Friday, January 31, 2014

Anne McCaffrey Poser

I am up at 4:00 am, because I fell asleep at 8:00 last night. I know--behold! The glamour!

So, of course at this hour, when insomniacing, the only thing to do is pretend to be Anne McCaffrey. I mean: it just wouldn't make sense to do anything else. Certainly not start texting some ex-House Guest and tell her I miss her. Because I have no desire to do that. Just so we're clear.

Anne McCaffrey was a fantasy writer, and I'm reading her trilogy The Dragonriders of Pern because all my kids are reading Eragon, which is supposed to be derivative of McCaffrey. Only I don't think the dude who wrote Eragon did a very good job of imitating her. This is where I come in, providing a more acceptable (if brief) imitation. At 4:00 am, no less! Am I a hero, or what? I don't know what you people were using for Anne McCaffrey poser scenes before, but I know you're sure glad I showed up to fix it.

McCaffrey did this neat future/past thing, in which humanity on Earth is hundreds of years in the future and has launched a colony in a different galaxy. The genius part is that the people who are in the colony slowly lose touch and lose their technology and, over the course of many generations, forget they came from Earth, forget how they got there, forget all sorts of shit, until they are running around with swords instead of lasers, and mythologizing all the science. I don't know what happens to their space ship. Erosion, perhaps? Or maybe they just think it's some weird kind of rock.

The people on Pern also keep forgetting this thing that happens every 200-400 years and almost destroys all life on the planet (because that's not important to remember). They write ballads and stories and shit to try to remember it and how to protect themselves, but as more time passes, they begin to think their crazy grandmas made the whole thing up. This happens again and again. 

Anne McCaffrey evidently thought we are a forgetful race, would lose our heads if not attached to bodies, etc. Also, she used IKEA names, and there is lots of political intrigue that makes no sense, and the whole thing reads like a Harlequin romance. Here is my version:

Bronsk evaluated T'haan's hold, deciding quickly that its defenses were significant. No matter. It would all be solved with a bit of dragon fire. The time was not right for such obvious conflict, though. T'haan had not yet insulted Bronsk outright.

"Your east-facing gardens are a violation of the traditions," Bronsk said.

His eyes flashed dangerously.

"I see," T'haan's expression was unreadable. He turned his face to the sky. 

Bronsk chaffed at the scandalous insult, his hand floating towards his scabbard. There was a hush between the men, for a moment.

"Your women are quite beautiful," Bronsk continued. "But they speak as if they have been made meek."

T'haan bristled at this assessment. "I am sorry they are not to your liking," he countered. "Please, stay until the next moon phase, and we will make ourselves more hospitable to you."

"Thank you," replied Bronsk, impulsively deciding to call T'haan's bluff, "I will." He smiled amiably. 

T'haan colored. He led Bronsk back into the hold, his steps pounding out his rage.
When they arrived at the chambers where Bronsk would stay, C'fir arrived, whispering something to T'haan.

"Please excuse us," said T'haan. "We hope you enjoy the sunset." He turned to go.

Bronsk was appalled at this egregious insult. Enjoy the sunset, indeed! His temper surged. He knew, in that instant, that waiting longer would be foolish. He drew his sword. C'fir leapt back, and the other two began to circle each other. T'haan was larger than Bronsk, and struck first. But Bronsk had been more thoroughly insulted, and his fury leant him strength.

And so on. . .

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Fake Advice Column

Dear Fake Advice Column,
Recently, I ran into my old college roommate at the park. She had two babies! But, only one of them was cute. We chatted for a bit, and as we were saying goodbye, I said, "your baby is adorable, by the way." I kinda tried to slur a little, so she'd think I said "babies" and not be upset, but she just seemed to think I was drunk. What would you have done?
Two Babies, One Cute

Dear Two,
Fake Advice Colomn

Dear Fake Advice Column,
Really? Even if one was incredibly homely, and there was no way she could ever believe anyone who called him cute?
Two Babies, One Cute

Dear Two,
Yes, really, you dumbass.
Fake Advice Column
Dear Fake Advice Column,
I have been using an online dating service. I notice that everyone seems to believe they are good in bed. How can that be? How is there good with no bad? Don't these opposites define one another? If everyone is good in bed, how can anyone be good in bed? Wouldn't we all just be the same, then?
Good in Bed

Dear Good in Bed,
People suck. There are a zillion who are crappy in bed, but they don't know it. They all think they're good, and they're all running around humble bragging about it -- "I've never had any complaints" and that kind of thing. 

