Saturday, November 29, 2008

Lovecraftian Horror

Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone and A's roommates got all the leftovers because I'm too lame to get myself 1/8 of a mile down the road to her house to reclaim my creamed onions. This is not surprising and anyway, it makes for a fine excuse for the Chinese takeout we had for dinner last night while we watched Spirited Away, which is one of my favorite movies of all time and which the QOB adored as well. I always feel like I've won some kind of weird contest when I find a movie the QOB and I both really like.

That's all fine. What isn't fine, alas, is Pebble. Pebble, and I say this in a hushed voice, looking around nervously for members of the other gender, is in heat. It's all my fault. I kept thinking she was going to grow more - she's about the tiniest cat I've ever had, half the size of a normal cat - and thus she wasn't really growing up so I had plenty of time to get her fixed. Ha ha ha. She's growing up all right, or, I guess, she's grown up and for the last four days she's been making our house a living hell.

I knew it was bad a couple of days ago when I found myself in the bathroom at 5 am, flushing the toilet over and over to distract her. Pebble adores the toilet, you see, and she would not shut up and, well, there I was. I'm not alone, actually; the QOB confessed to doing exactly the same thing. Yes, we all stand in the bathroom late at night and flush the toilet repeatedly to amuse the cat. This is pathetic. Pathetic, I say, but if I stepped away from the handle she would start in with the piteous, hideous wailing. I haven't gotten a full night's sleep for days. She's been wailing since Tuesday and then, today, she went full blown into the whole wiggling thing. We are actually, despite our reputations, a staid and Victorian household for the most part, and Pebble's lascivious misery is just, well, too much for us. "Haggard," said young M in tones of deep disquiet, and, yes, haggard it is.

So I have locked poor Pebble downstairs in the guest room with a clean litterbox and food and water and a big cozy bed covered with blankets and some cat toys and this clear act of animal cruelty of course makes me feel like some kind of evil 19th century chatelaine of a home for immoral young women or something. Then I come upstairs and feel like I'm at the very end of a Lovecraft story reading "And still, she could hear the unearthly eldritch screams as they echoed up from the very bowels of the earth." Which they are, since the guest room is pretty much totally in the bowels of the earth. Either way, from grim specter of enforced morality to unwitting looser of one of the Elder gods, I feel guilty. And fucked, like I will never sleep again. I really want to have a dream that doesn't end with some kind of narrative revolving around screaming. Really.

At least this neighborhood seems to be free of intact male cats or maybe they've also been fooled by the tininess of Pebble. So far, there's no chorus outside and I'm devoutly hoping one doesn't appear, because that would be true eldritch horror. It would set the dogs off and thus really end any hope I ever had of making friends with my neighbors: I'd have to resign myself to the torches and the pitchforks and the cauldrons of oil again, damn. I only hope this ends soon and I can zip her immediately off to the vet. I've never had a girl cat before and now I remember why - yeah, okay, actually it was my father's sexist and definite claim that male animals are just more fun. Look what happens when you try to be all equal, sheesh. It's not that I don't sympathize - I truly do; there aren't any tomcats wandering around my windows either - but she's miserable and so are we all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Movie and More

Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Thanksgiving is tomorrow. I can't quite wrap my head around it somehow and my body, which is rapidly developing full on cold symptoms (don't tell my daughter; she'll get hysterical and maybe I can echinacea delay the full onset somehow) seems to agree. I kind of wish I'd suggested just doing Chinese this year and watching every James Bond movie ever made or something. Unfortunately, watching TV or movies entails going downstairs into the Lair of Young M, which I'm still determined is actually the family room but which actually seems to be more, well, the Lair of Young M, even though I hung up a bunch of Indian bedspreads to emphasize the separation between bedroom and family room. Somehow, though, and go figure, Indian bedspreads + lava lamp + bubbling lamp + papasan chair + lots of blankets all over the place + soda cans + Django, who has decided he also is a teenager, seem to say Frat House more than they do Family Room. Go figure. It's actually pretty comfy down there, though, you just have to make sure you have a native guide, which is to say, Young M.

We went down there last night and watched Wall E, which none of us had seen before. As usual when I get all fired up about a movie and convinced that I'm going to love it beforehand I found it underwhelming. It was cute, but, well, yeah, cute. Just cute. The QOB was not impressed which I guess I should have expected since she's just not of the generation that grew up with robots and thus I think there's sort of an empathy thing missing there. My generation, on the other hand, is totally used to finding robots the most sympathetic and kindly beings out there in an uncaring universe - hell, some of us formed sad attachments to toasters and the like, not that I, despite cherishing my panini press, talking to the coffee machine and getting all verklampt at the thought of trading in my ancient and rattling Saturn, am like that, no, not at all. Still, though, the Wall E and Eve romance left me a bit cold as well. It's nice that they can hold hands and all but, you know, where does it go from there? I'm not sure their parts are all that interchangeable if you know what I mean.

