Saturday, January 30, 2010

Another Day Another Snowstorm

Yesterday we had a slightly smaller but arguably more intense version of December's Snowpocalypse. I'm calling it Snowpocalypse II: The Snowening because, well, I can. It started with a literal whoosh - I mean there was an audible whooshing noise around 3:00, the heavens opened and the snow started coming down fast and hard. It was hard enough that by 4:30 there was an inch and a half on the ground and the roads were terrible, which gave me some Mom-ish pacing time as I worried about both my children being out in it but then Audrey got home and Miles called to say he was safely at his friends' house and then I felt it was okay to start drinking. Then Audrey's friend Celeste called, unable to make it all the way home from downtown, so she came over to be snowed in with us, and we all started merrily downing the beer. By 6 it was apparent that we were either going to have to be responsible adults and accept that we were going to be out of beer soon or put on eight layers of clothes and walk over to BJs for more.

Responsible adulthood has never really been my forte.

It was fun hiking through the wildly falling snow but it was hard work. Audrey's boots have no traction and the three pairs of socks I was wearing inside my thin rubber boots weren't really keeping my toes all that warm, plus it was hard to keep the camera dry. And it's a long hike to BJs when you're slogging through four or five inches of snow. However, we got there, detouring first to the Admiral where there was a small but jolly crowd gathered. I love the Admiral, but lately I do feel as if I'm kind of 20 years too young for the dinner crowd and 20 years too old for the bar crowd, but then I kind of think that may be my central problem with life in general, particularly in Asheville. Last night's crowd definitely skewed to the 20somethings, which makes sense, since most people my age don't bother walking through blizzards to get beer. They should, though.

We got a suitcase full of PBR cans from BJs and went on over to Susan's house, another exciting walk, this time in five or six inches of snow. She made us dinner, which was delicious and there was much hilarity and drinking of beer and then we realized that we must slog on home.
"This is it," I said, "I'm finding a shortcut."
"But it's dark," said my daughter,
"It has to exist," I said firmly, because this has long been a bugaboo of mine. Susan's house is probably about 1/8 of a mile from mine at most as the crow flies but by road it is a long and wearisome uphill hike of 7/10 of a mile. There used to be a road between my house and her house, too, and according to Google maps there still is.

Google maps is wrong.

We tried part of the old road, but it ended up becoming a driveway, blocked by two brand new houses with stockade fences. Audrey fell down, which didn't make her happy but by this time I was determined. We went back to the road, went a few feet and I said, "Look, we can cut through right here." This is a place I have noted before, where just two houses back to back stand between my road and Susan's road.
"No we can't," said Audrey,
"Yes we can, " I said and did just that. The first house was empty, so that was a cakewalk. I sneaked through the snow along the side of the second house. I started to sneak around the front, too, but I looked up and saw a guy sitting right by the front window. So I sneaked up the steep, steep hill to the side of the house, just as quietly as an intoxicated forty something woman in four layers of clothes - it's hard to sneak when you're roughly twice your normal size and you didn't start out small to begin with - and eight inches of snow can sneak while she and her daughter are sort of whisper yelling at each other.
Me: "Come on, it's not hard."
Audrey: "I can not do this. This is illegal and my knee is going to go out and I already fell down."
Celeste: "That guy is going to hear us, shhh."
Me: "Just walk sideways. Here, grab my arm."
Audrey: "I don't want your stupid arm! I'm going to have to crawl through the snow and it's all your fault!"
Me: "Don't be such a wimp."
Audrey: "This is insane."

We made it though and hopefully we didn't destroy anything while we crawled up through somebody's landscaping. Audrey didn't talk to me for a while but eventually she got over it and we were home in no time. Today I feel a bit foolish about my spy escapade but, well, fuck it. All rules are suspended in the snow.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Random Thoughts Friday

1. Why are cab companies always primary colors? Here in Asheville we have Blue Cab and Red Cab and of course in NY they have Yellow Cab, but you never, ever see Purple Cab or Orange Cab or Mauvish Taupe Cab with a Hint of Fuchsia, do you?

2. The coffee was excellent this morning. It's enough to make you believe in the concept of the supernatural: every single morning I make coffee in the dented and dinged Trailmor camping French press my brother gave me for Christmas about eight years ago. I rinse out yesterday's coffee, boil the water, add two Chinese soup spoons worth of my patented coffee mix (half Cafe Bustelo and half whatever fancy French roast is on sale, yeah, it is delicious and Slightly Cheaper, whoo) pour in the water just as it boils to the same level, leave it alone for five or ten minutes and then settle down with my coffee. The routine never changes. Yet, sometimes it tastes like dirt and leaves - and not, like, really good dirt and leaves either - and sometimes, like this morning, it tastes like the ambrosial caffeinated nectar of the coffee gods. It is baffling and the only possible explanation is that there is a small mysterious creature in the coffee pot who occasionally wakes up and decides to grant me good coffee.

