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Archive for August, 2013

Who needs brown paper packages tied up with string when you have self-sealing envelopes?

A while back I posted a list of things that drive me crazy. Lest you think I’m a supercrab who only focuses on the negative, I thought perhaps we should have an equally obscure list of things that I adore beyond reason.  Let’s call it….

Things that make me unreasonably happy and sometimes I go on at great length about how much I love them:

  • Priority Mail prepaid flat-rate forever envelopes. Delivered to my home, for free. Or maybe they charge $1 to deliver, I’ve lost track, but still totally worth it for my work-from-home set up.  All I have to do is stuff them full, address them, and leave them outside my house for Mailman to pick up. Postage never expires. No waiting in lines. No fake nuns.  Woot!
  • Dropbox – It’s perfect for file sharing for work, since we’re in different locations. It’s perfect for volunteer work where people need access to the same documents. It’s perfect for accessing random crap from my phone, when I’m nowhere near my computer, like the list I made of movies that I used to own but no longer do but would like to again, in case I see one in a bargain bin somewhere. It’s perfect for everything. And it’s the easiest thing in the world to use. My mom was telling my about a medical emergency her husband had a few weeks ago (he’s fine, I promise) and in the story she had to leave the hospital to go home to email someone a document. My immediate reaction was, “I need to show you how to use Dropbox”.
  • Self-sealing envelopes. I know it probably seems that I’m obsessed with mail. I’m not. But I do like mail, and I do NOT like the taste of envelope glue. Plus, you know, George Costanza’s fiancée Susan. But mostly I can’t believe it took so long for someone to come up with these and now that they exist I appreciate the crap out of them.
  • Shazam. An app on my phone can listen to a few seconds of music and tell me what song it is and who sings it? THAT SHIT IS AMAZING! For this reason alone I consider my smartphone a worthwhile investment.
  • My scarf from Ireland. 3Names and I spent a marvelous week traipsing around and all I knew was I wanted to bring home some piece of knit something. I looked at loads of sweaters, but they were all big, bulky-looking affairs that aren’t my style and probably would have made me spontaneously combust. One day we were in a little shop on Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands, where it’s literally like going back in time. In amongst some of the more typical souvenir-type items, I found a lovely, soft, colorful knit scarf, long enough to wrap around my neck twice when it’s really cold. The tag said it was hand-made in Ireland. Was this a trap for a gullible tourist? Ha! When I took it to the clerk to pay she said, “Oh, my neighbor Maggie made this.” I wear the crap out of it, but gently, so as to extend its lifespan, and when someone comments on it, I get all happy-like.
  • Fuzzy Blankie, capitalized because that’s its name, not just a description. Fuzzy Blankie was a gift from Sunshine a few years ago and it turned me into Linus. It’s warm. It’s soft. It’s fluffy. It’s comforting. It’s soft. (It’s so soft it deserves to be mentioned twice.) It’s white, and somehow, miraculously, the Queen of Spill (that would be me) has managed to keep it remarkably clean. Dogs are not allowed to lie on it.  Fuzzy Blankie is always there for me when I need it.
  • Compliments from strangers. No explanation required.
  • When Ruby Dogwonkafonka sticks her face right up in mine and burps. I know that sounds disgusting. Ok, it is disgusting. But it makes me laugh every time. Partly because it seems so deliberate, and she never looks sorry. And her timing is impeccable.
  • This one set of hand-me-down sheets that my dad gave me. I have no idea why he didn’t want them anymore. (I know exactly why he didn’t want them anymore; they didn’t match his décor.) They are so soft and comfy that they have made all other sheets completely inferior. I am on a quest to find something that will be their equal, but so far I haven’t found anything. Or anything that I can afford. But. I. Will.
  • This video. I am not sure how many times I have watched it, but I would guess it’s in the neighborhood of 36,284 times. I think it’s hilarious. (FYI, you’re only committing to a minute and thirty-eight seconds of your life if you click the link.)
  • The infamous rainbow shower head.  
  • This blog post. It makes me laugh my ass off. After Beyoncé, it’s the thing I’m most committed to getting the entire world to read.

    He totally goes with the chair with the missing leg, no?

    He totally goes with the chair with the missing leg, no?

