Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Road Trip

I'm going to Baltimore. For a party. On Friday night. Than I'm coming home.

Well. If the lord is willin' and the creek don't rise. I refuse to plan on trips anymore since every time I do something atrocious happens and I don't get to go. Therefore I'm just going along my daily life, knowing that I'm not going while in the back of my mind I'm actually planning to go thus fooling the trip wrecking demons! Ha! Oh no, I probably shouldn't have written this. . .

Actually I'm ambivalent about the damn trip. It's such a long drive to be there only for a couple days; I can't afford it; it's always weird to be there; I can't afford it; I haven't lost 20 pounds which I had intended to do before I ever saw any of my exes again and did I mention that I can't afford it? My ex husband the psychopath is going to be there and also my ex nice boyfriend. And about a bazillion other people - this is a big big do, a retirement/moving party being thrown by C, one of my closest friends in the whole world, who is moving to the wilds of farthest Colorado, where they probably have cowboys and Indians and covered wagons. I've seen Deadwood; I know about this West stuff. Everyone swears a lot. She had better be careful or they'll feed her to the pigs.

My exhusband is supposed to send me $500 so I can go (is that deeply weird or what?) because I am bringing M up to him so he can go to West Virginia for a 4th of July party and then they will drive back down here so M can go to the doctor and get his cast off and then they will go back to WV. Crazy. The whole thing is crazy but, I guess, what the hell. So Friday I drive, then I party, then I recover, than I drive back. Big fun in a 98 Saturn.

storm sky and wires west on patton

It rains every day. . . I like the lines of the wires here but it isn't doing justice to the view which is usually one of the best in Asheville, oddly enough, as it's from one of the more hellish intersections, going from Patton to the Smoky Park Highway bridge, the terrifying merge of 19/23 & 26/40 bound traffic. It would have been better if I had the nerve to shoot while driving.

Monday, June 27, 2005

baltimore night landscape

baltimore night landscape
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
A painting/drawing I did oh, about seven or eight years ago? It's about 4 feet or so square and is currently hanging on the outside of my garden shed. I like to look at it as I come out of the house - it's oil on masonite. I think.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Life on the Hellmouth

My phone calls between home and office are getting increasingly, um, entertaining. Yesterday's went like this:
M: "Mom? There's something in your room."
Me: "What? What do you mean something?"
M: "Some kind of, um, entrails. Sort of organs, you know?"
Me: "What the hell? What do you mean organs?"
M: "Like, it might be a heart or something. Or maybe a stomach?"
Me: "Holy fuck. How big is it? Is this like something the evil Angel would do? Is it a human heart or what?"
M: "Well, there are two of them and they're kind of big, we don't know."
Me: "Jesus H. Christ. Put your sister on the phone."
A: "Hi Mom"
Me: "What the hell is going on? Do we have vampires in the house or what?"
A: "We don't know. We don't even know what they are but we're not going back in there."
Me: "Are they, like, as big as a cow? Or tiny like a mouse?"
A: "Like maybe a rabbit - a big rabbit - how big are a rabbit's organs?"
Me: "Pretty small, I think. How would I know that? Do you think it's possible that by watching so much Buffy we have summoned the evil undead?"

When I got home there were indeed completely unidentifiable organ like sort of furry fist sized somethings, possibly of alien origin, in my room. There was one on each dog bed. There was also a dead mouse in the kitchen, half a dead field mouse in the patch of dead lawn where I planted sunflower seeds and a full dead field mouse by the shed. And something on the rug, possibly a leg. Of something. Something small and dead, which led M to shout: "Get rid of that leg! You're not leaving me here alone with a leg on the rug!"

