Friday, October 31, 2008

Closest Thing I Have to a Religious Holiday

Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
It's Halloween, my favorite day of the year and I'm all giddy, which might be from the Halloween-ness of it all or maybe just the four cups of coffee I had this morning. I woke up late - that is to say, I woke up early and thought, ah, I have lots of time and so went back to sleep, than woke up panicked 45 minutes later and had to scurry even though my head was still all fuzzy and not really there.

Last night I tried to get ready for the party but it's difficult when everything is still so chaotic from the move. I cleaned the kitchen up as best I could and then of course young M and some of his friends staged a midnight raid and all my work was undone. I also bought some tiny pumpkins in the mad theory that I would carve them all quick and stuff because they are small. Wrong. I am not Martha Stewart and I think the fact that I actually drew a lame little face on one of them with a sharpie was doing pretty damn well. I mean. Anyway, I had visitors: first, my brother, who stopped by to tell me that the ham he got me at the Amish farm might be poisoned.
"The honey I got at the same time is inedible," he said darkly.
"Inedible honey?" I said, "Isn't that impossible?"
"Think about it," he said, "Do you ever hear of great Amish cuisine? Do people go out for Amish food? Does Rachel Ray ever host great Amish chefs? They eat that food because they don't know any better."
"Well, it's a Halloween party," I said practically, "and I already got the cute little rolls. I'll tell people that the ham might be deadly and then they can eat at their own risk."
So, you know, if the headline tomorrow is Deadly Halloween Ham Strikes, well, there you have it. And then C came over for a while, which was nice and he's going to show me how to buy drugs from Canada over the internet, which will come in very handy.

This morning as I was trying to fly out the door (dressed in black and orange and I even dug out my Halloween earrings and charm bracelets) to my annual Big Heaps O'Fun Gynecological Exam, the boiler guy came. He was Russian. They're always Russian, lately. I suppose that makes sense - what with Russia being so cold and post Soviet and all, every other person there must be a furnace/boiler engineer. (I learned my foreign policy from the You Betcha School of Wasilla, AK)
"See, is working," he said impatiently. "Valve turned off. Was propane problem."
"No, no," I pleaded, "It worked for 40 minutes last time too. Please stick around."
"Will see," he said, and looked at my heaters. "Hot water, copper, very good, work better than cast iron. But propane too expensive, put in heat pump."
"Yes," I said, eventually, but now I have to flee, and I left him with the QOB and young M, hoping devoutly that somebody could figure out how to write him a check. Apparently he did stick around and the temperature gauge on the boiler was the problem and it is, supposedly, fixed, to the tune of 150 rubles. Mutter mutter joys of homeownership when you don't actually even own it and last night there was a foreclosure notice on the door and I had to call the lawyer this morning etc., etc.

I got to the gyno's office 15 minutes late, which mattered not at all, and discovered that the entire office staff was in full costume. That was kind of amusing, particularly the witch doctor, although I had to stop myself from asking the extremely faux-tan receptionist if she was supposed to be an Oompa Loompa. My actual gyno, though, was just dressed normally and I still haven't decided if I am happy or sad about that. I mean, there are only a very few circumstances in life where you get to have somebody in full costume - like, what if she was dressed like Frankenstein or something? Or, god forbid, a political costume? Eeeee! - probing about in your nether bits and it would have been something to write about. On the other hand, I think I'd just as soon leave that experience for a perhaps less clinical hypothetical future. Or not at all.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

And Here We Are

Here is the very first picture of the front of my new house, beautifully decorated as it is for, well, every day plus a little bit of Halloween stuff which will probably stay out there until Christmas anyway. That's just the Halloween stuff that never got fully put away from last year in the old house and snuck into the general boxes, along with the one scary skull plus many legs thing that I bought at Big Lots when I was supposed to be buying slipcovers that I would never use. I had this insane idea that I was going to decorate the house for Halloween but considering that I'm still kind of unpacking the toothbrushes I now don't think this is going to happen. Unless the QOB and C, her helper, get motivated - I pointed them at the box in the garage that says Halloween on it but I have a sinking feeling that that box might just possibly contain Christmas stuff and what they really need is the box that says Christmas, which could be pretty much anywhere on earth. Probably in the garage but possibly, you know, in Sri Lanka or somewhere.

