter what the noble Gore might say, this vice is not that bad. In fact, I think it falls more into the category of picking your nose: You do it when nobody’s looking, and you know everybody does it at least sometimes in their lives, but we’ve all agreed to pretend that we don’t.

What, you claim you never pick your nose? Okay fine, then: masturbating. No way you’re denying that one. Happy now, you had to get all self-righteous and make me pull out the big guns?

Of these three so-called vices, which one would you rather cop to? Me, I'm not proud -- just by writing this I've already fessed up to all three. But it seems to me, in this day and age, that last one's the most socially acceptable.

Talk about your global warming!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I Didn't Feel Like Writing A Poem Today

So the winner gets this pictogram instead.

Plus a PS for the runner-up.

It's been up all weekend and I'm writing a new post now, so I've added the answers in italics beneath each picture.










a contortionist

to use
(two ewes)

this bra!




Hitchhiker's Guide!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Eccentrica Gallumbits

Remember this post I did a couple months ago about my trip to Victoria's Secret? Well...

Remember this one I did a thousand years ago about my gloves?

Yeah, the bras went bad pretty much the day I bought them. I've put off writing about it till now because it would mean posting pictures of my underwear, but I think I can get away with only one -- and not a very titillating one, at that.

Hey, it's Friday and I'm sick. If "titillating" is the best joke I can come up with, then you will laugh, dammit!

Now, first of all, I would like to remind you that I did try these bras on. Which is something I am loathe to do in general. In general (and I don't remember if I said this before, so bear with me) I pick something that looks like it ought to fit because oh my god my ass could not be that big, and then I bring it home and it turns out my ass is (I'm obviously not talking about bras in this example -- but The Ass Bra is not a bad idea. Called it!). So whatever it is winds up kicking around for a couple years, me trying it on periodically in the vain hope that either it has grown or I have shrunk, and then eventually I use it for rags or donate it to charity. Or throw it away. In all honesty a lot of times I throw it out. Terrible person, right here, got it.

Return things? That is to laugh. That would involve keeping receipts beyond the trash can at the exit of the store, and/or leaving tags on things while trying on at home. Those little plastic wires can be itchy, man!

Yes, I know. It has been well established here that I'm an idiot. So we're moving forward.

But that day at my friend Victoria's I did try on bras. I did! I tried on like a hundred and said no to most of them -- which is also not like me. Usually I'll be like "oh, it's a little small but I'm sure it'll do" and then spend the next two years trying to tuck myself back in on the subway without anybody noticing (talking about bras in this example, yeah).

I tried a hundred on, found two I liked, and then went out and got one more of each, exactly alike but in a different color. Except, when I got them home, they weren't exactly alike at all.

The white lacy one that I tried on is fine. No complaints there. The lace isn't exactly holding up as I might have hoped, but at least it fits. The one I got just like it, though, is baby blue. I've never owned a baby blue bra before. It's not really like me, I'm usually white, black or red -- you know, a traditionalist -- but I thought I'd try something different. Plus they didn't have it in my size in black or red.

But it turns out they didn't have it in my size in baby blue, though, either. It says it's the same size as the white one, but when I put it on it makes me look like a quadruple-breasted whore. I'm feeding it a steady diet of peanut M&Ms. Here's hoping it will fit before the white one gives up the ghost.

The other one, however, is just the weirdest bra I ever bought.

(Well, okay. I worked at Rocky Horror for a few years when I was young and beautiful. This may not be the weirdest bra I ever bought, but it's the weirdest bra I ever bought that was trying to be normal.)

Again, I tried on a white one and then went an picked out the exact same one, this time in cream -- or ecru, or whatever. Again, they didn't have my size in black or red, and again it turned out to not be the exact same bra at all. Same size, same rack (really no pun intended there), but just from outer space or something.

So here's the one titillating picture Goody would let me post:

And those are my knees in my M&C pyjamas. Titillating, eh?

So here's this week's CONTEST: Look carefully. What's so outer-space about this bra?

