Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Creativity Run Amok

I made the terrible mistake of going into the new Michael's Crafts on Airport Road the other day. It's gigantic and set in a horrible new strip mall of enormous big box stores: there's a Lowes and a Ross Dress for Less and a PetSmart and a Best Buy and many other things, besides Michaels, all stuck together in a long eco-unfriendly line with a huge parking lot full of SUVs out front. An evil, evil place, the domain of Sauron, and so on. You know the drill - Lovecraftian nightmares underneath the parking lot, slurping their tentacular way upwards; the whole thing built on an ancient Indian burial ground; cursed mummies and the occasional werewolf attack in the garden section of Lowes. So obviously I should have stayed out of Michaels, and, adding insult to injury, the Petsmart doesn't carry the extra special dog food (duck! Duck and carrots! I ask you, is this madness?) that my mother's extra special ancient Bichon Frise can digest.

I could have turned around and driven away, but no, I went in, and was immediately subsumed into the giddy wonderland that is Michaels. I could make this! Or this! If only I have the correct materials, which I can buy right now for a very low price, I can make wondrous things for everyone for Christmas and my long starved creative genius will come leaping out and maybe, just maybe, I can even sell my crafts and make a living as a Craft Artist! Yes! I looked long and longingly at the iron on T-shirt "urban design" letters and thought of the wonderful shirt I could make my son so long as I was careful to only use each letter of the alphabet once. I looked at the silk transfer printer stuff and thought of making a lovely pillow for my daughter, with a picture of the departed psycho hound printed on silk and appliqued, perhaps with a lace border and maybe the pillow could be tie-dyed purple silk. That would be so very attractive and poignant, oh yes. I could make her a sort of bead curtain, too, with glass and tiny mirrors hot glued to fishing line, and make my son another T-shirt, a stenciled thing with a picture of Che Guevara on it. And then, I will paint all the gourds and inlay them with gold leaf and while I'm at it, perhaps I should get the stuff to make the marbleized and beglittered christmas cards I thought of the other day. For I am unemployed and damn, why not?

This is why not. No matter how good my intentions, I am just too damn weird to make normal crafts like a normal suburban housewife devotee of Martha Stewart and instead I make terribly mutant crafts like my fabulous Cat Rattle, the perfect gift for those who frequent drum circles and are fond of cats and also perhaps spend a significant portion of their lives being heavily medicated.

For once I must praise the evil and draconian policies of Asheville Savings Bank, because they refused to let me have much money, and therefore, I couldn't afford to spend hardly anything at Michaels, and so a lot of these terrible, terrible ideas will have to stay in the realm of fantasy, and my creative side must remain unfulfilled, alas and thank the Elder Gods.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Ladies Who Lunch

I took my Mom to the doctor today and then we went out for a long and leisurely lunch at Fig where, not at all coincidentally, my daughter A works. It was great. So I'm in a good mood today, partly because I woke up and took Theo for a walk and went down to the park and totally beat the rain, and partly because then things turned sunny and gorgeous, and partly because, well, this two hour lunch thing? With wine? Yeah, baby.

This is the way to live. You go out and sit down in a nice sunny place and people bring you mussels, and bread, and salad, and a couple of glasses of good red wine, and it's just all good. I should do this every day. We should all do this every day. It's a pity they eliminated the three martini lunch; I used to think that idea was decadent and wrong, but you know, I'm coming around. Life is too tough to take without alcohol at lunch.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Check This Cool Thingie Out - Otherwise, General Angst

Check it out: Pandora plays new music for you that it thinks you will like. So far, and I've been listening for almost an hour, it's done very well except for the small Hootie & the Blowfish mishap which was quickly corrected and it apologized fairly abjectly, which I like in my interfaces. I told it I liked Counting Crows, James McMurtry and Lucinda Williams and it's played me Tom Petty and the Meat Puppets, both of whom I have long loved, and introduced me to David Holt and The Glands and Baby Ray, all of which I now like quite a lot.

Other than that, I'm kind of gloomy. It's pouring rain; last night the fireplace refused to draw, so the house smells like old wet smoke. I have a headache, and I spent most of the day taking Mom to Ingles & around. Tomorrow she has a doctor's appointment and another list of errands. This 4 hour a day take care of Mom gig is just getting so old. I tried again to talk her into buying a duplex or 2 apartment house that we could all live in and again she was unenthusiastic. It would be so much easier for me and I'd stop worrying about her when I'm not there - not to mention that it would be an actual investment/inheritance/real place to live. She seems to be determined to stay at Deerfield, though. I can't figure out why: she fights with the landscaping staff, she says she will never, ever call the help desk if she's injured (and I suspect her of having fallen again about 2 weeks ago but lying about it); she flat refuses to even consider going into continuing care or skilled nursing, ever again, and she doesn't eat in the dining hall. So why, exactly, is she living there?

Oh, and there's a squirrel with a mohawk digging up the bulbs I planted on Saturday. I can't figure out if it's the rain that's making him look so punked out or whether some neighbor, driven mad by boredom perhaps, caught him, shaved him and released him. However, he's a pain in the ass, and he keeps coming up on the porch, which sends Theo into paroxysms of rage that can only be satisfied if I go out there and bark at the squirrel myself. But that's okay, since I'm also being driven mad by boredom and I kind of like barking at squirrels on the porch. It gives me a purpose in life and it freaks the squirrels way the fuck out.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Laundromats and Wildlife.

I went to the laundromat today. Big mistake, because it is Sunday, and even though this is the Bible Belt, these people still do all their laundry on Sunday. It was packed. I wanted to go out to eat with my kids, who were enjoying an incredible meal at Sunny Point but alas, I couldn't leave my clothes alone to fend for themselves. It was okay, though, they bought me huevos rancheros to go. The laundromat on Sunday morning is somehow eternal; I think I've just been there so many times that it takes on this feeling of eternity and inevitability: as it was, is now, and ever shall be - dryer 3 doesn't work. There were the Mexican men washing machines full of jeans and talking about movies in fast Spanish; the young couple folding towels; the blonde guy asleep with his arms folded protectively over his laptop, the nape of his neck childlike and vulnerable. I leaned on a washing machine and reread Walker Percy Love Among the Ruins which I just found at the Goodwill and which was obviously somebody's high school copy, because it is helpfully annotated with various really dumb notes.

Last night when M & I were coming home from the Zydepunks we saw a possum cross the road. I stopped the car so the possum could get his/her head together and actually cross the road, and then s/he walked up the sidewalk. I leaned out of the car to really look at the possum (I like possums) and in return the possum gave me a long suffering look of total disinterest and veered into the small patch of scrub woods that edges the elementary school. I was inexplicably cheered by this encounter and kept bugging M, who really doesn't care about possums, to discuss and marvel over it, but finally he refused to comment further.

