Wednesday, June 27, 2012

C'est La Mort

It was a 3'x4' sheet of silvered glass I picked up at a garage sale for five dollars. I'm assuming it spent the first part of its reflective life on someone's bathroom wall before it came to live with me. I kept it in a storage room for a while before it commanded to be put on watch over the naked minutiae of daily life this house has to offer. Blood, sweat, tears, laughter, sex, death, all of it. The mirror saw, yet kept a polite distance reflecting only the ceiling from most perspectives. Like a watchful eye with a perpetually skyward whistle.

When the house demo/rebuild happened and I was going to need a new paint color in the living room the mirror expressed to me some anxiety. Everytime I looked at it thinking I should move it for painting it told me it would break.

Move = Break rang in my head.

It might be weird that I think inanimate objects express feelings in my direction. But I couldn't help it.

I enlisted help to get the mirror down because I remember putting it up by myself and that caused more than a couple panicked hyperventilating moments. I mean, it weighed more than 50 pounds and I had to balance it up a ladder and over my head to get it on its perch over the fireplace. How I managed that without a trip to the ER is still mysterious to me.

So it got down fine enough and it rested against a wall or a sofa or another wall or wherever was most convenient at the time. And each time someone moved it for practical reasons they explained how it had to be moved or else it would break.

 Move/Break. It was a thing. Not just me.

So somehow the mirror got moved against a kitchen wall to be out of the way. Which was probably the stupidest place since that particular wall gets the very most traffic in the house of all the places and when I heard the thrashing shatterous noise of glass against the floor from around the corner I wasn't at all surprised. Just disappointed in the careless way the mirror finally got dead. I guess I expected a more glorious exit. 

Death doesn't always happen with glorious. Sometimes things just die.

I picked up the pieces of mirror as best I could. Plates, shards, slivers, dust. I saved a lot of them in a box to make a mosiac because I think the mirror reflected a significant part of my life that shouldn't just be tossed out. It should be made into something pretty. So I maybe might cover a planter with it or whatever. Whatever it is is going to live outside. I think whatever the mirror absorbed probably needs to not be in the house anymore.

It was what it was and it's gone. It's meant to be something different now. And that's fine too.

Friday, May 18, 2012

I'm Not Dead; I'm 3D

I'm not dead. I've been very much the opposite of dead for quite some time now as a matter of fact. I've been three dimensional and not doing much online except playing facebook slingo and clicking the Like button every so often.

Okay, so I'm not displaced anymore like I was when last I left you either. I made good on my promise to move back into the house as soon as plumbing was installed. And I was one hundred percent serious when I said I'd move back in walls or not. Because walls weren't done and BAM! I said thank you to the outlaws and left a trail of flame to get back here. Nothing went awry during my time with them, but I didn't want to stick around and take my chances of that happening.

The renovation is working its way into week...six? eight? I have no idea. It's been a long fucking time though and I still don't have everything finished. Well THEY don't have everything finished. But even the stuff I've been responsible for is not completely done either. Tiling the laundry room floor for example. I still have a few left to do there. It's just sticky vinyl tile and stupid easy and I really have no excuse except I kind of ran out of steam. And I have to finish painting the laundry room. Which...I mean, come on. It's the laundry room. It's my least favorite room of the house. I really don't want to spend oodles of time in there for any reason so the delay is psychological and I already primed and painted two bathrooms and a big ass living room with a vaulted ceiling and everything so give me a damn break already.

The cabinets are back in where cabinets are supposed to be. Countertops will be coming sometime next week. I think. Which means they'll probably be in sometime the week after that because nothing, and I mean NOTHING, has gotten done when they said it would. I will concede that the countertops did get delivered on the day they finally said (which was two weeks after the day they originally said). But in my mind "delivered" meant "installed" and in their minds "delivered" just meant "dropped off." So the cabinets sat in boxes in my living room for two days. mocking me. It was practically painful. but they're in place now so yay. and omgthankgod.

