It's not about the house.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The #1 Reason Why Garbage Men Deserve All The Money We Pay Them And More, Even If They Never So Much As Graduated From Kindergarten. Even If They're Illegal Aliens. Even If They're Pedophiles. Even If They're Terrorists:


Crawling on the trash bags in the sealed-tight garbage can.

And I had to take the trash bags to the dump.

And the raccoon-proof can wouldn't fit in the back of the car. So I had to take the you-know-what-riddled bags out of it.

And no matter how many times I dropped the bags on the ground, the you-know-whats wouldn't come off. So I had to bring them with me. In the car.

And in the car, they crawled off.

And I was in Mom's car, which just got detailed in the garage. So all those napkins from all those iced-coffees from all those Dunkin' Donuts runs, that are supposed to be wedged between the seat cushions or blowing all over the floor, were gone.

So I had to pick the you-knows up and toss them...


Here is a picture of puppies:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Take Two

This is the same post I published yesterday, but I ran out of the house so fast last night that I didn't bother with proofreading or editing. Proofreading and editing are Very Important. I never should have published it as it was. I'm sorry, folks. It's better now. Do you forgive me?

I got back to Maine last night, and have been doing a fat lot of nothing ever since. Went and got Mom's car out of hock with Dad. Shot some pool. Did not vacuum as soon as I stepped foot in the door like I swore I would (actually, I swore I'd do it before I stepped foot out the door, but that didn't happen, either). Forgot to set my alarm. Slept till 6:45. Worked out. Walked. Showered. Twice. The shower, that is, not the walk. And then got positively flattened by the heat. Napped on top of the covers under the ceiling fan for three hours until the Census Man came to the door and sent the dog into conniptions...

Anyway, I'll get back on schedule tomorrow, but to avoid actually doing anything productive for a little while longer, I'd like to present a pair of unrelated stories from my last lazy 24 hours. I'll alternate italics and plain text, so you can tell where one ends and one begins...

On my way out for my walk this afternoon, I heard a rustling in the trees which turned out to be a pair of cows meandering in the woods. Holsteins. Just a couple houses down the road. Maybe they've been there all along, but I walk the same route every day and never noticed them before. She rustled, I looked, she mooed at me, I laughed out loud. Even at the time I wondered why that struck me funny, but when she mooed at me I couldn't help but laugh.

Then, when I had almost reached the same spot on my way back home, a man in a red pickup truck pulled over to the side of the road and hailed me. "This is going to sound strange," he said, "but have you by any chance seen a pair of cows?" 

"Yes!" I said, glad that I could actually be of help. "They were in the woods just down the road about an hour ago!" 

"No," he said, "that's where they live. But there are supposed to be four, and two of them went through the fence this afternoon." 


I like to think the two I saw were the rogue ones. I like to think they saw me walking by and heard me laugh and got inspired. I hope they have all sorts of radical experiences, maybe get themselves all kinds of laid, and never-ever-ever wind up caught. Even if that means they have to stampede themselves off the edge of the goddamn Grand Canyon.

But still, I do like to be of help in any small way when I can, so I took his number and said if I saw them, I'd call. I didn't get his name. His number's listed in my cell phone under "Cows." That also makes me laugh out loud, so I think I'll leave it there. Forever and ever and ever and ever and ever...

On a whim I went out last night at 10:00, but I forgot to bring my pool game, so after about an hour I put my cue away and bellied up. Five minutes later, just like clockwork, yet another real-live biker took the stool to the left of me, introduced himself, and asked me what I ride. I said I didn't, and somehow we wound up talking about music for a while. I had to do some very embarrassed backtracking when he said "Metallica" and I said "Yes," and he thought I meant the band. Which, ick. But I couldn't very well explain what I really meant, which was: "Metallica, naturally. Because you, my friend, are a cliche." Which isn't very nice of me, I know. I blame James Taylor...

When my beer was empty he offered to buy me one and I explained my policy against accepting drinks from men in bars. He seemed surprised. Not offended, exactly, but surprised. I can't be the only girl who does this, can I? I think Miss Manners would agree that it's the right and reasonable thing to do. Even so, is everyone else out there taking advantage of drunken generosity, even when the man in question makes you hurl? Not that this guy did or anything -- as cliches go, he was pretty standard-class -- but even if he were the hottest thing on two American-made wheels, I still wouldn't let him buy my beer.

Anyway, he was so taken aback I actually apologized and suggested that, in lieu of the frosty beverage, he might answer a question that's been nagging at me for a while.

"Why," I asked, "do people up here -- bikers, especially -- keep asking, and assuming, that I ride?"

And do you know what he said?

"Because you're hot."

Well, never mind the brain freeze I got trying to figure out an appropriate response to that answer. And never mind how inappropriate it is that I'd be immodest enough to repeat it here (wherever she is, Miss Manners is having an attack of the vapors right about now). Because all of that aside, you have to admit there's something inherently flawed in his logic. The dormouse might think it makes a certain sense, but my Philosophy of Language professor would be sharpening his pen. Because if you spelled it out, the Q.E.D. would go something like this:

I'm hot. (Let's just assume it's true for the sake of argument, and keep the tittering in the peanut gallery to a minimum, okay?)

That means I must be a biker.

Therefore all bikers must be hot.

Yes, well, but those aren't all the bikers, are they? I'm still feeling distinctly unfulfilled.

I should have just accepted the damn beer.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I Have To Go To The Euphemism!

Oh, man, do I have nothing to talk about!

I mean, I do have Stuff to talk about – oh, man, do I have Stuff to talk about! – but it’s all Stuff I can only talk about to the Imaginary People in my head.

For instance: this past week, since I came down to Massachusetts, I have been very busy Doing Something – something rather All-Consuming and Important. It’s the whole reason I came south in the first place, as a matter of fact, but it isn’t about Me – and it’s not about any of those imaginary head-folks, either. So let’s just say I have been Standing Up as best I’m able, and that today I am officially Standing Down.

Today's Me day, then. Today, I will be walking on the beach, getting my toes done, and going out for birthday-sushi with my brother. But none of those will make for much of a story unless I end up with a shark bite, gangrene, or salmonella. I wouldn’t count out the likelihood of any of those yet, though. This is me we’re talking about, after all. In fact, now that I think about it, the smart money’s probably on the trifecta.

Then tomorrow I have Some Other Stuff I have to do. That stuff’s about dissolution of assets and blah blah blah. Bo-ring, as Oscar the Grouch would say. Or none of your beeswax, as my mom would.