3. As you doubtless know by now, the second Snowpocalypse of the winter is almost upon us. It would have been way better if it had started last night, because then I would be at home right now, but, well, as long as it's apocalyptic enough to keep me home on Monday, okay, I'll deal. I guess. Having been through one Snowpocalypse already, I have mixed feelings about this one. Part of me has the usual excited I-am-nine-years-old-and-it-is-going-to-snow-whooooeeee! feeling and part of me has the newly discovered, post Snowpocalypse 09 I-am-over-forty-years-old-and-snow-is-a-royal-fucking-pain-in-the-ass feeling. However, I am prepared. I went to the Mart of Evil last night and got beer, frozen jalapeno poppers and several other useful items and then I went to Mr. K's used books and stocked up on stuff to read. I have at least seven projects in mind to do - realistically, I need a Snowpocalypse that lasts about two weeks to get them all done - and therefore I say, I'm ready, bring it on.

I cannot, however, get my son to believe in it. I remember when storms would threaten when I was a teenager and my parents would get all excited. My dad would turn on the special weather radio - his pride and joy, that thing - and start taping up the windows and filling the bathtubs with water and drinking vodka tonics and bellowing at his children about impending weather related doom and the importance of Being Prepared while my mother started inventorying the freezer and making shopping lists. Meanwhile, me, the teenage daughter, would roll her eyes and get the hell out as soon as possible because, like, they were so annoying, god, and made no sense, god, as if, it's just a stupid storm and it probably wasn't even going to happen anyway and, god, fuck this, I am so going over to my friend's because she has pot and a copy of Houses of the Holy. Oddly enough - can you imagine? - my teenager seems to react in a similar way when I start telling him to stay where he is, it's going to snow, don't drive that car, be careful and make sure you have bottled water, perhaps you should fill the bathtub. Kids. Go figure.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Last night Audrey and I went to Jack of the Wood for Quizzo. I did this last week too, with my friend Jodi who unfortunately was sick this week. Last week Jodi and I came in tied for seventh place, which we felt was quite respectable for a two person team among many, many teams composed of lots of extremely intelligent people who all knew more about Haiti and Switzerland than we did. Last night, our team of, um, nine or eleven I think - Heather and Aric and Zen, briefly, and Kyle and three people who I had never met before but who were all really cool and extremely smart - tied for third place yet somehow I do not feel brilliant. As Audrey and Kyle and I were driving away in the snow I said, "You know, coming in to this we thought we were pretty smart. But now we know that we is dumb as fuck."

And alas, so it is. We know nothing, it turns out, about popular music or sci fi TV shows from the 1950s or the Golden Globes or, well, much of anything. Basically, we were the comic relief, able to contribute answers only to questions about beer festivals in Asheville (and that's just because I was there, okay, proving that alcoholism has its points) and otherwise stumped. Except we is not all that damn dumb: Kyle totally got the shoutout question about who killed Darth Maul and Audrey got the abolitionist senator from Georgia, even though nobody believed her. Me, I got negative space.

The beer was excellent though and we, or at least me, will be doing it every single week for the next six because, goddamnit, I want to win that vacation to Fort Lauderdale, where I have never been. Granted, a team of eleven or thirty six or whatever people winning is going to make the hotel room a bit cramped - although the collective IQ will be breathtaking - but whatever; I want to go where it is warm. Wonderful as the photography has been around Asheville lately, what with the floods giving way to blizzards giving way to ice floes giving way to more floods, I could really see strolling on a beach in bare feet as a creatively interesting opportunity.

In other news, Django has proven yet again that he can get as wet and muddy as any three other dogs, a talent which you would think could be monetized somehow; Audrey is back from Charleston and I am tired. The fish are all still alive although I have not yet replaced the ones who died a while back. I can't remember if I mentioned this, but the fishtank, we thought for a while, was cursed. It seems to be kind of less cursed at the minute but that does not mean that it is not, actually. It could still be The FishTank of Doom, the Haunted FishTank of Lore, in which fish mysteriously die from no apparent causes, secretly murdered by a vengeful and finny ghost, but without a few more gory deaths, the probability seems to be lessening. I didn't, after all, buy the damn thing from one of those funny small fish shops that appear and disappear in the alleys of fog shrouded major cities.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Nostalgia Fest 2010

I've spent this entire dark rainy day organizing 2007 and 2008, a strange and possibly pointless task. You see, I launched a giant project about a week or so ago when I decided that it kind of sucked not having actual photo albums. For many years I was completely obsessive about my photo albums - I would get film developed and immediately put it in meticulously ordered albums. I have one for every year from about 1990 (I was too busy having fun in the 80s to give a shit about photography) on, right up to the advent of my first digital camera in 2005. That was when I decided it would be okay just to look at pictures on Flickr because, hey, times had changed and who needs hard copies?

