PROJECT OWL PROCUREMENT

NaBloPoMo14DayTen


After being off for three days, I don’t want to go back to work. Frankly, I don’t want to go back to work after being off for one day, but that would be another story.

I should be looking forward to returning to work. At least there I get paid to clean up and wait on folks.

Fang, my long-suffering husband, was sick this weekend. He had a cold. He’s not sick often, so he doesn’t really understand the concept of “muddling through”.

“Yes, Fang”, I wanted to say, “People get the sniffles and continue to function.” But, you know, that would have been insensitive.

So, instead of keeping our Friday night date and doing some other fun things that we had planned for the weekend, we stayed home. He blew his nose a lot and went through a bag (or three) of lozenges. I cleaned.

His being sick turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I think I finally put the “mouse situation” to rest. (And, yes, a few mice were also put to rest.)

Earlier in the week we resorted to those “inhumane” traps. They worked. Finally. Nothing else was working. It had to be done.

It’s a good thing, too, because if they hadn’t worked I was toying with the idea of getting myself an owl. I considered a snake — at least they are legal to own here in New Jersey, but decided that allowing a snake to roam freely around my kitchen would prohibit me from roaming freely around my kitchen. So, yeah, no snake.

I don’t like birds. I know that owls are birds. I would argue that they are the princes (or princesses) of the bird world, though. Eagles and hawks being the Kings and/or Queens.

I cannot imagine the skullduggery that would be required to get my hands on an eagle. Hawks proliferate this area, but just try catching one. There is one that circles my house. Once in a while it dive-bombs me. Standing outside with some type of net might be worth a try. Even if I did manage to catch it, training a full-grown hawk might be problematic.

Getting an owlet would be easier. Plus, then I’d have an owlet. They’re pretty darn cute. And, how cool would having an owlet be? Fangette would be thrilled, absolutely thrilled, to come home for Thanksgiving to find an owl living in the hovel.

The resident feline might not share Fangette’s excitement, though. I don’t know how he would feel about sharing his domain with a bird of prey, but since he failed to rid my house of the disgusting, scurrying rodents that were becoming the bane of my existence, I had little sympathy for him or his feelings. He would just have to adjust.

As I was thinking about the ins and outs of PROJECT OWL PROCUREMENT, a few people — the trusted few with whom I shared my idea — did point out that the owl might eat the cat. I hadn’t thought of that. No matter. There must be species of owls that don’t get that big, right? Owl eating pet problem solved!

Just to be clear, Fang was not one of the “trusted few with whom I shared my idea”. He likes animals, though. He’d likely take to owl ownership. And training. He taught the cat to fetch. I have every confidence that he could teach an owlet to catch mice.

I thought that about having a cat, though, didn’t I? I was very mistaken. Who wants to bet that I’d be the only person in the world to own an untrainable vegetarian owl?

Luckily, the snap traps worked. And, because I spent the weekend at home, I used the time to drag the stove out. Guess what I found behind it? A hole in the wall. A mouse hole. I sealed it up. So far, I’ve not seen hide nor hair of anymore rodents in my kitchen.

Hopefully my hard work will pay off. Otherwise, I may have no other choice but to obtain an owl. I really hope it doesn’t come to that.

The Laundry Edict of 2013

washerdryerI’ve recently instituted a new policy here at the hovel. It’s called “Do your own freakin’ laundry!” This is a policy that I feel is self-explanatory, in that the title of the policy and the actual policy are one and the same.

If my was objective was to be obtuse, I could have used a tactic employed by governments the world over and called it something like “Revised Guidelines Regarding the Division of Labor in Relation to the Agitator-driven and Gas-generated Hot Air-blowing Machineries Located in the Basement Act of 2013”. (Be it duly noted that the RGRDLRAGHALBA, will replace the GRDLRAGHALBA, enacted the 4th day of November, 1989, which placed sole responsibility for those machineries located in the basement squarely on the shoulders of the female head of household). I could understand, had I engaged in this kind of obfuscation, why the members of my household might be confused by the new policy.

I did no such thing. To be fair, I neither consulted any of the folks that would be adversely affected by the institution of this new policy prior to enacting it nor were they given anything even remotely resembling “plenty of notice”. Unlike the government, which at least pretends at something called democracy, here at the hovel we make no such claims to democratic rule. It’s a straight up dictatorship. Sure, we aim for benevolence, but it’s not required.