But don’t you fret, my little chickadees. For on Tuesday night, come hell or high, I’m back to Maine. And if the telephone conversations I’ve had recently are any indication, then my hitherto-quiet life up there is about to change. Because – I haven’t told you folks about this yet; in fact, I’ve been trying to decide whether I would* – but it seems I’ve gone and made myself a brand-new friend. And the other day, when we called to say we missed each other in that brand-new-blush-of-friendship kind of way, she asked me if I wanted to play golf.

And yes, folks, she is married. To a man.

I hesitated. I mean, I’ve never played before, not really, and while it looks on television like a thrill-a-minute sort of game, I’m sure it can’t be all porn stars and car crashes for real. But I’m always up for new experiences. And from what she says, there’s beer involved. So I said yes and set to practicing. It’s only been two days, and I don’t want to brag or anything…

But I can already say “play through” like a pro.

*Because of the whole Private Person thing. But then my new friend wrote this about me, so I figured it would be okay. 


My Me Day Sucked!!!!

Actually, the walk on the beach was uneventful. I went at 7:30 in the morning and was almost the only person there. Very low tide. Lovely. Save the carful of high-school boys who wondered -- rather vehemently, I might add -- whether I might feel inclined to let them have a gander at my tits. At 7:30 in the morning? I don't think so. But even that, though.... There could be worse ways to start a day, I guess.

Then I picked up the cat. I forgot to mention he was on the agenda. He had an appointment for another glucose curve on Friday so I went ahead and let them hang onto him for the weekend so I could Stand Up without distraction. Well, he's never been boarded before, and it turns out when he boards he doesn't eat. If he doesn't eat, he can't have his insulin. If he doesn't have his insulin, of course, the diabetes cycle starts again. But they went ahead and gave it to him this morning anyway, so when he got home I had to pull him out of insulin shock again. Plus I think he has a UTI. I'm going to give it a few days at least, till we're in Maine, but I'm steelinig myself to invoke The Gift.

And then my workout was kind of blah. Which may seem minor to you people, but it's one of the big joys in my day. My muscles actually ache for it, and if I have to skip it for some reason they start to twitch. But you know how sometimes it's just like you're going through the motions? You do all the stuff you're supposed to do, and when you're done you don't feel like you did anything at all? And yet you're still mysteriously sweaty? Blah.

Then I ran out of shaving cream 3/4 of the way through the job. Nobody touch my left thigh until further notice, 'kay?

Then -- oh, I'm not even getting into that. Suffice to say I got a wild hair and tried to get tomorrow's Euphemism out of the way today. Had to talk myself out of skipping the pedicure in favor of a half a dozen beers.

But I couldn't have a half-dozen beers at 2:30, because I'm supposed to have dinner with my brother at 6:00. And while I love my brother very much, he is also very much a worrier. If I showed up for dinner three beers in, he'd have me checked into McLean faster than you can punch James Taylor in the face. Faster than I could, even. Which is pretty fast, I bet. I've never done it, but I hate that motherfucker.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, so I decided to go ahead and get the pedicure. It's relaxing, right? Massage chairs and little Asian ladies kneeling at your feet? (That was bad, right? I shouldn't have said that? Sorry. I blame James Taylor. And if that makes you want to punch him in the face, I wouldn't mind.) Well...

She told me to sit right down, so I did. And it's not her fault I didn't remember about the iced coffee I'd left in the car until after I took off my shoes, rolled up my pants, and put my feet in the the little foot-jacuzzi. What is her fault, though, is that I was still sitting there forty minutes later, waiting for someone to take them out.


And then she did the slowest pedicure ever, and hurt me a little bit, and left the white stripes a bit too wide even after I asked her to fix them, so by the time she was finally done -- TWO HOURS after I walked in -- I was twitching too badly to wait for them to dry. And I was wearing my Frye boots. So we'll just see how that turned out when I take them off.

It'll be a while, though. See, after that ordeal was over, I only had an hour till my brother was supposed to pick me up, and I thought I might as well go to this bar I know of right near the restaurant, that happens to have a pool table. But there were five cops cars out front when I drove by it, and so I just kept right on driving by. Stopped at the packie for a six-pack instead. And at the first right-hand turn, all six bottles spilled out of the pack and rolled all over the floor of the car.

Oh, you don't think I didn't drink them, did you? They're slightly fizzy, but they're still mostly beer. I'd just finished my second when I got a text from my brother, saying he's stuck in traffic on 93 and he'll be late.

I'm opening a third.

If you're looking for me later, I suspect you'll find me at McLean.

 He better run.

Friday, July 23, 2010

You Wanna Fuck With The Eagles, You Have To Learn To Fly

I've been off-line for a few days, tending to a Very Dear Friend who's been in need of some major Tender Loving Care. I'm still offline and tending, in fact, as you read this, but I found a moment while she was sleeping to get on and pre-schedule this post.

Because, you see, it seems a certain annual occurrence has rolled around again. And I've decided to mention it in a slightly less subtle manner than I have in other years because, well...

Do you remember a few months ago, when I wrote about a pair of too-small breeches I've been hanging onto since I was sixteen years old? Or maybe fifteen? Or possibly fourteen?

Well, if you love me enough to remember that, you may have also noticed an unspoken rule I've quietly followed on this blog since its inception: I don't post pictures of myself here. I really thought I positively never would.

But tomorrow is my birthday.*

I'll be turning 41.

And yesterday I wore those fucking breeches.

So today feels like a day for bending rules.




Yes, yes, I still have horse-thighs. I've always had them, and they're in my genes so I assume I always will.

And yes-yes, I had to stand on the toilet to take these pictures of myself in the bathroom mirror. Sometimes, when no-one's around, you do what you have to do to take care of yourself.

And yes. Yes. I am in the AssVac. Again. Temporarily.

But you people are not paying attention!

The point is. 

I am wearing.  

The size-six

Fucking breeches.

(And yes, I have now said "fuck" gratuitously at least four times in a single post, including one time in the fucking title. So? I might do it a few more times before I'm through, so you just watch it. If you're that sensitive, stand back, and maybe shove some cotton in your ears.)

(Then again, if you're that sensitive, what are you still doing fucking here?)

As an added bonus, though -- and to make up for subjecting you to so many gratuitous fucks in one Very Special day -- here's a lesson I learned just in time for the start of my 42nd year that I am (temporarily, at least) big-hearted enough to share with you. Because I love you. Every single fucking one of you. Really. I'm not just saying that. I don't go saying just anything in public, you know. What do you take me for, some kind of Freak?

Anyway, the lesson I've finally learned after 41 years of existence on this planet is:

It may not make for a very pretty picture, but creamy peanut butter is an excellent addition to a s'more.

Now, anybody out there want a piece of that?

I didn't think so...

