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Monday, October 25, 2010

Can you hear me now?

Monday Mayhem, special six-cats-with-diarrhea-I-am-too-tired-to-hold-my-head-up abridged edition:

1. What ticked you off last week while you were on your way somewhere?
I'm in one hellacious fight with Verizon Wireless right now that has devolved to the point where the dialogue between us could very well have been swiped from an old Looney Toon featuring Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd. Lately, it's become all too obvious to everyone involved that the absolute best case scenario is that everyone dies in an ACME explosion and we all end up playing harps whilst floating on clouds.

So last week, I'm trying to get everything squared away with that mess, and if you haven't tried to deal with Verizon ever before, let me tell you, it's like trepanning yourself with a spoon, only not as fun. I had Angela on one line saying I had to go to the store, and Brad on another line saying oh no, it had to be taken care of by customer service, but customer service had me on hold, and the guy from the FCC is sighing in my ear but I'm not about to let him go because LIKE SHIT am I going to let them get away with this again, when MY CELL PHONE RINGS and who is it?

No, really. WHO IS IT?

It's VERIZON WIRELESS, wanting to know if I'm interested in UPGRADING MY PLAN.

What came next was a string of profanities too crude to post, not because I'm ashamed, but because I'm pretty sure it would land me on the terrorist watch list.

Lesson learned: every time you tango with Verizon Wireless, THE TERRORISTS WIN.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Think and Type

I'm not normally a superstitious person, but ever since I was a little girl, I've been afraid to talk out loud about things I want, because if I did--if I said it out loud--then something would inevitably happen to keep me from getting it.

I think this has something to do with that time I told Santa I wanted a cow for Christmas, and instead we had roast beef, and every time my grandmother carved off a slice, my brother (who had been eavesdropping during the whole Santa thing), would go, "Moooooooooo."

And then you have to remember that we were very poor when I was growing up, and most of the money my mom got from my dad in terms of child support went to tuition so we could have a private school education, even though the education wasn't that great, and then Tabitha stole Adena's Maxie doll and blamed it on me, so of course we had to replace it, only we couldn't afford to replace it, so my mother made me take back my lone birthday present to exchange for the Maxie doll, even though everybody knew it was THAT BITCH TABITHA WHO STOLE IT, but no one would say anything, because she was a somebody because her parents had money, and OH MY GOD should I pay you for that therapy session now, or can my insurance settle up with you later, because really, I think I've had a breakthrough. Let's meet same time on Tuesday, only I get to be the therapist and you get to have the breakdown, OK?  OK!

But the gist is, I really loved my Wedding Day Midge, and the moment I said so, Tabitha ruined everything. So I guess in hindsight, I think that has A LOT TO DO WITH IT.

Even now that I'm older, it's still hard to get over that childhood fear that if I say something out loud, a SWAT team of boogeymen demonfolk--or, you know, TABITHA--will try their damnedest to grab it for themselves and piss it away, and then point and laugh because HOW FOOLISH WAS I TO HAVE WANTED IT IN THE FIRST PLACE, RIGHT?

You know, because that's what boogeymen demonfolk and people like Tabitha DO.

There are a few things I'm especially hesitant to discuss with others: faith, romance, and writing. I know at least a few of you were hoping 'cat shit' and 'my uterus' would be on that list, so I'm sorry to disappoint you. Pray hard! Maybe next year!

The writing thing is probably the biggest hot button in the world. Sometimes you can tap it and NOTHING HAPPENS.  And sometimes you can tap it and OH GOD WHY ARE YOU BEING SO MEAN TO ME?  I imagine this is even more confusing for those people to whom I talk about everything, all the time, because one minute I'll be like "LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THIS NEW BOOK I STARTED" and the next minute I'm all "YOU SNEEZED WHILE I WAS TELLING YOU ABOUT THE PLOT SO MUST REALLY HATE THE IDEA OMIGOD YOU DO HATE THE IDEA DON'T YOU I COMPLETELY SUCK WHY ARE WE STILL TALKING ABOUT THIS MY GOD GET OVER IT ALREADY I QUIT I'M GOING TO GET A JOB AT BURGER KING DID YOU SEE THAT COMMERCIAL WHERE THE SOCK MONKEY GOT A TATTOO IS HE HOT OR WHAT MRROWR."

That last line, by the way, could totally double as my autobiography.

 After enough of those outbursts--which happen every Tuesday, more or less--most people either learn to ignore them and accept them as part of the lovable neuroses that make me unique, or stay out of my way because I'm fucking nuts, depending on whether they look at me and see a glass half full, or a glass half full of EEK! EEK! EEK! batshit insanity.