It's been a grueling process is what I'm trying to say and part of the reason I haven't been internetty is because I didn't want to put you through the same hell I've endured. you're welcome. I was waiting until everything was finished finished before I wrote anything here again but I've come to realize that if I kept that promise to myself then I may very well never write again and that prospect didn't thrill me in the least. And I've said, "This time next Friday it'll all be put back together" for so many weeks now I can't even finish the sentence without laughing like a crazy person. I'm only a couple weeks away from wallpapering a cell with all the Fridays cut out from the calendar probably.

Anyway, amid the hullaballo we've planted a vegetable garden and a couple flower beds. Because I had zero control over anything going on inside the house so closet control freak me had to exert influence over something and WAHLAH! Tomatoes! and cucumbers and watermelons and zucchini and green beans and peppers and peas and some other stuff that I forget right now. radishes maybe. herbs and whatnot. And that was fun and satisfying and everything's doing really well so far.

There's been plenty else going on in the last month or so and I really could have kept it updated here with things like the time the Kreepy Karpet salesman tried to pressure me into not only a sale but also a date one afternoon. Even though the guy was dripping with turquoise jewelry and eyed me like I was standing on an auction block, it was mainly off-putting because it happened in front of Thing 2.  Dude didn't get the sale or the date but I found the interaction an exceptionally valuable teaching moment to explain to my 10 year old how not to be a douchebag when he grows up.  The More You Know *ting!*

I've also found out that when workmen start to rant at me for reasons beyond my control, I accidentally do my best impression of the pothole voice from that Geico commercial. mm

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Postcard from the rapids

I am smack in the middle of major house renovation and I can't find a way to make it funny yet. So far it's this unending seeming series of what? no, seriously...

The mold.

It is remediated.

The walls. They are gone.

Everything else is a matter of waiting. Here.

Granted, it's not the worst place in the world to be displaced. Except for this is the view from the outlaws' house. Where the X also is. Where I've been for the past howeverlongish since this all got started. It's pretty and all, but it's not. my. space. But they are so gracious for hosting me and the kids and thank you and all that. But I know now that I can never audition for Big Brother because god forbid I made it through and got displaced for an even longer period of time than this is going to be. If I think I'm living under a microscope here? (and you should have no doubt that I am) Then Big Brother would be seven million times worse at least.

So that's off the table.

And I haven't had computer access as often as I used to because of the displacement and even if I did, every 3D thing going on makes it hard to just sit back and think about it all. There's no sense of perspective. Which is really extremely challenging when you're trying to be a consistent blogger again. Even moreso when you're trying to decide on a grand visionary decorating plan for multiple rooms of the house and deal with contractor schedules and kid schedules and outlaw schedules and various other surprises thrown in wildly and akimbo and other uncomfortable sounding words to convey the moment in the middle when your former mother in law inquires concernedly about your romantic life and gives you permission to just get out there and meet somebody.

Because that was the only thing holding me back.

Anyway, renovation related things are slated to move right on along any minute now.

And I am one hundred percent serious that ~ walls or not ~ as soon as the plumbing is finished, I'm back in that house.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

This Meme Goes to Eleven

My friend Kevin, who writes over at Always Home and Uncool and DadCentric, recently tagged me in a meme. I could get all blase about it but I'm a complete geek for this stuff and since I consider myself kind of an outlier in the blogosphere, it's an honor being mentioned. Especially by someone I enjoy reading regularly. Considering I also happen to know this person in 3D sometimes and think he's a swell guy and I don't want him to be grumpy with me and set the dog to attack mode when I see him again, I absolutely have to participate.

So anyway, the idea is Kevin got asked 11 questions by another blogger and was tasked to answer said questions and divine 11 more for some writingish friends to play with.  The questions as follows are what keeps Kev up at night it would seem, and far be it from me to steal another moment of peaceful slumber from a dear friend. 