*I decided to post this a day early so y'all could see it in time to tell me how fabulous I am (and look) on my Big Day. Because I know you only read this crap as a diversion when you're supposed to be working. And by Monday, I imagine, I will have taken the fucking breeches off.

But maybe not.

I am kind of digging my 41-year-old ass in them, after all...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mean Green Mother

Here is an admittedly-incomplete, but still fairly-representative list of outdoor activities that make me twitch:

1. Yardwork

2. Working in the yard.

3. Gardening.

4. Mowing

5. Weeding

6. Pruning

7. Watering

8. Pretty much anything in any way pertaining to the care and maintenance of plants.

I can’t think of any more points to add to that list, such is the extent of my loathing. I don't know what you people do out there all day. Or why, for that matter. I will pick a tomato if it happens to be ripe and I happen to want one at the exact moment that I happen to walk by, but that’s pretty well the sum total of my willingness to interact with kingdom Plantae.

Seeing as how I brought it up, I might as well admit it’s not just yard-plants. It really is the whole of the kingdom. And I’ve been like this since I was a little girl.

My mom, see, was one of those people who can whisper into a plastic pot of dried-up soil that you may or may not have abandoned in your dorm room over Jan-term, and have it green and blooming in time for you to kill it again by spring break. Our house was always like a jungle: flowering things hanging in every window, trees of all descriptions in every corner on the floor, bushy leafy green stuff on every side table and shelf. And as a girl, while I watched television, I used to absent-mindedly squeeze the flower-buds off hanging plants just to hear that satisfying pop, break branches off of trees to throw the pieces at my siblings, and make criss-cross patterns with my thumbail in the lush green leaves.

I’m telling you, if anyone ever deserved to get eaten whole by Audrey II, it’s me.

In college, I majored in biology, and they wouldn’t let you do that without learning at least something about plants. So sophomore year I took a class called Animal & Plant Physiology. All we had to do was memorize the names of of all the parts, and I chose it because, as I hope you can tell by the title, it was only 50% hateful green. I passed the class, of that much I am certain. And if I know me I probably did pretty well. I probably still have my notebook from the animal half of that class kicking around somewhere in my father's basement, for that matter. But of the plant half, I remember not a whit. In fact, if I do know me, I probably skipped the plant half entirely and got the notes from someone for the final (although, truth be told, the sophomore-me that I remember probably skipped the animal half, too).

I seem to have strayed off track a little somewhere with this post (Hello. Have we met? My name is EGE. I’ll wait here while you read "About Me" at the top of the right-hand margin. Yes. There. You see? So just do your best to keep up, and I promise to poke you if I’m about to say something that will be on the final.)  (Ahem: POKE), but the point I set out to make is that one of the things I've loved about this life-transition thing I’m going through is that I get to say goodbye to all of that.

And yet…

Remember how I said about Mom and her green thumbnitude? And remember how I’m living in Mom’s house, now?


There aren’t any inside-plants here anymore – thank god. But there is still this garden-thing out front. And sort of grass..


So that’s the down side. The upside is that, while the garden-thing is – or was – an honest-to-god garden, the grass really is just “sort of” grass. The house was built, see, on a cleared lot in a scrub-pine forest, so the soil’s not really soil so much as it is sand, and the only grass that grows looks, well, like this:

It doesn’t really need to be mowed so much as hacked at with the occasional machete. Or, you know, weed whacker. But even that, I’ve been unable to bring myself to do, despite the fact it's been specifically requested of me. Several times.

See, it makes my father (understandably) sad to see Mom’s garden all overgrown and gone to shit and seed. But he’s not in any shape to tend to it himself. So every time he comes up here, he finds a way to gently suggest that maybe, if I were bored and if it weren’t too hot, I might think about taking an uncharacteristically horticultural-related stab.

At first I was really, honestly, genuinely, too no-foolin’ busy to even think about it. The inside of the house was a huge job, and it was really, honestly, genuinely, more no-foolin' important to get done. But when it was actually finished, I stooped so low as to tell Dad not to ask me to do yardwork anymore. I said I hated yardwork. I said I cleaned out the entire fucking house all by myself. I said if I weren’t up here for the summer the place would be vacant and the weeds would be waist-high anyway, so could we please just accept that and move on?

I know. I told you. One of these days:

Nom! Nom! Nom!

But there came a point when I started thinking: what the hell else am I doing with my time up here, now that the house is finally (almost) done? Besides writing for my life, I mean, and working out 4 ½  hours a day?

And then last weekend, after I crashed Mom’s car and Dad was up dealing with the repercussions of all that, he appealed to my fitness routine by saying that wielding the weed whacker would be excellent exercise. Since he is, quite frankly, worried about my fitness routine and my recent weight loss, I knew if he was willing to go there then it was just exactly that important. So I took pity. And this weekend I went out in the goddamn yard to whack some weeds.

Or, rather, grass.

Sort of.

I mean, it’s possible I missed some spots accidentally…

…I may have been a wee bit blind to others…

…and I plain old skipped some other bits completely…

But I did it. See?

I sweated and swore through every loathsome second of it, but it's done. And it turns out my father is a lie, because it only took like twenty minutes and the whacker only weighs like seven pounds, so I didn't get a turd's worth of exercise. Still, though. It's done.

Happy, Dad?

I even picked the onions, like you asked.

They didn't turn out to be as big as we expected...

But I did it.

Please don't ever mention the rest of that garden-thing to me, though. Seriously. I don't care if Audrey II punches through the now-locked door and eats me whole...

...because I did not skip all those physiology classes all those years ago so I could wind up tits-deep in a pile of shit and seeds like that.

Friday, July 16, 2010

But The Caravan Moves On...

The bathroom in this house is right inside the front door.

The blueprint, as I mentioned, actually intended for this to be the back door, so it’s not as if I can blame the little incident I’m about to describe on the architect. But still. The bathroom in this house is right inside the door.

(Anybody out there know where this is going? Can we have a show of hands? Very good. Now I’m going to tell you anyway, so sit down.)

When you live alone, see – and especially when you live alone in a log cabin in the middle of the woods – you don’t always so much bother with the clothes. I don’t walk around naked all day or anything, but while I put the coffee on in the morning? While I brush and floss before I go to bed? While I go from shower to bedroom, and vice versa? Sure.

I mean, why bring clothes with me to the shower? This isn’t summer camp, or college, after all (although now that I mention it, I don’t remember lugging clothes in either of those places, either; I think we just wrapped ourselves in towels, but whatevs). I finish working out in the living room, I strip and throw my sweaty clothes down the basement stairs on my way by, and then I just keep going down the hall. I leave the bathroom door wide open while I’m in there, too, because I like to listen to music while I wash and the sound of the exhaust fan drowns it out (I turn the fan on when I’m finished, Dad, don’t worry). Then, when I’m done, I stand at the sink and complete my morning ablutions in my altogether. I don’t even have a robe up here.

