Friday, June 29, 2007
Okay..really, I'm just going to change the oil. But is there anything dykier than changing your own oil? It's not my fault, though. I hate paying someone to do something I can do.
My older brother Matthew, who can be a dick but is occasionally an insightful dick, once said to me that he doesn't want to spend so much of his time making money that he has to pay someone to live his life for him. And at the time I thought, "I'd love to have enough money to pay someone to live this lame-ass life for me."
But now I get it. I can always pick up extra shifts at the lab. I could work 60 hours a week and double my paycheck and pay someone to change my oil and sit in the yard with my girlfriend, and tell MelonKiwi that he's the most specialest-prettiest-mostest-beautifulest-cat-in-the-history-of-catdom. But I very much prefer doing it myself, getting away from lab mentality and lab conundrums. "What's a normal white cell count on a cat?" Or "How do you convert millimoles per liter of magnesium to milligrams per deciliter? " Or my favorite, "My husband had a vasectomy two years ago. Does he still need to come in for his post-operative sperm count?"
I don't know...are you pregnant?
So...the oil. It needs changed. But my arms are tired from lifting, so I'm sitting in the house with Carrie, eating homemade biscuits and jam and watching the cat sneeze. See? What's the value of that? Priceless.
"Okay", I said.
So this morning, Carrie got home from her run, and went into the bedroom to wake Tyler. Carrie had to go running, btw, because she's one of those people who works out before the workout because the real workout isn't strenuous enough.
I heard her through the bedroom door, trying to wake Tyler in that voice people use when they're trying to get someone to do something good for them...and they're clearly resisting.
"Tyler...time to wake up", she sings cheerfully.
"Muuuuh", says Tyler.
"Come on, T. It's time to go to the gym.", Carrie says, more forcefully.
"Mmmmuuuhh!", says Tyler, more emphatically.
And that's when I lost the thread of the conversation, but they began sounding like Charlie Brown's teachers having a disagreement. Their voices got low and forceful.
"Wa-wa-wa!", says Carrie.
"Wa-wa!, says Tyler. "Wa-wa-wa-wa-wa."
And then she walked back into the living room and said, "Tyler will be going with us tomorrow."
I love your posts about working out. Your gym sounds hilarious and ripe with stories! (Better to be ripe with stories than fungus, right?) Do you mind if I link you in a group blog, People Under the Stairmasters, about gym culture? Better yet, would you be willing to join and cross post there?http://www.peopleunderthestairmasters.blogspot.com/
Woohoo! I've hit the big time! The woman who sent me this kind offer is one of my favorite bloggers. If you're reading from our list of favorite bloggers, hers is C.U.S.S. If you're not reading them... shame on you. Did you not hear me specifically tell you you should? You're grounded...all of you!
Inviting people to join your blog group is somewhat like proposing marriage at the Cubs game on the Jumbotron; there's some risk of public embarrassment. But Suzanne, I'm throwing my arms around your neck and beaming at the camera (not dumping my beer in your lap and mouthing "asshole" on national TV, in front of your mom and all your friends). Yes! Yes I'll marry your blog!
But...uh...you'll have to tell me how to do that. My friend Amy's been trying to teach me to use MySpace all week, and I'm not exactly taking to it like a duck to water. Of course it doesn't help that I've been told that if you're over 30 and posting on MySpace, you're either stupid or you're a pedophile.
And Suzanne...Have you met my friend Robin? The one who didn't take three years off? The one who kayaks and swims in her fish pond?
Suzanne, this is Robin. Robin...Suzanne. Talk amongst yourselves. I have to go work out.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Yesterday I decided there wasn't enough pain in my workout...what good is cardiovascular health without big arms? So I had my first date with the free weights since I've been back in the gym.
Okay...probably at this point I ought to mention that I'm working out in a gym that was thrown together out of half of an auto repair shop. The walls are painted a dingy gray, there's exposed conduit and duct work everywhere, and the locker room is 6 salvaged high school lockers and a plywood toilet stall.
