Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I left work at 10:30 tonight (last night?), and got about two blocks before my truck died. Two blocks isn't nearly close enough to the 25 miles I needed to go to be home, and I was not pleased. But luckily Stacy the Intake Girl was behind me, and she stopped to see if I was okay. She conveniently lives in my town, so after determining it was not going to be a quick roadside fix, I gathered up my book, my satellite radio and my hospital badge and got into Stacy's truck. She dropped me at home. She's a good girl...she's engaged to one of the cafeteria guys who, she says, requires a constant supply of Pop-Tarts to keep his strength up.

See what you can learn when your truck breaks down?

When I got home, I tentatively tapped on Carrie's door, in case she was asleep. Heck no! She and Tyler were just getting their first wind! Drive you to Carbondale and tow your truck home? No problem!

So Carrie, in her boxer shorts, flip-flops and punk band T-shirt hops in her truck and drives me back 25 miles to fetch my truck. We hooked an absurdly short chain that I probably lifted on one of our various U-Haul adventures from her bumper to mine, and she started pulling. I stayed in my truck to steer and brake if need be.

Except for the down hills, on which I rear-ended her 40 or 50 times, it went smooth as silk. We made it home at 1 a.m. with both trucks intact, and after the sun comes up I hope to be able to diagnose my poor truck's woes.

But really, the point of this whole story is to heap praise on Carrie's perky little pony-tailed head. She's growing up to be one of those people who takes things in stride. Nocturnal drive to town to drag home a dead pickup? No problem! She on it like white on rice! She's got a plan "C" that's all ready to go after plans "A" and "B" fall apart.

Why? Because she's inherited the "Don't freak out; it'll be okay" gene from her father and I. Problem are not crises, they're merely inconveniences...puzzles to be solved. There are workarounds for everything. And later,they'll make great stories to tell at family gatherings.

My theory about almost everything is that whatever it is, there are people who do it for a living. And I'm as smart as they are, whoever they are...so I can do it too! Occasionally I overreach a little, but mostly, as a life strategy, it's served me well.

So tonight, in the middle of the night, coolly hooking up chains in her flip-flops while cracking jokes and making fun of her co-workers, I was as proud of Carrie as I ever was when she was kicking ass at a swim meet or bring home straight A's. Anyone can excel when the parameters are laid out in front of them...followX path to success. But I'm much more impressed by people who can think on their feet, who don't lose their heads, and who can laugh under pressure.

When you're raising kids, you always wonder...how did I do? Well...whether it was good parenting or native talent, she's grown to be a hell of a woman.

(Personally, I think it was the good parenting :-)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Dignity's for Sissies

Okay...I have to tread lightly, in order to avoid looking like a lunatic in front of the entire Internet...

Remember my truck title replacement project? I was proud of myself. I jumped through the various bureaucratic hoops required in order to get an application to get another application to apply for a truck title. I was able to remain sane, while maintaining my sense of humor AND my dignity.

Today, six weeks later, I received my reply letter from the Secretary of State's office. It was a 10 page missive, outlining my various weaknesses, faults, errors and moral failings. In fact, the only thing they forgot to mention was my unmanageable hair...but maybe they're saving that for the next letter.

The letter described the missing documents, the incomplete attestation outlining my irresponsibility for having lost the title in the first place, and the additional fees I (fraudulently) failed to pay. But lastly, buried at the end of the letter right before they thanked me for the opportunity to be of service, was a paragraph demanding the lien release of the first of many owners from the Citizens National Bank...in 1988. I wept. I cursed the Gods of Government. I hastily assembled voodoo dolls of Jesse White and Rod Blagojovich, then ground them up in the food processor. I beat my head against the floor. I set the cats on fire. I took a bottle of Valium and washed it down with a quart of whiskey. Finally...I picked up the phone.

My first phone call landed me at a branch of the Citizens National Bank in Ohio, speaking to a very kind woman who informed me that there is no national headquarters, I'll have to call the Secretary of States office and ask them which branch of Citizen's National the loan went through. I called, and got another nice woman who called me "hon" and "dear"...but told me they had no way of knowing that information. I told her it might have been in Indiana somewhere.

"Evansville?", she asked me. "Probably.", I answered.

I called Directory Assistance. There is no CNB in Evansville, says the operator. "Can I have some other CNB?" "Certainly."

The receptionist at the branch in Albany told me that the CNB in Evansville has been taken over by Fifth-Third Bank. I called them, explained my story, and the loan officer told me that, for privacy reasons, I'll have to contact the original owners of the vehicle and ask them to request a lien clearance letter for the vehicle, then mail it to me.

But...but...I don't know the original owner, and it's been 20 years since they took out the loan. I don't want to stalk them, I just want a letter stating they paid off the truck.

"Sorry. There's nothing we can do." says Bank Lady.

For a moment, I was stymied. No title without the letter, no letter without hunting down the original owners from 20 years ago.