I realize that I’m generously calling it a policy, rather than what it truly is — an edict. I am doing this in an effort to seem a little more, well, benevolent. Because, really, nobody likes a bitch. Further, no one has any sympathy for a lazy bitch. So, let me just assure you that this new policy does not stem from outright laziness on my part, rather the enactment of this policy was designed to light a fire under Fangette. Much like her father, who thinks that gourmet meals, such as grilled cheese and soup, just make themselves, Fangette has been operating (for quite some time) under the delusion that I enjoy spending my days hunting and gathering. More specifically, hunting for whatever item of clothing she has misplaced, but that she desperately needs in the immediate future, and gathering together that and other items, so that I can then spend untold hours of my days, weeks, and months, laundering those things that I have managed to unearth from the atrocity that is her bedroom floor. Just last week I spent close to an hour trying to uncover where in that black hole one very important (to her) lacy ecru camisole had gotten itself to. Ultimately, with a little detective work and the employment of my trusty flashlight, I was able to uncover the mystery of the missing lacy ecru camisole. It was under her bed, wedged between the never-opened telescope from the Christmas of 2008 and some outdated and, more than likely, incomplete board games. (Anyone up for a rousing game of Candyland?)

womanunderbed

That, ladies and gentlemen, was it. My dustbunny covered self decided right then and there that she, at almost 17 years old, was capable of doing her own laundry. (I also found myself wishing that the skills I have acquired throughout my many years of diving under beds and couches, rifling through discarded gym bags, and ferreting through closets to uncover lost belongings were more marketable!) When I advised Fangette of my decision to stop doing her laundry, one would have thought that I had asked her to take the old washboard off of the kitchen wall, haul her dirty clothes out back to the creek (really it’s more of a stream, but a body of water is a body of water) and bang her clothes against it with a rock. That was not my expectation at all. I reminded her that we have machines that do that sort of thing now. And that all that was required of her was that she take it down the stairs and throw it in said machinery. Believe me, she knows this. She’s a smart kid. She’s been watching me do it for years.

Thus far the peasantry, as I have come to think of Fangette, has resisted The Laundry Edict of 2013. I’m fairly certain she didn’t take it seriously — until last night, that is. Last night she came in from work and pitched an absolute fit because she had no clean clothes. A fit, mind you, that I valiantly chose to ignore. Mainly because that’s just the type of behavior one comes to expect of us lazy bitches and also because it was after 11 PM and, really, who wants to engage an angry adolescent on the heels of her five-hour movie theater concession stand shift who is in a snit about laundry? Not me, I can tell you that. Ultimately, though, the slamming of drawers and banging of doors became too much for poor old Fang who was, at this point, threatening to get out of bed and “take care of this nonsense”.

Rather than listen to the two of them duke it out (metaphorically, of course — this is, after all, a non-violent authoritarian regime), I rolled out of bed to have a “talk” with Fangette. It went rather well, considering the lateness of the hour and the mood of the participants. She made her usual circular arguments regarding her busy life (school, work, social media commitments — okay, I added that last one, but still); I listened patiently, but stuck to my guns — explaining, once again, that a large part of growing up entails being responsible for, among other things, one’s own personal hygiene, which includes clean jeans and sports bras. There were some jabs as to whether or not I had been the best role model and, I’ll admit, I haven’t always been the poster child for cleanliness and organization, but no one in this house has ever gone out into the world wrinkled or unclean on my watch.

momandteenagertalking

I left the conversation feeling like we had reached an agreement about more than just laundry. Further, we had done so calmly and in a reasonable manner. I was convinced that at least for a short while she would cooperate by obeying the edict, which gave me hope for greater things like, for example, a more harmonious household. What I didn’t count on was the possum.

possumondrivewayYeah. You read that correctly, the possum. Or opposum. I have no idea if there is a scientific difference between a possum and an opposum or whether the difference is just semantics. Here’s what I do know: A possum forced the repeal of The Laundry Edict of 2013. And, it’s all my husband’s fault.

Don’t misunderstand me, he had nothing to do with my coming face-to-face with the beady-eyed creature outside of the laundry room. Okay, maybe it was more like snout-to-shin — it wasn’t some genetically-engineered giant possum for heaven’s sakes. He can’t be blamed for the existence of the possum of the driveway or the fact that I nearly had a heart attack outside of the laundry room. No. It’s what he did with his knowledge of the possum in the backyard that ultimately led to my daughter’s adamant refusal to make use of the laundry facilities.

Listen, I get it. There’s very little that’s funnier than telling the story of your wife being surprised by the unexpected appearance of a possum. If the shoe was on the other foot and he had been the one to stumble across the possum armed only with a blue plastic Ikea bag full of clean laundry, you can bet the farm that I would have run, at something resembling world record pace, to get to my phone so that I could tell the story to whomever I could get on the horn. Once I’d stopped laughing my ass off, that is.

My only "weapon"!

My only “weapon”!

I was trying my best to keep him quiet, so as not to alert Fangette, who was in her room, supposedly studying. (Well, at least she hustled off there on that premise when I had asked for her help with dinner earlier! For all I know she’s heading up a black market gun-running operation in that hot mess she lives in.) Fangette has an uncanny ability to appear in those exact moments when she is not wanted. Tonight would prove to be no different. She burst into the living room and demanded to know what was so funny. Fangette almost never quietly appears in a room; she also rarely makes polite requests.

I attempted to play it off, to distract her with the promise of some succulent Thai chicken — to no avail. As for Fang, well, he was just obliviously ignoring my signals. He was, in fact, behaving as if he had never seen the “Shhhhh!” sign in his life.

Woulda distracted me!

Woulda distracted me!