Well. It is not okay, really, and I turn out to need hard copies and so I went ahead and made a photo book of 2009, using Snapfish, who I am happy to recommend. I picked pretty much only images with people in them and ignored art (art can take care of itself - people look at photo albums to see themselves, not some dumbass landscape full of mist.) I was planning to do the same for 06, 07 and 08, or, that is, I was planning it until I got to the checkout, where I was greeted with a crash course in fiscal responsibility and so I decided to do it the old fashioned way.

Yes, of course it is really hardly any less expensive to order prints of all the album worthy photos from three whole years, running at around 230 photos per year, and then go buy old fashioned albums from Target, but, well, it was slightly cheaper. Slightly Cheaper! That's my mantra! I had this idea that when the prints came they would be all neatly organized in the same order in which they were uploaded. Ha ha! I am naive! No, what I got was a box of roughly 600 photos all mixed together and so I have had to sort them by year and by month, using a page of thumbnails as a guide and I am here to tell you that that whole process took about 16 straight hours. My eyes are bleary but everything is done except 2008. 2006 is in a pretty album with a cheesy quote on the front; 2007 is in a nice green album, 2009 was all done online and arrived with a classy purple linen cover and 2008 is going to be black.

It's been interesting, going through each year like this. 2006 was not, it turns out, such a bad year. 2007 was completely insane; a roller coaster year of extremes and craziness and loss and passion and madness and at the time, of course, I thought it was terrible. That was before I realized that the worst 2007 had to offer was equivalent to the best days of 2008. I cannot say much kind about 2008 except that it is thankfully well over and it made me appreciate 2009, a year in which not much happened and, most importantly, nobody I love died. 2009 was okay. It was just fine. Nobody died and it turns out that that is really fucking important, possibly the only ultra important metric, when you go to measuring up years.

In other news, Susan and I went to the Riverlink fundraiser Brews Cruise Winter Warmer yesterday afternoon/evening and it was really fun. We had some great beer and some not so great beer and met some cool new people and I braved the food line and got oysters, yay, and lowcountry boil, even more yay in a way, for my trouble. Then we went to LAB, the incredibly trendy cool new place on Lexington which was, yes, trendy and cool, with exciting curvilinear walls and changing colored lights and a betta in a big jar on the bar and, yeah, it was nifty and the beer is good and perhaps I will return someday in the future when I'm more trendalicious. One can always hope.

Friday, January 22, 2010

yet another photo of sunrise over the french broad river

Well, here it is Friday evening and I'm at work, where I'm tallying up people who are wandering into the museum in between listening to jazz. It's kind of restful, actually. Tomorrow I'm going to the winter warmer brew fest, which is thoroughly awesome, because I won tickets and so it means free beer, which is one of my very, very favorite things. Also, oysters, another favorite thing.

How did I win tickets? Well. This is mildly embarrassing, but the truth is that I entered by signing up for a profile at the Mountain Express' personals site, which is still in its infancy, so the odds on me being the one to win the tickets were good - I mean, like one out of eight good. Odds I can get behind! And, so, for the price of free beer and oysters, here I am on another dating site. Nobody so far has contacted me - well, to be fair they've only got about eight people on the site - but I have high hopes.

I don't know why the hell I have these hopes, high or low as the case may be, since I've never had any luck at all on dating sites and in the last few years it's only gotten worse. It used to be that I would at least go out on some awkward and unhappy dates or once in a great while meet somebody who was kind of interesting a couple of times, but as my age advances so do my contacts diminish, until finally nobody wants to meet me except a polygamous bisexual transvestite truck driver from Atlanta, who, to be fair, was thoroughly charming and it's probably too bad that I am so narrow minded and square. See, I don't do long distance anymore. I also no longer date people who are more than 15 years older than me - the other demographic who occasionally makes a halfhearted flirtatious gesture my way - because I'm just getting too old for that nonsense.