Well, happy thanksgiving and all that. Perhaps I will pop by tomorrow with a no doubt too much wine taken update on the glories of our dinner. Huzzah. Yeah.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Snow and Holidays and Stuff

This is a picture of Jane, my friend C & S's dog. She began life as a small scruffy Baltimore puppy but when they took her to the high altitude and clear air of the Rockies, she became this huge, fluffy, wonderful mountain dog, thus proving that environment is all, or something. Anyway she came to visit us along with her people for three fun filled days and now that she has gone Django is sad. They bounced without ceasing.

So I've been busy. Old friends visiting and my younger brother is staying with me as well, although he took off to Atlanta for a few days before reappearing with a CD of his friends' band and a frighteningly unabated yen for Jethro Tull. And then apparently Thanksgiving is the day after tomorrow, good god. We're going to do it at my daughter's house this year and as always it will be open to waifs, orphans and strays so if you fit into one of those categories and/or just want to eat a metric shit tonne of fantastic traditional Thanksgiving food, shoot me an email and I'll give you directions. Dinner is, I believe, at fiveish or sixish. I can't remember. Without my mother, we haven't had the traditional Thanksgiving Summit Meeting and it's all a bit kerbobbled. I think we can do it without a summit meeting - particularly since it's going to be at A's house, which means I get to leave after dinner and she gets left with all the dishes, bwah ha ha ha - but I might be wrong and forgetting something crucial. Let's hope not. I went to Sam's Club last night in the rain and bought a giant bag of cranberries and some feta cheese, which isn't featured in Thanksgiving but which is always good to stock up on anyway.

It snowed on Friday as you obviously know if you live here and of course everyone panicked at the veritable blizzard - I think we got like half an inch in Asheville, whoa - and all the schools shut down. This caused C & S to emit smirking noises of disdain since they live in a place where schools don't close unless there's like seven feet of snow, but I thought it was quite awesome. I got to stay home and run around and get things done and then have everyone over for curry and roasted vegetables, which was fun. It was supposed to snow again today but alas, it did no such thing. Oh well. A snow day in November is a promising start to the winter.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Re Connections

Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Some of my oldest friends - C & S and their son V, I have known C for 22 years, holy shit - are visiting us. They got in last night around 10 after driving apparently faster than the proverbial bats out of hell, all the way from Colorado in around 26 hours. Good god. I couldn't do it. They'll be staying a couple of days, not long enough, and I have to work these two days, of course, so the moments are precious and I stayed up way too late with them. They also brought their gorgeous dog Jane, who somehow has morphed over the years from a tiny abandoned Baltimore puppy to a giant furry totally Colorado huskie/wolf looking creature. She is sweet and full of energy and Django is either terrified or in love; it's hard to tell. Theo thinks she is Too Young and Should Calm Down and all this Young Dog Stuff is Overrated. Yes, he does think like that.

Anyway, seeing them is fantastic and it's exciting to be showing off my new house. And then on the computer, I actually got a message from an old friend, E, who used to live in NY and with whom I worked long long ago in a galaxy far far away (yeah, Baltimore, it's extraplanetary) and discovered that she has a blog! It's an awesome blog, too, and I've been reading it in bits and pieces and wow, you know, it is wonderful to find and reconnect with people you love and haven't seen for all these long ass years. Even if it does make me feel kind of old. Or maybe that's just all the beer.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Joys of Laundry

I still don't own a washer and/or dryer. Every so often I want to ask Metafilter if there is some possible ecological justification for this, so I could at least feel smug about it, but somehow I never bother. It has to be better for the environment to concentrate laundry in one building, right? Right? Well. Eventually I'm going to get a washer and dryer of my very own, but not right this minute and so, last night, because you know, I like to live large, I went to a different laundromat.

Next week I'm going to have to go back to the old laundromat.

The Citgo on Amboy Road is my new kwikee mart convenience store - this is contemporary America: the Brits get local pubs, we get local kwikee marts in yet another glaring example of just how much cooler it is in Europe but oh well, you can't buy vitamin water, giant sized bags of ranch flavored Doritos and novelty Nascar lighters at traditional British pubs, now can you? - and it's weird. I mean, it's always been weird - I've always gone there, on and off, since back in the day when they didn't take credit cards, before they got flooded and I took a picture of a family of ducks swimming by the gas pumps - but it's gotten kind of weirder. They always have at least two clerks there and those two clerks always seem to be embroiled in some kind of crazy family drama or maybe they're actually on a sitcom. And then they have weird biscuits in the morning. I mean, sausage and egg, sure, their bacon or sausage and egg biscuits have long been a staple of my hangover breakfasts, but bologna and egg? WTF?) I could chalk all this up to just the usual hijinks o'fun that you have to expect when you're buying beer and cigarettes in a hurry, but their laundromat, however, Will Not Do. Not only is it more expensive than my longtime laundromat at the Amoco on Haywood, It's kind of horrible in a very post modern post industrial way: clean, deserted, shiny and filled with the most terrible music imaginable.