This afternoon I took M back up to school in Celo. The skies were stormy and mysterious and broke into patches of Renaissance blue, but when we started heading up through Micaville to Celo they suddenly became very intense and dramatic, with half the mountain illuminated and half under dark, roiling clouds. "LO!" I intoned, "Doom from the skies doth fall upon the southern valley of the river of the Toe!" and I made M take this picture out the car window, which accounts for the weird reflection that makes it look like God's Discman was descending on us. There were three deer by the road once we got up by the school, and they were also less than interested in us; big, beautiful does. I dropped M off under the non caring gaze of the deer and made my way back through the boiling clouds; halfway between Burnsville and the interstate a heron appeared, flying low and laboriously between the ridgeline and my car.

So, you know, signs and portents. Right?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

I Have The Computah!

At last, at last! My children have finally succumbed to sleep and I have the computer to myself! Of course, it's like 1 a.m. and I really have nothing much to say, also I will be succumbing to sweet sweet sleep my own self any minute now, but it's the first time I've weaseled my way on in days. Or the first time without an almost 14 year old panting down my shoulder, squeezing my head or, bored, tormenting his sister until they both start yowling Moooooooooooom.

So, basically, pretty classic family Thanksgiving. I got into a fight with my daughter A, when she emerged from her room and I said, "Is that what you're wearing, dear?" in the precise inflections of my mother, and she responded by exploding into the same pavlovian fury that that question provoked in me 20 years earlier. After some heated words, A changed, went and got her grandmother, who we then helped over our 2 front steps (this is, or could be, the subject of a long and spectacularly unfunny post entitled Mom Won't Admit That She Shouldn't Live Alone Anymore) and then I served this utterly amazing dinner, and, of course, drank too much, but not so much too much that it was really bad. And we cleaned it all up, and J & I & A's friend S who is a sweet boy and cute too, sat by the fire and smoked cigarettes, and it was all good. And the food was completely fantastic, but damn I'm old and out of shape and I could never be on the line, because 7 hours of cooking for only 6 people (food for 10, though, just in case) about did me in.

Since then I've done some yardwork (planted all the bulbs, finally), taken M to see Zathura (okay, not as good as Jumanji although remarkably similar, the kids in the movie were obnoxious and looked like hobbits) cleaned the kitchen any number of times and read 3 books. Tonight I took M, along with several other friends and their young teenage sons, to see Zydepunk at Jack of the Wood. Fun. And I saw my old boss and talked to him, so that was good too. And tomorrow M goes on back up the mountain to school, which will of course make me sad.

And after that? I have to find a fucking job, any job, and so that is what I'll be doing next week. I put my resume up on Career Finder and so far I've gotten about 4 spam emails back in return, asking me to do things like carry packages to other countries or this very eepy job that involved money transfers - and you get paid much later! Yeah! Fortunately for me I had already heard about that one - and am cynical by nature. Cynicism: not always a bad thing.

Oh, and Elizabeth Willey. There is only one thing wrong in this world with Elizabeth Willey, and it's that she just hasn't written anywhere near enough books.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


I had every intention of blogging every minute of the thanksgiving prep today but you're in luck: I haven't done it. It's 1:19; dinner should happen between 4:30 and 5:00; the turkey went into the oven at 11:40; the turnips are done, except they shrank woefully, and so nobody gets more than a couple turnip slivers; both the cranberries are done; the potatos are peeled and chopped and boiling away; I'm going to do the onions next and then the carrots and then the broccoli. It's all well in hand. I'm wearing an apron. I talked to my younger brother briefly. Nothing, really, to report. Food music on the radio from WNCW and so, Thanksgiving. The kids are supposed to clean the house now. Yes. That is what they should be doing, not taking up space in the kitchen cooking frozen eggrolls in the toaster oven. Rotten kids of today. Why, when we were kids we had to walk 40 miles uphill in the snow to eat a turnip sliver.

Thanksgiving, Part 1: The Day Before

I went and got the turkey this morning at Earth Fare, one of our two local hippie supermarkets. I hadn't ordered one ahead of time, which is a faux pas, I know, because last year they yelled at me on the phone and I had to go get one at Greenlife. I don't know what it is, I'm compelled to buy eco-friendly turkeys only, despite the fact that all year long I eat meat from horribly abused factory farm animals and succeed in just not thinking about it while saving beaucoups de dollars. But once a year, I can't avoid the guilt and thus go majorly organic. Instead of calling, I just showed up, made my way through the hordes of obnoxious rich baby boomerslovely ex-hippies who make up the Earthfare audience, and went to the meat counter to ask humbly if I could have a turkey. "No," they said, "You have to go to the Community Room and talk to them." I went to the Community Room, where I had a cup of free hot cider and sat in front of two nice ladies to talk about my turkey needs. They interviewed me. I thought they were going to ask if I was going to give my turkey a good home and I was prepared to lie through my teeth. Instead we got into a conversation about brining, and juniper berries. Since I was nervous (I'm always nervous when I'm being interviewed by total strangers) I started cracking bad jokes about bathtub gin. One lady laughed and the other looked at me pityingly. I took my slip of paper that said I was approved to buy an extremely expensive semi organic turkey and went back to the meat counter.

At home I made Alice Waters turkey brine and put the turkey & brine into my biggest stock pot. It didn't quite fit. "This happened last year too." said M lazily from his video game. "Last year you got all freaked out. Just jam it in there." So I did, and put it out on the front porch with rocks on top to weigh it down and discourage any animals. Then I got M to split the white pumpkin that's been sitting on the porch since Halloween (the old man I bought it from at the Farmers' Market said it would make a good pie, so I didn't carve it; yeah, okay, a month, kind of eepy, but a month is as nothing in the life of a pumpkin. Right?) M used the big enormous axe and parts of pumpkin flew all over the yard. The split parts were full of mud because the axe kept landing in mud - M was enjoying himself way too much. No matter. Mud is good for you. It's full of minerals.

Roasted the pumpkin, then followed the recipe on the back of a can of pumpkin to make a pie. There was way too much pumpkin, so I threw the rest of it into a buttered pie dish with no crust. Then I made an apple pie. Then I made squash soup. Then I washed a million dishes. We ate the crustless pumpkin pie, or, well, rather I ate the crustless pumpkin pie and the kids made retching noises over the sink. "It tastes like mud!" they said
"It's earthy," I said, loyal to my pie, "It's organic and natural and old fashioned."
"Gross!" they said, "I just got a big old glump of mud in my mouth! I'm not eating dirt, Mom!"
Damn modern kids.

