It's not about the house.

Friday, August 29, 2008

If I Could Give Him One of Mine...

Yesterday, I -- your intrepid traveling navel-gazer -- posted from my brother's house about my tennis elbow, and some of you (okay, one of you) asked where Johnny was in this whole thing. Why couldn't he scratch my back? Why couldn't he pass the salt? Why couldn't he etcetera and so on?

Well, I'll tell you:

Johnny has a couple broken ribs. Again.

It's actually a pretty funny story, see---

Oh, gosh, look at the time. I have to drop this niece-creature off at day care, and then I'm shooting down highway 91 to visit Dr. One Friend for the weekend. So I guess I'll have to tell you the rib story next week.

For now, let it suffice to say:

• I didn't do it.
• He is well-stocked with oxycodone.
• And, when I call him to check in, he sounds quite happy to have the cursed AssVac to himself.

I'm not positive, but I think those last two bullet-points may be related

Thursday, August 28, 2008

You Cannot Be Serious, Man!

I have tennis elbow.

I have never played a single game of tennis in my life but, thanks to it, I have the elbow of an olympic weightlifter.

No, wait. That’s wrong. I have played tennis. Once in my life. In a Middle School sort of field day kind of thing. I remember seeing my name on the docket and thinking “Why did they choose me? This is a prep school, for crying out loud. There are nine-year-old professional-track tennis players that go here!” But my name was on the docket nonetheless, so up to the tennis courts I went to meet my fate. Maybe the pro-track girls were trying to preserve their precious elbows.

Anyway, I played. Or, rather, I should say: I “played.” Because what I really did was stand there with a (borrowed) racket in my hand and lunge about the court while little yellow projectiles ponged around my ears. When it was over, and I was walking back to the gym to report for the next of my Field Day events (which, if I remember correctly, involved smashing gypsy moth caterpillars with a basketball), I ran into one of those pro-track players on her way up for her presumably-proper match.

“Did you win?” she asked me.

“What do you think?” I said.

“What was the score?” In Field Day, like in FIFA, the score matters even if you lose.

“What do you think?” I said again. Because I was good with the words even when I was in middle school.

“15-love?” she guessed.

“What? No,” I said. “15-nothing.”

Ha. Guess I showed her. Know it all.

So that’s the extent of my tennis experience. And yet here I am, thirty years later, with tennis elbow, obviously contracted during that one spastic hour on the court.

I kid, of course. I don't really think this pain comes from holding that Bancroft racket. But I truly don't know how I got it. I just woke up the morning after the 4th of July (which would be July 5th, for those of you playing along at home) with my left arm, for all practical purposes, useless. And when I say “all practical purposes,” I mean all practical purposes. I couldn’t brush my hair, I couldn’t close the car door, I couldn’t (gasp!) open a beer. But I could still work out. I could lift weights and do push-ups. So I did.

For a month and a half.

I figured, like I always do, that painful body parts are like children: if they bother you, poke at them until they go away. I know this is wrong. I know that pain is your body’s way of telling you to take a break (and children are your body's way of telling you to take the pill). But this is my way of trying to show my goddamn body who’s in charge.

Unfortunately, when you poke a baby, it cries louder. And it turns out weight-lifting makes make tennis elbow worse!

As I have been explaining to anyone who’ll listen for the better part of a month, it’s not such an unbearable pain -- it’s more of a twingy, nagging little thing. But because it sneaks up at the oddest moments, it tends to make me catch my breath and holler. When I take my shirt off. When I pass someone the salt. When I try to take a sip of coffee. Not necessarily in order, mind you, or all at the same time. Hell, I don’t remember the last time I had a naked, salty, breakfast meeting. But individually? Ow.

So the worst of it at this point is the trying to explain.


"What did you do?"

"I put my fork down!"


"What happened?"

"I scratched my back!"


"What this time?"

"I poked the baby!"

"Ha," the baby's thinking (I can see it in her face), "that'll learn you, Auntie Erin. Now, quick, get over here and change my poopy pants."

"Yes, baby.


There was supposed to be a picture of said baby in this spot, because I am writing this from her house, where I am babysitting for the next few days. I remembered to bring my camera, but unfortunately I forgot the transfer-cord. So you'll just have to conjure in your mind a picture of a blue-eyed, red-headed baby, with an expression on her face that suggests there might be something going on inside her diaper...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'll Remove the Cop, But Not the System

My favorite commentor this week is Amanda, because she always notices my tags -- which are something it never occurred to me that people would notice. Yesterday, she envied my ability to write a post about "camping, Fanta, pee." And what feels like a looong time ago, she noticed that I had seven separate posts tagged "toilet" (it was really August 4, and the number of "toilet" posts has since gone up to 9).

I can't link to Amanda, because she doesn't have a blog. Or, rather, I suspect she does,but she doesn't want any of you-all to see it. Because she comments with a blue line, but when you try to follow it you get the Blogger Stay-Out Screen. That's okay, Amanda -- if that is even your real name -- you don't have to share your thoughts on toilets and pee with the world if you don't want to. But riddle me this:

If you don't share your profile, how, then, did I come to know you're in Australia? Am I psychic? Or did you "accidentally" share that information? Or is it all a giant subterfuge?

Oh, shit, you're not really District 1 Councilor Victor Pap III, are you? And here's me, forgetting to make a joke about your name in yesterday's post!


Welcome to Would You Rather Wednesday, everybody!

For the record, the game is really called Zobmondo and you can buy it here.

Ready? Okay! Gather 'round...

The category is Random, which means it could be anything, but judging from this question I'd say it falls under the category of either Ethics or Embarrassment, depending on your answer. Would you rather...

As a bank robber, realize after you get inside the bank that you overlooked one security camera -- OR -- one security guard?

Oh, gosh, criminal justice. I haven't had to think about this shit since the accident...

Okay, as the robber, I've got three goals: 1. Get the money, 2. Get away, and 3. Get away with it. And neither the cameras or the guard have any effect on #1, so we'll discard it.

Now, the cameras -- although they're pretty daming evidence preventing #3 -- are virtually useless stopping me from #2. Unless some vigilante pulls one off the wall and hits me with it. The guard, on the other hand, could either shoot me on the spot, or be a witness in my trial. Or both.

And if we're going to assume I'm not one of those jackasses who wears a "Mount Holyoke College, Class of 1990" t-shirt to pull heists in, or writes the stick-up note on her own deposit slip -- which we are going to assume, and I'm sorry if that is against the rules -- then even the camera shouldn't be that big a problem at the trial. Because I'm also smart enough to wear a hood, and a baseball hat, and sunglasses, and to bind my breasts and -- what the hell -- let my stray chin hairs grow in for a month or so before.

Hey man, at that point? I might as well go ahead and wear the MHC t-shirt. They'd only wind up looking for some post-op FTM anyway.