We'll see. I have this New Years Resolution - I'll give you a hint: I've already done resolutions in other years that had to do with drugs (do more) and rock n' roll (go to more shows) - and there's only eleven months left, here. You see, my involuntary sanctity has grown wearisome: the poverty, chastity and obedience (to the dogs, I think, I can't quite figure that one out otherwise) thing is getting on my nerves. Ergo, dating sites.

While I'm bitching about that, let me add that poverty too is overrated: I'm looking for some freelance work if you know of any. I can write, more or less, and I also know my way around a spreadsheet. I need a bit more income - in the new century, one job is not enough - as well as the occasional date.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Big Doin's on Riverview Drive Last Night

patton avenue sunset
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Last night started out to be a quiet and ordinary night. My demon son was supposed to meet me at home at 6:00 - I got home just in time after acquiring a carton of cigarettes, a case of cheap beer and a giant bag of dog food at Sam's Club, which made me wonder, as I packed it all into the car, just when I had turned completely into a redneck - and of course he did not. Audrey got home around 8:00 and was about to eat dinner while I, in my cozy I-am-not-leaving-the-house uniform of ghastly yoga pants and thermal shirt and one of my dad's old giant flannel shirts, was curled up in the big chair with a bottle of seltzer and a copy of The Borribles. Suddenly there was a huge thump thump BOOM and the power went out.

"What the fuck?" we said and then I said, "Maybe a transformer exploded," but Audrey, quicker to the draw, said,
"That was a car accident. Oh god what if it's Miles?"

This is not something anyone as a parent wants to contemplate. So we grabbed flashlights and took off running up the street, passing downed power lines and other neighbors emitting cries of alarm and found a pickup on its side in a neighbor's front yard, wheels still spinning and, incongruously, a banjo lying nearby, apparently flung from the wreck. One car looks much like another from underneath in the dark and I could not bear to check too closely to see if it was anyone I knew but Audrey is more intrepid and she investigated further. Turns out the pickup had smashed into two cars on its fast and lurching way down the hill (note that there was no screech of brakes before the thump thump BOOM) and then taken out a whole electric pole before flipping into the neighbor's yard, where it handily removed all their landscaping, garden fence and satellite dish before coming to rest on its side.

The neighbors said that two people who had been in the truck apparently kicked out the windshield and disappeared. They were reasoning, I suppose, that they didn't want to be found lying there on the ground with all the liquor bottles that had also spilled out of the cab. Not to mention the banjo. I can't believe they were hale enough to make it out of the truck; it seemed as if they must be badly hurt. All night there were cops with flashlights going through the woods around my house - these are thick and brushy woods, by the way: if the driver got away, he or she definitely has the world's worst case of poison ivy by now - but I don't know if they ever caught them.

It is a fucking miracle that they or someone else - a dogwalker, another driver, a child - was not killed.

Meanwhile, people kept trying to drive up the street, so I went with my flashlight and directed traffic for a while, turning cars around and telling them what had happened. You'd be surprised at how many people don't get that driving right over downed live power lines is not at all a good idea. Then the emergency people showed up: police and firefighters and eventually the power company. The firefighters blocked the road off right at my house with cones and a flashing truck so that for the next two hours being in my house was like being in some strange and terrible disco. It's a good thing we don't have epilepsy; standing outside was strobe city.

Eventually they moved on up the road to block it a little closer to the actual scene. Then the wreckers came and four big power company trucks and Audrey and I and two of our neighbors stood outside and drank beer and talked and continued directing traffic, since people kept right on speeding up the road. I should have known, but I was surprised at just how fast many people were going as they came up my street. I knew in an abstract way that people speed like crazy but getting up close and personal with it last night was quite eye opening. Lady in the old Subaru wagon, I saw you and if I ever see you again I will kick your ass and I am not kidding at all, not one little bit. If I'd gotten your license plate number I would have turned you in already. You nearly killed me and three other people. Do not drive 55 fucking miles an hour on a narrow windy residential street with a speed limit of 25 mph and if you do, for Christ's sake pay attention to the fact that there are people in the middle of the road shouting and waving flashlights at you, not to mention cop cars and ambulances and fire engines and power company trucks, all flashing more lights than a space shuttle launch, about 200 yards ahead.