Somewhere in here my friend J came over and we drank some beer and A went out and M & I ate the rest of the tuna casserole and watched Donnie Darko and then, eventually, I fixed up the table with an old Indian hippie bedspread and what was once my great grandmothers prized handmade Irish lace tablecloth except now it's a bit stained and a trifle dish full of apples and tangerines and some lilies I got at Ingles for $3. Then I felt sad and had another beer and thought about the 20 odd years I've been making Thanksgiving dinner.

"20 years!" I said to M. "And in another 10 years or less it'll be A's turn to do it at her house with her husband."
"Yeah?" said M, "Then what?"
"Then it'll be your wife's turn." I said chauvinistically.
"Forget it." he said, "I'm not getting married."
"Then who will make your Thanksgiving dinner?" I asked.
"Uh, the local homeless shelter?"

He knows how to send me into conniptions. Tomorrow I will go completely berserk and cook 10 things, yes 10, because I am a Taurus with Cancer rising and Thanksgiving must always be the same, the exact same every year, or I become discombobulated. Although going out for Chinese like normal people would probably be a good new start.

Tomorrow's Menu:
Roast Turkey (brined, with herbs)
Stuffing (bread crumbs, apples, mushrooms, bacon, herbs)
Gravy (in the groovy 50s gravy boat)
Cranberry Sauce (2 different handmade kinds - a raw & a cooked)
Mashed Potatos (real, need you ask?)
Green Bean Casserole (the nasty delicious white trash canned kind)
Broccoli (the token healthy dish)
Carrots with Ginger and Honey (the other token healthy dish)
Creamed Onions (my favorite)
Squash Soup (my mom is on a liquid diet)
Roast Turnips with Rosemary (my other favorite)
Apple Pie
Pumpkin Pie (with real whipped cream)

and away we go, yet again.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Million Doughnuts

Since M got home he's been bugging me to take him dumpster diving. Yeah, that's why he goes to an expensive private boarding school - so his teachers can be freegans who instruct him in the finer methods of dumpster diving. Hee hee. I actually think this is pretty cool but at the same time I am conservative and hidebound and afraid of getting in trouble, so I refused to take the boys down to Patton Avenue to explore the wonders of Krispy Kreme.

They went anyway, in the dark and cold and intermittent snow. I knew nothing, yes nothing! of this; they told me they were going for a walk. Or that's what I'll say, if asked. At any rate, they called me from the dollar store, cold and tired of walking, and I went and picked them - and a trash bag full of 85 doughnuts - up. Apparently Krispy Kreme just leaves the unsold doughnuts out in boxes on racks at the end of each day, and if you want them you can go & get them. I thought the boys should have left them for the poor, but as M pointed out, "MOM! We ARE the poor!" which is sort of true. "The poor-er, then." I said. "The poor-est." But they said there were racks and racks and boxes and boxes left. A says they do the same thing at Pizza Hut. This is a strange and horrible culture we live in, you know?

So now, even though we have given away lots of doughnuts, and everyone has eaten several doughnuts (I hate doughnuts. They make me feel ill. I ate a jelly one last night, since jelly ones are the only ones I can stand, and I immediately felt deathly. Then I thought, wow, what if Krispy Kreme has decided to do something about the homeless problem by injecting their old doughnuts with arsenic? I could see the headlines now: Local Business Takes Brave New Initiative for the Homeless.) and yet there are still more doughnuts on the kitchen counter. There's not a lot you can do with old doughnuts, you know, doughnut soup is kind of out of the question, as is doughnut casserole or that old standby, doughnut loaf. Maybe I'll stuff the turkey with doughnuts.

Or maybe, you know, not.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

We Have Stove!!

It strikes me that this is a very 21st century story; this story of the Fixing of the Stove. What happened was that M & his friend A & I did it together, with tech support via cel phones from S in Colorado and C at work, which I think is in Black Mountain somewhere. S & his wife C saw my dilemma via this blog, and called to give me electrical advice. So I emailed the pictures above to them in CO and we went back & forth on the phone & email, figuring out how to do it and what had to be done. I called C in a panic several times and he told me calmly that it would be okay and I could do this, and how to do it, and why it wouldn't kill me, or the kids. I then got the boys, who are stronger than I am (wow, that's pathetic; I am weaker than teenage boys) to get the really seriously tightly encrusted nuts that were holding the wires off and then on again. We went to K-Mart for WD-40 for the last, stubborn nut. And then we duct taped the green, or ground, wire to the back of the stove and levered the back on again and plugged it in (a moment of healthy fear here) and LO! It works!

And so I have just made tuna casserole, and tea, and I'm having a beer, and the boys are watching a movie, and it's peaceful and the first snow of the season is turning the dark wet leaves into blotchy white soft things like marshmallows gone wrong, and all in all I am so happy.

So Felicity's Thanksgiving Dinner for Waifs, Orphans and Strays is on again and I reiterate my invitation to all you waifs, orphans and strays out there.

Holidays Proceeding Apace

Two days until Thanksgiving and guess what? I still have no stove! My friend C, who had kindly agreed to come over and fix it for me, came down with some bug or other and can't make it. I took the back off the stove yesterday, and it looks pretty simple and self explanatory except for one small problem. The old cord and plug is attached neatly to a black wire, a red wire, and a white wire. The new cord and plug has a black wire, a red wire, a white wire, and a green wire. There's the rub: the extra green wire. That sounds like a 40s detective novel: The Extra Green Wire, by Marjorie St. Waddlesworth, and in fact it kind of feels like a 40s detective novel. As soon as the back of the stove came off I expected a blowsy blonde in a wrapper (whatever the hell that is, some kind of bathrobe? Or do they mean she was actually wrapped, as in plain brown paper? Kinky.) to sashay in and drop a few clues my way. Unfortunately, she didn't turn up, and I was left alone with The Extra Green Wire, which is attached to the cord & plug I bought at Lowes to replace the one that's on the stove that doesn't fit the outlet that's part of the house that Jack built gerryrigged.

I thought about it. I read the baffling orange warning sticker on the back of the stove, which says something about how, if you're putting the stove in a trailer park, you should ground it differently (No lie. I swear it does.) which gave me food for thought, and I considered that the green wire is almost certainly the ground. I thought about what electricity can do if it isn't grounded - it can, among other things, remove you from the ground rather permanently - and I thought, hell, I can do this. Then I thought again and ordered Chinese.

However, I can't go on much longer like this. So if anyone has any information on where I should put the extra green wire, please let me know.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

These are my kids.

auds miles AMS november
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
My kids rock.

