Friday, December 30, 2005


Well, that makes 36 Christmases in a row with NO PONY. What the hell?

Fucking Santa! Fuck!

But My Ho did come through on Christmas morning (and he's Jewish, for cripes sake) with a beautiful extra-blingy ring for me.

No, not that kind of ring. Everybody just caaaaaaaaalm down.

While Demigoddess the Younger had been warned in advance of the gift that turned out to be not-that-kind-of-ring, Demigoddess the Elder somehow missed the memo, and therefore experienced a small moment of freaking out when she saw the little box. But it all got straightened out before too long, and I once again assured both the Demigoddesses that, if I ever do decide to get married again, I will inform them about it before I go to Vegas and get hitched at the Graceland Chapel. I will even have them at the wedding. UNLIKE SOME PEOPLE.

For most of this week, the Demis have been with their father, and prior to the opening of the gifts, I had lots of very ambitious plans for my days of solitude. But then I also received the entire first season of LOST on DVD (again, from My Ho) for Christmas, and I have watched 22 episodes since Monday. ‘Nuff said.

The Demis return this afternoon, and tomorrow night we’ll ring in the new year with a Texas Hold ‘Em tournament in our very own Vegas-style dining room/casino (sans the Graceland chapel). I'm confident that one of these days they’ll figure out how unwise it is to play poker with one’s mother. But until that happens, I’m happy to take full advantage of the fact that I can read every thought that passes through their naïve, trusting little heads.

We don’t play with real cash, anyway, and even if we did, I’d only be collecting back money that I gave them in the first place, which is really not all that exciting if you think about it.

I'm not one for making New Year's resolutions, mainly because I have learned not to set myself up for failure. But I do have some ideas for making 2006 better than 2005, at least in the Demis' and my own small corner of the universe. There isn't much I can do about natural disasters, the Alito nomination, domestic spying, or the freaking White Sox. But I have a lot of hope, and I have plans to change a few of the things I can. And that's something, I think.

Have a safe and happy New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy Holiday of Your Choosing!

I'm off to celebrate for a few days. I hope you all have a safe, joyful and rejuvenating Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Festivus or Totally Non-Religious Day of Gift Opening and Eating of Way Too Much Rich Food.

To amuse you in the meantime, I give you one of my all time favorites by David Sedaris, which I have no permission whatsoever to publish, but I know it will bring you a serious holiday laugh. And if he sues me? Well, that would almost be an honor, wouldn't it?

Six to Eight Black Men

A heartwarming tale of Christmas in a foreign land where, if you've been naughty, Saint Nick and his friends give you an ass-whuppin'.

by David Sedaris Dec 01 '02

I'VE NEVER BEEN MUCH for guidebooks, so when trying to get my bearings in a strange American city, I normally start by asking the cabdriver or hotel clerk some silly question regarding the latest census figures. I say silly because I don't really care how many people live in Olympia, Washington, or Columbus, Ohio. They're nice enough places, but the numbers mean nothing to me. My second question might have to do with average annual rainfall, which, again, doesn't tell me anything about the people who have chosen to call this place home.

What really interests me are the local gun laws. Can I carry a concealed weapon, and if so, under what circumstances? What's the waiting period for a tommy gun? Could I buy a Glock 17 if I were recently divorced or fired from my job? I've learned from experience that it's best to lead into this subject as delicately as possible, especially if you and the local citizen are alone and enclosed in a relatively small space. Bide your time, though, and you can walk away with some excellent stories. I've heard, for example, that the blind can legally hunt in both Texas and Michigan. They must be accompanied by a sighted companion, but still, it seems a bit risky. You wouldn't want a blind person driving a car or piloting a plane, so why hand him a rifle? What sense does that make? I ask about guns not because I want one of my own but because the answers vary so widely from state to state. In a country that's become so homogenous, I'm reassured by these last touches of regionalism.

Guns aren't really an issue in Europe, so when I'm traveling abroad, my first question usually relates to barnyard animals. "What do your roosters say?" is a good icebreaker, as every country has its own unique interpretation. In Germany, where dogs bark "vow vow" and both the frog and the duck say "quack," the rooster greets the dawn with a hearty "kik-a-ricki." Greek roosters crow "kiri-a-kee," and in France they scream "coco-rico," which sounds like one of those horrible premixed cocktails with a pirate on the label. When told that an American rooster says "cock-a-doodle-doo," my hosts look at me with disbelief and pity.

"When do you open your Christmas presents?" is another good conversation starter, as it explains a lot about national character. People who traditionally open gifts on Christmas Eve seem a bit more pious and family oriented than those who wait until Christmas morning. They go to mass, open presents, eat a late meal, return to church the following morning, and devote the rest of the day to eating another big meal. Gifts are generally reserved for children, and the parents tend not to go overboard. It's nothing I'd want for myself, but I suppose it's fine for those who prefer food and family to things of real value.

In France and Germany, gifts are exchanged on Christmas Eve, while in Holland the children receive presents on December 5, in celebration of Saint Nicholas Day. It sounded sort of quaint until I spoke to a man named Oscar, who filled me in on a few of the details as we walked from my hotel to the Amsterdam train station.

Unlike the jolly, obese American Santa, Saint Nicholas is painfully thin and dresses not unlike the pope, topping his robes with a tall hat resembling an embroidered tea cozy. The outfit, I was told, is a carryover from his former career, when he served as a bishop in Turkey.

One doesn't want to be too much of a cultural chauvinist, but this seemed completely wrong to me. For starters, Santa didn't use to do anything. He's not retired, and, more important, he has nothing to do with Turkey. The climate's all wrong, and people wouldn't appreciate him. When asked how he got from Turkey to the North Pole, Oscar told me with complete conviction that Saint Nicholas currently resides in Spain, which again is simply not true. While he could probably live wherever he wanted, Santa chose the North Pole specifically because it is harsh and isolated. No one can spy on him, and he doesn't have to worry about people coming to the door. Anyone can come to the door in Spain, and in that outfit, he'd most certainly be recognized. On top of that, aside from a few pleasantries, Santa doesn't speak Spanish. He knows enough to get by, but he's not fluent, and he certainly doesn't eat tapas.

While our Santa flies on a sled, Saint Nicholas arrives by boat and then transfers to a white horse. The event is televised, and great crowds gather at the waterfront to greet him. I'm not sure if there's a set date, but he generally docks in late November and spends a few weeks hanging out and asking people what they want.

"Is it just him alone?" I asked. "Or does he come with some backup?"

Oscar's English was close to perfect, but he seemed thrown by a term normally reserved for police reinforcement.

"Helpers," I said. "Does he have any elves?"

Maybe I'm just overly sensitive, but I couldn't help but feel personally insulted when Oscar denounced the very idea as grotesque and unrealistic. "Elves," he said. "They're just so silly."
The words silly and unrealistic were redefined when I learned that Saint Nicholas travels with what was consistently described as "six to eight black men." I asked several Dutch people to narrow it down, but none of them could give me an exact number. It was always "six to eight," which seems strange, seeing as they've had hundreds of years to get a decent count.

The six to eight black men were characterized as personal slaves until the mid-fifties, when the political climate changed and it was decided that instead of being slaves they were just good friends. I think history has proven that something usually comes between slavery and friendship, a period of time marked not by cookies and quiet times beside the fire but by bloodshed and mutual hostility. They have such violence in Holland, but rather than duking it out among themselves, Santa and his former slaves decided to take it out on the public. In the early years, if a child was naughty, Saint Nicholas and the six to eight black men would beat him with what Oscar described as "the small branch of a tree."

"A switch?"

"Yes," he said. "That's it. They'd kick him and beat him -with a switch. Then, if the youngster was really bad, they'd put him in a sack and take him back to Spain."

"Saint Nicholas would kick you?"

"Well, not anymore," Oscar said. "Now he just pretends to kick you."

"And the six to eight black men?"

"Them, too."

He considered this to be progressive, but in a way I think it's almost more perverse than the original punishment. "I'm going to hurt you, but not really." How many times have we fallen for that line? The fake slap invariably makes contact, adding the elements of shock and betrayal to what had previously been plain, old-fashioned fear. What kind of Santa spends his time pretending to kick people before stuffing them into a canvas sack? Then, of course, you've got the six to eight former slaves who could potentially go off at any moment. This, I think, is the greatest difference between us and the Dutch. While a certain segment of our population might be perfectly happy with the arrangement, if you told the average white American that six to eight nameless black men would be sneaking into his house in the middle of the night, he would barricade the doors and arm himself with whatever he could get his hands on.

"Six to eight, did you say?"

In the years before central heating, Dutch children would leave their shoes by the fireplace, the promise being that unless they planned to beat you, kick you, or stuff you into a sack, Saint Nicholas and the six to eight black men would fill your clogs with presents. Aside from the threats of violence and kidnapping, it's not much different from hanging your stockings from the mantel. Now that so few people have a working fireplace, Dutch children are instructed to leave their shoes beside the radiator, furnace, or space heater. Saint Nicholas and the six to eight black men arrive on horses, which jump from the yard onto the roof. At this point, I guess, they either jump back down and use the door, or they stay put and vaporize through the pipes and electrical wires. Oscar wasn't too clear about the particulars, but, really, who can blame him? We have the same problem with our Santa. He's supposed to use the chimney, but if you don't have one, he still manages to come through. It's best not to think about it too hard.

While eight flying reindeer are a hard pill to swallow, our Christmas story remains relatively simple. Santa lives with his wife in a remote polar village and spends one night a year traveling around the world. If you're bad, he leaves you coal. If you're good and live in America, he'll give you just about anything you want. We tell our children to be good and send them off to bed, where they lie awake, anticipating their great bounty. A Dutch parent has a decidedly hairier story to relate, telling his children, "Listen, you might want to pack a few of your things together before you go to bed. The former bishop from Turkey will be coming along with six to eight black men. They might put some candy in your shoes, they might stuff you in a sack and take you to Spain, or they might just pretend to kick you. We don't know for sure, but we want you to be prepared."