The QOB is already all motivated about Halloween anyway because Halloween means candy and the QOB is all about the candy. If she had any teeth left they'd be leaving her but as it is, well, I guess it's okay, although even I had to take the bag of mini chocolate bars away from her the other day.
"You'll get a stomach ache," I explained and then, the next morning she came upstairs and said, "I don't have a stomachache and I ate all that candy!"
"That's because I took the bag away from you just in time." I said,
She was crestfallen but could not argue - it's a good thing I've already raised - or, well sort of raised in a sort of feral environment, I guess, judging by how young M turned out - two kids because the QOB cannot run rings around me logically. Young M, who is at that delightful and charming age where he is incensed by hypocrisy and compelled to point out every single incidence of it he encounters in the adult world (which is, go figure, a lot) can totally run those rings around me. It's not difficult for him, since among other things, I'll say almost anything to make him stop commenting on hypocrisy, particularly my own. Hell, there are times, as when I am attempting to be supportive of his sister by agreeing that so and so is an asshole, at which point young M cheerily remarks that this statement is judgmental and unjust and that what I should say is that I don't know the person in question very well but that I have heard that s/he is an asshole or else I am being hypocritical when I would pretty much gnaw off my own arms to escape but I guess, oh god, that no, I wouldn't actually do that and therefore that is a hypocritical statement full of hyperbole which is just so typical of adults and pretty much exactly what is wrong with the whole world today.

In other news I actually got up and took the dogs to the park this morning for the first time since we moved. It was cold as hell but invigorating. Yes, invigorating and it turns out that I can get the space heaters to work in the living room as long as every other single thing in there is turned off. Tomorrow somebody is coming to please, please, oh please, fix the boiler and we'll have, maybe, real heat. Or a lot of propane to sell off by the vial or something.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Heat Redux

After copious - big. Lots. Humongo. Tons. - amounts of money were given to Suburban Propane, they came over and showed us how to light the pilot on the furnace. Joy!

Short lived joy because about half an hour later, there were two small explosions, a cloud of steam, a puddle of water on the floor and the boiler quit completely. Now again there is no heat and we had really only just gotten to the burning dust smell part of the heating process. Joys of homeownership my arse, and I'm out half a month's salary worth of propane unless I can get this damn thing fixed. Meanwhile, fuck it, I'm going to Mall Wart to buy a couple more space heaters and then I'm going to take young M to eat sushi and I'm going to drink a great big enormous goddamn martini and then I'm going to come home, read Anathem, pretend that I understand the physics/philosophy therein and remind myself that all this, even if it's not just happening in one in a series of infinite and ever changing universes, is but a small bump on a long and ultimately worthwhile road. Yeah. Uh huh.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Yeah, the Heat Thing

I spoke too soon when I waxed enthusiastic about how warm it is in this house. I mean, it's still warmer without heat than my last two houses were with heat, given my parsimonious habits and limited purse, but still: there's no actual heat and it snowed today. There's a furnace, or, actually, a boiler, and a giant and intimidating propane tank out in the yard near the orange barrel of used oil which has already caused a small contretemps with me and one of my neighbors (it's not like it's my barrel and honestly, calling the sanitation police on your brand spanking new neighbor because of a barrel that's been there for about two years is a bit, um, not welcoming) that says there is propane in the tank. The nice lady at Suburban Propane is going to get me some more propane, too, just as soon as I give her vast fistfuls of cash and all this would be well and good except that when you turn the furnace on, which you do, as I discovered this evening, via an innocuous looking light switch, nothing goes vrooomf or burble or in any other way makes an encouraging noise or creates any kind of heat. It just rumbles and nothing in the place where there should be fire catches fire. There's no smell of gas and everything rumbles - but even an hour later, there is no fire and no heat and no burbling in the pipes or the many, many beat ass baseboard heater thingies that one would assume are heat sources. This would seem to me to mean that there is a pilot that is not lit, except for the lack of gas smell, but I cannot find this pilot.

When the housing inspector inspected the furnace last summer I was right there - right there as he threw a match at it and caught his eyebrows on fire and then he told me enthusiastically that that meant it worked. I could try this method but I like my eyebrows and as one of A's friend's boyfriends said (I roped him into inspecting the damn boiler tonight on the grounds that he has a penis and this might give him mystical boiler fixing abilities) just throwing fire at a propane boiler seems like a bad idea. So I'm not going to emulate the housing inspector although, shit, I'd like to have heat, here.

