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Archive for February, 2012

Hold, please……

Omigod, I miss you! I have been too used up to get thoughts out of my fingertips in a coherent fashion and I need to rectify that. In the interim, I’m going to recycle, with apologies to those who have read this previously. Here’s a story that absolutely would have been on the blog had it existed when it happened. It’s an email I sent last summer at 3:27 a.m. to a select group of friends and family, then posted on Facebook later in the day. The subject line was “So much for sleeping…”

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Oh. My. God.

So much for sleeping.

I woke up….not quite an hour ago. I heard a noise in my window, like a bug bouncing off the screen, but enough to wake me up. It seemed odd, and Ruby was awake, so I petted her for a few minutes, then settled in to go back to sleep. For some reason, my eyes were open, and I saw the BAT fly through. The bat that had been trying to get out the window, apparently.

Oh. My. God.

I behaved like any normal person would. I pulled up all the covers and wondered if it was possible to ignore it until it went away.

It was not.

I could tell it was flying around in the room outside mine. Every few minutes, it would fly into my room and I would react like a sane person in control of the situation. I yelled and flailed and pulled the covers over my head. I also freaked the hell out of my dog. All bark, indeed.

After a while, I decided I had to get DOWNSTAIRS. I have no idea why. It just seemed like a good idea to regroup, because I was sweating (shocking, I know) and shaking like a leaf and could not think. (I also couldn’t remember if light would attract or repel a bat, and I wanted to look it up on the internet, and I couldn’t do that from my bed, apparently, because I only had my phone and iPad available. Oh wait….) And in my head, for some reason, the bat would stay upstairs until I figured out how to deal with it.

I decided I needed protective gear. At this point, I had on just a tank top. Not having on pants was a great concern to me. My yoga pants were on the floor next to the bed, but I couldn’t reach them without getting OUT of the bed; apparently being IN the bed was some kind of safe zone (although no one told this to the bat, who flew in from time to time). I entertained the idea of pulling the king-size down comforter off the bed for said protective gear. Because that would allow me to run easily, right? OMG. Fortunately I remembered I had a small throw at the foot of the bed. Protective gear. I grabbed my phone, put the “protective gear” over my head, yelled at Ruby to go downstairs (she did) and ran. We immediately ran into the back yard.

Upon reentering the house and determining the downstairs still to be bat-free, Ruby camped out on the couch and I hid in the bathroom for a while. I left the light on in the bathroom, and went out to the living room to join the dog and see what was going on on Facebook. (I turned on the light in the living room at some point.)

For those playing along at home, the answer is ATTRACT. Light will ATTRACT a bat. (Which doesn’t make sense, because they’re fucking NOCTURNAL and come out when it’s dark.) I know this, because he decided to join us in the living room, the sneaky bastard. So not fair to invade my safe zone. I flailed and yelled. Hoping none of my neighbors heard the crazy yelling tonight. OMG. He flew away for a while. Lather, rinse, repeat. He came back at least twice. And I’m pretty sure he got bigger every time.

Then it occurred to me, perhaps if the light attracted him, and the lamp is next to the door, I could have the door open and he could just show himself out. With my protective gear on, I opened the front door and the screen door. Then I moved back to Ruby, who had retreated to the far end of the couch.

Nothing happened.

No bat.

Grr.

Moths, though, felt free to come IN.

Closed the front door, went back to checking Facebook. Cute pics, Becca.

Notice the bat has reentered the living room. In amongst my normal screaming and flailing (now holding my iPad as a weapon, because I have shed my protective gear due to excessive sweating and the fact that wearing a blanket over my head now seems ridiculous) I try to explain the plan to the bat.

He retreats.

Open the door.

Retreat to couch with Ruby.

Bat enters the room, and thankfully, EXITS THE HOUSE.

Slam door.

Sit on couch.

Shake.

A lot.

Curse all of you for being asleep.

Decide out of the goodness of my heart NOT to wake any of you (Dad), and to send you my long story instead.

Pretty sure I’m bat-free again, because during the entire time it’s taken me to type this, no one else has entered the room. Am I going to go upstairs and check? No. Am I going to sit upright on the couch and watch a movie (with the lights on) and hope I doze off? Sources say yes.

My crazy, mixed up verb tenses should indicate just how rattled I am. Gah.