This is the reward for living in Holland. As a child you get to hear this story, and as an adult you get to turn around and repeat it. As an added bonus, the government has thrown in legalized drugs and prostitution--so what's not to love about being Dutch?

Oscar finished his story just as we arrived at the station. He was a polite and interesting guy--very good company--but when he offered to wait until my train arrived, I begged off, saying I had some calls to make. Sitting alone in the vast terminal, surrounded by other polite, seemingly interesting Dutch people, I couldn't help but feel second-rate. Yes, it was a small country, but it had six to eight black men and a really good bedtime story. Being a fairly competitive person, I felt jealous, then bitter, and was edging toward hostile when I remembered the blind hunter tramping off into the Michigan forest. He might bag a deer, or he might happily shoot his sighted companion in the stomach. He may find his way back to the car, or he may wander around for a week or two before stumbling through your front door. We don't know for sure, but in pinning that license to his chest, he inspires the sort of narrative that ultimately makes me proud to be an American.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Sister Love’s Traveling Salvation Show

Last evening's sister/cousin gathering was a tremendous success.

Tiffany filled me in on her trip to Norway, and, in particular, her private tour of the leprosy museum, which appears to have been the highlight. But I'm afraid she now believes she is actually Norwegian, even though our family is about the only one in the entire state of Minnesota without a drop of Scandinavian blood. Unless it’s via the Vikings raping and pillaging in Ireland, of course.

Shanna agreed with me wholeheartedly on the subject of Mr. Darcy/Colin Firth, and was astonished that I hadn’t seen the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice before.

Kerry breezed in late bearing gifts of hemp brownies (the legal kind), and then breezed out again a short while later, because she had to get home to the baby.

Aunt Karen’s hair has grown back almost to the point where she can go to work without her wig. Almost.

Molly kept our glasses perpetually filled with flirtinis (with pomegranate seed garnishes). Heavens, those are delightful.

Meghan got my mom all whipped into a frenzy talking politics, and, as always, looked fabulous doing it.

Dad worked the room and yelled at the dog, who discovered tasty party snacks of his very own in the cat box.

My Ho endured it all admirably, and did not try to escape even once.

And then Betsy changed out the Christmas music for the Neil Diamond CD and I nearly died laughing as the Demigoddesses joined them all in dancing and singing all over the dining room.

Take my hand in yours
Walk with me this day
In my heart, I know
I will never stray
Halle, halle, halle, halle, halle, halle, halle

It's Love, Love
Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show
Pack up the babies
Grab the old ladies
Everyone goes
Everyone knows
Brother Love's show


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Happy Solstice. Can we please have spring now?

At what other time of year is one willing to pick up and eat any old random cookie or candy or handful of caramel corn that happens to be left unattended around the office?

I have been nibbling my way through this day and was well into yet another homemade caramel-y chocolate-y something when it occurred to me that I had no idea who had made it or where it came from. For all I knew, it could have been laced with arsenic. Or boogers.

And these are the visions of sugarplums that dance in my head on this, the day of the darkness that never ends.

I miss the sun. I would like it back, please.

In addition to my ill-advised snacking, I made another poor, poor choice today by attempting over my lunch hour to exchange the sweater I bought for Demigoddess the Younger to wear on Christmas. I was just going to “run in” to the mall and do a “quick” exchange.

Sometimes my stupidity astounds even me.

But soon, all will be well, for I will be spending this evening with my sisters and sister cousins, who are all but one in town for the holidays. We will drink alcohol and eat excellent food and sing along with our favorite Christmas songs, but not “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” which my sister Molly calls “the date rape song,” because Tiffany works in a non-profit sexual violence crisis center and she is not a person one wants piss off.

Because she is exactly the type who would put arsenic in the cookies.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Plastic Body Parts, EVERYWHERE

The latest season of “Project Runway” has inspired the Demigoddesses to put together all-new rounds of their home version, “Barbie Project Runway.” They choose a theme (ensembles made from things found in the kitchen, for example, or formal gowns made from pages ripped from magazines, etc.), and then hot glue their creations together to outfit their army of Barbie dolls.

Happily, Head Trauma Barbie has made a full recovery, and is once again able to participate in the competition.

My Ho is always the judge. He affects a pseudo-Klum accent (sounding more Fab Five than German supermodel) as he points out the merits or detriments of each creation, which are presented anonymously, of course. So far, he has managed to distribute the wins pretty evenly.

Last weekend’s collection included “fashions made from food,” and was highlighted by breakfast cereal, bow-tie pasta, and toasted pumpkin seeds strategically hot-glued directly to the dolls’ torsos. To me, this looked both uncomfortable and impractical. Plastic flesh does not scorch, of course, but how were these creations going to come off again? According to Demigoddess the Younger, the hot glue “picks off” fairly easily. Who knew?

So anyway, yesterday, when he found this article, My Ho forwarded it to me under a subject line that read, “Maybe this is what the hot-glued Barbies meant...

No, I thought to myself, more likely it was what the Barbies they threw in the street last summer, to see what would happen when busses ran them over, meant.

And I’m not even going to go into the Jamie Somers/Bionic Woman doll that my sister Meghan once de-boobed (MY Bionic Woman doll, I might add). Suffice it to say, the child had ISSUES.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Tissues? Check.

I volunteered to work at a charity “toy store” tomorrow. It’s one of those places where people donate new, unwrapped toys, and families who can’t buy Christmas gifts for their kids can come and choose a few for them so they’ll have something under the tree on Christmas morning.

I volunteered to help out because I donate toys to these kinds of organizations every year, but I don’t know anything about what happens to the Barbies and Scrabble games and modeling clay craft sets after I drop them into the collection bins. Throughout my own financial disasters, I endured a variety of humiliations, but they all paled in comparison to the thought of disappointing my kids. I guess I thought that if I could help make things even a little bit easier for some other family, then my own hard times could be good for something more than making me obsessive-compulsive about checking my online bank balance and writing down every cent I spend.

So this morning I met with some of the other people who will be volunteering tomorrow. None of us have ever done this "toy store" thing before. We each received a team T-shirt and a list of instructions on how to take families through the process. It all sounded pretty straightforward, although even with the instructions, it’s hard to know what to expect until I get there.

Toward the end of the meeting, one of the other volunteers said a friend of hers works for the organization we’ll be helping. Her friend told her that during this distribution of toys, the parents tend to get particularly emotional, because they feel bad that they have to accept charity toys for their kids. “So bring tissues,” I said, finishing her thought for her. She nodded.

I’m a weeper myself, which means that if I see tears, I am powerless to stop my own. If somebody near me cries, I cry. If I see somebody on TV cry, I cry. Sad books, extra-sweet greeting cards, whatever. From Bambi’s mom to “Million Dollar Baby,” it’s truly a wonder that I haven’t died of dehydration. My grandma was notorious for being incapable of saying grace before dinner without weeping halfway through. It seems that I inherited her eye-faucet connection.

And I’ve been to enough Al-Anon meetings to know about the tissues. Sometimes people hurt in deep places, and sometimes, words only make it worse. There is simple, powerful comfort in having another person silently hand you a tissue when you can’t stop the tears from coming. And there is simple, powerful comfort in having one to give.

Luckily, I never leave the house without a supply handy.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Best Secret Santa EVER

The deal on the floor where I work was that on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week, the Secret Santas were to sneak a gift worth $5 or less onto the desk of their designated recipient. Then, on Friday, during the big reveal, the Santas would present a final gift worth around $10, and after that we’d all have a potluck. (Oooh... potluck...)

I drew the name of a guy I don’t know very well, but thanks to some suggestions from his administrative assistant, managed to come up with some items that I thought couldn’t go wrong—some dark chocolate, an electronic game keychain, a video rental gift card, and for Friday, a remote-controlled model BMW. With batteries, of course.

And here’s what my Secret Santa left me:

Tuesday—$5 worth of scratch-off lottery tickets. I won $5. Free money! Nice!

Wednesday—Five Joe Mauer baseball cards in plastic sleeves (three from the minor leagues, two in Twins uniforms). Very nice!

Thursday—An 8″x10″ glossy color photo of Johan Santana, also in a plastic sleeve. EXCELLENT!

At this point I’m pretty sure my Secret Santa is a guy, not because of the baseball stuff, but because of the lottery tickets. A chick would never give another chick lottery tickets. It just doesn’t happen.

And I’m pretty sure it’s a guy who knows a little bit about baseball, because the progression from Joe Mauer to Johan Santana clearly implies that my Secret Santa understands the hierarchy of Minnesota Twin deliciousness. Plus, the fact that the items were in plastic sleeves indicates that my Secret Santa knew to go somewhere like the ProShop to purchase them.

Sure enough, a little while later, an executive who has talked ball with me on occasion, and who has even been known to pass some very choice game tickets my way every once in a while, stopped by my desk and confessed to being my Secret Santa. He said that he was going to be out of the office on Friday, so he was giving me my final gift right then, and then he handed me a yellowing copy of the StarTribune newspaper from October 28, 1991, the day after the Twins’ last World Series win.

The front page has a huge four-color photo of Dan Gladden being mobbed by teammates as he touches home plate in the 10th inning, and the giant red and blue headline says “Twincredible!” The sports section has another huge color photo of Kent Hrbek hugging Jack Morris.

I was speechless for a moment, and finally managed to say, “Are you sure you want to give this away?” “Yeah,” he said, “I’ve still got the Pioneer Press.” Then I remembered something.

“Oh! Hey!” I said, “You know who’s in here?” I began paging through the sports section, searching for it.


“My sweetie!” I said. “He used to cover the Twins for the Strib. Why can’t I find his name?”

I closed the sports section and then picked up the front page again. And there, right under the headline on the lead story (Oh, what an ending! Larkin’s big hit turns agonizing into ecstasy), I found him.