I called several of my male friends (feminism fails me sometimes, particularly when my pre-feminist aunt stands there and says "Call a man! A man will know what to do!") in hopes that they could remotely fix the boiler but alas, they also were reluctant to blow up my house. I'm right there with that - I don't want to blow up the house and the boiler, which is situated conveniently in the QOB's palatial basement apartment in a sort of plywood closet with a pair of jeans stuffed into a large round hole for, one guesses, either insulation or possibly as an aesthetic statement, does not inspire confidence. It also has a garden hose attached to one of its many pipes (somehow I doubt that's standard issue) and I'm starting to suspect that my singed eyebrow housing inspectors were not, as the vernacular would have it, all that. They missed the leaking pipes, too, and the toilets that do not cease to run. Ah well.

When I went to see the psychic a month or so ago he told me not to despair about my eternally dateless and single status, that soon there would be men coming out of the woodwork. Unfortunately, he was a very literal psychic: there have indeed been men coming out of the woodwork. Unfortunately, I have to pay them all and rather than make sweet love, all they want to do is make holes in the drywall and mutter about toilets.

I love my new house but it was built, you know, by hippies. Or gypsies. Or crazed carpenters or possibly hyperintelligent beavers who were really into wood and speakers but not so much about cabinets, heat or useful things like that. That would be why the dishwasher door scrapes against the wall when you open and close it and you have to hook it up to the sink to make it work and then you have to hang the blender lid over the faucet so it doesn't soak the kitchen and then you have to sit there with it as it washes the dishes so you can turn the water off when the drying cycle comes. It's just like Hazel, actually: it wants some conversation and possibly a shot of bourbon while it washes dishes and who can blame it? We're all just getting to know each other.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Return to What Passes for Normality Around Here

We're in the new house. The old house is immaculately clean (there's a giant huge enormous neighbor-infuriating pile of trash in front of it, but the house is clean) and empty and we will not be returning there. The tchotchkes are mostly unpacked and are filling pretty much every available surface in the living room. There's a small disco ball in the kitchen window that's sending round balls of light all over the house, much to the puzzlement of Django and Pebble is having big fun with the mirror that's propped up in the hallway waiting for me to decide where to put it.

So we're all back to normal, as was extremely evident on Friday morning, when young M and I both woke up on time, bathed, ate breakfast and were pleasant and kind to one another. The animals got fed with no mishaps; young M was duly delinted (he worries about cat hair, he does) and we left the house in plenty of time. It was all just like a TV show and not at all like our normal mornings which is why I shouldn't have been surprised at all when we got to school with ten minutes to spare only to find that the parking lots were empty and there was a general air of desertedness about the place. "Oh shit!" exclaimed young M, "I forgot there was no school today!"


Still, I'm loving my house, I must say. It is warm. Readers, it is warm. Sunny and insulated and the heat has not yet even kicked on but it's still around 70 degrees inside. I can't believe it. I feel like Scarlett O'Hara or something: I'm not going to be cold in the winter again. I can sit here and type without my hands getting numb and I'm not even going to have to wear a coat all day and six layers of contrasting plaid flannel to bed each night. It is a miracle.

So I'm having a party on Halloween. A costume Halloween/Housewarming party and if you want to come, shoot me an email and I'll send you directions. I am firmly saying that I want no presents because, sheesh, I have waaaaay too much stuff in this house already, so please gods, no more stuff. Bring beer only. Beer is always good and so are crunchy salty things and actually if you don't even feel like bringing those you can come empty handed and possibly, if I get organized enough, there will be a costume contest and the winners will get to walk away with some excess tchotchkes.

Yay. The end is in sight and for once it might not be the end as in all desolation, doom, despair and scorched earth black leather and studs (as attractive as that scenario is) but actually more the end of the hellishness of it all and a small return to what we consider normal around here, which is to say black leather and studs. Yahoo.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wow. . .

It's been quite a week. Every muscle in my body aches; I have bandaids on my fingers and I may have done some permanent damage to my poor back, which has started buzzing intermittently. I haven't had internet since last Saturday and I won't have it again until Monday but despite the deluge of waiting emails in my inbox from Barack Obama, Joe Biden and pretty much everyone in their families and campaign staffs, the election apparently is proceeding apace without me. The dogs have adjusted to their new digs, more or less, and have only gotten out of the gate once. Young M has created a groovy pad full of boys playing video games in what I had fondly thought would be a family room (meaning I could watch movies and knit in there without being ambushed by laser gun wielding aliens and stray McDonalds bags, oh well) and the QOB's room has somehow become the nicest place in the house. I've spent buckets of money that I can't even think about or I'll become catatonic on movers and there are big gaping holes in the drywall where first my friend C and his friend M and then eventually a totally sweet hungover plumber went searching for the cause of the ongoing puddle in the aforementioned "family" room. That leak is at least temporarily mended, though and all the plumbing works, which means that hopefully the QOB won't go wandering loose around the yard in the middle of the night again looking for a place to pee.