In order to get the whole thing in the picture, I had to squish the cups together in the middle. But otherwise there is nothing hidden. You can see all the parts to it there are. Me, myself, I've never heard of such a thing as this before; I'd never be able to just guess at what the problem is. So you might have to actually get a real one and line it up to compare...

And yes, Anonymous, this is a houseblog. Here, I'll prove it: we put down that wide-pine floor a couple years ago, in the room that was so rotten when we bought this house that my brother-in-law had to puke when he first saw it. Or, rather, smelled it. I sleep there now. And this winter I'll actually have heat!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The End? Again?

Well, Keyspan actually did write back within two days. Within one day, as a matter of fact, and with the answer to the question that I asked. Right there in their email: name, rank and serial number of the machine they sold me. Thank you, and let us know if we can be of any further assistance.

Is that some kind of miracle, or what?

So I filled in the appropriate blanks – this was last Friday – and then forgot it for a few more days. I remembered it on Sunday, but of course by then it was Sunday, so there was no rush to drop it in the mail.

On Monday, on my way out the door, I pulled the card from my shoulder bag and stuck it in the mailbox for the letter carrier to grab. But as I did, I noticed that I hadn’t written on it my return address.

Maybe it wouldn’t matter, just this one time?

No. We’ve met, right?

This one time would be the time the entire front of it would get dropped in a puddle and it wouldn’t get delivered and couldn’t come back to me so I would think that it was warrantied, until of course the thing broke down and they would tell me that I never sent the card and I would say I did, and then you good people would have to hear about that whole ordeal. Kind of like the time I fought with the mortgage company about the payment I sent in but they wouldn’t cover the stop-payment charges on the check even though they lost it – and then six months later when we had the floors done I found the envelope on the floor behind the shelf where we kept the cookbooks.

I hadn’t met you people yet when that happened. It’s not one of my proudest moments. But at least the mortgage payment was on time. Otherwise I might have lost the house. And lord knows I would not want that to happen.

Anyway, so I pulled the card out of the mailbox and slipped it under the door to finish dealing with when I got home (good thing we never put that weather-stripping on!).Wrote the address when I got home and dropped it in an actual, big blue mailbox that very afternoon. Phew. Finished.

Well, and wasn’t I surprised to see the damn thing back in the little black box on my door on Tuesday?

Stamps? Since when do you need to put stamps on pre-printed, self-addressed, product warranty cards?

Apparently, um, always. And apparently I would, um, know that if I ever sent them in. I thought it was like a magazine subscription: you know, they pay the postage in humble appreciation of your patronage? Apparently, um, it’s not. And boy, howdy, does that post office work fast!

So yesterday I put a stamp on it and sent the thing again. I hope it sticks. The stamp, I mean, as well as the warranty.

Then, also yesterday, my sister sent me a website she’d read about in Sunday’s Globe. Where, with the appropriate proof-of-purchase paperwork, I could get a $200 rebate on the furnace I just bought.

I printed out the form, but I’m not sure I should risk it. With my luck, and with my well-proven skill-set, the good people at national Gridspan will take one look at my form and go: “Oh, Erin? Actually, she owes us $200.

“Send a bill.”

PS Apropos of all the NyQuil talk on the comments yesterday: I watched a rerun of Two and Half Men yesterday evening, where they went to a bad section of town. There was a joke about the pile of cold medicine bottles in the lawn. Somebody says "They must have really bad allergies," and the other person says "You don't watch 60 Minutes, do you?"

Well, I don't watch 60 minutes, and when I saw this joke the first time it went straight over my head. (Something I'm not sure I ought to be admiting: that 2 1/2 Men jokes go over my head. But anyway) I got it this time. Thanks, bleaders!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It’s Not Over Yet

On the last day he was here (correction: on the last day we knew that he was here – not either of the days that we didn’t know and he got in god-knows-how), the Kid handed me a warranty card for the boiler, and Johnny said “Now you make sure you send that in, love.”

This is a point of contention between us. When I open up a box – whether it contains a VCR or a ceiling fan, the first thing I do is throw away all the papers that came in it. Maybe – maybe – if, after trying for an hour, I still can’t figure out how to make it minimally work, I might – might – fish through the trash and pull out the instruction booklet. But once I have my answer I throw it out again.