My Ho.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Six Degrees of Jittaun R. Townsend

After my mistaken-identity post the other day, a friend did some digging and unearthed an address and phone number for the in-default and most-definitely-not-me Jittaun. Feeling victorious, I called the student loan holder’s customer service department to bestow this bit of information upon them. I was quickly shot down, however, when the phone representative informed me that they already had that address and phone number, and neither was valid any more. Gar.

Then my friend, who is apparently very good at digging up information, and who should perhaps look into a secondary career as a private investigator, came up with some more for me.

Mr. Jittaun R. Townsend, it seems, is actually a Ms. The R. stands for Renee, and Ms. Townsend appears to have shared a couple of different addresses with an Otha E. Townsend, which might explain why she's been so difficult to locate lately.

Otha E. Townsend’s most recent place of residence, you see, is Stillwater State Prison. He is there serving a life sentence for shooting two women in the face. One of them died.

Neither of the victims was Jittaun, but there it is. Whether she was the wife or some kind of relative to Otha E., one can hardly blame Ms. Townsend for changing her name and not leaving a forwarding address.

Jittaun, honey, I hope you’re okay and managing to build a new, safe life for yourself. But girlfriend, please. You GOTTA pay that student loan.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Leather, It’s So Buttery

I just had the most impossibly serene, productive shopping experience. The kind of shopping experience that isn’t supposed to happen ten days before Christmas.

And I almost didn’t go at all, because it has been snowing and snowing, and I was afraid that the roads would be bad and the mall would be crowded, and I’d have to rush around so much that by the time I got back to work after lunch I’d be totally strung out and surly. But my father’s most inconveniently timed birthday is this weekend, and my mother, she knew of the perfect gift. At the Sharper Image. At the mall.

So I went.

And then…

I found an underground parking spot. The sales people were friendly—charming, even. Not only did I find the items I had gone there for, I even found items I forgot I needed. And the perfect book for little Madge.

The line at the bookstore was short and moved quickly. There was no line at ALL at the ATM. And that’s when I knew I had stumbled upon a genuine Christmas miracle.

I even had time to stop in the Cole Haan store and pet the handbags.

Somebody. Pinch me.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

In the Name of All That is Holy, Jittaun R. Townsend, Please Pay Your Freaking Student Loan

Several months ago, I began receiving mail that was addressed to a Jittaun R. Townsend. Whenever I receive mail that is not addressed to ME—as in, me by my current name, which is not the name I had when I was married, because anyone who does not know that five years after my divorce is probably not anyone I want to be hearing from anyway—I throw it away. So that’s what I did. For a while.

Around the fifth or sixth item that arrived in my mailbox for Mr. Townsend, however, I began to suspect that the bank that was listed on the return address, which also happens to be a bank I have accounts with, seemed determined to reach him. And since he and I share a last name and first initial, and since he apparently has been living at my address without my knowledge, I thought it prudent to make an effort to contact the bank and let them know that I am not Jittaun and I don’t know him.

It seems that Mr. Townsend is very, very far behind in paying his student loans. I am not. After I explained the situation, the bank’s customer service representative verified that my account numbers matched my name, address and phone number, and determined that there had been a mistake. He apologized for the confusion, and said, “this actually happens quite often.” Super.

A few weeks later, the collection agency began calling. Six. Times. A. Day. Twice I called the number left on my voicemail and was connected with the collection agency’s voicemail, into which I explained the situation, spelling my name AND Jittaun’s. The calls continued. Twice, I spoke to actual human beings, and two times more, I explained. I am not Jittaun R. Townsend. I do not know Jittaun R. Townsend. PLEASE STOP CALLING ME SIX TIMES A DAY.

Then, the calls stopped, and I thought it was over.

Until last night when I received a voicemail from the bank explaining to Mr. Townsend that he would be reported to the IRS if he did not call back before 8:55 p.m.

“Okay, let’s see if we can get this cleared up,” the very friendly phone representative said. I gave her my name, address and phone number. “What is the name of the person the voicemail was for?” I told her. “Can you spell that?” Hell yeah, I can freaking spell it. “J-I-T-T-A-U-N. Last name same as mine.”

“Oh yes, here he is,” she said. “Wow, you got that on the first try.” A-bloody-stonishing.

“Okay, I’ve found the name of the person who contacted you and I’ll be sending him an e-mail right now. We apologize for the confusion, and you won’t be receiving any more calls.”

Promises, promises.

If anyone out there knows this Jittaun R. Townsend, please let me know. I have a very important message that I'd LOOOOOOOOVE to deliver to him personally.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Pride and Prejudice and Colin Firth on Horseback

I’d been curious about the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice ever since reading Bridget Jones’s Diary, and not long ago a very wise and literary friend gushed praise about it (as in, “…nothing has ever been better than that.”). So when one of my sister Betsy's friends loaned her the DVD set, there was no way I was going allow it to leave Betsy's possession without seeing for myself what all the swooning was about.

On Saturday, while wrapping Christmas gifts and knitting mittens, I watched the entire thing—all five delicious hours—in a single sitting.

And then, that night, I dreamed I was having sex with Mr. Darcy.

Certainly, I have no wish to re-visit early 19th-century England, where women have no rights and no hope for a future unless they can land themselves a husband of means, and therefore spend every moment of their lives obsessing over doing exactly that, but... but...


Why don't men ride horses any more?

Friday, December 09, 2005

We Are Now Entering the Danger Zone

It’s December 9, and the majority of my Christmas shopping is done. I’d love to blog my experiences acquiring gifts—especially a couple of very exciting E-bay adventures—but everyone I am giving presents to this year reads this blog (except, of course, for Madge, who can’t read yet, but who is clearly very advanced for a toddler, so I’m sure it won’t be long…), and so I’m not going to give anything away. But I think everyone will be most pleased. And that’s ALL I’m sayin’.

These last two weeks until Christmas are what I have learned to call “The Danger Zone.” It’s the time when I have spent all the money I can afford to spend (and, okay, a little bit more). I have accumulated all the gifts I need. I am DONE. And yet… the urge to get out there and keep shopping, to get swept up in the hustle and bustle, to succumb to the siren call of the thrill of the hunt, it continues. In fact, it intensifies. The commercials get more frequent. The stores get more bright and sparkly and colorful. The “50% Off!” signs get bolder.

My challenge now is to steer clear of the mall, keep away from E-bay, lock my Visa card in a vault and quit while I’m ahead, because I know from experience that I will keep going. Because I am weak. And I love shopping for gifts. And I am the queen of the impulse buy.

Those little baskets every store has near the registers—the ones full of charming little items that are only $2.99? They were invented for me. A couple of little things here, a couple of little things there, and pretty soon I have squirreled away enough worthless cheesy crap to more than fill both Demigoddess’ stockings, as well as stockings for every kid in both their junior high classes.

I’ll keep going, and I’ll find gifts that even more perfect than the gifts I already bought. Gifts that are just a LITTLE more expensive. Gifts that, during the other 50 weeks of the year, I would never consider purchasing.

This is a road to insanity that I am very familiar with. I know exactly what’s at the end, and I really don’t wanna go there.

Will somebody please lock me in a closet?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

She's Gonna Have A Smile Like Marie Osmond

After months of preparing, a string of orthodontist’s and dentist’s appointments, three pulled teeth and one trip to the oral surgeon, Demigoddess the Elder is finally getting her braces put on today.

She has needed them for a long time. During our recent financial struggles, one of the things that pained me the most was knowing that she needed braces, but I couldn’t afford to get them for her, and didn’t know when I would be able to.

Demi the Elder has never been a child who asks for much. When pressed, she insists that she’s fine, she’s okay, she doesn’t need anything. Unlike her sister, who seems to have a never-ending list of desires that she is more than willing to share with anyone who’ll listen, I practically have to throttle Ms. Elder to get her to cough up birthday or Christmas suggestions. Any time I buy her something, she asks me again and again, “Are you SURE this isn’t too expensive?”

I began to suspect a while ago that she’d become self-conscious about her teeth, especially since her entry into junior high, but she never said a word to me about braces until a few weeks ago. When I told her that I’d finally made the appointment to have them put on, she was visibly pleased, and confessed that she couldn’t believe it was really going to happen. She had genuinely believed she’d never get them. Talk about a kick in the gut.

So today is the day. I don’t know what to expect because I never had braces, and none of my sisters ever did either. Demi the Elder’s friends have filled her in on all the pains and indignities, and she’s a little bit worried that her new orthodontia will interfere with her upcoming performance in the school musical. But overall, she is very excited to visit the orthodontist today. And I must say, I’m looking forward to it, too.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A-Quiver With Anticipation

The Top Model finale is tonight, followed by Lost, and the new Project Runway begins on Bravo after that. I plan to spend so much time sitting on my ass this evening that I may just finish knitting all those alpaca-wool mittens I’m making for Christmas gifts by tomorrow.

(The mittens are an attempt to convert an unfortunate e-Bay incident into gifts of good cheer for pretty much EVERY PERSON I KNOW, but that’s a post for another day.)

Of course, the quivering could also be an aftereffect of my job having kicked the ever loving crap out of me over the last couple of days.

Either way, I have a serious appointment with my couch tonight. And there will very likely be alcoholic beverages.

Monday, December 05, 2005

After We Bought The Tree…

…we drove through the early-evening dark with it tied to the roof of the car. My sister, Betsy, was with us. She had bought a fresh wreath and held it in her lap, pine needles dropping onto the upholstery. I remembered the radio station that plays all Christmas music in December, and the lights on the houses inspired me to take the long way from the Farmer’s Market downtown to Betsy’s house near Lake Harriet, through the wintry woods of Wirth Park and along the parkways that meander through the oldest, nicest neighborhoods in Minneapolis.

ESG: Let’s see how the rich people in the big houses celebrate the holidays.

