Archive for the ‘Strudel’ Category

Recursive; or, Damn Dirty Grapes

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

DEAR GODDAM DIARY,

Last weekend’s ice cream was chocolate malt. I am starting to think that these recipes have a wee little bit too much salt for me, in general. But it’s still good. I’m buying the nice cream in glass bottles, which I also use for piima yogurt and such.


Egg in sugar and malt powder and chocolates.

It was a really nice weekend in that way that people go crazy about here–upper 70s, overcast. I am worried about the tomatoes. A cold snap now that they are on the vine and green will turn them into mealy pulp.

Franny’s back for two weeks. She was weird for a couple of days, like a little satellite who had ranged too far out on her tether. I am glad she was gone for almost a month. If she was here all the time, we would have moved on, but it seems like kind of a reset. We are still talking some about what happened at the end of the year with her grades and the Japan trip and the mood she was in at the end of the eighth grade. I think she was just way outgrowing that nest.

So she seemed a little aloof and distant at first but seems to have settled in. I feel bad about how hard it’s always been for her to transition from two different lives.

“The floors are so clean here!” she said. They are not super clean, but they are free of toys.

She said she had a marvelous time with her dad and I believe it. She said he seems calm and like he has his shit together now. It takes some people a really long time to grow up. I grew up fast but it took me a long time to realize I was human, too. I happened to come outside when SeaFed was dropping her off and I always feel so irritated when I see him because he looks so old now, which means I do too. This is not about vanity but mortality.

I’m home today. I wanted to work every day this month but I didn’t make it. I woke up with a pain on the back of my head like I’d been hit with something. My lymph nodes are huge back there, like olives, and I’m just off. It’s not like a normal headache that feels like it comes from inside your brain somewhere or like a band squeezing. It’s like my actual head aches.

I’m giving it a little time, because I need a little time, and then I am going to dive back into the world of doctors and testing. People ask me about my health and I say, “It’s fine.” I cannot say how I’m really feeling all the time. They say they’re glad I’m feeling better and I nod. This is how the transaction goes, I think. I cannot pretend I am getting better, though, and no amount of taking care of myself or altering my diet seems to be completely licking it. I’ll make an appointment for after Twin Peaks.

I’m going off of some medication to get myself to flare up again. I know for the next round of testing I will need to have accurate inflammation levels. I’m dreading this. I cannot go back on steroids. I know I was on too high of a dose, but I really don’t want that look into my id again. I have this pattern of some life-changing event and then I get what I am afraid is a look into who I really am. I don’t like what I find there. It’s an asshole who likes to wear fringed leather jackets.

I don’t want my life to be about being ill. Some days I cannot bend over because of my joints and I feel afraid. I need to figure out how to be unafraid again.

Franny was saying the wants to see the new Planet of the Apes movie that’s out now. I think I would rather eat ground glass than sit in a theatre right now, so I offered to show her the original at home. I think Charlton Heston is appropriate for any season, but especially summer. We have now watched the first two and the girls have made me promise to show them ALL FIVE this month.

I always enjoy watching movies with them. I had Strudel convinced that she had misread the title and that it was Planet of the Grapes, and it was all about winemaking.


A thirteen-year-old hath given me a mani-pedi during Beneath the Planet of the Apes.

I am counting down to going out of town, but not too far away. I am really looking forward to taking a trip in the Elco. FDR had mineral springs, I have an El Camino with a couch for a seat. I have a long history of traveling alone and sometimes it’s horrible but usually it’s fine. It’s always transformative, at least, which is what I need right now.

“Meathead.” “Do not call me this.”

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

My sister and I stayed up tooo late last night talking shit about the apocalypse and some other stuff. And drinking rosé and eating rosemary fried chicken.

I forgot how much she remembered about way back in ye olde days when she was like, six. She gave Strudel an earful of how I was in some kind of Harry Potter situation. I was kind of cringing as she was telling her niece about my parents’ plans to lock up the food, so I would go away like some kind of stray cat, and the other plan to spend all the college money. Among other things, but she didn’t mention those.

It was true though. I can’t imagine how this sounded to Strudel. Probably completely fucking absurd. There’s A LOT the girls don’t know, because why?

It’s a weird thing to think about, the fact that my sister was subjected to watching me be treated very poorly. I know my mother had a lot of “survivor’s guilt” over how brutally my grandma would beat her step siblings. And I think about how my mother put my sister through that. Rinse, repeat.

I don’t hurt children; I have always turned the knife on myself.

“You are VERY lucky,” Morgan told Strudel.

It’s not very hard, I said. Step one: don’t be crazy.

