Saturday, January 15, 2011

I Need Supervision

This is from 4 months ago when we first moved, but I think it's a good benchmark for how just about every day goes for me.


I keep trying to be productive and listen to the little productivity gnome that lives in my head, but it’s much easier to avoid responsibility entirely. I plan out all my days with Things To Do, but failure usually happens the night before when I’m up until 3am watching Youtube videos.

Then instead of waking up at 7 like a responsible person, I roll out of bed around 10, having spent the last three hours alternating between hitting the snooze alarm and pushing the cat off me because she won’t stop kneading my bladder.

This is where I reach a crucial turning point of my day. I have to make the decision between immediately jumping into the shower or sitting down at my computer to “just check my email quickly.”

Once I sit down at my computer, my chances for doing anything productive before noon has fizzled. I start by checking my email and then check Ravelry “just to see if I have any messages, I totally won’t browse.” Then I figure while I’m here, I’ll take a “quick peek” at Facebook. This is followed by wandering over to Cracked because they posted a new article and the next thing I know, it’s after noon and I’m still naked on the sofa.

Half the time, I make the wise decision of hopping into the shower immediately. This is followed by sitting down at the computer as a reward for being so productive. Just to check my email, of course. The next thing I know, it’s after noon and I’m still naked on the sofa, but at least I’m a clean naked on the sofa!

At this point, I realize I’ve wasted half the day already and I’m “burnin’ daylight” as my dad always says. So I immediately go into Super Productivity Mode! This is also known as the Hyperactive and Easily Distracted Mode. I start by grabbing a box of stuff and putting away the contents. Halfway through, I reach an item that has no designated home yet. So I proceed to go make a home for it.

Halfway through making a home for that item, I find a box of Stuff I Need To Take Care Of Before The Weekend. Panic sets in and I rush to work on the stuff in the box because if I don’t, the world will collapse and I’ll be living under a bridge surrounded by overly cheerful hobos telling me it could be worse. (My fears are oddly specific.)

Halfway through working on this important box, I realize I need some sort of office supply and I can’t find it anywhere. So I decide now is a good time to hit the store because I also need something else, but I wanted to wait until I had more than one thing on the list because otherwise it’s just a waste of gas.

I go get the thing I need and triumphantly walk through the door. That’s when I see the thing I needed sitting on top of a bookshelf, where I put it so I wouldn’t lose it. Shortly after, I realize that I forgot about those errands I had to run today and I’m pissed because I really don’t want to have to make another trip back into town.

So I stomp over to the computer to respond to the obnoxious flashing orange bar that says I have 10,000 AIM messages that I received while I was out. That’s when I trip over the box of stuff that started this whole mess, scattering its contents across the floor.

I respond by kicking the box across the room and accidentally into the one spot a cat was sleeping. The cat bolts out of her hidey-hole and spazzes across the kitchen counter, leaving destruction in her wake.

This leads to me having to go clean up the mess, using the empty box I just kicked as a ”I’ll stick it here for now and take care of it later” because I have Important Stuff To Do.

I sit back down at the computer and remember that I have a couple job applications to finish. So I finish those and go to print them, but then remember that I had unhooked the printer to move it to its permanent home. So I have to hook it back up. But the spot where the printer goes is covered in stuff that I didn’t finish unpacking the previous day. So I grab an empty box (we have a lot right now) and toss it all in. I hook up the printer and go to print out my applications and resumes.

Ding! We’re out of resume paper! I check the closing dates on the jobs and decide I’d better hit the store so I can turn the application in today. On my way out, I trip over the strewn stuff from the box I originally intended to unpack. I grab another empty box, toss it all in, then run out the door.

I get back from the store and print out my applications and resumes. I discover I have no pen, so I dig in some boxes for pens and along the way, discover a pad of resume paper. I grumble and sign the stuff, then get it all ready and run back out to turn the applications in.

I get home and realize:

1. I have been to town three times and haven’t once done any of my errands.
2. Instead of emptying one box, I have actually filled two.
3. All the items I had to run to the store to buy were in the first box of stuff I was trying to unpack.

And thus has been the last week of my life.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I'm watching you, 2011!

Apparently I forgot I had a blog the past couple weeks. I chalk that up to being busy. Part of that being busy included the fun we recently had with the septic system. First it was the sewer gas nightmare, then sewage began backing up into the shower, and now it's the gaping pit in the front yard. On December 23, the first day of spouse's vacation, we were greeted bright and early at 8am with backhoes digging up the front yard.
The landlord decided it was time to replace the aging small barrel posing as a septic pump tank in the basement with a swanky new 500 gallon concrete behemoth in the front yard. Theoretically, this means we're not as hosed on plumbing when the power goes out, but I remain skeptical. This whole venture required digging up the yard, which had just gotten a perfect snowfall right in time for Christmas. After over 20 years of hoping maybe this year we'll get a white Christmas, we did. Naturally, we now have a mudscape.