Anyone wanna come over and drink?

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Postscript: I did, in fact, put on my pants before fleeing the house. Also, as I was writing this, a loud thunk on the front porch made me jump out of my skin just when I was finally settling down. Newspaper’s here. Gah.

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I do not (heart) NY

Let me explain.

I recently spent a few days in the city with a college friend. It had been something like 15 years since I’d been there. We had a marvelous time. Restaurants. Shopping. Cupcakes. The Met. Katz’s Deli. Beautiful, tall buildings. The Highline. Central Park. SOHO. Times Square. We reenacted entire scenes from When Harry Met Sally. We saw a friend we hadn’t seen in years and met his delightful wife. I ate steak tartare and octopus for the first time. We spent a very moving hour at the beautiful 9/11 memorial. We rode lots and lots of subways, and almost never accidentally went in the wrong direction. Naps every day to rejuvenate. (It’s kind of ridiculous that all of that was just three days.) And theater. Theater. My god, the theater.

The shows were magical. (Imagine “magical” is in sparkly, shimmery, glittering, light up, twirling letters.) That’s right, plural.

We made a trip to the ½ price ticket booth on Saturday and got some kick-ass ½ price seats at the kick ass, Tony-award winning revival of “Anything Goes”. I didn’t know much about it going in, but had seen Sutton Foster perform on the Tonys last year and I couldn’t get it out of my head. And I still can’t. It took my breath away. I want to learn to tap. It was delightful and de-lovely. And Sutton Foster is a freakin’ badass. I confess, her arms scared me a little (very, very long and incredibly wiry), but badass.

 

 

Our final night was when we saw The Book of Mormon. The show did not disappoint, and it was the perfect ending to our action-packed adventure. It was so very, very, very wrong. So inappropriate. Chock full of dazzling, irreverent musical numbers filled with foul language. (Five of the tracks on the soundtrack are flagged as “explicit”.) And the packed house ate. it. up. I was in heaven. We spilled out of the theater, and directly across the street people were flowing out from a performance of Chicago, and in every direction there were theaters with the best shows in the world, and it was thrilling. I have seen marvelous performances in Chicago and Indy and have thoroughly enjoyed touring productions here in town at the Embassy. But there is nothing in the world like Broadway. Nothing. NOTHING. I was completely high on theater.

 

 
But.

You knew a “but” was coming, right?

Everything we think about New York is true. It’s jam-packed with people. They’re all in a hurry. They don’t seem very happy. I stuck out like a sore thumb. I made eye contact. I said, “excuse me”. I smiled. I looked around at things. Sometimes I made Greg walk more slowly. I wanted ice in my water. Jesus. Why the hell don’t they like cold beverages?

We were on the subway Sunday morning, and three young women were sitting together on the train. Each was holding a helium-filled balloon, which suggests they were either on the way to or from something fun. Yet they stared stoically at the floor, their hands, into nothingness. No smiles. No giggles. They looked somewhere between bored and pissed off. And most people on the subway looked like that. They also were dressed too deliberately. Everybody. Doesn’t anyone ever just put on a hoody? Don’t get all judgy on me and think I’m some Midwestern hick. I like to look cute. But sometimes I’m just going to hang with a friend or going to the library or running errands. And there was no “I don’t care” present in the city. It was too intentional for my taste.

And all those great things I rattled off that we did, especially the theater? There’s no way the people living there are taking advantage of it on any kind of regular basis. Partly because they probably can’t afford to. I developed a theory that there are no overweight people in NY because a) they have to walk 87 miles to get anywhere (not necessarily a problem) and b) they can’t afford food (more of a problem).

And here’s the thing: other than Broadway, there isn’t anything in NY that I can’t fully satisfy my craving for closer to home. I am a Midwestern girl, and my heart is in Chicago. The Art Institute, the Magnificent Mile, Grant Park, the Museum of Science and Industry, Lake Michigan – those feed my soul just as thoroughly as the experiences we had in New York, and I can be there in a few hours with travel expenses to the tune of a tank of gas. Plenty of outstanding restaurants and bakeries to feed my belly, as well.