Oh, yeah, so to sum up: I'd rather find out that I overlooked the camera.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Townville Times: Rang Dang Diggedy Dang Di-Dang

Remember the bridge I wrote about a couple weeks ago? The one that is the bane of my existence and will eventually be – if we don’t get out of Townville soon – the instrument of my ultimate destruction? Well, lookie the headline in today’s Wicked Local News!

Safety improvements made on Fore River Bridge!!!

Woohoo! All right! Maybe they’re fixing it so it doesn’t drop bolts in the river anymore! Maybe they’re fixing the clock so it opens on schedule instead of popping up and down like a whack-a-mole! Or maybe – dare I hope? – they might actually be starting the process of tearing the bastard down!

Let’s have a peek at the good news together, shall we?

A drive across the winding temporary Fore River Bridge tests the agility of motorists to stay in the travel lanes…

I’ll say it does!

…but this effort is a little easier because Mass Highway painted new white roadway stripes on the asphalt two weeks ago.

Oh bollocks, are you kidding me?

“This bridge is nothing short of a disaster right now,” said District 1 Councilor Victor Pap III while driving across the 210-foot span Aug. 18…

I’ll say it is!

…“But Rep. James Murphy met with me and (councilor-at-large) Brian McDonald to get the roadway lines painted.”

Oh bollocks, you’re still talking about the lines?

The new paint marks the lane boundaries for drivers going in each direction across the span and on each avenue of approach to the bridge.

Really? In both directions? Go-lly, what won’t they think of next?

During a meeting last month, McDonald urged the council to notify Mass Highway about the fading lane markings and poor nighttime visibility endured by drivers because of dim street lighting

Seriously, of all the things that are wrong with the Fore River bridge, poor lighting is not one of them. It’s a bridge, for one thing, so there are no trees or houses in the way, and it runs right past the U.S.S. Salem, for crying out loud. You think that old girl’s not lit up to kingdom come?

“Mass Highway was very responsive,” …

No! You don’t say!

…Pap said.

Huh. I guess you do.

“The lines have been painted and the street lights have been fixed. The roadway signage has been improved.”

Oh, now we’re worrying about the signage? I’ll tell you what sign down there needs fixing: the one that purports to tell you what time the bridge is going up! Beyond that, if I’m not mistaken, the only sign on the whole length of the bridge is one that reads “No Jumping” – and Johnny and I always wonder whether it's speaking to potential swimmers or attempted suicides.

A “no jumping” sign warns daredevils not to leap into the Fore River …


…and motorists are cautioned against passing drivers while on the span.

Nuh-uh. No, they’re not. I know, because I’ve looked. Because it has solid lines, which usually means you’re not supposed to pass, but people go so slow sometimes. I just can’t stand it, so I have looked and looked repeatedly for signs telling me not to pass. I tell ya, they ain’t there.

Pap said the new signs are more visible to drivers than the smaller posters.

Posters? Oh.

“There were little antiquated signs on the bridge,” Pap said.


North Weymouth Civic Association Vice President Sandy Gildea said the bridge should have signs stating speed limit strictly enforced …

Well -- aside from the fact that that sentence seems to be missing some quotation marks -- if it's going to have signs stating "speed limit strictly enforced," then the speed limit would have to be strictly enforced, wouldn’t it? So that plan’s out. Because the river is the town line: the bridge is technically in Quincy, but as soon as you touch ground this side you're in Weymouth. Nobody speeds going the other way, because there's a rotary as soon as you touch ground on the other side, and Weymouth cops have no jurisdiction over what you may or may not do while on the bridge. I don’t even know what the speed limit is on it. There is usually a cop sitting on this side of it, but I’ve never once seen anybody done. Which might have something to do with the jurisdiction-thingy, or it might have to do with the fact that the cop is usually nodding off, reading a book, or leaning up against his cruiser, staring off into the air.

… and placards listing emergency phone numbers for drivers to call during a crisis.

Oh, please. Call 911. Or just run down and goose the idle cop.

“We want a total safety inspection of the signs, (bridge) security, and safety,” Gildea said.

Um, well, actually, that doesn’t sound like a totally bad idea.

Pap said Mass Highway plans to install speed limit signs on the bridge to warn drivers. “What we are looking to have are speed limit signs that are more visible and additional signs to help drivers navigate their way across the bridge,” he said.

Um, let me guess: you get on it at one side of the river, then follow it over to the other side?

Some of the signs will have arrows to warn drivers about the curves on the span’s roadway. “We want to have arrows that indicate sharp curves on the bridge and that the area is heavily monitored for speeders,” Pap said.

Ah yes, the S curve. I'm used to it, so I'd forgotten. Yeah, okay, it mightn’t be a bad idea to warn people about that. Especially because it is a bridge and all, so if you fail to negotiate it you could wind up in the drink.

“There is a police cruiser parked on the Weymouth side of the bridge a few times each week that watches for speeders and I’m happy to see that.”

Oh, me too. I do hate to see public servants taking naps for free.

He said Mass Highway is considering the requests for additional warning signs by local …

Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Is it too late to make requests? Can we have one that says “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here?”



“They are evaluating everything,” Pap said. “The last thing you want to see is 20 different signs because they would lost their visibility and prominence.”

True, true. I still think a little divine comic relief could go a long way towards relieving some of Townville’s ennui, though. Or at the very least, maybe save some other poor soul from suffering my fate.

The temporary span is used daily by approximately 50,000 drivers.

And I bet that – at some time or another, while waiting for the damn thing to go down – every single one of them threw something in my yard.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Red Whine With Stakes

We went camping this weekend. Not real camping – there was no foraging or hunting involved in our meal preparation, no spade or plastic baggie utilized in the elimination of our waste. It was just what One Friend calls “car camping.” The kind where you pay a modest sum to a creepy guy behind a wood-panelled counter, in exchange for the temporary use of a few square (and hopefully wooded) feet in which to pitch a tent.

My bother and sister and I, and all of our respective others, used to do this every year, every year in a different New England state. Except for some reason we never put our stakes down in Rhode Island. I’m not sure why. Maybe because there were six adults in our crew, along with three tents and three cars, and we weren’t sure there’d be room in the Ocean State for all of that?

Anyway, like I said: we used to do this every year, but we haven’t done it since 2003. In 2004 there wasn’t a site big enough for us in all New England because of the Monster Baby my sister was fixin’ to drop, and then once the (eleven-pound!) Football Buddy did finally come along, we collectively decided to wait until she was safely past the toddling-into-the-fire stage before we hauled out the hatchets and gas lanterns again.

Since it was our first trip with The Kid, and since Chuck (TFT) isn’t always so much a fan of the long drive, we decided to keep it local this time. What difference does it make, we figured. Once we get there, all we do is sit around drinking beer and staring at the fire anyway, maybe occasionally bestirring ourselves to get up and have a piss behind a tree. Hell, we could do all of that in our own backyard if it weren’t for the nosy neighbors. So we settled on a campground about a half an hour from the AssVac, in a Massachusetts town by the name of Mansfield.

“But where will the girls sleep?” my Football Buddy wanted to know.

