If you are someone who thinks about me all the time — which I assume you are, as why wouldn’t you? — right about now you are probably wondering what thing in my house is newly in need of repair this week. I AM SO GLAD YOU ASKED!
The new non-working thing is the air gap from my dishwasher, which is this thing:
(Photo ganked from the internet-at-large. I would have photographed my own air gap, but my camera isn’t working either.)
Question and Answer Time
Q: Is it supposed to be spewing water like that?
Q: What are you going to do about it?
A: STOP PRESSURING ME.
In fact, I have already done several things.
- I said, “Oh, fuck me, the plumber was just here last week. The plumber was here twice last week. Fuck. Fuck. … … … Fuck.”
- I also said, “God damn it” a few times.
- I Googled “dishwasher overflow thing” to see what it’s really called.
- I Googled “dishwasher air gap leaking.”
- I watched a YouTube video entitled, “The Diswasher Air gap – how to clean it and why it’s important.”
- I wondered if this was the film that all the fifth grade boys were watching while all of the fifth grade girls were watching, “The Story of Menstruation – how to clean it and why it’s important.”
- I did the first of three things that Internet Plumber suggested.
- And now I have to become Catholic and go to confession.
If you watch the video (and if you’ve landed on this page because you Googled something to the effect of, “why does that martian-looking thing leak water when my dishwasher drains,” then see my update below where I conclude that the video may be performance art*), which I am guessing you won’t because in terms of cinematic entertainment value it’s not exactly Ghostbusters, but if you do, you will see that the first of three things Internet Plumber suggested was to remove the cap from the air gap, place a paper towel roll over the gap, put your mouth over the other end of the tube, and blow.
Oh, so it’s like that, is it, Internet Plumber?
The theory is that it will dislodge any stray corn kernels or coffee beans that have lodged in the smaller tube in the air gap, but since I scrape and rinse all my dishes before putting them in the dishwasher (as should you because you know who says it’s not necessary? People who sell dishwashers, that’s who), I was pretty sure this wasn’t the problem. And it wasn’t, but boy was that ever fun. I can’t remember the last time I got to climb up on my counter, put a paper towel roll that I fished out of the recycle bin on one end of an open drain pipe and then put my mouth on the other end. And because I was worried that I couldn’t get enough air pressure built up in the long tube, I also repeated the procedure using a toilet paper roll, which was even more fun because your face is closer to the drain pipe and also you have your mouth on a toilet paper roll. Oh, what’s that Kate? You just gave birth to the future King of England and now your husband and nation adore you even more than before? Well, I have a corn-free air gap!
So that didn’t work, which means I have to go on to This is a Disgusting Task Part II: The Sliming. I need to go buy a bottle brush and cram it down the air gap, and when that inevitably does nothing but defile my new bottle brush, I will have to actually go under the sink to remove the drain pipe that goes from the dishwasher to the P-trap and clean that out by, I don’t know, putting my mouth on it or something. Incidentally, thanks to last week’s fuckwittery, I now know what a P-trap is; can the Duchess of Cambridge say that? Oh, she can’t? Well, then let me just laugh in a superior way until I break down into sobs of bitter envy. (I don’t actually want to be a princess; I just want to stop looking inside of drain pipes.)
So. Tomorrow is another day. I cannot tell you how excited I am by that fact. I really cannot tell you.
*SUPER EXCITING UPDATE: Well, it’s fixed, and without calling in Real Plumber and His Pleasant But Dense Trainee. But if you’re here because you are looking for instructions on how to clear your air gap, first, may God have mercy on your poor desperate soul. Second, welcome! Third, ignore the video I linked to above. I mean, you can do the paper towel thing, and it might work if you have good lung capacity and your problem is a small bit of food jamming up the works, but if that doesn’t do the trick, don’t shove a brush down the gap. Unless you have a very narrow, 3 foot long brush, it probably won’t work and you might damage the drain hose. It’s much easier and more effective to simply disconnect the drain hose at the bottom end and clear it out with a plumbing snake. If you don’t have a snake, a long stick wrapped in a rag would probably work too. It’s still gross, but it’s effective and relatively safe. After reconnecting the hose and before running your dishwasher again, pour water down the air gap to make sure that the hose doesn’t leak where you reconnected it. You can do it! I believe in you! (But just in case, do it on a weekday morning so that if things go south, you won’t have to pay a plumber overtime. My belief in you has its limits.)
More Things I’m Thinking About While Waiting For the Plumber Again (Alternate Title: Jesus H. Christ)
I said this in the comments yesterday, but when the plumbers put the sink back on the wall, they put it about 1/4″ to the right of where it was originally and now the bathroom door won’t close. I didn’t discover it until about 7:00 last night when I tried to shut the door and it hit the side of the sink and I said, “Oh really?” to no one in particular right there in the doorway, then I went into the living room and laid down on the floor until the physical pain subsided.
So now I’m waiting for them to return so they can move the sink back to where it was and I can stop spontaneously cramping.