However, it does have a couple of major selling points: It's less than two miles from my house, the equipment is oddly good, and when Carrie and I go in the morning, we get to walk through a little clot of very old women steppin' to a workout video in their tights and leg warmers. We find them oddly inspirational and endearing.
So yesterday, having reached my first goal of 20 minutes on the elliptical machine, I decided to add free weights. I love free weights; I love the clanking metal, the dingy, sweaty atmosphere, and the huge, powdery, grunting men who offer to spot for me. I don't love the blasting Hair Bands on the boom box, but depending on how many huge men there are and how whipped up on testosterone they seem...I turn it down a little when I walk in.
But instead of huge bulky men, I walked into the free weight room and was confronted by the local high school cheerleading squad. They were a typical group of high school chearleaders...tall, tanned, with blond hair pulled back in perky ponytails, impossibly smooth freshly shaven legs and wearing t-shirts from the cheerleading camps they've attended. They kept turning to each other, clapping their hands, and shooting out their little fists like bullets or Ninjas. Ninja cheerleaders.
But hello! They're cheerleaders! They can't lift, they can't stop flirting with the trainer, and they worry about getting big arms and "looking like men". Not hardly, Sweetheart.
When I walked into the weight room, the cheerleaders looked at me with the combination of apprehension and disdain that cheerleaders have for other humans who might behave unpredictably. I was pretty sure none of them would offer to spot for me.
I edged my way past the AJ Lady Wildcat Cheer Squad, and got down to the business of destroying my ego. At my best, I could leg press 400 pounds. Yesterday...150. I could curl 35 pounds with each arm. Yesterday...12. And so on and so on.
It was some consolation that after three years out of a gym I could still outlift the AJ Cheer Squad, but not much.
I pushed myself extra hard because I knew I would be taking Thursday off. Giving away a pint of blood is not conducive to weightlifting success. But I don't feel bad about the day off; I woke up this morning with those pleasantly leaden arms and achy abs that you get with a good, hard workout. But me and my depleted blood volume will be back at it tomorrow morning. I'm not expecting greatness yet. But someday I plan to proudly regain my tiara as The Queen of Fucking Everything.
And then the cheerleaders will be jealous!
I just had a birthday, so I'm a little extra sensitive to topics related to mortality. So here I am at 44 years old: overweight, middle-aged, in a high-stress job, with a cholesterol level hovering around 270-ish.
That's the bad news.
The good news is that I can actually change some of those things. I suspect I'm going to stay middle-aged, so that one is off the table. But Carrie and I have been lifting weights and running on the elliptical trainer, so if I can manage to not have a heart attack in the next few weeks, I'm bound to be better off. I know how to work out...I used to do it for a living when I was in the fire business. And Carrie is very motivational (that's a much better word than "bossy"). So I'm 12 stepping my way to better cardiovascular health. I'm on the wagon.
"Just for today..."
I donated blood today and swapped stories with the guy running the blood drive. He's 48, and we were talking about the challenges of getting back into the gym in your 40s. We're busy. We're stuck in a routine. We're not out looking to score chicks...so why bother?
Because we want to live long enough to retire with the hot chicks we've got?
So I lifted the weights, ran on the machine to nowhere, and ate the vegan casserole today...just for today. Tomorrow is a new day. We'll see what it brings.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Saturday, June 23, 2007
There is a rose in Spanish Harlem.
A red rose up in Spanish Harlem.
It is a special one, it's never seen the sun
It only comes out when the moon is on the run
and all the stars are gleamin'.
It's growing in the street, right up through the concrete,
But soft and sweet and dreamin'
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Today was my day off. In my day-off fantasy, I would be sitting in the shade reading great works of literature and maybe sipping a fruity cocktail drink. I would sleep until noon and awake refreshed, sip my coffee on the veranda with my hot lesbian lover while being pithy and winsome.
However...this is my real life, so I hauled my ass out of bed at 9 and mowed my yard all morning. But that was almost like a fruity cocktail drink, if you sort of squint. The sun was shining, the grass smelled nice and it felt like something was actually being accomplished, even if you know you'll have to do it again in two weeks.