Today's phone call o' fun:
A: "Mom, there's a bird in the house." Shrieking from background, frenzied barking.
Me: "Are you sure it's not a rabbit? Because I think it was a rabbit this morning."
A: "WHAT? What do you mean it was a rabbit this morning? How do I get the bird out of the house?"
Me, frantically googling: "I don't know. Lock the dogs out in the backyard and prop open the front door and sort of shoo it out."
A: "How did it get in here? And what about the rabbit?!?"
Me: "Barbieri brought it in. He's on a roll. This morning I was getting ready to go to work when I saw that he had a rabbit or something. Something as big as he was."
in actual fact, whatever it was wasn't quite dead. Barbieri (the cat) and Jackson (the hellhound) were working together to get it out from under the shelves in the dining room and when Barbieri emerged with it in his mouth I couldn't tell if it was a rabbit, a squirrel, a rat or possibly another alien being, but it was kicking. Total coward that I am, I seized that moment to grab my purse and flee to work.
A: "And you just left us here!?!"
Me: "Um, sorry about that. I was late for work."
Fifteen Minutes Later. . .
M: "Mom! How do I get a bird out of the house?"
Me: "I don't know. Where's your sister?"
M: "Out in the yard with the dogs. She says I have to do it."
Me: "Try shooing it out - just shoo it out."
M: "I don't even know if it can fly. What I'm going to do is I'm going to throw a black cloth over it because that will instantly calm it down and then I'm going to carry it outside but what do I do then?"
Me: "I don't think I would pick it up - can't you just shoo it?"
M: "If it bites me I am going to the hospital and you can't stop me."
Me: "No, no, that would be fine, yes, perfectly appropriate, you should go to the hospital."
A: Frenzied screaming from a distance, barely audible threats, dogs howling
Me: "Well?"
M: "Can I get some moral support here? Like some encouragement?"
Me: "Oh! Okay, um, good luck! It'll all be fine! You can do it!"

And the phone hasn't rung again. . . yet.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Things Like This Don't Happen to Normal People (Part 2)

To (finally, hee) begin our story, Mr. Bill, our nearly feral cat, came home sick or injured or something on Sunday. He was crying desolately in the jungle backyard, the part which I fenced off last Monday (I'm good with a sledgehammer now, yo. Especially after it rains for 24 hours. That helps A LOT.) So I set up chairs and climbed over the fence in my clogs and picked him up and carried him back into the house. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with him - he had an appetite, nose was cold, eyes clear - but he was very very thin and weak. And affectionate, which is not like Mr. Bill at all. I was reminded of the time my insane cat Andy Warhol of blessed memory managed to break his pelvis during a short jump in the basement. After $300 of vet bills I was told to take him home & keep him quiet for 6 weeks. I do not at the moment have $300 so I decided to take a similar approach with Mr. Bill, especially keeping him away from the hellhound who is bound & determined to chase him. I set him up in the living room with a fancy new cat bed and a new litter box with high tech space age blue litter and a bowl of canned cat food. Mr. Bill, secure in his invalid status, has made known his disdain for kibble.

The smell of the catfood and the sound of Mr. Bill's piteous wails for more catfood sent Jackson over the edge and no combination of gates could keep him out of the living room. This had been a losing battle for some time: the hell hound naturally wanted to be there watching Buffy with us anyway. Yesterday, while I was at work, Jackson got through every gate and security device either I or M could devise. He won't listen to M at all - we've covered that before - so poor M was calling me every 10 minutes to tell me about something else awful that Jackson had done. He ate all the catfood (of course) and the turds out of the cat box, and spread the weird blue litter all over the floor. Then there was a huge thunderstorm, which scared all of them, including Mr. Bill, who was now trapped beneath the couch without canned cat food and didn't like it much. It was a rough day for M.

I got home and decided that rather than go to the grocery store, I would make a tuna casserole and watch more Buffy. I started sauteing vegetables and turned on the oven. The BOG OF ETERNAL STENCH, the HELLMOUTH OF ODOR opened in the kitchen and there was no turning back. It was unbearable, unbelievable: like nothing anyone has ever smelled before. Our eyes were watering. I turned off the oven and set up fans but we had to leave the kitchen. Not the hell hound. He got up on the stove and overturned the sauteing vegetables and ate my last remaining plastic spatula and generally wreaked more havoc. Meanwhile, M. soaked a washcloth in diluted toothpaste and held it over his nose. Being more organically minded, I went out in the garden and smoked a cigarette and shoved beebalm and artemisia up my nose. All was dismal and sad.

So we drove away. We sat in the car behind Pastabilities for a long time, laughing hysterically, trying to get hungry again. M voted for never returning or at least spending the night at Grandmas, but preferably just hitting the road and not looking back. Or burning the house down and moving into the yard. While I agreed with these solutions in theory, also proposing to take off and nuke the place from orbit, I knew we would have to go back. M made up a song about our fear of smell and the total horror of the stench, coupled with the horror of the hellhound. I wish I had recorded it because it was utterly brilliant and it made me have to pee really badly.