Afterwards I went out to lock up the chickens, late, and there was a disgusting slug orgy happening on my porch. They were LITRILLY

fucking in a slimy pile.

I got out one of my work gloves and threw them all VERY FAR over the fence. PROPER. My porch is the perfect storm of chicken pellet crumb, since the bucket is stored there, and moisture from plant pots. There are jizzy slug trails over the sides of my house, on shoes, on window screens, errrwhere. YUCK.

Speaking of stray cats and chickens, Goethe decided to stomp around in the chicken run tonight.

What are you DOOIN?

Last weekend, after months of saving money and waiting for it to get warm, Strudel and I collabo’d on a lemonade stand. She is saving up for a laptop so she can geek out with her creek out. I bought her a bank in April and glued the buttplug in so she could not embezzle from her LLC. She has been counting down to smashing it.

Don ye now our mom’s onion goggles.

HOLY SHITBALLS I MADE MY FIRST DOLLAR

It was successful. I piled the table and such into the Elco and took it to a busy corner in our neighborhood. “You should write on the sign that it’s fresh-squeezed” a guy in a van said. We’re going to do it every weekend until the rains come.

Krumpy was in town and we met at Matt’s, which has to be one of my all-time favorite Seattle restaurants. I hoped she would like it, since she has fancy NY taste. I wore a silk dress and was on the verge of sweating the whole time, but not quite. This is a pretty awesome summer.

The ice cream of the weekend was salted black licorice. I like ouzo and fennel and absinthe but I cannot hang with salted licorice.

JESUS FUCK LICORICE CUSTARD GROSS

It was for Mr. P., who has like only seven taste buds.

Look who got a summer buzzzzzzzz.

FIN

Happy Fourt…zzzz

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

Shit shit shit I am sick again. I have lumps on the back of my neck (swollen lymph nodes) and I am dragging ass. I kind of ignored it for a couple of days but it’s not going away quickly, anyhow, and I am just sleep sleep sleeping, and turning to my usual coping mechanism, cooking. With mixed results.

I keep touching my neck bumps and going YEP STILL HURTS like a dog touching its hotspots. Why does human nature compel us to lick chancres and probe burns? I’m sure there’s a reason. Don’t answer that.

I’ve been pondering how much time I’ve spent in the 19th century, not in a just glue some gears on it sense, but just reading and cooking and thinking about that whole cool syphilitic cobblestoney situation. Now I kind of feel like I’m unraveling, slowly, in fits and starts, but I don’t have a lady’s maid and I have a job and children, so I can’t sit around writing gloomy poetry and sucking on a shisha all day, like some kind of plump overeducated caterpillar, which is probably what I would be doing right now if it was 150 years ago. This too shall pass? Don’t answer that either.

This weekend’s ice cream was chosen by Strudel. It’s fruity miso. The cookbook’s authors recommend using whatever ripe fruit that will mix well with the miso and is in season–pear, apple, or peach. I used two smallish nectarines, which is what I had (it called for two “large” peaches), and augmented with a couple of small red plums.

You caramelize sugar, and then mix the fruits in and cook them down, caramelizing them as well.

This was all well and good until it was time to stir the miso in and then blend everything. BLEH! It really called back to some unfortunate times later in high school when payday meant takeout sweet and sour chicken and a couple of bottles of Boone’s sangria. The flavor part of the ice cream base really reminded me of that–fruity but also kind of sour. I made myself taste the custard once it was all blended together before it went into the fridge to cool and steep and it was…okay. A little vomity, though, really.

I’m not going to say anything to the kid. By the time I was her age I was a professional vomiter (allergies, poor parenting, etc) but I think she’s only technicolor yawned three or four times in her life so far.

Oh hey, look over here! Shiny thing.

I was a plus one at a BBQ yesterday. We didn’t stay too long in part because I got really cold and tired. The weather suddenly turned and I had dressed for sun. I brought this cake, which is a Texas sheet cake, and comes together very quickly. The frosting and part of the batter is boiled. Patriotic sprinkles for the win.

I like to experiment on people at parties, so I also tried a cherry slab cake. My pan was too big and I didn’t like the way it looked, with the juice leaking and and slightly burnt at the edges, so we kept it at home.

Strudel declared that we would have to have black coffee and cherry pie for breakfast, like Agent Cooper. She is getting into character to be him for Halloween. She spent the entire meal exclaiming that she was drinking a DAMN FINE CUP OF COFFEE. I really can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning. I told her I would rent her a small FBI agent’s suit for trick or treating.

I am also getting excited to go back to the Twin Peaks festival this year.

Tall Tan Young Strudelly

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

So, dig if you will the picture of time traveling back to Mother’s Day. The girls went spelunking into the chicken coop and there: there be dragons.