That was all exciting but then we went inside and played yahtzee and gin rummy by candlelight (I am going to dump every stupid vanilla candle directly in the trash, yes, and get some unscented ones) and it got dull so we went to bed in the dark, dark, quiet, quiet house. Naturally the power came back on around 2 in the morning and with it all the lights and the music and everything so I staggered up and turned everything off and went back to bed, as a consequence of which I am a bit bleary eyed this morning. Bleary eyed or not, though, I have already fired off an email to my city council member friend pleading for speed bumps. Actually, if you are from Asheville, I am going to ask you to do the same. I was against them myself until last night but I have changed my mind in a major way. Seriously, my road is very unsafe and something needs to be done and done fast before somebody does get killed and comic relief notes like the banjo and the liquor bottles are just not funny anymore.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Weekend Update News Team

Let us all now give thanks to St. Martin Luther King Jr. for this day off. Here it is 9:45 in the morning and I am not at work, hurrah, no, I am wandering around my house thinking about repotting plants and trying to keep myself from sinking down into the big comfy chair and reading all day, which is what I've been doing all weekend between baking cakes, battling hangovers and coddling my right foot, which, it turns out, has something awful yet common called acute planar fasciitis. You can google that yourself - every time I start looking at the diagrams of feet on the results my foot seizes up and I start to twitch and moan. It's painful as hell and if that wasn't enough, take my word for this: you never, ever, ever want to allow a strange, skinny old foot doctor to shoot steroids directly into the sole of your foot. No. You don't. But it's slowly getting better and today I'm going to clean up the whole house and take the dogs hiking, or at least that's the plan until one of my children thinks up something else that I must do immediately.

Probably that will be giving my son driving practice, a terrifying procedure. He is not actually a bad driver for a beginner but still there is nothing quite like the pure fear experienced by the parents of beginning drivers to get the old adrenaline racing and the heart attack looming ominously. "It doesn't help when you scream!" he says indignantly and of course he's right, it doesn't help, but hey, it's hardwired into the primitive brain: ancient cave mother must scream equally when a sabertooth lands in front of her and when ancient cave son, driving around narrow streets in ancient cave Buick, accelerates over 20 miles per hour.

The weekend was great: Friday evening I went to the Admiral to sit outside and drink beer with Susan, Zen, Helen and Kyle. Let us all now praise St. Martin again for the clement weather in which you can actually sit outside the Admiral and drink beer at least until the sun goes down and the frost tigers come out. Once that happened we went on over to Susan's house to drink more beer with Jodi and Jay. It was probably too much beer, but, whatever, I kept thinking: all I have to do tomorrow is bake a cake. That's it.

And that was all I did on Saturday: bake a cake. A two layer chocolate devil's food cake with mocha whiskey cream cheese icing, so there. Then it was time for the Capricorn birthday party at Annie's, where there was much merriment and we celebrated Annie's and Bill's and Audrey's and Dianna's birthday party with a giant spread of Chinese food, more beer and the aforementioned cake. Capricorns are all about cake. It says so in the astrology books.

Yesterday I did nothing but read and eat cake. I did make it over to the fabric store because I have these plans to make a skirt and, then, gods help me, I went into that big new used book store by River Ridge, where I bought a bunch of books and am immersing myself happily in them. I'm reading a Peter S. Beagle book called Avicenna which I'm not sure whether I've read before - I would have sworn that at some point I had read every single thing he has ever written, probably twice - but if I did I don't remember it and so it is amazing. And I read a book called Thraxas which was hilarious and terrific as well and I read a Megan Lindholm book called The Windsingers as well as finishing up Cecilia Dart-Thornton's book Weatherwitch, which, I'm sorry to say, Cecilia, was not so terrific because, among other things, it's annoying to have struggled through three whole books full of forsooths and lists and ballads only to stumble upon a plot in the last 100 pages of the third book.

However, I do have one piece of real news: I have heat! Heat! Yes! The iBoiler is cranking away and it's a little disconcerting, actually. All winter walking around my house has been like swimming across a lake: there are pockets of warm and pockets of cold. Now, though, it's just all warm everywhere and I don't even really need fuzzy socks. I fear I will grow soft and weak. I probably will grow soft and weak - in fact, I am already soft and weak if we get right down to it - and that should be a fairly awesome and warm process.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


audrey pensive
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
It is this child's birthday today and she is whoa very old - 27 - which makes me very old as well. We - the daughter, the son and me - went to Zambras and had tapas and a bottle of wine and it was lovely. And Audrey got carded on her 27th birthday and she is flying high on that one as would we all be.

I cannot believe it has been 27 years since I carried that baby with a shock of thick black hair home from the hospital. I wasn't sure why they were letting teenage me leave the hospital with a baby when I knew nothing about babies - my ex husband whispered, "They haven't asked us for any money yet. Do you think we can do this for free? Birth and boogie?" - and yet we made it: here she is and she is wonderful. I am proud and amazed and now that all these years have passed she's my best friend and that too is amazing. And not much has changed: she woke up this morning and complained that Django was between the mattress and the wall and it was more or less the same as when she woke up around age 7 and complained that Andy the cat was on her face: "I opened my eyes and all I could see was fur!"