My brother has turned me on to this internet video show known as Yacht Rock. Yes, as usual I'm roughly a century behind on my internet memes - any minute now I fully intend to have a look at this dancing baby phenomena - and at first, frankly, I was unimpressed by Yacht Rock. Then, probably due to some kind of mind control waves, it got me and I started finding it funny. Turns out that someone, somewhere (either California or Pluto, who knows?) is still making Yacht Rock (the music, not the show) and they're playing it nonstop at the Citgo laundromat on Amboy Road. Loud. Really loud so you can't escape from the endless wailing of either women vowing to stay, stay forever, never leave your side, even if you want them to, even if you need to go to the bathroom, no, honey, I will always be there or men complaining about how they tried so hard but she just wasn't giving back, no, uh uh, she didn't love him like he loved her and it was all really freaking sad. And it was sad but not as sad as the guy who sang about the sunrise and how great that was. I mean the actual songs from the seventies, when they came on, were a relief.

But it's okay, because I am absolutely sure that for some unspecified environmental reason, I totally can feel superior for going to the laundromat and thus my evening will not have been a total drag. Right? Right?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Home Again Etc.

The QoBoho (people are getting confused by the term QOB. It means QUEEN OF BOHEMIA, not whatever other terrible thing y'all think it does and refers to my auntie and perhaps I will change it, thus, to QoBoho just so everyone can get even more confused. I mean, sheesh.) Anyway, she's home. She came home on Friday and seems to be pretty much fully recovered, if a bit lonely for the Relaxation Station. Her spleen is healing right up all by itself and she's feeling chipper. She's moved upstairs and seems to prefer it and eventually, when I get up the nerve, I'm going to drill a hole in the floor and pull the cable upstairs so she can have TV too. I mean, drilling a hole in the floor - what could possibly go wrong? Be afraid. I am.

My younger brother also arrived on Thursday evening, at which point we went out to dinner at Cocina Latina, which, I am sorry to report, was not as good as I had been talking it up to be. Sigh. So it's been kind of a full weekend what with one thing and another and thus I have not blogged although, actually, I haven't gotten all that much accomplished, alas. I hung up a towel rack, which was harder than you might think, and fixed a drawer, which was easier, and raked a bunch of leaves, which was unremarkable except for the part where I realized I was also raking up a lot of dogshit, ew. I also went to the library and the used book store and now I don't want to do anything but read anyway, but of course there are the usual bazillion things to do.

My brother asked me if I remembered the dance routine I did in 10th grade to a Jethro Tull song. I do, actually - well, I don't remember the dance itself, but I do remember looking for the song, because my roommate and I had to choreograph and perform something at the recital or fail Modern Dance. That's how dedicated a student I was in 10th grade: I nearly flunked Modern Dance. My friend and I saved ourselves at the last minute, though, by finding the single shortest song we could on our pooled records, which leaned heavily, in my case, towards Jethro Tull. Yes, I was one of those geeky teens who thought that she had found the secret of the universe in Songs from the Wood. Eeep. Anyway, my brother, who apparently has these vivid, more vivid than mine, memories of the whole thing, thinks it was this song and I believe he may be right. All I know is that it was as short as we thought we could get away with, we didn't fall down on stage and we got a grudging C or something from the evil and loathed Miss Hart.

Apparently they don't have Modern Dance in high schools anymore, which means that there are no longer flocks of teenage girls in black leotards rushing through the hallways with their arms behind them, for which, I suppose, we should all be grateful. But when I was a teenager, I had to take sports and one of the sports available for girls was Modern Dance, which was infinitely better than any of the other sports which all involved, shudder, actual sports activity. I thought I could rush around elegantly in a black leotard with the best of them but unfortunately I was, at age 15, as tall as I am now, which is to say 5'10" and fifty or more pounds thinner, which meant, basically, that beanpole was a compliment. I disappeared if I stood sideways or, that is, I would have if I hadn't been wearing, pretty much always, a giant checked lumberjack wool shirt over a torn Grateful Dead t-shirt, handmade denim skirt and Chinese black cotton shoes held together with safety pins. And, let us not forget, bottle bottom tortoise shell glasses. This amazingly elegant personal style statement, my complete and utter lack of coordination and my newly discovered fondness for illicit herbal substances meant that I was pretty much always falling down: my feet would get numb in those damn shoes and plus I couldn't see anything anyway, since I was always losing my glasses. So I was not exactly a star at Modern Dance but, hell, I did my part for the late seventies and danced at school - briefly, very briefly - to Jethro Tull. Thank god they didn't have video cameras yet.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

And So On

Well, the QOB has a lacerated spleen. It must have happened on Friday when she fell at the CVS and it would explain why she was getting slowly weaker and more out of it for the next couple of days. The doctor (one of the doctors. If you've ever had a relative in the hospital you know just as well as I do that saying The Doctor is just shorthand for any one of a million possibly doctors or maybe they're something else who come wandering through every once in a while and may or may not make the effort to call you no matter how many frantic notes you've left to that effect.) seems to think she has a very good chance of recovering completely given total bed rest and for the next few days anyway, careful monitoring in the hospital. It's good news in that it's not cancer or any other kind of disease but it's bad news in that the spleen, contrary to what you may think, is not really one of those disposable organs. I've been reading up on spleens even though any reading about internal organs or, god forbid, looking at pictures of same, makes me get all weird and squoogly inside and then I have to stand up and walk around taking deep breaths for a bit.