Which reminds me, I’m commenting on my own posts now, in part to see if anyone is paying attention. I’m seeing more and more people complain that no one leaves comments on their blogs anymore, so I’m hoping they’ll all adopt the self-commenting thing and also maybe relax. I mean, yes, commenting is down, as is blog readership in general. I probably get only half as many page views and comments as I did a year ago — and that was only maybe 75% of what I was getting the year before that, as I stopped updating this thing on a regular basis quite a while ago — but I can’t say it affects my life in any way. Don’t get me wrong, I like it when people read and comment, but if relatively few people do, I don’t start cutting my own hair in front of the mirror and screaming, “You’re ugly! UGLY!” at my reflection.
Things have dropped off even more since Google Reader died and its users have decided that instead of finding a replacement, they will go outside and get some fresh air. I’m going to start publicizing on twitter when I have a new post, but since as many people find that annoying as they find it helpful, I may end up driving off the few, apparently super bored people who continue to come here. Bright side: as soon as it’s just me reading this blog, I’m going to host a giveaway for a Kindle Fire.
Oh, and as long as we’re somewhat on the topic of comments, I recently (well, six months ago, maybe) discovered that if your browser is two or more versions out of date, you won’t be able to comment, as in, you won’t even be able to type anything in the comment box. The comment box is just a rectangle at the bottom of the page to you. So if you want to comment but haven’t been able to, it might be your browser. And if you don’t want to comment, that’s okay too because I have a boyfriend but you can’t meet him because he lives in Canada.
Also, while I am thinking of it, some of you need to clear your cache and cookies. I just know, okay?
As disgusting as the Justin Bieber story is, the headline in which I learned of this most recent bit of grossness was hilariously efficient: “WTF: Justin Bieber Urinates Into Mop Bucket While Yelling ‘F*ck Bill Clinton’ For Some Reason” People were wondering if the restaurant employees knew that he’d peed in the mop bucket (and whether they’d later mopped the floor with the pee water, which depends in part I suppose on whether this was an IHOP, in which case it hardly matters because have you smelled an IHOP ever?) but based on the conversation, it sounds as if some of his idiotic entourage were trying to frame the event to some lingering busboys or cooks or whoever as A Moment To Remember, which I suppose it is in a horrifying kind of way. My favorite part of the video (go ahead, it’s distasteful but only 45 seconds long), is when one of the idiots yells out, “we’re the fucking Wild Kidz!” I mean, really. How afraid am I supposed to be of people who give themselves an ersatz gang name that ends in a “z”? They’re not exactly United Blood Nation is my thinking on the matter. “Wild Kidz” sounds more like the kind of gang Peter Brady would join. His would be called the Groovy Stepkidz, and they would terrorize their suburb by riding around on Schwinn Bikez until after dark and knocking on doorz to demand pork chopz and applesauze.
The plumbers have come and gone, my sink has been moved to its rightful place in the world, and my stomach no longer hurts.
I’m waiting for the plumber.
Where is the plumber?
It is 2:35.
The plumber was supposed to be here between 2:00 and 3:00.
Which, as everyone knows, means “no later than 2:30.”
Yes, it does.
YES IT DOES.
Okay, it doesn’t.
But still, where is the plumber?
PLUMBER, WHERE ARE YOU?
So, as you may have heard, I am waiting for the plumber. It’s part of the continuing saga, All My Shit is Broken, Who Broke All My Shit? Today, the broken item is a clogged bathroom sink drain. It was running a little slow and the eco-friendly baking soda/white vinegar option did nothing, so I broke down and used drain cleaner yesterday, after which it was fine and continued to be fine until about 7:00 this morning, when it stopped draining completely. I read somewhere that drain cleaner sometimes mixes with soap to form a cement-like block in the pipe, so I’m thinking (a) that’s what happened and (b) it’s something of a product flaw.
2:45 and still no plumber.
I haven’t mentioned this yet, but I want to move, which would necessitate selling my house. Over the last several months, I’ve been systematically, by which I of course mean haphazardly, decluttering and painting and repairing, but mainly despairing. I feel like I’ll never get this house ready to sell. Every time I complete one project, something new breaks or falls off or fills up with water. Here’s a thing that’s not supposed to have water in it: the space between the panes of double-paned windows. So why is there water in the space between the panes of my double-paned windows? Because that is the story of my life.
3:03 and still no plumber.
As part of the decluttering process, I’ve sold a couple of hundred books, for which I made the princely sum of 2 buttons and some string. I also found a pair of boots in the back of the closet that I purchased in 2006 and never wore. They were still in the box with the receipt and I got them from Nordstrom, which …
PLUMBER’S HERE! BRB.
There are two plumbers, which is two more people than I ever want to have in my house. Also, I think one of them might be a trainee, which does not fill me with joy. However, seeing as how I don’t want to brush my teeth in the bathtub, I’ll allow it. They’re going to be cutting into the drain pipe in the basement, which I anticipate will make a lovely grinding noise. Today is really shaping up to be something!
Anyway, the boots. They were from Nordstrom, which has such a liberal return policy that there is an unconfirmed, or at least only occasionally confirmed, story about how someone once successfully returned a car tire to them. I don’t know about that, but I do know that it’s generally pretty easy to return things there. Even so, I bought these boots seven years ago. On the other hand, $230. Enough debate! Let’s go to the store.
