It's not about the house.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Also, Armed Robbery is Against the Law

I probably could have written yesterday, but I forgot.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Yes. Yes, I Did.

Okay. I can probably write today. Because I know I did not just hear Johnny on the phone in the other room say
"No, straight up, brother."

Or did I...?

Is It Just Me...

... or does putting the Manning brothers in a commercial with the Williams sisters just make it look that much more like somebody's been beating on Peyton and Eli with an ugly stick?

Not to mention that this... not an image anyone should have to carry around. For the rest of their lives. Seared into their brains. Waking them up at night.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Because I'm a Big Stealin' Stealer

I probably couldn't have written today anyway, because of all the hassle I had to go through refilling Johnny's prescription.

He's out of refills, see, so I called the automated refill re-filling hotline. Which is a device through which you leave a message with eighty-seven pieces of personal information, out of which you inevitably forget a piece or two, so you always make sure to leave your phone number also, just in case. And then you wait...

But they never got around to actually calling the prescription in!

I knew this because I phoned the pharmacy, and also the other pharmacy that the doctor always calls his prescriptions into by mistake, just because it happens to be next door to his office, so he assumes it's the most convenient for everyone, most of all him.

Really, Johnny's doctor doesn't look like this. Really, he's middle-aged. And Middle-Eastern.

Neither of the pharmacies had the prescription, so I called the hotline back and put in my request again. This was Saturday, so maybe I was being a little optimistic when I decided to just swing by the CVS on Monday to pick it up without checking first that it was there. But I was working on the theory that it had been almost a week. They couldn't possibly still be having trouble getting their hands on the ball.

Only it turned out that they could...

Oh, man. Ouch.

...and now Johnny's out of medication altogether.

Well, actually, that's not altogether true. He takes two prescriptions and he's only out of one of them. Hydrochloric acid, I think it's called. It's for his heart.

Yeah, well, if Peter Frampton were getting inside me, I'd probably be needing a prescription, too.

So I sweet-talked the pharmacist into giving me three pills to tide him over (note to self: try this with expired Vicodin).

The pharmacist and I promised each other we would both hassle the doctor until he got off his ass and called it in. So I went home and called the clinic -- not a hotline person this time, but a person-person.

She disconnected me. So I called back. This time she transferred me to the Adult Medicine department, where I was put on hold and forgotten.

I called back and she transferred me to a different department, where I was put on hold again. But this time I could hear someone keep picking up the phone and re-putting me on hold every five minutes, so I hung in...

... until finally somebody came on the line. As far as I know, this person helped me. I mean, she said she'd give the message right to the doctor and get him to call it in.

But that was yesterday. Johnny still has two of those sweet-talked pills left (well, actually, as soon as he eats dinner and goes to bed, he'll just have one). I'll deal with it tomorrow.

Oh, yeah, and the whole point of this post is that I can't possibly write today because, what with all the foofaraw, I left the pharmacy without remembering I'd shoved a Boston Globe under my arm on my way in.

And that's a lie. I did remember it. I remembered it just as I was walking out the door. I pulled myself up to go back and pay, then I thought "Fuck it. I deserve this." And I left.

So now I'm hiding out behind the couch.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Reasons Why I am a Horrible Person, con't


So my Lady says to me "You know X, from down the street?"

The truth is that I don't really know this person. In fact, when I say hello to her on the sidewalk she ignores me as if we've never met. And I mean really, even if a (truly) total stranger says hello to you on the sidewalk -- even a total stranger in a tin-foil hat and Mork from Ork suspenders -- you say hello back to them and smile. Right? It's just what you do. For Christ's sake, we're not English. But my Lady didn't ask my opinion of this person, she just wants me to acknowledge that I recognize the name, which I proceed to do.

And my Lady says "Well, she thinks she has ovarian cancer!"

Now, it's bad enough I was just having mean thoughts about this person. But my sin is compounded by the fact that my very first thought on hearing her bad news is not "How awful!" My first thought isn't "Oh my god!" My first thought's not "What is her prognosis?" or "Is there anything that I can do?" or "How are you taking this news, my Lady, considering this is the very disease that your mother died of?" No, no. The first sentence that comes springing to my small and selfish mind is:

What do you mean, she thinks she does?