M and a Special Friend

miles and snow white
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
Another pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving gathering up at M's school. It was beautiful, if a little cold, the food was great, the art auction was tremendous fun, poor A had an allergy attack that lasted all day and I didn't buy anything at the auction, which was kind of sad but then ah well. We is poor. We walked around and looked at the chickens and M obligingly caught one for and let us pet her, and, I shamelessly skipped the all parent meeting, yeah me. No school spirit, I know, but honestly I can only take so much.

Now M is home (Snow White stayed up at school) and I've already had to yell Stop torturing your sister right this minute young man! so I'm happy and they're happy too. And we went to see the new Harry Potter, which ROCKED and I even think it may be the best movie I've seen all year, although M says it wasn't all that, at which point I mock him gently for attending Hogwarts his own self.

Which, you know, he really does. That school has worked some magic on my child and I'm eternally grateful. On Friday night I went to the teacher conference and they had only positive, incredibly positive things to say. That's the first time ever. The only thing they complained about was the way M loses everything and my lecture to him afterwards would have been extremely effective in curbing this pernicious behavior had I not ruined it halfway through by realizing that I had lost my car keys.

Yeah M is home. He's giving me a minor noogie right now. Happy mom!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Geek Needed, Apply Within

M is coming home for a whole lovely week starting tomorrow and he wants, not unreasonably, to recover from his enforced hippie lifestyle by eating cheeseburgers and playing Battlefield 1942 Secret Weapons of WWII obsessively all night long. Unfortunately, we have a slight problem with this plan: to wit, we have no stove on which to cook cheeseburgers and the g-d computer has decided it doesn't like BF1942 anymore and crashes it on startup, without fail. Since the original version of this game is long since lost - along with it's handy registration code - in the mists of time and doghair that make up our lives, we can't just reinstall it or even ask EA Games (sterling fellows that they are, uh huh) for help. I spent hours last night trying to get the damn thing to work and hanging out on game forums, which meant I had to run adaware & spybot like three times, mutter mutter, and still it won't work. I think I have to go buy another version, which I really don't want to do. Damn. Any suggestions, oh great geeks of wisdom? He wants to play counterstrike too and I can't get that to work either.

Meanwhile, I left a message for the landlord, which led me to wake up at 8:00 am and feverishly mop the floors, because I realized that what I had done was play the Summon Landlord card, which inevitably ends with him appearing mysteriously in my house at some point in the next 10 days - usually when it is at it's nastiest and most chaotic. He didn't call me back (he won't; he'll just materialize) so I called my other friend who is an electrician manque and HE is going to come over and fix the whole stove thing up on Monday. YEAH! One problem down. So I just have the weekend to get through, which shouldn't be too hard, since I'll be up the mountain in Celo all night tonight & all day & evening tomorrow for Quaker/Hippie thanksgiving.

And on Sunday we will eat pizza.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

More G-D Oven Trouble

Stupid curse - the one that says nothing in my life can be easy, you know that one - is acting up again, of course. As we recall from long ago last summer during the Plague of Rodents, my oven became unusable. So I have staggered along since then with a stovetop, a microwave, and a toaster oven. Not great, but doable, especially during the summer. Finally I asked the landlord for a new range. I'm sure he'll get me one - probably in fall of 2009, since that's how my landlord, who is a nice guy, but a bit distracted, works. Meanwhile, Thanksgiving, and the concomitant annual Felicity's Thanksgiving Dinner for Waifs, Orphans and Strays (email me if you fit these categories & wanna come eat) is next week. I can't cook a turkey in a toaster oven, I don't have a deep fryer, and I lack the necessary masochism to fucking grill the damn thing. So the stove search intensified.

Enter my wonderful friend J, who is completely remodeling her kitchen and in the process installing a gas range. J is a waif, orphan and stray of several years standing and she wants her turkey next week. So she gave me her old electric range. My friend C, owner of the appliance dolly and flatbed pickup truck, came over last night and handily put the old range in the front yard, went to J's, picked up her range, brought it over here and put it in the kitchen. Where we discovered that the plug in the wall is nowhere near the shape of the plug on the stove, being that the plug on the stove has 3 prongs and the outlet in the wall has 4 quite differently shaped receptacles. C said, you have to take the back off the old range and take off the whole tail, take the back off the new range and install that tail, no problem, should be pretty damn self explanatory, see ya later. And he left. I went out into the howling freezing darkness and looked at the back of the old stove with a flashlight and determined that I would much rather do this job by daylight.

Then around 8:30 this morning 2 guys in a pickup came and took the stove out of the front yard; they drove away before I could get out there and freak out. I can understand their motives but it did leave me kind of SOL. So I took pictures of the plug & the receptacle & I went with my mom to Skyland Hardware, which is this really nice old timey hardware store where the clerks, who are all in their mid 70s or so, actually know what they're talking about. They said, "You'd better cook your meals next door!" Unfortunately, they know enough of what they're talking about that they told me, no, you cannot just rewire this outlet, you can't just rewire the stove, the outlet's grounded and the stove is not, this is a complicated job and if you do it wrong you could die. I am adverse to messing with electrical stuff anyway and this scared me.

So here I am now with not only no oven but no range top and this is all, you know, a real goddamn drag. Now I'll have to get an electrician, which will probably cost what a new stove would have cost, or I can try to call my landlord, which always scares me since one of these days he is going to wake up and realize just how below market my rent is, and beg him to send an electrician, which he will promise to do, and which will happen sometime in 2009. I have one friend who does electrical work but he's in Texas right now. And to be honest, I kind of want a serious electrician in here, since the guy at the hardware store was fairly graphic in his description of what could happen should the whole thing be wired wrong: "And then you might grab a pitcher of water and stove'll throw you across the room and you don't want that." No. No, I don't want that.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

What Obsolete Skill Are You?

It 's comforting to say that 'practice makes perfect'....
You are 'Gregg shorthand'. Originally designed to
enable people to write faster, it is also very
useful for writing things which one does not
want other people to read, inasmuch as almost
no one knows shorthand any more.

You know how important it is to do things
efficiently and on time. You also value your
privacy, and (unlike some people) you do not
pretend to be friends with just everyone; that
would be ridiculous. When you do make friends,
you take them seriously, and faithfully keep
what they confide in you to yourself.
Unfortunately, the work which you do (which is
very important, of course) sometimes keeps you
away from social activities, and you are often
lonely. Your problem is that Gregg shorthand
has been obsolete for a long time.

What obsolete skill are you?
brought to you by Quizilla


I've been watching Lost on DVD. I like this TV on DVD thing; I haven't had a real working TV for like 4 years, so watching TV is quite the novelty. DVDs have allowed me to get hooked on TV series like normal people do. Well. Not quite like normal people. First it was Upstairs, Downstairs. That was a gateway drug. I moved on into harder stuff: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. I loved them. I watched both series, all the way through, and now they're done and I'm sad. So I started watching Lost. It's pretty good. I guess. But.