Me: I don’t know if you’re going to go for this, but …
Sales Associate [fearful look]: …
Me: I’d like to return these boots that I bought when you were in middle school. Here is my receipt!
Sales Associate [scanning barcodes and punching buttons]: How do you want your money back?
Me: Er … cash?
Sales Associate [handing me cash]: Here you go!
Next time, I’m taking them a tire.
Ordinarily, the 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays because it, along with Memorial Day and Labor Day, is one of the potato salad holidays. It is actually my least favorite of the potato salad holidays, owing secondarily to the firework noise and primarily to the glut of Lost Pet posters that spring up in the wake of the firework noise, but in the words of one of our founding fathers,
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to choose between potato salad and no potato salad, the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God compel one to choose potato salad. We hold these truths to be self-evident. Nom nom nom.
– John Hancock
I’m fairly certain that Hancock was the kind of guy who, at holiday gatherings, ate more than his share of potato salad, although the historical record is silent on this point.
Anyway. I usually enjoy the 4th, is my point. This year my plans were as follows:
- Spend the afternoon of the 3rd making potato salad
- On the afternoon of the 4th, take potato salad to friend’s house
- John Hancock the potato salad at friend’s house
- Leave friend’s house early; come home and eat potato salad
Because this is America, that’s why.
However, it became apparent early on in the run-up to the third greatest potato salad holiday of 2013 that things would not go as planned.
July 3, 12:30 PM
I began making the potato salad (YAY) and got as far as chilling the potatoes when the phone rang (BOO). I ignored the phone. The phone rang again. I ignored the phone. The phone rang again. FINE. I answered the phone and spent the next hour and a half talking to one of my East Coast cousins who I only talk to about once a year and who every year slips further and further into mental illness.
July 3, 2:00 PM
I finish making the potato salad and try not to think about the person my cousin used to be, and who she is now, and who she will be next year or in five years or in ten years if she lives that long. I also did that thing where you hold your eyes open really wide and don’t blink for like, an hour, because if you do, you will cry in the potato salad and have to throw it out and go to the store to buy more potatoes.
July 4, shortly after midnight
I was walking through a parking lot alone. I saw two women I hadn’t seen in 15 years and they said, “don’t let him see you.” Just then I saw a car that looked like this:
except it was pink, had tinted windows, was filled with smoke, and was being driven by Satan. Oh. I was having a nightmare. I guess I should have mentioned that. Satan gets out, and it turns out Satan is the lawyer I worked for in my first job out of law school. He says, “MWAH HAH HAH!” and I start to run, but because I am barefoot and he is wearing Ferragamo shoes on his cloven hooves (he’s evil, but dresses really well), I know he’s going to catch me. I woke up before he caught up to me, and I decided to stay awake just in case dreams are real and I really did work for Satan 15 years ago and now he was back to claim my soul and take it with him to back to hell (or San Bruno, which is similar in many ways), and you would too if you’d ever worked for this guy. OH HELL NO. I just looked him up on the State Bar website and he’s a judge now. That is so very wrong, I can’t even tell you how much.
July 4, 11:00 AM
I went out to the alley to bring in the trash can and compost bin after the collection trucks went through. Hey, things are looking up. Not only did they not delay trash collection because of the holiday, they actually got here early for once. It’s a Potato Salad Nation’s Birthday Miracle!
When I looked inside the compost bin I saw … maggots. There were maggots in the compost bin. Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Some combination of food waste and the recent heat wave and me evidently shutting a fly in the bin at some point created this most disgusting turn of events.
So I spent the next, I don’t know, two hours maybe, spraying insecticide in the bin, waiting for the maggots to die, drowning their little maggoty corpses, dumping out the water in the alley behind my neighbor’s house (WHAT? He flicks cigarette butts into my yard! I owe him nothing!), filling up the bin with soapy water, dumping out the soapy water, staring fearfully into the bottom of the bin, lather, rinse, repeat. I’m sure I appeared quite insane, but I don’t care because gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Then I threw away my gloves, came inside, showered, washed my hair, washed the clothes I’d been wearing, and ran a bleach and hot water cycle through the washing machine because gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Thus, I am not feeling very festive. I’ve decided to stay home, and in fact I might not even eat any potato salad today, so I think you see how serious this is oh who am I kidding, I will eat that potato salad until I have a chive and mayonnaise headache and we all know it. Potato salad makes everything better. Or, as another of our founding fathers stated,
Where potato salad dwells, there is my country.
— Benjamin Franklin
I’m checking to see how long it takes The Old Reader and CommaFeed to retrieve feed updates. I’m going to delete this post as soon as I get my answer, so if you’ve ever wanted to leave a comment calling me a ho or anything, THIS IS YOUR CHANCE.