The rest is anticlimax. We ate dinner & went to Ingles & bought massive amounts of cleaning supplies, including two pairs of rubber gloves, a gleepy little air freshener with a battery operated fan and a humongous can of foaming bubbles. When we got home, the smell, although somewhat dissipated, was still there. So we pulled the stove away from the wall and cleaned out all the mouse nests & cleaned everything in the broiler pan and left that out in the rain full of foaming bubbles, and, while we were at it, we pulled everything out of the lower cabinets and cleaned up a completely disgusting and just wrong years worth of mouse shit & pee. Beyond, beyond gross.

So now, on top of everything that has been pulled down by Jackson, and all the plates that are now on the counters because everything on the counters had to be put in the cabinets where the plates used to go, all the canned food and liquor and bottles of vinegar and mysterious things like wasabi powder and evaporated milk are now in coolers and boxes and bins all around the kitchen and dining room and Jackson is having a field day chewing them up and taking off the lids and shredding them. Meanwhile, of my two mouse killers, Mr. Bill is incapacitated (and currently howling away in A's room, since she's at the beach, lucky girl, she always misses all the fun) and Barbieri is too busy clearing the garden of voles & shrews to be bothered with the kitchen. Which is probably why the mice have moved inside en masse like this.

And I still don't know what the source of the smell was, but I suspect that the mice have moved into the insulation of the oven, which means that the oven will have to be replaced, which I can't afford, and I can't call my landlord, because then he will come over and be witness to the hell which the hellhound hath wrought on my once lovely home and then he will kick me out and we will all have to go live in a cardboard box on the side of the road and even that won't work for very long, since the hellhound will promptly shred it around our ears.

See? These things DON'T happen to normal people. I swear I am moving to Sunnydale.

Things Like This Don't Happen to Normal People: Part 1

My life is out of control again. Big shock, huh? Let me begin at the beginning as I delineate this tale of terror and woe. As backstory you must understand that my addictive personality evil twin has resurfaced and her drug of choice is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Yes. Buffy. Hours and hours and hours of Buffy. I have drawn my helpless innocent son M into this addiction and he too is a slave to Buffy. Every weekend we watch episode after episode, hour after hour. Roughly 14 hours this weekend, in fact. So we are very attuned to the special properties of living on the Hellmouth. We are honorary citizens of Sunnydale.

And that's probably why we weren't all that surprised when hell opened in the kitchen. After all, we've had the hell hound in our lives for seven long weeks now. Seven weeks in which nothing is safe, seven weeks with the trash can attractively placed on top of the dining room table, seven weeks with ever increasing barriers of dog gates and doors and chairs and tables piled in a heap in a desperate attempt to keep the dog out of some small area of the house. Seven long weeks when anything left on any surface lower than 7 feet high is considered fair game, seven weeks of a dog who will snarl at you over, yes, a bag of celery. I never knew dogs even liked celery. And seven weeks of wading through our house, ankle deep in shredded plastic, dog bed, foam, stuffed animals, cardboard, clothing - you name it, it's shredded and on our floor.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Sometimes Things Suck

I have to get rid of Jackson the hell hound. This is just not working out. I feel like such a shit; I have no tolerance or compassion for people who adopt animals and then give them up, but here I am about to do it. Well, I mean, I'm going to find him a home. A better home than mine, one that has no cats in it and no kids and an adult who is willing to be there working with him 24/7. Because that is what this dog needs, and I can't provide it. While I'm looking for this wonderful home, I'm going to try to get the guy who gave him to me to take him back. I can't have him in the house anymore.

First, there was the day he had M cornered in his room for two hours. Than there is the ceaseless night trauma: the waking up all night long, barking, waking me up. I haven't had an uninterrupted nights sleep in seven weeks. I feel like I have a newborn. Then, there is the way he refuses to ever give up what he's doing, whether it's trying to get through the gates into the living room, getting into M's room, or whatever. He is the most persistent fucking dog on the planet. And the way he swings his face at you if you try to make him move like you would a normal dog is scary.

But he's getting better! I think. But not better enough and not fast enough. I bit off more than I can chew and on Saturday, while I was piling chairs and tables in front of the dining room door in a mad attempt to keep the howling dog at bay, I realized that this has just gone too far. I can't relax at home, I can't have fun, all I can do is obsess over this goddamn dog. So it must come to an end.

