March 26, 2007

Suburban Photo Op

I was at my neighbor's taking pictures of the migrating ducks. They visit semi- annually to rest in her swimming pool. She feeds them, stating unequivocally that ducks prefer plain white bread over wheat or rye. I believe her.

The duck photos didn't turn out very well, but I did snap this bit while I was there. It's my friend Tina's hand, circa 1971. She was eight years old and lived then where we live now. Next to her hand print in my neighbor's concrete walk are three other little hand prints belonging to my neighbor's children.

I love stuff like that. A moment frozen as time rolls on, each print a story unraveling still.

Here's to my friend Tina. I like being part of her story.


March 22, 2007

We Won!

Perhaps I should be pleased.
Part of me is pleased.
I like winning, but the honor here is dubious at best.

Our laundry room won the Smackdown! Thank you to all who voted, although I am amazed how many did not vote for our Schmeggle. What were you thinking?!

Our space already looks quite different from when we took those photos last week. The renovation has begun. "When's it gonna be finished?" you may wonder. If neither Wendy nor I had a job, if we weren't losing time to social obligations and travel, if there weren't waiting periods for this to dry or that to cure, if we didn't like to sleep, if all that were true our room would already be finished. Since life gets in the way, best case deadline is March 30, worst case April 8.

As we gleefully waited to see the outcome of our less than scientific poll, eb and I latched upon the idea of fixing up the two rooms simultaneously. Like Trading Spaces but without the trading or the designer and carpenter or the plump reality TV show budget.

It's about comaraderie and common purpose. Will it be motivating to know a friend is slaving in a similar fashion in their own home some 1,400 miles distant?

We'll see.


March 21, 2007

Little Things

My car was in the shop. It had been making a noise, the kind of noise I pray will go away on its own but in my head I know it won't so I need to just suck it up and deal with it, that broken car kind of noise. Perhaps you've heard your own.

I won't bore you with the entire experience despite the tale being in and of itself not completely without interest. My car was supposed to be ready after work on Monday. Arriving at the auto repair shop at the designated time, I was displeased to see my vehicle still in the bay.

"Sorry, so sorry, it is not ready," said the owner of the shop while shaking his head sadly. "All my fault, all my fault! Tomorrow, tomorrow."

"But I need my car to get to work tomorrow!" I whined.

"Here," he said, pulling his keyring out of his pocket and removing a key, "Here. You take my car until yours is ready tomorrow afternoon."

Well. I wasn't expecting that. But hey, it solved a problem for both of us. Despite the loaner being an absolute piece of shit automobile, it got me where I needed to go and back again. I'm easy.

The next day, I handed the fellow his key and joked, "Man, tell me you don't drive that thing on the freeway!"

He just looked at me sideways and grinned, "No, no."

An insurance identification card floated in the back seat of that crappy car. I looked at it. The last name of the insured person had 18 letters, ten of which were consonants. 18 letters! It stretched out three inches in small print. His last name. My entire first-middle-last name spelled out in all its glory has but 21 characters, only five of which belong to the last.

I experienced a random moment of true affection for my short last name. Can you relate?


March 18, 2007

Vote for Ghetto

I'd like to invite y'all to vote in the Ugliest Laundry Room Evah contest. There are but two entries: one room belongs to Wendy & me, the other to eb & Maxine. It's simple: just follow the link and view the pictures of two different laundry rooms. Cast your vote for the most horrid.

Yes, one of those rooms is in our house. We've lived with it for over three years as it worked its way up the priorities list. Its moment has arrived. I've got nothing to do with that other room. That is eb's problem. If I lived closer, I'd help her.

I have little use for existing conditions shame during our renovations. I mean really, it is what it is. We bought a well-used home in need of TLC. We cannot fix it all at once. It's a delicate balance of time and money. The projects we have completed are satisfying, things just take longer than we'd like. We're not the first do-it-yourself'ers to experience this non-phenomenon.

Starting with a real mess can make even the least improvement seem that much more impressive. So go on, vote for the ugliest laundry room. There are adult beverages riding on the outcome of the vote and we are thirsty. And we look kinda scary.

PS: We're gonna win ourselves some Simple Green too, number one product for cleaning as chosen by weese aka the Lesbian Queen of Clean. I know we will put it to good use.


March 15, 2007

Out of the Blue

Phone conversation with The Boy on Tuesday:

Him: Oh yeah, I'll be home later this week.