It turns out that spleens get banged up all the time, particularly if you're a hockey player (maybe we should pull the QOB out of that over 80 league, huh) but also in car accidents and for various other reasons - such as falling down completely, boom - and they're usually pretty good at repairing themselves, although if you don't lie completely still while they're doing it, you can die from an undiagnosed spleen injury. Yeah, I know, that made me want to have my spleen examined immediately too, but I'm going to go on the assumption that it's working away just fine, since I haven't fallen down or had anything much physically traumatic happen except being clonked on the head by a tourist at work the other day (she answered her cell phone, thus dropping the handle of the geode cracker, which promptly obeyed gravity and bonked me hard on the side of my forehead, where I now have a nice bump which is fortunately invisible to everyone but me. I hope.)

At any rate, the QOB has been loving the hospital, which made us all a bit cranky, since you're not supposed to be happy in the hospital for gods' sake. But she likes it: the nice nurses bring her food three times a day and all she has to do is lie there and watch the Relaxation Station: a constantly running loop of soothing pictures of flowers and waterfalls and scenic pictures accompanied by the kind of cloying New Age music that makes me want to tear the TV from the wall and toss it down into the parking deck but, hey, I am not 79 years old and she thinks the Relaxation Station is the best thing since sliced bread. I'm threatening to get her one of those DVDs for cats, you know, the ones that show aquariums and mice and stuff, although young M thinks we should just get her a real aquarium and maybe we should. Might be too exciting, though.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tired and Down

I spent most of last night at that fun filled place, the Mission ER. It's just joyous over there, let me tell you, what with the vomiting toddlers and wailing babies and terrified old people and, yeah, I'm deeply impressed by the people who work there, because I estimate that I could take it for about 12 minutes before I freaked out, quit and needed years of therapy to recover.

Anyway, the QOB fell again; this time downstairs in my house where, with remarkable luck, we all were, meaning me, my daughter A (without whose extensive first aid training we'd be in way worse shape) and young M, who actually heard her fall and was right there. She didn't break anything - unlike my mother, her sister, the QOB doesn't seem to have any osteoporosis and I think it was years of a good hippie health food/Mediterranean diet as opposed to Mom & Dad's staunch American diet of three large servings of meat a day. Unfortunately, though, her blood pressure keeps crashing low whenever she stands up and that means that they kept her at the hospital overnight, where she still is and where I'm going as soon as I can, which is to say, in an hour or so when I can get out of work where I'm sitting with a giant industrial sized cup of coffee trying to wake up.

She was fine all weekend after her fall on Friday, if a little quieter than usual, but then last night she said she was feeling very weak and tired. So I brought her dinner downstairs and then, about half an hour later, she got up, tried to walk to the bathroom and fell. There ensued about forty bad minutes with A and I lifting her and getting her into the bathroom and then trying to get her out and then her sort of fainting and then us calling 911 who sent a fire engine and then an ambulance and about six very nice people who got her onto a stretcher and into the ambulance and off for her second ambulance ride in four days and what my new neighbors think of me now, god only knows, because there's part of my mother in me after all and I'm kind of thinking, ewwww, people who have a fire engine and ambulance at their houses within three weeks of moving in are kind of, like, "Jerry Springer called; he wants his star guests back." I recognize this is ridiculous but there you have it: I was properly raised and it scarred me for life. Then A & I followed the ambulance which drove sedately to the ER (I really wish I wasn't so familiar with the hospitals in Asheville and all the various routes to and from them and, god, I'm tired of hospitals, I mean really tired in a bone deep way) where my brother B met us and then we sat there, taking turns to go back to the QOB's ER cubicle, until about 1:30 in the morning when the doctor told me that they wanted to keep her overnight, since she still couldn't walk and wouldn't be safe at home. I nearly kissed him, actually, because I was dreading trying to bring her home and then trying to figure out bathroom access and worrying all night and so on. And then I fled to catch a few hours of sleep.

As of this morning, they're running tests and I put in a frantic phone call to my rehabbing angel A who is coming to, with young M and his friends, move everything that was in the spare room upstairs downstairs to what was the QOB's apartment and move everything that was in her apartment upstairs to what was going to be my little office/studio/craft room. Heavy sigh. I was really looking forward to having that room for my own, kind of like Virginia Woolf and, yeah, whatever. But this way if she falls again she'll fall on carpet or wood instead of on the concrete of downstairs and she'll never have to face stairs again period so there you have it.