But, listen. In my defense, it wouldn't be the first time somebody I knew -- okay, me -- took a fairly benign symptom, like a pimple or something, and blew it up into a life-threatening disease. I don't have access to my medical records at the moment (largely because I have none, largely because I never see a doctor, largely because I'm never actually sick) but according to my own recollection I have contracted and single-handedly defeated skin cancer, lyme disease, lockjaw, pelvic inflammatory disease, a twisted bowel (ooh, that one turned out to actually be a kidney infection. ouch), polycystic ovarian syndrome, and diabetes (that one wasn't my fault; there was an error in the lab that resulted in me spending a night in emergency for nothing; that'll teach me to go see a damn doctor, even if I am convinced I've got a twisted gut).

But a person doesn't want to be insensitive. My Lady is getting on in years, and so all are her friends. It's not impossible that X may actually have ovarian cancer. So what I said was:

"What do you mean, she thinks she does?"

Yeah, well, it was the way I said it. Real soft and sensitive-like. Empathic. Not snidely whiplashy at all. I swear.

My Lady then proceeded to tell me a big long story that began with digestive disturbances in August (and please: if I never hear another story about another old lady's digestive disturbances, it will be too soon; why do they all think I want to hear about this stuff? they don't even read this stupid blog!), and ended with X's doctor calling her at her family's house in California over the holidays and saying to her "X, you have ovarian cancer!"

Well, shit.

She doesn't think she has ovarian cancer. She has it. And I'm going to hell.

X had an operation last week and is starting chemo now. She specifically told my Lady not to be in touch while she recovers, so I don't know how she's doing, but I wish her well. Maybe -- and not just in the ineterest of saving my eternal soul -- you'd all be kind enough to do the same?

Holy Crap

I can't write this afternoon because it just dawned on me that the Cardinals are actually in the Superbowl.

If they win, I'm blaming the nuns.

Monday, January 26, 2009

At Least It Hasn't Recruited the Razor

I can't write this afternoon because my shower nozzle keeps leaping from its perch and knocking me on the head when my soaped-up eyes are closed.



I show you these pictures for entertainment purposes only, and would appreciate your withholding any editorial comments on the blackness of my caulk (ahem) or the blistering in my bathroom area(ahem ahem).

That empty conditioner bottle atop the shower wall, however? That's totally open for discussion. That was three bottles of conditioner ago, but I just can't seem to remember to throw it away.

Ain't gonna do it now, either. Because if I've got time for doing tiny little chores like that, I should be (ahem)

Dam Ice!

I can't write today because -- although we've never attempted such a rash and foolish thing before -- we actually cleaned the gutters this fall. Or gutter, I should say, since this back bit is the only part of the house that actually has one. But we cleaned it. Twice! I did it, and then later Johnny did it, too. Johnny even did the old lady's house next door while he was at it.

And what did we get for our homeowner diligence and all-around good-neighbor-ness?

The next-door gutters are icicle-free, though.

So that's something.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

What Goes Around

I don't remember what day it was, but it was cold. Really cold, like two. And I was running late, and the sidewalks were a mess, and so I decided to treat myself and drive all the way to work.

I used to treat myself on days like this by driving all the way to the T station instead of walking from the beach, but now that they charge $2 each way to ride the train and $5 to park, it works out cheaper if I just feed a meter. I'm never in the city for more than six hours at a whack, so, at a dollar an hour -- even including the tank of gas -- I still come out at least a buck ahead. And no, I don't want to hear about my carbon footprint. I only do this sometimes and besides, my wittle carbon feets were fweezing! Scwew the polar bears! They can swim!

So I loaded my left-hand pocket with two dozen quarters, I rubbed my Parking Karma for good luck, and drove to town.

Oh, you don't know about the Parking Karma? Yeah. He looks like this:

He looks like that and he sits on the dash with pocket change -- and, um, apparently, like, gum or something -- and he finds parking spots for me. Dr. One Friend gave him to me for Christmas the year we met. Which was, well, let's just say George H. W. was still in office then. P.K. actually came with a sticky pad to glue him to the dashboard; I used it in the Buick I was driving then (my very first car: a 1979 Regal named Alice. He was a boy car, but he didn't mind having a girl's name because Alice Cooper is also a boy and he is very scary. My parents gave him to me for a college graduation present, although they didn't name him. I did. After the first song -- well, the first song with a name in it -- that I heard on his radio. That's how I always name my cars. Except for Chuck (TFT). Chuck is just Chuck The Fucking Truck because I hate him. But everybody else was named after a song -- Veronica, Cecilia, Francine. I don't know why they were playing "Alice's Restaurant" in May that year, but there you go). When I pulled Parking Karma off Alice's dash, however (his master cylinder gave out; I'd really rather not discuss it), the stick-pad stayed behind, so P.K. has just rolled around the dashboards of every car I've driven since, for (gulp) eighteen years.