I briefly considered stealing the tags off some other Ford Ranger. There are a million of them. I don't speed; no cop would ever pull me over. The truck is old...it can't have more than 5 years left in it. Of course, that means stealing a sticker every year, too....

Okay...that seems hard. And I don't want to go to the Women's Prison for a $300 pickup truck. Except...there are probably lots of dykes in prison (I've seen all the movies), and Lori probably wouldn't mind if I slept with a few of them, as long as I didn't bring them home after I got paroled...

No. It's not worth it. I'm a Laboratory Professional. I save lives. I am not going to skulk around, stealing licence plates in order to circumvent the Darwinian process of navigating the Illinois Secretary of State's office. I will adapt.

Another Call to the 5/3 Bank got me a higher bank officer, who finally reluctantly agreed to look at the letter from the SOS, and decide whether to send me her letter. I copied. I faxed. I followed up. And then...I took Cuppy to the vet.

As Scarlett said, "Tomorrow's another day." And egos are made for bruising. I'm more than happy to grovel and show my soft underbelly to anyone who'd like to kick it in order to get this title project finished.

What the hell. I've got a brain injury. In two months I'll forget all about the trauma.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

It's All About Me...Again!

Forgive me if my head starts to swell. Once again, I was reminded by my employer...IT'S ALL ABOUT ME!!

Behold: Employee Appreciation Day...on a budget. All of us, from the loftiest administrator to the lowliest janitor, received a 4 x 4 Rubik's Cube with inspirational messages on it's sides, and a lemon shake-up in a commemorative plastic cup in reward for another year of heroic lifesaving.

We decided that management probably does appreciate us, but apparently they don't have a lot of faith in our cogitatin' skills...hence the Rubik's For Dummies. But what it lacks in challenges it
more than makes up for in Soviet-style exhortations. Be efficient! Be safe! And remember...it's all about YOU!

We all trooped down to the employee cafeteria promptly at shift change in order to show our employee I.D. badges and receive our cube and our watery lemonade, in a plastic cup that said, predictably, "For US, it's all about YOU!" on it's side.

It's hard to imagine that without the I.D. badges, interlopers would be swarming in to clean us out of plastic cups and inspirational cubes. More likely, management used the badges to record the names of the non-cube-and-plastic-cup-acceptors for possible re-education and disciplinary action later. Perhaps a year or two of mopping the floors in the gulags of ICU and Peds will inspire you to show up for Employee Appreciation Day, eh?

Okay...I don't want to sound ungrateful. I realize that there are 3,000 employees at this hospital, but...c'mon. Which corporate nimrod scratched his head all afternoon to come up with the festive Rubik's Cube-Lite/lemonade extravaganza? How about the $2 that they spent on each of us as a cash award? At least we could have eaten in the cafeteria instead.

Sometimes, when I'm alternately shaking my head and making fun of management, I remember what one of my better bosses said when I worked for the Forest Service. She said, "When you're in a meeting and you hear yourself saying, 'They're going to love this out in the field,' you know it's been too long since you were out in the field."

I picture the management team like Santa's reindeer: lashed together, and valiently following the guy with the shiniest nose into the inky black void. They don't actually know any employees, but if they did, they're sure they'd appreciate them. In the meantime...have a cube.

It's six more days until the employee year-end reviews begin. So I have six days to, as Cool Hand Luke famously said, "Get my mind right." By this time next week, I plan to be cheerful, optimistic, ambitious, thrifty, brave, loyal, and reverent.

But that leaves me 5.9 days to be a cynical, sarcastic bitch, and I plan to use every moment of it to it's maximum potential. Because I'm that kind of efficient employee.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Coming Out Insurance

Stolen from a friend. Thanks Marl!

Monday, July 23, 2007

More on Dogfighting and Animal Cruelty

We received this comment on the topic of Michael Vick and his bad dog stewardship:

The question isn't why we protect animals and children. It's why haven't we? Since the mid to late 1990's dog fighting (to include dog on dog............dog on pig.................dog on cat ect ect) has grown by 300%. And more and more, becoming a family event. The attention getter for this specific incident by the higher authorities was the money exchanges. Animal torture with gambling and drugs to enhance the serial abusive mindset and, here we are with yet another so called athletic hero setting example for a very large culture of people.

I think that humans have a finite capacity for absorbing ugliness. Once our "ugly" bank is full, it's hard to embrace yet another thing that we should feel compassion about. Child labor, AIDS babies in Africa, political prisoners at Guantanamo, Iraqi villagers (and American soldiers) caught up in bloody civil war...our bank is full. It takes some high profile scandal to make most of us think, "Oh, yeah. There's more. There are still people who think animal cruelty can be entertainment."

In a way, Michael Vick and his dogs have been a handy teaching tool. He put this week's atrocity on the map by being a respected athlete, and simultaneously engaging in a cruel and barbaric activity for amusement. I don't have any illusions that dogfighting and animal cruelty will stay front and center in the news, but I suspect it might get more people thinking and talking about the subject. I know that's been the case for me. And thinking about something is frequently a stepping stone to actually doing something.