To which Fake Advice Column says, "never seems rather unlikely, if you're actually having sex. So, perhaps you weren't listening because you're a self-absorbed wanker."

I, personally, will not go out with anyone who claims to be good in bed because if they think that, they probably won't listen to suggestions. Plus, being indiscreet about how good you are in bed is just cheesy.
Fake Advice Column
Dear Fake Advice Column,
I go to the deli every day and order a sandwich for lunch. Every day, the people who make the sandwich put cheese on it, even though I tell them please, no. The people in this country seem incapable of understanding that a person might dislike cheese. Wtf? I feel completely marginalized! Is too much to ask that they not put cheese on my sandwich? And if it is, why don't they just say, "look, it's too hard," so that I don't have my hopes dashed every single day?
No Cheese

Dear No Cheese,
You've got to be kidding.
Fake Advice Column

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pot Rack!, Video Games, Big

I have this former House Guest, which is, of course, someone who used to visit my house, and nothing more or less. I would certainly never use a euphemism. Heaven forfend!

So, my ex-House Guest and I aren't really speaking because I still want her to be my House Guest, and she can't or doesn't want to or something. There was lots of misery and drama, so we don't talk.

Last night I was watching "The Good Wife" with B. I dunno if you people saw it. It was pretty heartbreaking, the way Will seemed so bitter and vicious and wanted to destroy Peter to get back at Alicia after they'd had such a grand love. If you don't watch the show, I can't help you. Try to keep up. Anyway, I was upset.

"Oh, boo-hoo-hoo!" I said to B. (I did not actually cry.) "I don't want Big (not her real name, but we'll stick with the Chris Noth connection) and I to be like that. We're not like that, are we?"

"No," B said, reassuringly. "Big isn't like that."

She's very good at House Guest support.

"I know we're a hot mess," I sniffled. Okay, maybe I did cry a little, but to be fair, I'd wept for half an hour over "Flowers in the Attic" (on Lifetime) the night before.

"Couldn't we be Cary and Kalinda -- just sort of hostile, but not necessarily On The Path To Destruction?" I wailed. "I don't want to be vicious enemies for all of our remaining days!"

Plus, Cary and Kalinda are hotter, and at the end of the episode, they have a drink. I want to have a drink, one day, with Big! I would be Cary, btw, or Will, if we have to be those two. Big is Kalinda/Alicia. I know you must be wondering who is who. But Cary is all hot and stoic, and Will is all sexy and surly. I am not stoic or surly at all. Sigh. Also, I'm not a super-hot, famous actor. I don't look like Cary or Kalinda, or Will or Alicia, or even Sarah Jessica Parker or Chris Noth. I am a regular person, and I spill on my shirt almost every day! I've never seen any of those people spill anything on their person, either in real or pretend. TV realism? Bullshit.

The point is, maybe Big doesn't even want me as her ex-House Guest-she-no-longer-speaks-to. Maybe she wants someone hotter, or more stoic or surly, or someone who is busy scheming, like Cary or Will, instead of someone who is busy crying over dumb tv and playing video games, like me. I can't even act right as an angry ex-House Guest!

Speaking of video games, I have this new one, and it was free. So, of course it advertises to me. I don't think it understands me, though. It thinks I want to watch Hulu (I'm a Netflix/Prime grrl),

visit a spa in Tuscany (ok, who doesn't?),

and recover from my oxycodone addiction, which I developed due to my repeated video game failures. 

Also, it thinks I want to play slot machine games, which are so unrelated to the games I play that I do not know what to do. Whatever, ad people. Misunderstood, as always, am I.