Betsy: I like to peek through their windows and see inside.

Demigoddess the Younger: I like to illegally trespass in their houses.

Demigoddess the Elder: I like to steal their cars.

"God bless us, every one."

Friday, December 02, 2005

Another Moral Dilemma

First of all, please accept my apologies for yesterday’s holiday downer. It’s true, I’m having a hard time getting into the holiday spirit, but really, it’s not THAT bad.

The single bit of Christmas that I have genuinely been enjoying is the wreath my dad brought back for me from Upper Michigan. A neighbor who lives across the road from our cabin makes them every year out of branches she gathers from the trees in the woods up there. She uses a variety of cedar and pine boughs, so the wreaths she makes are lush, fragrant, and a gorgeous mix of textures and shades of green. Every time I see mine on my front door, I think of the woods and my lake in the snow, and that fills me with the joy of the season in a way that Beyonce’s whole bootylicious family opening their Wal-Mart bounty on TV never will.

I haven’t baked any cookies yet, but I did sign up for a cookie exchange at work, which means that I am now obligated in writing to produce seven dozen of something by next Friday. And, probably, I’ll get a tree this weekend. Mr. Crosby still has not hit the CD player, but I have been making and acquiring gifts.

Which brings me back to the subject of Wal-Mart, and my moral dilemma du jour. I am a loyal Target shopper, and can count on one hand the number of times I have set foot in a Wal-Mart store. My children have been so thoroughly propagandized by their former-union-steward father that they will gladly spout the myriad reasons why Wal-Mart is the devil. They would harass me without mercy if they knew I had given money to the Walton family.

So what is a budget-conscious Goddess to do when she finds that the Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture DVD game that Demigoddess the Younger really, REALLY wants for Christmas is priced $15 less at Wal-Mart than anywhere else?

On the one hand, I understand that this is how they get you. They entice the ethical shopper with their nefariously low prices, and the righteous ease their guilt by telling themselves that it’s just… this… ONCE…

...then the next thing they know they’re dragging around the weight of a thousand child-labor sweatshop souls and the misery of legions of underpaid and uninsured workers, and that smiling yellow crack-pushing demon haunts them in their tormented dreams.

But, on the other hand, $15 is, like, five gallons of milk.

Six if I buy them at Costco.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Magic is Gone, But I Don't Think I Miss It

I used to loooooove Christmas.

I was one of those people who’d get up at 5 a.m on the day after Thanksgiving to stand in line outside Toys R Us, poised for a foot race against all the other lunatics who were there to snatch up a $5 Furby. I’d shop all morning, and then go home, pop Bing Crosby’s White Christmas CD into the stereo, and start hauling out the decorations. I baked, I wrapped, and oh, boy, did I shop. One month of Christmas, it just wasn't enough.

But this year, ever since I first saw Beyonce’s Wal-Mart commercial at the beginning of November (Ooh! It's a bootylicious Christmas!), I’ve felt a tiny bit nauseous. The holiday “cheer” that crammed every corner at Target in the days after Halloween looks desperately fabricated. Thanksgiving was a week ago, and as yet, there has not been a single "Mele Kalikimaka" at my house.

Maybe it’s because the Demigoddesses are of an age when they no longer believe in Santa, or even pretend to believe, as I suspect they did for my benefit for a number of years. Maybe Bing has grown tiresome. Or perhaps the past couple of Christmases have changed my perspective on the whole thing.

This year I don’t have to work a second part-time job at Old Navy in order to be able to afford a few decent gifts. I don’t have to use the ugly fake tree that a generous acquaintance gave us in 2003, when she learned I didn’t have money to buy our usual fresh one. I don't have to read the Demigoddesses all the Christmas stories from the Little House on the Prairie books in order to keep their expectations low (Isn't it GREAT that YOUR only gifts won't be a peppermint stick and a penny?).

I could jump back on the holiday bandwagon. I could go back to working myself into a frenzy trying to arrange and manufacture and purchase the perfect Christmas, and thereby become some kind of holiday hero. But it seems that I don’t really want to any more.

I suppose it’s like that thing Cuba Gooding Jr. said in Jerry Maguire. I’ve been to the puppet show, and I’ve seen the strings.

And I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Don't Call Us Baby

Demigoddess the Younger: We could hear you and your Ho giggling during the movie.

ESG: Sorry.

DY: It wasn’t an appropriate part to be laughing in.

ESG: It was at the part when Johnny Cash is at June’s door, and he says something like, "Come on, baby," and June goes, "Baby, baby, baby!" and then slams the door in his face.

DY: Yeah.

ESG: We were laughing because My Ho used to sometimes call me "baby," but I didn't like it, so I asked him to stop, and he did. I forgot all about it until that part in the movie, when he whispered in my ear, "I guess June doesn’t like being called baby, either."

Okay, So Maybe, Every Once in a While, a Fish Does Need a Bicycle

We had our first sizeable snow of the year on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It was lovely, since I didn’t have to work that day. Instead of getting up early and spending 40 minutes digging out my driveway at 6:00 a.m., swearing the whole time at those fucking shitheel Boy Toys next door for leaving their fucking shitheel BMW and Lexus parked in front of my house AGAIN… Instead of that, I was able to sit in a comfy chair under a down throw, knitting mittens, serenely sipping tea and watching the snow fall.

Well, okay, there was a tiny bit of swearing about the Boy Toys. But this time I had a plan for exacting my revenge, because I NOW HAVE A SNOW BLOWER—my very first snow blower ever—thanks to my elderly former next-door neighbor who kindly sold me his for a very reasonable price before he moved into a retirement community last summer. Not only would I be able to clear the driveway and sidewalks like magic, but how sweet would it be to aim the blower directly at their fucking shitheel BMW and Lexus? Very sweet, my friends. Very, very sweet.

I am woman. Hear my snow blower roar.

So late in the afternoon on Friday I went outside and got the snow blower started, no problem. That part I had practiced long before there was actual snow. For a minute it worked just like it was supposed to, but then it sort of clogged up, and instead of flying in a brilliant white arc out the top, the snow sort of gagged and dribbled out. I turned the blower off, cleaned it out, started it again and played with the gears, trying to get it to work right, but without much success. While I was doing this, the neighbor man from two doors down came walking over.

“I think you’ve got your choke on,” he said. “It should really be humming.” He adjusted a knob. Problem solved.

Now, given that this was my first experience with running a snow blower, there is no reason I should automatically know how to work it. Especially since I bought the thing used, and it didn’t exactly come with an instruction manual, so it’s perfectly reasonable that my kind neighbor would have to come over and show me how to adjust the choke.

But damn I hate having to have a guy come over and save my sorry female ass.

And what in the hell is a “choke” for, anyway?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
--Marcel Proust

I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

THREE… is the Magic Numbah

Number three is where my sister Molly falls in the family lineup. Three is also how old she is turning today—as in the big THREE-OH, as in yeah, she's 30.

Molly is gorgeous, she has a great boyfriend, she has a job that requires her to wear suits and carry business cards, and yet…

...she is not too old to ask for an American Girl doll for Christmas. This is Molly and her new friend Felicity, whom she received last year:

(Look! She went completely BLIND with joy!)

...she's not too old to do some serious damage to a good bottle of wine. Or even a bad one, for that matter.

...she is not too old to watch "Little House on the Prairie" videos, or burst into spontaneous song at any moment.

...she is not too old to go to a Liz Phair concert at First Avenue and yell from the crowd at the top of her lungs, “FUCK AND RUN!!!” (I’m pretty sure it was a song request.)

...and she’s not too old to want a little bit of sparkly bling on her birthday, in addition to a yellow cake with chocolate frosting.

Heaps and piles of love, and a big ‘ole Happy 30th Birthday to you, darling magical Millie. Aren’t you glad it’s not on Thanksgiving this year?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

It’s All about The Timing

Demigoddess the Elder had three teeth pulled yesterday. For over an hour I sat in a chair near her feet, rubbing her ankles as she squirmed and cried in the chair. Twice I had to look away. Once I felt nauseous. But I held it together and tried to talk her through it.

Six shots of novocaine later the dentist still couldn’t extract the last root fragment of one molar, even after the yanking and the blood and the drilling and the cutting and still more yanking. The dentist stitched her up temporarily, and then tried to get her an appointment with an oral surgeon for that afternoon, while I went downstairs to the pharmacy to fill her pain meds prescriptions.

I waited patiently in line, flanked by wobbling old people, as Shirley MacClaine screamed in my head, “GIVE MY DAUGHTER THE PILLLLLLLLLLLLS!” But outwardly, I was calm.

The oral surgeon wasn’t available until this morning, so I took Demi the Elder home. I replaced her bloody gauze, tucked her into bed, gave her some meds, and then went to the kitchen to get her a dish of sherbet.

And that’s when I fell apart.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

Yesterday was the second time since having children that I thought, just for a moment, maybe having boys would have been better.

The first time I had that thought was the first time I brought the Demigoddesses to a Twins game at the Metrodome. Demigoddess the Elder was maybe five years old, the Younger would have been around three. I spent most of the game in line at the restroom, first with one, then with the other, then again with the first one, and for the tiniest fraction of a second, I thought that if just one of them were a boy, I might at least have gotten to watch one uninterrupted inning.

In my family, it’s ALL females. The boy my cousin gave birth to last March represented my extended family’s first male child in over 50 years. Eleven straight girl babies, we had. I wouldn’t know what the hell to do with a boy if I had one. When my sister was pregnant, I secretly wished and wished for her to have a girl, and the Demigoddesses and I were thrilled when we found out we would be getting a little Madge.

But yesterday as I trotted back and forth between two adjoining department store dressing rooms, slinging an armload of bras of varying sizes and styles, that thought came to me again. Boys. Muuuuuuch easier.

In addition to having to explain what, exactly, a Wonderbra is, and also why anyone would want one, a few of the choicer phrases that I heard coming out of my mouth included:

“You’re too young for a black bra.”