So maybe it takes a public slap upside the head to shift X units of our attention from one affront to our humanity to the next. I don't have any idea how you actually keep people engaged. Remember how whipped up we were about starving children in Africa twenty years ago? Michael Jackson We Are The World-ing on the radio, news stories about the history of politically-induced famine, pictures of UNICEF workers passing out gruel to round-bellied children, celebrities beseeching, money flowing... right up until the time that the phrase "compassion fatigue" caught on, and our attention drifted away, to rest up for the next heart-wrenching story of unspeakable inhumanity. It's hard to stay focused when another Great Tragedy is right around the corner, clamoring for our attention.

Which, by the way, is probably why I'm so intrigued by one of my favorite blogs, "Axis of Evel Kneivel", subtitled Another day, another pointless atrocity. He starkly drives home the point that heinous cruelty has always been around, in various degrees of heinousness.

Maybe the trick to achieving change on a large scale isn't just to point out the things that seem so obviously wrong, but to see if we can create a consensus about them. We mostly eschew child labor (except for the dishes...nice try Katie), slavery, domestic violence, and miscegenation laws...but it took many years of debate. The majority of Americans oppose animal cruelty, but we don't yet agree on what the definition of "animal cruelty" looks like. This is our chance to have that conversation.

Quick...before we move on to the next Horrible Thing.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Where's the Beef??

After a long-ass day of moving all the obscenely heavy and/or unwieldy crap we'd saved for the occcasion -- including the Armoire From Hell (after which he suggested I might want to consider pine the next time I want a piece of solid wood furniture) -- The Beef, as we affectionately call him, slept the sleep of the pooped and righteous in our spare bed. Yay! He never agrees to sleep over and I always feel bad that we work him like a serf and keep him here till way too late at night and he still has a two hour drive home, but by God we finally broke him! Or maybe we got him drunk. Whatever it was, we got to keep him overnight.

[We call him The Beef because that's the nickname given to him by a small handful of bitter lesbians who can't believe adults would have any other reason to remain on good terms with an ex-husband except to ... you know ... get him to slip you "the beef" ... and yeah, leave it to lesbians to call it "the beef."]

He brought us a bag of assorted peppers and tomatoes from his garden, so Ev made excellent omelettes for breakfast and then they puttered around with Katie's Jeep some more, making sure her wobbly tire was just a bent rim and a couple of loose lug nuts and not something worse (as we'd feared).

I stayed indoors like the sensible creature I am, unpacking boxes and decorating. :)

It's been like Christmas getting all of our stuff out of boxes. We hit the jackpot when we got into the box of Talavera pottery we bought in Mexico right before we moved. It added that last layer to the decorating scheme that moved it from merely "eclectic" into "quirky and kitsch" ... and who doesn't love it when people walk into your house and their eyeballs bounce around the room like a pinball machine?

At this point, the Beef's decisision to stay over turned against him in earnest, because the landlords showed up to get more of their stuff from around the property and one of those "must have" items turned out to be a slab of concrete that used to be a section of their old sidewalk in DuQuoin ... it has the kids' footprints in it. So The Beef offered to help John load several hundred pounds of concrete memorabilia in John's truck. He's that kind of all-purpose helpful guy.

After The Beef headed for home, Ev and I headed for Pinckneyville, where we put a downpayment on a three piece hoosier cabinet with side pantries .... whoo! Apparently we'd fallen in love with it months ago. Who knew!? Ev remembered that there was a hoosier in Pinckneyville we loved, and where in the store it was. I didn't remember it until we were standing in front of it and I said, "Oh yeah!! We love this!!" It's gigantic, and will exactly cover the big blank wall in the kitchen that's crying out for something exactly like this to store the over-abundance of kitchen crap two women can accumulate in thirty years of acquiring kitchen crap.

Then we drove home, taking turns talking about how much we got done this weekend and how much we like The Beef. Seriously -- all Beef Jokes aside -- one of the wonders of this relationship is how much I love being part of this family, and that includes Rob. Watching him and Ev tackle projects is like watching Relationship Ballet. They've known each other literally their whole lives. They grew up together, married young, raised three kids together. They work and play well together! Having grown up surrounded by people who didn't, that's a nice thing to finally be a part of.

So, thanks Rob, for the toting and hauling ... but especially for being you. Next time, no furniture moving and more chainsaw action! Whoo!