I went to Target the other day and bought approximately one million things, distributed among seven separate store-provided Target bags. After carefully examining my receipt for errors, because I am your grandma now, I attempted to take the things to my car. As I wheeled the cart through the theft detectors, they started dinging and I instinctively backed up into the store. I know that when you know you’re innocent you’re supposed to just sail through the door on the theory that store employees will respect that, but I am a person of many anxieties and I know that there is no tyranny like the tyranny of a person wearing khakis and a name badge.
Before I finish this fascinating story, I need to back up and tell you that when I was in high school I worked at Sears, Where America Shops, or at least Where America Used To Shop Before There Were Target Stores. For the first few months that I worked there, I would often look up from whatever I was doing (typically, what I was doing was standing around pretending not to notice customers) to see that one of the three security guards was staring at me with narrowed eyes. Sometimes, two of the three security guards would be staring at me with narrowed eyes and talking to each other out of the corners of their mouths so as not to take their narrowed eyes off me. After I’d been there maybe four or five months, I was transferred to the Boys Wear department, where I stayed for the next year and a half, selling many many pairs of Toughskin jeans, Superman Underoos, and t-shirts that said either, “Who Shot J.R.?” or “Hey HEY Hey, What’s Happening!”
As an aside, before I worked in Boys Wear, I was a floater, working in whichever department needed an extra person. However, Sears did not call us floaters; instead they called us The Flying Squad. The Flying Squad. Because going home smelling like a corn dog isn’t humiliating enough, I guess.
At any rate, after I began working in Boys Wear, the three security guards stopped staring at me with deep suspicion. In fact, because they had to walk through Boys Wear when going to and from the security office, which was located in the back of our department, they often would stop and chat with me, all friendly-like. Come to think of it, they did that pretty much every day! Friendship! One day, after having one of my three daily friendly conversations with them, I noticed there was a $20 bill folded up on the floor near the register. Being alone in the department, I called Mary in Personnel and told her I wasn’t sure if a customer dropped it or if I had dropped it out of the till when making change.
“Could it be … your money?” Mary asked.
“Nope! Not mine.”
“Are you sure?”
“Because if it’s yours, you should just keep it.”
“Okay, well, it isn’t mine.”
Mary sighed mightily and said, “all right. Give it to the auditor when you cash out your register tonight and they’ll check to see if it came from the till.” Hmmm. Mary seems disappointed in me. Maybe she thinks I should be more careful. That’s probably it.
The next day, I stopped in at Personnel to find out if the mistake was mine and I had dropped the $20 on the floor. Mary, still grievously disappointed, wouldn’t look me in the eye.
“No,” she informed me rather tersely. “It didn’t come from the cash register.”
“Oh, good!” I was pleased not to be at fault. “Oh, but that means a customer dropped it.”
“So what happens now?”
Again with the mighty sighing. I think Mary needs a chest x-ray. “We’ll hold it here for 30 days in case someone claims it.”
“What happens if no one claims it?”
“WELL THEN YOU CAN HAVE IT!”
Thirty days later, I was $20 richer. Two years later, after I no longer worked there, I ran into Marcus from Personnel (formerly Marcus from Housewares and formerly formerly Marcus from The Flying Squad) who told me that everyone in Personnel knew the $20 story and the crazy surprise ending where I didn’t pocket the $20 that security dropped on the floor to prove that I was a thief.
I am a person who, historically, has inspired suspicion in others, is my point.
Back in the present day, I am in Target, setting off alarms. I look over at the cashiers and the people staffing the customer service counter but they’re ignoring me so I think that perhaps the dinging is unrelated to my trying to leave the store with a cart containing seven bags of things, a giant purse, and a coat slung over my arm. I again go through the theft detectors, again they start dinging, and again I back up into the store, assuming that certainly this time, someone will yell out, “SWARM! SWARM!” and I will be tackled to the ground and placed in those plastic zip-tie handcuffs should I make any attempt to take the things I’d just paid for off the premises.
Huh. Again, no one associated with the Target Corporation is paying me any mind. Clearly, I am being set-up. It’s the twenty dollar bill all over again. I go to the nearest cashier and say, “the alarm keeps going off when I try to leave.” She asks if I have my receipt, and I hand it over saying, “but I didn’t buy anything that would set off the alarms, I don’t think.” She barely glances at the receipt, hands it back and says, “probably your keys triggered it. My keys always do that. You can go ahead.”
For the third time, I leave the store, beeping all the way, and after I clear the exit doors, I hear the alarm go off again. I turn back and see two Target employees running toward the door and demanding that the black woman who exited the store behind me carrying one bag of merchandise hand over her receipt. As I loaded up my trunk, I watch as they meticulously compare the three items in her bag with her receipt before narrowing their eyes and telling her she can go.
You disappoint me, Target. You really do.
That was years ago. Keep up, people.
I’m just going to type whatever comes into my head. I’m sure it will be fascinating.
Until recently, I would type two spaces after a period, which is a holdover from the days of typewriters and Courier font. Even though I’ve been using a computer for almost 30 years, I’ve continued to uselessly type two spaces after a period until about three weeks ago when I said to myself, “hey, you can probably stop that now.” It saddens me to think of all those wasted spaces.
