Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cats again

SH: Should we leave a light here for them? [in the basement under the window next to the litter box]

Me: They are cats.


More name ideas -- Norah and Sophia. Boots and Mittens. Souad and Halima.

Yes, I'm bored

because I miss the heck out of SH. Here's what I've already done today:

1. Fed the cats. Responsibility is a bitch.

2. Colored my hair.

3. Cleaned the mildew off the shower curtain because I forgot to do it on Thursday, my regular cleaning day. Y'all, just because I am a gold-digging, stay-at-home, watch-TV, bon-bon-eating, bigoted, mean, conservative, stupid, meanie, it does not mean I do not have a schedule.

4. Paid the tree guy for trimming the pear tree.

5. Made a tab for the cat file. OK, not really. But I am going to.

6. Made arroz con pollo.

7. Emailed the cat lady about the cats and asked if we can get purebred Siamese if these cats don't stop shedding. Yeah. Guess what? Lynxpoint Siamese are NOT purebred Siamese. They are a cross between Siamese and tabbys. Silly me thinking that the PUREBRED CAT RESCUE people would only have PUREBRED cats. And that in my application when I said I had a problem with A LOT OF SHEDDING and had had to RETURN A SIAMESE CROSSBREED THAT SHED A LOT that that should have been a clue. And that when I picked up the cats yesterday and mentioned that they seemed to be SHEDDING A LOT that she didn't mention that oh yeah, they are a CROSSBREED. And that when I mentioned again yesterday that I had had to return a rescue cat because I woke up EVERY DAY WITH A MIGRAINE BECAUSE OF ALL THE HAIR and the cat was not a REAL SIAMESE because SNOWSHOE SIAMESE is a CROSSBREED and she didn't say OH YEAH SO IS THE LYNXPOINT!

8. OK, this is yesterday, but I have to compliment Time Warner Cable because the cable company usually takes so much crap, but yesterday I wanted to watch TV even though there is usually nothing worth watching but what is the darn point of having a brand new high-def TV if you are not going to watch it? But when I turned it on, there was no picture, a problem we have had off and on since we moved into the house. SH knows how to fix this but I don't.

I didn't want to call him and bother him at work about this, so I went to the TW website. They said to reboot the cable box, so I did, but that still didn't work. I could see the guide, but still no picture, so I called and spoke to a very nice guy named Mike in Costa Rica and we talked about San Jose and platanos maduros and the time he spent in Dubuque as an exchange student but he still was not able to fix the problem, so he arranged to send a technician out. Within three hours.

In the meantime, SH called me and told me when I re-booted, I needed to leave the cord unplugged for at least 30 seconds for it to work, so I did it again and this time, the picture did re-appear and I was going to cancel the cable guy, but SH said not to, that he wanted a new cable box. But when the cable guy showed up, he didn't have a box with him, so now I'll have to go to the cable store and get one myself.

The point is, I was totally, totally impressed at the service. I mean, Sears. Pay attention. We scheduled you the day before to deliver our $1,000 washer and dryer and you show up nine hours late WITHOUT keeping us apprised (yeah, I had to call INDIA to find out what was going on in MILWAUKEE CITY) and then your guy hooked the cold water line up to the hot water valve whereas Time Warner, who gets what, $50 a month from us for what is honestly a non-essential service, shows up on 30 minutes notice? No wonder Sears stock is tanking.

Then I watched "Hot Chick," which is a traditional morality play about the pretty girl who becomes a better person after she becomes as unattractive on the outside as she is on the inside.

Return of the native

What I have to do before SH returns after being gone for a week:

1. Shave my legs
2. Squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom up
3. Arrange the remote controls neatly
4. Fold the blanket in the TV room neatly instead of tossing it on the couch like a normal person would do
5. Put a water glass back into the bathroom

Or I could just let him do all this stuff so he'll know how much he's needed around here.

All I want is a bike somewhere

I'm trying to be PC for SH on this, but I also want to be accurate. So the other day I went to the Y, which does many great things, one of which is employing the handicapped.

Wait. Let me be more specific. They employ young retarded men and women, which is especially good, because it saves taxpayer money, helps these kids' parents, and definitely helps the kids by giving them something productive to do, even if that something productive is handing towels to people before they go into the locker room.

SH doesn't like me to use the word "retarded," but it is what it is. Calling it something else does not change the fact that these kids are retarded. "Handicapped" is a broad term. It might mean "crippled," which is not the same as "retarded." To distinguish for SH, who is arguing with me as he reads this in the Minneapolis airport: "crippled" means the loss of the use of a limb, "retarded" means "slow." There is nothing wrong with "retarded" when it is used to describe someone who is actually retarded and it is not used pejoratively. If used as an insult, yeah, that's not nice. I don't use it that way. I don't knowingly insult people.

Well, OK. Sometimes I do. But not by calling them retarded. I call them arrogant or pompous or mean or cheap or jerky (if that's what they are), but those people deserve to be skewered. I don't insult people who are undeserving of insult.

Back to the Y.

So. I had my book and went to the bikes. You can tell I was serious about getting a good workout. I mean, you can get your heart rate up and read at the same time, right?

I saw one of the retarded kids riding one of the bikes. I'd ridden next to him before and knew that he was kinda a pain. He likes to talk a lot to himself and to the people around him and quite loudly at that and I like to read my book and mind my own business. With someone who's not retarded, you can say, "Hey, pipe down, wouldya?" but with a retarded kid, if you say that, he's not necessarily going to respond. I know that, because I had tried that before and he had just continued to jabber, so I knew that my best solution was just not to sit next to him.

Fortunately, he was way on one end of about ten bikes, so I sat way on the other end.

There was only one other guy at the other end.

And it turns out, he was a retarded talker, too.

What were the odds?

Friday, February 27, 2009


The cat lady said to put the cats in one room and leave them there for a few days until they got used to their new surroundings.

They would be scared.

They would get lost. You know, because cats are 1) stupid and 2)our 80 year old house is so enormous.

Cat#1, so afraid of being around her person.


Houdini broke out of the furnace room in 30 seconds. I turned around in the kitchen and saw her behind me. I went back down to the basement and saw that I had indeed, closed the furnace room. I put her back in and closed the door again.

Two minutes later, she was back upstairs.

I took her back down and she broke out again.

I took her back down and watched what she did.

There is a 5" hole in the corner by the laundry room where the chimney used to be.

I closed the laundry room door and blocked the hole to the laundry room with one of SH's 300 boxes of wine, because I don't want the cats in the laundry room with the detergent, bleach, paint, turpentine and chocolate -- they can buy their own chocolate, but surrendered and left the furnace room door open. Obviously, these cats were not so traumatized by the move that they vanted to be left alone.

Indeed, all Cat #1 (Thelma?) wanted to do was to sit in my lap and purr. Cat #2 (Louise? or is naming the cats after a couple of suicidal troublemakers who couldn't drive through Texas for a reason that was never specified not a good idea?) held back, sitting on top of one of SH's big speaker boxes that is and has been empty for a while but you never know when you'll need a good box.