Well. This parenthood thing. I am the richer for it and, I believe, so is the world. This is my daughter, who works with the kids that most of us never see or know about, who spends her life making sure that children with all kinds of disabilities get a little better every day. I am so proud of her I could burst and today she is 27.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ice is Beautiful But Really I'm Over It

dramatic extension
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I managed to take the dogs out for a run at Hominy Creek this morning - the first time since we were all transported to the Arctic. I took a whole bunch of pictures which you can see on Flickr and they are terrific, wonderful, great pictures - of ice. I was sort of squatting on the ice (this was okay, because I was wearing two pairs of overalls and two pairs of socks and a peruvian ski sweater and a coat and a muffler and two hats and a pair of gloves and a pair of mittens, so although it was somewhat difficult to actually, you know, move, I was nonetheless warm) taking these pictures and thinking, as one does at these times, about how great the pictures were going to be and what a compositional goddamn genius I am and stuff like that when suddenly it occurred to me, "What if I become famous for ice pictures? And my ice pictures are world renowned and National Geographic hires me to go around taking more pictures of ice? And they send me to Antarctica and Greenland and Siberia and, I don't know, maybe Maggie Valley? That would SUCK." I considered ditching all the pictures at this point just to keep the fame at bay but I didn't. You have to suffer for your art so here they are, ice pictures, with the first 16 or so on that page from this morning. I'm not going to Greenland, National Geographic. You can beg but forget it, I want to go to Hawaii instead.

Chances are I'm not going to Hawaii any time soon, but I do get out: we are supposed to go to Hendersonville this evening to pick up my son's new car. Yes, we finally agreed on a car. It is super fancy and green and I probably am paying too much money for it but fuck it, it felt safe and easy to drive and I couldn't take another day of car hunting. I didn't even blog about the car that stalled out on me five times in ten minutes and now hopefully I can consign that particular gruesome memory to oblivion. It's a shame you can't specify which memories to keep and which to lose but drugs just never work that way, or at least the ones I take.

However! This is about Hendersonville, not drugs! What a pity! Still. I don't know if we're going to make it because a) it's snowing again, of course, see point 1, above, "We All Live In the Arctic Now" and b) my right foot has decided to be broken. I didn't do anything, I swear, to prompt this decision on the part of my foot; it made the choice all by itself without me even getting the fun of falling down or jumping around but, whatever, it's been getting worse all day and now I'm not even sure I can hobble the three blocks to the bank or my car. I have made an appointment with a doctor for the morning, which is terrifying, since I usually wait until I'm about better to give up and go to the doctor. I did go to the dermatologist week before last for some bumps on my forehead that had gone away; he confirmed that they were, indeed, gone and told me I had very fair skin. "No!" I said, looking shocked. (I didn't, actually, say this but I wanted to.)

I don't go to doctors much and the last (and only) time I went to a podiatrist was in Baltimore about 15 years ago. That podiatrist was located inside a funeral home, which I thought then and think now was a handy location in case something during the course of the removal of my plantar wart went terribly, horribly wrong. This one is apparently located next to the permanent makeup cosmetic surgery clinic, so if the foot prognosis is bad I'll just hop over and get some permanent eyeliner and maybe a face lift to cheer me up.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Quick News Bites!

meet my fish 2
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
1. Look, the fish are still alive! But the dogs ate the fish food - dogs love fish food; I know this, but I still left it where they could get it. I wonder if I can feed the fish tiny bits of Italian sausage or something until I make it back to the pet store? The fish food, by the way, was excitingly multi colored and all in tiny perfect circles as if somebody had cut it out of huge sheets of fish food with a hand held hole punch, sort of the way I think political prisoners make confetti in dank extraplanetary dungeons. That's why you shouldn't buy confetti, by the way, it's all just too ironic: all those prisoners, the dungeon, the sheets of happy colored paper, the hole punch and the dismal thought of all the parties with confetti that those prisoners just won't be attending, because they never use confetti in extraplanetary prisons, even on the guards' birthdays. Maybe they throw fish food sometimes.

2. Audrey is almost totally all moved out of her house. Yesterday we went over and packed the last stuff (including many of my books) into boxes. There is no heat at her old house and it's difficult to pack boxes while wearing giant fuzzy yeti paw mittens, but all tasks are manageable if you do them with a bloody mary in a Sigg bottle.

