Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ugggghhhhhh Part II

...that's, uh, a moany, sick sort of "uggggggghhhhh" there, not a zombie-grunt....

Still ridiculously, hopelessly sick. Some invisible giant has mistaken my head for a large and juicy melon of some kind and is currently trying to hack it open with an ax. Several sadistic, minuscule elves have taken up residence in my throat and are shoving their cute little curlicue knives into it. This makes it difficult to eat, so my one consolation is that when this is all over I will be a light delicate swan. In as much as a person who is five feet ten can ever be considered "delicate."

At least I don't have a fever anymore.

I went to the doctor's this morning and was told I could well have the West Nile Virus; I was then shuffled out of the office and on to my non-merry way. "Make sure you take it really easy over the next few days!" the doctor added as I was leaving. Sure, right. I'll just leave everything in the competent hands of my manservant, Bunsworthy for the next 48 hours while I lie in bed with a box of bon bons and an assortment of Russell Crowe movies. Ha ha. As if. (He knew I had kids at home too, he'd asked!! What a clueless jerk!!)

Mr. IQ came up with a design for the tombstone I wanted. He really enjoyed working on it too, got himself worked up into a right excited lather. You should have seen him bopping around here, holy cow, talk about uncharacteristic behavior! He was even humming! Honestly, he is sometimes so sweet and generous to me, it melts my heart.

See you when I'm finally over this. (Soon, hopefully.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Ugggghhhhhhhhh, I'm dying....

I've got the flu. Holy crap, am I ever sick. And, just in time to fuel my world-famous hypochondria, the newspaper today listed all the symptoms of West Nile Virus. I read the list uncomfortably, while absent-mindedly scratching the mosquito bites on my legs, all 47, 000 of them. (Mosquito bites, that is; although in many ways I AM a genetic freak of nature, I don't have 47, 000 legs...) Even though I appear to have what the paper describes as a "mild case" of it, I still feel like a big bag of hell, and am pretty sure I'm dying. Mr. IQ has promised to write "Whippersnapper Snapping Snapped Snuffed it" on my tombstone, so that has been a bit of a comfort.

Update to follow when (*sob*, IF) I'm ever feeling better...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sunday Night Office Update, Part IV

...oooh, I've just discovered you can do colours with this thing!!!... (and to think last year at this time I hated computers)....

I was going to write this two days ago, but on Tuesday around 10:00 pm, my usual blogging hour, we had the most terrific thunderstorm, and so I sat by the window in our darkened living room and watched all the lightning instead. It was quite spectacular. Hmmm. Reading that over, it sounds like I actually had a choice in the matter. The reality is that whenever there is electricity in the sky Mr. IQ gets all paranoid and insists on shutting the computer down. He is convinced that our last computer bagged it because of lightning and so now, if there is even the merest hint of rain, he's racing in to shut everything off. It's a little annoying, especially given all the crappy weather we've been having around here lately.

Anyway, I was going to tell you why I haven't been blogging much lately...

Because the first step to getting anything done in this life is to make a list, this spring, Mr. IQ and I sat down and outlined all the things we would like to see completed by the end of the summer. Actually (and this should really come as no surprise to anyone who knows anything about male/female dynamics) I outlined them while Mr. IQ looked on, assuming the expression of a sick old man. Lounging around on the deck with an assortment of international beers was not on my list of "must dos" for the summer. This seemed to distress him a bit.

"Summer is going to suck," he said as he stared at my list.

"When the Mama Bear is happy, everyone is happy," I told him.

I received a baleful look. No, it said, when Mama Bear finally keels over and dies everyone will be happy.

Harsh, I vibed back. But I knew he meant it. Had I upped and snuffed it the next day in a car accident, behind all the feigned tears his thoughts would have been, Phew! That was lucky! Building that greenhouse-slash- winery she wanted in the backyard would have really sucked...