  • Tomás, the colorful metal t-rex Klondike gave me for Christmas. Whose boyfriend is better than mine? Come ON, I have a t-rex in my freakin’ living room.  (My style is, um,eclectic.)
  • My next door neighbors, Jim & Phyllis. They give me vegetables from their garden and chili and baked goods from their kitchen. They let me borrow tools and ladders and a power washer. They keep an eye on me. And my house. And my dog. In a nice, neighborly fashion, not a Gladys Kravitz way.
  • Crack cookies. They don’t actually call them that at The Fresh Market, but they should. They actually call them something like Heath bar cookies, and they are stupid delicious. I make people eat them so I can get them to concede that they are, in fact, freaking amazing.

As said when the other, negative list concluded, this is not all-encompassing at all. It’s just my version of Maria von Trapp’s raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. (When did this blog become so full of nuns??)  Personally I think my list is a little better than hers, but she had to deal with Nazis so I’ll cut her some slack.

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Aside

Symptoms of Adulthood

Sometimes I have random thoughts like, “I wonder what would happen if I got in the laundry basket and rode it down the stairs like a sled”.  And then I remember how lame my health insurance is and I decide perhaps that wouldn’t be the best way to test it.

Klondike also just reminded me that the stairs are pretty steep and the landing zone at the bottom is small and full of walls and corners and things.

Never Trust a Fake Nun

I just went to the post office to check my PO Box. I noticed that the car next to me had a number of religious-themed bumper stickers on the back, including one that said, “Thank you, Jesus.” At first I thought the woman in the car was a nun, and I thought “huh, I didn’t realize nuns were bumper sticker people.” I guess I figured being a nun spoke more loudly than a strip of vinyl on the back of the car ever would.

The woman got out of her car the same time I did.

“Excuse me, could you please help me carry this box?”

Drat. I was hoping just to dash in and out. But fine, I would help carry the box.

As I walked around to her side of the car, I noticed several more decals, including some very strongly-worded pro-choice anti-choice* messages. Obviously this woman and I had some philosophical differences, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t help her.

So now that I was next to her, watching her wrestle to get the box out of the car (which p.s., was not heavy at all) I no longer thought she was a nun; now I thought she wanted to resemble a nun. WTF, right? Long skirt, enormous cross, head covering, but not an actual habit.

I picked up the open box, which contained another open box and some lumpy stuff in a trash bag, none of which was contained by the outermost box. No clue how she was going to get this thing closed, because presumably that’s what she was doing, right? Shipping the box to someone?

And because this is how my brain works, I was now convinced I was helping this lady mail a bomb to an abortion clinic.

Perhaps it wasn’t fair to leap to such an outlandish conclusion. Just because a woman was dressed like a fake nun and had lots of propaganda on her car was no reason to judge her in that fashion, right?

I had taken two steps towards the building when she said, “I would really like to invite you to come to church with me.”

Goddammit.

“Well,” I said, “thank you, but I’m not interested.”

That did not deter her. She proceeded to talk about Jesus and I don’t know what because honestly, all I could think about was how to make this entire thing end. And holy CRAP, she was walking slowly.

“I’m Jewish,” I told her. That usually shuts down someone trying to sell me their religion; I don’t share their faith, but at least I’m not a total heathen (ha).

“Oh, we LOVE Jewish people,” she exclaimed. A monologue commenced about all the benefits the Jews provided, like, you know, the Old Testament.  I quickened my pace.

We made it to the line inside and I put her probably-a-bomb box on the table, bade her goodbye, and fled. This is what you get for being nice to people.

I really hate that shit. And I really hate that I felt the need to be polite even when she was completely unconcerned that she was making me uncomfortable and totally taking advantage of my helping her.

I could go on at great length about this topic, but it can be summarized pretty easily:

It’s never appropriate to strike up a conversation with a stranger about religion. Especially a stranger who is doing you a favor. But after said stranger has expressed her lack of interest in the topic, SHUT YOUR FUCKING PIE-HOLE.  Seriously.  

____________________________________________________________________

*Holy crap, I typed the wrong thing. Thanks, Brian L!

Bats are assholes.

Warning: this post contains a lot of f-bombs.

So. It’s that time of year again, apparently.

What time is that, you ask?

Bat season.

Sigh.

Many of you remember my prior episode with an uninvited house guest.

This one began in very similar fashion. I was awakened around 3 a.m. on a random August night (morning) to see the intruder flying into my bedroom, causing instant panic. I once again fled to the backyard to regroup.  My traitor dog hadn’t even waited for me to wake up and assess – she was already downstairs in the kitchen waiting by the back door when I got there.  Jerk.