And, honestly, he may not know what the “Shhhhh!” sign means. I don’t know what he did in school. Slept? Daydreamed? He claims to have had near-perfect attendance, which I can believe because it has carried over into his work life — Fang is one of those infuriating coworkers who almost never misses a day of work. He’s the guy that has to be told to go home when he’s sick. He’s not punctual, necessarily, but he’s reliable in that everyone knows that he will, eventually, appear at his desk. Fang is one of those people who gets points for showing up, but not necessarily for paying attention.

It’s often shocking to me what he doesn’t know. One of his favorite retorts when I am exasperated with his lack of basic knowledge on almost any subject is “if that’s true, then every little school boy would know it”. I have spent countless hours explaining to him that most little school boys do, indeed, know things like where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated (Ford’s Theater), where the Revolutionary War began (Lexington and Concord), and what Einstein is famous for (The Theory of Relativity). He is neither stupid nor was he poorly educated, he just doesn’t pay a stick of attention. I often find myself in situations where we will go to, say, a restaurant. He often says things like, “Wow! This place is great. How come we haven’t been here before?”, which leads me to enumerate not only the number of times we have been there before, but other relevant things regarding the venue, such as, which menu items we previously enjoyed and with whom we enjoyed them. Seriously. This is what I’m up against.

shhhh!Not surprisingly, Fang missed the “Shhhhh!” sign, the dagger eyes I was pointing at him, and the finger across the throat that, I think, universally signifies “shut the fuck up already!”. Fang would never make it out alive in a clandestine operation. I’m sure you see where I’m going with this. Fang spilled the beans about the possum. Fangette took this information and used it to her advantage. She pounced on it like the possum would have pounced on me had it not been for the giant bag of clean laundry that I very quickly managed to put between my leg and its teeth. I’ll bet you didn’t know that possums had razor-like teeth, did you? I didn’t. Generally speaking, when I think of possums I envision cute little furry things hanging by their furry striped tails somewhere deep inside of the forest while smiling. That’s right. They’re just happily hanging around. I blame this on children’s books and their infuriating need to anthropomorphize dangerous critters. And, really, it’s my own fault, given that most of my knowledge of aardvarks has been gleaned from reading or watching episodes of “Arthur”. I’ll bet, in nature, aardvarks don’t hang around with rabbits or bears and haven’t learned lessons of tolerance from rats.

Razor sharp teeth!!!

Razor sharp teeth!!!

As a result of my near-miss with the possum and my husband’s inability to keep his mouth shut, Fangette will not be venturing out to the laundry room any time soon. I hold out hope that she will, at the very least, hunt for and gather up her own clothing. I just pray that she never sees a mouse under her bed. Because if she does, whatever clothing winds up there will remain there forever. Because I won’t be going under there either. On the bright side, the mice could always use whatever discarded clothing items they find to make Cinderella a new frock. micemakingcinderellasdress

photo credits:
washer/dryer
woman under bed
mother and teenage daughter
thai chicken
possum on driveway
possum baring teeth
Shhhhh!
mice making Cinderella’s dress
blue Ikea bag

Things that are worth holding on to

86 mets photI could fill a very large file cabinet with things that would fall into the category of “seemed like a good idea at the time”. Let’s make that a virtual file cabinet, though, shall we? I’ve spent the last month hauling garbage bags and ugly furniture down the stairs. The last thing I need to be tripping over is a file cabinet filled with bad decisions. Decisions that, by the way, span years and run the gamut from cutting my own hair to driving drunk, from piercing my own ears to buying a white couch, from being unkind to running with the wrong crowd.

For the most part I’m happy with the decisions I’ve made regarding the more important things in my life like, for example, who I married. And that’s a big one. Don’t overestimate the importance of that one, folks. Sure, he gets on my last nerve sometimes, but he comes in handy for things like hooking up HDTV’s. Also, he’s game for tearing up outdated pleather couches armed only with a hammer and a steak knife. He doesn’t bang on about fancy meals, either. That’s a plus. As long as I keep coffee and peanut butter in the house he’s a relatively happy camper.

Insofar as we choose our mates based on qualities that we deemed were important at, in my case, 19 years old (HA!), it’s no wonder the divorce rate is so high. Either I was very smart at 19 (again, HA!) or, more likely, very lucky indeed. What first drew me to him was that he had a car and a job, which, in hindsight, seem like relatively frivolous things. What I came to realize, mostly while riding in that car, was that he laughed a lot and he did so easily, which made being around him enjoyable. He still does, it still is.

The hovel purge has been hard on him. I’ve been hard on him. Let’s just say that there hasn’t been a lot of laughing. This weekend, however, it seems that he (and we) rounded a corner. He actually stopped fighting me and began to embrace the changes that I’ve been trying very hard to make happen here. He even got into the spirit and threw out a couple bags of his own junk; junk that has been clogging up my bedroom for years. I saw him wrestling with whether or not to keep the ’86 Mets World Series official photo. He was on the verge of tossing it when I stopped him. Though I cannot imagine where a framed 8 x 10 photograph of a bunch of guys in orange and blue will fit into my décor, I didn’t have the heart to make him get rid of it.

It seems that some things, even things that are old and outdated, are worth holding on to.