I was trying to find a picture of the first computer I used, but it’s so ancient that even the internet does not acknowledge its existence. It was called a IV-Phase and it was just a green-screen monitor and a keyboard, the actual memory part of it being located in a different room overseen by a guy named Al. It sounds primitive, but I believe the III-Phase was comprised of a stick and a rock, so we were quite lucky to live in the times we did. Al was our computer expert because his desk happened to be closest to the room where the vacuum tubes or reel-to-reel tapes or whatever it was we were using for data storage were kept. Al used to ask me every Friday afternoon if I had a hot date that weekend or if I had a cold date that I could warm up. And then he’d laugh a laugh that sounded like, “heh. Heh heh heh.” I don’t miss Al at all.
Part of the reason I haven’t been posting, aside from having nothing better to talk about than that idiot Al, is that I have found the internet to be exhausting lately. People seem especially angry these days. I’ll go online in the morning, intending to write a post, but after reading through a few blogs/tweets/forum posts, I find myself saying,
After that, I look at some cat photos and go about my day. There should be more cat photos on the internet is my point. More cats and fewer pissed people spouting off about things they don’t understand.
Incidentally, while I’m thinking of it, those of you who refer to your pets as “jerks” or “assholes” because they behave like animals, which, spoiler alert, they are? I don’t like you.
Since we last spoke, I was almost killed by prescription medication for the second time in less than a year. Excellent work, pharmaceutical industry! I could talk more about this, but it all falls under the heading of what my friend Marius terms, “I am old, please come and throw garbage on me,” so let’s just move on.
In addition to my decrepit humanity, my house and everything in it is falling apart as well. Last fall, I had to have the chimney rebuilt, which was okay because although it meant dealing with strangers, they were outside the house on the roof rather than inside the house trying on my shoes and underwear when I wasn’t looking. A couple of months ago, my refrigerator gave up the ghost and I had to get rid of it, as well as a few thousand unfrozen cavemen shrimp. Oh and the milk! My god, the milk. That was a day I won’t soon forget. Soon after the new fridge with its inadequate crisper drawers was installed, my dishwasher started making a strange noise but not all the time. So for now, I’m just staring at it while it runs, thinking, “please don’t be broken please don’t be broken pleeeeease.” Because that seems better than doing nothing. After that, the battery on my lawn mower went into semi-retirement. Being unable to decide whether I want to buy a new battery for $200 or a new mower for $400, I have in the meantime been mowing 3/4 of the lawn with the power mower until the battery is drained, finishing the lawn with the push mower, then collapsing in a heap because push mowers are ridiculous. I mean, I love the earth as much as the next person (assuming the next person isn’t Rand Paul or Marco Rubio), but I love not dying of a heart attack in my backyard more. Finally, I decided to tackle removing the oddity that is the wall paneling covering one wall of the spare bedroom, which a previous owner installed in roughly the year 7 BC, a year in which glue or nails evidently did not exist, so instead he used black tar. That was a fun surprise! I have no idea how I’m going to fix it, but I’m guessing it will involve hiring a professional contractor to come over, overcharge me, use my bathroom several times a day, and not finish the job even close to the day promised because instead of working, he was hanging out in my bedroom trying on my shoes and underwear.
I was trying to think of a happy way to end this post when there was a knock at the door. I think you know how I feel about that. I approached with trepidation only to see the retreating form of the UPS man. IT’S A PACKAGE FROM AMAZON! YAY! HAPPY TIMES! YAY! IT’S … oh, it the hose nozzle I ordered last week. Even so. It’s something.
Overheard in the produce aisle of the Safeway, where a dad was shopping with his 4-year-old son, who was sitting in the basket of the grocery cart and crying his eyes out.
Boy (wailing loudly): I’M NOT HAPPY!
Dad (cheerfully): You’re not happy? You’re shopping with your papa! What’s better than shopping with Papa?
A couple of weeks ago, I received a very nice email from Marius that said, “Dear flurrious, Is ya’ dead or what? If dead, no need to reply.” Those weren’t his exact words, but I was a lit major, so I know all about subtext. Shortly after that, following a long absence from his own blog, he started posting again, so if you’re looking for something to read (and the fact that you are here tells me you really are out of everything else), pop over and say hello.
Additionally, one of my neighbors (the younger of the two spinster sisters who live across the alley) recently knocked on my door to check on my alive status, although I think that was just an excuse. Now, first of all, I consider any unexpected knock on my door to be a huge nuisance. Because I know that two times out of two, it will be someone wanting help with something that I do not wish to help them with.