I don't actually rub him for luck until I'm three blocks away from where I'm going. And I don't put a quarter in his hands until I really need a spot. You see how his little praying hands can hold a quarter? Yeah, you don't want to put the coin in there until the absolute last minute, because otherwise you'll just be leaking parking karma everywhere and you won't have any left for when you need it. No, best to get the quarter ready a little early (I have a lucky bicentennial one that I've been using for a while), but wait until you're actually on the block to slip it in. Then rub the belly with your thumb for luck and sing the Parking Angel song.

Oh, you don't know about the Parking Angel song? Yeah, it goes like this:

Parking Angel
How I love you
Parking Angel
How I love you
Parking Angel
The most beautiful Parking Angel in the whole entire world

And repeat, more or less to the tune of Johnny Angel by Shelley Fabares, until you find a spot. If there are other people in the car, they have to sing it, too. It is The Rule.

Do all these things correctly and you will get a parking spot, no matter where you are, I swear to god. Or at least I do. You might just wind up looking like an asshole.

So anyway, the other day (we were talking about the other day, remember?) I drove into Beacon Hill and I did all these things correctly and I got a spot right off the bat. Revisited it every two hours until it was time to go home, plugging eight more quarters into the meter every time. Those last eight kind of irked me, because I knew I wouldn't be there for two more full hours, but I always figure better safe than sorry. Four puny extra quarters is a lot cheaper than a $25 ticket for an expired meter, right? That would throw the whole parking lot/T ride equation out of whack for certain, what?

But sometimes, it happens anyway.

Sometimes, and you never can tell when or why, the meter doinks are having trouble meeting their quotas or something and they decide to enforce the stupid rule that says you're not supposed to stay there for longer than two hours even if you feed the meter. And then you get one of these:

The reason the whole shot looks so orangey is because of all the mad...

I hate this rule! Who cares if you get my quarters or somebody else's quarters!? I don't care if people want to come in the city to go shopping and they need a place to put their cars! If you can afford to shop these days you can afford a damn garage! Some of us are trying to make a living!

Needless to say, I had a little temper tantrum. I swore I wasn't going to pay the goddamn ticket. I'd already paid for my parking spot, goddamn it, and the City of Boston wasn't getting any more money out of me. I would just never-ever drive myself to work again. Ever. That'd show 'em. They would never get another of my hard-earned quarters, and they'd never be able to boot me for the unpaid ticket, either, because I would never again be in their jurisdiction. Ha ha City of Boston! I so win!

I know all about the boot, you see, because when I was little (back when Parking Karma still had glue) I never used to pay my parking tickets. I was poor, for one thing, but I also didn't so much grasp the notion that when you owed somebody money -- the city, for example, or the telephone company -- they actually expect it, like, right now. I figured as long as I was aware that I owed it, and as long as I had every intention of coughing it up, everybody would just somehow know that, and they'd be happy to wait until I got around.

Turns out that isn't true. 
That's not true, and then one day you wake up and there's no dial tone, and when you go out to your car it isn't there. Or else it is, but there's a big yellow boot-thing on the wheel.

Must've happened to me seven times in just over two years, until I found a spot in a parking lot behind the liquor store (safe, and convenient!) for $75 a month. That was a lot of money then (still is, in fact), but not as much as it was costing me to get the boot off all the time. Not to mention all the (ahem) parking fines.

So I paid the liquor man and put the car (I think it was Veronica by then) into his lot. I threw away my last batch of parking tickets and laughed at the Hub. I am winning, I thought. I am never paying these, and you will never find me!

Did you know you can't renew your registration if you have outstanding parking fines? Outstanding!

And did you also know that, if you don't pay those fines, the penalties never stop adding up? It's like the IRS. What starts out as a $5 oversight becomes a $100 boondoggle, and before you know it they won't renew your credit card because you keep maxing it out on all your parking fees (and you don't so much always pay that every month, either) and your dad has to cosign a lease for you because no landlord who looks at your credit report believes they can trust you to actually pay rent. 
That was all more than fifteen years ago, but still... You know what? On second thought? I think I'll pay that ticket.