Johnny saves everything forever always. And, although because of his dyslexia he’s more or less incapable of filling out a form, he thinks warranties are the bee’s balls and tries to make me send them in for everything. Stupid suckers he buys off of the TV. Damn drills we get for Christmas. Poxy pig in the new kitchen sink. It isn't hard for me to do this. There’s certainly no reason not to. But I bristle when he makes me, anyway.

This time, though, it actually seemed like a good idea. I’m probably wrong about this, but I would like to imagine that if the blasted boiler busticates while under warranty, they'd have to not only replace it for us, but also pay for labor. That’s probably a pipe dream, but still. The warranty, just this one time, seemed like a good idea. So I filed the card away (i.e., stacked it on the pile on my desk) to deal with later. And, of course, promptly forgot.

When I cleaned my office three weeks ago, I found it and set the thing aside. “Must do this,” I told myself. And then forgot.

The next weekend I finally filled it out. Mostly. Except for the part that said “Model and Serial number,” because those things I didn’t know off the top of my head like I did the rest of it – you know, my name and stuff. I exerted myself as far as looking on the owner’s manual and all the other paper crap that came with it (which I also saved, thank you very much), but it wasn’t on there, either. So I left those spaces blank. Probably that info’s on the boiler itself. I’ll get it later, I said to me. And then (say it with me) I forgot.

One week ago, last Thursday, I found myself with one amazing extra hour after I was clean and dressed but before I had to leave, so I grabbed the warranty card and a pen and trucked my clean-and-dressed down to the basement.

No model or serial number on this boiler, that’s for sure!

I looked. Trust me when I tell you that I looked on all lookable surfaces. Or at least, all lookable surfaces that I wouldn’t have to touch anything else to look at and therefore wind up dirtying my clean-and-dressed. I did have to leave for work, after all, and lord knows I’m always so gosh-darn put-together there (except for the coffee stains, and the torn pants, and oh my god is that spaghetti sauce? When’s the last time I ate spaghetti? Yuck!). I searched front, back, top and two sides, plus the extra little owner's manual tucked in the sticky plastic pocket – you’ll excuse me if I didn’t search the bottom of the two-ton, iron thing – but there was no model or serial number to be found.

So I called the company that made it. Burnham. The same damn company that made the damn other one that up and damn broke on us in April. They weren’t very helpful then, but maybe now, now that I was a brand-new customer, now that I had no complaint but just a simple question – maybe now they would be nicer.


Oh, sure, nice enough when she answered the phone, but as soon as I told her what was up she copped an attitude. “There’s a sticker right on the boiler,” she said. “You just have to read it.”

Oh. Der. Check the boiler for stickers, and then read them. I wish’d I’d’uh thought’uh that — oh, wait. I did! And I also thought to bring the phone down to the basement with me, so…

“Hang on a second,” I said, “I’m looking at the thing right here.”

Ooh, she wasn’t expecting that. I think I even heard her tut her tongue. I went on.

“There’s a sticker on the top: says ‘Caution’ and has a bunch of warnings.”

“Yeah,” she said, her voice rising at the end like I was a two-year-old counting for the first time up to ten.

“There’s one on the side that says ‘Energy guide.’”

“Yeah,” very good, Baby! But I’m getting a little bored with this.

“Then there’s the plastic pouch with the owner’s manual in it – but the numbers aren’t there.”

“Envelope,” she said.

“I’m sorry?”

“It’s not a pouch, it’s an envelope.”

“Oh. Um. Does it matter?”

Silence. This is obviously too stupid to merit a response.

Me again: “Okay, so, um, anyway, then there’s nothing else. Nothing on the other side, or on the front or back.”

“Well,” she said, “sometimes the contractors stick it on the inside panel.”

Oh that makes sense. Put the paper sticker with the numbers on it on the inside. To protect it from getting burned off or dirty or anything, what with all the fire and soot and all that being on the — hey now wait a second…


Not to mention that I don’t know how to open it to see the inside.