Me: What?

Him: Yeah, TC and I will be there Thursday night, we may leave Saturday. (He really didn't say TC. That's a pseudonym. His girlfriend.)

I'm pleased, although instinctively my mind panics, "There is no food in the house!!"

Fortunately, I know how to remedy that.


March 13, 2007

Clean Bright Spaces Bring Smiling Faces

I've never laid eyes on The Perfect Laundry Room but I've seen it in my dreams. Oh sure I've come across some nice ones, just never in my own home. Not yet anyway. The one in my dreams has a western exposure with large windows framed by flouncy curtains. The sunlight glistens off sparkling surfaces. The Perfect Laundry Room always looks clean and uncluttered.

Conversation between suburban lesbians touched on the topic of laundry rooms. I asserted our current laundry room qualifies as The Ugliest Laundry Room Evah. eb claimed theirs does. We didn't discuss The Perfect Laundry Room.

We are scheduled to begin refurbishing the space that qualifies as The Ugliest Laundry Room Evah. It's a nasty little corner of our abode in need of creative TLC. When we are done, it will be upgraded to Much Less Objectionable Yet Nowhere Near Perfect Laundry Room status. Eh, sometimes laundry must be done in the space you have, not in the space you want to have.

I have a sudden strong curiosity about other people's laundry spaces, whether said spaces bring them joy. I personally don't spend much time in our laundry room, but I'd like for it to be a joyous place because Wendy does.

Can there be joy in a laundry room?
We're gonna find some.


March 11, 2007

Squeaky Clean

We use liquid soap at the sinks and bar soap in the shower.

The bar of soap resides atop a green sponge in the lower-upper shower niche. The sponge absorbs all bar soap residue, preventing the puddles and slime so commonly found beneath a bar of soap. A rinse and a squeeze every so often keeps it clean and fresh. A sponge is the perfect complement to bar soap in a shower niche.

Bar soap dwindles, melts away as it is used until nothing is left but a sliver of its former self. The sliver becomes so small as to be virtually useless when presented with the task of cleansing an adult woman's entire body.

I find it challenging to remember a new bar of soap is needed BEFORE I actually GET IN the shower which then necessitates GETTING OUT of the shower and opening the bathroom door to access the closet on the landing to grab a fresh bar of soap.

It feels like a long distance. It's really only six feet. I don't actually have to step out of the bathroom to reach the closet. But still. The door is open. I'm wet. I'm dripping. I'm chilled. I'm wishing I'd remembered the soap sooner.

Today I found a fresh bar of soap already waiting in the shower for me, with a bit of the sliver I had used the day before blended on top. Waste not, want not. The new bar had been used only once before, to soap the delicate curves of my lovely lady.

That's one lucky bar of soap.
Almost as lucky as me.


March 9, 2007

Play Ball!

The last house we lived in was half a block from the high school baseball field. I could hear the sounds while hanging out the bathroom window. Or see it when driving home. Many an evening Wendy and I were drawn by those sights and sounds, the crack of the bat, the umpire's call. Off we'd go to sit in the bleachers and watch the boys play baseball.

Now we are three blocks from the high school and can't hear a damned thing. One must strain even to hear the marching band on football nights. Another sound I miss from the old 'hood are the bells from the Catholic church. When I was at my friend Tina's house last week, those bells tolled. Very nice.

But back to those other sounds, the sounds of baseball! The season is at hand which means, among other things, Fantasy Baseball preparations have begun. Or more precisely on my part, thoughts of preparation.

If you didn't play with us in our Blog Fantasy Football League, you missed out on the opportunity to win the fabulous trophy bestowed upon the Champion.

It currently adorns our mantle.
Wendy's name is engraved upon it.
She allows me to dust it.

Just what type of trophy will Commissioner Sporks select for the baseball champion? The buzz has already begun.

The baseball trophy could become yours! We've got room in our league for more teams. Novice, expert, tweener. Matters not.

Any takers?
Drop me a line!


March 7, 2007

Taking the Plunge

I brought up the subject of poo with my friend eb. She remarked that we had discussed poo not that long ago. There we were talking about it again! But this was different poo and a different story.

My mother told me a bizarre tale. My version will spare you the convoluted who-was-where-doing-what-when backstory and hop right to the poo part.

She had a group of friends over to play Mahjong. They play regularly, rotating hostesses. That particular day one of those little old ladies took a big enough poo in my mother's upstairs bathroom to cause the toilet to clog and overflow.