But none of this matters now anyway. The Great Sewer Explosions of 2007 have cut short all my plans for an organized office, nicely painted walls and a decently tiled kitchen. Now any free time Mr. IQ has he spends down there in our Hellzone, ripping up boards, sorting through crap and swearing. And bringing up stuff. Sloooooooowly. And here's the frustrating and annoying thing:

All the stuff he has brought up so far belongs to... me.

Now listen: 99.999999999% of the crap down there is his. Really. Okay, maybe 95%. It's a basement for crying out loud, where else do you store seasonal items? OF COURSE I keep some of my stuff down there, and I do so at the risk of never, ever seeing it again, by the way. Last winter, for example, he was unable to locate my super warm winter boots, essential for walks in -40 C weather. To say this was a source of conflict and stress between us would be tantamount to calling Pol Pot A Very Naughty Boy. We never found them. My feet froze. We fought a lot about it. It wasn't pretty.

Then spring came along and he couldn't find my roller blades. I'm sorry, there aren't too many pleasures in this miserable world but roller blading is definitely one of them: Knowing I was going to be spending the spring and summer without my beloved, precious blades sent me swirling into about as black and miserable a rage as any person has known. Each time he went down there I would snarl, "And find my @#$&!! roller blades!" But he never did. Tensions were mounting. I made inquiries about a nice rooming house on Main Street he could move into. You know the story. Things were looking bad.

Then one evening, about three days after Great Sewer Explosion #1, he emerged from that hole with a triumphant look on his face, carrying a large, bulky plastic bag.

"I have good news and bad news!" he said happily.

"Give me the bad news first," I said.

"Well, the bad news is, I still haven't found your roller blades," he said. I growled.

"But the good news is, I've found your boots!!" he shouted and dumped my 40 pound, triple layered Kamiks into my lap. This was a June day, mind you. The temperature was about 28 C out with 99% humidity.

"Oh yay," I said, trying hard to quell the sarcasm. He was so proud and happy and all I wanted to do was punch something. (Have I ever mentioned my clever and groundbreaking theory that men and women are not compatible and should never live together? I'll have to outline it for you some time, it's quite original.)

To be fair and true, he did eventually dig out my blades too. But that's not the story here. What I wish to discuss is the fact that while only a modest 5% of the basement contents belong to me, it was those items that were being carted upstairs. Okay, not everything I have down there is a seasonal item. I have a weakness for, um, cheap garage sale furniture with "promise." So, uh, there have been a number of items I've purchased over the years for a song that I really have been meaning to fix up. A chair. A desk. A dresser. A telephone table. Large, bulky items. All pretty ugly. He brought them up one by one and placed them conspicuously in the front hallway. I think this was his silent but damn effective way of making a statement.

A lesser person than me would have balked at the evidence of her own tendency to accumulate things. But not me! No sir! I took a look at that dresser and said to myself: I'll show him! I'll have it redone by the end of this week! And after spending some time on the computer looking for a modest and workable template....

...I spent the rest of the week sanding, priming, purchasing paint, re-consulting my original design, making a few adjustments here and there and DA-DA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I DID IT!!!!!!!! The finished product!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm kicking myself for not taking a "Before" picture. Keep in mind this was a $15 garage sale find. While staying for the most part true to the original Tibetan design I picked out, yet boldly adding my own personal touches here and there, I must say I really created a masterpiece of a furniture item. It's been cause for some reflection, let me tell you. At the risk of sounding hopelessly immodest and evoking your jealousy, I have to admit that I really am an incredibly accomplished person. I can make a hearty and nutritious lentil and parsnip stew that makes Mr. IQ shed tears of wondrous joy before he's even taken a single bite. I mastered most of the important swear words at an incredibly young and tender age, bringing praise and recognition to my understandably proud parents. I can go for days without bathing and my peers are none the wiser thanks to my well-honed mastery of the perfume bottle. But I have to say, none of these things even compares to my completion of this dresser last week. Really. I'm so damn proud of myself I could cry.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Another Addiction Bites the Dust

...and that's probably a good thing...