“Contact the installing contractor,” she says. “The installing contractor ought to be able to tell you what model and serial number you have.”

“Oh,” I say. “Okay. Thank you.” And now she’s all sweetness and light. It’s not till I hang up that I realize I don’t know if she means the Kid – who I don’t want to talk to anymore – or Keyspan – who, um, doesn’t exactly exist anymore, what with having been bought out by national “no capital letters” grid and everything (I know how they feel. I used to disdain capital letters too. When I was twelve).

Anyway, I didn't want to call the Kid again -- I wasn't exactly banking on him knowing the answer, anyway, even if he was my best friend in the whole wide world and even if he was the "installing contractor" to which she was referring. But neither did I want to end up in the same chasing-down-the-proper-gas-company-phone-number hell that I was in last spring. So I turned to the series of tubes that we affectionately refer to as the interweb.

Turns out Keyspan still exists, but their website has by all accounts forgotten that I do. They have no record of me, and under “customer service” it says to follow a link that has most definitely ceased to be. But there was a form to fill out if I have a question. So I did.

They promise to get back to me within two business days.

This ordeal is actually over now. I wrote this bit last week and then – for reasons I won’t get into here (mostly because I don’t remember what they are) I never posted it. But I do believe this part is long enough. Especially because I’ve decided to go to work today after all. So I will continue the whole to-be-endlessly-continued saga of my boiler when I get home. Or maybe tomorrow. Depending on whether or not my dread disease comes back this afternoon.


Am I Sick, or What?

Herewith, and apropos of nothing: a survey.

Over the course of an hour yesterday afternoon, I suddenly and inexplicably came down with a doozy of a head cold. Sneezing, runny-stuffies, hard to breathe, etc. I thought at first that it was allergies, so I took a Claritin. A generic, CVS brand Claritin, but a Claritinish product, nonetheless. It did nothing. I finished my tasks for the day, took Nyquil at 5:00 (real Nyquil, no methadone crap this time) and woke up twelve hours later on the kitchen floor.

(Kidding, MD, kidding about the kitchen floor part. And props to whichever now-unknown comedian I stole that joke from twenty years ago. Whoever he was, he called it the "sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, how-the-hell-did-I-wind-up-on-the-kitchen-floor medicine" -- which I thought was pretty freaking hysterical at the time. That was when Nyquil used to actually put me to sleep. Before I carefully and under laboratorial conditions acclimated my body to the effects of a shot or twelve of alcohol. In other words, that was my freshman year. Also, have you noticed that Nyquil has dropped something at the end there? The commercial to which that Unknown Comic was referring used to really say "sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy-head, fever, so-you-can-rest medicine" [though the hyphens may be my addition: I do loves me some hyphenated compounds] and now it's "sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, fever, best sleep you ever got with a cold... medicine" [ellipses theirs, MC]. I dunno why. Did they change their recipe? Do people not get head-stuffies anymore? I do. I did last night, that's for sure. I thought I might also have had a fever, but I couldn't get an accurate temperature reading what with the neverending succession of Pop Ice melting in my mouth. Oh yeah, it's still bad. I've decided my favorites are blue and pink, and I alternate between eating them first and saving them till last. I like blue and pink because I don't even know what the hell flavor they're supposed to be, so they can't possibly taste wrong. Though the truth is, if you blindfolded me, I probably couldn't tell the difference between any of them. Of course, I'd like to think if you blindfolded me I wouldn't just passively sit there and let you put strange foodstuffs in my mouth. I'm not six years old anymore, Khurston. But I digress.)

Um... Oh yeah. I woke up this morning feeling pretty better. Feeling human. Feeling just a little itchy-nosed. Which is basically how I felt when I woke up yesterday. So.

Do I go to work?

Here's why I ask: the lady that I work for is 78 years old. I work inside her studio apartment. She's been in the hospital for a month and just got out last Friday. If I'm not mistaken, however, she will be out having dialysis in the hours that I would be there today.