I will, though. The next time I go home, I’ll bring a robe.

Because today? After I was out of the shower but before I was out of the bathroom? Somebody came to the front door! And both the bathroom and the front doors were wide open!

Fortunately, I was in the sweet spot, pressed up against the sink, so whoever it was couldn’t see me.

Unfortunately, I still had the music blaring (Funhouse, okay? I’m still listening to Pink. I'm sorry, but you leave your husband and a place like the AssVac and try not to become obsessed with lyrics like “This used to be a fun house, but now it’s full of evil clowns.” I mean, have you been paying attention to this blog recently at all?) so I didn’t hear whomever it was until they knocked.

Fortunately, I am in semi-permanent possession of a 92-pound (yes, he’s gained a little weight since we’ve been up here, so?) Great Dane/Black Lab cross. And as long as you’re on the wrong side of the threshold, he passes for a hell of a junkyard dog. Barks like sixty, in an enormous, 92-pound, I'll-eat-your-face-off kind of way, and sounds – and looks – really frighteningly fierce. Of course, should you actually take so much as a single step inside, what he'd do is bring you a toy or a bone and run around and wiggle at you and beg you to please-please-please-please scratch his butt. But as long as Whoever It Was was still outside, they couldn’t possibly know he wasn‘t salivating for their throat.

Unfortunately, I was trapped. In the right-inside-the-front-door bathroom. With the I-guess-I-just-lost-my-husband music blaring. And really not so much with the clothes.

My options, as I saw them, were thus:

1. Remain pressed up against the sink and hope Whoever It Was went away.

2. Close the bathroom door and hope Whoever It Was didn’t get a flash of boob while I did it – and also, after I did it, went away.

3. Pause the music, wrap a towel around myself, and peek.

I don’t know why I chose #3. I guess I assumed it was a neighbor, and since I was quite obviously there, I didn’t want to risk giving offense. So I hugged the wall around the corner to the towel rack, grabbed the only one on it (why oh why did I have to throw the extra-giant stripey L.L. Bean beach towel in the wash today?), and wrapped the teensy thing around my bare.

It wasn’t a neighbor. Or at least, if it was, it wasn’t one I’d ever seen or met. It was a man – a rather large, strange-looking man at that – with an orange t-shirt on and no front teeth!

I said: “Whoa, Charlie. Easy there, boy.”


Mr. No-Teeth said – to the dog, mostly: “Is the owner home?”

Charlie said: “WOOF! FACE! BUTT! ETC.!

I said: “I live here, can I help you?”


Mr. No-Teeth looked at me for the first time, noticed I was in a towel, said: “Oh. Sorry.” And ran away. Well, not “ran away” so much as trotted over to his truck in the driveway and peeled out.


I said: “You are a good boy, Charlie-dog.” Then I gave him a treat. And scratched his butt.

I don’t really think the guy was trying to get in. I think – I’m not sure, but I think – it might’ve been the same guy who knocked when I first got here, asking if I wanted to seal-coat the driveway. I was dressed that time -- sort of -- and I don’t remember him being toothless then. But whatevs.

I know – I don’t think, but I know – that the next time I go south (by which I mean “to Massachusetts,” so shut up) I’ll bring a robe back with me. I already threw an old t-shirt in the bathroom closet, along with one of the six or eight pairs of jeans I have lying around that are too big for me now. And maybe – just maybe – I'll start shutting and locking that front door. At least while I’m in the shower.

You know, being a Rock Star.

And throwing fistfuls of Glitter in the Air...

But in the meantime? I am really, really glad I have the dog.

Fierce-lookin’, ain’t he?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Quick, Henry!

I’m starting to look like I have the plague…

See, I’ve been taking these walks almost daily since I got here. I do it partly for the exercise, partly just to get out of the house, and partly because having your skin turn a lovely shade of golden brown because you’re walking 5 miles a day in a strap-tank is just a coincidence, and it's not the same thing as "getting a tan" at all. Uh-uh, it isn’t. You can’t catch cancer if you’re moving. Swear to god.

At first I was just randomly wandering. I’d make a note of where I took a turn, keep an eye on how long I’d been out, and after 45 minutes or so, retrace my steps. But in doing that I discovered that from here to the end of Newfield road (which actually becomes Bridge Street when you hit the Newfield line) is exactly 2½ miles. So now that’s the route I follow every day. Well, every day unless it’s raining. Or too hot. Or if my free time’s spoken for because I have to Go To Town.

Before I started randomly wandering, though, I was hiking through the woods. I grew up in the woods, I love the woods, and there are acres of them out here. And I was really looking forward to getting acquaintanced with them again before I, you know, make the big move to the wilds of New York.

But one thing I’d forgotten about the woods over the decades of our estrangement was the horseflies. So when I said “before I started randomly wandering I was hiking through the woods,” what I meant was: I did that exactly once.

Because oh, my Christ.

For those of you who have never been outside the city, or who live in, I don’t know, Antarctica, a horsefly is a creature from the bowels of Hades. Looks like a housefly but yellow-and-black-striped like a bee, darts like a housefly so you can’t swat it even if it’s standing still, has some sort of invisible forcefield so it mysteriously doesn’t die if you do somehow manage to land a blow, and stings like a motherfucker. Also buzzes. Loud. Loud enough so you can hear every time a new one comes to join the crowd that’s swarming around your eyes and hair and nose and ass and ears.

(FYI, and only sort of incidental to this story: if you see something that looks exactly like a housefly except huge, then you’d best drop everything and run like hell. That there’s a deer fly, and if one of them stings you your arm falls off. My hand to god (no pun intended). It used to happen to me all the time.)

So but the good thing about horseflies is they don’t so much like the heat. They come out in the summer, sure, but they’d much rather stay out of the sun. They turn the woods into a crazy-making circle of throbbing hell, most definitely, but they're not difficult to avoid along the road. So I took to going for my walks at noontime, or thereabouts, when the (now non-carcinogenic!) sun is overhead. Because in the mornings and afternoons, when the shade from the forest encroaches on the road, the stinging and the buzzing and the throbbing and the hell comes right along.

Oh and because another thing, which I forgot to say, is that these are some tenacious little shits. If I walk through the shadow of a tree, I will pick up a horsefly, and he will be on my ass the whole five miles. Well, not literally on my ass, but you know, he’ll be there. Buzzing. Trying to sting me. Unless I stop, stand very still so that he'll land, and let him sting me — then smack the hell out of whatever tender body part he chose.

And trust me, friends, these past few days, I’ve smacked ‘em all.