Friday, July 20, 2007

Three Interesting Questions

I received this comment on my "Michael Vick vs. Rover" post:

I always wondered how animal protection services came to be an organized institution before children's protective services came about. We think it's okay to put all sorts of sports above general education in our schools, it's okay for two men to get into a ring and cause brain damage to each other, it's okay to exploit little girls by dressing them up in makeup and small versions of women's clothing when they're two but today we take exception to a sport that has gone on for ages. I hate dog fighting; I'll make that clear up front--I hate everything to do with fights between animals, not to mention humans. When you breed anything for a specific purpose and it goes bad, its not economical to keep it living. Don't we more or less do the same thing with race horses? My dad use to breed, train, and fight pitbulls, so I know just how big of a racket it is. So much inbreeding goes on with a fighter that if he can't fight he isn't much use for anything--a "good" fighting pit bull will not make a good pet; they're crazed and attack everything. Until we all can agree on the barbaric nature of all contact sports, then I'm sure we'll all keep hearing these kinds of stories.

This evokes three different discussions: 1) Why we protect children and animals. 2) Why we let adults do stupid thinks that might kill them. 3) Why it's wrong to genetically engineer an animal in order to enhance a specific trait, to the detriment of the species' evolutionary fitness.

But I just woke up after my long shift yesterday, I'm still working on my first cup of coffee, and right now I have to get in the shower and get ready for my long shift today. I'll be back to later, though, to kick these topics around.

In the meantime, feel free to contribute opinions on any of these subjects.


Tonight a carload of 16 year old kids hit an elderly woman head on and killed her. The kids walked away pretty much unscathed. No alcohol or drugs were involved, the driver just wasn't paying attention, just for a moment.

This happened right here in my home town, where my 16 year old drives with her friends, and is known to not pay close attention at times. The unlucky participants of this tragedy were brought to my hospital. Initially we all ran around, gathering up O negative emergency release blood and thinking we could do some good. After a while it became obvious we couldn't.

See why I worry?

And then (I'm not sure if this is the insult or the injury) the father of the teenage driver arrived at the hospital and demanded his son be released to him immediately. He kept yelling, "What's the holdup??"

Uh...the holdup involves the fact that your son killed someone tonight, and that's noteworthy enough to require his presence...at least for a while. There are magazines in the lobby if the process bores you.

So...what's more awful than not paying attention and killing someone with your car 6 months after you get a license? How about going though that horror with your asshole dad who finds vehicular manslaughter inconvenient.

Is there any wonder why I want to live in the woods with my girlfriend and my cats and ducks?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Michael Vick vs. Rover

When the Michael Vick dog fighting story broke a few days ago, my first reaction was to recoil. What kind of a sicko trains his dog to kill other dogs, and then kills his own dog if it's not vicious enough?

Since that first day, though, I keep thinking, "No, really. What kind of sicko would that be?"

He's not in it for the money, obviously. The guy is a multimillionaire, and getting richer with every pass. He doesn't need to do it to satisfy his competitive urges. Presumably he's getting those needs met on the football field.


Where in a person's upbringing or socialization or value system (have I hit them all?) would make anyone think that it would be a fun hobby to take a housepet and train it to fight to the death?

Could you imagine Cuppy and MelonKiwi locked in a death battle?? Uhhh...hmmm...no. Although now that I think of it, I may have to ask Lori to photoshop a picture of the Cuppy vs. Melon Smackdown.

But...I digress, as usual. Clearly Michael Vick doesn't engage in this "hobby" alone, so there must be a sizeable group of people who find dogfighting to be a viable entertainment option.

Hmmm...I wonder if their mothers know. Because that's the real test of morally ambiguous behavior. If you're doing something that you wouldn't want your mother to know you're doing, you probably shouldn't be doing it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Evolution of Dance

I know, I know...everyone in the world has seen this. Except, apparently, Carrie and Tyler. So if you're one of the other few remaining human beings on the planet who HAVEN'T seen this, then sit down, shut up, and enjoy the dance.

Welcome to Wednesday!

Life's coming back together around here.

Our DSL is back, which means dog & duck pictures are forthcoming. Now I just have to remember to take a picture of them together. Oh, and in honor of my renewed DSL status, I finally cleared all of the AOL crap off my computer. Now after a small exorcism and a spritz with a room freshener, the computer ought to be a much nicer place to play.

I was desperate enough to have made a deal with the devil to get two days off in a row. I've agreed to swap them for some more 12 hour shifts. It seemed worth it at the time. I'll let you know if I still think it's such a hot deal by Saturday.

And lastly, we're going to get the last of our stuff out of the shed and into the house this weekend, which means I can get back to the business of turning my shed into an "artist's studio," which sounds so much better than "butch playhouse." And I won't let the fact that I'm not the slightest bit artistic affect my effete, pretentious snobbery. I'm just that kind of self-righteous hypocrite.

The bad news is that I'll be taking Cuppy back to the vet in a few minutes, since she seems to be oozing pinkish fluid from her eye-less socket, and the vet wants to drain it. With a needle. In the eye.

Who's glad they're not Cuppy today? Let's see a show of hands!

One Good Thing

Here it is kids! My one and only brush with fame. I was an honorable mention in The Most Humilating Child contest on one of my favorite blogs.

Our prize for Rob's extreme mortification is either a bath product or a sex toy, since the One Good Thing family is, after all, in the sex toy business.