My instinct is to call and ask what she wants me to do, but I know her, and I know she won't make this decision rationally. She'll tell me to come if she thinks she really needs me, and she'll tell me not to come if she's feeling magnanimous -- neither of which make her sound like the generous but slightly odd lady she really is, but there you have it. Amd neither of which, either, have anything to do with her odds or fear of catching what I may or may not have. Or the fact that I don't get paid if I don't go in, and if I'm well and if she'll have me, I really do need the cash-dinero.

If I'm going in, I need to leave at 11:00. If I'm not, I should probably call her by 10:30. So what do you-all think I ought to do?

PS This post is in italics because it started out as a PS for another post, but this one grew a tail and swam away with me (thanks, K, for the image). I will eagerly await your opinions (though I don't necessarily promise to abide by them, because I know you people, and someone out there could very well suggest I go into work in a beekeeper's outfit and then you'll all vote for it just to be funny and if I say I'll do what you say then I'll have to do it). But I will take your reasonable consensus into consideration, and I will post my original post before I leave (or don't leave) for work.

PPS Maybe this is the future of health care in this country? Diagnosis by amateur consensus? Hell, you-all can't possibly do any worse to me than Dr. Teacher did. After all, you guys can't touch me...

[those ellipses, by the way, are mine, all mine. And so are these...]

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

You Like Me! You Really Like Me!

I have been so very sad, lo, these many days, because I ain't been gettin' ass hits on this'ere blog. I thought you had abandoned me. My diehards have still been here -- and lord knows I loves my diehards (case in point: I tried to make every letter in that word a different link to a different one of you, but darn blogspot wouldn't let me, and since I couldn't possibly choose only one of you, I chose none. That's how much I love) -- but the numbers just plain weren't. And, although lord knows I love spending all my not-so-very free time writing about poopy, the numbers were supposed to be the point.

I got sad. I got punchy. I got withdrawn. I got (in other words) not very funny. About as funny, as my mother used to say, as a fart in church.

Which, no matter what Goody might think about the situation, is actually pretty freaking funny, so I've never understood that there expression. Or the one about shaking sticks at things. I mean seriously, why is it any harder to shake a stick at a lot of something than to shake it at a little? It's not. See? I just shook a stick at all of you, and if I'm right in what I'm about to say, you are a lot more than you were yesterday.

Because I just figured out I broke it. My RSS feed. Whereby all my brilliant writings get dumped on the good folks at All those good people over there who sometimes read my blog even though I very seldom write about anything constructive going on about the house -- they weren't getting the feed. They must have thought that I'd finally blown the AssVac up for good, or abandoned it and taken to the open road.

But no, I'm fine. I'm just a moron.

Actually, I'd swear that I was not the one who broke it. I'd swear I did nothing of the sort and that the damn thing just got broke. But I know me. And if I know me as well as I think I do, you can bet this whole thing is my fault somehow. Also the subprime collapse. And global warming. And the fallout over Armenian Genocide. Not Darfur, though. I've never even been to Africa.

Anyway, whatever happened, I believe I've fixed it now. So yay! Welcome back, housebloggers! And for the Diehards that were with me all along, I've got one word...


Sybil’s Crazy Wacky List of Folks In Her Subconscious

I was going to tell you which tune to sing it to, but I've decided that if you don't know or it's too hard, well then god, Jed, I don't even want to know you...

Sybil, Sybil Ann and Peggy Ann and Peggy Lou
Mike and Syd, Victoria and Mary, The Blonde too
Sybil’s crazy wacky list of folks in her subconscious!
Though I know the sound of it
Makes me seem quite disgracious
I have read this book enough
To always sound sagacious
Of Sybil’s crazy wacky list of folks in her subconscious!

Sybil, Sybil Ann and Peggy Ann and Peggy Lou
Mike and Syd, Victoria and Mary, The Blonde too
Because I was lazy to peek
The names the others had
I asked you folks to give a tweak
Tell me where I went bad
In just one day the blog had heard
The ones I didn’t know
You all came through like gangbusters
And this is how they go:

Oh, Sybil’s crazy wacky list of folks in her subconscious!
Marjorie was Mommie-Dear’s
Vanessa, Ladyscot-ious
Clara came from Sparkle-P
You all are so audacious
With Sybil’s crazy wacky list of folks in her subconscious!