My mother's house is completely empty and handed back over to the retirement community from whence it came. That was tough and I cried a bit while I cut some of the last cosmos and daisies to take home. My old house needs about two or three more hours of trashing out, mostly the yard and garage, and then it too is gone, gone, goodbye.

However. Let us get to the angry part of our post. Two Men and a Truck are the worst moving company in the history of the world. They are nasty, rude, uncooperative liars. They showed up at my house last Saturday and refused to move my stuff on the grounds that, get this, my stuff was too dirty to move and might well be a health hazard from which their truck would never recover. They were particularly alarmed by the state of my old futon, which has, yes, water stains on it from being under a window. Ooooh, water stained canvas. They said my house smelled, which actually it did, since the cat had chosen the moment before their arrival to take a horrific shit in the litter box which was not, alas, completely clean yet since I was shamefully and, I would think, sensibly planning to clean it out just before it went into my car along with the cat in her carrier and the dogs for their move to the new house. But they are delicate flowers, these movers, and the combination of the smell of cat shit, the water stains and the dust on my boxes in the garage proved too much for them.

So all my planning fell by the wayside though because Two Men and a Truck, who are assholes, shitheads, evil, sucky and horrific, refused to do my move. Two Men and a Truck SUCK. Let me also point out that I had arranged the initial move, the one that fell through, weeks in advance and then got a phone call from them asking me to change my moving date since they were overscheduled and offering me nothing in the form of compensation for that, which I thought was weird as hell and they were not polite about it either. And, I would also like to mention that the movers on the day of my move slipped up and admitted to me that they did have another job that day even though I had told them it was going to be an eight or nine hour move.

Since I had no choice, I sent the moving company from hell on over to my mother's house to move her stuff, knowing that they could not possibly, in a thousand years, say that it was dirty. My mother was the cleanest person on the planet and her influence has lingered on. But guess what? Two Men and a Truck worry about their precious truck: they didn't want to take any used boxes because, I guess, liquor store boxes might be infested with dangerous drunken bugs which could escape into the truck. They also do not move plants, although I had specifically told them when I called that there were a lot of large and heavy plants to be moved. We moved all the fucking plants ourselves. We moved a LOT of things ourselves because Two Men and a Truck left the couch upside down on the wrong side of the house and then claimed it wouldn't fit through the door, which it did, just fine. They left everything they touched in chaos.

At any rate, I put out a desperate call for help and was rewarded by my amazing friends and members of the BlogAsheville community who totally rescued my Saturday. Then, I went to Craigslist where I found this posting and that turns out to be two fabulous, efficient, sweet guys named Randy and Jeff who I recommend wholeheartedly and without reservation for all your moving needs. They're so great that I called and had them come back on Wednesday so we could finish all the moving from my mothers house that the evil moving company from had screwed up and also move stuff (left in the wrong places by guess who) out of the garage and back into the garage and upstairs and downstairs and jesus, in my lady's chamber. It's been insane.

However, though, the end is in sight and I think there might be a light at the end of the tunnel and I'm even starting to think there's a vague possibility that that light is not, in fact, an oncoming train. Knock on wood. Knock twice, hard.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Moving Tomorrow

I'm moving tomorrow, y'all. I can't quite believe it myself but I spent several hours today over at the new house, where, sadly, someone has stolen some cool stuff out of the yard, specifically, that iron birdcage fireholder whatever it was and the tiki umbrella of which I was so fond. Fuckers. Also, there was raccoon or possibly bear shit on the porch. Their shit, as you may know, looks alike.
"How do you know stuff like that?" asked my brother.
"West by god Virginia," I said, "Taught me something."
Whichever it was, I used a long pole with a paint roller on it that I found in the yard to scrape it off the porch. While I was at it I scraped off the dog shit on the roof that has been there since the last people, whoever they were, the crazy Martian people who painted everything blue and put their large dog on the roof to shit, left. Anywhere you move it always turns out that the last people were crazy Martians who put all their picture hooks in the most bizarre places. This house more than most, too, although they did leave me a lovely painting of a ship with the rigging all done in thread strung from nails. Very artistic.