A raccoon was hanging out on the fence in my yard when we got outside.

“No,” I yelled at it, shining my flashlight (and by “flashlight” I mean flashlight app on my phone) into his face. “No, I cannot even deal with you right now. Get the fuck out of here.” He acquiesced.

So there I was, once again pacing in my back yard in the middle of the night, thinking if there is ever anything that’s going to motivate me to get married again, this would be it.

I got super brave this time. My panic sweats led me to turn on the a/c, which meant I had to close the windows, which meant I had to walk through the entire house. Which I did. Clutching the tennis racquet that has lived next to my bed since the last encounter two years ago. I didn’t want to hurt it (mostly because the idea of having to then deal with a dead or wounded bat stressed me even more the fuck out), but I needed to have some defense just in case. The tennis racquet was useful for things like pulling back the curtains to check for Batfucker (yep, I named him) before leaning in to close the window. It was useful for things like reaching into a room and flipping a light switch. I went room by room through the entire house. I closed all the windows. And I didn’t see Batfucker anywhere. I left a couple of lights on and settled onto the couch, figuring out what to do next. And it occurred to me that I had only actually seen Batfucker once, when I first woke up. Was it possible that I had dreamt the entire thing? That there was no bat?

No. Ruby had fled the scene. She has never once left my room in the middle of the night, until now. Clearly she had seen it too.  And after about an hour of sitting on the couch feeling like I was going to cry or puke from nerves, Batfucker flew into and then out of the living room. I tried not to freak out. I have learned way more than I want to know about bats, and I know that all it wants is to get out. I scurried to the front door and opened it, and opened the screen door, hoping for a repeat performance from last time when the bat showed itself in somewhat timely fashion. Sadly, however, Batfucker had gone into hiding and refused to take advantage of the exit strategy I had prepared. I was a wreck. And moths were coming inside to have a party.  I closed the door and sat paralyzed, no clue what to do next.

Morning finally came. My friend Leonard suggested that Animal Care & Control would come if I called; this was news to me! I dialed, and yep, sure enough, they would send a team. An awesome team, who did a very thorough search, and were super apologetic that they weren’t able to find Batfucker. (On a side note, there are a lot of jobs that would suck. Having to go into someone’s house and look in every nook and cranny for a live bat would be the death of me. I just had a full-body tremor just thinking about it.) It was possible the bat had found a way out of the house. It was also possible the bat was in some tiny spot where they hadn’t located him.

Goddammit.

So now I’ve had three hours of sleep, significant emotional trauma, and no closure. (Sounds like most relationship breakups I’ve been through…)

I spent the day walking around my house like some kind of demented tennis junkie, clutching my racquet.  I knew it was unlikely Batfucker would make a daytime appearance, but it was my bat security blanket. I poked curtains, towels, clothes in my closet. I held the racquet in front of me, looking up, down, around corners before entering rooms. I was literally scared of my own shadow.

I tried to be rational. Batfucker wasn’t lying in wait for me. He wasn’t trying to sneak up behind me. He wasn’t flying around the house during the day. He might even have been gone.

Except he wasn’t.

I had gone to tap, even though I was so exhausted, both mentally and physically, that I had no idea how I was going to make it through class.  I got home just before dusk, trying to psych myself up to behave like a normal human in my own home. I was pissed that I didn’t have a certain resolution. My home is my haven, my favorite place to be, so to be scared of being there was crushing.  I took a shower (with the tennis racquet sitting by the tub). I got some dinner ready (with the tennis racquet sitting on the kitchen table). Dinner was in the microwave and I was taking a glass of water into the living room when Batfucker swooped into the room.  I am sure this will come as a tremendous shock when I tell you that I freaked the fuck out. However, I did try to keep my head screwed on in the midst of the freak out, and I ran for the front door, shouting at the bat what the plan was: open door wide, go away.

I stood, shaking, on my front porch, when I realized the gravity of the situation: I had gotten separated from both my tennis racquet (kitchen table) and my phone (living room couch). I was completely unarmed, and I couldn’t call for help.  But surely it wouldn’t be long before Batfucker would take advantage of the lovely egress I had provided, right?

Ha.

The Dumbest Bat Ever had infiltrated my house. I sat on my porch swing for half an hour watching through the window, as it flew laps around living room, totally missing the WIDE OPEN DOOR IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROOM. Surely Animal Control would be able to get it, if only I could call them.