Sybil, Sybil Ann and Peggy Ann and Peggy Lou
Mike and Syd, Victoria and Mary, The Blonde too
Khurston was right about the babe
Her name was really Ruth
Jen Pretty stuck Helen in there
She was one, that’s the truth
Charlie got Marcia but she spelled
It very slightly wrong
No one got Nancy, though, and now
We are done with this song!

Of Sybil’s crazy wacky list of folks in her subconscious!
Sybil’s crazy wacky list of folks in her subconscious!
Sybil’s crazy wacky list of folks in her subconscious!
Sybil’s crazy wacky list of folks in her subconsciooooouuuuuus!

Monday, October 15, 2007


I'm back from my little mental vacation. I needed it. Slept late, tanned my brain, got my thoughts massaged, had meaningless flings with a couple cute ideas. And now I'm back, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to--

Okay, this is what I really did this weekend:





So I didn't get around to doing the shoe part. So what? You should have seen the shoe part before I started. I forgot to take "before" pictures (mental vacation, remember), but suffice to say that about half the things that wound up on the shelf part started out on the shoe part before I washed and dried and folded and organized and shelved them.

(And might I say?: about three-quarters of the folded things on the shelf part are t-shirts; and half the things on the hang-y up part are flannel shirts. We ain't exactly office-goin' kind of people, but we likes our closet clean. Now. And for at least a week or so.)

Anyway, I managed to accomplish all of this while watching a football game. Which we won. Resoundingly. Plus two baseball games. Which we split.

Well, okay. I wasn't really cleaning out my closet for the duration of two Indians and a Cowboy. I just made that up in a feeble attempt to account for my lost weekend. It was really just one Cowboy. And, ahem, a Dirty Boy or two.

Because I do loves me some DB. Especially when half of the staff of my brain is on vacation.

Hey, Prudence deserves a weekend off once in a while. Even Goody says so. And now the three of us are off to compose a little something commemorating the contest that we all plum forgot about since Friday.

Tally ho!

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Only Two Thoughts I've Had Today

1. With Dallas in town for the Pats game on Sunday, and Cleveland at Fenway tonight and tomorrow, you know what game Boston'll be playing this weekend, don't you? ... wait for it ... think about it ... okay I'll tell you: Cowboys and Indians!

2. Do you want to know why it's been raining for a week after it did not rain around here for two completely months? Because last week, I finally gave up and watered my fruit trees for three entire freaking days. You know, to send them off into the winter all good and juicy-like. Because they're young, and we were supposed to have been watering them every other day all summer, but we did that last year and it cost us a thousand dollars, so this year I decided they'd be fine. And then it didn't rain for two completely months. And I was afraid that if the ground froze with them all dry and stuff, they'd just cough once and keel over. So I gave up and put a slow drip on them for three entire freaking days. One day each tree. Hose running. 72 hours. And then the morning after that it started raining. And it hasn't stopped. You're welcome, everybody. You're welcome, pumpkins. You're welcome, thirsty skunks. You're welcome, all trees, everywhere. I don't even think that there's an "except for" on this one, like there was for the polar bears the last time. I can't think of anyone who suffers because I did the thousand-dollar rain dance. Except for, oh yeah.



I thought it had died down, but there was an entirely new kind of spider in my kitchen this morning.

This one looks like an ant. A carpenter ant. Black, and shiny, and just about that size -- only with, you know, not enough body parts and two too many legs. I even thought it was an ant at first, because of where I found it: on the kitchen counter, lapping up a puddle of spilled coffee!

Christ almighty, they're caffeinating now.

Anyway, so here's a picture of it (caution, this is not an image for the faint of heart):

Well, hell, it's early. I forgot to get the camera until after I had squished it. I couldn't very well let it keep buzzing up that happy juice, now, could I? It'd be jumping around, squirting web all over, laying eggs in everybody's ears. I couldn't risk it. So I grabbed my weapon and did what I had to do to defend the homestead. AssVac. Whatever.