(I preemptively apologize for the spacing being all kinds of messed up on this post but if I spend one more minute trying to edit, I will drive myself officially insane. sorry)

1. Ginger or Mary Ann?

Way to go for the jugular, Kevin. Sure, for the guys this is a lighthearted "who's hotter?" question, right?  tee hee and stuff?  Yeah, well, over here it caused an identity crisis for like a week. Because for the women, this isn't a question of hotness it's "Which one are you?"

I'm a Mary Ann. I've always been a Mary Ann. I know this. But since high school I wanted to be a Ginger when I grew up. I had posters of Marilyn Monroe on the walls, I watched the movies. Studying. But I lack whatever stamina is required to maintain that fa├žade for more than a few hours at a time.

So Mary Ann it shall always be. Minus the Coconut Creme Pie thing because I tried one once and it was, by all sensory perception, meringue-topped suntan lotion. horrifying.

2. What would you use to dilute water?
My first thought was Tequila. but that doesn't make any sense. who drinks tequila and water?  Then I thought Vodka, but I don't want to get anybody on that train. I've seen what Vodka Waters can do to people and I advise against it. No matter what your escape hatch of choice and low carb diet might otherwise suggest.

Soooo, I tried to cheat on this question with WikiAnswers. But this is all I got: 

And that answer is just stupid. You can tell because of the Santorum picture. So, after some careful consideration I got all smarty pants and scientific and realized: you have to use WATER to dilute water.  

You're probably high as a freakin' kite if you even attempt to dilute water, but whatever. Party on, Wayne.  Water is the correct answer. duh

3. What mnemonic would you use to help you remember how to spell “mnemonic”?


4. What is your theme song?

I actually have one of these.  Of course it has be the song I'm named after: Quicksilver Girl by the Steve Miller Band. I'd link it, but I think Mr. Miller's people have taken the online versions down. But you can probably find it on Spotify or something if you're a dedicated stalker. godspeed

Otherwise?  um... Hot Girls in Good Moods by Butch Walker? That one needs to blast during the it's-about-goddamn-time montage sequence in my biographical movie. 

5. Cake or pie, and what kind?

Banana Blueberry Cream Pie. Which might sound weird but if you haven't had it then you're missing out on a sweet explosive joy memory.

Here's the recipe. Make it. You won't regret it.

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 pkg. Dream Whip, prepare as directed ( you HAVE TO use Dream Whip. it's just better)
  • 2 baked pie shells, cooled 
  • 4 bananas
  • 2 cups FRESH blueberries. Or the thawed frozen kind if you must. But I swear to god if you use canned blueberry pie filling you will completely fuck this up, so don't use that.

Mix cream cheese and sugar together. Fold Dream Whip into cream cheese mixture. Slice bananas and layer into bottom of crusts. Add Dream Whip and cream cheese on top of bananas. Layer blueberries on top of pies. Refrigerate overnight. Or as long as you can humanly resist.

6. What’s the worst movie you ever saw in its entirety?
Pay It Forward. Just the thought of that movie makes me sneer. Sure, it's a great concept. Preemptive goodness. Because Karma is important. But that movie...ugh. Not only did the casting suck out loud, but the way they ended it makes me feel violent. 

If I had the patience to watch Twilight all the way through I might say that, but I couldn't stop rolling my eyes and had to flip the channel before I triggered a seizure. 

7. What celebrity would you NOT mind your significant other having a one-nighter with?
The idea of even having a significant other is tripping me up here. I have to skip this one. sry.

8. Six of one or half a dozen of the other?

"Six of one..." I always just say that with a shrug and leave the half a dozen as implied. Less math.

9. What you gon' do with all that junk? All that junk inside your trunk?

Personally, I drive my junky trunk to the gym and do more Runner's Lunges and time on the elliptical than we need to detail here. It's almost Bikini Season and ain't nobody in Pleasant Valley gettin' jiggy wit dis single lady unless until I step up my game a smidge.

moving on.  