Anyway, stop by the blog and read the entries. Some of them are hilarious. My favorite was the "Hang on, Jesus!" story, but it lost out to "Jellybeans in the Hoo-Hoo."

One Good Thing

Monday, July 16, 2007

Extreme Tiredness

I'm tired.

I'm tired in that way that people are tired when they finally sit down after running around achieving for days and days. We've toted so much furniture in the last week that I'm tempted to burn the shed with the rest of our stuff in it...if only I didn't need the shed and the tools inside for the duck house I'm going to build. Later. When I'm less tired.

My brain is foggy, my arthritis is flaring, and I'm covered in bruises. Lucky thing I'm a saint; otherwise I'd call in at work..if we weren't down to rock-bottom minimum staffing. Unfortunately, we're so short of warm bodies that if anyone gets sick one of the day shifters (not to be confused with shape shifters) has to stay over and work a double shift in order to be compliant with FDA minimum staffing requirements.

So...I'll go. But what I'd really like to do is call in, stay in my jammies all day, read trashy mystery novels, and recharge my batteries.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Good News and The Bad News

The good news is that the Prodigal Duck has returned from her adventures. The bad news, of course, is that we're STILL on dial up, so there won't be pictures of the joyous reunion. She and the dog have totally bonded. Sage wanders around the yard and the duck waddles along at her heels. When Sage lays down, the duck lays down next to her. When Sage walks down to Carrie's house, the duck walks with her, then waits for her at the door.

While the duck was missing and we were worrying about her safety, I did some reading about ducks so I could be a better duck mother. I found out, among other things, that they need a flock to huddle up with to keep warm and they need a little house to get out of the weather.

So I got the name of a guy who's selling ducks at my work (in case you ever doubted that this was Southern Illinois, the bulletin board by the time clock is all covered with fliers for livestock), and we're going to score a flock for her.

I have another 5 day vacation coming up, in which I WON'T be driving across the country, and I'll build them a little duck house for the winter. I've been learning all about how to heat it (with a light bulb) and what to use for bedding (straw or hay), and I've got a little frame building design in my head. I wonder if they need a window? Maybe a mirror? Frescoes? Gargoyles? I've never really thought about duck decorating and architecture schemes before. Something reflective...I bet ducks like to look at themselves and admire their...duckiness.

Anyway...I've decided I'm a duck person. My totem is a Duck. I'm in touch with my inner duck. See the duck, feel the duck, be the duck...That's my new motto.

I am Duck. Hear me quack.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Excuse Du Jour

We are on...(dramatic pause)...DIAL-UP!

This is somewhat akin to carving your blog posts into a rock and flinging it into the town square. No pictures, no YouTubes...nuttin'.

If it weren't for the lousy health care I'd begin to doubt we were still in America.

So we've got another week in Old Testament-like exile, doomed to wander the blogosphere on foot until God sees fit to free us, in the form of DSL installation, from this plague.

Oh...and our duck is missing. It's been a bad day. Okay, okay...it's not as bad as having all the firstborn males slaughtered, but did I mention that THE DUCK IS MISSING??

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Gay

I work in a medical lab in a medium-sized regional hospital in rural Illinois. Our departmental umbrella includes pathologists, histologists, medical technologists, medical lab technicians, lab assistants, and phlebotomists. The first three types of job require 4 or 6 or 8 years of college, and hospitals all over the country are desperately trying to fill all their unfilled professional positions.

My hospital began recruiting aggressively overseas about a decade ago. The result is an ethnic and cultural mix that's a ton of fun to be a part of. Our Head Pathologist is a Indian (dot, not feather) and our Junior Pathologist is Nigerian. The Lead Tech on evenings is also Nigerian, the Lead on night shift is Filipina...as are many of the other Med Techs.

All of that leads me to the actual fun part: The Gay.

The night shift Lead Tech is a young-ish woman with impeccable medical credentials and a tenuous grip on the English language. Early on when I first started working there, she asked me if I had a husband. I replied without any actual thought, ""Oh God, no. I'm so gay! Look at me...do I look like the kind of person who would have a husband?"

And she sort of blushed, and I apologized for making her uncomfortable, and we laughed it off. But since then, she's shown a funny fascination about the whole subject of gayness. It's pretty much off the table for conversation in the Phillipines, and she's got a million questions and stories. She told me once that her cousin is "The Gay" and that it's not a issue in their family as long as he's just promiscuous and never actually acquires a life partner. It's one thing to be "The Gay" at the park or on the beach, it's a whole nother thing to be sitting in the family pew with your man.

We stumble around our language issues by talking louder and making big exaggerated gestures, but we mostly do okay, and we laugh at the failed attempts and our cultural tabboos and biases.

Tonight she told me about her two uncles, who are also "The Gay." She calls them "The Cheap Gay" and "The Expensive Gay." The first one will apparently do it with anyone. At the beach, behind a shed, in the back room of a bar...he's always good to go. The other one requires some wooing before he'll bestow The Gay on some lucky fella. Dinner, dancing, a movie...then, if it works out: The Gay.