It's a sad thing to admit, but my love affair with the "Next Blog" button on my computer screen has come to a rather abrupt end and there is little hope that it will ever be restored.

I used to... well, not really "love" it per se, but I certainly always found it pretty interesting to peruse total strangers' blogs (from an *ahem* purely sociological perspective, of course!) Even dull blogs could be kind of fascinating by virtue of their very lack of zest if you know what I mean (who and why would anyone write about this??) and I loved them all! Kid pictures: Why not? Details of a church picnic: Fabulous, especially the pie descriptions! Chapter 63 of some guy's novel: I'd read it! Corny poetry? The more maudlin the better! The right-wing, fundamentalist Christian blogs sort of got on my nerves a bit, and I usually skipped over them for the sake of my mental health, but other than those ones it was pretty rare for me to really dislike a blog, or judge a blogger harshly. Except for maybe this one time, when I read a blog set up to coordinate a twenty year high school reunion. Yeah, I confess, I read a big chunk of it, and yeah, I found it interesting in a sort of horrifying, I-think-I'm-going-to-throw-up kind of way. (It has, uh, been twenty years this June since I graduated from high school myself, OK? 'nuff said.) Anyway. This is going to sound harsh, but let me tell you: I've read blogs about dog grooming shows, harebrained get-rich-quick schemes and the quest for the perfect burger. I've ploughed my way through a penis reconstruction surgery blog (complete with pictures!) I've even read blogs ostensibly written by Che Guevara and a long-haired cat named Frisky; but believe me, never, NEVER did I stumble upon a blog more pathetic than that one.

My addiction to the "Next Blog" button was mostly an evening thing, although I always had to shut it down when it got really late. After midnight all I'd get was Very Large Tits blogs. These always horrified me, because, damn it, if I'm going to hunt for porn, I'll do it the old fashioned way, thank you very much: I'll look for it under some teenage boy's mattress.

But all that has now come to an end, thanks to the efforts of one totally sadistic bastard of a blog that sent me here last week. WAIT!! Don't y'all go pressing that button until you're properly aware of what you're getting into! Going to this site is NOT for the faint of heart! Without giving too much away, it involves some pretty scary visual images that I don't want you to see unless you're properly prepared. UNLIKE I WAS.

Picture the scene: A cold, rainy, lonely night, and Mr. IQ is out with the lads having a few ales. I am alone in the house with the kids, fiddling around with the computer, idly pressing my favourite "Next Blog" button. The room is dark except for the glow from the computer screen. I click innocently on a link that says something innocuous like "fun site!" or "groovy game!" It starts. The pictures start flashing and the music slashes into my brain. I scream, and soil my pants. I run from the room and spend the night curled up on the couch with a large carving knife clutched in my hot and sweaty hand. Scared? Oh my friends, you have no idea. I was freaking TERRIFIED.

OK, so now that you know what you're in for, you can go. Make sure the volume of your computer is turned up! Have fun! Are you wearing your Depends?

(Doo dee doo, waiting for your return, it won't be long I know!)

Are you back? How long did you last? I made it about 13 seconds into the thing. Remember, I was alone in the house and it was late at night. Can you just IMAGINE how terrified I was?? It was awful.

And so, just like that, Pavlovian style, thus endeth my love affair with the "Next Blog" button.

I'm a little sad about this, naturally. It was through this button that I found The Constant Whiner and DoctorMama, two of my most favouritest blogs ever. All not in vain, I guess. I told Mr. IQ all about it, and after fiddling around for a bit on the same site he found this for High Intensity. She spent at least twenty fabulous minutes playing with it which meant I got at least twenty fabulous minutes alone... dealing with... the other kid. Oh yay.


I haven't been blogging much lately. I'll show you the picture of why tomorrow. (I would post it now but Mr. IQ isn't here and I still don't know how to get pictures up by myself.) (Yes, I suck.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sunday Night Office Update Part III

...screw the office, it's all about the basement now...