It's just not as realistic as Buffy and Angel. I have no trouble believing that hell is open in California and an entire underworld of demons lives beneath Los Angeles; I always suspected as much anyway. But I can't quite bring myself to believe in a plane full of buff, attractive young people with one token fat person, one token kid, and we won't even go into racial representation here. I've been on planes. Usually I'm the token buff young person, and I'm not that buff, not that young, and not, frankly, that personable. I also can't believe that the plane wouldn't be found, and I don't believe that many Americans are flying back and forth from Australia on various misguided personal quests, and I'm even having trouble believing in the Australian accents during the flashback bits. Also, while there is no shortage of eye candy on Lost, I'm still in love with Spike.

But the thing I really can't believe, the thing that tears Lost for me, is the absence of Gilligan jokes. There is no way, no way on earth, that if I was marooned on that very attractive island (where the cel phone towers and wealthy homes can be spotted, yes, the minute they pull back for a long sunset shot) with those fun loving young people, that I would not be cracking Gilligan jokes from morning until night, and everyone at that party would be right along with me. I know this like I know how to cock my foot exactly right to hold the refrigerator door open when I'm trying to pour some club soda real quick and then put the bottle back: without looking or thinking about it. I just know. And if you think about it, so do you. There is no way, no way in hell, unless these people have been Lost a whole hell of a lot longer than they say (since like 1960) that when Claire lost her memory it wouldn't have occurred to them to bop her on the head with another coconut. It always worked on Gilligan's Island, after all. And they could damn well have written a theme song by now, too.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I Should Have a Really Great

post here for y'all, about the weekend, which was amazing, about old friends and new friends and Asheville and all kind of lovely funny wonderful stuff BUT.

I have a cold. This is blazingly unfair, since I already had a cold this fall and that makes this cold number two (or cold shit, as we like to call it) and that is clearly one too many colds for 2005. In 2004 I only had one (1) cold. It was a doozy, whereas this one is mostly just general malaise, aching, sniffling and etc., but still. I am not exposed to schoolchildren every day anymore and thus should be basically healthy all the time. So I'm mad and also, I'm considering getting the flu shot, since my immune system seems to be a bit down. And I can't think or do anything except sort of stumble around grousing, drinking tea.

Blogging, you know, is not heavy manual labor and you'd think I'd be able to churn out a post on my weekend but I can't. My brain is too thick and heavy and I can't even play video games. Last night I read an Anne Rice book; that's the kind of terrible shape my brain is in right now. I think I'm going to go back to bed with Carl Hiaasen.

However, I do need to make a couple kind of major requests to the universe. Okay, universe, listen up. My unemployment will be OVER, as in GONE, as in NO MORE INCOME, in 2 weeks. Yes, the frickin' week of Thanksgiving and the official start of the shopping season will find Hangover Central with no credit cards and no cash and this ain't good. I need a job, universe, I need a source of income, please please deliver. While we're at it, I need a boyfriend (although not as much as money, such is the state of our sad sad capitalist existence) and if you could drop one of those off as well I'd appreciate it.

In all seriousness, if you who are reading this blog right now have any leads on jobs and/or freelance work or distance stuff, I am fast and accurate on a keyboard and I don't mind putting data into Excel spreadsheets for hours at a time and I'm one hell of an editor. So please keep me in mind - I really need some money. Thanks.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Coolest Girls in the World ~ Memory & Time

felicity linda
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
It is an amazing thing to reunite with your best friend after an absence of years. The nostalgia can hit you like a hammer or a remembered cocktail of wild 80s excesses, or you can just slide into it like a warm bath. Or, and this is best, it makes a foundation like the bottom layer of a cake, a pineapple upside down cake, let's say, with a lot of sweet stuff on the bottom and the top layer light with possibilities, delicious, integral and still great.

Wow. I seem to be in muddled metaphor mode this morning; these things will happen. Anyhow, look at these girls. Believe it or not, they were the most beautiful coolest artsiest intellectual hippest funkiest punkest party girls in Charleston South Carolina in 1986. Even if they themselves didn't know it at the time and were instead filled with post adolescent angst and terrible wonderings about what the world might hold (also they worried a great deal about Reaganomics and nuclear winter and Nicaragua, no lie) and run amok romances and a great deal of mildly self destructive varieties of FUN.

And here they are 19 years later. Just as gorgeous, somewhat less neurotic (well, L is, I hold to my neuroses) and it's all kind of amazingly wonderful. Yeah.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

My House is Clean

I cleaned my whole house up and any minute now one of my closest and oldest friends in the world will be showing up to see it for the first time. Then, we will leave. Now that my house is clean, I don't want anyone in it. I am sitting here crouched at the computer afraid to go anywhere else, myself, lest I leave a footprint or besmirch some immaculate surface. I think I'll have to go live in a motel now or something.

Also, the gourds are drying and soon I will have like 200 gourds to craft into various things. Big fun and excitement! No, not really, but let's pretend we care, shall we? They are cool and I like the way mold makes them patterned and beautiful.

Also, if you get to these links in the next week or so, you can download some winamp files (aacs) of great surf music! W00t! Now you will be happy because you will be listening to awesome surf music even though it is November. Don't say I never did anything for ya. Even though I'm too lazy to go through each link and remember what is what. Jan & Dean are on there, and Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Groove Terminator, and the theme from Endless Summer. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Addiction is ugly. It is a terrible thing to witness in yourself, especially when the substance to which you are addicted is inherently ridiculous. Stop laughing at me! I got 50,360 points just now and that's the best I've ever done even though I have now played the Free Sharpie Mini Bust Out Game approximately 7,439 times in the last week. And still it is not enough to get me on the high score board! My heart, it breaks with sorrow! But soon, I shall receive my free Sharpie Mini in the mail and all will be redeemed. It better come, too, is all I can say. I'm getting carpal tunnel in my left arm now (I'm playing that game left handed, with a left handed mouse, even though I am right handed! Ha! I rock!) and soon I'll be reduced to typing with my nose, which will make it hard to play the Free Sharpie Mini Bust Out Game. Not that I'll stop, or anything. Oh no. I won't stop until I get up on the damn high score board. I think everyone else is cheating. Wish I could figure out how to do it myself.