Example Number One: Several months ago, a young woman knocked on my door, said she had a flat tire and asked if there was anyone who could help her put the spare on. This clearly wasn’t going to be me because the one time I had a flat tire and no AAA, I couldn’t even figure out how to get the jack out of the car. However, even though I have AAA now and throw away their magazine every month to prove it, I also carry a can of Fix-a-Flat in my car, which is a can of goo that you spray into a flat tire to reinflate it, but then you must immediately drive to a tire place to get them to get the goo out or your tire turns into cement or something. Well, probably not, but in any case the stuff works, as I discovered one Halloween when juvenile delinquents let the air out of all the tires of the cars on my block. Anyway, I went outside with the woman and gave her the Fix-a-Flat. After much back and forth of her wanting to give me two dollars for it and me not wanting her to give me two dollars for it because I am trying to do a good deed here, dumbass, she finally took the can and said, “now what?” Sigh. Well, now, I guess I fix your stupid tire for you. As I’m fixing her stupid tire, I notice that it is completely bald. Not “worn down,” or “a little old.” BALD. No tread whatsoever. I said, “you need new tires,” and she replied, “I know. This one goes flat every month and I have to put the spare on and then take this one to get it fixed.” I’m sorry; Idiot say what? Her tire goes flat every single month and she doesn’t replace it? That’s her prerogative, but why involve me? I finish up with her stupid tire, wish her luck and head back toward the house. She runs to catch up with me and says, “what’s your name?” I tell her, and she thanks me. Then she says, “could I use your bathroom?” What? NO. She seems to understand that I’m about to figure out how to get the jack out my car so I can hit her with it and leaves.
Example Number Two: A few weeks ago, I hear KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK. Jeez. All right, already. I go to the door and a (different) young woman is running down my front steps. She joins her friend at the bottom of the steps; her friend is holding a bag of food from McDonald’s and drinking out of a large cup and, for some reason, jumping up and down in place. They both then take off running, down the block and around the corner. They seem a tad old for the “knock and run” gambit, so I figure something else is going on. A few seconds later, the first woman runs back to a parked car and tries to start it several times with no success. Then she runs back up to my front door and starts pounding on it. I assume that in addition to a non-running car, she also has a non-charged phone, so I open the door. Mistake.
Woman: My car just died and I need to use your bathroom!
Let us pause here for a moment, so I may state to the young women of the world that the bathroom in my house is not for everyone and express my appreciation for their willingness in the future to hold it. Pro tip: limit your caffeine intake.
Me: I don’t know you, so I can’t let you in.
Woman: BUT I’M GOING TO HAVE AN ACCIDENT!
Me: I’m sorry. I can’t let you in.
I closed the door and she went back to her car. I noted she didn’t knock on anyone else’s door, so at this point I’m thinking she doesn’t have to go to the bathroom and perhaps she’s just an inept burglar? Her friend reappears and gets in the car, then gets out of the car and goes and pounds on my next-door neighbor’s house. Then the first woman gets out of the car, yells something at her friend, and runs into the bushes in front of the house across the street. A few seconds later, her head pops up and she yells something else. Her friend then roots around in the back seat of the car and emerges with a roll of toilet paper. I am now completely at a loss as to what the hell is going on. Is there always toilet paper in her car or did they just come from Target? Eventually, and by “eventually,” I mean, “long enough that I suspect subtitling this portion of my post ‘Example Number Two’ is horrifyingly appropriate,” she finishes her business in the bushes and she and her friend take a garbage bag out of the car and walk in the general direction of the bus stop, leaving the car there but returning to get it in the middle of the night and I can only hope that they used the bathroom at their own house before making the return trip.
The point being: NEVER ANSWER THE DOOR.
Oh, but okay, spinster neighbor, who I’ll call M, is knocking at the door. She’s the healthier of the two sisters, so I’m worried that something is wrong with the other sister and they need help. At this point, I’m actually hoping that she’s there because she has to use my bathroom. As it turned out, she was just checking to see if I still live there. She mentioned that she hadn’t seen me working in the garden or hanging out any clothes to dry in a while and was worried. I refrained from saying, “well, you know, winter,” and instead said something else, I can’t recall exactly what. We talked for quite a while and it became evident that it was really her sister, S, who made her come over and check. Sadly, it sounds like S, who is in her late 80s, is slipping into dementia, and M, in her early 80s, is her caretaker but only because she’s doing better, at least for the time being. I gathered that S became convinced that something had happened to me and made M come over to find out what. M never said that straight out, but again: subtext. She talked about how S’s personality has completely changed and how while before she was the sweetest person alive, now she’s mean and bossy and says that one of them will have to move out. She also said I was precious to the both of them, which made me so sad because I’m not really anyone to them except the person who lives across the alley and chases down their garbage can lid when the wind blows it halfway down the alley.
As a result of this, I decided to give my mom, in her mid-80s, an at-home dementia examination. I asked her to tell me all of the U.S. Presidents, in order, since she came to this country in the 50s. Below is an exact transcript.
Mom: Eisenhower, but he was no good; all he did was play golf. Then the good-looking one … Kennedy. Then the tall one. I can’t remember his name.
Me: Johnson. Was he tall?
Mom: He seemed tall.
Me: Everyone seems tall compared to you.
Mom: Never mind! Then Nixon. Then … Carter?
Me: There was one in between.
Mom: Yes. The short one.
Me: I don’t think he was that short. He was kind of clumsy though.
Mom: His wife was an alcoholic.
Me: Yes! I mean, yes.
Mom: What was her name?
Mom: Oh, Ford. Ford was after Nixon. Then the peanut farmer. Carter.
Me: Keep going.