Before you get the wrong idea, I should tell you that the vast majority of my House Guests, former House Guests, sometimes House Guests, and almost House Guests and I are quite friendly. JJ was an almost House Guest and comes over every Friday for ping pong and sleeps in the guest room because it is always too late, and we are always too tipsy. Mara and I have never exchanged a harsh word. And Casey, who is no longer my House Guest, still comes over sometimes and is perfectly lovely.

I'm not one of those people who just can't get along. But I am stuck when it comes to Big. Sort of like when I was stuck with this pot rack I ordered from Amazon years ago. I wanted it up, but the place I wanted it had an a/c shaft, and I couldn't drill into it. My stud finder kept thinking the a/c shaft was a ceiling joist, and I kept believing it, and no amount of beer or country music could get that pot rack up. Then, on Saturday, post ping pong, I said to JJ, "Dude, get up. Help me with my pot rack."

JJ was game, and we went to Homo Depot. I gave up on the ceiling joists and bought some anchors. I tried to avoid the places my stud finder wanted me to drill into, thus dodging the a/c vent, and voila:

I just looked up my Amazon order history, and I've been trying to hang that pot rack since June 3, 2011. Maybe in a few years, I will get unstuck with Big, too.

Until then, we're Cary and Kalinda. Nobody is on a Path Of Destruction. We're misaligned, not vicious. Why, just yesterday, she liked a picture of me on Facebook: clearly, our loyalty is deep and true.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Carpet Pad

I don't know if you will recall we had a burst pipe three weeks ago. Luckily, we rent. So the dudes came and ripped up the carpet and put fans under it and punched a hole in the ceiling and pointed a fan at that, too, and then they brought this enormous heat lamp and aimed it somewhere in our bedroom. It was 105 degrees in there, and so we turned off the heat (yo, geniuses) and slept in the guest room.


Today, they came back to repair the hole they'd punched, and painted various things. There was a new layer of dust on everything, and I do not know why. Why is painting dust-causing? There is no dust in paint! I do not understand.

In this process, they've ripped up the carpet, both upstairs and down, and taken out the carpet pad, which was wet. They allegedly disposed of it, but Ari and I keep finding pieces of it. We are both terrified. The first time he saw a piece, he pointed at it and said, almost in tears, "Mommy, make that go away!"

I swooped in like the heroic mommy I am, only to find that I was equally terrified. I didn't know what it was, but I didn't like the colors. I didn't like the texture or the shape or the size. I was yucked. I said to Ari. "Bunny, let's just go upstairs. We'll wait 'til other mommy gets home to deal with it."

I have since learned two things:
1) It is carpet pad.
2) B is not afraid.

Thank goodness! Because this carpet, I forgot to mention, was new--installed maybe two months before the pipe burst. So, we've been exposed to carpet pad 2x. Left over from the install, and ripped up from the pipe.

Ari and I are beside ourselves. B is undisturbed. How can this be?

"How are you so brave?" I ask her, in awe. "Are you human?"

Maybe it's genetic. Great. I gave my kid carpet pad phobia.

Whenever Ari sees a piece, he freezes, which he almost never ever does (ADHD) and gets teary. I squeal like a little girl and leap into the air, usually spilling something. B, because she is awesome, always comes and removes it, but today! She put it on the counter instead of what I asked her to do, which was to put it at the bottom of a long, dark tunnel where I shall never happen upon it. When I saw it again, I almost punched her. You have no idea the fear, I tell you. I have nightmares. Here is a picture:

Maybe you'd be scared, too?

Friday, January 24, 2014


1) leaving house at 5:30 AM when is 7 degrees out:

Ok. So it warmed up a little on the drive.

2) allowing web site for ordering pre-school graduation pics to be broken:

Seriously, are these people trying to start a riot?

3) manufacturing a garage door opener that doesn't work when it freezes. Like, duh. Right?

Monday, January 13, 2014


One of my BFFs, Everett, has a squirrel issue. I do not know what, in particular, the squirrel does that bothers Ev, but whatever it is, he doesn't like it. It is Something Serious. I know this because once when Everett told me about the squirrel, he started talking about guns. It was only an air rifle (poor, Yankee Ev didn't know that's practically a water gun), but still. The squirrel was doing something to Ev's plants, I think. 