What are some good girl cat names? I can think of all kinds of good boy-girl names, like Heloise and Abelard. Tristan and Isold. Adam and Eve. Sonny and Cher. Even boy and boy, like Tom and Jerry. There are some non-sex-specific names, like Strange and Charm. But girl and girl? Gertrude and Alice? Madonna and Britney? I think not.

Crazy cat ladies

Dear cat lady,

I know you love cats and I commend you. I commend you for having five cats and for fostering even more. I commend you for devoting your life to cats and for putting up with that gagging litter box smell and cat hair all over the place and cat-themed art and cat toys. It takes a special person and I mean that. I love cats, too, but not to the same extent you do.

But when I asked if the cats had been fed today, it wasn't because I was worried they might get hungry on the way back to my house. When you said they had, I thought, Oh well. You're the expert. I guess I don't need to worry. It's been years since I've had to carry a cat in the back seat of my car. You must know better.


Cat lady.

What were you thinking?

Did it occur to you that two stressed out cats plus full stomachs plus 15 degrees outside plus one hour in the car was not a good idea?


Cat poop.

The new car air freshener.


Marriage 101, Lecture 89: Pets, part 2

SH: If they were boy cats, we could name them Beavis and Butthead.

Me: No we couldn't.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Marriage 101, Lecture 89: Pets

Here's what my normally very Spock-like, logical, engineer husband sounded like when he looked at the videos of the cats, Zelda and Zippy, (yes, we would rename them -- it's not like they come when you call them anyhow) we want to adopt:

SH: Ooooh, they're so cute! Listen to her! She's talking! Oooh! Look at her cuddle on her shoulder! Oooh! I want those kitties! They're soooooo cute!

Then it was back to engineer mode in our email exchange later.

O'Malley watching my brother's gerbils, which he regularly released, chased, and tormented half to death.

Me: I could go get them tomorrow.

SH: No. I want to be involved.

Me: How complicated could it be to pick up some cats and buy a litter box?

SH: The prospect of getting cats RIGHT NOW is causing me some stress, as I'd prefer not to be dealing with that in my short time at home between my trips this week and next week. I would also prefer to have some time to prepare the house in advance. We may have to install at least one and maybe two cat doors, right? And we'll need to buy a cat box, litter, food, etc. I would like to have some degree of involvement in these things.

Maybe we could arrange to get the cats a little later (for example, a week or two from now) instead of right away.

My sister, passed out drunk with O'Malley.

Me: We probably don't have to pick them up right away, but we should dibs them. I could go get them, you know. I could also buy the food and the litter!

SH: I know, you could get the stuff--but I'm a micromanager and I have preferences when it comes to cat food, litter, type of cat box, etc.! Who do you think bought most of the stuff for Daisy and Winnie? [His cats when he was married to Imelda. He loves Daisy enough -- Winnie has passed -- that he will put up with seeing Imelda, also known as ITB, so he can visit Daisy when he is in California. He is going to see Daisy tonight, as a matter of fact. The reason he bought most of the stuff for Daisy and Winnie is that he did most of the household shopping -- Imelda was a lousy housekeeper all around. I am not a lousy housekeeper. Ahem.]

And I'd rather just be able to relax when I'm home this week from late Saturday until Tuesday morning--not nearly long enough!

Do you want to look at them before choosing, or do you think we should just say we want them?

If we can pick a day to get them, I'd choose a week from Sunday (March 8).

Have you double-checked to see that Siamese cats are going to be the best kind for you? I don't want to get cats and then have to find another home for them.

Me: I know I want Siamese! O'Malley [our cat when I was a kid] was Siamese!

I think based on the video that these cats would be fine. They seem to be sweet and loving. Have you watched? I like most cats and I especially like Siamese. Still, if you want to see them before we decide, that would be fine. We run the risk of not getting them, but there will be other cats.

As far as cat food, you can always tell me what kind to get, you know. Sheesh!

Zelda. Or Zippy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Spring is coming

You can tell. The driveway of death is diminishing.

See? I have only a little bit of ice to traverse to get to the car now. There is actually a bare spot of driveway as opposed to complete ice. And the ice is visible as opposed to covered with snow. There are no icicles of Damocles suspended overhead, waiting to drop on me.

The other sign of spring is the arrival of Burpee porn. How seductive the pages of plump, juicy tomatoes and tall, thrusting chard. I want to grab those tight, full melons and squeeze. I want to stroke that zucchini. Those succulent peppers. Those crispy okra. Oh yes. SH and I are going to garden.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tyranny of the facebookers

Am I the only one who is being hounded to join Facebook or myspace or whichever one is the grownup version? I have all (OK, three) these friends coming out of the woodwork to email me invitations to join. I spoke to my three college roommates on Sunday and Anita was urging the rest of us to join so we could keep up with her. I pointed out that by talking on the phone, we were keeping up with her. Then she said that we couldn't see the photos of her car after the runaway horse trailer had hit it while it was parked at work, minding its own business. (The horse was OK.)

Heather said that if she joins facebook, it will give her just one more thing to feel inadequate about, as she already doesn't answer emails for months.

If I join facebook, I will waste even more time on the internet and spend less time doing productive stuff, like painting the bathroom, which is what I did yesterday. Yes, it is way better to do that sort of thing while SH is gone because I can do it my way. SH, bless his heart, is a bit of a micromanager. He'd be all stressed that I was dripping paint onto the tiled floor and want me to be wiping up every single drop right now, even though it will scrape off just fine once it is dry.

The bathroom before. This peeling has all happened since we moved in last June. The previous owner used the upstairs shower. We do not take unusually wet, long showers. The peeling is not our fault. What happened is the guy who renovated the house a couple of years ago didn't use the proper primer in the bathroom, that cheap so and so. (This is the same guy who didn't put shelves in the kitchen island cabinets because everyone needs three cabinets that are 30" high. And who put cheap carpet upstairs rather than refinish the gorgeous wood floors.) Anyhow, the Menard's version of Kilz cost $7. That's it. Seven dollars for the primer that will keep the paint from peeling. He did all this to save $7.

After one coat of top paint. I need to put another coat on. The color isn't quite exactly what it should be, but I already had the paint, the semi-gloss (the renovator used flat originally, which is also wrong) I used to paint the baseboards in the guest room after we had the ugly carpet removed. I have an entire gallon of it because the paint store wouldn't mix a quart and darned if I was going to spend another $25 to get something just a shade bluer.

I didn't have to paint the trim because the part covered by the carpet was unpainted and didn't match the part that would have been above the carpet. I had to paint the trim because it hadn't been touched at all in about 20 years. It was really bad. Then I had to touch up the walls. The guest room was the previous owner's bedroom. He used to sit on the bed, which was pushed into the corner, with his naked back against the wall instead of against the headboard, and left this huge greasespot on the wall. Disgusting.

Monday, February 23, 2009

What I do when SH is away

1. Make bean soup. SH, eater of tripe, tendon and connective tissue, will not eat beans because they have a "funny texture." He also does not like anything with that "orange" flavor, like winter squash or sweet potatoes.