Any trip to a big city always confirms that I’m living in the right place, too. I love to visit them, love to come home. Too many people, too close together. I would freak out. As previously mentioned, I love my house, my yard, and my dog, which is one of the luxuries of living in Fort Wayne. My friend’s NY wife was astonished that I, a single woman with a dog, live in my own house. With four bedrooms, to boot.

This is not to suggest I won’t go back to New York, and soon. I would plan an annual Broadway pilgrimage if funding allowed. I will happily spend another few days there from time to time, especially with an excellent traveling companion/tour guide like I had this time. I’m just not googly-eyed for it, the way so many people seem to be, and expect me to be.

I do not (heart) NY. But I would be delighted to have a fling with it every couple of years.

Impervious

Dear Clinique,

I wanted to share a little feedback about one of your products. The friendly woman who helped me with my most recent purchase accidentally gave me a tube of your high impact curling mascara instead of my usual high impact mascara. I did not notice until I began using it, but I figured that given the only apparent difference was the word curling, I could stand to have curly lashes for however long it would take me to use it. (Aside: why would people want curly lashes?)

I am sad to report that my lashes have not been noticeably curly. Oh wait. I’m not really sad about that part.

My issue has more to do with the fact that this shit is freakin’ impervious!!! What the hell is it? And why can’t I get it off my eyelashes?

I routinely end my day with (Clinique) eye makeup remover, (Clinique) soap, and (Clinique) astringent, but I am routinely finding mascara on my eyelashes (and other places) the next day. What the eff? I have not experienced this situation with your ordinary, non-curling, high impact mascara.

Here’s my question: can I get this in a bigger container? I’m thinking of using it to waterproof my basement. And maybe patch tires.

xoxo

Wonkafonka

Aside

File under this kind of stuff only seems to happen to me…..

I have a lovely woman, Pam, who cleans my house. Judge me all you want. I hate to clean and I’m not very good at it, and the money I spend on Pam is completely worth it. She comes every other week, and I don’t even have any cleaning products or supplies – she brings everything, plus a couple of helper people.

It is not unusual to find something left behind, like a rag or a can of Pledge on a bookshelf, or something out of place, like a dog toy on the coffee table or shoes on the bed. No biggie. Generally. It’s also possible I don’t pay enough attention to my surroundings. Just fyi.

Pam and her crew were here today.

Once they’d left and I was alone in the house again, I went to the bathroom. (This would be the part where I don’t pay a lot of attention to my surroundings.) After I was finished, I stood up from the toilet to flush it.

I can’t believe I’m telling you this story.

There was a toilet brush IN THE TOILET. HOW did I not notice that before??

There is now a toilet brush in the garbage. Sorry, Pam.

And also, I can’t stop laughing.

A love letter to my house

My house and I just celebrated two years together. The traditional and modern gifts for the 2nd anniversary are cotton and china, respectively, but we decided not to get each other anything. Instead I thought I’d write it a little blog post to tell it how much I love it. Him. Her. I’m not really sure. I think my house might be gender-neutral. Nope. I think maybe she’s female, now that I’m thinking about her. We’re close like sisters or best friends or an aunt/niece relationship. (OMG. I’m really weird, aren’t I? But I digress.)  Ok, we’ll call her “her”. We also call her “Wendy’s Fun House” on occasion.

Until moving into Wendy’s Fun House at age 38, I had never lived alone. Childhood, college, roommates, boyfriend/fiancé/husband. When my husband and I split, I moved in with my dad until I could get my feet under me. (For which I am eternally grateful.) My dad rocks and the first year or so (yes, I said “year”) was great. We generally get along really well, and he didn’t go all parental on me – no “When are you going to be home” or “Isn’t it a little late to be going out” or “That is what you’re eating for dinner?” And he made sure we always had grapes, because grapes are my one essential food.

Then the walls started closing in on me. I was still waiting for money from my divorce settlement that I needed for a down payment (not his fault). Dad & I had moved our office into his house, so the two of us were together 24/7. I was having chronic back pain due to the most uncomfortable little bed in the entire world. (No offense, Dad.) I was seriously starting to wig out.