Mom: Reagan. Bush Senior. Clinton. George Stupid Bush. Obama.
So as you can see, the test was more extensive than required. I could have just asked who was president before Obama in order to determine that her mind is completely intact.
Last night as I was about to make dinner, the power went out. It didn’t go out in the normal way, the normal way being one minute power, the next minute no power. Instead, the power went out, came back on for a second, went out, came back on for a second, went out, and stayed out. I’m guessing this is what it’s like when someone gets the chair. I looked out my window to see if everyone’s power was out or if it was just my house, but it was early enough in the evening that the streetlights weren’t on and people weren’t necessarily home from work yet or possibly they had just arrived home and still felt too beaten down to turn on a lamp. So although the houses I could see were dark, that didn’t necessarily mean anything. I put on my shoes and coat so I could go out and look down the block. I saw various neighbors coming out onto their front porches and looking around, like meerkats only exponentially less adorable, which settled the matter for me. Before I could turn to go inside, my newest neighbor, whom some of you may remember as Cameltoe, came out on her porch and yelled across the street to me in an overly loud and panicked fashion.
“IS YOUR POWER OUT!?!”
“Yes, it’s out all over. I’m going to call City Light now.”
Then her husband came out to join her and she yelled in his face, “EVERYONE’S POWER IS OUT!”
“Okay,” said the husband, who I’ve decided to call “Humpy,” for lack of a better name.
“I’M FREEZING!” said Cameltoe.
“Well, come inside then.”
Check out Humpy! Being all reasonable and shit.
I went in and called City Light and after about ten minutes of listening to recordings telling me that the food in my refrigerator would stay cold and the water in my hot water tank would stay hot if I stopped living my life, a person came on the line and informed me that they were aware of the outage and that the estimated repair time was six hours. No use arguing about it, so I thanked her and hung up.
I made a salami sandwich by flashlight and sat in my cold dark kitchen eating it and enjoying the pathos of the situation. I periodically would say, “oh, woe,” in a quiet voice in order to make it sadder. Then I made plans for the rest of the evening:
1. Put mustard-soiled knife in dishwasher.
2. Brush teeth.
3. Wash face.
4. Go to bed.
Suddenly the power came back on, five and half hours earlier than estimated. I had a bowl of hot soup and then revised my plans for the evening:
1. Put knife, pot, spoon, and bowl in dishwasher. Push start button.
2. Brush teeth.
3. Wash face.
4. Watch TV.
5. Go to bed.
So as you can see, an evening with electrical power is extremely different from an evening without it. Also, I am reminded once again that I would be a terrible pioneer, though I believe Cameltoe would probably be worse. The first little sign of Scarlet Fever and she’d be all, “I’M HOT! I’M BLIND!” Sharing a wagon with her would be annoying, I can tell.
I ganked this from someone’s blog. I don’t remember whose, which I suppose means that I found their answers tedious. It’s probably a Facebook thing and everyone but me has already done it because I have no interest in Facebook, unless we’re talking about how Mark Zuckerberg’s sister is all upset because she thought she was posting a private photo but her brother’s philosophy on privacy is, “there is none, dumb fucks,” and instead of blaming the policies of a company that gave her a career and immense wealth, she’s mad at the people who saw the photo and is going around saying, “but … but … what about HUMAN DECENCY?!?” to which the internet has responded, “LOL and something about petards.”
Age: 49. Next year, I will be 50. 50! My god. I’m going to stop blogging before then, I think. Being a 50-year-old with a blog is like being a 30-year-old with a roommate.
Bed Size: Non-standard. My bedroom has a queen-size mattress, which used to be of the perfect level of firmness until I started edging closer to 50. 50! My god. And now I have the back of an old person, an old person who’s lived an evil life and is now deserving of no comfort. So instead of using the bed, I sleep on a stack of quilts on the floor and sing songs from Les Mis until I fall asleep.
Chore that you hate: Small talk with neighbors. Just wave to me and go in your house, already.
Dogs: I like dogs a lot, but I’m a cat person. Though if I had a farm, in addition to all the cats, I would probably have a couple of dogs, a donkey, a goat, a bunch of chickens, and a miniature cow named “Buttermilk.”
Essential start to your day: Coffee and internet. And because it’s Christmas week, a piece of pumpkin pie. I don’t care if it’s 6:00 AM, I’m eating pie.
Favorite Color: The “what’s your favorite whatever” questions are some of the most boring questions ever. Let’s all agree not to ask these anymore.
Greatest achievement: Earlier this year, I removed a splinter from my pinkie finger.
Height: It varies. It’s somewhere between 5’4″ and 5’5″, the exact measurement dependent upon how put-upon I feel at any particular moment.
Instruments that you play: I know how to play D and A7 on the guitar, so please contact me for all your “Michael Row the Boat Ashore” accompaniment needs.