As you can see, it really added to the Christmas cheer.
We were told the only thing being done that day was digging the pit and the rest of it would be completed after Christmas. However, there appears to have been a mixup. Instead of digging a pit and leaving, the workers dug a pit, disconnected our water and septic system, and then we spent the next 8 hours trying to figure out how to sell our souls for a flushing toilet.
Around 5pm, they packed up and left. However, we didn't realize they had packed up and left. There was still a big pit in the front yard, a large mound of dirt in front of the pit, and a 5-inch diameter hole in the basement wall with an extension cord running through it. I don't know about you, but what I love in the dead of winter in the middle of Toofuckingcoldville is a large hole in the wall.
After a few calls, we discovered that they were indeed done for the day and by the way, the water and sewer are working again. Great, so...what about the hole in the wall? And the pit? And the mound of mud?

Fortunately, new snow filled in the pit a little bit so it's like having a hidden booby trap in the front yard.

To this date, we still haven't heard about whether or not this will be finished.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Random Short Stories

When I was little, we got a new pastor at church. I went up at the front of the congregation for his first Children’s Hour. At one point, the pastor made a grand, sweeping gesture, then dramatically put his hand on top of my head. I made a face and he responded with “Well, yuck!”


My cat Isis once wrote to Socks the First Cat and received a signed photo as a reply.


I had never driven through a toll road until five years ago. I didn’t know what to do and accidentally didn’t take the ticket. I fretted the whole drive that I was in huge trouble. When I got to the part where I had to pay, I apologized and asked what I should do. The bored attendant told me I just had to pay $5. I felt like an idiot for worrying.


According to my parents, while we were at a restaurant celebrating my first birthday, I ordered the lobster. Mom said from then on, she knew I would have expensive tastes.


After an ice storm coated everything in a slick layer of ice, I thought it would be awesome to slide down the road from the top of the hill on our old-fashioned metal sled. After hitting a bump that sent me flying into a snowbank, I had to wait for 20 minutes before my brother and his friend to come along and untangle my arms and legs from the rope.


I often came home from the bus stop soaked to the bone and covered in mud because I couldn’t resist jumping in the biggest puddles I saw.


I was an avid tree-climber as a kid. When I went to college, I would climb trees on campus, but people thought it was weird so I stopped.


During college, I used to make tiny little flags with “Spain” or “Cleveland” written on them. Then I’d put them in random places all over campus, claiming land for Spain and Cleveland.


My second year of college, I stole the dorm’s lounge piano and put it in my room. Naturally, I did it on a dare. I returned it the next evening.


One day during my second year of college, I got the flu. A friend asked if I needed anything from the dining hall and I said “just a spoon” because I was going to eat soup in my room and had no utensils. Somehow, everyone else found out I needed a spoon and half the people in my group brought me a spoon that night. It became a “thing” and every day for two months after, someone would bring me a new spoon. I had about eighty of them by the time Christmas break rolled around.

At Christmas that year, dad got me a cordless drill. I went back early because I was taking a winter term class and since I only had one class and only a couple friends were around, I got pretty bored fast. For some reason, I decided an excellent boredom alleviation would be to drill a hole into the bowl of each of those spoons I had. Over the next semester, I slowly reintroduced the holey spoons back into the cafeteria. I could always tell when someone got a holey spoon because of the puzzled look on the person’s face when the soup drained out.

I still have one of those spoons.


I used to try to impress people by lifting my car off the ground. Half of them realized it was just a Geo Metro and it was nothing special. The other half asked for help with moving.


When my brother was a toddler, I taught him how to make a soda can fort with all the empty soda cans. The best part was when I convinced him to let me encase him in a soda can pyramid and then jump out when mom came into the kitchen.


I learned in second grade that the utility access hatch in our attic is not a secret passageway to another room and should be avoided at all costs.


When my brother was in kindergarten, I convinced him to play Cowboy X, wherein he used a sharpie to mark an X all over the log walls of our house. My parents were not pleased.


When a moderate earthquake hit the New Madrid in 1990 (1991?), it rattled some dishes and tilted a picture on the wall. I thought that was so hilarious that for a week, I went around the house tilting pictures and trying to convince my parents that we had more earthquakes. It did not work.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

More Things I Don't Like But Am Supposed To

It doesn't matter that I have years of experience with something. My preferences against something I'm "supposed" to like is akin to eating kittens the way some people react.