So. Perhaps you've been wondering: Did the sewer explosion business last week do a number on Mr. IQ's 40,000 tonnes of crap currently amassed in our basement?

The sad answer to that is no. Damn it all to hell, no. His stuff is doing just peachy, thank-you, and sends you its warmest, non-sewage-covered regards.

How could this be, you ask? Easy. The previous owners of this house, for reasons we don't quite understand, but probably involving the disposal of dead bodies, built a wooden platform floor in the basement. All his stuff is located on the platform. All the sewage has been going under it.

I have not written about the pack-rat situation for a while here because, as per usual, thinking about it makes me want to tear my hair out. Stuff has been moved out of this place, honestly, I think we have removed a minimum of fifty boxes since last February, and here's the thing: It hasn't even made a dent. Not a dent. Not one little motherplucking dent.

What's more: Last week, in an attempt to regain at least SOME order to my life, I decided to clean out the car. Actually, I was inspired to do this after giving my dad a ride. (He'd spent the trip sharing the passenger seat with a large tractor tire inner tube, something I'd found a little mortifying.

"Sorry dad, you know I live with a pack rat," I'd said apologetically.

"Mmphhh," he'd said, uncomfortably suckling on his kneecaps.)

So yeah, I cleaned out the car and discovered to my horror that the trunk was harbouring at least seven boxes of stuff which I thought had been sent to the thrift store in February. Stuff old you-know-who was having trouble letting go of. Stuff like:

1. A moldy picture frame, sans back.

2. An embarrassingly huge pair of bright yellow headphones circa 1981 which plays AM radio stations.

3. A book on Finnish Disco Moves, crumpled

4. A bunny on a stick

5. A coffee mug that says "Still Frisky at 40"

In another time, in another age, I would have found this all hopelessly charming and amusing. But I'll tell you, when I saw that bunny on a stick, I could have... I could have... well, uh, do you know the meaning of the word "gerbilism"? Just for the record, I didn't know the exact word either until I looked it up for the purposes of this post, and my hunt for it is really a story unto itself: sooooooo embarrassing. (There's gonna be a lot of people out there tonight saying, "Guess what sicko came to my site today!!" I really hope no-one confiscates our computer anytime soon.) Anyway. Anyway. The bunny and everything else is gone now. The threat of un petit lapin dans le derriere really got things cracking.

But I've got to go. They've just issued a tornado watch for the city. Oh my God. If I have to spend the evening huddled in that stinking, crap-filled pithole of a basement tonight, someone is going to die.

Probably me.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Brief and Miserable Life Update


...oh, and some background info before we begin: 'stines is the cool slang for "intestines"... (or so I always tell my biology students)....

Oh my God, what a nightmare. The basement pipes, ostensibly fixed by the kind plumber man who came here last week, burst again. Once again, it was MY visit to the can that caused the system to overload, giving me the temporary nickname of "Mama 'stines." I resent that name.

Every half an hour or so, at least two of us are trundling off to the nearest McDonald's to use the facilities. It wouldn't be so frequent, but that damn High Intensity has got a bladder the size of a pea. (Get it?) It's quite a situation. High Intensity is getting more and more resentful of the fact that she is being taken repeatedly into a McDonald's but not being purchased a milkshake, burger and/or large order of fries. As the evening progresses, she's getting more and more vocal about her displeasure. Unfortunately for her, Daddy is quite firm about that one.

"No-one's eating a #$%*&!! THING," I believe his exact words were as he headed downstairs with a mop in his hand and a ventilator over his face, "until the @#&%*@!! plumber gets here." Rather inconveniently, he is not scheduled to arrive until tomorrow morning at ten. McDonald's closes at midnight. I think we're in for quite a night.

At least the weather isn't bad, so we can have the windows open...


Friday, June 01, 2007

Tonight We're Gonna Gossip Like It's 1899!

...see, that was an eighties' song reference...

So the old bats at the thrift store are really starting to get on my nerves.