I'm exhausted and feeling a bit dispirited by all this, I must say. I know I sound callous and awful and yes, I am worried about the QOB, but I don't think there's anything much genuinely wrong with her, or, worse really, whatever it is that's wrong with her goes by the name Old Age and there's nothing to be done. I love her and want her to be happy but, you know, I've spent a lot of time in hospitals these past four months and I'm tired.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


I'm feeling very peaceful right now, because I actually did spend the weekend doing what I said I was going to do, which is unpack boxes, stare at the contents, walk around in circles, put the contents of the box into a drawer, figure I'll sort it all out later and then break down the empty box with a feeling of achievement. Apparently, as I said to my friend C who called to ask me to go hiking, which I declined due to the guilt I would have then felt, I'll be doing this every day for the rest of my life. That's okay. I found a bunch of pictures I'd forgotten about and even though the spare room looks worse, it's actually better. I swear. I didn't get to the QOB's kitchenette yet, though, and that was supposed to happen this weekend. Oh well. There's stew simmering on the stove and I'm drinking a little bourbon and curling up in one of my Mom's big huge comfy chairs and rereading China Mieville, looking up occasionally to make comments to the dogs.

"No. There is no way I'm letting you outside with that bone. You're just going to lose it in the yard. You know you are."
And he does know it, but Django has some kind of genetic imperative going on that compels him to take all his toys out to the yard and lose them. He doesn't bury them - he's not organized enough for that - he just loses them. Then eventually when he finds them again it's like a new toy all over again. I know how he feels - I opened a box today that had been sitting unopened in my former garage for over a year and hey, you know, there's a remote chance that someday I will need those weird sized manila envelopes or possibly Polaroid will come back from the grave and begin again to manufacture film for the several funky, failed Polaroid cameras of the nineties that were lurking about in the bottom. Or I'll get around to developing the film in the PlaySkool camera that I think was young M's in about 1997 or so. Every couple years it resurfaces and every couple years I plan to do just that and then it goes back underground, and, you know, that's that.

Meanwhile, Pebble has been forbidden to go outdoors. I had a conversation with my very cool new neighbor A who gave me some sobering statistics on cat fatality rates on our road and that was all I needed to inform Pebble that she was now an indoor cat for her own good. Pebble scoffs at safety, though, and thinks that she's been condemned to life in hell and so she's been sitting by the various doors for two days screaming her head off. This has condemned us to life in hell, where cats wailing by unopened doors is a known trope. But there's nothing to be done and anyway, she relieves the tedium of the wailing by chasing Theo's tail in the best Kitten Kung Fu style, which always makes me say, "His tail is no match for the power of your Kitten Kung Fu!" in my best bad Kung Fu movie accent. I like Kung Fu movies and I have seen many, many, many of them, beginning with the distant days when I and my late teen/early 20something cohorts would spend Saturday afternoons smoking ridiculous amounts of pot that tasted faintly of shrimp (all the pot in 1980s Charleston tasted like shrimpboats, go figure) and watching Kung Fu Theatre on some UHF channel I no longer remember.

My fondness for Kung Fu ended up being a fondness for Jackie Chan, which is what led to a conversation I had with young M some 11 or so years ago. (I tell this story a lot. If I've told it here before, oh well. It's still fucking incredibly cute!)
"Mom," he said solemnly, "It would be okay with me if Jackie Chan was my stepfather."
"Really?" I said, "Oh."
"Yes," he said, "I think you should marry Jackie Chan. I think that would be good."

Unfortunately, I couldn't, somehow, work out the logistics but you know, he was right. I should totally have married Jackie Chan. I'm still available, by the way, Jackie, if you're reading this, although, hey, for the sake of the happiness of our marriage, I will not mention The Forbidden Kingdom and just say, look, if you're going to reprise Drunken Master again, do it cleanly. It was terrible. But that's sort of the point, I know, so, whatever. Still, the importing of bad American actors into Kung Fu movies bothers me on some level. I don't need to see some pimply white American teenager in a Kung Fu movie to love it; actually, it detracts, because it's like, WTF is he doing here? Take him away and let me watch Asians in improbable hats fly past limestone karsts, please.