In other news, my life is now officially so boring that I know that if I light a cigarette (not just any cigarette, an American Spirit Ultra Light (yellow & white, is what you say to the convenience store clerk) which are tightly packed and full of odd tobacco wads, at least one hopes it's tobacco, and thus take a longer time to smoke than all your mass market commercialized non earth friendly cigarettes (so there you marlboro smoking tree cutting polluting endangered species eating prisoner torturing republican goon, I smoke hipper cigarettes than thou, ha ha, I'm going to die of pc cancer!) anyway, if you light this cigarette while leaving Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community (Motto: Keep smoking or end up here!) you will need to put it out at the multiple road intersection where Biltmore Village and Biltmore Forest and Biltmore Estate all merge to form the TGIFridays. This is a stone fact.

New Curtains!

I spent 2 hours today at Target with my mom in her wheelchair, buying the wrong curtains. Yes. Two hours obsessively looking at curtains and then I took them home and hung them up. Whoa. Cue Cream on my mental jukebox, except this was a white room with red curtains which I assure you is much, much more creepy. I also bought a red slipcover for my newish plaid couch, and that, with the red, or once mostly red, but now somewhat grayish in parts oriental rug, and the red curtains - well. The bloodstains wouldn't show much, which is a plus, but all work and no play makes Fliss a dull girl all work and no play makes Fliss a dull girl what? Where was I? Ah yes. I took the Curtains of the Rue Morgue down and returned them to Target. It took hours in the car, since of course I had to get A, and then go up to my Mom's to get the receipt, and on the way there drive around the newest horrible desecration development that the Biltmore Company are building practically on the Blue Ridge Parkway (scream, rant, sob.)

But at last we reached Tar-zhay and exchanged the curtains for some lovely kind of goldish silk type ones, and they look fabulous. It's kind of amazing, you know, I can buy new curtains, and hang them up, and put a slipcover on the couch, and tomorrow morning it will all still be there without even having been slightly shredded or eaten or destroyed altogether, and that's actually a pretty good feeling. So then A and I got all Scarlett O'Hara with the old curtains and draped them around ourselves, and dressed Theo in them, and were generally having fun dancing about in the old curtains when we realized that, due to hardware issues (to hang up new curtains, I apparently need every tool in the house plus the rods from the dining room plus I even had to go down to the spooky basement and get creepy old curtain rods from the ghosts) the lace curtains in the dining room are sitting on the dining room table instead of hanging in the big window, and thus our entire pas de deux had been in effect a show for the neighborhood. I hope they enjoyed it and the men in the white coats are kind when they come.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Catharsis, Meaning & the Purpose of Blogging

I haven't reread what I wrote last night yet but I will. I remember it pretty well actually. No, I'm not actually that miserable, no I'm unlikely to ever seriously contemplate suicide; yes, I do have a poor self image and think I'm a loser, but usually I can keep most of it at bay. Last night some of the evil twin crept out: she has a way of doing that now and then. But that aside, the nature of that post kind of ties into a lot of what I've been thinking about lately, which is this blog and why it's here. Hey celebration? Today makes it exactly one year, 365 days, that this blog has been going. I never thought I could keep something like this alive for this long and I have. And, oddly enough, I'm proud of it. And I don't plan on stopping, either (cue groans of dismay; somebody have a nice beepy .wav file of groans of dismay?) but I am thinking about why I started it, what it's become, whether there's a reason or a rhyme that I'm here almost every day, drunk or sober, happy or sad, ranting or sane.

I started for several reasons, which are, in order of importance:
1. To see if I had the discipline to keep a journal going, for the first time in my life (I've never been able to keep a handwritten journal for long; I have books that I've been writing in for oh, ten years, and they're not full; one or two entries a year, or a bunch at a bad time, you know the drill.)
2. To write regularly, to improve my writing.
3. For catharsis; for an outlet for things I couldn't or wouldn't actually say out loud.
4. To see if I could be consistently relatively funny. People have been telling me I'm funny for years (yeah, maybe they meant the other kind of funny, don't think I don't know that) and I wanted to see if I could in fact be funny to people who don't even know me, which leads to the next goal ~
5. To get an audience, make new friends (including just maybe some single cheerfully tolerant guy with a great sense of humor who likes dogs, trucks and guitars; I need a truck right now actually, damn) and become famous, turn this into a best selling novel which will then become a heartwarming Disney film, netting me many millions. No, wait, that was what I was going to do with the Blind Dog Blog, and we all know how that turned out. Tim Burton might option the screen rights, or David Lynch; it's not Disney material, alas. But I'd be lying if I said friends and fame and fortune wasn't at least part of a motive here at Hangover Central as well.

Over the past year I've gotten a little audience (key word here is little) and I've had to re-examine what I'm doing and change it bit by bit. I've started censoring myself somewhat, because I know a lot of my friends read this thing and I don't want to ever be mean or hurt anyone's feelings. Then I feel angry because I can't be mean and that messes with goal number 3. Then I usually go ahead and hurt their feelings anyway, and then I feel gruesome, so I either delete it or forget it happened. I've thought about starting yet another blog, a blog that would just be straight bitchiness, all anonymous, all the time, but I have never been any good at preserving anonymity and honestly I don't want to. Also, I don't have the energy, for that or for the all drunken ranting miserable catharsis blog either.

But it makes me wonder if I'm doing all this for the right reasons, and whether I should just try to be funny and light all the time. Probably, but I don't think I really can. I don't compartmentalize, you see, I tend to be fairly WYSIWYG, and it's all tied together. Thus: occasional meanness, occasional catharsis shedding of the evil twin misery. Getting cathartic also tends to interfere rather dreadfully with goals number 4 and 5, but it ranks higher than they do, so sometimes it comes out. I guess you kind of have to take the dark with the light; I think that's just who I am.

Some people (especially relatives) get quite horrified by this blog; they think it's awful that I don't hide more. They are probably right. God knows I get embarrassed too. Maybe there's more exhibitionism going on here than I want to admit; maybe catharsis is a nice word for total lunacy, I don't know. But for the most part, I'm pretty happy with it, and I don't intend to start seriously censoring it, and I can't promise to be all funny all the time, but I'll try.

And thank you, whoever you are, for being around and checking it out and reading it occasionally or often and commenting (not enough!) and sending me sweet emails - I really appreciate it and I hope that, for the most part, it has entertained or interested or made you giggle or at least not back away from your computer too often in horrified disgust feeling like you need to bleach your eyeballs.

Now, bring out the noisemakers! Bring out the cake! And comment, damn you, comment! It's been ONE FULL YEAR OF HANGOVER JOURNALS!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Year of Total Failure

So, Jackson is gone. I'm drunk off my ass, for what it's worth - my friend D kindly picked up the shattered pieces of me that were lying around and took them all out for a bazillion PBRs. So I'm drunk, and down one dog. And soon my life will be better, but right now I feel like shit, like a murderer, like Darth Vader with a Catholic school education and the accompanying guilt of doom. I took a dog who trusted me into hell and left him there to die. I suck and deserve to be tortured forevermore.