I was all set to tell her we’d secede from Mansfield, form our own little country, and call it Carrie Nation – until I remembered that I always get Carrie Nation and Lucretia Mott confused. And that Ms. Nation wasn’t fighting for women’s suffrage at all, but rather prohibition. And, I’m sorry, but if there is going to be one law in the eventual United State of EGE, it’s going to be that a lady is allowed – nay, required – to have two or thirteen IPAs by the campfire and then a quick squint in the woods. Unless said lady is three years old. In which case she gets passed back to her mother for the endless chain of questions about how town names come to be.

So we get to the campground and we pay for our weekend and they give us a map and we follow it to our designated site: T-5. Except that when we get to T-5, there’s a tent in it. Just a tent, mind you – not a person, not a car, not any of the accoutrements that usually accompany a tent on such a campsite. Food, for example, or clothes. Wood, coolers, lanterns, bug spray. Nope, nope, nope and nope. Just a tent and – oh, yeah – a single (clean) frying pan on the picnic table, with a half-empty two-liter bottle of Fanta Grape sitting inside it, like the beginnings of a white-trash consommé.

This does not bode well. What self-respecting citizen drinks grape soda past the age of 13½? Forgive me: what self-respecting citizen who is not also smoking meth drinks grape soda past the age of 9?

The map was a bit confusing, though. There was a slight chance that the site we were looking at was not, in fact, T-5. We didn’t so much care whether we had those 100 square feet or the 100 square feet next to it, but we didn’t want to get all set up in the wrong place ourselves, and then be made to shift it all when the real reservers of T-6 or –7 came. After all, we had much more than a frying pan and a bottle of Fanta Grape.

So I called.

Right there in the woods, I pulled out my cell phone and dialed the number for the office that was printed on the map. I felt like a jackass while I was doing it. In fact, between the time that I dialed the number and the time someone answered the phone, I asked my sister whether or not I should be doing this and came this close to hanging up. But I stuck in there, and eventually they answered.

“Hello?” I said. “This is EGE? I just checked in with my sister and we’re supposed to be in tent site 5? Um, I think I’m reading the map correctly, but if I am, then I think there’s already a tent in our site…”

I’m telling you: I am Assertive Girl.

“Hm,” the woman said. “I’ll send somebody down.”

A few minutes later a golf cart came whizzing in, with a man driving it and two children hanging on. He whizzed right past us and over to the tent in question, disembarked and spent a minute circling around. Then he pulled out a pocket walkie-talkie.

“Yeah,” we heard him say. “There’s a tent, but nobody’s here.” At which point Johnny hollered over:

“Hello! We’re here! The people who called you! The folks who are supposed to have that site! Hello? What’s the story?”

The guy laughed heartily and nodded his head. He hadn’t understood a single word of Johnny’s Dublin accent. What followed next was a stooge routine of indecision and misunderstanding, but the long and the short of it was that the front desk said the guy in our site was supposed to be moving over to T-7 today. We could either wait for him to come back and move, or we could move to T-7 ourselves.

Remember how I said I didn’t care which 100 feet they gave us? Well, I didn’t. If they’d offered us T-4 or T-6, it would have been fine. Hell, probably if they’d offered T-175 I wouldn’t care. But T-7 wasn’t even in the woods: it was in the wide-open, baking sun – and on the road, to boot. I don’t think I have to enumerate all the reasons why this option wouldn’t do, but let’s say it begins with direct sunlight at 5:00 in the morning and ends with the lack of friendly tree trunks after dark.

So we sent Golf Cart Guy away and took responsibility for Tent Man. We pitched ours far too close to his for comfort, hoping this would passive-aggressively underscore the notion that he really did have to take his Fanta Grape and frying pan and move two sites to the left as soon as he showed up.


As soon as he showed up.

Well, needless to say, he didn’t. So we got on with our day. I almost ruined the entire weekend when I allowed myself to get too hungry, and the hunger thought it sounded like a good idea to shove the hot dogs right into the goddamn fire and swear at anybody who pointed out that they were quickly turning black. But, one second-degree burn and one teeny-tiny haematoma later, we did get me fed. Johnny played a few songs on the guitar (and can we please have a consensus here? Crazy Chester caught me in the fog, right? Not the bog? Thank you.). Football Buddy made a new best friend with the little girl in the site next door (which little girl, by the way, was two years older and half of FB’s size – I’m telling you: this is a Monster Baby). And then New Best Friend’s mom came over to our site chat.

She said she’d been there for three weeks, and Tent Man had been there when she arrived. She said he just sleeps there – gets up in the morning and drives away, maybe to go to work, then comes back in the night to go to bed. But yesterday the cops had shown up when he wasn’t there and nosed around his site, and somehow when he got back he knew they had. He went over and asked her about them – what they’d done, what they’d seen – then this morning he’d left before anyone was up, and this here was later than he’d ever come back home.

Naturally, we became convinced he was a fugitive, and that there just might be a corpse in that there tent.

This made for big fun for the next few hours. Every once in a while the campfire would flicker just right, we’d catch a glimpse of the tent and dare one another to go unzip and look. Nobody did, and the reason nobody did was more an adult respect for personal property than an actual fear of dead bodies we didn’t really believe were there, but it was fun. It gave a spooky-story element to the campfire, the likes of which I haven’t experienced since “I want my golden arm….”

Which is why he scared the piss out of me when he did show up. And I didn't even have time to jump behind a tree.

I didn’t hear his car drive in, didn’t hear him open or shut the door. I just suddenly heard the crash as he walked into our case of empty bottles and lord, I nearly shat. He was drunk enough that even I knew he was drunk – and I was pretty well gone to Concord my ownself – and he was tripping over himself (and everything else in his path) to apologize.

“They said I better say sorry to youguys. At the office. They said, and Iforgot, that I wasuppooseda moveaday. I’m zorry. I’m zo, zo, zorry. Here. Lemme get my shitouda yerway.”

Well, then we felt bad. He was obviously not a murderer. Or a meth head. He was just a fellow drunkard like ourselves. And he was obviously in no condition to be moving house at that hour. Yet, as badly as we felt for having put him out of house and home, we didn’t any of us feel inclined to help.

“Ah, nah, you’re all set,” said Johnny.

“Yeah,” I chimed in. “Don’t worry about it. Go to bed – or would you like a drink? – and we’ll help you move all your shit in the morning.” Have I mentioned I was well into my cups? I had obviously forgotten that 1. he did not have any shit beyond the fry pan and the Fanta grape, and 2. if he did, up until five minutes ago I was willing to believe it might include a corpse. Yet here I was offering this potential cannibal a taste of my IPA.

“No, no nononno. It’s not even nailed down. See?” He toddled through the glow of our campfire, grabbed the side-pole of his two-man, lifted it up over his head and marched it out. “Thanks!” he called over his shoulder. “Sorry!”