Johnny's still asleep. He doesn't even know how brave I am.

Here's a little present for cuz Donna, because I posed a question in a comment yesterday that sounded like a contest game, but wasn't. She answered a different question than what I was really asking, but for the question she thought she was answering, she got it right. So here's a short poem for Donna:

You sure know your crazies
And I think I know why
You've got more g-d kids
Than there's stars in the sky
With three under three, then
You went and had triplets
(And this was before
You could do it on purpose)
So if Sybil's the last
TV show that you watched
I really can't blame you
For showing it off

Hey, here's a fun game to play. I'll even make it a CONTEST -- for a poem or some other silly thing that strikes my fancy:

Sybil, Sybil Ann, Peggy Ann, Peggy Lou, Mike, Syd, Victoria, Mary, The Blonde, The Baby

Who am I forgetting? I'd like to say it's no fair googling, because
I didn't -- these are just the ten that I can think of off the top of my head. But maybe you all aren't as obsessed with abnormal psych as I am. Plus I know that I can't really stop you. So let's say this: everybody give me just one answer -- that way, even if everybody cheats (I mean googles), we'll still get a half-a-dozen winners anyway.

(Oh, and PS: if you have no idea what I'm talking about, then you have no hope of winning without cheating -- so google away!)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I Fixed It!

The shower door!

Want to know what tools I used to accomplish this truly professional result?

Girlie Screwdriver:


Plus a minute and a half.

I do wish I could have said wad of toilet paper:


And an hour and a half. But I guess there is no all-in-one tool after all. Or all-in-two.

Patience never was one of your strongest virtues. Was it, Prudence?

Shut up, Goody. I fixed it, didn't I?

And you know what I didn't notice until yesterday?

Leftover sticky-tape on the shower wall from where the hanger-thingy used to be. Now I should probably do something about that. I didn't even see it there until I wrote about it to you people.

Thanks, you people. I hope I don't have to worry now about actual macaques.

And PS, I didn't notice my Windex was broken, either, until I took this picture. See the close-up?

Hm. Maybe that explains why it doesn't squirt out when you try to squirt it. Maybe I shouldn't have slammed it quite so hard against the wall the first time the trigger failed.

You notice the bottle was still under the sink, though. I pull it out, it doesn't squirt, I slam it one more time and put it back away.

I may be impatient, occasionally violent, and a little bit Destructo, but I don't give up on things that serve me well.

So there, Goody. That's a virtue. Nyeah!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Small Showers Don't Last As Long As They Used To

Here is a picture of the shower in our new bathroom -- or, I should say, "newest" bathroom. It's been two years since we finished it, so it's no longer exactly "new." As you can tell by the mildew stains. Which I'm not going to show you.

Anyway (spake Zarathustra), cue the 2001 music:

Actually, it's less "Open the pod bay doors, Hal" than it is "Beam me up, Scotty" -- especially when the sun's still down and the exhaust light's on so it's all glowy like that.

And yes, that's a facecloth on the floor in front of it. I don't use facecloths, but I still fold them nicely and arrange them on top of nicely folded towels. Then, when I get in the pod-bay shower without anything to dry off with, and I have to reach around and out, the facecloth winds up on the floor, where it stays until I decide it's been kicking around long enough to be considered dirty. Then I wash it and the whole process starts again. Life, it's a cycle.

I did consider picking up the facecloth before I took the picture, but I decided I didn't feel like it and you'd probably never notice anyway. That was before I decided to spend a whole paragraph -- now two -- blathering on about the fact that it was there.

Here's the shower from another angle, this time inside the bathroom:

A really stupid angle, as it turns out, with me standing on the toilet holding my arm up in the air, and my first-thing-in-the-morning, still-sweatshirted boob there in the lower left hand corner. My second internet booby shot -- before you know it, I'll be Paris Hilton! (Actually, sadly, I'm more on my way to Lubbock Motel 6...)