“Just find some underpants that aren’t a thong. And no zippers on the front.”

“Purple lace? No. Let me rephrase that… that would be a HELL NO.”

“It’s the right size, it only looks small because it’s a push-up. Which, by the way, is totally inappropriate for the eighth grade."

Friday, November 18, 2005

Nope. Can’t Do It.

It seems that there is a limit to the things I will do for my children.

While I understand that their father has encouraged their participation for the past five years, and while I empathize with their disappointment that this year, for some reason, he won’t take them… I’m afraid I’m going to have to play the mean mom card on this one.

I will pick pestilence out of their hair with my bare hands. I will put back the items of clothing I chose for myself in favor of buying Demigoddess the Elder a suit to wear to her debate tournaments. I will, as requested, put honey in Demigoddess the Younger’s tea in the morning so that her voice will be in top form for her school musical audition eight hours later.

But I will not. WILL NOT take them to compete in a White Castle eating contest.

So don't even look at me like that.

Today’s Friday haiku is dedicated to Demigoddess the Elder:

I don’t know why you
Want to compete again when
last year, you threw up.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

We're Totally Still Friends

CombatGirl will soon begin blogging from her very own site, which she hopes to have up and running in the near future.

In the meantime, you can find her continuing adventures, including updates on Johnny and Sid and culinary tips for her ex, here.

And, for the record, this dissolution has been a great deal more amicable than either of our divorces. Way cheaper, too.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Who’s Going To Make Me Another Drink?

My maternal grandmother passed away shortly before Christmas five years ago. At the end of her life, she wasn’t even five feet tall, but everyone who came in contact with her knew on sight that she was a force of nature. Even at 92, she was constantly on the move, had a vast circle of loyal friends, and was very clear about what she liked and what she didn’t. Her unwavering sense of tradition continues to bind my family together, even today.

That Christmas, only a couple of weeks after Grandma died, I was talking to my mom about plans for our annual Christmas Eve dinner. Mom was going down the list of which family members were bringing what dish, and at one point she said, “…and Cindy will be bringing the potatoes.” I was confused for a minute. That wasn’t right. Why would Cindy bring the potatoes? Grandma always brings the potatoes. Then I remembered.

Five years later, I still have moments like that.

In addition to her love for family, for handbags and Italian shoes, for travel, and for fine glassware, my Grandma had a deep affection for Scotch whiskey. One of her trademark moves was to sit in the midst of a family gathering, usually in the comfiest chair in the room and at the center of whatever was happening. When her glass would run low, she’d raise it in the direction of any unlucky person who happened to be nearby, shake it back and forth and bellow, “Who’s going to make me another drink?” The rattle of ice in an empty glass, with a back beat of jangling charm bracelets, will always be pure Grandma to me.

After she died, when we were moving everything out of her condominium, I found a bottle of Chivas Regal, still in the box, in her pantry closet. Most of the rest of the closet had already been cleared out, and, since nobody else seemed to want it, I took the Scotch, even though I’m not much of a drinker. I figured it might make a nice gift for somebody, someday. I took it home, put it in a seldom-used cupboard, and forgot about it.

Then last week I decided to build the season’s first fire in our fireplace. It was a quiet Sunday evening after a long week, the house was reasonably clean, the laundry and dishes were done, and as I relaxed in front of the fire, I remembered that bottle of Scotch. A little of that over ice would taste pretty good just then.

I hesitated for a moment, debating whether I wanted to ruin its potential as a gift by opening the bottle, but finally decided that if I hadn’t given it away in five years, I probably wasn’t going to. So I got out the step-stool, found the box in the back of the high cupboard, brought it down and opened it. Then I laughed.

The bottle, it was half empty.

Of course it was.

So it ended up being a gift after all. Thanks, Grandma.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


To the City Pages Minnesota Blog of the Day.

(How cool is THAT?)

Negative Vibes

Ever have one of those days where one small mishap leads to another slightly larger mishap, and before you know it your whole life is one fat problem avalanche?

It all started with the onion. When I arrived home after work yesterday, I realized I’d forgotten to stop at the store on the way to buy an onion. The plan was to make chili for dinner. The meat was thawed, I had the tomatoes and the beans, but everyone knows you can’t make chili without an onion. No problem, I thought, I’ll just turn the baking of the corn muffins over to the Demigoddesses while I run to the store and pick one up quick.

But really, there is no such thing as “quick” at Cub Foods. When I got back home again, the “muffins” were done… except that, instead of putting the paper cupcake cups into a cupcake tin, which they apparently couldn’t find, the Demis had placed the paper cups onto a flat baking sheet and then poured in the batter. The result was an oddly-shaped cornbread pull-apart thing with pleated paper sticking up throughout. Interesting. And the gooey mixing bowl, half-full of water, was still in the sink.

Then I noticed that the package of muffin mix, which was supposed have contained enough mix for two batches of corn muffins, was empty. I asked the Demis, “Did you measure out this mix like it says in the instructions?”

Blank stare.

“Because it says right here, you’re supposed to measure two and a half cups. This package had five cups in it.”

“Oh,” Said Demi the Elder thoughtfully. “Well, it’s okay, I put way too much water in them anyway.”


I made the chili, and the corn muffin pull-apart thing was actually not bad, once you picked out the paper. It was 8:00 by the time we finished dinner. I put Demi the Elder on the dishes while I settled into yet another hour-long comb-through on Demi the Younger’s hair.

Thankfully, the combing produced almost no sign of fauna. I sent Demigoddess the Younger to the shower, and had my weary heart set on few precious minutes on the couch, at last, to unwind before bed… until I went into the kitchen and discovered the dishwasher running, a number of dirty dishes still in the sink, and the floor… flooded.

Okay, maybe not flooded, exactly. But water was running out of the under-the-sink cabinet. I thought at first that Demi the Elder had neglected to run the disposal, and somehow the drain had backed up. But no. The problem is the pipe that runs from the drain on the right side of the sink to the disposal on the left side of the sink. The the underside of this pipe has apparently rusted through, and dirty water from the dishwasher was spouting out of it. I tried to cover the hole with my hand (without much success) and yelled for Demi the Elder to turn off the dish washer. She blinked at me for a minute before comprehending what I was yelling about, and eventually managed to hit the “Cancel” button. By that time I was good and soggy. And, yeah. Ornery.

We cleaned up the water. I did not sigh, I did not stomp, I did not swear. I put a garbage bag over the sink to remind the children not to use it. I finally, finally, fell into a chair to regroup and… the phone.

My well-meaning Ho was at Whole Foods and wanted to know if I needed anything. Somehow, that was the last straw. I was not very nice to him.

I have always wondered if there isn’t some merit behind the whole karma idea, if releasing negative energy into the universe somehow creates more negativity that will, eventually turn back on you in the end. I can’t help but wonder if yesterday’s post had anything to do with this.

So I’m taking it all back. My ex, he is a swell guy. Just a super individual.

Now, I have a plumber to call and amends to make.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Fucking Chickenshit Weak–Ass Bastard

What do you do with a guy who doesn’t want to spend time with his kids?

(In what universe does that question even make sense?)

What do you do when, after spending less than 24 hours with her dad (the only time she has seen him in a month) your 14-year-old child comes home, walks directly into your arms and says, “I’m glad to be home. I like it better here.”

I suppose that’s an improvement over the times she has come home crying, but it doesn’t seem like much of a victory.

Last week she told me she’d discovered that one of her best new junior high friends is in a similar situation. Her friend’s dad moved cross-country after marrying another version of the Universally Hated Step Psycho. She seemed so relieved to have found a friend who understands how it feels to have been significantly demoted on her dad’s list of priorities.

He pushes them away, and then makes the time they do spend with him a misery and a chore, so he can turn around and tell me that they don't want to be with him anyway. That they're better off with me. That he's being a good dad by removing himself from their lives.

I want to rage. I want to condemn. I want to pound on him until he feels every ounce of their heartbreak times ten. I want to shake him until he GETS IT. I want him to suffer and suffer and suffer because I am so, so angry.

But in the end, all I can do is hug her back and say, “I’m sorry, baby.”

Friday, November 11, 2005

Well, That Sucked

I'm referring, of course, to the agonizing three-day meeting, and not to my birthday, which was lovely.

I warned My Ho ahead of time that Wednesday was going to be “Self-Absorbed Girlfriend Day.” He was nothing but charming as he followed me on a lengthy and thorough tour of Marshall Field’s handbag department. He was very helpful in The Gap and Banana Republic and Eddie Bauer and New York & Co. He sniffed and smelled and nodded most patiently throughout Bath & Body Works.

Various friends and family members provided a divine showering with gifts—gift cards, a book on writing, some tea, the new Liz Phair CD, and, from My Ho, a ridiculously luxurious feather bed, just like the one from our hotel room in Seattle.

And as if that weren’t enough joy for a Goddess on her birthday, at dinner with my family, I ordered an alcoholic beverage and was carded. Carded! And the waitress was all shocked and flustered when she saw the actual age on my ID. (True, the weight on my driver’s license is a total fabrication, but the birthdate is REAL.)

I have never been much of a greeting card person. I never saw the point in spending $4.00 on every birthday and every holiday, to have Hallmark express in mass-produced card form the sentiments that I'm too much of a chicken to say myself (or worse, to say things I don't really even MEAN) to everyone I've ever known in my life, simply because it's expected. If you have something to SAY, I preached, save a tree and write the person a note in your own words! That is so much more meaningful!

Wednesday proved me right about that. No fewer than four of the people I love most in the world gifted me with personal birthday missives—one long, one short, one electronic, and one written in orange marker. Never mind all the stuff, those letters were the best gift of all.

But of course, it couldn't go on forever. Wednesday’s wealth of loveliness made the final agonizing day of the agonizing three-day meeting seem even more, well, agonizing.