Which means, in a nutshell, that I suck. I have failed recently on many levels - my job situation, which is awful, my relationship situation, which is completely nonexistent, my parenting, which consists of turning my son into a Buffy the Vampire Slayer addict like me. And I can't even keep up with the weeds in the fucking garden; I didn't go out on Saturday to see my friend J's band like I promised I would, and in general I am feeling like a complete and total useless loser at the moment. Damn. Damn damn damn damn. Anyone want a blind hound dog?

Friday, June 17, 2005

Not as Bad as I was Afraid it Would Be

Weird capitalization in that there title there hon. Hmm. Well, never mind. I took Jackson to obedience class last night and it was not as bad as I thought it might be. He didn't bite anyone or run away or go into a complete frenzy. Sure, he was the worst dog in the class, but he was still better than he could have been. Even though in the car on the way over and on the way back he kept climbing into the front seat & sitting on my lap: unsafe at any speed. I have to put more about this on his blog, we cannot have this kind of subject overlap. This two blog thing is kind of a pain in the ass, truth be told, although I haven't given up my dreams of being, like, the one dog James Herriot of my generation. Except that I might have to give the damn dog away before it drives us all insane. That would be kind of a bummer ending, huh?

Diminished expectations - that's the name of the game. Maybe I can turn my whole life into a darkly comic novel of despair. Actually, to be hideously honest, I'm over the PMS and I'm feeling quite cheerful and optimistic and even, dare I say it, bubbly. I'm going to Downtown After Five and I am wearing a really cute black dress with pink polka dots which hopefully distracts attention away from the horror which is currently my hair. It is now time to drink beer - I am gone.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

General Musings and Metafilter Crushes

I am alone at home. For the first time in a month. It's quite, um, odd. I'm not sure exactly how to act or what to do. I made dinner - but that was when I still thought the kids were coming home, and now I know they're not. Dag. Now what? Besides, I mean, eating half of it (and it was good too, son) and, well, drinking. Actually I did that right after work, at work in fact. That invention of demons, the shift drink - thank the gods. Then I dragged my friend J over to the brewery to check out the cute new bartender. I had a crush on the old cute bartender, but it was quite a silent one: he had a girlfriend. This bartender is new territory and extremely cute with a wicked glint in his eye that it's quite possible I'm just imagining. He probably has a girlfriend. They mostly do.

Having crushes on bartenders or rock stars is a fairly painless way of pretending I have a social life. They're too busy to really be bothered with me but they have to be polite and I can build that into a relationship in my head. Nobody gets hurt or rejected - it's right up there with my mostly silent internet crushes. At the moment I have crushes on 4 guys on metafilter (if the link doesn't work try again later. It's mostly down these days.) and they know nothing about it. Very sweet and painless. Except one of them wrote a serious askme the other day and I didn't dare to answer it - well, I also had no answer. Damn.

So I have a new philosophy of life: if the signs all point in one direction, it feels like the fates are steering you somewhere and your instincts say YES - run the fuck away as fast as you can. The malevolent gods are toying with you again. They want to watch you squirm. Trust me on this one. I've gone with my instincts twice in the last six months: 1)job, 2)dog - and both times may well have been two of the more horrendous mistakes of my life.

The tenses are wrong somehow in that previous sentence but I can't be bothered to fix them. A is home. Back to the madness!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Must . . Leave. . My . . Job

The ellipses in the title signify true spiritual anguish, or that you should say that out loud in a kind of tortured Frankenstein's monster way. However you say it, it is true, I have made the decision to quit this job in four to six weeks whether i have another job or not. That is very very scary, but the prospect of staying here is far scarier. I simply cannot do this anymore. This job is impossible and it's starting to erode my soul. However, I have to keep it until all M's post operative doctor's appointments etc. have taken place, so that Blue Cross will pay for some of them at least.

The reasons why this job is impossible are so numerous that it's hard to enumerate them. For the record, I genuinely like and admire all the people who work here, including my bosses. However, it's just not a good fit for me; I'm not happy, I'm not accomplishing much of anything, and this is all just NOT GOOD.

This kind of thing is why you should always stick by the vows you make when you're in your late teens and early twenties. At one point I made a solemn vow never to work in food & bev again and I was right. I am just not cool enough - or driven enough - or whatever enough - for this lifestyle.