Sooo...the grass got mowed, then I took the cat back to the vet and got the big thumbs up on the eye removal surgery. And that'll be better, oddly. Who'd ever think to put the words "eye removal surgery" and "better" together? But she's so pathetic with her button head and her big plastic collar, anything's got to be better than that.
So here I am, thinking that my only day off was a big ole wasted day in terms of hedonistic pleasures...no veranda, no lesbian fantasy, no fruity drinks...and then my neighbor John asked me if I'd be interested in buying his tractor! For $150!
Instantly, the skies opened up and a chorus of Hosannahs erupted! A tractor? $150??? I'm so there!!
Suddenly my life has meaning. I have something to live for. I finally understand God's mysterious plan for my life! I have a tractor to rehab.
Screw the fruity drinks and the verandah...I have a tractor.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
Aha! Several pieces of furniture have appeared next to the trash cans, and one of the kids spotted John sneaking away from the property earlier today with ... a load of stuff on his flatbed trailer.
I say we take some luminal to the sofa out by the curb ... that's probably the scene of the crime.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Terrible Mother: I loved that book.
Terrible Mother: Christ-o-matic.
Friday, June 15, 2007
And what a host of indignities it sports now! The button, the collar, the eyedrops...that's God's special punishment for being a purebred.
Our dime-a-dozen stray tuxedo cats are healthy as horses...probably healthier than purebred horses. Poor Cuppy, who's been carefully bred for generations to maximize her goofiness potential, has finally reached the zenith of goof: A Button Head.
But she's going to survive this latest go 'round...and that's all we care about.
Cuppy's eye was looking worse today, so I called the vet back and got her a squeeze-in appointment right before lunch. Lori and Cuppy and I piled into the car and headed over there. They took her in right away, and the vet took a look at the eye. While we were standing there discussing it, Cuppy shook her head and her eye pretty much exploded in front of us.
The vet, who was a young little cutie-pie, looked a little green and said, "This is too much for me. Let me get the other doctor in here." And the two of them put their heads together, told us that Cuppy's cornea had split open and that they would take her to surgery.
They did, but it sounds like there's no more eye. They sewed her third lid up over where it used to be, then sewed it shut and then sewed a big coat button over the whole thing. We can pick her up tonight and talk to the doctor about exactly what's going on.
So...there's precious little good news in all of that except that at least now she'll stop getting those horrible eye infections. And she'll look sort of sporty and rakish with her new button. Lori's thinking we'll ask for a big rhinestone-encrusted button, because if you have to look like Cuppy, the least you can do is have some bling.
Oh, yeah, Ms. Hairsplitter. Go ahead and split those hairs.
So I still don't have any brilliant blogging plans, but here's what's going on in our lives:
Carrie came to visit me in the lab last night and happened to arrive while I was doing a semen analysis. She declared that it was a weird job I have, and, after looking at the furiously swimming sperm under the microscope, swore to come directly home and break up with her boyfriend. Apparently she recovered from her trauma, since he was still here when I got home.
Cuppy, our distinctly bald cat with the unattractive phlegm problem, decided to add another dimension of depth to her unsightly appearance by developing a oozing, pus-filled eye ulcer this week. Currently her entire head is gently oozing yellowish-greening gluey stuff. But she's a trooper. As Carrie and I were schlepping her off to the vet yesterday, she purred a wheezy little purr...and then sneezed.
The vet assured us that she would recover from this latest indignity and live a long, boogery life.
Katie has her tickets for next week's trip to Tucson. She's scored big in a couple of ways: she's going just in time to avoid helping us move, while she's gone I'm going to work on her car some more, and she gets a month off work.
However WE'VE scored big too. We'll be moving into a new house with no kids, so we get to jump back on the sex wagon as loudly as we want without anyone suffering any "ewwww" trauma.