I Answer Eleven Questions from “Weird Stuff Happens to Me”

I was nominated, once again (my cup runneth over!), for The Liebster Award from Dennis over at Weird Stuff Happens To Me. Since I was honored recently by Fat Lies and Fairytales for the same award and shared eleven things about myself, Dennis has kindly dispensed with that requirement, but I have agreed to answer his eleven questions. So, here goes!

If you could choose any career what would it be?

Talk show host. Not like Craig or Dave or Jay or even Ellen. More like Charlie Rose, but without all the boring intellectuals with accents. Although, a few intellectuals might be nice. (So long as they were funny and understandable— not too strident in their intellectualism!) And no band or DJ. Because once you have those, well, the rappers are likely to follow. And who needs rappers at 2 AM? (Because I cannot fathom that anyone but your average insomniac would tune in to hear me talking to, say, James Carville— actually, I cannot imagine talking to James Carville for any length of time— talk about your unintelligible accents!) Unless they are intellectual rappers (or wildly successful like Jay-Z). Intellectual rappers (sans rapping) would be welcome, of course. Or rappers who own their own sports teams (again, Jay-Z), they’d (he’d?) be okay, too. Really, what I’m saying is a Renaissance rapper would be fine. And this applies to white rappers as well as black rappers. I am an equal opportunity rap hater. Eminem holds no interest for me.

Having a show like this would surely eliminate having to be subjected to your average starlet plugging her latest project. Nor would I have to endure cooking segments.

And, thanks for your interest, but no. I do not want a studio audience. I’m no monologist. Just give me a comfortable chair. (Preferably one where I don’t sink into the cushions and look shorter than I already am. Also, a little back support would be nice— I’m not getting any younger!) And one for the guest. (If they’re weird and would rather stand, please book another guest— this one has control issues. Probably a rapper.) I would be one of those hosts who would actually have read/watched/listened to the interviewees body of work. I would ask appropriate questions. I would try to elicit honest responses. (People tell me all kinds of crazy things, so I know that I have skills in this area!) I’ll tell you this much, it’d probably be a better use of your time than watching Conan.

Where is your dream vacation spot?

Seriously. My nice, clean, organized house. That’s my goal this year. To get and stay organized. I’d like to spend my vacation fund redoing my living room. Then, we could go to or rent movies and order take-out or eat at restaurants during our actual vacation week. I’m going to have to sell it to the family, though. Wish me luck!

I am also trying to put away enough money to go to Paris in July, 2015. I want to spend my 50th birthday there. Because I understand that there’s some big hoopla on my birthday; it’s a little holiday they call Bastille Day.

What was the worst nightmare you’ve ever had?

Something about still being a waitress/bartender at 48. Oh, wait. That’s the nightmare I actually live.

I have had the same recurring nightmare for years (since childhood) in which My house is slowly surrounded by wild felines— lions, tigers, panthers, leopards… Maybe that’s why I’ve always had a cat. You know, to demonstrate to my stalkers that I am a friend to their kind. Of course, in real life, my cat would probably jump out the window in a show of solidarity with his brethren. Fucking cats. They really have no loyalty. None whatsoever.

What is your “signature” dish when you cook?

When I cook? When the hell aren’t I cooking? Oh, I know. When I’m sleeping, showering, or working.

I have two “signature” dishes. One is a version of Chicken Marsala, which my family calls “Chicken Jackie”; the other is a version of Chicken Tikka Masala, which my family, in a stroke of incredible originality, calls “Chicken Jackie Masala”. Here’s what you really need to know about these dishes: they take about one-fifth of the time and taste enough like the originals to fool almost anyone. That’s my kind of cookin’!

Tell us about something dumb you did in the last year, or so.

Since I’m limited to just the one thing, I’ll make it short and sweet: Believing my boss when she convinced me that taking on a supervisory position at work would help me to advance my career when, in actuality, what she really meant was that it would advance hers!

Who is your hero and why?

I have several heroines. In the interests of time and space I will simply tell you about why I have always been impressed by Margaret Sanger: She fought to make the lives of poor women better in the early 20th Century. She grew up poor, but found a way to secure an education. She became a nurse and married well. (Very well for a poor Irish girl from Corning, NY.) She could have used her social position and political connections to try to affect this change in many ways, but she chose to do so by disseminating birth control information and distributing contraceptives. As a result, she violated The Comstock Act and was jailed. Ultimately she had to flee to England to avoid spending more time in jail. (She faced five years in jail. Seems a little “cruel and unusual”, doesn’t it?) She was no saint. She left her children in the U.S. She had an affair while in Europe. (I like that she was flawed, actually.) She also educated legions of poor women and began the “birth control” (a term she coined) dialogue. She published pamphlets and a newspaper to this end. She founded what would become Planned Parenthood— in 1921! She worked her tail off and managed to either have overturned or render toothless the Comstock laws that, essentially, defined birth control information as obscene. She was directly responsible for securing the funding and shepherding the research for what would become the first oral contraceptive, Enovid, which hit the market in 1960. We take for granted today the idea that we can “choose” whether and when we want to become mothers. We have her to thank for that. Not just for providing the means, but for changing the mindset. Her goal was very simple. That “every child should be a wanted child”. I couldn’t agree more.