Anyway I ripped up the carpet in the living room today even though I'm not supposed to. I don't care and besides, I'm running on adrenaline and I did it all myself in like two hours. I am mighty. I am not, however, mighty enough to chase raccoons or whatever it was that chewed up the carpet in the linen closet, so I brought the dogs over to chase away any critters. Naturally they just bounced and panted a lot and wondered what we were doing there. My dogs are cute but useless.

And there's still that funky smell in the house and I don't know how to get it out and oh god, oh god, I'm moving and everything is disastrously confused and messy and my back hurts and tomorrow at 9 the movers will be here and young M has not even begun to pack his room and oh, god, oh, god - I threw away an American flag, too, the one that's been sitting on top of the fridge since the last time I moved. Do you think I'll go to patriotic hell?

Anyway. No internet for some unspecified period of time now. Have fun, y'all. I will be moving. Did I say oh god, oh god yet? Oh god.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fungus Among Us

blue eyes
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
This morning I took the dogs to the river. They were grateful, because I didn't take them yesterday since I had this weird 24 hour low fever. When it started at 3 in the morning I thought it was yet another hot flash and night sweat kind of thing of the sort with which I have become in recent months so intimately and lamentably familiar. Therefore I ignored it except for the usual things that I do which include grabbing an old t-shirt (I would grab a towel if I didn't have a teenage son, but since I do, all towels are in his room crumpled on the floor) and swabbing off a bit and grumbling at the dogs that it's three o clock in the fucking morning and not actual morning so give it up and moving away from the really hot part of the bed and then lying there wishing I could just levitate and let cool winds flow over me and wondering if I went out and laid in the wet cold grass if it would work and also wondering if it would be possible to harness and sell this heat somehow and then drifting bit by bit off to sleep again. The usual, as I said. The difference was that I woke up four hours later and it hadn't gone away and so I didn't walk the dogs. Then I went to work for a while but eventually gave it up and so on: a Monday gone a bit wrong, altogether.

My friend S points out that I had deep fried jalapeno slices for dinner and she blames them. And she may be right, because I was totally fine by three o' clock this morning after sleeping for hours and hours and also, before the sleep, watching Iron Man, which I thought pretty much sucked but young M thought was raw. Anyway. That's not what this post is about. This post is about fungus.

This morning I was fine and on the way back from my walk along the river I noticed that a giant tree ear fungus I'd been watching on a stump by the parking lot had been broken off. I have a fondness for tree ears, particularly since I saw one at a small wonderful show at the Walters that had been drawn on and then dried by one of those Victorian multi talented young gentleman types. It was all immaculate and beautiful and also the drawing, which was architectural and precise, was perfectly preserved. So I have always wanted, myself, a perfectly dried tree ear to have in my very own Victorian curio cabinet although I've tried to draw on them and gotten nowhere. Also, previous attempts to grab one have failed, mostly because my family, acquainted with my magpie habits, throw them away as disgusting.

Nowadays, though, I really only have young M around and he has no room to speak of disgusting habits, being as how all the towels in the house are on his floor, so I picked up the tree ear and put it on the dashboard of the car, thinking that it would dry nicely in the sun at my work parking lot. Young M shied away a bit when he got in the car and saw the giant brown mushroom covering the dashboard but he recovered nicely and I dropped him off at school (only 10 minutes late, which is doing really quite well for us lately) and went to work. Then I finished work and went back out to get into my car.

Well. Tree ears do not, contrary to what you might have heard, dry perfectly on the dashboards of old cars in sunny parking lots. No. They do not really dry. They kind of - melt. And the smell? The smell is indescribable. The smell carried throughout the parking lot, so that as I went over to my car I was wondering what the hell that terrible smell was. It's always a sinking moment when you realize that the smell, the smell which is making tourists turn their heads and look concerned, the strange, peculiar, extremely not good smell that is beginning to resonate throughout downtown, is coming from your very own car. I wanted the tree ear to be okay, so I tried blaming it on this terrible ancient sausage biscuit that I'd inadvertently found between the seats early that morning but I think actually the dogs ate that, so there was no escaping it. It was the mushroom.