And then he disappeared. Crap. Now my fear became what if Animal Control came and he had gone into hiding again. I crept to the door. I peered inside. I saw nothing. I dashed in, grabbed my phone, and ran back to the porch. I waited a few minutes in hopes that he would return to his circles around the front room. Nothing. No bat. Grr.

I called Animal Control. I explained the situation. They said they would send a team. I sat back on the porch swing. Moments later, an apparent miracle happened: the dumb bastard found the door, and flew out into the night. Batradication complete.

I ran inside and slammed the door behind me. I called Animal Control and said never mind, thanks anyway. I told myself over and over again that there had only been one, it was gone, and there was no reason to be shaking like a leaf, or scared of the dark, or still clutching my tennis racquet (which I had retrieved from the kitchen). Logically I knew it was over, but the heeby jeebies weren’t so quick to relinquish their grip.

I have had three bats during my 3.5 years in the house (y’all didn’t hear about the first one, it wasn’t much of a story, although it’s on the list of reasons why Mourtney is such a great friend).  So now I will pay a Large Chunk of Money to have my house professionally bat-proofed. And it will be worth every penny. And it better work, goddammit. (They guarantee it will, so there’s that.)

As I write this, 24-ish hours have passed, and I am about 98% back to normal. Normal, of course, means sleeping with a tennis racquet next to my bed.

Things I have learned/observed/gleaned this week:

  • I am not a shrieker. You know how Carrie Bradshaw screams all the freakin’ time, usually over nothing? That’s not me. I’m a yeller. When I saw the bat fly into my bedroom, I did not scream. I shouted, “MOTHERFUCKER!” (Of course I did.)
  • If you live in the city and you have a live (wild) animal in your home, Animal Control will send someone any time of the day or night. They’re staffed from 6 a.m. to midnight, but someone is on call those remaining six hours. I had no idea. I hope I never need to call again.
  • There is nothing on tv at 4 in the morning. (Just kidding, I already knew that.)
  • You can have your house professionally bat-proofed (thank fucking god).
  • My friend Leonard is a wealth of information about bat resources.
  • Bats are assholes. (I already knew that, too.)

Please, for the love of god, let this be my last post ever about bats.

 

Note: If you ever have a middle-of-the-night trauma and need someone to talk to, you can call me. I won’t come help you remove a bat, but I will offer moral support over the phone like nobody’s business.

Aside

An open letter from my houseplants

To: Management

From: The interior house plants

Re: Blatant discrimination

It has come to our attention that there are some serious discrepancies in how plants are being treated in and around Wendy’s House of Whimsy, and we are not going to stand for this gross injustice. It can no longer be ignored that the outdoor plants are being watered almost every single day, sometimes TWICE a day, whereas we, the indoor plants, are being forced to survive on one watering a week, maybe, if we’re lucky.

To which we say, What the Fuck? 

Those outdoor plants are here for just a fleeting moment. Even with your constant babying, they frequently  turn in a day’s time from something pretty and thriving-ish into a dry, shriveled, mess that you then spend weeks nursing back to health – maybe. You don’t have the greatest success rate with that, you know. Not like with us. We stick with you throughout the abuse you heap upon us, the feast or famine phases where you don’t water us for weeks and then you flood the crap out of us. That poor lonely guy in your office who got all weird and dead looking – didn’t he grow a brand new, healthy base so you could whack off the dead stuff and start over and doesn’t he look fabulous now? And the one in the living room, who got stupidly tall and spindly and couldn’t stand up by himself – same thing – didn’t you chop him down and didn’t he grow back better than ever, through basically no effort on your part? Yes. Yes, they did.

We get it. The outdoor plants are pretty. They have flowers, and we don’t (except for the Christmas cactus, once a year, which didn’t actually start happening until you started WATERING IT ON A QUASI-REGULAR BASIS).  

We don’t begrudge you your sensitive little flowering bastards for the patio and the porch. That’s fine. All we want is equal treatment: watering on a regular basis, and maybe pulling the dead leaves off so we look as attractive as possible. Because hi, we will still be here in the winter when those hyper-sensitive outdoor pretty-boys are nothing but distant memories. 

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Best regards,

 

The spider plant on top of the bookshelf

(On behalf of everyone else in the living room – we know you water the plants in the kitchen more often. Grr.)