Name one person you’d punch if you saw them walking by.

Again with the one!!! There is someone who tops my current list, though.

I could actually lie in wait for this woman. I know where she works. Or, I could just walk into her office. Churches are public places. I have not, thus far, sought her out and administered the bitch-slapping she so richly deserves. And it’s not because she wears a collar. It’s because I have decided to take the high road. A higher road than she, the supposed religious person, chose to take, by the way. There were other players in this fiasco, to be sure, but she, in her position, should have set a better example. She didn’t. And she either influenced or turned a blind eye to some very unchristian behavior from her flock.

I’m not going to get into what all this woman did. Because it’s someone else’s story. But this pastor’s role in the events and how they unfolded could have and should have been very different. As much as I am not one for altercations of a physical nature, I could probably punch her in the face.

Who is your celebrity crush?

Timothy Olyphant. Preferably in a cowboy hat. And smirking. With one eyebrow raised. Shirtless. Holding a Swiffer.

What is the biggest fish you ever caught, if any?

I do not fish or hunt (except for compliments and bargains). I have a hard time killing most bugs. (I “shoo” flies out the window and push spiders out the door— I show no mercy where mosquitos and centipedes are concerned, however.)

What book are you currently reading?

“1831: Year of Eclipse’ by Louis P. Masur
It is a historical analysis of the year 1831. He makes the argument that the events of that year (including, but not limited to, Nat Turner’s slave rebellion, the publication of William Lloyd Garrison’s abolitionist newspaper, “The Liberator”, and the evangelical movement led by Charles Grandison Finney that began in upstate New York’s “burned over district”), led us directly and inevitability into The Civil War thirty years later.

I agree with his thesis. And this book is very good as secondary source material is concerned. The footnoting is not as comprehensive as I would like, but this may be a result of reading it in its electronic format. There is very little (if any) new information for those already familiar with the events of 1831. That being said, it’s a worthwhile read for anyone interested in this period of our history.

If you won the trip somehow, would you go to Mars knowing that it would take several years of your life? Why or why not?

Not in a million years. I hate to fly in a commercial plane. There is no chance I’d ever strap myself into a rocket for any amount of time, never mind the amount of time that trip would take. There wouldn’t be enough Valium in the world to make me a decent traveling companion. I’d probably be kicked out a pod bay door amidst the mutinous riot my anxiety-ridden behavior would, no doubt, cause in such a closed space.

I might do it for a million dollars, though. I’d give it some real consideration if that kind of remuneration was involved. Screw my rocket mates. They’d just have to adjust to the crazy.

photo credit: fineartamerica.com

Beautiful Blogger Award… from Life on Wry

This award comes from Life on Wry, which is written by a very nice woman who is currently involved in and documenting her “gratitude experiment”. I love that this is sometimes a challenge for her. I also love that she hasn’t thrown in the towel. I fear that I would be grateful that someone was just an idiot, instead of a moron, by Day 3. Stop by and join her on her journey. You’ll be glad you did.

Now, onto the seven things I would like to tell you about myself.

1. Every time I engage in something creative my husband wants to know if what I have created has retail value. I made a Shamballa bracelet recently. It didn’t turn out that bad, for my first try at beading and macrame. Of course, he now wants me to make a few and sell them at craft fairs. He monetizes everything. I just wanted a fucking bracelet for less than $40. I’m not going into business. I’m not sitting my fat ass at any damn craft fair. I’d, no doubt, get stuck next to the woman who makes those stupid dolls that look like children standing in the corner. If you make them/sell them, I think that’s “enough said”. No doubt I would have to spend the day listening to you go on and on about your gout, your grandchildren (who are probably, themselves, standing in a corner somewhere), and the beloved pet that you had to put to sleep last week (Farewell, Guido Gecko!)— but who you have immortalized in picture pin form and are sporting on your “Winter Scene” turtleneck that you got on sale at JC Penney five years ago. No thanks.

2. I love crossword puzzles. More specifically, I love The NY Times crossword puzzle. I have a dirty, little secret: I am an elitist and a crossword puzzle snob. There is nothing more satisfying than doing the Saturday NY Times crossword in ink. It’s difficult and relaxing at the same time. I can’t think of any other activity that can be thusly described.

3. I cannot grow anything. I tried to create a window herb garden a few years ago. Because, hey, I like fresh basil as much as the next girl! I found it frustrating and, frankly, cheaper to just buy it at the grocery store. I have to admit that the few sprigs that actually grew did smell delicious, though.

4. I am not religious. At all. And I am jaded about it. I’ve seen far too many examples (in my own life, as well as in the larger world) of church leaders and their flocks engaged in behavior that is less than kind. Far less. I do believe that there is a higher power, though. I think that she just shakes her head at all of the nonsense. What I hope is that this is hell. If you get it right, you get to go to a better place when you depart; if you get it wrong, you have to come back until you get it right. I think that those who are currently “getting it right” have been here many, many times before. They just don’t know it.