I got reluctantly into the car, eying the giant drooping half melted mushroom falling over the dashboard and, after the obligatory silent holy shit shrieking, rolled all the windows down and drove with my head out the window. I figure I'm probably pretty much dying because of all the, you know, spores that I was inhaling which, at the very least, are no doubt going to turn me momentarily into a freaky, terrible mushroom person. The smell was so bad that I left the car windows open when I parked the car on lower Lexington by Broadways where I went to drink some beer and try not to mutate too fast. I mean. You don't leave your windows rolled all the way down on lower Lexington. Someone might try to steal all your empty vitamin water bottles, god forbid.

Anyway, eventually I had to leave Broadways and I drove all the way home with my head out the window because two hours of open windows had barely made a dent in the mushroom funk. Then I gingerly took the fungus monster out of the car and placed it reverently on top of the chainsaw bear in my front yard, where it looks like a sort of jaunty beret from hell and there, I think, it shall remain. And therefore, be careful of the mushrooms you bring home.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

mountains and cloud shadows

I actually got out today and it was good for me, I think. C & I and the dogs hiked up to the lookout on Spivey Mountain, which was truly awesome and looked like this. It felt good and the dogs were overjoyed: it's been way too long since we've done any hiking worthy of the name, because that dawn trek by the river every morning doesn't really count, no matter how many ghostly Japanese scroll herons are standing in the water. Lately in the morning I'm too busy worrying about my life and stuff to even notice anything anyway; I'm not sure I'd believe I'd even been to the river if it wasn't for the eye opening smell of wet Django in the car on the way back. There's something about soaking wet spaniels that makes the car windows fog over immediately, too.

Anyway, C & I hiked and then I came back and drove over to South Asheville and picked up the QOB and took her for a long scenic drive up the parkway to Craggy Gardens. I had planned to go all the way up to Mt. Mitchell but alas, the parkway's still closed up there. Oh well. She didn't get out of the car much but we enjoyed it and I took some pictures like this one of mountains starting to turn all orange and red and clouds looking like some kind of funky toys in the sky. It was totally gorgeous up there and I told, yet again, my story of Wilbur the pig at the Craggy Gardens picnic area.

That was the day I came down the trail with Theo and looked across the parking lot and thought to myself my GOD, that is the ugliest dog I have ever seen. Then I looked a little more closely and I thought my GOD, that's a baby rhinoceros! They have a baby rhinoceros at Craggy Gardens! Then I looked more closely yet and realized that it was not, alas, a rhinoceros but in fact a pig. On a leash. A gigantic, 400 or so pound pig on a leash in the parking lot. Well. So, naturally, I put Theo in the car before he saw the pig and went literally barking mad and sauntered over there and struck up a conversation with the very nice couple who were walking this pig. His name, I learned, was Wilbur and he loved to go for walks, but he always tried to root around in the dirt on the trail, which made him dirty, which in turn meant he had to have a bath before he went back in the living room.

Well, yes, of course. I too bathe my GIANT PIG before I let him into the living room.

So every time I go to the Craggy Gardens picnic area, I think of Wilbur and smile. And the QOB thought this story was completely hilarious and then told me that my Great Aunt Claire actually had a pet pygmy pig herself. This was surprising, since Great Aunt Claire was about the single most elegant woman on the face of the planet in a time of elegance. A pomeranian, yes. A pig? Huh. The things you learn on expeditions to see the fall colors.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I'm over them. Politics, the elections, all of it - I'm over everything but the lurching doom coming towards us in the form of economic meltdown, which has a certain terrifying trainwreck can't look away quality to it. I told my son in the car this morning that I thought this was probably the most important and scary thing that had happened in my lifetime. He scoffed at this and when I told him darkly that we were heading for a Mad Max style apocalypse he said, "Bring it on! Yeah!" clearly thinking that in the Mad Max world, nobody has to go to high school. And he may be right, because it's possible that he'll be needed to pick up lumps of coal from the tracks for us all to eat, or whatever it is you do with coal picked up in lumps by urchins. I wonder where his top hat is and if it's sufficiently battered for coal duty. . .

However, look. If you haven't decided who you're going to vote for yet, you're a fucking moron. If you're voting for McCain/Palin, you scare me in a very bad way and I don't want to hear about it. Go away. If you're all madly in love with Obama, well, yeah, so are we all. On a metafilter political thread, I read this great comment
If the statement "let's think of creative and positive solutions, and work together to make this country better" appeals to you, you are probably voting for Obama.