3. Annie is 81! I made a chocolate cake on Saturday and took it over there on Sunday for her.

4. The furnace guy came! Hurrah! I wasn't here but fortunately Adam, who is turning the downstairs room into a really snazzy little apartment, first for Audrey and eventually for rent, was, which was handy, since he let them in. The new boiler is here and it is tiny, tiny, tiny. If it was pink, it would look like a Barbie furnace. Barbie dream house needs an expensive Barbie dream condensing boiler! It is literally about 1/3 the size of the old boiler and I'm not sure if that's good or not. I suppose it is good, but when you are spending that much money on something, you kind of want it to be hulking and gigantic. I suppose instead I must settle for it being dauntingly high tech and I guess it is - furnace by Apple. iBoiler! Holds MP3s, annoying ringtones and warms up the house.

5. I also made a really strange coffee cake. It turns out that if you have a recipe for coffee cake that asks for one type of seasonal fresh fruit and it's January when nothing is fresh except possibly raisins so you decide to go ahead and dump a year old bag of frozen mixed fruit into the batter, you may have made a culinary error. What you get is a kind of Martian coffee cake: it's not bad, exactly, it's just very, very strange. It also turns out that there's a reason people hardly ever cook whole grapes and chunks of honeydew melon and that reason is that they become quite unsettling when cooked. Quite.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Last night I got home in the freezing cold - yeah, did I mention that I, along with the rest of Asheville and indeed WNC, have magically been transported to the Land of Eternal Icy Fucking Cold Where It's Too Goddamn Cold to Do Anything Except Whine? - and after I had thought up that evenings entree and popped it into the oven to become not particularly good, I decided that my fish were lonely. My fish. Yeah, I have fish now. Three dogs, one cat, two theoretically grown up kids, thirteen fish and me, the partridge in the pear tree or some similarly Seussian character, if there is a Seussian character in a red fleece bathrobe - it's too cold even for my usual winter wardrobe of various layers of mismatched plaid flannel - with a bottle of beer in one hand and an epic fantasy novel in the other.

I only had two fish before last night. Annie had had eight fish, as recounted elsewhere in this blog, but when the aquarium got to me, there were only two fish in a tin bowl. I have figured out where the other six fish went and I hereby offer a heartfelt apology to their ghosts, their families and the god of small fish: I am very sorry, fish, and I promise I will never, ever again attempt to assemble an aquarium pump and filter after drinking the better part of two bottles of wine at Christmas dinner. Those fish went up into the filter with the sort of results you see in video games where the hero has to make it through one of those large industrial sized fans. Yeah. Well. Let's gloss over that bit - I fixed it; it's not a fish killer anymore - and hope that the resultant chum at the bottom of the tank is actually making the aquarium all, um, bio and stuff. Healthy.

So yesterday I went off to the fish store with Audrey. Not the good fish store - they might remember me from the purchase of the dearly departed and I didn't want to be greeted with shouts of Murderer! Fish killer! - but the big giant chain fish store that ends with Z and affects signage that uses Z to pluralize, as in, Dog Foodz! Accessoriez! Eee. However, the lady there was extremely knowledgeable and helped us find the kind of fish who will hopefully live in fishy peace and harmony. Did you know they have invented new fish recently? Egads, yes, they have and they glow in black light, as all artificial beings must, by law. They're called Glo Fish and they are extremely cool in a freaky, Spencer Gifts, black velvet kind of way. I would have gotten them, so that I could enjoy the spectacle of tiny swimming chips of day glo paint but since they cost like $6.50 each and you really need about ten to get the full effect, I opted for old fashioned glowing fish: neon tetras. I like neon tetras, who have nifty stripes. And orange platys, both male and female in the hope or fear that they will lead to more fish and, to top it off, a couple of some kind of sword tailed dalmatian something or other, because they are so elegant.

Then we had to get decor. There is a lot of decor available for fish, let me tell you, more, in fact, than in your average home decor store for humans and far more interesting. I want my living room as well as my aquarium done in faux castles with holes in them and tacky pirate chests and big plastic broken faux amphorae, actually, but alas, I ended up opting for a rock with holes in it. It's a tasteful rock with holes in it - holes are key for fish; they have to swim through them so you can exclaim "Look! He swam through the hole!" - but I'm having a little buyer's remorse, in that I actually just spent $10 on a rock with holes in it. Oh well. Anything to appease the fish ghosts! The living fish are living in fish paradise so that I won't be haunted by swimming ghosts, which is all well and good, and the sound of the bubbling water is restful and calming, or it would be if I didn't keep waking up, sitting up bolt upright and thinking that I'm actually hearing the restful bubbling of broken pipes.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Furnaces and Bedazzlers

snow trees river
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I STILL HAVE NO HEAT. And I'm extremely goddamn pissed off about it, actually, and tonight I'm going to find the contract I have with the boiler guy and if it is not ironclad I am opting the fuck OUT of it. He had the nerve to tell me this morning, right after the radio intoned that it was -3 degrees with the windchill, that he couldn't possibly make it to my house this week, since this was an emergency situation and he had a lot of people without heat. OF WHOM I AM ONE, I shouted, and then he said he would loan me a space heater. Fine, asshole. It will replace the one that got ruined last night WHEN THE PIPES FROZE AND BURST AND FLOODED DOWNSTAIRS.