5. I hate hypocrisy and people who twist the rules to suit their own purposes. And I’m not just talking about politicians or lawyers. I’m talking about regular folks who will carry on about right and wrong (as if they know— HA!), but the minute they can manipulate a rule or a situation to somehow benefit them, they do so without regard to how it will affect others. On a small scale I see it every day at work. I watch folks bitch and moan about table rotation when they feel they are getting screwed, but then take full advantage of screwing someone else (usually someone new or someone they know won’t complain) when they feel they can get away with it. It’s just plain wrong. Even worse than engaging in this behavior? Denying that you engaged in it. If you are going to be dishonest and, just plain douchy, at least own up to it.

6. I enjoy the company of people who make me laugh. There is nothing better than a good “blow the soda out your nose” laugh. Nothing. I thank you, my fellow bloggers, for my many soiled t-shirts. Who can I send my laundry to? I know at least one of you freaks likes to do laundry. I have a feeling that I know which freak will own up to that first. But, go ahead, try and surprise me.

7. This brings me to laundry and housekeeping in general. It just never ends. And it’s never finished. Once I have accomplished one task, there are seven others that need attending to. It’s time-consuming and mind-numbing and I hate it. I try to keep things roto virus-free. That’s the best I can do. If you want it done better, do it yourself. I’m not the fucking maid. And stop leaving your wet socks in the kitchen. We have a hamper for that.

Now, to the best part, where I get to recommend (nominate) those bloggers who bring me joy (and laughter). Check them out!

23thorns: He’s South African, which is apropos of nothing, really, except that I had no idea South Africans were so funny. (Of course, outside of Charlize Theron and Nelson Mandela, I have no real experience with South Africans— Well, actually I do. Someday I will have to share my Bishop Tutu story with you— it’s a winner.)

tracyloveshistory: She is married to 23thorns. That must be some funny household. She writes a great deal about history (mostly South African— be careful, you might learn something), but in a very entertaining fashion. I would compare her to Sarah Vowell, if I had to compare her to anyone.

tracyfulks: Another Tracy! Who knew I would encounter two funny Tracy’s in such a short span of time? This Tracy chronicles her life, her battle with the bottle, motherhood, and just about anything else you can think of (she is not above writing about farting— you have been warned). She had me at, “Hello, my name is Tracy, and I’m an alcoholic…” Love.

A Clown On Fire: Difficult to pigeonhole, as clowns often are. If you are looking for highbrow, well, look somewhere else. Go here to laugh your ass off. He has been known to award clown noses for bad behavior.

Laments and Lullabies: This is the blog of “The Ringmistress” a.k.a. LeClown’s (from A Clown On Fire) wife. Another household where I would like to be a fly on the wall. Behind every great clown there is an equally great (or, even better) Ringmistress.

wedel mom: Funny stuff from a funny woman. Her take on the week’s headlines are clever and pointed.

Hey Joe, Whatd’ya Know?: The most touching and funny stories from a truly caring caregiver. Great stuff!

The Elves Did It!

I like Murphy’s Law. It almost always applies to me.

After spending a decent amount of time mopping my kitchen floor yesterday, I woke up to spilled creamer all over the kitchen floor. Some helpful person in my household stuck one piece of paper towel near the end of the spill to staunch the flow. It didn’t really work. It was the thought, I guess, that counted. I thought I smelled something kind of vanilla-y. I know it was sticky because I stepped in it. With my whole foot.

This pool of creamer, which as it turns out was more than half of a large bottle of french vanilla creamer, began at the fridge, meandered under the kitchen table, and ran into the tile grout in what can only be described as a “splat” formation. And no one thought to alert me to this. Unless they thought that the one square of paper towel would act as an early warning system. It wasn’t really that well thought out. It’s a miracle that I didn’t go ass over teakettle in the middle of my kitchen floor before I had even had a chance to have my morning coffee. Luckily I wasn’t wearing nylon socks.

These same people in question wake me up for everything. Everything. Not that long ago my teenager actually woke me up to ask me what day it was. Seriously. My husband will wake me prior to leaving for work to inform me that it is raining outside. Not kidding. They normally cannot stand to see me engaged in sleeping. Today, however, when there was something that needed telling they chose, instead, to let me sleep. Remind me to thank them for that.

After perfunctorily moving the mop around and soaking up most of the liquid, I was able to get to the fridge. The now quarter of a bottle of creamer that I had opened just yesterday was teetering on top of a container of lettuce mix on the middle shelf (definitely not where I left it yesterday). The outside of the bottle was still covered with what had formerly been inside the bottle. Another sticky mess. Yay!

I cannot wait to question the culprits later today. It will be an exercise in futility, but I will do it anyway. Even though I already know how it will turn out. No one will cop to it. So, I will be forced to blame the elves once again. Those elves sure do get into things. Aren’t they supposed to making toys this time of year? If they’re bored, I wish they would quit making mischief and clean something up around this joint. Or at least make me some new shoes. I saw a nice pair of Jimmy Choo’s at the mall the other day. I think it’s the least they could do.