And so, on to today’s Friday Haiku:

Brain damage? Or just
a PowerPoint hangover?
It’s too soon to tell.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Please Don't Leave Me

It's time again for the agonizing three-day meeting. From tomorrow through Thursday, I will be in the immediate physical presence of the powers that be from my place of employment, and will, therefore, have to actually be, you know, working.

And not blogging.

Or even reading blogs.

I'm starting to have the shakes already.

On Friday, if I haven't suffered too much brain damage, my Goddess self will return with more eloquence and wit... except that I will be bringing it to you as a Goddess who is one year older, since my birthday is Wednesday.

During my brief absence, feel free to occupy yourselves with shopping for luxurious and expensive gifts to shower me with.

Just The Shot In The Arm A Goddess Needs Sometimes


Friday, November 04, 2005

My Ho Grew Up In Skokie, Illinois…

…yet, inexplicably, he totally did not get the joke when I asked if he had been in a barbershop quartet there.

And so, I give you today’s Friday haiku:

Dude really needs to
see “The Usual Suspects.”

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Not Exactly Mommyblogging

From: Meghan
Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2005 11:30 AM
To: EverydaySuperGoddess
Subject: New site

Here’s our new site:
Very exciting!

From: EverydaySuperGoddess
Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2005 11:33 AM
To: Meghan
Subject: RE: New site

Cool! Whose idea was this?

From: Meghan
Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2005 11:36 AM
To: EverydaySuperGoddess
Subject: RE: New site

Jen Satterwhite's. She is writing a book and got the idea from her agent.

YOOOOOOOU will be a guest writer too! I just don't know when.

From: EverydaySuperGoddess
Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2005 11:39 AM
To: Meghan
Subject: RE: New site

Am I a mommyblogger? I feel like my kids are too old for me to be a mommyblogger.

I'd be more like a HeyMomINeedSomeMoneyAndOhByTheWayIHaveHeadliceBlogger...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


When the Demigoddesses were immunized against chicken pox, I felt like I had gotten out of one of the required rites of parenthood. My mom dealt with four kids having it all at the same time, when I was in the third grade and my youngest sister, Betsy, was just a baby. I remember an endless parade of Popsicles, constantly rotating medicated baths, lots of itching, and everywhere, little scabby faces and tummies. The fact that I would miss out on all of it seemed kind of like cheating.

Similarly, when cases of head lice started circulating around the Demigoddesses’ elementary school, I was sure that, at some point, it would arrive at our house as well. I listened to the horror stories from battle-weary parents who fought through recurring cases, about the chemical shampoos and the vacuuming and the laundry and the combing, combing, combing, and I wondered where and when my number would come up.

I mentioned in a recent post that we also dealt with head lice when I was a kid, so I figured I was up to the challenge. But miraculously, both Demis made it to the junior high without a single case, and I felt like I had once again dodged a bullet.

Until last Saturday, that is, when an inspection of Demigoddess the Younger’s itchy scalp confirmed it. Vermin. Lice. Bloodsucking parasites crawling and reproducing in my daughter’s hair.

I did not freak out. She, on the other hand, cried and begged me not to tell anyone, because if any of the kids at school found out it would be SO EMBARRASSING!

Oh, you mean embarrassing like standing in line at Walgreen’s with an armload of RID shampoo? “KILLS LICE AND THEIR EGGS,” it says in huge letters on the box, just in case the guy at the one-hour photo counter missed it. (I will NOT scratch my head while I am standing in this line… I will NOT scratch my head while I am standing in this line…)

It turns out that the poison shampoo (“My head feels like DEATH,” quoth Demigoddess the Younger), is the easy part. The really nasty bit is the fine-toothed combing. Like all parents, I have dealt with nuclear diapers, the entire vomit spectrum, and all manner of disgusting bodily fluids, much of which I have had on my person at some point. But none of that had legs. Through two hours and most of a tube of “Egg & Nit Comb-Out Gel,” the foulness I picked out of that child’s hair made me swoon.

Really. Gross.

Then came the cleaning, because, naturally, the Demis’ bedroom was wall to wall with stuffed animals and dirty clothes. While they piled everything into garbage bags for quarantine, I loaded the washer with every stitch of bedding, and then vacuumed every corner of carpet and every square inch of upholstery in the house.

Of course, none of this was on the agenda when I woke up on Saturday morning.

As of today, Demigoddess the Younger appears to remain louse-free. And, fortunately, her sister and I seem to have been spared altogether, although the psychosomatic scalp itchiness that I have experienced since Saturday is really getting annoying.

After school on Monday, Demi the Younger happily shared that earlier in the day she had overheard a couple of her friends whispering about their moms bagging up all of their stuffed animals and putting them in the garage. She confided in one of them that she, too, had been a victim, and she learned that her arch-nemesis, Mean Boy, had gone under the poison shampoo, too.

And yes, she gave me permission to blog about it.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

So Very Sad

My Ho’s Youngster attends a swanky private school. The Demigoddesses go to our local public school with the rest of the unwashed masses.

It turns out that the Demigoddesses’ public school soccer team is playing the Youngster’s swanky private school soccer team in the state soccer tournament tonight.

My Ho forwarded me an e-mail that he received from another of the swanky private school parents yesterday. He had added his own subject line (“This Cracked Me Up…”), under which it said:

The game will be tomorrow night, Tuesday November 1, 2005 at 6:00 pm. The game starts promptly at 6:00; the team announcements, national anthem, etc, start at 5:45 pm.

Bring (SWANKY PRIVATE SCHOOL) students of all ages, parents, relatives (distant and near), friends, neighbors, and passers-by to cheer. (UWASHED MASSES’ PUBLIC SCHOOL) is a much bigger school so we have to offset their noise.

Apparently those unfortunate overpriveleged kids need all the help and support they can round up. My heart, it BLEEEEEEEEDS...

Nevertheless, we will be cheering for the public school kids. Obviously.

Monday, October 31, 2005

I Guess It Does Sound A Little Weird, Now That I Think About It.

Although we were not allowed to wear costumes to school on Halloween, the annual Lynnhurst Community Center Halloween party took place immediately after school. Year after year I competed in the costume contest, each time convinced that THIS! THIS would be the year I would take home the big prize.

(Last year's Tom the Cat might have sucked rocks, but Wonder Woman will be my ticket to victory!)

Again and again, I came home empty handed. Around the fifth grade, another contestant was kind enough to enlighten me to the fact that the vinyl, pre-made costumes that came in a box with a plastic mask were never going to win the costume contest.

Mom worked full time and had four kids. Home-made costumes were not an option.

Of course, the prospect of a pillow case full of candy—candy that was all for ME and that I would not have to share with any of my three younger sisters—generally made me forget my disappointment in short order. In addition to which, Halloween was an extra-special day, because it was one of the few days each year when my father would bring out his old friend Herkimer.

Herkimer, you see, is the human skull my Dad keeps in his closet. To this day, on Halloween, Herkimer enjoys a place of honor in the front window of our house, flanked by candles, for all the trick-or-treaters to see.

Dad acquired Herkimer while he was working as a medical salesman. The name is actually not quite right, since, according to Dad, Herkimer was female when she was alive. The skull still has the logo of the company my Dad worked for stamped on the side of her, er, head. Where she came from before that, I don’t know. I don’t really want to know.

She has all of her teeth, her jaw is hinged with springs so that it can open and close (we thought it was hilarious when Dad would make Herkimer "talk"), and tiny hooks on either side of the skull unlatch so that the top comes right off, revealing the cavity where Herkimer’s brain used to be. Fascinating.

I felt like a real celebrity on the handful of occasions when Dad allowed me to bring Herkimer to school for show-and-tell.

Yeah. I said show-and-tell.

Can you imagine the dinner conversation at my classmates’ houses on those nights? "EverydaySuperGoddess brought a skull to school today. She said her dad keeps it in his closet."

It's a wonder I had any friends at all.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall…

Who is the Phairest of them all?

Why, that would be the original Average Everyday Sane Psycho Supergoddess, of course, the human supernova, the pit bull in a basement, the one and only exile from Guyville, Liz Phair, whom I saw at Minneapolis’s famed First Avenue last night. (And no, there was no funk shrieking.)

I am humbled by her coolness. I covet her lyrical gifts. She makes me wish I had blown off college and become a rock star. And I would give my left eyeball to look that good in a miniskirt.

Which brings me to this week’s Friday haiku:

If I were taller
I could have seen what shoes she
was wearing onstage.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Well, Well, Well.

The party’s over. The Sox won it all. I can be a grownup and offer them congratulations, even if I’m screaming on the inside.

I experienced a severe moral dilemma during this series. For months, I have been pulling for whatever team was playing against Chicago. One after another, first the Twins, then Cleveland, then Boston, and finally the Angels, they all failed me. So, until Tuesday night, in spite of my suspicions regarding anything that comes out of Texas, I was totally rooting for the Astros…

...until I saw George and Barbara Bush in the stands in Houston. I spent the rest of Tuesday night’s game trying to decide who I hold more animosity in my heart toward—the White Sox or the Republicans. In the end, I decided that, as much as I loathe the Sox, I cannot root for any team that the Bush family is behind. So there you go. Go Sox. I very much underestimated you, and I’m a big enough Goddess to admit it. (Bleh.)

In addition to which, watching the Astros put men on base with no outs, and then squander every opportunity to score… well, that was all too familiar a heartbreak, as any Twins fan will tell you. (Double bleh.)

Appropriately, My Ho and I watched the last out together, just as we watched the first pitch of the 2005 season together. I couldn’t help feeling a little sad, partly because it’s going to be another long winter before pitchers and catchers report to spring training again, and partly because watching My Ho keep score during games used to be very exciting for me. But then Fox showed Barbara Bush marking her scorecard during the game last night, and that pretty much ruined that.