2. Go to the Lands' End outlet and come this ][ close to buying a pair of hot pink velvet jeans for $5 before remembering that 1) I am 45 years old and 2) don't have any occasions to wear hot pink velvet jeans. Plus, they were a little tight and not in a good way.

3. Wonder what's up with this little tab on the toilet seat in the women's room at Sendik's. It's probably supposed to be for lifting the seat and not getting pee on your hands, but if someone pees on the seat, wouldn't the pee hit the tab, too?

4. Watch a movie he's already seen: Mississippi Masala. I liked it, but Denzel was just meh in it. He has definitely improved with age. I didn't care for Mina at all -- she was kinda dull. Hey -- what's up with Denzel never having a black love interest in his movies? Do producers think I won't want to see the movie if he is hot for Angela Bassett instead of Eva Mendes? Back to Miss Masala -- the story about the dad and his expulsion from Uganda was far more interesting and they should have focused on that.

5. Chew pink bubble gum until my jaws hurt.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Boring CF

Y'all, I have become a dull, dull person. Nothing interesting happens to me and I don't do anything interesting. It is amazing SH wants to come home to me after a week-long trip, but I have to say I am a darn good cook and that has a lot to do with it.

So. Here's what I've been up to.

1. Last night, we went to a play, Captain Neato-Man or something like that. It was performed by some theater company that is taking the play to a one-act play competition. After the show was over, they made us stay and give them feedback, which you know is usually one of my absolute favorite things in the world to do, but I didn't know there was going to be a pop quiz and all I could think of during the play while I was watching Captain Neato-Man in his tights was "What on earth does that guy have in his tights? Is that a zucchini? Is this like 'Spinal Tap' and is he going to set off the metal detector with the tinfoil he has wrapped around it?"

2. Before the show, SH and I went out to eat. We intended to go to the Kegel Inn (insert your own joke here) for their Friday fish fry, but even though we got there at 6:30, it was going to be a 45-minute wait. Honestly. You have to make a reservation? For a fish fry? So we went to Culver's instead and split a triple-bacon cheeseburger, bacon-cheese soup, and a cheese milkshake. Not really. It was a cheese malted milk. OK. A chocolate milkshake. But I had you for a second, didn't I? This is Wisconsin.

3. I have been thinking about writing a book. A memoir. But all the good stuff is things I cannot discuss here for reasons I cannot discuss here, but a lot of you know what I'm talking about and I wouldn't want to leave any of that out of the book, but what happens when I am on Oprah and Good Morning America promoting the book? There are certain people who could not know of this book's existence, so I'd have to use a pseudonym, which is fine because you still get the money but wouldn't half the fun of having a bestseller be that everyone you went to high school and college with would know about your bestseller, including Frog Girl (not because she looked like a frog but because she always wore frog designs on her preppy little turtlenecks), whose letters to your alumni magazine about how she is now a professor at Princeton and has written a book (an academic one, so not as hard as a novel) and has four kids, blah, blah, blah, make you kinda sick, so she could be envious? And how do you go anonymously on Oprah, anyhow?

4. I have been watching a lot of movies. That's what SH and I do in the evenings -- watch movies together in our freezing basement, which is why I am not watching as much What Not To Wear and Bridezilla as I used to when the TV was next to the kitchen -- but I usually don't watch movies alone. But I got the movie "Don't Mess with the Zohan" at the library and SH had no interest in seeing it, so I watched it yesterday afternoon instead of doing something productive with my life. Now there are two hours I'll never get back. I mean, the running gag with The Tribe hummus was funny, but did that make up for the rest? "He Got Game" was good, though. Denzel. Definitely on The List.

5. How could I forget??! SFGirl, she of the glamorous toes, told me that Luke, my friend from grad school, finally popped the question! Not to distract from the truly wonderful part, but she said he told her that his sister's and my incessant nagging is part of what prompted him. Glad to help. And I am thrilled for them both.

6. Not nearly as exciting as the wedding news, but both the headlights went out last night, which meant we had to drive home with the high beams. Thankfully, we are not in Texas. Here, people don't shoot you for something like that. They'll get drunk and run into your car because apparently, it is OK to drink and drive as much as you want -- the first offense is only a misdemeanor, but they won't shoot you. You can drink and drive, but you can't park overnight on the public street in front of your house and you can't put lawn waste in the trash.

The dual death had SH puzzled, but as he is far more math-literate than Homer Simpson, who asked, "What are the odds of getting sick on a Saturday? Like one in a thousand?", he knew that it was not probable but possible. Fortunately, it was just the bulbs and not a fuse. Still, it means he is out blowing the six inches of snow off the driveway so he can go out to get new bulbs, even though I assured him that while he is gone this week, I just won't drive after dark. He is also cutting it very close to get to the library to pick up the movie, but I guess he thinks I don't get enough adrenalin in my life. Still, he's the one who wants to see Kate Winslet. If he doesn't pick up "Engima" in time, we can watch "Mississippi Masala," which I already have and just happens to have Denzel in it.

Marriage 101, Lecture 2: Afternoon delight

SH: Why did you use those eggs? [position B]

Me: Because they're the oldest.

SH: No, they're not.


Me: Yes, they are. I bought [position A] yesterday, so put those next to the milk. I always put the older eggs on top of the other carton [position C], but there wasn't room so I had to put them on a different shelf.

SH: But I moved the old eggs from [position B] to [position A] because it makes more sense to have the oldest eggs in the more obvious place.

Me: I didn't know you did that.

SH: Didn't you look at the cartons?

Me: No, why should I? I knew where I put them yesterday.

SH: But wouldn't you agree that the most logical way to store them is the way I just described?

Me: Yes, but I didn't know you had changed things.

SH: Why didn't you look?

Me: Because!

SH: You don't live alone now. You need to consider that someone else might re-arrange the refrigerator.


Me: Would you like to [indulge in intimate relations]?

SH: Sure.

Me: OK. Now? Because if you don't want to now, then I'm going to take a shower. Or else we can shovel the driveway now and go to the library, then I can take a shower and let my hair dry before church. I don't want to use the hairdryer because it fries my hair.

SH: You treat [intimate relations] like an engineering problem!

Me: You treat everything like an engineering problem, like the eggs! What would you have me say?

SH: How about, "My darling, I want you. I don't care what else I have to do today. That will work out. But you are the most important thing!"

Me: Would you believe me if I said that?

SH: No.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Yes, I was a funny-looking kid


I'm the one on the left.

Where's the beef?

Y'all, latinos don't do vegetarian. I lived in Miami for two years, Chile for two years, and Panama for three. I have visited almost every country in Latin America (no Colombia or Belize or those insignificant countries in the northeast corner of South America, like Guyana). I know what they eat, which is why the recipe for "Vegetarian Cuban Black Beans" in the latest issue of Real Simple made me laugh. As if.

Why are you telling us this rather boring story, CF, you are asking. Is there a point?

Why yes there is. First, you have to go see what Marta is making today: It's a fabulous Pan con Bistec, or a Cuban steak sandwich. Then you have to know that Marta's Ropa Vieja that I made the other day was absolutely delicious. I know that's the reason SH married me: not because of our politics, which as you might have guessed, clash daily, but because I feed him well. Why did I marry him? Oh, to change him. The usual.