Pot Roast: The New Guilt Trip

I took some time today to look around my house. It was a mess. They say to break down large tasks into smaller pieces in order to gain a sense of accomplishment and for motivational purposes. I suppose that’s the reasoning. Anyway, I concentrated on putting the kitchen back together (I don’t know what goes on here all weekend while I’m working, and I don’t really want to know, but I can tell you that whatever it is, it includes using most of the dishes and the cutlery that we have on hand). I also cleaned out the fridge and made dinner. The last time I cleaned out the fridge I posted about it. I checked the date. It was back on August 13th. My mother-in-law used to clean her fridge every week. But she didn’t have a job. And she was a clean freak. I have the former and am in no way in danger of becoming the latter. So, six weeks seems about right for me.

I found the usual array of science experiments in varying degrees of completion. I’m not sure how long it actually takes for the ziti marinara to grow mold, but there were several advanced examples of this. Also, just because something now resembles marinara sauce, don’t go assuming it was ever marinara sauce. It may have previously enjoyed life as watermelon.

Did you know that caramel syrup will, ultimately, return to it’s original state? Yup. It actually becomes hard and crystallized. Just like when it was sugar. The water evaporates from it, though. Luckily I always bring a butter knife to my refrigerator cleaning parties. Although one of those spackling tools would have made the scraping go a little faster. Which reminds me. Where did I put that elbow brace?

After accomplishing the Herculean task of cleaning out the fridge and hauling out the garbage from that ridiculous production, I noticed that the floor needed sweeping and mopping. Of course I had not adequately cleaned the mop after it had enjoyed it’s last outing. Also, I needed to clear away the canned goods that had spent their night, still in the grocery bags, on the kitchen floor. While the mop was having a good antiseptic soak, I gathered the groceries and swept the floor. I noticed two things. First, I don’t understand why this is, but I can never purchase just one can of something. Ever. I made a mental note to try and avoid this costly behavior in the future, not for the first time. Second, that it is mystifying how much fur one cat can shed and still have any remaining on his little cat body. I wished, and again not for the first time, that cat hair could be repurposed. For toupees, for example. I could make a fortune.

I do love the piney scent of a freshly mopped floor. And, I have to admit I was feeling a mild sense of accomplishment. That said, I moved on to making dinner. I promised my daughter I would make roast and potatoes. She has a game at 6:00, so she will be home after school today. She informed me yesterday that it would be nice if I could have dinner ready for her consumption by 3:30. I suppose it would be nice.

My daughter loves my roast beef and, in fact, begs me to make it around this time of year. It is not, however, on my husband’s list of favorites. This requires me to make him something different, unless it is a special occasion, like her birthday or something. Then he’ll eat it. Pain in the ass. But, that’s the reason I don’t make it very often. Because it kills me to make two meals. But, I promised. And there was still left over pizza in the fridge (I have no recollection of recently ordering pizza, but it looked alright to me.)

Because I was still on my Pine-Sol high and because it scores me “Mom points”, I made the roast beef. As I was doing so, it occurred to me that I may overestimate the amount of work that is involved in making it. You know, to make them feel bad. Her for asking for it. Him for not eating it. Oh, well.

Normally, I’m not much for blogging about recipes, but I’m going to make an exception today. So, here it is. You’ll need a cup of water, a cup of red wine vinegar (I used apple cider today, it’s what I had. Don’t tell my mother!), and a package of onion soup mix. Mix them together. Then, throw the raw roast into the pan. Pour the vinegar/water/soup mixture over top of the meat. Put it in a 350 degree oven. It’ll be medium-rare in about two hours. About an hour into cooking it, throw some canned potatoes and some cut up pieces of butter (or olive oil if you’re that health-conscious) onto a baking sheet, cover it with aluminum foil, and throw it on the top rack of the oven. If you want to go nuts you can sprinkle some diced onion, paprika, salt, pepper, and parsley over the top of the potatoes. Either way, the “roasted” potatoes will be finished about the same time as the roast beef. Nuke up some green beans or, if you insist on being that kind of a show-off, steam some broccoli. You can even throw some flour in your face if you really feel the need to make the “I slaved all day in the kitchen” kind of statement. I’ll never tell.

Anyway, this whole procedure takes about ten minutes (unless you’ve gone and done something foolish like steaming vegetables). You can make anyone who doesn’t know any better think otherwise, though. Oh, I almost forgot. The onion soup mix comes in a box with two packages. I take the second package, add it to some sour cream, and dip some potato chips into it. That always makes me feel better. After a long day of cleaning and cooking, who doesn’t need a treat?

I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up!

My coworker, good friend, and sister-in-arms was mopping her stone floor while wearing nylon socks last Friday. As a result she suffered a broken wrist, various contusions to her body and her face, and may possibly have a bone chip lodged in her sinus cavity. She looks like a battered woman. Trust me, if she had been battered the other guy would have looked worse. Far worse. Probably dead.