They are volunteers, little old ladies who spend one or two days a week selling old faded crap to us poor inner city folk. I don't know any of them personally, but I pop in there so often I've given them all secret pet names (Old Bat #1, Old Bat #2, etc.,) and have come to fondly regard them as an extension of my family. Well no, that's not even slightly true. If I had a family filled with old hags like them I would have definitely thrown myself off a building a long time ago. And this is ME saying this, ME, a girl who, two years ago for Christmas, received not one, not two, but THREE copies of Douglas Copeland's Every Family is Psychotic because everyone who had to buy me a gift that year, including my parents, knew it was just so appropriate. I did not grow up with the Waltons, that's for sure. I'm not sorry though. If I had been raised a Walton, my name would be Whippersnapper Walton. I would have been teased at school and had my ego stomped into the ground. That would have sucked.

Every time you turn on the news these days there's a story about some violent incident occurring in my part of town. Just last week, the local high school had a big lock-down because of some gun thing, and I sense the old volunteer ladies are getting more and more freaked out about hanging out for a day in the "ghetto" slumming with us "junkies." They don't have to worry about me, though, I'm certainly not packing a gun when I go out. Diapers, yes. And wipes. A receiving blanket or two. Plastic spoons, plastic bags. Extra clothes. Paper. Pens. Tylenol. Gripe water. Giant, moon-sized sedatives for the kids. A mortar and pestle to crush them with. Mushy snacks to slip them into. A book, in case I get "lucky" and the kids pass out somewhere en route. When we leave the house to go for a walk, we're so loaded down with stuff we look like 19th century peddlers, shuffling down the street selling our wares. But there's certainly no gun on us. Never a gun!

Of course, the part of the West End I live in is perfectly respectable, all the violence happens east of here, but for good folks who fled to the suburbs a long time ago, this is the Scary Inner City where crime and immorality reign supreme.Those old blue-haired old ladies think I'm a low-bred, drug-addicted criminal. As I was saying, they're all getting on my nerves a bit.

First, way back in January, Old Bat #6 said I was orange. Frankly, I thought that was a little personal. But this week they took it up a notch which has left me wondering: how much crap am I expected to take from my local purveyors of cheap, second-hand goods?

It seemed so innocent. Old Bat #4 said to me, "Nice ring!" I was immediately pleased, because the ring I wear is my great-grandmother's wedding ring. I have seven girl cousins on that side of the family and I got the ring because I have her middle name.

"Thanks!" I said, "It was my great-grandmother's ring. She was from West Virginia, but they moved to Indiana soon af...." My voice faded off when I realized she wasn't looking at my ring. She was looking pointedly at my ring-less LEFT hand, i.e., my naked wedding ring finger. Then she looked over at my kids. What the hell? Had I climbed into a time machine and found myself unhappily transported back to 1943? I couldn't believe this was happening.

"Uh, anyway," I said, a little flustered. That's when Old Bat #11 decided to enter the conversation.

"Your daughters, they look SO different from each other, SO different!" she said. It's true, they do, and maybe, MAYBE I was being paranoid, but really I don't think so. She said it a little too slyly, her beady eyes grasping for information. So I gave her what she wanted, why not, I thought, I don't know her.

"Well, they have different fathers," I said smoothly lying.

"Oh really?" she asked eagerly, rubbing her nasty little claws together in an excited greedy motion.

"Yes," I said, and then furrowed my brow and pretended to think about it a bit. "At least... I think they do..."

No I didn't say that last part, damn it: Typically, I thought of it after I left. For the next few days I stomped around the house kicking myself, feeling almost physically sick that I hadn't been quick on the mark with that one. No worries though. Next week I'm going to go in with Mr. IQ and while he's perusing the book section I'm going to slink over to the Old Bat Patrol and hiss, "Hey, see that guy over there with the glasses? Don't mention the girls having different fathers, OK? Poor fool, I have him so totally duped..."

Yah, that's what I'm going to do! It's gonna be GREAT!

I'll give 'em something to gossip about.