I'm looking back already on 2005, and on being 42, and I'm realizing that if, as the hippies say, each year has something to tell you, then this year is telling me all about being a failure, and losing. I used to think I was smart, and competent, and I could do anything. Damn funny in retrospect, because this year I lost a stupid job, two actually, and I couldn't take a blind Walker hound and turn him into a dog that anyone could ever live with.

I tried, lord, I tried so hard, both on the jobs and on the dog, and I failed utterly and miserably. So now I know - I can't do shit. Big huge enormous surprise. I'm so smart, supposedly, and so together, supposedly, and so all these other things - but I can't keep a job, a dog, or, god forbid, a man. And I can't even contemplate suicide because I have too many people to take care of, which seems unfair, somehow.

Monday, November 07, 2005

this is an audio post - click to play

I'm A Murderer

I did it. I took Jackson to the Humane Society and I'm crying and I feel like I'm going to throw up, I feel like a murderer, and, to top things off, somehow or other my blind dog blog has gotten some press and I have two emails from two people who also have crazy blind hounds and they're telling me to hang in there. I needed those today, when it's too late, and I feel like total and utter shit.

I'm sorry. I'm sorry it had to come to this. I'm sorry that the breeder who produced that dog wasn't responsible enough to put the puppy down. I'm sorry that Jackson was an untrainable, impossible dog who almost certainly had brain damage. I tried and tried and tried and I just couldn't take it anymore.

I've had dogs my whole life and I've never encountered anything remotely like this. I suck. I am an evil, evil, worthless human being. There. That's all I have to say.

It's 3:00 in the afternoon and I'm going to go get drunk now.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

This is the Sound of the Last Straw

I mean it this time. I know I've said it before and not followed through, but this is really, really it. The dog goes. I really can't take it anymore. I spent 2 hours cleaning the living room and he went in there, found the few magazines that he hadn't already shredded and proceeded to shred them all over the rug. Then he went after my albums and then, he peed on the rug and the magazines. Just brazenly, just peeing because why the hell not? For the last two days he's been obsessed with a laundry basket - shredding it, chasing it all over the house, howling every 20 seconds or so. I'm sorry. I know this is evil. I know I suck. I know I'm going to dread getting on the computer and seeing the many pictures and the amusing anecdotes and all the Jackson-centric material but I simply can no longer live like this.

I have done everything humanly possible including spending tons of money I don't have, that I might have spent on food, or oil to heat the house, or a class at AB Tech to get me to a point where I could actually find a job, or a Christmas present for my son. I took him to obedience classes, I was kind, I was good, I read books, I tried desperately to train him, I fed him well, I walked him, I took him for hikes in the woods, I got him his shots, I loved him, I did everything that I could do and far, far more than most people ever would have done. None of it was enough and you know what? It isn't me. It's this fucking dog. He is not trainable; he can't be a house dog and I can't see keeping him in the yard on a chain 24/7. And yeah, he's an endless source of amusing anecdotes, but lately there's a core of desperation to the anecdotes and when even my PETA member vegan friend watches him for a few hours and says, you know, you really should just shoot him in the head, he's mentally ill - well, okay. I give up. It's over.

And my life will be about 10,000 times better when he's gone. But it's going to be a rough few days of misery and guilt first.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

My Lame Generation

I went over to my mom's today, of course, as I do almost every day. She's getting around more and more - she has the walker, but she isn't using it all the time, and she's hardly using the wheelchair at all. Of course, a fractured pelvis can't slow my mother down for long. Nothing short of total paralysis could do that, and I think even then she'd be writing extensive, complex and organized lists of chores for me with a pencil in her mouth.

I got there and discovered that, since she gets tired of waiting for me to show up (my mother's most productive hours are between 5 and 10 a.m. whereas on a good day I am having my second cup of coffee at 10 a.m.) she had already gone outside, moved all the hoses around to water, moved all her houseplants around, and, somehow carrying dishpans full of water on her walker, had thoroughly watered them all. Now, she wanted me to use the leaf blower, which she had brought out from the garage on a rolling cart, to clean off the deck, because, god, there were at least 10 or so fallen leaves on it! Then she wanted me to vacuum the rest of the dirt out of a big ceramic pot - I had pulled a flowering tree out of it the day before. I've never vacuumed a flowerpot before - it kind of never occurred to me - I mean, you keep dirt in them, right? Right?

Then it was time to water the lower garden, which I had to do with her shouted instructions from the kitchen window. Two days ago she dragged a stepladder into her room at 6 a.m. and reorganized her closet. My mother's house is immaculate, and when I say immaculate, I mean her garage floor is cleaner than some of my dishes. You could literally eat a meal off any surface in my mother's house and the worst that might happen to you is a slight bleach overdose, or the friendly bacteria in your system would flee in fear. My mother does not tolerate germs or disorganization or uncleanliness in any form. She irons her sheets. Every morning she gets up at 5:00 and puts on a classic LL Bean type outfit and goes to work on the house. I have a sinking feeling that most of the women of her generation are the same.

There are whole days, even with a perfectly healthy (if underused, damn celibacy) pelvis, when I do nothing but lounge around on the computer or even stay in bed, reading one science fiction novel after another. My house generally looks like a bomb went off in it quite recently, and I have never reorganized my linen closet - I just keep shoving stuff in there. There are Pokemon pillow cases in there that qualify as collector's items, but they're buried. My towels don't match. I got my dishes at Goodwill. Most of my friends are somewhat similar, although I do have a few neatnik buddies. Even they have a hidden disorganized closet or drawer or room, though. I'm beginning to think it's generational. Maybe the Secret Council of Sloth and Mess put subliminal messages out on Saturday morning TV in the 70s, telling us to just give up, we could never do it like Mom did. It's discouraging. I think I'll go eat more Halloween candy and take a short nap now.

Friday, November 04, 2005

My Blog is Worth

My blog is worth $1,693.62.
How much is your blog worth?

Want to buy it? $1600 flat, honey! Cheap! Any takers? Any takers?

So I Met This Guy

I was walking the dogs up at Bent Creek, and I was smart enough to put Theo's leash on before I got to the road. Good thing, because the forest cops, or rangers, or whoever they are, were there inspecting this guy's tackle box. I walked on past, nodded, said hey to the cops, and then the guy caught up with me and became all chatty. He even said, "Come here often?" Yeah, I'm out in the fucking woods and somebody asks if I come there often. But he wasn't too terrible; no, he was a nice guy - a nice guy in the sense that he probably wasn't a serial killer. Probably. Ah yes. I can talk to some guys - guys who are about 22, short, with blonde hair and goatees, Confederate flag T-shirts, accents you could cut bread with and a wealth of stories about coonhounds. This guy's friend had a coonhound; she wouldn't tree no coon, so they caught a coon in a live trap and threw it on the dog's head. After that she sure as hell treed some coons! And deer season opens on the 21st, he'll be out there.