Ev didn't have many plants at the time--mostly just some flowers in a box on the railing of his balcony. The squirrel (and Ev insists it's always the same one--he claims to recognize him) likes to recline on his back in the cool soil, shaded by the peonies, with his little squirrel arms draped behind him on the sides of the box.

I imagine it looks a bit like this:

"That blasted squirrel," said Ev one time on the phone, "looks like he's just lying in a jacuzzi!"

I try to be understanding, but I get impatient. The squirrel has been our main conversation topic for years, and sometimes I'd prefer to talk about something else. Plus, I have trouble not seeing the squirrel's perspective. He has fur, poor thing, and summer is hot! What's the little guy supposed to do to keep cool?

"Hide up a damn tree," splutters Ev, "like every other normal squirrel does!"


Ev has taken many, clever steps to rid himself of the squirrel. He's put spikes in the flower box. The squirrel just pushes them aside and lies among them. He's put some smelly stuff in the soil, that squirrels are supposed to hate. I think the peonies suffered, but the squirrel did not mind. He's moved he box to the other side of the balcony, hoping the squirrel wouldn't be able to find it again. Here, I interjected.

"Ev, I know his brain is small," said I, "but is this a blind squirrel?" 

"How the fuck do I know?!" Ev bellowed. "Do I send him disability checks? Did I give him a vision test?"

The squirrel, who does seem to be sighted, found the new location with no trouble.

That's when Ev started talking about guns. 

"Wait a minute. Dude." I said. "I think you might hit a person. It's not worth it."

"I was thinking of getting an air rifle," he said.

"Well, geez then," I said. "Why don't you just brush his fur for him? Or toss a pebble in his general direction?"

"It's still a gun," Ev said. "You don't think it will hurt him?"

"No. I don't. It won't even make him bleed. It'll just make him mad. Plus, you'll miss. Squirrels are fast. It's, like, their little, squirrelly thing. After he hears the shot, he'll have plenty of time to run before the pellet hits."

Texans know guns. We can't help it.

"Huh," Ev said. "What are they for, then? Air rifles?"

"They're for little boys," I replied.

"Huh," said Ev. "Well maybe the shot will scare him."

"And charm the neighbors."

The next time I spoke to Ev, he started asking me about real guns.

"How do I get one?" he wondered. 

"Oh, well lemme see here just a durn minute! I'm right sure I have six in mah drawer!"

"Don't be insulted," Ev said. "You do seem to know a lot about guns."

Sigh. No one understands me. Not even my BFFs.


I am currently sitting on a stool in my kitchen, making Cornish hens and drinking picpoul de pinet, and letting Ari watch this cartoon called "Adventure Time," which I am beginning to suspect is not appropriate viewing. I think it might be a "South Park" type thing because it is on The Cartoon Network, not PBS or Nick, and the animation totally sucks in a way that looks like it means to suck. What do you expect, people? I've been at work all day, and my pipe(s) (unclear whether one or two) burst, and my microwave caught on fire, and my wife and child both have strep, and I cannot hear anything from the damn tv because there is an enormous, mother-fucking fan! I am not a superhero! If my child wants to watch a "South Park" wannabe, and this keeps him quiet while I make dinner, so be it. Maybe he will understand sarcasm and satire before his peers. 

Except, I just changed it. Because some character, whose species I could not identify, began gushing blood. Even lazy, exhausted, victims of pipe and appliance failure have limits.

I do not have strep. This is because I do not have any tonsils. I had strep for two years in Syracuse and then never again. I also have (finally, please, please) reached the point where I don't catch things because I've been exposed to everything. It only took five years of parenting and three of teaching.

The characters on "Max and Ruby," which replaced "Adventure Time," are making conditioner out of organic fruits. This is a much more wholesome activity than gushing blood, don't you think? Also, this happened:

The leak and the fire are unrelated. The leak was about the pipe(s), which burst due to the cold, and it has required us to sleep in the guest room for 2-4 (as yet undetermined) nights. Also, it created some noise pollution because there are big, mother-fucking fans going all day and night to dry the carpet and walls and ceiling. It doesn't smell so good either, and there is probably a flourishing mold colony attacking the immune systems of my loved ones and making them more suseptible to, say, strep.