However I cannot talk about that anymore since I start to clench up and shake and then I need to go outside and smoke a cigarette and either drink a shot of whiskey or walk around in circles telling myself to be calm, be calm. Preferably both and since it's too cold to go outside, I will instead change the subject. To bedazzlers, of course.

Audrey and I went to Ross Dress for Less for some retail therapy last week and it was very fun, as it always is. Part of the fun of Ross Dress for Less is going through the racks picking up the most unbelievably hideous thing you can and suggesting it to your shopping companion as something they might like with the straightest face you can muster, which is often not all that straight. This game is improved by the fact that you will find something even more hideous in less than two minutes and then hold that up, etc. However, last week we were forced to admit defeat. There was just too much hideousity for it all to be properly admired.
"What the hell is going on in fashion school nowadays?" asked my daughter as we pondered a green blouse that would have been okay without the Giant Mystic Stones of Power glued haphazardly around the neckline.
"I don't know," I said, admiring the rhinestone Ring of Shininess on the collar of yet another formerly inoffensive top, "But I think they must only be admitting coke addicted twelve year olds with Bedazzlers."

That is probably the sin that led to me having a dream a couple of nights later that I was an incredibly cool art student with a bunch of other incredibly cool art students who were - wait for it - in line for a really cool Asian restaurant! Yes! Even in my dreams I can't get in for good food right away. I was nicely dressed though and in the morning I felt all happy about my beautifully dressed dreamworld self until I started thinking in an awake way about what my subconscious evidently considers the ne plus ultra in high fashion: a handmade black denim vest (and by handmade I mean somebody tore the sleeves off a black denim jacket) with a handpainted picture of John Lennon on it. A big picture of John Lennon weeping red fingernail polish tears of blood, all surrounded by enough glitter and rhinestones to put all of Ross Dress for Less to shame.

Go dream me, go! Time might have taken me out of the worst parts of the 80s (I want my pink Fiorucci skirt back someday, I really do, and my elf boots) but apparently my heart is still right back there with a bedazzler and a jar of fingernail polish.

Sunday, January 03, 2010


no loiterin
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
It's cold outside. It's so fucking cold here, actually, that it is colder than it is in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, the town which has been my personal touchstone for over the top coldness since my friend Alia, who used to live there, called in early October to report that it was 13 degrees and snowing. Hah! 13 degrees! It is as nothing! It was below 0 this morning here - and it is not supposed to improve. Hell, it was around 50 in my house - remember that I have no real heat, only electric space heaters and weep with me now while I reveal that my December electric bill was for $200 - and I couldn't even drag myself out of bed to start baking for several hours. Tomorrow I have to go back to work after my delightful stresscation and I'm not sure if I can face 7:00 am and below freezing. This is ridiculous.

On the other hand, the furnace guy is supposed to show up tomorrow morning! Wheee! I'll believe it when I see it. I also hope the furnace doesn't take a week to install. Last night the pipes going to the washer froze and so I have had to sacrifice one space heater to the stupid insane outside plumbing closet (genius idea of the previous owners of my house, aka the Krazy Karpenters) in order to safeguard the rest of the pipes. That means it will be even colder in here come Monday. I can hardly wait,.

In other,scattered and disjointed, news, Susan had a lovely New Years Eve party which was tons of fun from which I am only slowly recovering even still; to combat the cold I have been baking again - healthy cookies, among other things, much to the disappointment of my children and actually they are far too healthy, it is true - and so what with that, all the beer and the party food, I am well on my way to storing up enough fat to make it through the three months of hibernation I believe I need right around now. The fish are still alive and the aquarium looks nice; I would like to get more fish but I am afraid that they would freeze on their way across the parking lot from the store to my car. Audrey should be all moved out of her house by the end of next week thanks to Adam and, last but not at all least, my friend Ray has invited me to Charleston to see Flogging Molly in February and I think I will go. Happy New Year again! One great thing about this weather is that I can't leave the house to spend any money!