Really this time, here's a better picture of the shower with the other lights on, so it doesn't look quite so transporter-ish. I meant to turn the exhaust light off, too, but I forgot. It's early, all right? And it was even earlier than this when I did it. Besides, I like the glowy.

It's a very small bathroom, about as small as one can legally be, but we wanted it to have a shower. It is, after all, the en suite in the master bedroom (pardon my french).

(I love using the phrase "en suite" in regards to this little washroom, in case you haven't noticed. When the Irish Girls stayed with us last summer, they were here for almost a month before they saw it. Johnny fell asleep on the toilet in the other bathroom and I had to usher them in here lest they explode. Sarah took one look and exclaimed "I wish I had an en suite!" and the expression just kind of stuck. Except she's a Dub, so it sounded more like "Oi wish oi had'n en sui'!)

Point is: bathroom's small. Needed a shower. Went shopping. Found this roundy. Fell in love. It cost more than the same-sized squares or triangles, but not much more (I don't recall, exactly), and I wanted it. I visited it for months before we had water or walls to hook it up to, and I decided I could have it. It made sense as a space saver, not just for it's roundiness but because the door slides around into itself so you don't have to leave room for it to swing... see?

Yeah. You can't see in that one. Hang on.

Okay. See?

(Those wooden shelves are where the towels go when there are clean towels. Or, rather, when all the clean towels are not still in a pile on the couch. And there, from another angle, is the famous facecloth.)

So I needed it. And when I was finally ready to go hand over money so they'd let me bring it home, lo and behold, it was on sale! Again, I can't remember how much cheaper it was or how much I paid for it (somewhere in the neighborhood of $400, I think), but I thought the sale was a sign from the porcelain gods that I had chosen wisely. Also a sign from more earthly beings that it was being discontinued. Which I'm sure has nothing to do with the quality of the craftsmanship involved.

And yes, if you look again at that last photograph you'll see the hand-held shower nozzle hanging by its hose. Right where it belongs. Because the instructions that came with it told me to screw the holder-thingy through the shower wall and right into a stud, which -- well, first of all: what do you think the chances were of me finding a stud on the first try? Have we met? And second: screw right through my fancy, round, on-sale, pod-bay, transporter, washing-me machine that's been discontinued so I can't get another one even if I have an extra however-many-dollars just lying around? I don't think so.

So I stuck the holder-thingy on with just the double-sided tape that was included. It lasted about a week before it came crashing down. In the middle of the night. I stuck it back, but it fell down again the next night. And the en suite's not so fun when things like that are happening. So the next morning I put the holder-thingy up on the ledge ...

...where it remains to this very day. If I had to guess, I'd say it's been seventeen months now. Once in a while I see it there and get wild ideas involving power drills, industrial adhesives, and the Dirty Jobs Guy, but then I drop the shower nozzle and go on my merry way.

La la...

Oh, yeah, so the point of this whole post was supposed to be the fact that the door's come off its runner. Though "come" off might not be the proper term. Because it was sticking for a while, so I sort of shoved it. That's generally my first defense against broken things -- shove it, drop it, slap it, slam it really hard. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it breaks the thing so irretrievably that it no longer is any of my concern. And sometimes I end up in a sort of limbo.

The shower door rolls now, but it's not right.

I realize you can't actually very well see what I'm talking about in that picture, so I'll describe it -- which I'm better at that than I am taking pictures, anyway:

The bottom of the roll-y bit is in the groove-y place where it belongs, but the toppy part is all hang-y out-y (see? that's why I is a writer). If I bang it, I can knock it in, but it goes all the way in and it's only supposed to go in halfway. And, as we learned in Vegas, if you're in a groove and you go all-in, there's no way that you can roll (which makes absolutely no sense as a gambling analogy, but with all those words to play with I had to try).

So for now my fix-it strategy is to leave it as it is. The door doesn't quite hang right, so it doesn't quite shut all the way, but the mildew hasn't started growing on the wall yet where the mist sprays through.

Maybe I should get in the habit of wiping down that wall-y bit when I step from the shower.

Hey! That's what I can use my facecloths for!