I love my kitchen because in spite of all this I enjoy the atmosphere. In spite of the carpet and the fan:

and the furniture everywhere:

the kitchen rocks. There are many reasons why, and I shall assist you people in creating your Perfect Kitchen Oasis by telling you some of them. First of all, I put a stool in there because it allows the person who is not cooking to be in the same room with the person who is WITHOUT GETTING IN THE WAY. This reminds me of my grandmother, who had a stool in her kitchen for me to sit in while she peeled shrimp. I was seven and loved to get in the way, but the stool was tall, and I liked my vantage point even more. I would eat the shrimp/crab/insert seafood here faster than she could peel, and she would get pretend mad. It was pretty awesome. 

                         The Stool.

Then! The kitchen has this great window, with a pseudo-stained-glass dreidel in it. I like the catholic Jew meld there, and I love the balcony outside the window. 

Finally, there is the combo art wall/wine refrigerator. Ari made all the art except for my beloved "Mame" poster. Isn't he brilliant? Actually, I am quite certain his teachers made most of it, but whatevs. It's cute stuff! The wine refrigerator allows me to keep my New Year's resolution (never run out of bubbly) without impeding the family's food storage. Also, better control of temp. The food fridge freezes shit in back, and there is nothing worse than having your fave cava or prosecco, which you for once in your life thought to chill ahead of time, frozen. Who's with me?

The end.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Things I do not get

1) At a concert one time, B and I had lawn tickets, and this dude near us kept shouting in a dumb voice, imitating an annoying person (to impress his friends?) because that's so charming and necessary, and we don't have enough actual annoying people. Why do men do this?

2) Why, when I conduct Amazon searches, does random shit come up? For instance:
What does a subwoofer have to do with air filters? Anyone?

3) Why, when Ari calls some other person/child a baby, does he always say "diaper baby?" The whole kindergarten set does the same thing, evidently, since he occasionally reports that he is no longer associating with Michael or whomever for calling him a "diaper baby." And for extra, bonus crazy points: he changed schools--from a secular preschool to a Jewish kindergarten where he knew NO ONE--and at the new school, they do the same thing! It's "diaper baby" everywhere you go! Wouldn't the "diaper" be implied by the "baby?" I mean.

4) Dear IKEA,
If you are so good at maximizing and organizing space, then why is your store so damn BIG AND IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND ANYTHING IN?

5) My long, true, deep love of country music: what does it mean?

6) Runner slang: what does it mean to "bonk?" I am afraid to ask B because I have been pretending to already know for the past year. (Only to better support her emotionally, you understand. Am not a liar.)

7) Drunken sots always annoy me--no matter how much/which substances I use to try to identify with them. Shouldn't there be a point at which I do not care?

8) My friend--let's call her Jane--had to break up with some dude whom she'd known for three days because he said she seemed "distant." After three days? Really?

The end.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Gay Men's Toy Store

Tonight, we had some peops over for dinner. I was hung over from the night before (different peops) and not looking forward to it. But! As usual, I was wrong.

They were straight, and a little bit Jewish, and friends from Ari's pre-school, which he is so over, and their daughter is a girl (as is the case with most daughters). I, as you surely realize, REALLY like grrls, but not girls. Because I am not some pedophile freak show. And Ari is, for the past two years or so, very macho, in spite of his mommies' best efforts.

Still, it went swimmingly, and I cannot decide whom I have a crush on. The dude is Seth, and the grrl is Magdalena, and she! Likes ballet! And he! Likes to drink! And makes sense! (This is harder than you think.)

Our children played happily together, while we drank a variety of wines which allowed me to use all my Wine Toys. Seth told me he loves all my playlists, even though music usually annoys him, and that my child is handsome and beautiful and has personality to spare. Then Magdalena started talking about wanting a date to "Swan Lake," and of course I volunteered, since it meant I will be able to wear something fabulous and attend a ballet and flirt with some married, straight hottie (therefore no strings attached). I mean, wtf: put me in paradise already. 