Justin Bieber: I don’t mind him. The first time I saw him was when he sang the opening lines on the We Are The World 25 video, and I recall thinking, “who is this pimple?” but I guess I’ve gotten used to him. Having just rewatched that video, I have to say, he’s not even the main problem. What’s going on with Wyclef Jean? Is his Ear, Nose, and Throat guy out of town, or what? Then there’s Brian Wilson, who makes me sad. I feel like we should do a USA for Brian Wilson video. Also, in the group scene, who is the old white dude next to Jennifer Hudson? Is that Faison from General Hospital? I think it’s Faison. My favorite thing about it is that Jeff Bridges is there, playing the part of Dan Aykroyd. You know what? Just watch the original. It’s a million times better, and I’m not just saying that because I know who all of those people are. I’m also saying it because it’s a million times better. And because I think everything from the past was better because I am an old person. I’m almost 50, you know. 50! My god.
Kids: As in baby goats? YES.
Live: I’m not sure I understand this question. I live, yes. Well, sort of. I mean, I sleep on the floor and ate pie before it got light out, but still. It’s something.
Mother’s Name: Shall I also give you my date of birth and Social Security Number? Nice try, internet.
Nicknames: I AM OPPOSED.
Obama or McCain: Oh. This is an old meme.
Pet peeves: Vehicular? Tailgating. Everything else? Everything else.
Get the toilet brush caddy!
Or, no. How about:
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
– Plato, maybe. Maybe not.
Subway or Quiznos: Am I being punished for something?
Twitter: @flurrious. Unusual choice, I know. I tweet with about the same frequency that I update my blog.
Underwear: The sad thing is that I know I have talked about underwear here before. I have talked about my underwear on the internet. I am duly ashamed.
Vegetable(s) you hate: None, in particular. I find artichokes not worth the effort, but I don’t hate them.
What makes you run late: In general, I’m a punctual person. Not that I’m never late, but I always try to be on time, and I usually am. I find chronically late people rude because by being late they’re saying that their time is more important than your time, the subtext being that they are more important than you. This could go under the pet peeves question. Also, the age question because I am old and only have so much time left. I’m almost 50, you know. 50! You know the rest.
X-rays you’ve had: Mostly dental. Part of me believes that dental x-rays are a scam. I mean, a chest x-ray, okay, because your lungs are on the inside. But my teeth are right there. Just look at them!
Yummy food that you make: Potstickers. I use Ming Tsai’s mom’s recipe, but I don’t make my own wrappers because I’m not a fanatic. Buying a package of won ton wrappers is the reasonable thing to do here.
Zoo animal: Again, I’m at a loss as to what the question is. So instead I will pretend the question was Zappos and say that I do not buy shoes online, and I do not understand people who do.
I was at the mall earlier this week, which is always such a joy, but I was especially pleased by one of the food court employees. While my friend D was at Johnny Rockets getting me a lemon coke, I was ordering our food at Sarku Japan. Sarku is a teriyaki restaurant, but it’s not that fake sweet teriyaki that you get in most Japanese restaurants so even though it’s fast food, I find it slightly more authentic then a lot of places. Also, all of their employees are Mexican so I assume Sarku is taking its cue from Benihana, which actually does have reasonably good food, even though it’s an annoying place to eat.
Anyway Maria is taking my order, and I say that I’ll have “one chicken and one beef, no mushrooms.” So right off the bat, they’re not going to like me. If you order chicken, you get a ton of chicken. If you order beef, they give you a little beef and a ton of mushrooms, but if you say, “no mushrooms,” then they give you a ton of beef but they also hate you. I assume management imposes some kind of punishment whenever they serve a beef dish that’s not 78% mushrooms. Maria relays to Edgardo, the grill guy, that I want a pollo and a carne sin setas or whatever, and he starts cooking it, and then she tells me how much it is and while I’m paying her, Lorenzo comes out from the back and stands next to Maria.
“WHAT CAN I GET YOU?” asks Lorenzo. Maria seems to think this is normal and ignores him.
“Uh … I’ve been helped?” I say, as Maria hands me my change.
“OH, WHAT ARE YOU HAVING?” Jeez, does this guy even work here? I point three feet to his right where Edgardo is cooking the chicken and beef.
“Yes. And beef.” I briefly consider telling him I had oatmeal for breakfast, but I decide against it.
“DO YOU WANT DOUBLE MEAT?” I can’t figure out if (a) “double meat” is a Sarku menu option, much like the Double Whopper at Burger King, and Lorenzo still hasn’t figured out that the ordering food portion of my Sarku experience has been concluded, (b) he thinks I’m eating alone and seeing that Edgardo is cooking two orders of meat wants to know if I just really like meat, or (c) something dirty.
I look at Maria and she is staring at me with a completely blank expression. Clearly, when it comes to Lorenzo, her philosophy is “better you than me, sister.” I decide to adopt her strategy of pretending Lorenzo doesn’t exist, when D walks up with our drinks.
“WHAT CAN I GET YOU?” asks Lorenzo.
“I’m with her,” D informs him.
“OHHHH! ARE YOU THE CHICKEN OR THE BEEF?” While D was contemplating exactly what was wrong with Lorenzo, Edgardo was plating up our food.
“Get your food,” I hissed. “Go go go.”
The end. Yes, I know, but I never said it was an interesting story.