We also love to engage in the down time activity nearest and dearest to the hearts of all of us gays...the Guess Who's Gay game. She has an atrocious Gaydar. If it's not a man trailing a feather boa, she has no idea he's The Gay. Likewise, women without prison tattoos and facial hair also slip cleanly under her gaydar.

We have a new tech, just hired this week, that sets off my gaydar like the gate alarms at Fort Knox. She's such a dyke...she wouldn't be any more of a dyke with "DYKE" prison tattooed on her forehead just below the mullet-line.

So the other day I said, "Chemene! New girl...The Gay?"

And Chemene said, "Really? She's The Gay? She's got makeup! And jewelry! How can you tell?"

I gave her my usual song and dance that's actually code for I don't know how I know...but I know. I just don't know how to describe how I know.

Well Ha! The new girl came in tonight with her girlfriend! And our phlebot, Joyce, said, "I knew right away. They were intimate."

And I said, "Like how? Like she threw her up on the counter next to the polarizing scope and did her?"

But when Chemene came in tonight I got to deliver the joyous news: "Chemene! She's The Gay!"

Another one for our team. We're so proud.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What Do Your Hands Say About You

I shamelessly stole this from Cedar, but I'm giving her credit for it. It totally sounds like me except for the "relaxed and uncomplicated" part. Apparently they didn't have a choice for "wound tighter than the inside of a golf ball."

I consider the attention Cedar will receive from this blogative exposure, and any offers of casual, meaningless sex to follow from her adoring public to be the consolation prize for Lori's devastating rejection of her perfectly reasonable request to visit us and sleep in the middle.

Lori thinks one of us will end up offended. Huh.

So anyway...I stole this. Sue me.

What Your Hands Say About You
You are logical, analytical, and rational. You have good verbal skills.
Bold and daring, you're not afraid to change your life if you think it needs an overhaul.
Consistent and reliable, you like to count on structure and routine in your life.
Your emotions tend to be relaxed and uncomplicated. You don't read too much into things.


See that shadowy hazy thing in the middle of this blackness? The Loch Ness Monster. Floating in our pool. Just now...on a weeknight. Nessie doesn't care if we have to go to work tomorrow. She's just looking for a cat to eat.


Be very afraid.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Duck

This is our new duck. So far, we call it...Duck.

She's apparently a she, according to Lori. I'm not sure how she knows that (Hey! Who's the biologist around here, anyway??). I suspect maybe she looked up under it's feathers or something. Sicko duck fetishist.

The duck came with it's own supply of duck food, but we'll probably supplement with some kind of duck snack that will ultimately make it obese, like all our pets. We're secretly Italian mothers, I think. Food is love.

She seems to be a bright little duck. Don't you think the duck looks wise? She looks like a duck in the know. She possesses the wisdom of the ages...at least for ducks. She sometimes looks over at me and waddles a little faster, glancing over her skinny little duck shoulder to see if I've gone away yet.

We're going to be pals one day. She doesn't know yet that I have animal magnetism, and all animals eventually fall under my spell. Soon, the duck will be sleeping in our bed between Lori and me, fighting with the cats for the coveted position between our heads. But we won't let her sleep on the down pillows...that's too sick, even for us.

Those of you who grew up in Chicago in the 60s...Remember Ray Raynor and Chelveston the duck? Remember their endlessly antagonistic relationship...Ray flinging lettuce at the duck, the duck in full out attack mode, like a shin-seeking missile? Ray backing away rapidly, his voice increasing in pitch until, by the time the Huckleberry Hound cartoon started, Ray's voice could only be heard by dogs and submarine sonar operators?

Well...that's not us. Ray was definitely not an animal person. About the most animal he could stand was that stuffed dog, Cuddly Dudley. If Cuddly Dudley had been a real dog, it would have bitten Ray like every other animal guest on his show.

In an amazing display of Blog Drift...I was telling Lori about Ray Raynor and Frazier Thomas, both of whom probably considered themselves to be serious journalists until they found themselves wearing fezzes and pastel jump suits and talking earnestly to hand puppets and ducks.

Oh, the humanity. I'll bet Ray kicked the duck when no one was looking.

Moving Update

We did it and mostly survived unscathed, with our relationship not only intact but well...enhanced. Satisfied. Sated. Uh...you know. :-)

Saturday we lifted and toted and hauled and carried all our bedroom furniture and most of the contents of the kitchen and bathroom by early evening. We quit at 6 or 7 and sat out on the deck for a while, then Lori walked back down to Carrie's for something and came back to find a medium-sized frog stuck to the glass on the sliding door. As you may know, Lori is a little frog-phobic. However, she only squealed a little delicate ladylike squeal before cautiously edging past it and into the house. Another potential crisis averted.