But I'm still never driving into work again. Unless it's, like, really really cold. Or raining or something. Or a holiday. 
Or maybe if I had too much to drink the night before.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

And He Doesn't Even Know I Was Complaining (Here) About the Kitchen

I can't write today because look!

I'm all verklempt.

The Doom That Came to AssVac

I can't write today because I just paid my quarterly water bill and my hands are cramped from all the scribbling I've already had to do.

And to think: for that small (but recurring, and variable) fee, I get the privilege of showering in (and drinking, and washing dishes, clothes and cats in, and cooking with) the detritus of four entirely separate (and now-defunct) Massachusetts towns!

Towns where things like these used to happen:

And where things like this still do:


I die a little every time I write that goddamn check. Then again, the powers of osmosis being what they are, I probably die a little every time I brush my goddamn teeth.

All things considered, I'd much rather go out back and suck on the house.

This'll be the reason I can't write on Monday...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Reasons Why I am a Horrible Person


Kid -- 11, 12 years old -- gets on train behind me, wearing what are obviously flannel pyjama bottoms. I stare daggers at him, thinking "Hey, kid, put some pants on!"

I realize that must be his mother with him. Stare daggers at her, thinking "Hey, lady, make your kid put some pants on!"

Announcement comes over the PA: "Next stop Charles Street, Massachusetts General Hospital, Mass Eye & Ear Infirmary" and I stare daggers at it, thinking "Hey, moron, this is Park Street. Charles/MGH was the last stop. Where me and pyjama-kid and pyjama-mom got on."

Just for good measure, I add "Stupid pyjama-family."

(And no, I don't know why, in a story about a little boy in his pyjamas, I have so many pictures of scantily-clad girls, but there you go. Let's just say I'm earning brownie points and doing it for him. Because...)

Then I stare at the floor and think "Oh. Unless, um. Unless he, you know, got on at MGH because he was, like, at MGH. As in, in the hospital. In which case--"

At this point I hear him say "But, what does it mean, Mom?"

And she says:

"Well, honey, you're not going to die or anything. But it means there are certain jobs you probably won't be able to do. Like construction worker, for example."

In conclusion: I don't know what diagnosis that poor kid just got, but I know I am a board-certified asshole!

Oh no wait. Sorry. Wrong picture.

Shit! Wait! One more try. Hang on...

Ah... that's it.

I'm a Dick.

Sorry, Dirty Boy. Not Today...

Oh holy crap I can't write now because I said something on Facebook about how I was gonna wash that man right outta my hair and what I meant was George Bush but now everybody thinks I'm getting divorced and I have to put out a lot of fires!

He took it the worst.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot!

I can't write today, because apparently we had a visitor in the night... I have to go stock up on under-the-porch-cat food.

Insert "Seat of Our Pants" Joke Here

I could write today, but I just heard some news that made me think it's just not worth it...

"There's likely to be a buyer's strike in the book business for up to six months,' says one former head of a well-known imprint."


What do you suppose they meant by "imprint"?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

And Just Where Do You Suppose He Might Be Now?

Well, seriously: could you get any writing done if you opened up your freezer door and found a pair of safety goggles?

Just who was doing what in there, do you imagine? 

The Fact That I Thought I Was Sick Is No Excuse

I can't write today because I have to go to bed. I actually caught myself tucking a used tissue in my shirtsleeve this afternoon.

I am officially old.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Heck of a Job!

I wasn't gonna talk anything today, but I gotta. Gotta thank Lucky Pork for being the drawer on this.
She'll tell you I was the idear but she's misunderestimating her own contributation.
Alls I decidered was the punchline.
PorkPie's the one who practiced all the love.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Didn't Used to Matter When I Had More Than One Pair

There's no way I can write today, because I've got a sneaking suspicion that I put on dirty underpants this morning...


They came out of the clean-clothes laundry basket, but it just so happens we don't have a dirty-clothes basket, and it's therefore conceivable that, after a beer or two this weekend, I forgot that small detail.

(* You didn't actually think I would take a picture of my dirty knickers, did you?)

And I Missed Most of her Inaugural Concert Performance! AUGH!

Oh now, this time I may never write again.

Nobody told me Bettye LaVette was still alive!