The next morning, my brother-in-law tiptoed over to put Tent Guy’s frying pan and Fanta Grape on his new, T-7 picnic table. When he did, he saw Tent Guy sleeping in the driver’s seat of his car. Apparently, he’d carried his tent over, then come back for his car, and never actually managed to make it out.

We tried to pretend for a while that we thought he might have died, but the idea never really flew. Especially because, at around sunset, he started up the car and drove away, then came back with McDonald’s that he ate while sitting at his picnic table. I watched out of the corner of my eye, wanting to see him to wash it down with Fanta Grape, but alas, it was not to be.

Because, as any proper cannibal/meth head/falling-down-drunk/car sleeper knows, Fanta Grape is hardly the proper beverage to pair with two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.

That, of course, would be Fanta Pineapple.

Oh, and I should probably state for the record that the Football Buddy's mother was never drunk, and she also never peed behind a tree. Not this trip. I could tell you stories, though. In fact, when Football Buddy gets a little older, I think I'll tell them to her!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Arr! Ack! No!

Johnny and I go away for one little weekend in the woods, and look what we come home to:


(In case you didn't notice it yourself, may I point out the light switch on the right there? Just, you know, for size comparison?)

I'd like you to know I killed that bastard with my own two hands. And I'd like you to be proud of me. Because it actually took two hands to do it, plus a kitchen towel. And I'm not apologizing for the kitchen towel, either. I couldn't very well run the risk of him punching through the wad of toilet paper that was my only other option, could I?

Or, well, I suppose that wasn't my only other option. I suppose I could have smacked his ass flat with a boot. But then I would've risked taking away the single useful function left in that sliding glass door -- namely: keeping the raindrops on the outside -- and with it any last shred of remaining dignity left to the AssVac as a whole. Not to mention the creature-from-hell guts he'd surely have left all over my nice white drapery.

Anyway, it appears the annual invasion has begun. In fact, come to think of it, that not-so-little fucker looks familiar. Hm. Correct me if I'm wrong, but did I not declare that particular mission accomplished once already? Do you think maybe this one was hiding in a cave or something? Or do you think maybe my initial success just made the fringe bugs angry and now I'm dealing with a whole new second (or fourth) wave of insurgency?

Ah, well. Who cares? Either way, my friends, it's freakin' on.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Oh, Just Because It's Been a While...

It's not the best picture I ever took, but look what turned up on my bedroom skylight this morning:

Can't see it? Can't guess? Don't forget who you're dealing with here, after all...

Okay, here's help:

And it doesn't look like your standard bird poop, either. In fact, I'm starting to worry there might be cows lurking up in them there trees.

Shit*, I hope this doesn't happen:

*(no pun intended)**

**(okay, maybe little pun intended)

Friday, August 22, 2008

I Was W---- ... ahem... I Was W----

Okay, so I was not so much corectamundo.


I may have recently implied (for which please read: explicitly stated) that my husband, Johnny, was going to turn 50 in the spring.

This is not true.

For the record: on March 14, 2009, Johnathan Patrick Conroy of Weymouth, Massachusetts (formerly of Dublin, Ireland) will be 49.

I, however, am unfortunately still going to turn 40. Not tomorrow -- not for more than eleven months, in fact -- but, in the words of another famously neurotic blonde: it's out there.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Twas Brillig, and this Silly Ho...

So I’m walking to work the other day…

Hang on.

I read while I’m walking down the street. I just do, and I don’t want to hear about it. I manage fine, thanks for worrying, and yet no, I can’t tell you how I do it. Somehow I see everything around me and avoid stepping in dog poo or walking into street lights, and still I get in almost two whole extra hours of reading-time on my commute. (Recently, I’ve taken a few awkward stabs at writing on the move, but that hasn’t gone so well. I still see fine, still avoid the poles and piles, but can’t always tell, later, what the hell it was I tried to say.)

Anyway, so I’m walking to work the other day with my nose in a book, and I come up to an intersection. It’s a smallish one, but it’s on Beacon Hill – surrounded on all four corners by blind-spotting brownstones – so it’s earned itself a no-turn-on-red streetlight.

I, like most Bostonians, am an inveterate jaywalker. I only just found out the other day that there is actually a fine for the offense in town – one whopping dollar – but I’ve never heard of anybody getting done. I do try not to actively block traffic, but I do not (do not) wait for the lights. I don't even, when it comes to that, so much as hit the button to request the light. If I believe that I can make it, then I go, and I’m always confused when other people don’t. The first time I was in Seattle, I looked all up and down the street for what felt like an hour, trying to spot the traffic that the crowd on the sidewalk was waiting for. And I swear I heard them gasp collectively when I finally stepped off of the Don't-Walk curb.

After a close call with a cabby in New York, though, I have learned to act like a broad when I am abroad. But here in the Hub of the universe, nothing annoys me more than when I time my street-crossing perfectly so as to just miss your back bumper, and then you go and stop in the middle of the road to let me pass. Grr! You ruined my dance, you considerate bastard!

Anyway, so I’m walking to work the other day with my nose in a book when I get to an intersection. I’m all set to cross against the light, and suddenly the light changes. There is one car waiting at it, and I -- seeing the green light out of the corner of my eye -- come to a metaphorically screeching halt. Like a mime walking into a brick wall, I raise a leg to take a step and bounce back to the curb.

Rule # 1: Try to not actively block the flow. Remember?

But she doesn’t go. And she doesn’t go. And still she doesn’t go. And for once in the history of Boston traffic, there’s nobody lined up behind her to blow a “Wake up!” horn.

Jaywalking protocol in this situation calls for never, never looking directly at the driver’s face. A direct look means you know they’re there, and then they’re free to assume you will give way. You won’t. You may examine them in your peripherals to determine whether they’re aware of you. Whether, if you step out, there’s a decent chance that you’re going to get run down. You can’t always tell this by the look of a driver’s distracted ear or scalp, especially out of the corner of your own distracted eye (and especially with your nose buried in a book) so generally, if you’re in doubt, just go. GO! Seriously: how hard can they possibly hit you with a two-foot running start?

But this chick’s got her visor down. Even if I were to look right at her, I wouldn’t be able to see her face. But I can see that she’s talking on the phone.

This is bad. The cellphone phenomenon is still new enough -- and unpredictable enough -- that jaywalking rules around it have not been written yet. You really have to play each tune by ear. But my own brief experience says that cellphone-drivers are capable of achieving whole new, heretofore-unheard-of levels of streetdumb jackassery.

Go? Don’t go? Go, and risk getting run down by a streetdumb jackass? Don’t go, and risk actually waiting for the light? What to do? What to do?

I went.

And as I went, I actually lowered my book, turned my head, and (forgive me) tried to make eye contact with the driver through her windshield. She did not return my gaze -- not out of any code of honor on her part, but because she was too busy gazing at herself in her vanity mirror.

Vanity. Mirror. Never has there been an accessory more aptly named.

She was not fixing her makeup, she was not picking a zit, she was not removing something from her eye, her nose, her teeth. She was just gazing into her vanity mirror, watching herself talking on the phone.