These past few days, see, I haven’t been able to walk at noon. Well, I mean, I’m not spontaneously crippled at that time or anything, but situations have been coming up. So yesterday I went out late, today I went out early, and both days came home just a little weltier than when I left.

And when I say “just a little,” what I mean is “holy crap.”

I just counted the horsefly bites I have on me right now and I came up with 29. And those are only the ones, mind you, that I can still see or feel. It’s not counting, for example, the one that happened inside my front pocket somehow, because it seems to have, mercifully, faded away.

So if you see me – which none of you will, I hope, until I’m healed, but if you do – please try not to run screaming away. It’s not a pox I have. It’s not a plague. It isn’t acne. It's none of those disgusting things, I swear to god.

It's just a couple itchy, welty, crazy-making days of throbbing hell.

And you know how you can tell that isn't fiction? Because I only promised not to talk about communicable diseases -- an insect infestation is a completely different thing!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mother? Mother? Where Are You, Mother?

I was going to say it was a turkey...

I was going to say it was a turkey that I swerved to miss the other night when I went off the road at Mousam Lake and cracked Mom’s car, because a turkey is just funnier than a deer, and they do tend to dart out in the middle of the road. But I knew you wouldn’t have believed me, because what is a turkey doing up and about at 11:00 at night? And if it was one of them nocturnal turkeys, well, how would I see it? Plus I already told two people in real life about the deer, and I don’t want real-life people to think I’m telling lies. Lying to real people is not the same as fictioning the blog a bit for ha-has. Lying to real people is Very Bad. And anyway, if it had been a turkey, I wouldn't have swerved to miss.

So yeah, I was coming home from Big Daddy’s the other night -- and, despite the intentions I may have declared in this space, I was not hammered. Fiction, see. Ha-has. Are you with me? I don’t know how many beers I had, but I was there for six hours and spent $40, so let’s do the math together, shall we?

The pool table was $1.25 a go. If I fed it every half-hour, that’s twelve goes for $15 (I probably fed it more than that, but the bikers paid for some games, so we’ll leave it at that). Minus another $5 for a half-pound of peel-and-eats -- that's $20. So at $3.50 each, plus a dollar tip, the most beers I could have had was four (and yes, I know that sentence sounds a little drunk its own self, but you figure out a better way to put it down). Or five, if you count the pint the one-eyed biker bought me (my policy on accepting drinks from strange men has always been to say no thank you, but if it’s already pulled and put in front of me then it seems just downright rude to send it back). But that was in six hours, remember, plus that night I actually ate. And they were light beers. My policy on light beers has also always been to say no thank you, but that was when I didn’t have to drive a hundred miles to get home. The last thing I wanted to do was crash Mom’s car. Or, you know, die.

Yeah, so anyway, Mom’s car. I’m driving it – or, rather, was driving it – so I can take shit to the dump. To take shit to the dump you need a sticker, and to get a sticker you’re supposed to have to live here, so we assumed they wouldn’t give me one for Rose. As it turns out they probably would have, seeing as how they gave me one for Mom’s car even though it’s registered in Massachusetts, under her name, and I’m not so much her. They didn’t even charge me any money for it. Seriously, next time you find yourself fighting city hall, try telling the Town Clerk you’re up here cleaning out your mother's cabin ’cause she died. All of the red tape just falls away…

Mom’s car is a PT Cruiser, and if you’ve never driven one, then don’t. It sucks. Mom bought it because she thought it was cute, which I suppose it sort of is, and since that’s all she ever used it for, it served its purpose very well. Last summer, when she wanted so badly to buy it, Dad had the dealer bring the papers to the hospital for her to sign, but after that she didn't really get out of bed again. She never got inside the car, not even once. But she did get to see it sitting in the driveway, looking cute. And like I say, that’s about all the damn thing’s good for.

When I tell you that absolutely everything about this car is bad, you have to remember that you’re talking to a girl who knows from bad. I used to own a Diplomat, for crying out loud. Well, as much as anyone can ever really own a Diplomat. It’s more like you pick it up and then spend the next few years paying some guy to board it for you at his garage. But with the Cruiser, I’m not talking about the engine. Yet. It doesn’t quite have enough mileage under its belt for that. So I guess the one good thing I’ll say about it is that it’s managed to go 15,000 miles without engine failure. So far. Knock on wood.

Everything else in it, though, just friggin’ sucks. S-U-C-K-S. It’s basically one giant blind spot except for right straight ahead through the windshield. For a small car, it drives like a dang truck. It has no turning radius. No power. It only gets 20 miles to the gallon, and when I have to step on the brakes all of a sudden, I can feel myself bracing for it to roll. The buttons that open the electric windows are on the dashboard, for fuck's sake, and not the door. They even loused up the cupholders – put ‘em way down by your feet so you have to bend at the waist to get your coffee while you drive. The air conditioner vents are easy to aim around, I will say that. But I don’t really use A/C that much.

Anyway, my point was going to be what, now? Oh, the deer…

So I was coming home from Big Daddy’s (which I’ve decided I don’t like that much, by the way; I found another place called Wild Willy's -- it is sans chickens, but I met nice people there), and when I took that left at Mousam Lake there was a deer! It all happened really fast, and really scary. How I thought it went – what I told those real-life people that I mentioned – was I took the left, the deer was there, and I just kind of kept on turning left. I went off the road and it was like that shot we’ve seen a thousand times in movies, where all you can process is two feet of close-up, high-speed, headlight-illuminated hell. I remember thinking, in those endless moments while the car careered around, that I was really not in control here, so I might as well stop trying. I eased up on the brake a bit, I quit trying to steer, and when I came to a stop I was on the other side of the road.

But I say “how I thought it went” because Dad happened to be coming up the next day anyway, and he drove me down and we had a look at the spot. Turns out it couldn’t have been right at the corner after all – which makes sense, now that I think about it, because if it was I couldn’t have been going fast enough to lose control. The only place around there with anything that could break the axle and knock the rear wheel off suspension on the left side like it did, are these boulders just a little farther up.

I guess I’ll never know what really happened, but I’m pretty sure I’m lucky to be alive. If a car had been coming in either direction I’d be brown bread. If I’d been a few more feet along I’d hit a tree. A few feet less and I’m in Mousam. Or of course the Cruiser could’ve rolled.

I was all trying to figure out how I was going to pay to fix it, but it turns out Dad has the grown-up kind of insurance. You know, the kind that pays to fix your own car when you smash it? Unlike my Destructo kind, which only pays to fix the other guy. Although if you ask me I think the deer should pay for this one, but I’ve never been a lawsuit kind of girl.