Or that this happened!


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ooh, Speaking of Which ... Okay, Where Was I?

Oh, man!

I just spent two hours writing something that was really pithy and absurd, all about the week we’ve had here at the AssVac. And then, when I was this close to finished, I went to confirm a fact with Johnny, and he said:

“You’re not writing that, are you? You can’t write that! That person reads your blog!”


Why does he have to be such a good, proud husband and tell absolutely everyone he meets about this stupid thing?

So, since I can’t publish what I wrote (but don’t worry, it wasn’t about you), and since I also can’t stomach the thought of coming up with another whole new topic and spending another couple hours in here on another snowy Sunday morning (ahem, by now, afternoon), I’ve decided to present just the digressions. The little parentheticals that distract me when I try to tell a tale. You won’t understand the context of them, but then, that’s probably the case most other times – n’est pas?

Without further ado, then, I present:

Blah blah blah something about how Johnny finally has a bit of work this week for the first time since almost June…

(It’s interesting to note that our kitchen, despite this respite, still isn’t finished yet. But we’re not going to start that fight here, now, are we? No. We will fess up, however, to throwing a little hissy fit last night when somebody suggested he might take our new Home Depot gift card and buy trim. “Maybe you should finish the painting first?” somebody else suggested. Then the first somebody got defensive and insisted “All that's left are bits and pieces!”

Um. Ahem?

 At least he found a minute in his busy schedule to hang potholders.

So you’ll forgive somebody if what she said next was less than civil, the jist of which was “Maybe you should finish up those bits and pieces before starting on new bits and pieces that also won’t get done!” Okay, yeah, that was pretty much verbatim. And then the drinking started. Anyway…)

I had decided to let this next bit stay because it was really a digression, too, even though it started off by pretending to get back to the point. But when I read it out of context, it just came across as angry and a little mean. Which is really not like me at all... So I took it out.

This next part had all the really hysterical, insulting stuff – none of it about you guys, relax. It was like, let’s see -- it was like if I said the reason George Bush's face looks that way all the time is because he’s constantly stepping in piles of his own doo, but he doesn’t want to take the silver spoon out of his mouth long enough to scrape it off. Like that, only funnier, and not about George Bush. (Also not about you guys, I promise. I love you guys! But maybe just a little about doo.)

And then this happened…

(On another little digression, may I just say this about Obama’s economic recovery plan? I don’t understand it and I won’t pretend to, but it seems to me that building roads and schools and bridges can only turn out to be a good thing, and if it puts people to work and gets the machine chugging again, that’s also grand. If I hear one more time, though, about how infrastructure-building “leaves the women out,” or “doesn’t consider the white-collar workers,” I’m going to start throwing hammers. During the Great Depression my great-grandfather hung himself because he couldn’t find a job or feed his family. His wife, who I’m sure found it much easier to raise their six children all alone, moved her entire brood into a one-room schoolhouse and did what she had to do in order to survive. I don’t even know all the things she did, but you can bet your ass that if someone had handed her a rivet gun in the middle of it all she would sure as shit have wielded it with pride. And if her husband, on the other hand, had been able to don any kind of collar – white or blue – he would never have wound up wearing the rope. So just shut up. All of you. Or I swear to god.)

So, um, that’s pretty funny, no? Plus look at me, making all these George Bush and Obama references, yet the original post wasn’t even remotely about the inauguration (it was not about you, either, okay? Jeez).

Unfortunately, that was just about the end. By which I mean, the two pages that came after more or less managed to stay on point. Which is something of a miracle for me, you understand, but there you go.

So maybe next Sunday I will actually manage to turn in an essay for you. Something witty and ridiculous but not insulting – not directly, anyway. Except to me. And maybe Johnny. And to YOU. Yeah, you. You know who you are. You have ruffled my tailfeathers one too many times, I tell you what. You are officially On Notice here. So watch your back.

In the meantime, we’ll get back to all the many reasons why I can’t write anymore. For example:

Exhibit A:
Exhibit B:

Shit, man, I’m surprised I'm managing to keep the blood inside my ears.

(I kid. He worked really hard this week, and he was even working in the kitchen for a few days. He deserves a snowy Sunday off. And it's not like I'm doing anything productive either. As soon as I publish this piece of crap I'm taking to my bed for toast and popcorn. But don't tell him I said any of the above, okay?)