So I have to find another job or two jobs or some form of income. Why oh why is it so fucking hard to just find a Monday - Friday job, with insurance, vacation, sick leave & reasonable holidays (like Memorial Day, July 4, that kind of thing) that pays a semi living wage? Keep in mind that I make less than $35,000 a year - I'm not demanding a lot. And I'm smart, educated, experienced & get along with coworkers. God I wish I was independently wealthy.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I Pitched a Fit Last Night

Deep in the throes of PMS I threw a fine and inspiring tantrum. My boss wanted me to come back to work at 10 pm so I could participate in the noise test of dancing upstairs and, while I wasn't happy about it at 6:00 pm when I was leaving, by 8:30 pm I was positively hysterical. So I decided not to go, which pissed off my daughter A, who had come home for the express purpose of giving me the car so I could go dance at work. Her comments on the matter then led me to express my extreme dissatisfaction with life, the universe and the dog, in no uncertain terms. Finally my daughter screamed, "Just what is it you want me to do?!?!" And I said, "I want you to fight with me, obviously!!"

Somehow this made us all feel better.

I tell you what though, I can't handle much more of that dog shredding things and leaving the fragments all over the floor. It's driving me insane, as is my job.

Monday, June 06, 2005

More Hilarious Zany Fun with Ovens

melted dogfood bowl in oven
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
This is what happens when you put the bowl full of dogfood that your dog won't eat into the oven first thing in the morning so your other, psycho, dog won't eat it. Then, when you come home & start to preheat the oven before making dinner, presto changeo, and it's a good goddamn thing you never got around to changing the batteries in the smoke detector because otherwise the police would be here by now.

back of my car june 05

back of my car june 05
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
Yes, this is my car. Now everyone knows what a freak I really am. Heh. As if there was any doubt. The strange thing is that living in Asheville, this passes for normal, like tattoos and dreads. When I go to other places and people look at me funny, I'm always surprised.

p.s. NO I don't have dreads. Just tattoos & bumperstickers.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

The Quiz Post & Miniature Golf

The personality defect quiz post is annoying; it's too long, and every time I try to edit it down to a reasonable length it gives me HTML errors. So I might just delete it. Or not. It was a good quiz. Edited note: I tried to change it & apparently somehow I screwed up the sidebar. It's now down at the bottom of the page. Fuck. New edited note: I deleted it. FWIW, I am a starving artist & if you want to take the quiz yourself, you can find it here.

In other news, in a weekend of family fun my children and I went to play putt-putt on Saturday afternoon. I love miniature golf courses; I think I've come up with a lifetime goal (that's a first) to go & play at every single one in Ocean City, Maryland. There are like 2 million mini golf courses in Ocean City so this is a lofty goal of high ambition. My other goal would be to transform my backyard into a mini golf course, or just to live on one that's already constructed. They're so crazy and beautiful and kind of heart rending in a very strange vanished american dream way. I tried researching them once (our trip to Gatlinburg a year & a half ago got me going on them again; we played one inside a big warehouse with a mysterious yet enchanting Egyptian Gods Meet Pirates theme) because I've always wondered where they came from. It seems like such a peculiar idea: build a putting green and surround it with. . anything, really; giant plaster flamingo? Check. Pirate ship? Check. Dinosaur, rocket ship and huge spider? Check - anything goes in the landscape of the miniature golf course. The histories I found were academic and boring, and, although it's hard to believe, there doesn't seem to be a glossy coffee table book on miniature golf. A niche market waiting for me to fill it. I would also like to revive the commercials that used to air in South Carolina with the oddly compelling jingle: Putt putt for the fun of it, putt putt for the fun of it, putt putt for the fun of it! My teenage boyfriend used to sing fuck fuck for the fun of it! which was, obviously, extremely daring and bad boy-ish of him, and also oddly compelling.

M can't extend his elbow and I'm worried; the doctor is supposed to call me tomorrow. If the doctor screwed up & did something wrong during the surgery I will roast him over a slow fire; after, that is, I sue him, the hospital and possibly the universe for A MILLION DOLLARS. At least. Hey malpractice suits! If the Bush administration wants them to go away, they must be good!

tropic island mini golf asheville

In all its glory, looking out over Patton Avenue.

Friday, June 03, 2005

mr bill in the garden

mr bill in the garden
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
This is probably the best picture I have ever taken. Mr. Bill & I don't really speak anymore. He has decided to go feral - it's his choice; there's nothing I can do. So I see him rarely, he comes inside about once a week to eat some cat food and then he's gone again, elusive. He's terrified of all humans (he barely tolerates me), most dogs, thunder, cars, and, well, pretty much everything. Mr. Bill. He's a basket case, but this is a great photograph.