Damn Republicans.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I’ve Done My Time In Fast Food Hell

The Arby’s restaurant where I worked during my high school and college years is now a great big greasy hole in the ground. It was recently demolished to make way for some kind of development in the business district of one of the first-ring Minneapolis suburbs.

I worked part-time at that restaurant for five years all together. I can still tell you how many ounces of “meat” went on a regular size roast beef sandwich, and I could probably still build a chicken club sandwich with my eyes closed. Sometimes I have nightmares that I still work there, and usually, in those nightmares, I’m pissed.

My current place of employment is the corporate headquarters of one of the larger fast food chains (which will remain nameless… don’t wanna get Dooced). The corporate office building has a training restaurant where new restaurant managers come to learn the ropes. Corporate employees are sometimes invited to help out in exchange for free food, and when they got around to asking if I would be interested, I declined politely. On the inside I was thinking, it’ll be a COLD DAY IN HELL before I start serving up French fries again.

A lot of life-changing shit went down during my fast food tenure. I met my ex during the breakfast shift at Arby’s. He was the cook, and grilled up croissant sandwiches while I stayed in the back and assembled the day’s salads. We didn’t start dating until a few years later, long after he quit working there. But even so, a word of advice to all you unattached gals: Don’t marry a guy you met in a fast food restaurant. Trust me on this one.

I had moved up from salad girl to night manager when my mom’s brother was diagnosed with cancer. I was working the night he died, and a few days later, I couldn’t go to the wake because nobody would cover my shift that night. Mom still hasn’t forgiven me for that one.

Then my relationship with my mother was strained to the breaking point by my out-of-wedlock, still-in-college and most-definitely-unplanned pregnancy. Long months of spectacularly fun drama ensued, much of which went down, you guessed it, at Arby’s. Allow me to amend my advice for you gals: Don’t accidentally get pregnant by and then marry a guy you met in a fast food restaurant. Seriously.

Shortly after Demigoddess the Elder was born, I took a job with a magazine publisher—a job with a desk and a computer and not one single heat lamp or meat slicer anywhere—and my days of peddling fast food were over. Well, mostly.

I guess I still do peddle fast food indirectly, but at least I don’t come home from work smelling like “roast beef” any more.

Last week, when I saw that big ‘ole hole where the Arby’s used to be, it seemed like I should feel sad, or pensive, or something. But in reality, it was more like the way I felt after cleaning out all the closets in my house during the year after my divorce. Something more like unfettered. Unencumbered.


If Cookie Monster Says So, It Must Be True

The Internet is for porn.

(Keep the volume low if you're at work or the kids are around...)

Monday, October 24, 2005

They're Baaaaaaaack

My Weekend of Debauchery Inventory:

Rated R Movies, Seen In Theaters, 4. All four contained the “F” word at least once. Three had frontal nudity.

Red Wine, Bottles Consumed, 1.5. With help from sister Meghan.

Restaurant (With Menus and Table Service) Meals Eaten, 3. Two were healthy. One involved bacon and hot fudge.

Indian Take Out Meals Eaten, 1. Also with help from sister Meghan.

Afternoon Naps, 1.

12-Step Meetings Attended, 1.

New Shoes, Pairs Tried On, 20 (Approximately).

New Shoes, Pairs Purchased, 0 (Exactly).

Computer Games, Time Spent Playing, 1.5 Hours.

The Fact That the Damnable White Sox are Playing in the Freaking World Series and That is Just Freaking WRONG, Time Spent Lamenting, 30 minutes. Maybe 45.

Public Displays of Affection Participated In, Many.

Laughs with Various Friends and Family Members, Too Numerous to Count.

I never did get around to the cleaning, but I think, all in all, it was a good weekend.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

My Ass is Killing Me

There is a pretty little lake a couple of miles from where I work, and I often walk around it over my lunch hour. It’s ringed by lots of cottonwood, oak, and maple trees, which are now in full fall color, and there is a charming little waterfall at one end of the lake. I almost always see several woolly caterpillars creeping along the path, ducks and geese bobbing near the shoreline, and today there was even some kind of a white heron or crane or something. Whatever it was, it was darn pretty.

A sign on the walking path says it’s two miles around this little lake, and it usually takes me about thirty minutes to walk the whole thing.

Most days.

Today I got back to my car, all energized and grateful for a sunny day, for brilliantly colored trees, for the crisp smell of autumn and the simple pleasure of crunching through fallen leaves. My good cheer quickly faded, however, as I realized that somewhere along the way I had dropped my car key.

It was not in the parking lot or anywhere near the car.

So, my choices were to a) give up and walk the two miles back to work, and then figure out a way to get the spare set of car keys from home, or b) walk around the lake again and hope I would find the lost key.

Pride has led to many a downfall, it’s true. Hoping in vain to avoid involving anyone else in my predicament, I walked all the damn way around that damn lake a second time.

Of course, I did not find the key.

So then I hoofed my sorry ass, which was good and draggin' by this point, another couple of miles back to work, making my nice little two-mile lunch hour walk into something more like six miles and two hours.

My Ho was kind enough not to laugh when I called him. He will be bringing my spare keys later.

I am SO not doing Pilates tonight.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Please Excuse the Exclamation Points, I’m Understandably a Little Wound Up

The children are going to Chicago! The children are going to Chicago!!

My lovely and generous and kind ex-mother-in-law is taking the Demigoddesses to Chicago tonight. The Demis have a long weekend off from school, so they will be visiting their uncle and aunt who live in Chicago until Sunday morning.

Did you catch that? I said SUNDAY MORNING!!

I have tonight, all day tomorrow, all day Friday and all day Saturday to do WHATEVER I WANT!

I can watch rated R DVDs! I can spend hours and hours reading! I can drink alcohol! I can have the whole couch! And the remote! And eat all the popcorn, all by myself! I can watch Sex and the City with the volume turned up REALLY LOUD! I can spend three days in bed! I can have a leisurely stroll through Target, and not buy anything for anyone but ME!!! I may even start smoking, just for the weekend, because—WHATEVER I WANT!!

I am taking a vacation day on Friday, to maximize the basking in my complete and total lack of responsibility.

But first, I am going to clean my house, so that I can be responsibility-free AND have three consecutive days of cleanliness!


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Confessions of a Junkie

I’ve heard recovering alcoholics say that one of the manifestations of their disease is that they are constantly, obsessively aware of alcohol. They know the locations of every bar and liquor store in town, and can tell you which ones are the closest to any given point in the city. At parties, they notice who is drinking, what they’re drinking, and how much. And what really drives them crazy is when they see a person slooooowly nurse a drink, and then set it down half-finished… and forget about it. Even alcoholics who have been sober for a number of years cannot understand how it is possible for a person to do that.

I am not an alcoholic. I sincerely believe that there aspects of addiction that one can never understand without having been there firsthand. But I have found that I have a very similar obsessive awareness when it comes to food.

Whenever I leave the house to run an errand, I often find running through my mind an inventory of the restaurants or drive-through windows or bakeries that are on the way to or from that particular destination. It just happens. I had a food junkie recovery of sorts a few years ago, and so I don’t actually stop at them very often any more, but still, it happens.

One time, in the early days of that food junkie recovery, I went to heat up my carefully planned, calories-counted lunch in the office microwave, and found that someone had placed a tray of doughnuts on top of it. I stood there for a long time, staring at those doughnuts. Then I prayed to God to get me away from the one with the frosting and the sprinkles, because I knew I was about to fall off the wagon and, left to my own devices, would be powerless to stop myself. It worked.

I still notice how many times people have gone through the potluck line. And if I should see a person set down a half-finished piece of cake and forget about it? You guessed it. Crazy.

Right this minute, around the corner from my desk, is a spread of cookies that the winner of last weekend’s football pool brought in this morning. I haven’t eaten any personally, but I can tell you that there are four kinds—peanut butter with chocolate, M&M’s cookies, toffee, and frosted pumpkin with raisins. I can’t see them as I’m typing, but I can give you a pretty close guess as to how many of each kind there were this morning, and how many there are right now, because I just passed them on the way back to my desk from a meeting and did a quick mental count without even realizing I was doing it.

Today, for the first time in the seven years since I started my current job, it occurred to me to wonder if the fact that I work at the corporate headquarters of a large-ish fast-food chain is some kind of demented self torture. The floor I work on is plastered with promotional posters for all manner of diet-busting deep-fried, greasy and/or sugary delights.

Although, to be fair, office doughnuts and cookies would happen no matter where I worked. And, like alcoholism, my food obsession will probably never disappear completely. For today, I left the cookies alone. And that’s something.

Monday, October 17, 2005

I Wish I Had An Estate to Bequeath Upon Her Loveliness

I know a mother is never supposed to say it, at least not out loud, and certainly not into the blogosphere, but...

Demigoddess the Elder opted to have a "birthday on ice" party at our local skating rink instead of her usual sleepover birthday party.

And that is why she is my favorite child.

Friday, October 14, 2005

¡Felíz cumpleaños!

Demigoddess the Elder has come a long way in fourteen years.

She is no longer obsessed with the Muppet Movie or Corduroy the Bear, and her interest in Britney Spears was mercifully short. But she has retained her wacky sense of humor, amazing creative streak, and a smile that knocks me out.

These early teen years can be brutal on a girl's self-esteem, especially for very smart girls with sensitive souls like hers. But I'm still hoping that one of these days she will start believing me again when I tell her how beautiful she is.

To my debate-winning, A-in-math-earning, politically savvy eighth grader, who speaks fluent Spanish with an uncanny accent, is the only one in the family besides Grandpa who can talk like Donald Duck, and who is a genuine badass with a glue gun, I say,

¡Centenares de besos y de abrazos para tú! ¡Te amo con toda mi corazon!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Happy Day of Atonements

Yesterday there were cupcakes and pretty little mini-cakes for sale in the office lobby where I work to raise money for a children’s charity. I bought cupcakes for the Demigoddesses, and was tempted to buy one of the mini-cakes for My Ho as a “Happy Yom Kippur” treat, since he’s Jewish and I knew he was planning to attend a service last night. But then I remembered that Yom Kippur is supposed to include fasting, and that would have made the smiley face that the mini-cake was decorated with seem more mocking and mean than cute and cheerful. So I didn’t.