That event unto itself is not bizarre. I mean really. Who hasn't had a toilet clog on them at one time or another? It's the nature of a toilet. And bowels. The question becomes, just what does one do when it happens?

In spring 2001, we hosted a French foreign exchange student. His name was Alex. He spoke limited English. For six weeks, he lived with our family and attended high school with The Boy. He had been with us for about two weeks when one evening he raced into the kitchen, gesturing wildly, a panicked look on his face.

Our toilet had clogged when he flushed. It was full of shit and almost overflowing. Alex knew what to do: get help! The Boy quickly plunged it. Problem solved, tragedy averted.

My mother keeps a plunger behind both her toilets. We keep ours handy in the closet just outside the bathroom door. When a plunger is needed, it is of great benefit to have one close at hand.

But that little old lady did not use the handy plunger. Nor did she mention to anyone at all that the upstairs toilet had overflowed. She just took her seat at the table and resumed playing Mahjong, saying nothing of the craptacular mess she had made upstairs. My mother discovered it shortly after the game ended and all had departed.

I'd like the give that little old lady the benefit of the doubt. I'd like to think she didn't realize the toilet was overflowing. But given the detail of events, it doesn't take Perry Mason to connect the dots. There is just no way she didn't know.

So I asked eb, "What would you have done given those circumstances?"

"I so would have plunged!" she stated vehemently.

Of course. I would have too.

And if that didn't work, I'd have hollered for help despite unavoidable personal mortification over the situation. It's embarrassing to clog a toilet. There's often poo involved. Real poo, not just talked-about poo. Real poo is private, to be shared with only the most intimate of loved ones and then only when it cannot reasonably be avoided. Or is it just me?

Can you plunge a toilet?
If not, I suggest you learn.
It's a skill everyone should master.


March 5, 2007

Ramblings from a Woman with Muddy Shoes

Our weather has been warm.
Temporarily I hope.
The recent snow and ice melted rapidly.
Everything is wet.

My favorite puddle in the Metro parking garage?
She had plenty of playmates.
There was more puddle than dry pavement.

The usual creek has formed diagonally across our backyard. It streams from northwest to southeast, flows near the porch door and toward the woodpile.

The dogs can't help but walk through it.
Muddy dog feet are a nuisance.

We can't help but walk through it.
Muddy shoes are a nuisance, too.

Long ago, that "creek" was dubbed the River Ines (rhymes with Your Highness). We didn't name it but that's what pops into my head when it seasonally forms. I know others who remember it too.

It's nothing personal, Ines. You know I love ya, babe. But your river has got to go. Even after it dries up, we'll remember it and the woman for whom it was named. Memories are in every nook and cranny of this property. It is not uncommon for me to think of you when I walk through our dining room, my mind's eye seeing you seated at the head of the table, a cup of coffee at your elbow, your books and papers strewn across the tabletop.

Huh. I started out with the intention of writing about our need for backyard drainage. My fingers carried me to an entirely different place.

I believe the saying "No one ever truly dies as long as someone remembers them." Memories kick in at odd times. Like now. When my shoes got muddy.

We've got interesting ghosts kicking around our home.
I'm glad they don't snore.


March 4, 2007

Blob* Friends

Picture time.
Better late than never.

* Blob was coined inadvertently by Syd's better half, K, aka The Hot Chick. Her accent begs to be licked like an ice cream cone.


March 1, 2007

From Afar

I remember The Boy's first Spring semester with auditions for summer work. I wasn't there. I lived it vicariously through the sounds of his voice as he told his stories. That phone call when he announced his first job offer to be a professional actor. I didn't even care what or where the job was, the excitement bubbling in his voice was all that mattered.

Does it embarrass The Boy when I write about him? When I write about him like this? I don't know.

Anyway. It's that time of year again. Audition time. His "What will I be doing this summer?" time. But this year it's different. It's also his "What will I be doing next year?" time. It marks the beginning of what I hope will be his perpetual Spring.

The Boy is a senior in college. Have I mentioned that? Graduating in mere months? Perhaps I have. Mentioned it. But can it be said too many times? Not from where I'm sitting. Vicarious living and all. My baby. I still can't figure out where the years went.

So about those auditions. This week and forward.
Break a leg, my son. Break both legs.
You know you've got it going on.
Go grab it.

I'm so proud of him I embarrass myself at times.