Then you have to hear the story about a trip Harpo and I took to Miami. (Before I met SH, duh.) Harpo is a lifelong vegetarian, but he is not the annoying "Oh how can you eat something with a face!" political kind. He is a libertarian vegetarian who minds his own business, thank you very much.

Anyhow, we went to Miami a lot because that's where Harpo was from and his wonderful brother and sister in law live in the Keys. The first thing we would do when we landed was go to the little aluminum trailer by the car rental place so Harpo could get a colada (a kind of Cuban coffee that he would drink all by himself, which will mean something to those who know Cuban coffee) and I could get a medianoche, a fabulous Cuban sandwich.

One time, Harpo was also hungry, but being a vegetarian, he didn't want meat in his sandwich.

There is no such thing as a Cuban sandwich without meat.

So he asked for a cheese sandwich.

Clerk: Pero with ham, si?

Harpo: No. No meat. Just cheese.

Clerk: Pero con pork, si?

Harpo: No. No meat. Just cheese.

Clerk: Pero con beef, no?

Harpo. No. No pork. No ham. No beef. Just bread and cheese.

Clerk: [crazy gringo]

Marriage 101, Lecture 331: Spontaneous purchases

SH: I bought something really cool on

Me: What?

SH: A breathalyzer! I've always wanted one!

Me: How much?

SH: $40.

Me: Wouldn't it be cheaper not to drink?

SH: You say the same thing about the radar detector -- that it would be easier just to follow the law. But I want to speed.

Me: So what if you take the breathalyzer one night and you're too high?

SH: I suppose I'll just hang around a while before I come home.

Me: What if it's already 2:00?

SH: I guess I'll have to call you to come get me.

Me: That better not happen more than once.

Marriage 101, Lecture 266: Honeydo

SH: It's cold outside.

Me: You don't have to go out to sing [karaoke -- don't laugh, he's really good -- at the American Legion with all the old Italian guys].

SH: You're making me.

Me: How's that?

SH: Yesterday, you said I should go out tonight so you could get to sleep at a decent hour.

Me: Oh yeah. You always do things just because I want you to.

SH: I do!

Me: Give me one example.

SH: I hung the pictures in the living room.

Me: Yeah -- seven months after we moved in.

SH: I've done lots of things just because you wanted. What about that list on the refrigerator?

Me: Have you finished the taxes? [We are due a huge refund because of the deduction for Imelda's alimony, and of course there is her usual drama with that.] Have you written a will?

SH: No, but I caulked the bathtub.

Me: That's because I was going to do it and you said I wouldn't do it right, even though I owned my own house in Memphis for seven years and took care of it just fine.

SH: I went to that dance class with you.

Me: That was part of your Christmas present to me!

Marriage 101, Lecture 845: Politics -- contagious or just dangerous?

SH: Hey! You changed out your toothbrush.

Me: So?

SH: It's blue. Now I can't tell which is mine [also blue] and which is yours.

Me: Just throw mine in the drawer. I need to get another one tomorrow anyhow. This one is too hard.

SH: I guess it's time for me to change toothbrushes, too. I've been using this one for a while.

Me: Just take mine.

SH: That's gross.

Me: I only used it once.

SH: But what if I catch something?

Me: Like conservatism?

SH: Yeah. That's what would scare me the most.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Biology question

First, if I ever have plastic surgery, I am getting an extra bladder. After that, I'll consider the boob job and the tushie lift.

My question is:

Why does the mocha and diet Dr Pepper I consume between 8:00 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. want to exit my body between 10:15 and 11:15 a.m, when I am at the gym (not that I mind missing squats and hey, at least I am already out of bed), but the glass of water I consume at 2:00 p.m. and the cup of tea I have at 4:45 p.m. want to stick around until 2:12 a.m., 4:21 a.m. and 6:47 a.m. when I am perfectly happy sleeping?

Girl dates

One of the few disadvantages of not working or being in school is that you don't have an easy way to make new friends. In school and at work, you sit next to other women or you are in the same dorm or have the same boss and the relationship takes an easy, natural progression. Over the course of a semester, you get to know each other a little more after each class. As you are complaining about your boss, you discover you have other things in common. You go out to lunch. Then you progress to drinks after work. Then it's meeting on Saturday to go to the Junior League Thrift Shop together (but only if she's not the same size as you).

But if your only interaction with other human beings besides your husband is at the gym or the grocery store, it's harder to have that continuity that shows you if there is actual friend potential there. There are some women I like at my gym, but do I like them enough to do something outside the gym?

What if I ask Jane, whose name I just learned today after six months of occasional, short conversations (she can't stand her in-laws and that's completely understandable given what she has told me about them, her husband works crazy hours, she got a ticket for leaving her battery-dead car parked in the street overnight because parking on the street overnight is illegal here, a campaign worker called her last summer while her two-year-old was throwing up and she told the caller that but the caller insisted on giving his pitch for Obama, which did not make Jane like O any more than she already did and indeed stiffened her resolve against him, she gets migraines but takes a different medication than I do, etc, etc, etc) to get a cup of coffee after class some day and then discover I don't like her after all? Or worse, that she doesn't like me?

Then I still have to see her at the gym but have that awkward "We went out once and it didn't work" moment.

Sheesh. This is what keeps people from moving -- so they don't have to go through this.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Beef: It's what's for dinner

Despite the news that hamburgers are the new Hummers and I am Killing the Earth (don't I care?), I persist with my carnivorous ways. Oh, how can I be so cruel? To add insult to injury, I am going to vote in the primary election today for the state superintendent of schools or something like that and I intend to vote for the candidate who wants to expand the school choice program. SH says he is going to vote just to counter-act my vote. After all, the only people who should be able to send their kids to private schools are rich liberals who Support Public Education, kinda like B and Michelle and all those poor people in Manhattan who can't live on $500,000 a year because they pay $40,000 a year in private school tuition.

Anyhow. I feel like cooking. I am making Marta's Ropa Vieja and lentil barley soup. Note that the soup recipe is some kind of vegan nonsense. (By "nonsense," I mean all those people who abjure meat as a political act and expect everyone else To Care As Much As They Do, as opposed to those who for health or just can't stomach it reasons don't eat flesh. Harpo, please don't jump on me.)

The beginnings of the ropa vieja. Does this look fabulous or what? Don't worry, Marta. The celery is for the soup.

Anyhow, the soup recipe doesn't call for any meat, but I decided to be Chilean about it. As in, when I lived in Chile, I made vegetable soup one day and invited a Chilean friend to eat with me. She was very polite and ate her soup, but when she finished, she asked hesitantly, "Umm. There is no meat in this soup?"

"No," I answered. "It's vegetable soup."

"But there is no meat!" She was quite confused.

"Yes. Vegetable soup. No meat."

She dropped it, but I could tell that the idea of a soup without meat was surreal to her.

I decided Alejandra was right and soup should have meat in it, so I am altering this recipe just a wee bit and throwing in a few meaty beef bones. Meat makes things taste better, even baked ziti that already has a cup of cream and three cups of cheese in it.