The only oddness was that the landlords left their pit bull chained up in the yard and their duck, thankfully not on a chain, wandering freely. We kept expecting them to come back for the dog all day Saturday, since Ms. Landlord was reminiscing about the 10 years she'd had the dog, and how fond she was of it.

So we kept working while we kept an eye on him. He was on the kind of a chain you would use to anchor an ocean liner, with a massive bolt attaching it to his collar. Over the last 10 years, he'd dug a trench a foot deep around the tree he was chained to, from pacing laps around it endlessly.
Finally, when it became apparent that they wouldn't be back for him on Saturday, I went out with food and water for him. I'll admit I was a little nervous about getting into his circle, in case he was the kind of territorial pit bull that would want to take my leg off and eat my face. But no; he was the kind of pit bull who was profoundly grateful for a big bowl of water and a mountain of kibble. He inhaled that, and then three more kibble mountains afterwards, until he seemed to be slowing down. Finally, after he'd eaten about 5 pounds of Sage's kibble, I gave him a chunk of fish and he laid down in the shade and fell asleep. Poor guy. They finally came back for him Sunday night.

The duck hasn't required nearly as much intervention. He's been waddling around the yard, snacking on seeds and splashing in his pond, and apparently oblivious to the fact that we aren't the same humans who shared his yard with him last week. He visited the pit bull occasionally but stayed outside the circle.

Lori worked like a demon getting everything unpacked and arranged...and rearranged. And re-rearranged, and I lifted and toted like a good housebutch. Today, my job has been to get the utilities switched over (done that) and knock down the weeks in the yard (haven't done that yet).

Pictures to follow. Thanks for all the good wishes! I think we're doing good. By the end of the week, we ought to be moving faster than a slow shuffle. Or maybe not...we're elderly.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


This is that alliterative holiday we've all been waiting for! An excellent day to get married if, you know...we could get married. So instead we're doing that second-best relationship building activity...we're moving!

It's a whole different can of worms to move three acres away than it is to move 2000 miles. When we moved here, we had to make sure we had everything we could possibly need or want...and we failed miserably. We ended up will all kinds of odds and ends and lost all our furniture and appliances, because there was no room in the U-Haul.

This time, it's a lot more luxurious. We're moving one room at a time in the back of our pickups. We're aiming for the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom today. Thankfully, we think loud sex may be in our immediate future again in our new kid-free house. Woohoo! I hope we remember how to do it...

So today...eat, sleep and shower. Tomorrow...sitting, TV and Internet. Oh...today also patio furniture and grilling. I think a celebratory fish carcass is in order. Oh...and beer. LOTS of beer. My secondary objective for the post-schlepping is eating our grilled fish carcasses on our new deck, with a traditional pile of flaming trees. We figure there's somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 dead trees standing (and 40 more live ones), and every time it storms another one comes down.

That's a lot of firewood.

So we'll be checking back in and no doubt posting pictures. In the meantime...wish us luck!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Proud to be a 'Mercan

That's right. It's not one of those pussy holidays with baby chicks and pastel bunnies. It's National Blow Shit Up Day! The day when all good Gawd-fearin' 'Mercans gather in loud, rowdy groups to gorge on picnic food and Old Milwaukee, smack the sticky kids in their damp droopy diapers and celebrate the fact that we've been kickin' ass and takin' names for over 200 glorious years, while the rockets red glare and the bombs bursting in air give proof through the night that our flag is still there and Lee Greenwood reminds us we're "Proud to be Americans" ... and we'll put a boot up yer ass if you don't like it.

We've been democratizing, liberating, enslaving, endenturing and eradicating brown people for a long damn time, and we've got the Lord and Baby Jesus on our side. Right now we're a little busy eradicating our own Civil Rights, but don't worry ... we'll get around to you in due time.

You've gotta love a holiday that can send a vicious 100 pound canine with jaws that can crush a cow's skull whimpering under the couch like a third-world mongrel pup.

Happy Independence Day. If it shoots, fire it into the air!

Wooo! Fireworks!


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I'm Sorry. I'm Not Allowed To Help You.

Since today was my day off, I've spent it doing my favorite day-off activity. Puttering.

Puttering, to me, is doing small low-stress errands and chores. I finished mowing the lawn, changed out my fuel filter, filled in a hole in the backyard that I never noticed until my mowed sank into it...and I went to the DMV.

I lost the title to my truck because, well...I lose everything. So I went to the DMV a few weeks ago to apply for a replacement, and they gave me a packet of forms to fill out. I had to have the truck appraised, get a surety bond from the insurance company, and attach a letter explaining how and why I lost the title ( there was no box to check for "moron"...I looked). So I've been gathering all my forms, and today I took them down to the DMV. When I spread all my forms out across the counter and took out my checkbook, the clerk handed me one more form and said "fill this out." It was a form attesting to the truthfulness of all the other forms. I filled it out, signed it and handed it back to her.
I asked, "How long will this take?" And she said, "No less than eight weeks if it's approved. And it won't be approved because the Attestation form wasn't notarized."