If the statement "let's hunt down the people responsible for these problems and punish them for their mistakes; and keep the outsiders from getting into our territory" appeals to you, you are probably voting for McCain.

Two completely different species of humanity.

and I think that sort of sums it up. Let me add that if you think the second statement even makes any kind of sense, if you are that deeply stuck in a Neanderthal mindset, then I'm very sorry for you and, as I said, you scare me. Really really you do.

While I'm sorry that I've ended up living in a country that's this deeply divided, I'm even sorrier that I'm living in a country where the troglodyte orc hordes have apparently been let run free to comment on newscast websites. Don't click on that link if you value your sanity, but then you can also read their gibbering squeals at the Citizen-Times or almost anywhere else. I don't know where these "people" came from and I don't want to know; I just want to throw the fucking ring into the goddamn mountain of fire already and send them back to their caverns. Oh, and cut off their internet access.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Banksy is one of the artists on whom my son and I both agree - he is amazing, hilarious, awesome, thought provoking and a whole bunch of other good adjectives. More Banksy goodness here, here and here.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Bad Middle of the Night Poetry

I woke up at 3 am in one of those states so familiar and not beloved of women of a certain age: dripping with sweat and unsure why it was suddenly 100 degrees in my room. As I blearily tried to go back to sleep, I wrote a terribly bad poem in my head. Then I thought about how I was going to get up and fire up the computer and put this poem on Twitter in one line increments starting with the last line so it would all be in order and stuff and what a novel fun thing this would be to do with Twitter, if annoying as hell and then I went back to sleep.

So here's the poem. It is very, very bad. Super bad. So bad that it is, in fact, a good indication of why 3 am poetry so rarely works out, particularly 3 am poetry that's prompted by the rapid fire bullet noises of walnuts hitting the broken down shed under which the groundhogs live, thus bringing melancholy thoughts of how no one really cares when entire groundhog burrows are wiped out by collapsing sheds or tsunamis or bulldozers or, you know, whatever.

Alack ye poor groundhogs
Something something something sort of ends with eeeeee, damn, I've forgotten it, but it was poignant, I swear.
Ye are but bound cogs
On the wheel of reality

Do you see that? Groundhogs - bound cogs! Yes! I rock at poetry.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Well, hmmmm

I have a new plan about the house, which may or may not be a really bad idea. I'm supposedly meeting with a lawyer to talk about it very soon, so perhaps things will work out? If not, then I'm going to be looking for a rental ASAP. Big fun, not. However, at least I feel like I'm kind of moving again. Sorta kinda, anyway. All the bookcases are empty and the garage is full of packed boxes and of course I have now thought of about ten things I want to reread, since I just finished the terrible novel I bought at the hospital gift shop 2 months ago and I'm down to the Feng Shui handbook and book of faux painting techniques I refused to pack when I was still thinking that I was buying a goddamn house and moving into it and would soon be able to transform it from dinky 60s ranch into fabulously trendy modern wonderland. That's going to be difficult in any case since the fucking dogs just ate most of the cushion for my funkiest chair. Argh.

Meanwhile, I borrowed my friend H's food dehydrator and I've been trying to dry some of my bumper crop of hot peppers. Do you know how long it takes to dry whole jalapenos? Much longer than you would think. Longer even than that. In fact, there are still some of them out on the back porch (why the back porch? Have you ever smelled drying hot peppers? No? Trust me, you don't want to.) in the food dehydrator even as I type - and I started this process on Sunday afternoon. So, roughly 48 hours and counting. Also, only one pepper of the many many I'm drying turned red and pretty. The rest are black and wizened, like my soul, and thus are somewhat unappealing as a condiment. I put them in a small mason jar that I had left over from the last jelly making day and they make me feel like a witch. Nasty black wrinkled toe of toad, anyone? Mmmmm mmmm!

In other news, I spent the morning in court where I discovered yet again that the system is completely fucked beyond repair. This is the court which isn't really court, where you wait in line around the marble atrium to finally go into a packed room where the only thing that happens is you wait some more and then the judge tells you when your real court date is. This could, of course, be done by email or something but then I suppose the whole machinery of the "justice" system would collapse. Besides, it's also when you get to hear what everyone else is in there for and muse deeply on the fact that assault only has a 60 days in jail maximum penalty whereas writing a bad check has 120 days and that this would seem, to an uneducated legal mind like mine, to exhibit some seriously fucking skewed priorities on the part of the county. But there you have it and so we will be returning to court again - and again - in the next six weeks. Yay, us.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Bits and Pieces

So at this point, with everything cascading down around me, I seem to have finally found some kind of zen calm. Yes, it is probably true that I am a horrible person with no good qualities and I fully deserve all the shit that I've been going through in the last month or so. Oh well. So what? I'm not going to change much and that's all there is to that. I have to deal with my own life first, so, um, I have come to the pleasing realization that I do not really care what others think of me. This is freeing. Surprisingly freeing.