10. Vampires or zombies – which would you try to kill first?

When I mentioned this question to one of my friends, he said disappointedly, "You're going kill the zombies, aren't you."
To which I replied, "um...duh."

Because I hate zombies. I've mentioned this before. Zombies are my least favorite of the undead and they gross me out entirely. Also, they'd probably be the easier choice to kill since the only brains they have are stuck between their rotting teeth. Not that I shy away from a challenge but I think it's important to work smarter, not harder. 

Besides, vampires are way cooler. I'm okay with the whole ambiguous sexuality thing because unlike America's Favorite HBO Vampire Heroine, I'm not trying to date an immortal. Unless he was the Highlander, in which case, bring it.  Anyway, vampires have usually done pretty well for themselves after centuries of roaming the planet; they probably have a ton of cool stories, and they're Late-Night-Sitter-Uppers like me. So we could hang out and talk until all hours and they wouldn't mack my spot on the beach the next day. Conversely, zombies don't even talk, do they? They just moan in that repetitive guttural way and I can get plenty of that by asking a question of my 11 year old while he's on the Xbox.

But before I kill ALL the zombies, I'd use them to off the glittery vampires. Those abominations of literary genetics need done away with and quick.

11. Who are three people who’ve never been in my kitchen?

Well, ME for one. I have never been in Kevin's kitchen. I'm pretty sure that's 100% true and I consider it a grave injustice. *stomps foot in a huff* 
Besides that? um...Gwyneth Paltrow and Hitler? Only because they're clean eating vegetarian types and they'd probably know better.

Alright, so the rule are as follows: 

  • You must post the rules. 
  • Answer the questions the tagger set for you in the post 
  • Create 11 new questions to ask the people you've tagged. 
  • Tag 11 bloggers, however, you can break the rules and tag fewer people if you want. Make sure you hyperlink their names/blogs. 
  • Let them know you've tagged them! 

  1. Why was Tom Green ever famous?
  2. Have you ever ordered anything off of TV (infomercial or shopping channel), and what?
  3. On what reality show would you be a contestant/cast member?
  4. What's your superpower?
  5. Coke or Pepsi?
  6. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your teenage self?
  7. In one hour, you're going to be on national television. What are you going to wear?
  8. If you won the lottery what's the first thing you'd buy?
  9. What's your favorite cheese?
  10. What book do you think everyone should read?
  11. What question should I have asked? 
I'm working on this one.  gimme a minute. If I don't get to you quick enough and you feel inspired by the questions then by all freakin' means please do answer. Otherwise I'm going to need some time to sift through my writingish people list and see who might be up for it.

*waves bye* 
Thanks, Kevin!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Got a Minute for a Major House Renovation?

My house is about to undergo a major renovation. Kind of like the Money Pit except I haven't played the violin since I was 6 and there's no slapstick Tom Hanks in the picture.

The project hasn't even technically gotten started yet and I've been cut down by more narcoleptic episodes than probably ever just in the preparation part. I can't even imagine what all's going to happen once demolition gets underway.

I'll give you as brief a summation as I can of what's led up to this sudden explosion of "Hey, let's clean out this old barn and put on a show!"

My house has polybutylene piping. It may as well be plumbed with McDonald's straws and scotch tape for all the leaks that have sprung up in the 13 years I've lived here. (I was never eligible for the class action lawsuit against this piping and it's been settled already, so thanks for that suggestion but let's move on) There was a leak under the kitchen sink in 2001ish. A leak somewhere near the hot water heater in 2003ish. A leak under the sink in the master bedroom bathroom in 2005ish. And most recently, a leak in the hallway bathroom that I wrote about in December 2011.