It doesn't matter, though, because, fickle creature that I am, I've at least temporarily transferred my love for Jackie Chan to Genghis Khan, who I never knew was such an amazingly enlightened being. I mean, really, he just turns around after his wife (and that's the method of marriage that I think works; y'all just pick each other out in a yurt when you're ten, which means, hey, John Tower? We need to get married now, because I totally wanted to marry you when I was ten, despite the terrible lack of yurt) presents him with a kid of uncertain fathering due to either her being snatched away by guys in masks or being forced to become a prostitute to free him from a cage which was making his skin look sort of like the permafrost in crisis and says, "I am your father now." to the kid in question. Awesome. Also, the scenery rocks. Mongol is an awesome movie and everyone should go watch it right now. Okay? Okay.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


I've spent the day unpacking boxes yet again. We've gone beyond the boxes we need for basic survival and moved into the murky world of boxes labeled Papers and Photos and Art Supplies and the dreaded Misc. The contents of these boxes keep throwing me back and making me walk around and take deep breaths, because I keep finding things again, like the envelope of pictures of my children that I had long ago sent to my parents and which my mother had kept, organized as always, in an envelope labeled A & M. My mother's handwriting makes me cry right now, even, or particularly, the capitalized in sharpie handwriting she always used to label boxes. Keep in mind that we moved every 18 months or so my whole life. Boxes labeled in sharpie are to me as great grandma's meatloaf to others.

Meanwhile, the QOB is recovering from her fall by staying quiet and downstairs. C came by this morning and dressed her wound and reported that she swore she was in no pain. I was figuring that she'd be pretty achey today, given the fall and then the resultant stitches and, of course, champagne, but she said she was fine - just didn't feel like going out. She also didn't feel like wearing a bandage over the stitches on her upper lip and I'm going with the belief that this is okay. Young M had a similar injury and he didn't have to wear a bandage, as far as I recall, which is pretty clearly, because I vividly remember when he, at age five or thereabouts, fell off the monkey bars and put his front teeth right through his lower lip. I also remember in excruciating detail how, although I had quit smoking for six months at that point, watching him try to drink a glass of water in the hospital emergency waiting room (they take care of you faster when you're eighty than when you're five)and watching that water fall right out through the hole in his lower lip, slightly blood tinged but otherwise not much the worse for wear, made me start up smoking again immediately.

Anyway, I spent the whole day unpacking boxes and tidying and cleaning and all that good shit and then eventually making dinner (peanut butter noodles, fried tofu and carrots with honey butter) for young M and the QOB and myself and then young M found the chocolate ice cream in the freezer and the milk that was miraculously not sour in the back of the fridge and proceeded to make milkshakes for himself and the QOB. She came upstairs a while later with an intent look on her face and said, "Your son brought me this wonderful drink! Where is more of it?"
"Yes" I said, "He made you a milkshake but now we're out of ice cream and milk. No worries, though, I'm going to the store tomorrow."
She looked around for a bit, doubting me (I have this evil tendency to take sweets away from her when I think she's had enough and then I make her eat real food before she gets dessert and stuff, so, you know, I sort of function as the enemy sometimes) then gave up and handed me $20.
"A," I said, "What is this? You don't owe me any money."
"I want to make sure," she said, "That you get everything he needs to make that wonderful drink."
So I told her some funny stories about young M and his fondness for milkshakes and she laughed a lot and went back to bed.

And I thought, you know, strokes are terrible and all of this is fucking tough and a lot of the time my heart breaks and I get sad and shit but, hey, when every milkshake is your very first one, well, you know, there's something to be said for that. Because milkshakes are awesome when you're discovering them for the very, very first time.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Settled, Uh Huh

Most people get these crisis type things like, once every now and then or a couple of times in a lifetime: you know, spaced out nicely throughout their lives so that they get time to look back and say, hey, I really grew from that and then, comfortable in the knowledge of their unparalleled spiritual growth and fortitude in the face of adversity and all, donate money either to some ashram in Portland or the Republican party, their pick. Me, I like to have my crises all at once in a big huge giant ball of crisis and give my money to the kwikee mart for cigs and beer.

That would be why I got a phone call from A that C, who is A's friend who has become the QOB's careworker, had just called her hysterical because the QOB had just fallen at the CVS parking lot on Hendersonville Rd. and they were even now en route to the emergency room.
"Which hospital?" I asked, super calmly.
"Mission," said my daughter, which, alas, in Asheville is no help at all, since there used to be two hospitals, Mission & St. Joes, but now there is one hospital, Mission, which has two uneasily combined parts, Memorial and St. Joes, and there are two emergency rooms, both called Mission, and, like everything geographical in Asheville, you can see how it gets confusing even to those of us who have lived here a long damn time.

So I called my brother and sent him off to the St. Joe's emergency room and I hied myself to the Memorial emergency room where I found that the QOB had just been admitted. Therefore I called my brother and got him on over and my daughter A showed up and C, who was all freaked out but okay and then we all went in in turns to see the QOB who, fortunately, had nothing much wrong with her, being as how she had landed on her face when she fell and she only has the two teeth to go through her lip and only one of them did. Therefore she needed stitches and she got them, eventually, after we had explained that she had no photo ID because, hey, she is the Queen of Bohemia and they should bow down and shit and then we all came home and drank champagne.