Today is Lori and my day off and we're planning to do...something. I don't know what, but the sun is shining, the weather is warm, and we've been good little health care professionals all week.
Maybe something blog-worthy will happen today, and then I'll blog about it tonight. Or maybe we'll go to Wal-Mart for kitty litter, pick up some groceries, pay a few bills, and set shit on fire in the yard like we always do.
Stay on the edge of your seat...
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
If ever there was a town that didn't deserve the title of "city", it's Mounds City. The population is 750, most of whom must commute somewhere else to work. As far as I could see, the downtown area consists of a grain elevator, a post office, a pharmacy, and a tavern. That's it. No grocery store, no gas stations, and precious few employment opportunities.
But...what we did find is a nifty plot of land for sale. It's eight undeveloped acres of woods and fields, and it backs up onto a chute of the Ohio river.
These woods are dense, folks. I mean impenetrable in places. The western periphery, the side that's accessible by the road, is surrounded by a wall of brambles and poison ivy, and you pretty much have to find a place where you could sort of imagine a gap, and wade in. But
inside...it's gorgeous. Dark and cool with a high canopy of trees, it's definitely worth the struggle to get back there.
We chose our entrance point carefully; we wanted to not get poison ivy, ticks or chiggers, and not be confronted by what was either an old abandoned Bum Camp, or a dead guy rolled up in a tarp. I figure that the responsibility for disposing of all corpses lies with the seller. But I'd be negotiable on that if she'd knock it off the asking price.
The eastern side is bordered by a chute of the Ohio river, which is a crescent shaped jog off the river that left a large island between the chute and the river.
The chute side of the property is easy to get to by driving on the levee wall, then down a dirt road. We hiked down the road for a while and saw all sorts of fish and turtles in the water, including a two-foot long gar, in all it's primordial creepiness.
So it's a very cool piece of property, and the asking price is $10,000 and the owner is negotiable. But the question for us is...what would we do with it? It's probably too close to the Ohio to build a house on, or even a cabin. I'm sure it wouldn't take another 500 year flood to submerge it entirely. We've considered building a structure of some kind on a decommissioned barge or some other floating base that could rise with rising water levels, or a cabin on stilts.
It would be an excellent place to clear out a spot, build a cabin and put a boat into the Ohio River, but not if it'll be underwater every spring.
So far, we've decided to buy it and watch it for a few years. See how high the river goes, and how well the river contains it. For $7,000, it's worth it. The property taxes on that land are a whopping...zero. Like, free. As long as it's undeveloped, it's not assessed any taxes at all. And that means we can sit on it and see if it's a viable place to stick a cabin, or a boat, or a barge. If not, it'll be an investment in cheap riverfront property. And if it is dry enough, it would be a very cool place to put up a little kit house and hide out from humans...at least on the weekends.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
What happens to a family's dynamic when the grown children are back in the house?
In my family, there's a lot of teasing, a lot of trying not to offend, and a little bit of "see how good I've grown up." There's a lot of turf war between sisters, but not with mom. Like Melvin the cat...I'm the alpha. All it takes it the Raised Eyebrow of Doom to convince them that civility is the preferred method of communication. Luckily, they're generally nice people, with a healthy fear of their mother...still.
And they have grown up good. Caustically funny, attractive, cat-loving young people. What more could a mother ask for?
Maybe another bedroom or two.
I can imagine what it's like for Lori to be surrounded by all of us in all our bitchy sisterhood. I think I'd want to hide in the shed, too. But...well...she's stuck with us. You know..."better, worse, richer, poorer"? That thing? Sometimes we can wrap all the way around from better to worse (and richer to poorer) in nanoseconds. Some days we're just a transmission seal away from achieving Nerdvana.
But I still think of it as a victory. The glass IS half full. We still love each other, we still love the kids (we're not too crazy about the cats right now, but that'll pass), and we're shopping for cool kit houses that we can build ourselves our in the woods. Then we can live our dream of becoming crazy cat ladies dressed in 40 layers of outerwear, wandering the woods like a pair of Sasquatches.