Sellers' market

Of course there are jobs out there! Look:

Accountemps has an immediate opportunity for a Collections Specialist for a local bank in Racine. This position requires very strong collections and customer service skills, the ability to handle multiple accounts, and knowledge of banking and mortgage collections processes. The ideal candidate will have 3+ years of collections experience preferably in a bank or mortgage company. This is an ongoing temporary to full-time opportunity that pays up to $14 per hour.

Look also for opportunities in car repossession, garage sales, and pawn shops.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Marriage 101, Lecture 78: Restraint

SH: I think I want some frozen custard.

Me [rolling eyes -- he has just eaten two helpings of baked ziti made with one cup of cream, three cups of cheese and a hunk of leftover sausage not called for in the recipe but I had it so why not?]: OK.

SH: I know. I don't have much self control.

Me: Honey, you don't have any self control.

SH: That's not true. Today, I didn't eat potato chips.

Marriage 101, Lecture 233: Asking for help

Me: What are you looking for?

SH: The membership information for the museum. It has the Titanic exhibit tickets with it. Where is it? What did you do with it?

Me: Why don't I just call the museum? They should have us in their database.

SH: I don't want to call! That's embarrassing.

Me: Not for me.

SH: You're not the one who lost the tickets. [Translation: I think you are the one who lost the tickets because I never lose things but you insist on filing things in files with names on them and once that happens, I can't find a thing.]

SH: I can't believe I can't find them. Where could they be? I checked the "Tickets and coupons" file.

Me: Could it be in the "Milwaukee" folder?

SH: Oh. Yes. Here they are.

Get a life

Is it a sign that I need to get out more that

1. the high point of my day was buying new tupperware? Yeah, we needed it because guess what if you microwave tomato-based foods in plastic, the plastic melts. Also, over time, the lids crack. But should I have taken such pleasure in throwing away the cracked, stained containers and replacing them with new ones?

2. I was totally annoyed with Target, which I usually love (hey, they took back the gym pants I bought last week after I told them I had worn them once and had loosened enough during one class that they were falling and showing my not-to-be-shown tummy), because their classification system is lousy?

Let me ask you. If you were designing the layout for a Target store, where would you put the tupperware? In the kitchen section with the pots and pans, plates, and the Pyrex food storage thingies?

Or would you put them behind the crackers and milk with the plastic bags?

Yeah. That's what I thought.

Remedial econ for actresses

Dear Meryl Streep,

I know you're only an actress and shouldn't be expected to have half a brain, but when you whine about how actresses aren't paid as much as actors:

She famously unloaded at a Screen Actors Guild event in 1990 about the lack of female-driven movies and equal paychecks for women. ''I've never made the equivalent to what men make,'' she says now. ''I think Jack [Nicholson] made more on About Schmidt than I made on Mamma Mia!''

and then go on to explain that you have no concept, except for "Mamma Mia," about how much money a movie makes

'Actually,'' she says, ''Mamma Mia! made $560 million worldwide. I've never paid attention to that stuff, but this was just bringing it in.

then perhaps you should pay attention "to that stuff" and understand a few things.

The studios are in it for the money. They're not in it for Art. They're not in it to Make a Statement. They're not in it to Advance Feminism. They're not in it to Stick it to The Man or even to Support the Man.

All they want to do is make money. And that's how they make production decisions.

Show me one, just one of the top-grossing films of all times, that was driven by a female lead, and I will eat my hat. Oh. What's that you say? "Mamma Mia!" is on that list at number 46? Forty six? Yeah, that's up there.

And what's ahead of "Mamma Mia?" (which, incidentally, stank. I turned it off after the first ten minutes and I love me some ABBA -- even used to have most of their records).

Titanic. Lord of the Rings. Pirates of the Caribbean. Harry Potter. The Dark Knight. Shrek. Jurassic Park. Spider Man.

Huh. Not one movie dominated by a female lead. (Not necessarily a male lead, either -- these movies seem to appeal to teenage boys, except for Titanic, which appealed to my husband because Kate Winslet is on his List and to teenage girls. Because -- wait for it -- of Leo DiCaprio.)

Could it be that the reason Hollywood is so mean to you and other women is not because they are a bunch of women haters but because they are a bunch of money lovers?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Marriage 101, Lecture 68: Being on time

Being on time means different things to different people. For me, being on time means not only being someplace when you say you will be there but allowing extra time to get there -- you never know when traffic will be bad or your car will be hit or you won't be able to find a parking space or an asteroid will fall on your destination, although I suppose in that case, being late would be better. I like to leave well in advance of the necessary arrival time because I hate being stressed and rushed. If the plane leaves at 5:00 and it takes 20 minutes to get to the airport, I leave the house at 3:20. What's wrong with that? Better safe than sorry is what I say.

SH like that little adrenalin rush that comes with cutting things closely. He waits until the last minute not only to leave but to get ready, a practice that gives me a migraine. Fortunately, I have good drugs. But let me ask you something: If you had a flight that left at 5:00 p.m., when would you pack? When would you shower? Those are critical path activities that must, must be completed before you can leave for the airport. I would do them in the morning.

SH does them at 3:00. He flirts with danger, any time he can.

Today, he skated on the edge again. He said he would pick up tonight's movie from the library. The library closes at 4:00. At 3:30, I asked if I should just run over there. No, no. He would do it.

At 3:45, I began to get anxious. He was still upstairs, reading. I took a deep breath and reminded myself that it was not the end of the world if we didn't watch "Giant" tonight, even though I'd had to request it from another library branch, so someone had used time and money to get it to our library.

At 3:50, he came into the basement where I was watching "Entertainment Tonight" and said something about returning the corrugated plastic tubing to Menard's. I suggested that now was probably not the best time to discuss it.

Why not, he asked?

The library, I said. Don't you need to get to the library?

Oh, sure. I'll get there, he assured me.

Deep breath. There are other movies. Not the end of the world. Drugs.

At 3:55, he left.

At 4:30, I had to check my online library record for something.

The movie had been checked out.

He had made it.

Is it really wrong and unwifely of me to want him to be late just once? Isn't it better for me to want him to get to the library late rather than missing a flight? Who is this guy's guardian angel anyhow?

Marriage 101, Lecture 67: Shopping

SH actually likes to go to Menard's and Home Depot and the grocery store, whereas I look at those things as a necessary evil. He says it gets him out of the house. Me, I'm fine with being in the house. It's where the food and the heat are. But anyway. He is on a quest to return the re-keying set to Menard's (we decided that our house's previous owner hadn't given the key to anyone because he had no friends and definitely had no work done on the house) and to pick up some cottage cheese and cream so we can make baked ziti tonight (we already have the other ingredients).