I think it's one of those self-preservation things you learn as you get older, because these kids I go to school with? They'd poke a sleeping bear with a sharp stick, just to ask it repeatedly what it's doing.

And then laugh when it mauled them.

This morning, I was searching for zen in my happy place,  when a kid from psychology class sidles up to me and asks, "What are you doing?"

"Typing," I tell him.

He takes a seat. "Homework?"




"Well, what is it?" He's looking over my shoulder now. "Is it dirty?"

"It's a book," I say. "I'm writing a book."

"Cool," he says.  Then he pauses for a moment. "So, is it dirty?"

I sigh. "Yes," I tell him. "It's dirty."

"Cool." Another pause. "Can I read it?"


"Why not?"

"Because it's not finished."

"When will it be finished?"

I sigh. "I don't know," I tell him. "Probably April."

"That's a long time," he says, letting out a low descending whistle.

"Books take a long time to write."

He's still looking at my laptop screen. "So you have to type out every... single... word..."



"So... how do you do it?"

"How do you do what?"

"How do you write a book?"

"Well, you have to have absolute silence."


"And then you have to think of an idea."

"OK. Idea. Got it."

"And then you write down what you're thinking about."

"Uh-huh," he says.  And we're left in silence for almost a minute. Then he says, "What are you doing now?"

"Right now?"


"I'm thinking of an idea."

"That's all?"


I start typing again.

"And now you're writing it down."

"You got it."

"Wow," he says.  "That's the most boring thing I've ever seen anyone do, ever."

"Yeah?" I said.  "Imagine what the person watching you feels like."

The kid is laughing at me now, because we're in psychology class and we're supposed to be learning stuff, but here I am typing up a blog entry on my Macbook about how he annoys the shit out of me with his constant pestering in the wee hours of the morning, and sldkw--SEE! HE'S STILL DOING IT!

I mock you with love, Bryan. I mock you with love.

ETA: Bryan just caught me at lunch and said, "DUDE, I just now got the part about you needing absolute silence to write a book! I talk too much, don't I?"


But in a good way!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Scarred for Life

This morning I woke up to a house full of cats all sick with the runs, and if that isn't the most disgusting sentence you've read today, I FEEL SORRY FOR YOU.

We went through this with the first litter last August, and it lasted for four months.  FOUR MONTHS.  which means if it goes on even half as long, it will go into next year.  I don't know about you, but I have just now managed to wrap my head around the fact that the days of T-shirts and shorts are OVER for 2010; I can't imagine the mental breakdown that's bound to come from trying to imagine the rest of the year covered in shit.

I'm actually quite surprised how adept I've become at containing situations like this before they escalate out of control, because at this time two years ago, I had one cat who used the toilet, and another who was so dainty with the litter box, she practically boxed up her own excrement and set it gently into a blue plastic bag, which was then expertly tied into the shape of a heart or similar.

And now I live in a cat locker room where everyone eats burritos and no one flushes.

Which is precisely what I'm going to tell the next person who rolls their eyes when I tell them I dropped almost five hundred dollars on two flushing litter boxes.

Anyway, so this morning I managed to get all of the older ones outside where they can't get sick, and the younger ones bathed and put in their condo where they can't get in the sick, and I'm thinking to myself that this is going really well, because the older cats are sticking to their self-cleaning boxes and the little ones are sticking to the puppy pads in the bathroom, with the only exception being the lone skid mark in the living room from where Fritz had tried to Preparation H his ass with the hardwood floors.

In the meantime, my jeans are falling off my hips, because I've lost a spot of weight since I bought them in August, and they were half a size too big then, so now they're really too big.  Like, add-a-belt-or-show-your-thong kind of big.  Except I'd already snapped on my rubber gloves and picked up a mop, so with a belt out of the question, the only thing left is to do is walk like John Wayne.

So there I am, purple Rubbermaid gloves to the elbows, pants riding low, walking like John Wayne with a bag of cat shit in one hand, a mop in the other, when it happens: my back spasms out, my knees turn inward, my pants fall to my ankles, and I look out of the picture window in front of where I'm standing.

And there, waiting for the school bus, is a chubby red-haired kid with his eyes wide and his mouth in an "oh" shape. He takes one look at me, drops his backpack, and takes off running down the street.

I don't think 'horrified' begins to cover it, for either of us.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

'you can never ever leave / without leaving a piece of youth'

For a period of about four months in 1996, time stood still and everything smelled like rain and wassail and root beer flavored lip gloss. That was the year I fell madly in love with a trombonist, the year my best friend betrayed me, the year I finished my first novel. Every year at this time, when the leaves change colors and the weather grows cold, I feel like I'm right back there, eating caramel apples and whispering about S-E-X, while Billy Corgan croons on in the background.

It's bittersweet.



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