I stood there, dumbfounded. You mean the Attestation form that you just told me to fill out? That Attestation form?

Yes, indeedy. That very one. So I asked her what I considered to be a logical question, "Why are you going to submit it if you know it'll be rejected?"

She looked surprised at that question. Like she'd never before considered the bureaucratic folly of submitting paperwork that you know in advance is incomplete and will inevitably be rejected.

I said, "Let me have that back. I'll take it and have it notarized."

And she said, ""A notary won't stamp it. You didn't sign it in front of her."

But after agreeing to let me try, she gave me the form, kept my $65 check and moved on to the next poor slob in line.

I went across the street to the insurance office, asked the agent to stamp it. She gave me a sheet to sign that verified my signature and stamped it. No problem. The whole interaction took two minutes.

I crossed the street again, got back in line again, and made my way to the clerk...again. She gathered up my forms and told me briskly that I should get a letter in the mail in eight weeks, confirming or denying my ability to apply for a title.

That's right, folks. This was the application to see if I'm allowed to fill out an application.

I swear to God, there's a special place in Hell for government bureaucrats.

Monday, July 02, 2007

God Wants You To Watch The Price Is Right

Carrie and I try to leave the house to go work out at about the same time every day. She does it because it fits well with her running and work schedule. I do it because I'd rather watch The Price Is Right than The Young And The Restless on the TV in front of the elliptical machine.

So the other day we got to the gym and I said, "Oh, crap! It's The Young And The Restless. I hate soaps! And she said, "Mom. It's satellite TV. You can watch something else."

Oh. Yeah.

We live, of course, in Nowhere. We get one TV channel, which we refer to affectionately as The Channel. We rarely turn the TV on, but when we do, The Channel meets our needs. We get CSI (all fifty of them), and all the CSI knockoffs. We get David Lettermen and Craig Ferguson at night, and the Jesus Show on Sunday. And we have Netflix.

We're a simple folk, so The Channel is good enough for us.

But at the gym, I was faced with 200 channels. I panicked. I didn't remember how to change the channel (it's on the satellite receiver box, not on the TV), and I didn't want to take on the responsibility of finding something to watch. I just wanted my Channel, with The Price Is Right. Like God intended.

If Jesus wanted me to watch other channels, they'd play in my home. They don't. God has spoken. And who am I to fuck with that?

Oh. But I ended up watching The Soup on E! at the gym, and it made me laugh so hard that it threw off my breathing. I could have died. All because we weren't watching The Channel. If that's not a message from God, I don't know what is.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Another Day, Another Tractor

Maybe I should title all my posts "What I Should Be Doing, And What I Actually Am Doing".

What I should be doing is heroically saving lives here in the blood bank, but apparently all the lives are saved because there's pretty much nothing to do except routine maintenance on the instruments.

So what I actually am doing is reading a book, chatting with Lori online, and watching the clock. The most exciting (and icky) part of my day was seeing an elderly woman on the front sidewalk of the hospital go down like a sack of potatoes and break a hip. What's extra unfortunate about that it that the reason she was on the sidewalk in the first place was that she was waiting for her husband to get the car and pick her up, since she'd just been discharged from this very institution. I think she had about five minutes of freedom. It's sort of like walking out the prison gates and robbing the first person you see. Recidivism...it's not just for spelling bees.

And in the ongoing saga of our internal combustion acquisitions, Lori and I actually sprung for a brand new, never-been-owned-by-anyone-else lawn tractor this weekend.

I blame Dane.

He's like a Lawn Tractor Drug Pusher. He got us hooked on his big powerful mower with the automatic transmission and the cup holders, and my lowly 6 horsepower 40 year old John Deere with it's 30 inch deck seemed...well, emasculated. And then I began to crave the big lawn tractor. I wanted more...but Dane cut me off.

So we went out this weekend and sprung for a big virgin 20 horsepower lawn tractor with a 46 inch deck, automatic transmission and two, count 'em, TWO cup holders. The extra one's there in case I want to pick up hitchhikers, I guess.

I hate to sound like a size queen, but my lawn tractor's bigger than your lawn tractor. My lawn tractor could whup your lawn tractor's ass, because your lawn tractor's a limp-wristed sissy faggot.

So now we're a whopping four car, three tractor family. We could participate in the little-known car/truck/tractor relay event in the Beijing Summer Olympics, which will be taking place in the
Olympic Giant Vulva in 2008. I could strap the baton onto the side view mirror (Ha! I said strap on!) and drive like a bat out of hell until I rear end the next vehicle, containing one of my daughters in a stylish NASCAR outfit advertising organic tampons and Suave shampoo.

It'll be like the skeleton event or the biathalon...it's been slow to gain popular support, but when the public sees the potential for mayhem and gore, we'll be the next big thing...bigger than even Brangelina and their 70,000 children!