So we spent our visit on Friday dealing with insurance rigamarolies, then I drove three hours down with him to Oxford, picked up good old Rose, turned around and drove right back to Maine. At rush hour. On a summer Friday. In 97-degree heat. It would have been nice to stick around a while in Massachusetts, put my feet up, maybe call a local friend and go shoot pool…

But of course I had to give the cat his fucking shot.

You see what I did there? That punchline is from, like, three days ago! I used to think each post had to stand alone, but now I’ve come to terms with the fact that, while there may be only twelve of you out there, you all love me very, very much. And if you love me, then you obviously have a taste for jokes that are a little old and stale, but that are at least trying to be good.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I've Got A Hunch It's Me From Here On In

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it around here, but I used to be able to shoot pool. I have my own stick and everything. I even paid dues for a little while to the APA. But (for reasons that I won’t go into here) I haven’t played since Johnny and I moved in together, fourteen years ago. That old stick’s in the attic, probably moldy, almost definitely warped beyond repair.

But I’ve been working the kinks out of a lot of things these days. My old lucky jeans, for instance -- my make-my-ass-look-so-good-I-distract-opponents jeans I used to wear back in my shark days, that I hung onto for nostalgia's sake, never thinking I'd fit into them again -- are two sizes too big for me right now. And so this week I decided it was time to get my new ass back up on that old horse, if it would have me. It shied away a little at the get-go, that's for certain. But I've always had a certain knack for whispering spooky horses down...

I went to that bar I told you about, see, and I decided to play 9-ball – because playing 8-ball by yourself just makes no sense, and because in 9-ball you don’t have to call your shots. Which is a good thing when you haven't played in fourteen years. Even if you're playing by yourself.

I sucked for a good long while, and that was difficult to take, because I still had the eye for it but the muscle wasn’t there. It’s one thing when you don’t know what you’re doing, and you’re shooting ducks and table-scratching and giggling like a stupid little girl. It’s a different situation altogether when you can see the 2/4 combination off the cushion in the corner, but nothing you can do will make it go. There were three tables at the bar, though, and I was the only one shooting, so I had no audience and loads of time.

After a couple hours a pair of older gentlemen came over and asked if I wanted to tag-team them at 8-ball. They were bikers – sleeveless t-shirts, black leather vests, the whole nine yards – and they treated me with the utmost respect. Said they’d been watching and could see I knew what I was doing, but everything was just a little off. I explained it was my first time on the table in fourteen years and asked them not to tiptoe on my account, and they didn't. They beat me fair and square, over and over, until all of a sudden it came back and I started beating them.

And then the older one – the 60-year-old-looking one with just one eye – asked me if I wanted to take a ride.

No, you filthy pigs. He meant on Harleys. Our Harleys. Because, you know, I have one.

I don't, of course, but everyone up here assumes I do. What’s up with that? Every time I set foot in a bar, it’s just a matter of time until somebody asks me if I ride. And yes, I’m positive they’re talking about bikes. I’m starting to feel like a bit of a poser, actually, especially since I’ve never so much as been on one in my life. I’d like to, but somehow I just never got around. Anyway, is it the boots, do you think? Is that just how Downeasters say hello? Or -- because both men and women have asked -- is it some secret Maine code-word for “are you a lesbian”?

Anyway, I explained I didn’t have one, so he offered to take me out on his. But I politely declined that invitation. I mean, as much as I may fantasize about some biker dude throwing me over his bitch seat, when it finally happens I'd like to think he’d be a little closer to my age. And, if possible, have two good eyes.

So the gentlemen bid me adieu and I played myself again for hours, only this time the horse was under my control. Under control, hell -- I had that spooky motherfucker licking sugar out of the palm of my hand.

I heard the ka-chunk when I slammed the quarters in. The thunder-roll. Ran the triangle back and forth along the felt (and back and forth and back again) for a tight rack. Found the right stick even though they weren’t marked, because I still know what 21 ounces feels like. Felt the familiar smoothness of the cue ball in my hand as I placed it all the way over to the left. Made a solid break, with follow-through. And closed the table.

Other things came back, too. Things that aren't about the game itself, but are just me. The way I chalk before every shot, superstitiously, or else it simply will not go my way – and then I have to put the chalk down over there. The obsessive way I wipe my hands off on my jeans when I come back from the bathroom, because they’re still a little wet from being washed and that can fuck up a good shot. The way even that washing doesn’t get the blue chalk-circle out from underneath the college ring I’ve put back on.

I've got my English back. I've got my drop shot. I've got my cut, my pull, my long shot, and my kiss. I've even got the 2/4 combination.

Off the cushion.

In the corner.


And then on the way home I swerved to miss a deer and crashed Mom’s car. I may be on my way back to shark again, but I am still and will always be Destructo.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

If You Need Me, I'll Be At Big Daddy's

The cat's still diabetic after all.

The cat, you may remember, got diagnosed with diabetes back in April - which, in an odd way I won't go into, is kind of what kicked off this whole life-transition thing I'm going through. But last week, when I took him to the vet for yet another "glucose curve" (I put it in quotes because even though we've done it six or seven times by now, I still haven't bothered to learn exactly what it means; I bring him when I'm told, and I believe that ought to be enough) she said he wasn't diabetic anymore. Which was exciting. Because the whole reason I have cats and not dogs in the first place is the same reason I don't have kids: I don't want to take care of anything that won't take care of me, at least a little, back.

Also, in an odd way I won't go into, kind of what kicked off this whole life-transition thing I'm going through, now that I think about it...

Anyway, I've always said that cats are just like houseplants (not that I've got a real good track record with those things either, but you know): you put a pile of food on the floor and leave the toilet seat up, and they are fine all by themselves for weeks on end. Easier than houseplants, actually. I haven't met a houseplant yet that could get itself a drink out of the toilet.

But now this dolt of a four-legged beast needs a shot in the shoulder twice a day, and it's putting a good-sized cramp in my renascent style. Not that I have much of a style these days, you understand, but the occasional plans I do make keep getting sidelined. I'm late to almost everything, and to make it worse I have to tell people it's because I had to give my cat a shot. I could make something up, but what non-psycho reason could I possibly have for creeping out of my summer-camp reunion at the crack of dawn?

So I tell the truth -- which is something I generally like to to do in the first place -- and people look at me like I'm going to pull the damn cat out of my coat and throw it at them.

I was positively giddy when the vet told me the diabetes had reversed itself. More giddy, in fact, than I had any rightful cause to be. It's not like I have plans to go to Belgium for the weekend or anything. It's not as if I actually have dates. But I do need to spend some time in Massachusetts in a little while, and it would be so much easier now that I'd be able to go ahead and leave both cats in Maine...