Mirror, mirror, in the car, who’s the dumbest fuck by far?

After I was safely across the street, I couldn’t help but drop the book and monitor the situation with my back-eyes. The light turned red, and green, and red again, and still she sat there. Gazing, I imagine – although I couldn’t so much see her anymore (since I kept, ahem, moving) – at her captivating yakker in the glass. For all I know, she may be there yet. I never did get a good look at her lip-flapping platter, but I suppose there is a slight chance it was three days worth of beautiful.

Of course, there's a much better chance that someone has come along behind her since then, and hopefully given her a proper up-the-hooch lesson in how to properly conduct a meant-to-be-moving vehicle on Boston roads.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Stuck? Stuck. Stuck!

The lesson we learned from our whopping response last week was: avoid the morbid questions. (And also: HPH is funny!) Okay, got it. No make-you-puke questions and no make-you-think-about-your-own-death ones, either. Roger that.

Now, let's skip the preliminaries this week and just dive on into this Kierkegaardian conundrum, shall we?

Welcome to Would You Rather Wednesday!!!!!

Blah blah blah rules and stuff.

Ready? Gather round!

The category is Pain/Fear/Discomfort (not the throw-up kind, I swear), and the question is: Would you rather...

Run barefoot in the snow for 15 minutes -- OR -- stick your tongue to a frozen flagpole?

Now here's the thing: I wouldn't want to run for fifteen minutes, period, never mind the temperature or the status of my footwear. As I said to (psycho) Gerry the other day when I found out that he (nutsily) runs the Boston (insane) Marathon: I don't run unless somebody's chasing me, and even then they better have a pretty damn big knife. And I do mean knife. There's no sense running from a gun, because a person doesn't have to be able to catch you in order to be able to shoot you, but it's pretty hard to get stabbed at from across the room. Unless the stabber has good aim. And the stabee has bad reflexes.


If we take that little bit of painful, frightening discomfort out of the equation -- if we say, instead, would I rather lick a flagpole or lie down in the snow for fifteen minutes? Well, then, that's a whole other kettle of soup.

I can lie in the snow. Don't think I can't. I ran away once when I was something like seven years old, and I lay in the snow in the front yard for hours waiting for somebody to notice I was gone. They never did, or maybe they did and they just didn't care, or maybe they did and thought it served me right for pouting. At any rate, I eventually gave up and came inside on my own. I'm lucky I did, too. I'm lucky I did not get frostbite out there! Unless, well, maybe it wasn't really hours after all. Unless maybe it was more like roughly the length of a commercial break in an episode of The Muppet Show. But still. It was scary. I think Sean Penn should make a movie about that.

As far as licking flagpoles goes, though, I've never done it. I did used to lick the freezer -- the little metal strip that keeps things from falling off the door. Oh, and the ice cube trays. Remember the old metal ice cube trays -- god, it makes my spine hurt just to think about them -- where you had to lift the metal arm to knock the cubes out, and it would make that awful, squeaky, squealy, screechy, snap? Seriously, I think one of my teeth just shattered like a wine glass at the sense-memory of the sound. In fact, if the question were "What is the best invention of the last thirty years?," the answer would have to be "Screw the internets, man! Plastic ice trays!"

But that is not the question, is it? No. The question, if you remember, had something to do with licking frozen things. And I did used to sometimes run my tongue along those ice cube trays just to feel the sense of panic when it stuck. It was a wee tiny cold rush of adrenaline -- like a little kiddy popper -- because it would stick fast, and fast, but it would only take about a minute to thaw off. Over the course of these random minutes here and there, I formulated a theory that if you brought a jug of warm water out there with you, you could probably pour it down over the frozen flagpole to free your tongue. But I never had the jugs to test it out.

What I'm trying to say is: I don't want to run for fifteen minutes -- and yes, you did hear a whine and a foot stamp in those italics -- but I don't want to spend the rest of my life having to fish my tongue out of my pocket every time I need to lick a stamp or something, either.

So I guess (sigh) that I would run.

Now who's going to volunteer to chase me with a knife?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

With Respect


This isn’t going to be the typical Townville blog.

Something awful happened.

It wasn’t in Townville, technically; it was just over the border. Had I been home, I could have watched -- and felt it, apparently -- from in my house. But the poor bastard who died in the accident just moved here. With his brand-new bride, no less.

So there will be no Townville snarking at The House and I today.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Oh My God, I'm Heartily Sorry...

I have a crush. On a song.

I don't know if it's possible to have a crush on a song, all I know is that I have one. When it comes on the radio, I get all shy and smiley, and I start playing with my hair in that "please notice me" kind of way.

It's embarrassing. It's wrong. It's like, if I'm Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club, this song is Emilio Estevez. Wrong, on so many levels. Just ... plain ... wrong.

And yet -- for some reason I can't explain -- the feeling's out there.

I flip stations looking for it on the radio when I'm in the car, and if I find it I turn it up real loud and pretend like I'm playing something good. Pretend I'm not a little bit embarrassed to be playing this song, of all songs. I don't even try to sing, because I don't know any of the lyrics no matter how many times I listen to it (except one five-word phrase that makes no sense, and of which I had one word wrong until two days ago), so I just twirl my hair and try my darnedest to look beautiful.

I think it's working. I think it might be starting to like me, too. Because I just heard it three times in a row on three different stations. Rode me from the Mass Pike interchange all the way to the Southern Artery. Up just as loud on the third play as on the first. With the windows open along the beach in the misting rain.

And then, when the cheeseball orchestral finale died for the final time, I cranked me some Joan Jett. "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," to be precise. Just to remind my inner Basket Case that really she loves the Criminal, and she ought to leave the Princess with the Jock the way nature intended.

Rock on, Princess.

No, seriously, you can have him. Because, honestly, when I'm really living my life, he leaves me cold.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Putrefaction, You Say?

Putrefaction, the rotting of organic material, draws flies. Green bottle flies lay their eggs almost exclusively in rotting flesh. Because they rely on rotting flesh to reproduce, they are extremely sensitive to the smell of decomposition, and they are often the first to arrive at a fresh carcass, sometimes minutes after death. (from here)

Guess what we've been overrun with at the AssVac this week?

Gee, I wonder what (or who) it is that died.

And - gulp - where.

I'm Late! I'm Late!

Last week sometime, Athena over at Hot Child in the Suburbs gave me a Major Award. No, it is not a leg lamp. It is not even fragilé -- but it is brillante! It is this:

She said she gave it to me because I'm smart, which makes me wonder about her a little bit. But I like her because she's snarky, so maybe she was just being a wiseass.

Speaking of snarky, she says there's all these rules about what I have to do now, but I don't feel like playing by no stinking rules. Besides, some of them I didn't even understand (so much for smart, eh?). So I'm going to make up my own rules and award it forward to just two people on my blogroll who really, really, really make me laugh:

First, to I-don't-know-her-real-name at Lucky Pork: Because she draws silly pictures of her life in San Francisco and they always make me laugh. Like this one of her with toilet paper in her bike shorts, look:

You see? Silly! She also write short little captions that perfectly say what would take me 3000 words.