Why, oh lord, why me? There is the undeniable beauty of Jackson, who I know attracts every redneck loon in a three state area, but, still, why me? And why was it possible for me to happily chat with this guy - I did manage not to give out my name, phone number, or anything of that sort, thank the gods - but we did have a conversation. If a guy who actually might be of interest to me - say, over 32, taller, no Confederate T-shirt and no stories about torturing raccoons - talks to me I become silent and confused. Of course there is the fact that guys like that never talk to me - there is that. Ah well. He was nice enough anyway. And I don't have anything against hunting, or the Confederate States of America, if it comes to that. I just don't think he was exactly date material. Although you have to love the opening line.

bent creek fall theo

bent creek fall theo
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
I took the dogs on a long hike today up at Bent Creek. I've been meaning to do it for days - okay, this incredible weather has lasted for two unreal months now, but that doesn't mean it will be here forever. I'm so glad I got out there - the leaves are spectacular, which is odd since it's November 4, but who cares. It was gorgeous and there was hardly anyone else out there, and, mirabile dictu, Jackson was good in the car.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Comic Strip

Stolen brazenly from Chickenhead, where I hope you will go to enjoy more fantastic comics and such wonders as the Jerry Garcia Autopsy which defies description in it's complete wonderfulness, as well as much, much more.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Electro Shock Therapy

Well, I've crossed the threshold from casual animal abuse (breakfast was an hour late the other morning; on Saturday the dogs didn't even get walked once) into the serious, professional kind. Yesterday we got a bark collar: those lovely things that stick two prongs into your dogs neck and shock him when he barks. Immediately after A went to get the bark collar, UPS showed up with the scat mats: thin plastic electrified mats that shock you and/or your dog when touched. I set all these scary things on the lowest possible setting (quaintly, for the scat mat, that setting is referred to as "Kitten") and can attest to the fact that they hurt. Although it's hard to get the collar to work - even when you strap it around your thigh and hold your leg up by your head and bark at it hard. So now we have technological firepower. It's working very well, as is evident from the fact that this morning I came into the living room to find Jackson sitting up on one arm of the couch, barking at the scat mat on the couch proper, while his collar, which had fallen off, languished by the fireplace.

There are several problems with the bark collar. The first and most obvious one is that A and I are softhearted wimps and feel bad about putting it on Jackson. Note, however, that when he started barking up the chimney this morning at 6:45 I was able to put it on him with no moral qualms whatsoever and in fact did it without my glasses on. Unfortunately, there's another, real problem: Theo barking sets it off. This was not entirely unforeseen but proves to be worse in every way than I thought it would. Theo doesn't get stuck barking the way Jackson does, but if any animal comes near the house and he notices it, he barks for a long time. Meanwhile, Jackson next to him is freaking out in undeserved pain. That's pretty bad. It is, in fact, really bad. It's the kind of thing that sends me into an emotional, moral and even physical tailspin. So I rush to take off the collar and I feel horribly guilty and I give Jackson some cheese, which doesn't really assuage my guilt, but does sort of.

Interestingly enough, the collar has proven that Jackson is not stupid. He had one on him when I found him 6 months ago. I got rid of it immediately (well, actually, I just took it off him and M promptly sold gave it to a friend of his since shock collars are one of those things that 14 year old boys like, best not to ask) but Jackson very clearly remembers it. He shuts up when it goes on and looks at us with horror. More guilt. A is all upset. So am I - but then I'm also upset about trying to clean an inch and a half of soot off every fucking surface in the living room because of that insane, obsessive-compulsive dog. I'm wondering now if there are drugs I can give him - and also thinking, whoa, I am really a child of 21st century America. Faced with a problem? Try technology! Not satisfactory? Try medication! Yeah.

Jackson Loves M

Unfortunately, M does not return this love. Jackson likes to sit on M's head when M is lying on the couch. M is not keen on this sign of affection. Jackson will even let M pick him up - if A or I tried to pick Jackson up, he'd take our arms off. But Jackson gets all soft when M is around. He even let him take some bacon away from him the other day without much more than a token snarl and lunge. M says he'll shoot him. Jackson says, I love you boy, and I will be your dog forever. I know how Jackson feels. It's unsettlingly like my love life, or lack thereof.

Lamest Halloween Ever

Well, what do you expect when you have Halloween on a Monday? It kind of bit. M's friends came over and we all carved pumpkins in the front yard, which was nice, and then they went off to go trick or treating in West Asheville. Or so I was led to believe. A came home, and carved a pumpkin, and we killed the $5 wine that I had bought and poured a cup of into the pot roast. Then we waited for trick or treaters. And waited. And waited some more. I put on the world's lamest costume, which consisted of my blue wig, some mardi gras beads and the coolest most awful shirt in the world, which I happen to own. It's an orange and black narrowly striped super polyester short sleeved button down which warps around as you wear it, in a way that is guaranteed to flip out TV monitors everywhere and make normal mortals rub their eyes and blink. I usually wear it bowling.

We waited some more for trick or treaters. The little girl from across the street came by; we gave her 6 or 7 candy bars. A car full of trick or treaters came by, we gave them a lot of candy too. A tried on all her old prom dresses. I whined about the dog, who has spread about 2" of ash over every surface in the house and was in his third day of baying up the chimney every 4 seconds. M called - from Kimberly, which is the rich neighborhood where everyone goes trick or treating. Grrrrr. He had gotten a ride down there with a friend's mom and had promised that I would then drive the friend home. Grrrrrrrrrrr. More trick or treaters showed up, and either they, or some ghost trick or treaters we didn't even see and the dogs didn't bark at, stole all the candy off the front porch. M's friend P, who I had agreed to drive back up to school, showed up, and then we all went in search of M. And I took off the blue wig, which was uncomfortable, and put on my church lady hat. And my coat, because it was cold by then.

Kimberly is really something on Halloween. I'd never been down there before, but damn, those people take it seriously. We finally located M, and his friend G, who we had to, of course, drive back to West Asheville, and then we returned M and P and about a metric ton of candy to school. I've been waiting all day for a furious phone call from the school (they're not allowed to have candy) but so far, no comment, thank the gods.

And then we drove back home and crashed. Most boring Halloween ever. Sigh.