But it turns out my vet's an idiot. It turns out that, when she said the curve was normal, what it actually was was normal-for-a-cat-who's-on-the-proper-dose-of-insulin. And when I brought him to this vet, here, today -- for the follow-up, just-making-sure-he-really-isn't-diabetic-anymore-appointment -- this vet, here, today, told me he was.


So the poor old thing has got to go back on the junk. So does the cat. But not tonight. Tonight, my friends, Vacationland had best look out, because this poor old thing's Rock Star hair is coming down.

See, it took a month, but I finally found a bar that has a pool table. Well, I didn't finally "find" it so much as I finally asked. At the little store that sells me gasoline, and diet coke, and cheese in those moments when I have a cheese emergency and can't make it all the way to town. The store's called Boonies, by the way, I shit you not. And the Very Nice man that works there told me where to go (you turn right at Mousam Lake; I've never turned right at Mousam Lake before!). I drove by it this afternoon to make sure I'd know where I was going when the time came, and know what?

Not only does it have a pool table (presumably; I haven't been inside yet; but I'm assuming I can trust the Boonie guy), it also has a gas pump in the parking lot. And barbecue. And chickens out back in a fenced corral. It's going to be my local for these few months, I just know it. Even if it's 35 minutes away...

I'm going there right now and getting hammered. And if I can't drive myself home, well, I also saw a '57 Thunderbird out front when I drove by.

Whoever belongs to that can give the cat his damn shot in the morning.

Don't worry. This is another of those "fiction" moments. You'll get used to it soon enough, I swear. I'm not really going to sleep with Mr. Thunderbird.  

He's probably like 85 years old.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Knavery, Trickery, Deceit

Damn it all.

I had a really funny post sketched in my head – and I say “sketched” because it was going to be just two pictures and twenty-four words – but I’m an idiot and although I took the pictures (twice!), I couldn’t seem to get them in the computer. So instead you’ll have to settle for a thousand words. Or one thousand and twelve, to be precise.

Okay, I suppose I’d best back up a bit.

See, the first time I came up here, to Maine, I forgot to bring the camera. Or didn’t so much “forget to bring it” as “didn’t see any reason I might want to have it around.” I was on hiatus from this blog at the time, I was licking wounds and cleaning house, and I didn’t see any need to document all that.

The last time I went to Massachusetts, though – which was a week ago – I threw the camera in my bag. I’d gotten back on the scribbly old horse a couple days before, and although I didn’t know what I planned to write about exactly, I did know that illustration comes in handy. For, you know, poop and spiders and knives and girlie screwdrivers, and other things that normal people might look at and shake their heads.

But I didn’t bring the cordy bit. The bit, you know, that makes the pictures go from the camera to the computer? It’s still attached to the old computer at the AssVac (which computer, by the way, somehow mysteriously caught a virus while I was up here and now wants to do nothing all day long but look at porn). Although the cordy bit is also moot, I realize now, because there’s also some sort of software or CDROM or something that I think I also need, and that I know I also didn’t bring along.

I didn’t remember any of that, though. Not at first. At first what I did was go ahead with my grand plans and take the picture and write the goddamn 24-word post. Which went like this:

You know what else you can do when you live alone?


Take a bite out of the block of cheese and put it back.

Ha-ha! Right?

I’m such a dork.

Anyway, so yeah. I ate the cheese and took the picture and brought the camera up to plug it in and… nothing. Cuz I didn't have the, you-know, pieces.


But that was a couple days ago. Today (whatever the hell day this is; they’re all starting to run together for me a little bit up here, I swear to god) I remembered that as of – oh, hell, some number of weeks ago,  I've no idea – I have a Blackberry! And one thing a Blackberry can do that my old phone couldn’t do, is pictures!

I know this, you see, because I’ve already accidentally photographed my dashboard and my desk, along with a few other things I just know some of you would shake your heads about. But I haven't on-purpose taken a picture of anything that I actually wanted to preserve...

So but anyway: ta-da! Now I had the blackberry, so I was all up in that  point-and-shoot-and-up-or-download-and-embarrass-yourself club, wasn't I?

Yeah. You’d think so.

I re-bit the cheese and I re-took the picture and I re-brought the dang thing up to plug it in, and I (not re-, but actually really) PLUGGED it in -- because I’d actually really REMEMBERED the phone’s cordy thing, even though I didn’t know what it was at the time and only threw it in my carry-on bag (which used to be Mom’s, and which is all I back-and-forth with these days) as a just-in-case-whatever-this-is-turns-out-to-be-important -- and then I realized that I didn’t have the freakin' software. Or the CDROM. Or whatever.

I saw it! I saw it in the box! When I was there! Right under the cordy thing! But when I was there I thought to myself: the phone is working fine; I don’t need any fancy-schmancy “applications” or whatever this pain-in-the-ass disc might want itself to be for. So I threw it out.


Yeah yeah yeah.

I threw it out.

Dumped cat litter over it. Put it in the barrel. That was a week ago. There've been two trash days since I threw it out. It’s gone.

See? And that, right there, is the reason I’m not so terribly daunted by the idea of downsizing myself from a three-bedroom house in the suburbs to a single sub-letted bedroom in Times Square.

I’ve just really never been that good with stuff.

I don’t need there to be stuff. I don’t want there to be stuff. And if there has to be stuff (which sometimes, I admit, there has to be), then I don’t want to see stuff.

I call myself Destructo for a reason. I break shit, I lose shit, I decide that I don’t need shit and I throw it the fuck away. I don’t do it on purpose, but I do.

I can probably get the camera-software-whatever-jazz on line, but you know.


I didn’t even want to bite the stupid cheese. I just thought it’d be a friggin’ hoot. I did it twice, too, and I wasn’t hungry either time. Although now that I think about it, I didn’t actually need to take a second bite to take a second picture. Have I mentioned that I’ve had a couple beers?

Oh, but I said two pictures and some words, didn’t I?


I was also going to show you a picture of my ass.

Just to see if I could hear you shake your heads up here in Maine.

Not really! Well, yes, really. But it’s a close-up picture of my ass that I accidentally took with the Blackberry when I was trying to put it in my pocket. All you can see in it is the Levi’s tag. Which also isn’t true, because I’m wearing Calvins. See? You’re going to have to understand, going forward, that sometimes I stretch the truth a little bit. 

And sometimes I just plain old make shit up.

(Thanks Mo & Jenni!!!!)


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Red + White + Blue = Purple Panties

One thing I’ve always liked about living alone is that you're sure to know where you can find things. If I put the scissors in the top middle drawer then, goddammit, that is where they will be when I need them. If they aren’t, well, then I can just walk backwards in my mind till I remember the last time I used them, then go retrieve them from the back seat of the car. And just you never mind why I might need scissors in the back seat of the car.