Unfortunately, she's also a Giants fan.

So I hate her. Boo.

And to Jen at All the Pretties: Because I like to pretend we're having a drink and talking on the phone when I read her posts. She doesn't post as much as she used to, but she didn't post at all for a long time, so we're just happy that she's back at all. Read through her archives. Especially this one, which is how I found her, in which she fesses up to being a human chimney.

She doesn't smoke anymore, though, so (I'm sorry, Jen) I guess I love her less.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Now Look!

I put the lid down to protect your delicate sensibilities from what I had no choice but to leave mellowing in the pot. Do you see the problem? No? How about here?

Or here?

It can be hard to flush a toilet with a trip lever that's lying on the floor.

It's okay. The piece screws in and out -- something I never noticed before and for which I fail to see a useful reason -- so I just picked it up and screwed it right back in. It's holding so far, but...
Methinks perhaps Mr. W.D. Fortystein was not the best choice of handyman for the angry fix.

And I'll tell you this for nothing: he's not doing too good stopping the squeak in my stairmaster, either. Maybe it's coming on time for Mr. W. to put in for that pension.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Not for the Faint of – Well, We’ll Just Say Heart

Seriously, folks, before this post is over I am going to be using the word “nipple,” and it’s going to be in reference to my own. One of them, anyway. I promise that I won’t be showing any pictures – of it, that is – but if you’re not okay with that (with either the use of the word or the dearth of illustration) then I suggest you keep moving along…

I was excited about the dinner I prepared last night. For one reason or another, over the previous four days, I had either skipped meals or been suckered into eating things I didn’t want, so I was looking forward to a healthy meal of my own choosing.

You may be thinking “You are a grown woman, Erin, and you have no kids. How could you possibly be suckered into eating something that you didn’t want?” Well, to that I say: you try coming home from work to a fully-cooked, perfectly delectable square meal, and telling your husband (or wife, or whoever) that you refuse to eat it because you’re on a diet and he forgot to take the skin off of the chicken. Also? Try walking in the house and smelling rotisserie chicken and then having the willpower to say no. So yes, for the sake of marital harmony I sucked it up. Poor me, rotisserie chicken skin is so disgusting. I did get away with skipping rice, though, and it was a homemade pilaf made with chicken stock and peas and carrots. He was really proud of it, too, and it did look really good. But he forgot to salt it first, so bleah.

(Actually, he didn’t forget to salt it, he just generally does not salt things – me, I would probably be two sizes smaller if it weren’t for all the water that I permanently retain so as to balance out my daily cup of when-it-rains-it-pours (which it manifestly doesn’t, by the way). Seriously. I keep saying I’m going to give up salt for a week and see what happens, but I keep not making it past that first soft-boiled egg.)

(Oh, and speaking of retaining water: I know I could not technically have gained two pounds overnight simply from chicken skin, but the fact remains that I did gain two pounds overnight, and so I’m blaming Johnny. This, plus the real reason for the two-pound-overnight gain (which we won’t name, because one “nipple” may be more than enough for our more sensitive readers), might also be the reason why I wasn’t in the best of moods yesterday when this whole I-was-looking-forward-to-my-dinner tale began.)

Yesterday afternoon, though, I stopped off on my way home and bought a mess of vegetables. We’ve been out of veggies for a while because we’ve been counting on the garden to kick in, but it’s refused. Seriously, I’m starting to think next year we just won’t bother. We did everything right, and in the spring and early summer we thought we were going to have a bumper crop this year at last – the plants were turning the yard into a Shop of Horrors, every one of them blossoming so much we couldn’t count. But the bean plants gave us one meal’s worth and croaked it. The pumpkin pooped out a dingleberry of a decorative gourd and gave up the ghost. The cucumbers are coming out all long and weird and squishy-like. The cherry tomato plants turned black, and the regular-sized ones all have blossom-rot. It’s like a Haunted House of Flowers out there. Yummaree.

So finally I sucked it up and shopped. Peppers, scallions, broccoli, zucchini (do you know how much it kills me to pay for zucchini at this time of year?), green beans and, yes, f’ing tomatoes. And I spent an hour chopping it all up for a stir-fry. Except when I say stir-fry, what I really mean is: I throw it all in a big fry-pan with garlic, nine pounds of salt and ground black pepper, and a half a tablespoon of Land-o-Lakes. So I guess when I say stir-fry, what I really mean is a sauté. Whatever, it’s yum.

But first you have to make the rice.

Now me, I’m a brown-rice sort of gal. Have been for fifteen years, ever since I first figured out (thanks, One Friend!) that brown rice and wild rice were not the same. Because wild rice, as far as I’m concerned, is yuck. I might as well go in the yard and eat a tree. But compared to nutty, toothy brown rice, white rice tastes like little tapioca-pills of starchy bland (especially, ahem, if you neglect to salt it).

Johnny, on the other hand, is a starchy-bland guy (not in general, I mean, just in his choice of rice). So, for the whole ten or so years we’ve lived together, we’ve always kept both varieties in stock, and for meals we’re sharing that include some rice, we cook both kinds. It’s just easier to keep the peace that way. (And in case you’re wondering about that sentence: no, we don’t always both have the same thing for dinner. He’s a big meat eater, and I’m not. I’m not a vegetarian anymore, but a chicken leg every month or so will just about do me fine. Whereas he goes faint if he doesn’t have a half-pound steak three times a week, and the other four nights he doesn’t always so much bother to eat. Easier for marital harmony, again, if we each just look after ourselves.)

Then, when we decided to finish redoing the kitchen, I came across his starchy stash and realized I was going to have to suck it up.

Sometime last year, this yobbo got an economical wild hair and bought a ten-pound bag of white rice at the Super 88. You know, the bag that’s intended for entire, three-generation Chinese families who eat rice with at least two meals a day? Johnny does not eat rice that often. He does not eat rice 1/10th that often. He was working his way through the pillow-sized sack maybe ¼ cup per week at a time, at which rate we would most certainly have had to take it with us when we move, even if by the time we get out of the AssVac we’re going someplace we won’t be able to take earthly possessions.

But the cupboard where the sack-o-rice had set up housekeeping was coming out, and we were short on space in the new digs across the room. So what I did is, I poured it into a giant Ziploc bag, crammed the bag into the back of the drawer with the kitchen towels, oven mitts, and cutting boards (plus the occasional fireplace match and maybe kabob stick or travel mug), and resigned myself to eating white rice for a while.

A long while.

And I eat a lot of rice.

A lot of rice.

That was in January.

I think I forget what brown rice tastes like.

But yesterday, when I went to make rice to go with my looked-forward-to dinner (remember dinner? this is a story about dinner), the countertop canister was running low – and I, filling it up, finished the bag! We’re not out of white rice yet, but we will be. There will brown rice in this house before the snow falls. Maybe even, if I really get to work, before September!