Well. In the middle of all this I got a frantic hysterical call from Young M who was being held prisoner, yet again, in the main office of the high school because they would not give him back his cell phone. Nobody adult at the school would talk to me so I had to leave the QOB in the ER all alone, which is to say, with her bazillion concerned relatives and friends (we freaked out the security guard, who had these orders that patients are only supposed to have one person back in the ER with them but let us have two and then we kept changing those people until finally he just gave up and buzzed all of us through whenever we started in on explaining) and drive at batspeed over to the high school and stare down the principal. Fortunately I was in the mood to do some staring so that didn't actually take very long and right then, I frankly did not care who was in the wrong or the right, so I got young M and his cell phone released into my custody in record speed and we got back on over to the ER where we had a lovely time spending all my spare change on the snack machines while they sewed up the QOB's lip and determined that there was nothing else at all wrong with her.

All good and we came back home to drink heavily (okay, I acknowledge that there is in fact out there a better and healthier stress response than dreaming of a beer, but there you have it) except that when we got home young M called to me in a voice of alarm that I had to come see this. This was a huge pool of "water" on the floor (don't ask. It was mostly yellow.) in the downstairs living room which set off a new round of phone calls and I had to get poor A, my rehabbing friend who is fixing my new house, to drive back in to town from Bat Cave and saw a whole bunch of new holes in the wall and the ceiling to find this new leak since it was, apparently, his fixing of the old leak that prompted the new leak to spring forth in all its glory.

Which he did and somewhere in there A went on a heroic quest for straws so the QOB could drink champagne unhamperd by her giant Hitler bandage. And here we are and I'm frankly utterly relieved that there were three crises today because, jesus, three is enough and three generally means, according to my mother, anyway, that all the shoes planning on dropping have totally dropped. Or god, seven. But let's hope that this time it was three.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

misty morning sunrise in west asheville

I'm still pretty much psyched, politically, although I wish we didn't have to wait for January 20 and could just go about installing the Obamas and their puppy in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue right NOW, but on the other hand, however much I'd like to see W riding out of town today on a proverbial rail (this has always puzzled me, because in my head I picture it as sort of a railroad rail, long and heavy and metal, that would mysteriously be installed in the town in question with one end going unequivocally out of town, and then the rail rider sort of slides from one end to the other, which always seemed like, well, a lot of work just to throw the bums out) with a nice coating of tar and feathers, I hope the Obamas are all resting and taking some time off and all that good shit.

On the nonpolitical front, however, I'm somewhat less happy, as it has come to my attention that just moving from one house to another is not enough: you then have to start cleaning the new house. This seems unfair, somehow, like you should get a month off from dust and dishes but, alas, such is not the case and my house is starting to look dingy even though all the boxes are far from unpacked. Bah. So I need to spend the weekend organizing and cleaning and all that kind of stuff when all I really want to do is build this peculiar jewelry holder that I have in my head.

I need somewhere to hang up necklaces and my stunning collection of extremely cheap mostly plastic bracelets and I've figured out a way to do that using wood and dowels and my remarkable carpentry skillz. The QOB said that what I needed was a giant hand, which is, she said, the traditional method of jewelry keeping and display. "It is?" I said, "I've never seen it." and she laughed. No, a giant hand isn't going to cut it. I want to build something. I need a Project, because, apparently, my real projects including organizing and fixing up the kitchenette area downstairs and fixing up young M's area so that I can use it again and turning the spare room into something other than a repository for boxes containing stuff I can't even bear to look at yet.

But oh well, cleaning and projects and even walking the dogs in the morning: you might think I was getting settled or something. Whoot.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Bright New Morning

leaves and fog
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
He won. He won and I was still washing dishes at 1:30 in the morning (since my mother's been gone, I've gotten weirdly obsessive about cleaning the kitchen every night. Go figure) and crying and refreshing Metafilter threads and the NY Times election map and thinking about waking up young M and explaining to him over again how important this is and what it means to him and to me and how there is really hope now, hope for the first time in so long. Then I broke yet another of my father's monogrammed highball glasses, which means that I now only have one. I had them for years and didn't break any but somehow, over the last couple months, they've all broken one by one and I'm seeing it as the final passing and end of an era: that time is gone. Part of that makes me sad - I instinctively reached for the phone to call my mother last night, thinking, oh, I hope she's not asleep and then realized, oh. - but part of me thinks it's okay, that it's time and that it's all going to be alright in the end. There's a new time upon us and for once I'm actually proud of my country and of my state.

Ah. So here I am, mildly hungover and still happy. S had a lovely little election night party last night with all of the usual suspects and we flipped back and forth from CNN to MSNBC to the Comedy Channel to WFMU on C's laptop and worried and worried - I've never worried so much about an election or been so freaked out - and then, suddenly, oh my god, there it was, he won and we ran hooting and shrieking and cheering out into the street. I don't think anybody minded.