This works for everything, not just lost objects. If there’s water on the floor, then I must have been the one that spilled it (or else the dog, who – while very good with “lie down on your bed” – has not quite managed yet to master “mop that up”). If the counter isn’t wiped, I didn’t wipe it (that’s just a for-instance, though; it never happens). And if the toilet seat’s left up, that’s how I left it (I was dumping out mop buckets, everyone, calm down; I haven’t grown any new parts or had any new visitors or developed any new skills – yet).

If anyone's going to slip in a puddle or put a sleeve in a pile of salsa or fall in the toilet in the middle of the night, it'll be me. And I've always been able to get mad at myself and get over it without having to endure the screaming and yelling and name-calling and shit-throwing and filing for divorce. After all, I’m going to be 41 in three weeks. If I haven’t learned to live with me by now, I never will.

So the other day, I finally finished cleaning out this house -- my mom's house, where I'm by-myself-living these days. It's taken me the best part of a month, but I am finished. Finished-finished. Finished, finished-finished, finished.


(Well, I mean, of course there’s still a shed full of trash bags waiting to be hauled off to the dump. And a basement full of clothes and stuff waiting to be hauled off to Salvation Army. But they’ll be taken care of in due time, my friends, don’t fret. I’m going to be up here for months. And in the meantime, all of the parts that are actually house-parts – the living-area parts; the parts I have to look at and walk around in as I go about my daily grind – are done. Finished. Except for Dad’s room. And the gross spot on the kitchen floor. But I'm not supposed to be touching Dad's room, and I can’t do anything about the gross spot till I have a houseguest strong enough to help me move the fridge…)

The job I left to last (except for the above-mentioned except-fors) was the front porch, which is actually in the back of the house -- because why build a cabin in the middle of the woods and then set your breezy, beautiful, three-season sleeping-porch to face the street? Der. That was a brilliant move on Mom’s part, I have to say, back when the house was a Hershey bar and all she had to do was turn the dang blueprint around.

But over the years – and especially over the last year – the breezy, beautiful, three-season sleeping-porch had become a sort of catchall. The bed was buried beneath recyclables, empty Tupperware containers, and still-packed luggage from some never-taken trip. The back wall was lined with shopping bags of Christmas presents, bought for whom, I don't suppose we’ll ever know. The chairs and tables were piled high with glassware for some reason. And in the corner something sticky slowly seeped, unnoticed for god-only-knows how long.

Till now.

I have to admit, I’d been using the porch as a bit of a catchall my own self since I got here. Anytime I had something I didn’t know what to do with, or simply couldn’t face, I’d find an empty space out there to put it down – knowing that in the end, if I needed her, my sister would come help me see it through. But in the end I didn’t. In the end, I put my head down (along with a six-pack of Old Thumper), and I turned up the music and got it done.

Incidentally, I can’t say I recommend Kris Kristofferson for this sort of situation. Yeesh.

There was a throw-rug in the sticky corner that I came this close to tossing, but it’s red and blue, and this is the 4th of July weekend, after all. Plus I happen to know this rug was one of the very first things she bought to decorate this cabin – back before she decided to go with a forest-green motif instead, thereby nullifying the red and blue glass lanterns we brought back for her from Istanbul. Those lanterns are still hanging on the porch, though, so I decided I should keep the rug as well. Took it out in the woods and shook the hell out of it, then popped it in the washing machine to wait for a full load.

That was three days ago. And it’s July. So naturally I have been, shall we say, glistening excessively through my workout every morning. But I live alone now, so even with the glistening it still takes a couple days to build up enough laundry for a wash, by which point the workout clothes smell just exactly like a bed of roses – if a bed of roses somehow managed to crawl up my glistening ass and die. So this morning, when I ran the wash, for once in my entire life, I ran it hot.

The rug, I'm happy to report, came out like new.

And there ain’t no one else to blame the purple panties on but me.

Friday, July 2, 2010

I Don't Care What Anybody Says About Me, As Long As It Isn't True

I’ve recently been reminded of the concept of considering oneself a Private Person. It was not a rude reminder – it was quite nice, in fact, as these things go. Especially since by all rights I deserved a firmer hand. But still, it's had the effect of pulling me up a little short.

See, I started this blog however-many years ago because – well, because my agent told me to, for one thing. But the reason she wanted me to do it was so I could start “putting it out there,” at a time when she was the only one who believed that what I had going on was even worth the putting-out at all.

Back then, I was trying to break into the business of writing about myself, and the proven model called for giving the milkshake away for free in hopes that big bulls might come sniffing around the cow. It was as good a plan as any, so I tried it – reluctantly at first, then with ever-increasing ease, until before I knew it I was telling the world (well, all forty-two readers of this blog, anyway, and my 157 facebook friends) the gruesome details of my every mysteriously-contracted social disease (oh, yeah, you forty-two blog readers missed the whole pink-eye fiasco; you can get the details from the facebook friends: it's gross).

When Johnny was in my life, it seemed natural that he be sucked right in and put out by my side. I told you about his foibles just like mine, I told you about our fights, and I was careful to always make myself the butt of jokes. It wasn’t true, of course. I took the blame in this space because I thought it made good comedy, but more often than not, he was the stinking butt. It wasn’t fun for me, most of the time, at all. But I think I made some pretty decent lemonade.

Now that I’ve left, though, I owe him his status as a Private Person back. Don’t get me wrong, he loved being turned out and commented upon these past three years – I saw the sparkles in his eyes when I'd read him the things you people said. But he’s hurting now. I did it to him. And no matter how oh-my-god-if-I-could-only-list-them-for-you valid my myriad reasons may be, I’ve got absolutely no right to his pain.

So forget what I said: I deleted my last post, and won't be discussing the divorce in detail in this space at all. I might make allusions to it once in a while if it's germane, or over, but there's enough going on in my life that I ought to be able to find plenty to blather on about without picking somebody else's scabs.

I’m no longer trying to break into the writing-about-myself-business, for one thing. I can't talk much about it, but I’ve got a whole new not-about-me project going on. "Not-about-me," that is, in the sense that Other Voices, Other Rooms was "not-about" Truman Capote, or A Separate Peace was "not-about" John Knowles. This was also my agent’s idea, it’s going well, and she’s very excited about it on my behalf. Even though she’s still the only one out there who believes I should be putting out.

Well, maybe not the only. But it turns out that's none of your business, either. I learned my lesson well, believe you me, and have therefore become an ever-so-slightly more Private Person these last few days myself…

Purely for the sake of the milkshake, you understand.

Eggshells, man. Not exactly a natural gait for this tits-out town-crier girl, I tell you what. I hope I don’t wind up re-splinting my shins!