I know. I know. You want to know more about the nylon socks. So did I. It’s still a mystery, though. I have no further light to shed on this phenomena. I asked her if she had procured them from some ninety-year-old man at the local nursing home. And, if so, were they still attached to their garters? Who wears nylon socks anymore? Of course, I should know better than to ask. She wears support hose. And owns a hot water bottle.

She stopped in for garbage bags today. She claimed it was because she did not want to scare any children at the grocery store. We both know it’s because she would rather not pay for them. I’m pretty sure she regularly shops for things like garbage bags, toilet paper, and other janitorial supplies at work. It’s a shame that we had no paper bags for her to put over her head.

While on her mission to procure said garbage bags, she allowed me to buy her lunch. I had to cut her meat. She looked me straight in the eye and said, “Thanks, Ethel. I always suspected my life would come to this. I’m just glad it’s you cutting up my food.” I told her that I would have to draw the line at spoon-feeding and sponge baths. I am, however, going over to her place tomorrow afternoon to shampoo her hair. Because she looks like Medusa after a bender. If Medusa was a redhead who had taken a bad spill.

Everyone, except for me, was treating her with kid gloves. She’s more than a little embarrassed about her accident and about what she currently looks like. She’s a lot embarrassed that she doesn’t have any money put aside for this particular rainy day. Buying her lunch was the least I could do. She told me yesterday that we had better not be working on putting together a collection, as she will not take any money from us. She likes to say that she’s a prideful old southern lady, which, I was forced to explain to her once again, is just a highfalutin’ way of saying stubborn old bitch. Folks who need assistance slicing up their filet mignon and “pulling up their britches” have no business putting on airs. Yes. I had to help her in the Ladies. I’d rather not dwell on it. It’s going to be an uphill battle dealing with her over the next four to six weeks. God help me.

She lives alone. She didn’t always. Up until a year ago she lived with her son, his wife, and her “grandbabies”. That’s when her son’s job took him back to Atlanta. She was supposed to go with them, but stayed so that she could pay off her truck. She has two more payments on the damn thing. I’m going to pay it. I swear to God I am. She needs her family.

She’s a worker. A hard worker. She has always worked outside of the home, mostly at jobs involving manual labor. Unlike many “women of a certain age” she is not what you would call “schooled” in the domestic arts (though she makes a mean chocolate dump cake). I do not know what could have possessed her to take up floor cleaning last week. Considering that the only kitchen utensil she owns is a spatula that I gave her last Christmas, I was pretty shocked by her mop ownership. She admitted that she had borrowed it from her landlady. Of course she did. Who “borrows” a mop? Who lends one? Who wears nylon socks? Does the landlady have a bathing suit or a pair of panties I can borrow?

Throughout the course of our lunch, she must have told the story of how she became injured to coworkers and customers ten times. No one else commented on the nylon socks. I guess it’s just me. Anyway, every time she retold the tale I nearly peed in my non-borrowed underwear. The less than graceful image of her skidding across the stone tile, nylon socks failing to make purchase, grappling with the unfamiliar mop, arms akimbo, and then, SPLAT! It was almost too much for me to bear. I mentioned that this Christmas, in addition to some cotton socks, I should buy her a Life Alert necklace.

It won’t do her any good, though. Because, let me just mention this, she called ME when she fell. At work. (She actually said, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”. I swear.) She refused to let me call an ambulance. I had to hunt down a coworker to collect her and take her to the emergency room. Apparently she crawled to the door because she didn’t want this good Samaritan to bear witness to her slovenliness. Breaking your wrist may mess with your cleaning plans, but not with your wits. It seemed that she was still in possession of the few she started out with. She wasn’t going to pay top dollar to “no goddam ambulance to take her down the road a piece”. So, unless I can get the good folks at Life Alert to put me on the receiving end of her necklace, I may as well buy her a whisk.

Things I Will Never Understand (9/4/12)

I have never purposely watched a single episode of one of the television programs devoted to these hideous children’s pageants. My daughter used to watch one of them; I would make her turn it off when I was in the room. To me, this is a form of child abuse, on so many levels.

I understand that there is a new one about a kid called “Honey, Boo Boo”. The people at work talk about it constantly. I cannot imagine how bored and lazy I would have to be to waste my time on this drivel. Read a book! (Even one of those “50 Shades” things would be an acceptable alternative to this shit.) Or, get up and make a pie or clean out your sock drawer. Something. Anything. If people stop watching this programming, they will stop making it.

And don’t even get me started on the whole “Real Housewives of…” nonsense. I am a real housewife of New Jersey. They should follow me around for a day while I do actual “housewifely” stuff, like the never-ending laundry, your basic “let’s just keep it roto-virus free” cleaning, grocery shopping on a limited budget, cooking for the two pickiest eaters on earth (who, by the way, almost never want to eat the same thing on the same night), scheduling doctor’s/dentist’s appointments around work, field hockey, school, etc., rescheduling those same appointments twice because they conflict with something I was not informed of in advance, caring and grooming for an aging cat, and working full-time as a waitress (yeah, let’s not forget that important piece of my day). I’m tired just typing this shit.

I might tune in to one of these “Housewife” programs if there was a promo that showed one of these women with a toilet brush in her hand.