Therefore, whatever. Today is the first day of the rest of your life and all that so all I'm going to talk about is the fact that it takes longer to clean the fucking vacuum cleaner than it does to vacuum, which strikes me as somewhat unfair. I could actually go on for several pages about the current plague of dog hair in my life which has risen to unholy proportions, partly because the only way I can brush Theo is if I'm also constantly feeding him lumps of pot roast and I ran out of pot roast. But I will spare you although I will mention that Django, with what I hope is just his winter coat, is suddenly sporting a terrible doggy mullet. Business on the back, party on the sides! He looks ridiculous. Like me, however, he does not care.

In other news, I'm going to see a psychic this afternoon. Yes! A psychic! I am, well, psyched! Because at this point I feel as if I need some guidance and if that's going to come from the great beyond or the magic 8 ball or a lawyer or six (my friend D just said that she thinks what I need at this point is like a giant staff of lawyers and real estate agents and mediators and so on) well, who cares, really? The source of knowledge is not as important as the knowledge itself and maybe I'll find some. Or maybe I'll just waste some money and have an anecdote. Either way, it's a welcome break.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Just When You Think Things Can't Get Any Worse

They do. They get much worse. I can never think that things can't get worse again because every fucking time I think that something else really bad happens. Something really bad has happened. I don't want to go into details but rest assured that the smoking remnants of my life, heart and soul have just gotten another direct blow or two.

Let's recap, shall we? I'm starting to feel like Job, here, and I'm also thinking that if this was a movie or a fucking book, nobody would believe it. How much can go wrong for one family how quickly? Oh, let's take a little trip on the short way back machine through 2008, Worst Year of My Life, and find out.

May - dumped by boyfriend before birthday. Oh well. This was nothing, really. QOB has stroke in NYC, gets moved down here to be taken care of by my mother.

June - July - difficulty dealing with QOB, trying to get her to accept new limitations imposed by stroke and subsequent mild dementia, life becomes incrementally more complicated, son is such a hit in the 10th grade that the school demands an encore performance: sophomore, year two.

July - August - attempt to buy a house, go onto rollercoaster whirlwind tour of buying houses, house is on, is off, is on, is off, attempt to navigate through perilous waters of low income first time homebuyer federal loans.

August - mother goes into hospital, I spend days at hospital, care of QOB becomes even more difficult with mother gone, brothers and I juggling back and forth from mother to QOB and so on, mother nearly dies, brother flies down, mother gets better, brother flies back, mother dies.

September - Memorial service, grief, empty out mother's house, empty out own house, make all plans to move into new house, work like dog, mourn, try to put self back together. Car breaks down. Economy collapses. Turns out mother was holding world together after all. Had always suspected as much. QOB becomes increasingly querulous and demanding in face of increased uncertainties and chaos. Car breaks down again. Gas crisis - cannot even drive back and forth between two houses. Juggle somebody staying at mother's house, run two households simultaneously, neither of them well. Everything based and depending on great move to new house on September 26.

Last week of September - Move doesn't happen. New house falls through, possibly temporarily, possibly for always. All plans must be stopped, throwing the delicate balance/house of cards of entire family's life into complete chaos and disaster. New plans made and discarded daily. Nobody knows what to do. QOB responds by becoming angry, demanding plane ticket to NYC, accusations of being held prisoner, etc. Nowhere to move, nowhere to go, daughter heroically attempting to take care of dead grandmother's house and crazy great aunt in face of increased anger and noncooperation. Etc. All hell broken loose. As a capper, son gets suspended from school. And then, October 1: Son, having disappeared for two days, is eventually found - exactly where you never want your teenager to be found.

Yeah. See? Now at any minute the house should burn down or there should be a bad car wreck, or, hey, someting else wonderful is bound to happen. Plague of diseased rats. Cancer. Food poisoning at the very least. It's all been a terrible, terrible downward spiral of worsening everything and it's just getting worse. I just can't fucking wait to find out what's going to happen next.