That's the mission: return the re-keying set. Buy cottage cheese and cream

Here's what he will return with:

Furnace filter (I'm cheating -- he already called to get our model number)
Some kind of weird cleaning solution
Salt for the driveway, even though we don't salt -- we just warn people and carry a lot of insurance. But I am guessing salt is on sale.
Some odd tool that has one strange, but cool, use.
Three cans of pickle-flavored Pringles
One can of whatever their new flavor is

Cottage cheese
Rosemary Triscuits ("But we already have two boxes." "They were on sale!")
Chips (because I made pico de gallo the other day and how else are you supposed to eat pico de gallo if not with chips?)
Some kind of chocolate frozen custard -- depends on what the flavor du jour is at Oscar's, Gille's, or Culver's
Pickled green beans
Pork tenderloin ("But it was on sale!")
Chocolate-covered pretzels (OK, there's nothing wrong with that one)
Other flavored potato chips (in addition to the Pringle's)

Here's what he got. I didn't guess very well this time.

Some kind of weird cleaning solution: Your GREEN Solution resolution natural window wash
Me: But I bought Windex last week.
SH: Why didn't you tell me?
Me: Because I assumed I was responsible for household cleaning supplies.
SH: I always bought cleaning supplies when I was married to Imelda. She would just grab the first thing she saw and never worried about the price.
Me: I got it at Wal-Mart. It was $2.39.
SH: This was $1.50 and it's earth friendly.
Me: I don't care about being earth friendly. I just want something that will clean the mirrors.

Two bottles of Lavender and Chamomile SoftSoap
Me: We have a huge refill bottle of softsoap in the bathroom.
SH: But I like the fancy stuff. (Note. He is the one who bought the huge refill bottle.)

A package of jalapeno beef jerky

And even more romance

SH: What I learned in college was how to drink a lot of beer and not to get into a love triangle with my roommate.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

More Valentine's Day romance

What woman wouldn't be intrigued by an email with this title?

"Going for a big fishing is easy when you have a big bait in your pants.‏"

I'm hooked.

Ah love, sweet love

One of my Valentine's Day traditions, as of today, is to google old boyfriends. I like to see what they're up to, know if I've aged better than their wives, and be glad I didn't marry any of them (not that they asked, mind you, but I'm sure they were just working up to it) because otherwise I would never have met and married SH, who was definitely worth waiting for.

I especially like the part where I look way better than the women they married. I've been wearing sunblock on my face and hats and avoiding daylight like a paranoid vampire for 15 years now and it's finally paying off. So sue me. Little bit of advice to one wife: Clairol #24. Really. It's easy, it's inexpensive and it hides the gray. I know you're an earth mother hippie, but your husband is in the classroom with hot grad students every day. Give him something hot to come home to and I'm not just talking about supper.

Then there is the high school boyfriend who turned out to be gay, unknown to me and I suppose unknown to him at the time, although wouldn't his total lack of interest in kissing me, even though we were alone at his mom and dad's house watching a video of some TV show, have been a clue? Was "The Dukes of Hazzard" or whatever was popular in 1979 really more compelling than I? We were both a little naive, I suppose. I thought I just wasn't cute enough. That wasn't it. I lacked equipment.

After googling old boyfriends, I went to the next logical step: self googling, which is how I found myself:



I don't have many details about these other Class Factotums because their pages are in German, but apparently I am 1) a wildlife biologist specializing in Carpathian wolves and 2) some kind of academic focusing on dragon kilns and Chinese pottery.

I feel as if I am letting my name down by not having a PhD in a bizarre area.

Friday, February 13, 2009

When in Rome

Remember I told you how everyone, and I mean everyone here has a Friday fish fry?


It's because fish fries are What is Done on Friday.

Apparently, mayonnaise and bacon are also What is Done in Milwaukee. SH and I went to a Vietnamese place last week for some soup and a sandwich. In San Francisco, a Vietnamese sandwich consists of an oven-fresh baguette, roasted pork, pickled carrots, jalapenos and cilantro. It is yummy.

In Milwaukee, a Vietnamese sandwich has all those ingredients plus mayonnaise and bacon.

Which is probably what leads to the Milwaukee roll:


Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Am I wrong?

to wish that the woman who took my space at the gym would fall off her step? Even the instructor went down to no steps for one routine, but this woman (the one who took my space), kept three steps, as shown below, although this photo was after she had set up for the weights class and had left the room -- I did not want to take the photo in front of her and inspire questions.


It's my space. Mine. It took me a few weeks to figure out exactly where to stand during class so I wouldn't be hit by the gale-force winds from the three fans and the overhead vents. It's only 10 degrees outside -- of course we need to make it colder in the gym. Heaven forbid that anyone actually sweat during an exercise class.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Table for one

What a day looks like when SH is here:

Breakfast: oatmeal, coffee mixed with chocolate milk
Lunch: leftover steak or leftover gumbo or leftover something good -- we have a ton of stuff in the freezer
Snack: pear, apple, baba ganoush with red pepper strips
Supper: Steak, roasted asparagus, cream of mushroom soup (homemade, thank you very much), a spoon or two of SH's Never Enough Chocolate frozen custard

When he is gone:

Breakfast: same
On the way to the gym: three pieces of bubble gum hidden in the glove box because SH really hates gum so I only chew it when I'm not around him
On the way back from the gym: 1/4 bag of pretzels left in the glove box from the other day when I had to get emergency carbs in the middle of my step aerobics class, a handful of wasabi peas also stashed in glove box in case I need food while I'm driving and can't get to the peanut butter crackers and blueberry Pop-Tarts in the trunk
Lunch: pinto beans, brown rice, a handful (OK, three) of the chocolate Cap'n Crunch that was on the clearance table at Sendik's that I have hidden in the trunk of the car in the bag with the heavy blanket and candle in case we get caught in a blizzard (don't laugh it happens) so I don't eat it, half a pear the rest down the disposal because it's just not very good but what do you expect from a pear from the produce bargain table
Snack: 25 Wheat Thin vegetable crackers, another homemade mocha, two dates left over from Morocco, the sugared stuff at the bottom of SH's Frosted MiniWheats
Supper: leftover mustard chicken warmed in its Tupperware and yes I know the bisphenal A is going to kill me, whatever, half a can of tuna from the can, three handfuls of the GoLean Crunch that was also on the clearance table but that is in the cabinet because SH likes it for breakfast and I'm not embarrassed for him to know I bought it

We are all morons now

Just what part of "wheat" do people with wheat allergies not get?



Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Marriage 101, Lecture 93: Saying goodbye to a liberal

SH: That's ridiculous to think tax cuts would be better than government spending.

Me: Sweetie, it's not even 8 a.m. Do we have to talk about this now?

SH [from the bedroom, where he is packing for a trip]: Public revenues even lower....blah, blah, blah

Me: Oh, look. Milk is a $1.98 at Pick and Save.

SH: Didn't you hear what I said?

Me: Yes, but I'm ignoring it. I have to go to the gym. Have a great trip.

SH: But what about the stimulus package?

Me: I love you. If your plane crashes, I don't want the last words I ever said to you to be about tax policy. Bye.

Marriage 101, Lecture 92: Life with a liberal

You would think that now that the election is over and the Big O Won (because he told us) that a couple such as SH and me wouldn't have anything to argue about any more, but you would be wrong.

Which is the better economic stimulus, tax cuts or government spending on stupid things?

Should the government interfere in the economy at all?

Why can't the big O make a speech that inspires? Why is his theme we have everything to fear?