So anyway, I set the rice up in the steamer, here, like so:

And then I went and did some sit-ups while I waited for it to be time to start the veg.

twenty… forty… sixty… etcetera…

There! Stir-fry time at last! Or sauté! Or whatever! Heat the pan, melt the butter, throw in the veggies, salt and pepper. Oh crap, garlic. Well, Johnny will you hand me the chopped garlic from the fridge please? Thank you. Hey lets make it a party and throw in some sesame seeds, really celebrate the beginning of the end of starchy bland! Johnny will you – where’d you go? Never mind, I’ll get them. Out of here:

Open the cabinet… Up on my tippy toes… And that’s when (here comes that word I promised you) my nipple – my t-shirt clad but unfortunately braless nipple – went ploop, right in the steamer vent.

YOW!!” I jumped back like I’d been bit – which at that point, for all I knew, I had -- although by what, I could not imagine.

“What happened?” Johnny said, coming running from wherever he’d been just as I figured out the answer.

I looked up at him, wincing and tenderly cupping my now-soggy-to-boot right breast. “I burned my tit!” I said. To which he immediately, and understandably, began to laugh.

“Do you want butter for it?” he asked me. “How about a little Vaseline?”

“Shut up. Ow. You’re not supposed to put those things on burns.”

“Right… How ’bout some ice, then? You want I should get an ice cube? Here, let me get an ice cube on that tit for you…”

And on like that. You’re lucky you weren’t joining us for dinner, because for the remainder of the preparation, and through most of the meal, I was tenderly probing my sore area, so to speak, trying to determine if it would blister and peel.

It won’t, I’m happy to report. The old girl is going to be fine.

Johnny’s bruises, though, might take a bit longer to go away.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Can't Stop, Sorry!

Hey, everybody, it's Would You Rather day!

Only -- argh! Now that I’ve given myself permission to skip the stupid questions, they all seem stupid and I can’t stop flipping through the stack in search of a better one. (I don't want to hear a single lousy crack about the indecisive promiscuity that that entails.) So here’s what I’m going to do: find my favorite comment from this past week, and pose the first question I come across that starts with the same letter as that person’s name. Ready? Here I go, off to peruse your pithy posts…

Okay I'm back. And the winner is: Chris! Because “house goiters” is both funny, original, and mildly disgusting, all while being manifestly not a poo joke – of which lord knows we have more than our fair share around here as it is. (Although, don’t get me wrong, this is not a hint that that's going to change. You may rest assured: at The House and I, there will be poo.)

Now, let’s not forget that the game is really called Zobmondo, and you can buy it here. If you’re going to play you have to choose one or the other of the choices given – you can’t say “neither” or come up with a third option. Wild speculation as to the interpretation of the wording of the question, however, is most certainly allowed. Because who really does know what the definition of the word “is” is, after all?

Okay? Gather ’round!

The category is Ethics/Intellect (my favorite!) and the question is: Would you rather…

Constantly relive the three best days of your life until you die – OR – live just one more year starting today?

Oh man. I have big hopes for this next year. But then, I had big hopes for this past year, too, and look how well that turned out for me. Are we assuming the three best days of my life already happened? Do I get to choose them? Or could it be some speculative future best days that I get to make up? Could I be skinny in them? How long would I live? Would I know I was living the same three days over and over again, like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day – or would I be more like Drew Barrymore in 50 First Dates? If I could be Drew Barrymore, then I’d probably choose that. But then again, I’d probably choose whatever option would let me be Drew Barrymore, even if it meant drinking from the fishtank and the toilet water, so that’s not really fair.

All right, I’ll start over. Theoretically, I see that living the same days over and over again – even if for a hundred and fifty years, and no matter how fantabulous they are – isn’t really "living" in the existential sense. But when I so much as contemplate choosing to die in one short year I feel myself fixing to hyperventilate, even though I know it’s just pretend.

So my answer is this: if I have to make the choice and then carry it out knowing that I made the choice, I choose the three-day option. After all, I could always off myself if I got bored. But if it were to be just spontaneously magicked down and I’d have no idea, I’d choose the year.

And now I’d best get back to writing, just in case.

For the record: I wrote this before Jenni told me she got shushed at the library for laughing out loud at the house poop. Otherwise, she just might have won, and we'd be answering a question about ... about ... well, I can't seem to find a J-starting question right this second. And since I don't have to, I'm going to stop looking.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Won't You Be Mine? Please? Oh, Please?

Hey guys, guess what? I've got good news from Townville for a change!

I've put a video below that I'll discuss in a minute, but I know not all of you can watch videos at work, and I know some of you who can just never do, so I'll nutshell it for you:

Right here in Townville (a.k.a Weymouth, Mass.), not 2000 feet from the AssVac's very door, a person did a nice thing for a neighbor!

The End!

No, wait, there's more!

He did a nice thing for a dog!

Oh holy crap I think I might pass out!

Okay, what happened is, the house caught fire, and the people weren't home, so the next-door neighbor guy -- the 63-year-old next-door neighbor guy, incidentally -- threw a ladder up against the house, smashed the screen in, stuck his head and arms in through the window, and hauled out the dog. And not the small dog, either. The German shepherd, thank you very much.

I feel as though I've entered into a whole other dimension...

Now, this video doesn't really say any more detail about the story than I've already said, but if you've ever sat at home wondering "Gee, I wonder what it's really like where EGE lives" -- if you are at all curious about Townville as an actual living place and not just the parade of freak shows that I always feature here -- you might go ahead and play a couple seconds. Because that man, that voice, is this town.

I never really thought about it until I heard it on this screen, but the Townville twang is distinct from standard Masshole-ish. I'm no good at writing dialect, so I won't even try, but it's in the vowels and the syllabic emphasis and everything, right down to the gulpy manner in which certain consonants are dropped -- and not only the rs. That accent is Townville's own, and for the rest of my life I will recognize it just as surely as I do Worcesterian and Springfieldese.

Now if I could just learn to adopt it, do you think maybe I could get them to be nice to me?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

But Could Either of them Beat Dick Cheney?

We've been overrun by praying mantises lately (praying manti? ephods?), which is odd, considering I'd never seen one up close in my life until last year. We found her in the We Don't Know What Kind of Bush out back, and I took some pictures of her to share with you, but it was with my old camera, and you couldn't really tell the difference between her and the branch. See?

As winter approached, Johnny discovered what he thought was an egg sac in our discarded Christmas tree (some other time I will explain why our Christmas tree was still in the yard in October. It has to do with a sparky outdoor fire we never got around to having. If you look closely at the picture of the veranda I posted the other day, you will notice we've gone and not done it again). He carefully placed the sac in a crook of the We Don't Know bush, and so far this year we've had two of them on our porch. A little baby one inside, on the window-screen (we don't know how it managed to get in there, but I swear I heard it say "salutations!" at least once before I let it go) and, another day, a big one perched on the mailbox to greet us when we got home.