1. Cast iron cookware.
2. Stainless steel cookware.
3. Copper cookware.
4. Any cookware that requires more than a swipe of a sponge to clean.
5. Gas stoves.
6. Knife sharpening steel.
7. Big soup spoons.
8. Washcloths for doing dishes
9. Hanging towels on the little bar on the cabinet door under the sink.
10. CFL bulbs.

Bonus list: Things I Liked As A Child But Won't Readily Admit

1. Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
2. Vanilla Ice.
3. Babysitters Club books.
4. Sweet Valley High books.
5. MC Hammer
6. New Kids on the Block
7. Seventeen magazine
8. Barbies
9. Jean-Claude Van Damme
10. Dresses

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

If I Ever Get to Sleep, I'll Consider Wednesday A Win

10:00pm - Decide to do the canning I didn’t quite get to the rest of the day.

12:00am - Finished canning, get ready to go to bed.

12:15 - As I’m turning out the lights, decide for the hell of it, I’ll check the empty utensil drawers to see if any mice have been caught in the traps. Since there have been none after discovering the carnage on Thanksgiving, I don’t anticipate seeing anything.

12:15:09 - See a mouse in the trap.

12:22 - Finish bagging mouse, cleaning drawer, disposing of remains, and re-setting trap.

12:22:10 - Pause on the way back to bed to check silverware and cookware drawer for mouse evidence.

12:24 - Having finished cursing, prepare all utensils and drawer inserts for sterilization.

2:00 - Clean drawers, set traps in now empty drawers, while wondering where to put utensils and whether mouseproof utensil organizers exist.

2:18 - Get ready to go to bed, but decide am thoroughly pissed off and it’s time to get the little fuckers at the source. Set traps in garage right next to kitchen where they’ve been known to wander down the wall.

2:36 - Remember the electric trap, figure what the hell, it can’t hurt, and set it up in the garage.

2:58 - Add mouse traps, paper towels, 409, and disposable gloves to shopping list.

3:04 - Finally in bed.

5:06 - Still awake because the cat has spent the last two hours wandering outside the bedroom, howling at the top of his goddamn lungs.

5:09 - Get up, stomp into hallway, and led into living room by the cat who trots around and howls in his “omgthere’ssomethingihavetoshowyouknowbecauseit’sreallyimportantcomesee!” voice.

5:13 - After being led on an exhaustive search that includes the litter box room, his food bowl (not empty, but filled it anyway), and the scratching post, the cat completes his mission, flops on the floor, and gives me his “oh hai, now that I have led you in a futile search for something that might be wrong, please direct your attention to my belly, which needs to be rubbed. Also, my head needs scratching, thanks.”

5:15 - Finish rubbing cat’s belly and scratching cat’s head.

5:15:20 - Stumble into kitchen, notice a blinking light coming from the basement. Remember the electric trap said it would blink green if a mouse had been caught.

5:17 - Finish getting dressed, go to garage to see what’s up. See a second mouse in another trap.

5:19 - Take benadryl in the hopes I’ll fall asleep before sunrise, suit up in gloves and bags, clean up mice, disinfect, and reset traps.

5:31 - Sit down on sofa. Notice the cat has been completely silent for the last fifteen minutes.

5:31:30 - Go back to bed.

5:32 - The cat starts howling again.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Holes Have Gravitational Pull On Me

I have this thing where I somehow manage to find any hole in the ground and promptly fall into it. My friends think it's hilarious.

I don't know how or why it happens. One minute, I'm walking along just fine, the next, I've prat-fallen onto my face, butt, or pocket where my keys are. No one else I'm around does this. No one else is standing around, then takes a step to the side and falls in a random hole. It's always me. I even started keeping track of this occurrences. It's. Always. Me.

One night at a summer cookout, I took a step back and fell into a random hole. I didn't know the hole was there as the grass growing in the hole was the same height as the grass growing everywhere else. My friends, of course, laughed hysterically with their usual comments about me finding the hole. My retort of "That's what she said" didn't help me feel any better.

While rock hunting in some badlands I had the good fortune of stepping through a salt evaporate crust into a crevasse. Fortunately, the crevasse was only wide enough to accommodate one leg, but as I laid there with my crotch on the hot sand and my leg and thigh dangling into the abyss, I couldn't help thinking of Tremors and how any minute, I was going to be eaten.