However! Right when I was super-relaxed, Ari and Annie (the girl child of Seth and Magdalena) announced, from behind their make-shift counter, that they were accepting customers to their "Gay Men's Toy Store." Of course, since I am queer in All The Ways, I decided this was somehow my influence, and that I would lose my ballet date and also my new drinking buddies with built-in entertainment for my son. Because, let's face it, no matter how queer one is, a gay men's (sex?) toy store is not really an appropriate pretend situation for a couple of five-year-olds.

Annie and Ari did some kind of spinning thing at the top of the staircase, with the drink umbrellas we queer folk tend to have on hand.

My new crushes took it in stride. Magdalena emailed within moments of leaving to confirm our ballet date. So. This is one of those moments when the universe surprised even me, the eternal optimist. I felt, this evening, like my value as a human had to do with me, and maybe my wine accessories, and maybe my playlists, and maybe the things I had to say, and the values I'd worked to instill in my son, and the geniusness of the woman I'd chosen to marry. And all of those things are the things I would choose to be measured by, if I could choose. They matter, to me.

Here's to a world where we're all able to show our strengths and be counted for them -- whatever strengths we choose. And where gay men's toy stores and paper umbrellas are the debris of children everywhere, to a world where there is ballet, even for lesbians and boys. Hear, hear!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Over You

I am, technically, from Texas. Shh. Few people know this. I have Texas guilt. Mostly, I am deeply ashamed of the loud-mouthed, greedy, gun-toting, conservative rep. But every once in a while, I am proud. At least, about Texans, nobody can say we're reserved. I also like that I can shoot a gun, although of course I never would. In Texas they teach that shit to little girls in summer camp, or at least they did in the summer of 1981. 

There are some things you should know, in case you are a Yankee. First of all, those country music stars? The ones who sing about Virginia and Tennessee and name themselves Florida Georgia Line? Their accents are Texan. Seriously. I know my dialects, bitches. My grandparents were Georgia-bred, and the deep south is totally different. They soften all their consonants and shorten all their vowels. It's more formal sounding in a way I can't explain. The country stars are all singing in Texan, especially the women.

This is all a prelude to my yesterday. Or maybe it was the day before. The holidays are all a blur because I don't have to work. (Eat your hearts out.) Anyway, I was alone in the house. Ari and B were out with my mother-in-law. I was hanging this wine glass rack, and it was (as usual) harder than it looked. I ended up lying on my back on the counter with my feet dangling over the sink, drilling screws up into the bottom of the cabinet. They were messy as hell, but nobody was gonna see them. And the rack wasn't coming down. I could do pull ups on the damn thing. When I finished, I had to stand up on the counter, so I ended up seeing the tops of all the cabinets and refrigerator. They looked like this.

I do not know what is in that pitcher.
Like any normal person, I was overcome with the urgent need to clean the top of the cabinets and refrigerator (layer of black dreck) while listening to Miranda Lambert's "Over You" on repeat and singing, loudly. I can't sing. Seriously not at all. I offend even self when I try. But I figured if I just played it loud enough, that wouldn't be an issue. 

I prepared for this glorious event by getting a 40. Real Texans drink 40s when they clean -- of this I am proud. I can't stomach the Colt whatever, so I buy yuppie 40s, but whatevs. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I put my song and an apron on and scrambled up onto the counter with my diaper wipes (much cheaper than those bleach ones) and some goo-gone, and I had the best time.

It doesn't sound like much of a party, but moments like this, when I can create the world I want and be alone in it, are what I miss most about being childless. This one was perfect. I wailed with Miranda and cried over my exes. None of mine have died, like in the song, but still. I can get with Miranda. I don't usually like songs about lovers who left but didn't die. Not dramatic enough. I got the stuff clean, and the black dreck on the fridge was really hard to get up. I was all sweaty, and I spilled some of my 40 down my front because I was trying to hold too many things. By the end I looked very Texas -- barefoot (cannot wear shoes on counter), yellow beer stain on apron, hair spilling out of elastic, hands gross.  Then B and Ari and my mother-in-law got home, and I had to take a shower and socialize. But I felt so good. So good. And it lasted all day. Because us Texans know how to catharticize, and we don't always do it with guns.