The leaks have caused holes in the walls and particle board cabinetry to crumble and fall apart, but that was behind doors that closed and I didn't really think I deserved nice things anyway so I chose to ignore the damage. Including the mold. I know, I'm an idiot. whatever. But this latest leak resulted in a hole in the living room that's about 2 feet big and there's visible mold in the drywall that can no longer be ignored and so the outlaws decided that needed to be checked out. FOR THE CHILDREN.

Upshot of this was an Industrial Hygienist came out and did an air quality check that revealed near toxic results and SURPRISE everything needs gutted and fixed. Including replacing all the plumbing. And all the cabinets. And it all has to be done with HEPA filters and 6 mm vapor barriers and negative pressure ionization and other technical jargon that would make my house an excellent kill space for Dexter if he needed it and I would totally offer that up if I could help select a victim or three.

So I've called people after people, at least 10, to tromp through the house and take pictures and give estimates while I try to explain to them my complicated insecurities surrounding why I've let this go on for as long as it has. My sister and I have been cleaning out rooms to get ready for when we have to evacuate the premises since there won't be any plumbing or walls or anything. I had to go toe to toe with the mother outlaw about Who is Captain of This Ship when she tried to step in and start making decisions for me. Because the outlaws are backing this endeavor as the insurance company is being a dick and won't cover mostly anything that needs to be done.  And because the insurance company is being predictable, it all comes down to the outlaws' Cousin Jimmy and his jug band doing the renovation and rebuild. Which I honestly don't have a problem with as long as they get the job done up to code.

Anyway, every part of this process has been overwhelming and exhausting. And it hasn't even begun. And life has to carry on all around me just like normal because that's what life does no matter how much I'd rather hide under the covers, cocooning for a while.

Because even though this is supposed to be feng shui-ishly exciting and metaphorically and philosophically significant, it mostly makes me feel tired and lonely. And I wasn't prepared for that.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Cracking the Candy Shell

"You evoke such honesty," she said.

It might've started as a question. Like, "How do ..." or maybe it was a statement. I can't remember for sure.

It was the best compliment I've heard in a while. Mostly because it was so accidental.

Thing 2 got a call from a friend about coming over to play hang out. I took him there. The Mom and I chatted a smidge at drop off like usual and then, unlike usual, she invited me in. Or maybe she's invited me in before but for whatever reason I declined before. But for whatever reason, this time I accepted the invitation.

We ended up sitting outside on a gorgeous afternoon with beer and wine, it was happy hour by any civilized estimation after all. And Friday. So ...there.  Anyway, we started talking.  I'm not much for small talk, so we tiptoed around that into Big Talk. And we kept talking.

An impressive lightning riddled thunderous deluge rolled in and that didn't stop us.

We moved inside and talked Big Talk for hours.

Mid to late-way through was when she dropped the honesty comment. By which I'm still kind of floored.

She asked if hearing people be honest like that was a thing for me, because telling what she felt were secrets isn't a thing she does regularly. She's kinda private. I knew that; which is maybe why I didn't accept invitations before. Shades of the mask and all.

What I mean by that is that a lot of people in Pleasant Valley paint their masks on pretty thick. Those people don't usually like me very much. They don't invite me in, I don't expect them to. I don't have much use for  them anyway. Masks are notsomuch my scene.

Anyway, I explained that I guess the honesty thing is pretty regular for me. Historically speaking. I mean, I named myself Junior Counselor to the Free World decades ago because people let fly all kinds of things in my presence they normally ever wouldn't say out loud.

I take the things they say in confidence. I might reference them from time to time, but anonymously and only as needed. And only if I felt they were helpful.

It was a really cool evening. I love that *tink tink tink* and you crack through the surface and get to the gooey center of things. It was a good connection made.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades

I remember my 9th grade World History teacher, Mr. Hathaway, talking about whatever period in history (probably most of them) when the majority of people were unwashed and how everybody stunk to high heaven. He said, repeatedly and very loud, "If everybody smells, nobody smells!" Because, y'know, when the stench is just the stench and it's shared by everyone then it's not a stench anymore, it's just air.