When My Ho called me last night, I told him about the mini-cake. He said I could have bought it for him anyway, because he’d already eaten a bowl of cereal after sundown.

“But that’s cheating!”

“God will put an asterisk by my name in the repentance book,” he said.

“Great,” I said. “You’ll be the Roger Maris of repentance.”

There’s a lot I don’t know about the Jewish faith. One thing I recently learned is that in Judaism, a person can atone for their sins to God, but when they’ve wronged another person, they still have to reconcile with that person directly. That agrees with what I already knew about the 12-steps, in which making direct amends to people you’ve harmed is an important part of the process. I've found a lot more spiritual truth in the 12 steps than I ever did in growing up Catholic. The confession and absolution thing always seemed a little too convenient to me.

Another thing I recently learned is that loaner yarmulkes are available for men to wear during services (which I have to make a conscious effort not to refer to as "mass"). Apparently My Ho doesn’t have a yarmulke any more, and wore one that was provided at yesterday’s service as he repented*.

That’s a nice idea, in theory. But… eew. Ever since I was in the fifth grade and my youngest sister brought home a nasty case of head lice from daycare I have had a phobia about hat-sharing of any kind. My Ho assured me that the loaners get washed in between uses, but still. Eew.

So, the good news is, now I know what to get him for Christmas.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Registering for NaNoWriMo has caused the right half of my brain to cease functioning so completely that I can’t even string together three original sentences, not to mention compose a blog post or… gack… some kind of plot outline for a great-jumping-monkeys NOVEL.

I have paralyzed myself with writing intimidation.


Monday, October 10, 2005

My God, What Have I Done?

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail with a subject line that read, “Do This!”

It was from my knitting, writing, and blogging friend and frequent “I Want a Cookie” commenter Amy, who was talking about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The idea is to write a 50,000-word novel in a month. Amy will be participating for the third time in November.

My initial reaction was, “Are you kidding? I can barely manage a blog post every day! What the hell would I write a NOVEL about??”

While I love the idea of having written a novel, the actual writing of one troubles me. E-mail has ruined me for any kind of REAL writing. But that’s only part of the problem.

I’ve heard writers talk about novels they have written, writers who felt like the stories and characters came through them from some unknown place. I’ve heard them talk about characters who speak to them, even when they don’t want to hear what those characters have to say. I’ve heard them talk about the NEED to write.

I’ve always imagined that before a person writes a novel, they can feel it. Like a persistent itch, demanding action with increasing volume until a person has no choice but to scratch. Or like being pregnant, feeling that little something moving around inside, feeling it growing until it wants out with such insistence that there’s nothing to do but push it out.

I’ve thought that there simply isn’t a novel IN me, because I don’t feel any of that. No itching, no contractions, no voices, no stories. Nothing. Just the overwhelming feeling that I could list a thousand valid, highly reasonable, perfectly understandable reasons why I really, really don’t want to even try.

And I might have been able to leave it at that, if not for the nagging memory of having felt that way before. In the early months of 2003, when my sister, Meghan, suggested that I sign up to run a half marathon, I felt the same way. Every ounce of me said I wouldn’t be able to do it, and I was crazy to even try. That, at the time, was exactly the reason I knew I had to do it. I signed up, and six months later, in spite of myself, I ran the whole thing. I even survived to tell the tale. I can still walk! Who knew?

And there's no denying the fact that I know a hell of a lot more about writing right now than I ever did about running.

According to the NaNoWriMo website, this event is an informal, casual, supposed-to-be-fun sort of thing. It’s okay if the novel sucks. It’s SUPPOSED to suck. Cheating to achieve the 50,000-word count is encouraged. Equal measures of silliness and support are available on the website’s forums pages. The idea isn’t to get published (although that could, and sometimes does, happen), it is to prove to yourself that you can do it.

So today, I went to the NaNoWriMo website and registered.

Of course, I had six months to train for the half marathon. In this case, I’ll have 30 days. And… I have no idea where or how to start, or even what my novel (my novel! oy!) will be about.

Suggestions, please!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Another Haiku for Friday

With a little planning, and a little luck, a person can squeeze an amazing number of errands into a single lunch hour.

From work to home, to the bank, to the mall, and finally, on the way back to work, the drive-thru, where I picked up the inspiraton for today's Friday Haiku:

Wendy’s Frostys are
so good, but so very hard
to eat while driving.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Joys of Homeownership

My house was built in 1940. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in “character.” It has a dining room and a fireplace. It has oak floors and six-paneled doors. It has coved ceilings. And it leaks.

Specifically, the skylights in the ceiling of the sunroom, which was added onto the house by its previous owner, leak. They leak such that when the metro area experienced a downpour of apocalyptic proportions on Tuesday night, a stain developed on the ceiling below the skylight, and the sky blue paint that I lovingly applied to the sunroom walls last summer sort of blistered and bubbled underneath the skylight, and the floor at the base of the wall got all… squishy.

Yesterday as I was inspecting all of this, I poked at one of the wall bubbles and my finger poked a hole right through the soggy drywall. I’m thinking that’s not good.

Of course, my first impulse was to completely freak out, and I spent much of yesterday first hysterical and then mopey because my house is falling down around my ears and I have no idea what to do about it, and why did I ever buy a house in the first place when clearly I am ignorant and stupid, in addition to which I do not exactly have a generous emergency fund (or any emergency fund at all, for that matter), further solidifying my status as an overall failure as a human being.

But I also understood that hysteria and moping were not going to get my house fixed, and that pretty much ruined all the fun of being hysterical and mopey. So I sucked it up and managed to do one useful thing, which was call my insurance company. They gave me a list of contractors to call (ding!) and assured me that the repairs will be covered (ding ding!!).

Today I am only slightly less hysterical and mopey, but nevertheless sucked it up a little more and called contractors—two from the insurance company’s list and one that I found online through Angie’s List.

The contractors are all very, very busy (apparently LOTS of people had trouble during the downpour of apocalyptic proportions), but I did manage to make a couple of appointments.

And now I have reached today’s responsible grownup behavior maximum and I am going to go lie down.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Happy Bulldog-versary

One year ago today, the Twins were in New York to face the hated Yankees in game one of the American League Division Championship.

All day long, I was a twitching, festering nerve ending, jonesing on adrenaline and totally useless in terms of work. Finally, around 5:30, I went to the Bulldog Bar and Grill in Minneapolis, to meet up with Batgirl and a gang of other "Batlings" to watch the game.

The Demigoddesses were with me. The guy I had been dating was not, because that guy was not interested in watching baseball, with me or with anyone else, and I had plans to break up with him very soon for that very reason (and a few others, which I can’t seem to remember at the moment).

After a while, a very tall guy arrived. He had a shaggy beard and hair that needed cutting. And he was limping along on a walking cast, which combined with an overall droopiness to give the impression that this guy had dragged the weight of the world into the Bulldog with him. Batgirl, who was obviously pleased to see him, got up from her seat to give him a hug. Then she introduced him to me. I said hi. He said hi. We shook hands. Everyone sat back down. And then, the game began.

The following is Batgirl’s own post-game recap of what happened in New York that night:

“There was no peace tonight. There were leadoff base hits and there was Hideki Matsui and every time you looked Gary Sheffield was coming up to bat, and I mean, is that fair? Is that really fair? Every inning, there were Yankees on base, and they're not supposed to be on base, I mean, what are they doing on base? GET OFF THE BASES! I mean, no, no, not like that. Not like a homer or something, that would be really bad and I know you could hit a homer at any moment, which is why I currently have my hands pressed over my eyes, because if you did hit a homer, I would be very sad. I don't want to be sad, I want to be happy. I want to dance around and sing and watch Jacque Jones hit a homerun.

Oh, how beautiful that was. Jones wasn't even supposed to start today, they were going to start Kubel, which seemed to be a fine idea because Jones + Mussina usually equals Jones on bench. Hello, bench, my old friend. I've come to sit on you again. Because a fastball softly si-nking, has left my eyes rapidly bli-nking; And the whiffing that echoes in my brain still remains. With the sound of strikeouts…

But, oh, Jones took that Moose pitch and rode it all the way to the leftfield porch, and then he danced and sang all around the basepaths while Batgirl danced and sang too, and Jacque Jones pointed up to the heavens where his father lives now and Batgirl pointed up, too, and said, that one's for you, Papa Jones. You got a good kid.”

You see, Jacque Jones’ father had passed away a few days earlier, and nobody expected Jacque to play that night. And when he hit the game-winning dinger, he did, in fact, point toward the heavens as he rounded the bases. But Batgirl did not really dance and sing. I know, because I saw her cry when it happened. She is soft-hearted like that, and it was one of those sweet, sentimental moments that are one of the many reasons I love baseball.

The following day, the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran an article about Jacque and his dad and the homerun and the pointing, an article that that also made ME cry, and I posted a comment to that effect on Batgirl’s blog.

A little later that morning, I received this e-mail:

From: My Ho
Sent: Wednesday, October 06, 2004 2:02 PM
To: EverydaySuperGoddess


I was sitting behind Batgirl last night at the Batgathering, and wanted to tell you I had the same reaction as you when I read that story in the Strib this morning. "Pointing Jacque" is on my desktop and still is bringing me to a stop when I look at it.

And that’s how it all began.

That limping, shaggy, very tall friend of Batgirl’s at the Bulldog turned out to be My Ho.

He’s decidedly less droopy now than he was a year ago. But the bouquet of three dozen miniature roses that just arrived at my desk are proof enough that he is just as sweet and sentimental as he ever was.