Finally, finally the day came that all the pieces in my life fell into place and I was ready to start house hunting. My realtor Rena is also my aunt (and my good friend), so she understood the desperation of the situation, and promptly rounded up a batch of homes all in my target area on the south side. I had no idea what was on the market that I would be able to afford, and all my wish list items were negotiable; all I needed was four walls and a roof.  The very first house we looked at was a craftsman-style bungalow that was vacant and had been on the market for months. As we walked through it, I asked Rena to pretend like it was normal should I burst into tears. The relief I felt knowing there was just one affordable house that wasn’t a total crapsack overwhelmed me. There was nothing showy about her, and it’s not the most fashionable neighborhood, but it had all the minimum requirements and was in a solid block.

We looked at a bajillion other houses. Or maybe 10. Some that were very lovely. But at the end of the day we went back to look at the first one again, because I couldn’t get her out of my head.  Being vacant made it convenient to see. Minimum requirements? What was I thinking! She had the whole wish list: porch, wood-burning fireplace, a/c, fenced yard, garage (two stalls!), good space for my home office. Wood floors. Built ins. And the previous owners had nicely updated her: newer roof and furnace, rewired, updated kitchen, most windows replaced. A lot of the other houses I looked at were lovely, but none had all the things she had to offer, and most were significantly more expensive given their more desirable addresses. And after a few more visits, some negotiations, and a long closing process where I gave up both my ovaries because I don’t have a first-born to give to the bank (I kid), she was mine.

Home Sweet Home

 I was nervous. Maybe I had made a knee-jerk reaction and rushed into a decision in my panic to get out of my dad’s place. Maybe I had bitten off more than I could chew with a 91-year-old house. Maybe my neighborhood wasn’t safe. Maybe there was something wrong with the house – it had been for sale for so long – why didn’t anyone want it? Maybe I would hate living alone. Maybe weird noises would scare me. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe.

I moved in at the end of January 2010. Everything in the house was beige. Everything. Figuring it was easier to paint empty rooms, I enlisted the help of a tremendous friend and we painted the shit out of things prior to the move date. Yellow & purple kitchen. Soft green bedroom. Bluish gray living and dining room. Bye-bye beige (mostly). A whirlwind of moving and unpacking ensued. And suddenly, there I was, truly alone, my first night in my new house. I curled up in a little ball in bed whispering to myself, “This is mine. This is mine. This is mine.” I was so happy to have my gigantic, comfortable bed back. I woke up sideways across it. Smiling.

All those maybes – none of them came to fruition. I have loved living alone,

Our yard

especially with the addition of sweet Ruby Tuesday early that first summer. I have never been scared being alone in the house or startled by weird noises, not once (this does not include the bat episode – shut up). I have discovered I’ve slept with my doors unlocked, come home to find I left the back door open, and awoken to find I neglected to close my garage overnight. (Jesus. I sound like an idiot. I’m really a safety girl, I promise. Don’t tell my mom.) None of those user errors resulted in anything bad or scary. I adore my historic neighborhood. And the house. Oh, the house. I love her so much. The longer I’m here, the more I realize there was nothing knee-jerk in my decision to buy her. I don’t know why she was on the market for so long, but I can only surmise it was because she was waiting for me. We were meant to be together. She has all the charm and character I love in older homes, and yet somehow she has large closets. She has all my favorites growing in her lovely landscaping. She has a variety of hooks and pegs on the front porch for my growing collection of wind chimes and sparkly dangly things. She has something like 24 windows. (By comparison, the first house my ex-husband and I lived in out in Aboite had 7.)  My bedroom is light and airy and feels like a safe, comfortable haven. My office is cozy and bright, especially now that it features sparkly purple paint on the walls. And every night for the first month, I said, out loud, “Good night, house. I love you.”  I feel like we have an unspoken vow to take care of each other.

I know plenty of people think my ‘hood is sketchy. There is a liquor store two blocks away that is heavily armed due to frequent robberies. Two blocks and a world away. Members from the association welcome committee brought me homemade cookies. The first spring day that I was out on my porch, numerous neighbors came over to introduce themselves. Jim & Phyllis next door share vegetables from their garden. Jim shovels my sidewalk and sneaks my dog treats. I didn’t move into a sketchy neighborhood, I moved into the 1950s. And I love it. Much like I still tell the house on occasion how much I love her, I revel in the neighborhood almost every time I drive home from somewhere. I cannot imagine being happier anywhere than I am right now.

Happy anniversary, house. I love you so much. Here’s to many more years together.