Therefore, I submit that in the days of Everybody Gets a Trophy! what that really means is Nobody Gets a Trophy. When you take away the concept of Lose, you take away what it means to Win. When you take away the meaning of winning, you end up with assholes like Charlie Sheen.

How the hell did we get here?  I mean, I learned growing up, "Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades." and "Do or do not, there is not try."  and stuff like that.

I want my boys to grow up with that mentality rather than embracing their inner Medium. (Medium as opposed to Small or Large, not like the psychic thing...the psychic thing would be superb)  I want them to be kick ass men who take charge, names, ownership, pride and all those other things that are meant to be taken. Those things are not meant to be handed over like trophies at a pee wee soccer party.

So, this place in history is confusing to me. We've probably been here before. It probably ended very badly. But I don't remember the "everybody gets a trophy" era from history class. Whatever happened right before the French Revolution might have been similar but I don't remember for sure.

I'm reminded of this because last night we had a family night. The X took the boys and me out to dinner and a movie. Our movie choices were either The Lorax or Act of Valor which might seem like weird movie options to some, but with tweenage boys it could really go either direction. I leaned more toward Act of Valor. (It's made with real SEALS... so you know it's good.)

We ended up at Act of Valor. yay. Okay, this movie is going to get terrible reviews simply because it's made with real SEALS, and real SEALS can't act for shit. I thought the bad acting was endearing. And all the exploding stuff made it completely awesome. If you see it, my favorite scene was the interrogation on the boat even though it didn't have any explosions. I liked the mindfuck aspect of it. don't act all surprised.

Anyway, there was a voiceover narrative throughout the movie and that's what I liked most of all. The voiceover will get hammered by the critics most of all but whatever; the message was one that I think is important. It was talking about men being men. Like old school, John Wayne, brimming with testosterone and suppressing their emotions and redirecting them instead into pure energy against whatever enemy they come up against next kinda men. Despite the obvious potential to get carried away in the wrong direction with that kind of energy...I think it's basically a great idea. That'll make sense in a minute. Bear with me.

So part of the narrative was a letter to one of the character's kids. (Spoiler alert: not everyone makes it out alive) Google didn't help me find the whole narrative script, but I did find part of the letter. It doesn't hit all the points about men being men that I thought were interesting, but it does touch on some stuff.  Women can find it useful too; I'm sure I'll be inspired in some way because of this.

  1. So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
  2. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and
  3. Demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life,
  4. Beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and
  5. Its purpose in the service of your people.
  6. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
  7. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend,
  8. Even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and
  9. Bow to none. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the food and
  10. For the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks,
  11. The fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and nothing,
  12. For abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.
  13. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts
  14. Are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes
  15. They weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again
  16. In a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.

Critics can bash all they want, but the mention of begging for a chance to live your life a different way hits home. The directive to live with a sense of pride in yourself and respect for others makes sense to me. It's challenging yourself against settling for the Medium in the moment. It makes you dare yourself toward greatness I think. I love that. I need reminding of that all the time.

Mentioned earlier in the narrative and not in that excerpted letter part was the idea of men suppressing emotions and channeling them into other pursuits.  Rather than gushing out all their feelings all over everybody, men really need to get back into that. That kind of mentality inspired progress, art, commerce...and yeah, wars and stuff too...but yin/yang. Heaven/Hell. Just acknowledge the fact that light and darkness depend on each other.

These days men sit around and talk it out and nothing gets DONE. It fucking sucks. I don't want to raise a couple of men contributing to this epidemic.

I want the boys to be overwhelmed enough by inner turmoil they create a masterpiece in their passion of choice. I want them to lose. I want them to fall. Because when you fall, you learn how not to fall. I want them to discover a passion so immense, they keep at it until they get it right.

When they get it right, they'll have earned that sense of pride. It will belong to them alone. Not every other snowflake on the soccer field.