Why should the feds bail out states that have wasted money for years?

So what if government employees get laid off? Didn't SH's company just slash vacations, freeze salaries, and promise no bonuses?

Why is it OK for big Dems not to pay their taxes?

Why should someone who didn't pay taxes in the first place get a "tax rebate" check?

I am hoping that someday soon, we might be able to have a day where we do not talk about a single one of these issues.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Should I invoke the Geithner Rule?

This is what happens when you look up "writer" on TurboTax to pay your self-employment taxes for the little web work you do for your friend. Would that I were a nail salon. My toes would look fabulous and I would be making a lot of money.


Tuesday report

Busy doing taxes and cleaning the basement today, so nothing dramatic except what is wrong with the IRS and TurboTax that I have to tell them if I got a tax rebate/stimulus check last year even if I am not going to be taxed on it and I can look it up online? If I'm not going to be taxed, why does the IRS care? And if they already know (hence the lookup function), then why do they need me to give them the answer?

So. It was a pretty, sunny day today and I took advantage of the light to take photos of our now almost-completely decorated/finished living room and dining room.

Living room before the chair was reupholstered and before I found and refinished the table.

Living room now with the chair looking fabulous. Lindley's plant that she sent to fill that back corner is in a warmer place for now.

Dining room before we finished unpacking.

Dining room after. The pictures we got in Spain are framed and on the wall. Our Morocco rug arrived, thanks to Megan's hard work.

More dining room. Notice yet another picture on the wall. Isn't the humidor in the front cool?

Pictures hung!

I got this little thingy that looks like a pie safe at Goodwill. It works as a nightstand, but I don't think that's what it is. Anyone have any ideas?

Monday, February 09, 2009

The seven stages of hanging pictures

Shock or Disbelief:

I can't believe we've been in the house since June and those pictures are still on the living room floor.


What's wrong with leaving the pictures unhung? We don't use those rooms anyhow -- it's too cold in there and we don't want to have the heat on in that part of the house with all those windows. We spend all our time in the kitchen.


Oh forget it. I"ll hang the pictures myself.

No! You won't do it right!

Fine. Let's hang them now, then.


It's such a pretty day. Should we waste it hanging pictures?


What are you doing? You have to measure to get the exact right place!

No, you don't. It looks good here. I have a good eye for this.

That's too low!

That's too high!

The internet says the top of the picture should be 72" from the floor.

Fine. Let me get my tape measure.

You're not holding it right! It's crooked!

So what? Hang the first picture and then figure out where the second one should go.


Oh good grief. This is going to take forever. You do it. Just do it how you want. I'm going to go read my book. I told you we should have done this when Bonnie and Gary were here.

Acceptance and Hope:

That looks fabulous, sweetie!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Marriage 101, Lecture 57: Life with an engineer

Part 1: The salsa dance class

SH: Stop. Wait. I have to figure out what I did wrong.

Me: It doesn't matter! Keep dancing!

SH: But why didn't I get this step? What beat do I lift my hand on? Where are my feet supposed to go?

Part 2: Hanging pictures

Me: It looks good there.

SH: No. I have to measure it. Is it exactly in the middle?

The view from our kitchen

Notice that the snow is gone from the garage roof for the first time in months!

Cry me a river

Oh, those poor rich people in New York who cahn't, dahling, simply cahn't live on a mere $500,000 a year. Look at their expenses:

most well-to-do families take at least two vacations a year, a winter trip to the sun and a spring trip to the ski slopes.

Total minimum cost: $16,000.

A modest three-bedroom apartment...carries a monthly mortgage of about $8,000 and a co-op maintenance fee of $8,000 a month. Total cost: $192,000. A summer house in Southampton that cost $4 million... carries annual mortgage payments of $240,000.

Many top executives have cars and drivers. A chauffeur’s pay is between $75,000 and $125,000 a year...

A personal trainer at $80 an hour three times a week comes to about $12,000 a year.

The work in the gym pays off when one must don a formal gown for a charity gala...

Total cost for three gowns: about $35,000...

Two children in private school: $64,000.

Nanny: $45,000...

More? Restaurants. Dry cleaning. Each Brooks Brothers suit costs about $1,000. If you run a bank, you can’t look like a slob.

The total costs here, which do not include a lot of things, like kennels for the dog when the family is away, summer camp, spas and other grooming for the human members of the family, donations to charity, and frozen hot chocolates at Serendipity, are $790,750, which would require about a $1.6-million salary to compensate for taxes. Give or take a few score thousand of dollars.

I don't see anywhere that someone could cut expenses in this list, do you?

Marriage 101, Lecture 72: The proper care and feeding of pets

SH: When we get our cats, are we going to buy organic, fair-trade cat food?

Me: These are animals that lick their butts. No.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Marriage 101, Lecture 47: The F word

SH: Did you just --?

Me: Did I what?

SH: Did you fart?

Me: Maybe.

SH: I can't believe you did that! When I have to fart, I hold it and go into the bathroom.

Me: We're married now. I don't have to hold it in.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Marriage 101, Lecture 34: Cookies and their eating

SH: Hey, you're eating all my cookie! [The one he brought home Wed night from the Doubletree.]

Me: It's been here two days. You had your chance.

SH: Are you saying the statute of limitations has run out?

Me: Yep. You didn't have to bring it home. You knew the risks.

I vill not buy this record, it is scratched

SH: What's this on your list -- "mildew paint?"

Me: The paint in the bathroom is peeling. I need to prime it with Kilz and then repaint with the leftover paint in the basement.

SH: I thought that was a summer job.

Me: I was going to do it in a few weeks when you're gone for a week.

SH: You weren't going to tell me?

Me: Why would I tell you? I've done this before. I know what needs to be done.

SH: But I need to be involved!

Me: Why?

SH: What if you don't do it right?

Me: I had to do it with my bathroom in Memphis and my paint job lasted six years.

SH: But -- but! You don't mask!

Me: Yes, I do, when it's necessary.

SH: But why would you do it now instead of in the summer?

Me: To keep you out of my business.

What am I missing?

I can't figure out if this is about shoes or fish. And yes, I tried to call, but nobody answered the phone.


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Right. Because I stop at just one chocolate chip

This will work. The British nanny government at it again:

The Government is set to order manufacturers to shrink the size of chocolate bars and fizzy drinks.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson will tell firms such as Mars, Coca-Cola, Britvic and Nestlé that smaller versions of their products should be available in all garages and corner shops to help stop people piling on weight.

Remember when Mars or Hershey made their candy bars smaller but kept the price the same because that's "what people wanted to pay" for a candy bar?

My people called it maize

Y'all, I am completely and totally in favor of the free market allocating resources and more power to the people who ever convinced us that a bottle of water was worth $1 even when water can be gotten basically free from the tap. I am also a big fan of family farming, seeing as that's how my mom and her six siblings grew up and part of why they turned out great, although none of them had any wish to stay on the farm, probably because after 18 years of getting up at 5:00 a.m. to milk cows, baling hay and cleaning out the barn, every other kind of work seemed like a piece of cake.