Just last week, I stepped off a curb onto the snowy street to get to my car and somehow stepped into the one hole there. Just for good measure, the hole was filled with icy water, so my shoe and pant leg was nice and soaked. Naturally, I stepped in it with the same foot that had a strained ankle the day before. The good thing was the numbness from the icy water and snow kept the pain from being too bad for a while.

If I was an astronaut, you could bet I'd be the one tumbling into a black hole while the others stood around awkwardly, wondering if it was worth it to risk opening a portal to a hell dimension in order to rescue me. Bastards.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Once upon a time, I jumped off a sand dune and landed on my head. I wasn't trying to land on my head, that was just how it happened.

I was on a field trip for strat/sed class. We went out to some dead sand dunes. The professor told us if we ran off the top of the sand dune, jumped, and landed the right way, we could become "one with the sediment flow." I was the shy transfer student who still didn't know anyone because that university's orientation program for transfers was nonexistent and I barely even knew where the geology department was, much less who my classmates were.

So naturally, I thought I'd get into the spirit and jump because everyone else was jumping.

As I'm running towards the end of the sand dune, I start to jump and a classmate's head pops up from where I'm about to hurl myself. I somehow twist in mid-air, tumble, and fall head first onto the bottom half of the sand dune. You know, where the hard part is?

I didn't fall exactly on my head. Had I done so, it would have been far better for me. Instead, I fell on the back of my head and neck, with the full weight of my body coming straight down on top. When I landed, my legs were straight in the air, then pitched forward and I was thrown reverse-somersault down the rest of the dune.

For some reason, I stood up and laughed. Someone asked me if I was okay. I said "sure, fine!" and we finished the rest of the trip.

My neck got increasingly sore on the ride home. I went to bed and when I woke up, it really hurt. I took a handful of Aleve and went about my weekend. On Monday, I woke up late to class. By six hours. The next day, same thing.

After a week of this, I had friends come physically jerk me out of bed. Apparently they had drug me halfway to the living room before I came to. That's when I went to the doctor.

Lots of money and a few CT scans later, no one had any answers. Whatever sleep disorder I had continued for a few more months. I learned to sleep as soon as I got home in the hopes I'd wake up at some point in time for class. The semester did not go well. Eventually, those sleep troubles went away entirely, though I now have insomnia. Wheee.

I did manage to coerce the doctors to give me a copy of my CT scans. For "informational purposes" I told them. In reality, I just wanted a picture of my brain. Because brain pictures are awesome.

The end.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

More Vintage Gelatin Horror

This time it was a Salmon Loaf recipe from a 1929 Knox cookbook and Shrimp Chili Mold recipe from a 1955 Knox cookbook. As you can see, my unmolding skills are still a little rusty. The awesome vintage fish mold I have lost all its fine detail and the result looks somewhat like a diseased penis.

The Salmon Loaf wasn't as bad as Chicken Salad Surprise, but it was still bad enough that I spit out my bite. The Shrimp Chili Mold was really bland, but there was still heat from the cayenne, so it was a rather unpleasant experience. I didn't spit it out though; it wasn't that bad. However, it wasn't good enough to keep the rest. There's going to be some happy raccoons tonight.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Vintage Jello Recipes: A Tale of Horror

A little while ago, someone dared me to make a Jello mold with hot dogs shaped like octopi and carrots shaped like goldfish. So I did. Naturally, this only led to me wanting to make more horrible things. I've been collecting old Jello and Knox Gelatine cookbooks for a while now and there's plenty of horrible things for me to try.

Why? You may ask, your eyes widening in horror. Well, intellectually I figure it's only right to try out these recipes. After all, if I'm going to make fun of them, I should at least know whether they are as horrible as they seem or are actually quite good and I'm misplacing my disgust. It's also a bit of an art form. How many times do we have the same mediocre meals, week in and week out? Seeking out something truly revolting that's printed with authority as food is, well, artful.

Also, because I thought it would be hilariously cool.

My first recipe was Chicken Salad Surprise from the 1965 edition of Joys of Jello. It features chicken, pecans, celery, sour cream, garlic salt, pepper, wine vinegar, and grated onion suspended in lemon (or orange) Jello. Then cut into cubes and placed on a salad with olives and pineapple tidbits.

If you took the lemon Jello out of the equation, it wouldn't be so bad. Minus the olives. I hate olives. Something about the lemon flavor in the Jello makes this the most rancid thing on earth. Actually, it was the lemon Jello and garlic salt. That right there is one of the most revolting things I've ever smelled.

I set up my salad, took an obligatory bite, and promptly spit it out in the sink. Now I have a whole pan of this stuff that is too gross to eat and the cats won't even touch. Nor will spouse, who declared hearing about my experience was enough proof.