Okay, by the time I got the camera Johnny had picked the bugger up, so it wasn't on the mailbox anymore. And the bugger was a lot bigger than this picture makes it look. Not huge, but certainly larger than the tip of Johnny's finger. Which that is, no matter what it looks like.

So I'm driving Johnny home from an emergency doctor's appointment the other day -- he's fine, it was just gas -- and he gets to thinking. "I wonder who'd win in a fight," he says, "a praying mantis or a dragonfly?"

We have loads of dragonflies in our yard, too. BIG ones. Or at least we used to. Haven't seen so many this year, though. Which suggests to me an answer.

"Praying mantis," I said.

"I don't know," says Johnny, "dragonflies have got some jaws on 'em. I've seen one take down a fucking wasp."

"Well, a wasp is a lot smaller than a praying mantis, isn't it? But then again," I added, excercising my prerogative to change my mind, "if the dragonfly gets to swoop down on the praying mantis, then it's no contest. Dragonfly, hands down. But if you put them on the ground facing each other and give 'em a three-count to begin with, I still say the mantis wins."


"Because praying mantes have longer arms. He could hold the dragonfly out like this," I grazed the windshield with my knuckles, "and the dragonfly would just be punching at the air."

"And then what's he gonna do," says Johnny, "choke the dragonfly to death? 'C'mere ya wee fucker! Try an' bite me, will ya!?' 'Gackackackkkkk....'"

He collapsed against the door in a fit of giggles. "Oh, what's wrong with me?" he said when he'd sufficiently recovered. "Why do I think of these things?"

"I don't know, honey," I said, wiping tears away myself.

"Maybe its the gas."

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Well, You Better Catch It!

Guess what?

That toilet? The one I fixed? With WD40?

It won't stop running.

I am so good at this!

Oh yeah, and P.S. Happy Pretend Football, everybody!

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Measure of Disorder

I organized my closet (again -- oh, and hey, if you follow that link: I forgot all about Goody and Prudence. We'll have to see if they'd be willing to stop by for a little where-are-they-now)!

But why can I never bring myself to organize my shoes?

Well, I'll tell you why: because when I take them off, I usually stand alllll the way over here...

... and fling them.

If I'm lucky, they hit the hanging clothes and drop into the shoe-pile. If I'm not, they hit the wall and bounce out of the closet all together. If I'm really unlucky, they hit the door and make a big BANG that wakes up the girl cat and she gets pissed off and goes and beats hell out of her brother. But one of these days, I just know it, I'm going to fling a Frye boot and put a hole right through the wall, and then we'll have to fill it with Great Stuff and live with it for years.

And I know me. I know I could spend an hour (or two, or three) emptying and organizing, pairing and polishing, dividing into His and Hers and lining up -- and I'd probably enjoy doing it, too, considering it would take a lot less brain power than the work that I'm supposed to do these days. But, like I said, I know me. And I know that the next day I'd be standing in the corner and flinging my wine-stained Keds* against the wall. So why bother?

Right, Dodo?

"Right. Just please try not to fling 'em at the door? That bitch hits hard."

* They're faux-Keds, actually. In boots, I go for brand-name. But for sneakers, I go cheap.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Anastasia and Drusilla

The other day, I mentioned in passing that my corroded and broken toilet-flusher knob was not the ugliest (or, for that matter, the most useless) feature of the AssVac, and beardonaut (which, by the way, is pronounced beardo-naut, like astronaut, and not bear-donut, like I was thinking) asked what were the ugliest and most useless things in the house. I've thought about it for a few days, and this morning I made up my mind and went a-picturing.

Exhibit A:

Oh, I kid. I'm kidding, jeez! I love you, Johnny. Although you have been kind of useless lately, and you could certainly do with a shower and a shave. What's up with that? And hey, why are you smoking Marlboro Reds this morning? You said you were quitting (and I said I have a house for sale) but instead you switched from lights to regulars? Well, at least now it won't be such a slow and malingering death I'll have to be watching over. Speaking of which, I guess I'd better take out that life insurance policy we've been talking about for ten years, and I'd better do it before your 50th birthday rolls around next March.

Holy crap, my husband's 50.

I would just like to state, for the record, that I am not. I am only 39. And not the wink-wink kind of 39 that means I'm lying. The real 39 that means -- that means...

Holy crap, I'm 40.

Moving on...

The Ugliest Feature of the AssVac, For Real This Time:

You like? It's breathtaking, isn't it? It's the hole where the old range exhaust fan used to vent, which has (for the past two years) been plugged with Great Stuff. The old range exhaust was literally a fan, installed directly into the wall over the stove. You pulled a chain to start it up, and when you did it would grunt and swear and cough up something disgusting. Good thing the stove was too exhausted in its own right to require any venting.

Ooh, and she has a little sister where the dryer used to vent. But little sis ain't quite as ugly. This one just makes it look like the AssVac's taking a poo.

And why shouldn't my house poop?. From what the kids tell me, these days, everybody's doing it.

[These next pictures have nothing at all to do with the subject at hand, but while I was out there with the camera I decided to take a picture of the melted grill, just in case there are folks out there who don't believe me:

Can you see it there? The buckling? How about here:

Curse you, butt-chicken! Curse you and your rendered-fatty goodness!

Okay, I'm back.

The Most Useless Thing in the AssVac Today Aside From Johnny:

I put the "today" in there as a qualifier because you never know what I might break tomorrow. And because I finally ripped the useless doorbell-button off the wall. So here's the winner, as of right this very second while I type this:

No, not the cat (although she isn't really good for too much, come to that): the sliding-glass door in my bedroom! It wins because it's useless on so many different levels...

As a window, it fails because it looks directly out into the neighbors's yards (yes, two of them) straight from my, ahem, bedroom -- so I have to keep the curtains always drawn (because I'm not so good at knowing ahead of time when I might decide to drop my drawers). It fails as an air-circulation system because the contractor absconded with the screen door when I threatened to sue him for breach of contract. And even as a door it fails, because it opens out into a Wile E. void. It does let lots of light in, but in the wintertime it also hemorrhages heat, so that's a wash.

We put it in when we de-rottified the addition because we were going to build a deck out back, and we thought it would be nice to step straight out from the bedroom to the veranda for a cup of tea. It would be, wouldn't it? Unfortunately, the veranda looks like this:

Which doesn't count as the ugliest part of the house because it's not technically part of the house yet, despite our best intentions on this road to hell. I don't know which the neighbors would rather look at: that mess, or my fat white ass.

Oh, and Mr. Contractor absconded with the lock, as well, so right now the door is just jammed closed with a stick. If we ever do get around to building that deck, so that robbers wouldn't need a stepladder to reach the handle from the outside, I'm really going to have to do something about that. In fact, I did call the manufacturer once, to inquire what I ought to do about the lock and the screen (this was back before I realized the boulder was only going to keep rolling back down the hill and so I might as well just quit pushing it up). You know what they told me?

Get a new door.