Thus, I am a fan of CSAs (community supported agriculture?), the system where you pay a fee to a local farm and get a box of produce every week or two from the farmer. Not enough of a fan to pay for it myself, seeing as the produce bargain counter at Sendik's is still a better deal, but a fan in theory.

But honestly -- who are the people who sign up to do this part?

Internships: A total immersion experience. [X] Farm offers 2-3 full-time, live-in internship positions each year. Typically we ask for a commitment from April through November, with a workweek of approximately 50 hours. Interns have the opportunity to learn hands-on how a 15-acre farm operates in an organic and sustainable way. You will be involved in all aspects of the farm, and will have access to books and other resources, including time to visit and work at other farms in SE Wisconsin. Compensation includes room, board and a monthly stipend.

All I can think of is this is the sort of thing that farm kids all over this country have fled after growing up under this "total immersion experience." This "total immersion experience" in an "organic and sustainable way" is also what has led to the development of pesticides, fertilizers and other productivity-enhancing developments. Sure, "organic" sounds great until you realize it means shoveling manure from the barn into a pile, then loading it onto a truck and spreading it on a field. It sounds fabulous until you have pulled weeds and pulled weeds and pulled weeds and still the weeds don't stop. Then you start to think that maybe there is a better way.

Definitely something White People Like.

Update: Definitely something rich White People Like. I just looked at the subscription fees. $27 for half a dozen eggs every other week. Suppose the season lasts six months. That's 12 dozen eggs. Sorry. I am not going to pay $27 for something I can get for $15 at the store and that's not even when they're on sale.

Of course it's OK to lie during a campaign, or, evading taxes is the new patriotism

I assumed Obama understood all this and the campaign blather was just for show. But it turns out he’s created a climate of Puritanism in which any error is grounds for disqualification. In short order, he’s lost one potential official because she owed a few hundred dollars in back taxes over household help, and Daschle too.

From the NYTimes
. This guy also whines that when the Rs were in charge, they had too much red meat in the Congressional cafeteria. I didn't know Teddy K was a vegetarian. But then vodka is made from potatoes, isn't it?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

We don't need no steenkin' badges

Installing a new threshold, method 1: Waiting for your contractor to do it

June: Ask contractor to make and install a new threshold.
July: Contractor takes laundry chute door to match color of stain for new threshold
Sept: After repeated phone calls to contractor, he returns laundry chute door, but not before you have six houseguests for 11 days.
Nov: After even more phone calls and emails, contractor leaves an unfinished wood threshold propped up next to your back door.

Installing a new threshold, method 2: Doing it your own darn self

5:00 pm - 5:17 pm: Measure threshold, cut off extra two inches with 9-point saw, sand remaining 1/4" off end with small sander used to get at the corners when you refinished the basement stairs

5:19 pm - 5:23 pm: Paint one coat of varnish on threshold. Leave it to dry.

9:11 am - 9:29 am: Screw paint stirrers to floor so there is something for the threshold to anchor to. Drill holes in paint stirrers and attach threshold.

Was it that complicated? Was I asking that much when I asked the contractor to do the job?



Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Marriage 101, Lecture 45: How to sweet-talk your husband

If he is a liberal, whisper these sweet nothings into his ear:

campaign finance reform
global warming
renewable energy
carbon footprint
economic stimulus
yes we can
terrorists are just misundersood
Geneva Convention applies to everyone
corporate greed
public schools
"I won"
birthright citizenship

Also liberal phrases but these will not have the desired effect:

taxes aren't for cabinet nominees
lower temperatures are for the lower people, not the president
public schools are for the public people, not for the president's children

Monday, February 02, 2009

Winter whine

Is it just me? Am I too much of an idiot who won't pay for a dog massage, stay-at-home wife parasite, bitter-clinger hothouse flower?

SH and I went out to supper Saturday night. I wore my new (to me) clubbed baby seal fur coat that is just adorable except it has very wide arms and hits me just at the waist and doesn't stay closed unless I hold it closed, which means that it is more decorative than functional, which is just fine with me except it was really cold (although it got above freezing for the first time in three weeks) and windy on Saturday and after a few gusts off the lake, I decided I'd rather be warm than cute but by then it was too late.

The other thing that is not adorable about the coat is that it sheds. Never having bought fur before, I didn't realize that one should not buy a fur jacket that crackles. Fur is supposed to be supple, not rigid, which is probably why the soft, supple fox stole displayed next to the jacket cost three times as much. I didn't know about the shedding until the first time I wore the jacket and found seal hair all over the car.

The good news is that shedding is usually a sign of approaching warm weather, so soon I won't need a jacket at all. And the lady at the consignment shop where I bought the coat reimbursed me half of what I paid for it after I called her to tell her that I was leaving a hair trail behind me, so I guess having a shedding, not very warm but still oh so cute fur coat for $24 after the refund is not such a bad deal.

Back to the story. SH and I went to this divey little Turkish place for schwarmas. We had planned to go to this African restaurant to use a coupon we got on last year, but when we walked into the African place, it stank of cigarette smoke and Pine-sol. Now, I don't have a problem with either of those smells on their own -- I love the smell of fresh cigarette smoke and I love the smell of Pine-Sol because it reminds me of the cleaning ladies (Soli and Rosario) we had in Spain when I was a little girl and their wonderful cooking and Spanish-lady sweaters and smells and because spreading a little Pine-Sol around the bathroom before company comes is a great way to fake a clean house, but I don't care for stale cigarette smell and I certainly don't care for the two smells mixed together.

I knew as soon as we walked into the place that I didn’t want to eat there, but we’d spent three dollars on the coupon and I hate to waste the money. But when the guy behind the bar told us that he had told the people a year ago that he didn’t want to sell any more coupons but that (deep sigh accompanied by eye-rolling) he would honor it if he had to, that cinched it. We left.

We went to the Turkish place. It’s little with a front door that doesn’t latch. I was sitting right in the path of the cold air from the door, although pretty much the entire place was in the path. There were two people sitting next to the door and a guy standing next to it waiting for a takeout order. We were sitting by the counter. Every time the door opened (at least ten times while we were eating), the opener wouldn’t push it closed. I would get up and close it all the way.

So here’s my hothouse flower question:

After seeing me, still clad in my shedding fur coat because I am so cold, which is not making it easy to eat because remember this coat is stiff, not supple, get up to close the door over and over and over, do you think it might occur to the people either sitting or standing next to the door to shut it once in a while? Or how about this – if the people who came in saw me shut it, should they have been more careful to close it behind them as they left?

Or am I just a cold-blooded southern expat who better get used to this climate or else you know what and they don’t have any sympathy for my pathetic self?

Marriage 101, Lecture 27: It's always good to know about your spouse's past

So should I be worried? SH liked to wear dresses -- or, at least, his mother liked to put him in dresses. I think he's over it.




Sunday, February 01, 2009

All that jelly and no toast

As I am making chocolate-chip cookies for SH.

SH: Now that the chocolate chips are open, are you going to resist the temptation to snack on them this week?

Me: Yes. I'm going to be strong.

SH [as he takes a handful of chips]: Not me. I don't have to be strong.