What really struck me was the way he asked for sacrifice and asked us to work together for change - compare that, if you will, to Dubya, who, when the country was attacked, suggested that we go shopping to shore up the economy. I almost feel like I've been waiting for my whole life to actually participate in this country that I was born into and of which I have, frankly, only rarely been proud. Now I'm all energized and excited and wow, somehow, on this foggy morning even the leaves seem brighter, the sky bluer and everything just feels - right.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election, Whee!

Well, I got up this morning and voted. Not right away - first I went to the park where I used to take the dogs every morning which is now, sadly, a little too far away for me to go every single day. I ran into some dog walking friends there and we talked about how excited we all are about the election, about Obama, about finally, for almost the first time in our lives, having a candidate to vote for who we actually believe in, as opposed to doing one of those, oh well, lesser of two evils things. I liked Bill Clinton, now, don't get me wrong - but I love Obama.

Then I went home and showered and all that and went on over to my old polling place. This was, okay, yes, very slight election fraud - I haven't changed my address in the two weeks since I moved across the neighborhood and I admit that when I ran into my old friend E at the polls I was really hoping she wouldn't say very loud in front of the poll workers "How's the NEW HOUSE on the OTHER SIDE of West Asheville?" and thus disqualify me. Fortunately, E & I have been through weird circumstances aplenty in our lives, so she was of course totally cool. And I filled out my paper ballot and colored in the oval for Obama and the one for Hagen (fuck you, Libby Dole, oh queen of carpetbaggers) and the one for Heath Shuler, who, while ineffective, is at least not batshit insane and also, hey, cute.

So I'm feeling all citizenly and excited today: my heart keeps thumping a bit and I'm obsessively checking political threads and proudly wearing my I Voted sticker, even though I forgot about going to Starbucks to get my free coffee. Drat, because even though it is unpopular to admit it, yes, I do like Starbucks coffee. I think, however, that I don't need coffee, what I need is something calming and in that spirit I offer you A BOX OF PUPPIES which is possibly the cutest thing ever in the history of the universe. Good thing I already have dogs, one of whom ate a plunger yesterday - fortunately, I recently inherited several plungers, Mom was always prepared - and therefore I'm somewhat immune to puppy cuteness. Somewhat.

Anyway I'm sure you've already voted but if you haven't GET OFF YOUR LAZY ASS AMERICAN SLACKER and get out there and vote and keep your fingers crossed because oh god, oh god, I really don't want to be sitting again at Broadways like I was four years ago, watching the map turn red in horror and fear and loathing, no, instead, tonight, I want to watch that map turn all blue and then I can believe again in sanity and intelligence in this country again. Oh please.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Now It Is November

happy party blur
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
It was an awesome party. So awesome that I didn't really get moving again until 6:00 Saturday evening, at which point I took young M and the QOB to Asiana Grand Buffet, which is the QOB's new favorite restaurant. I could go on here, but I will choose to draw a veil. Yeah, Asiana. It is what it is.

Anyway, the party rocked. There should have been more people here (yes, I'm looking at YOU) but we didnt' really miss you that much. We all looked fabulous (Halloween really is the best holiday of the year) and had a great time. As an inaugural party for the new house it couldn't be beat. I'm thinking perhaps we should make it an annual event. The costumes were AMAZING. Check here for pics, and there are more on S' flickrstream but depending on when you're reading this, you might have to dig a bit.

Anyway I went as Ogga the Cavegirl which is possibly the easiest costume in the world. You just go to Foam & Fabric on Biltmore Avenue and raid their giant bins of leftover bits of fake fur for hardly any money and then you strategically drape, cut & pin it all until you have something resembling a costume. You might want to skip my own personal intermediary step in which I let the dogs sleep on one piece of fake fur for about five months and then decided to try to air it out on the porch. This didn't entirely work - although in the interests of authenticity, I smelled like Ogga the Cavegirl too! - but it made me jump every time I went by the porch door and saw my costume twisting in the breeze. I swear, it looked like a Yeti and it's unsettling as hell to glimpse a yeti on your porch. It gave me ideas, though: next year, I believe Ogga might just transform quite easily into a yeti and then she won't have to put on long underwear in the middle of the night.

As a cavegirl, it's important to have several layers because then when your right boob falls out, nobody but you will know. I finished the whole look off by strapping a deer antler (why yes, I do happen to have a deer antler hanging about the living room. Doesn't everyone?) to my head. The antler, although attractive, was problematic, first because it was trying to dig its way through my skull and then, after either it had achieved equilibrium or I'd had enough beer to no longer care about small things like dents in my skull, we decided to dance in the solarium. I am super fancy now, you see, and have a Solarium, aka the Fishbowl, or, the weirdass glass room attached to the downstairs. This would be the room that came complete with giant speakers cemented into the wall - into which speakers young M and his pals have attached my old stereo. Therefore I put the Clash and Pink Razors on the giant stereo and we proceeded to dance out. That would have been awesome except when I got to the headbanging part of my dancing out routine the antler flipped forward and clonked me - BONK - on the forehead. Thus passed our Neolithic ancestors