They found a demon egg. Seriously, that is an egg. Shell on the left, red yolk on the right. Whisky tango foxtrot!!??!!

Naturally we had to dissect it.

Very auspicious.

So last weekend, since my life is not boring enough as it is already, I decided to re-line the bathroom drawers as part of moving into the basement bathroom. Most of my stuff was in the pink Eisenhower bathroom.

I have approximately 4,000 small bottles of beauty snake oil. FUCK. And they are ALL necessary, because you never know when you’re going to have a day that you specifically need a heat protection cream that works for crimping irons. YOU NEVER KNOW.

So here’s what I think is the original contact paper.

It gave up easily and peeled out dignified-like and without a fuss. I was telling a friend the other day that it was strange to have a bathroom with extremely high-quality, unfinished wooden drawers, as opposed to plastic shelves or lined ones. I think I could sell every drawer on ebay for at least $280 dollars. That is how nice the wood is.

Naturally I felt compelled to recover them. Franny has already spilt makeup in one of the drawers of the mocha bathroom, so I covered all those too with a different pattern that I did not snap for some reason. I am capricious.

A “bonus” was that I found an ad from 1987 behind a drawer (hollerrrr d.o.b. Morgan).

GIRL YOU BETTER LEARN HOW TO TAKE A HARD DICKING FROM THE PATRIARCHY I MEAN NICE PANTYHOSE

God I’m so angry. It’s making me tired.

(reverse)

PROTIP: How to prevent wrinkles: kill yourself. Because wrinkles be happening.

Let’s have some boring jive about my digestion.

Franny made beautiful heart-shaped sugar cookies on Monday and I ate three. Big whoop, right? They hung me over! WHAT. I had a headache and brain fog all day on Tuesday. Crap. I am broken, I think.

She frosted them with pink frosting and brought them to her friends at school, though, and someone innocently asked her what the occasion was. Her snappy, perfect best friend patted Franny’s stomach and said, “There’s another little one on the way!” Cookie fell out of the friend’s mouth. MAD PROPS AND GOOD BFF CHOICE FRANNY.

So I am fermenting the shit out of everything. A couple of weeks ago Franny and I hit a simple cheesemaking class in West Seattle and we came away with piima culture and a bunch of recipes. So I’ve been making kefir (not pictured) and piima butter (l.) and fruit kvass (r.).

Let’s talk about the other one, who writes notes to herself.

I found this on the table on Wednesday. Strudel is very close to the children’s librarian at our neighborhood library. This librarian, I am told, has just gotten pregnant, and is considering naming her baby after Strudel. Then there may be two of them in the U.S. We are very pleased.

Finally, it’s me. I wake up with my hair all crazy and I call it good and head off to work.

My House is Filling with Chicken Grease Smoke and Looks Like Hoarders

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

FRIENDS. Once again we dye the chicken abortions bright colors, and struggle for the next two weeks through a lot of egg salad. First, be warned, my house is totally cattywampus today. I don’t even think the table will be cleared off by the time this chicken comes out of the oven, though that will be good motivation to clear it. I’ll get to the why in a minute.


No tabletop in sight.


Strudel is doing very well; her knee bruises are fading.

I was partly prepared for egg dyeing today. I only had half a box of regular food coloring, and a little more than that in the neon variety.

Like every year, P. suggested we get out the intense dye–the kind you get at the cake decorating store that can legit make frosting black. (Trust me, there are three October birthdays in this house. I know from black frosting.)

I knew there was a reason we shouldn’t use it, but I couldn’t remember why. Since I had no rebuttal, the Jewess and her paterfamilias won and talked me into busting out the fancy colors. I quickly remembered that the reason we don’t use them for this is because they don’t mix with water and vinegar like regular food dye.


We call this egg “Womynist Mooncycle Expressions.” It was supposed to be purple.

Here is a little round up of a couple of things I did during my drug-induced mania.

I’ve been having a love affair with monstera deliciosa, as you do. I got one for the basement bathroom, because it is a low-light tolerant plant, and then I got one for upstairs, so they can race.

Speaking of the basement bathroom, I hear you asking, how did the re-inspection go? WHY, IT FAILED AGAIN. Jackass Plumber put the wrong valve on the hot water heater, in spite of the inspector telling us exactly what was needed.

“The next time I come back, I’m going to have to charge a re-inspection fee,” he said.

Of course my contractor chased up on the plumber very quickly to get him to come out and fix it. Jackass Plumber decided to ignore that email. So my contractor sent the plumber a FUCK YES CAPLOCKS email today, on Easter Sunday.

Because I am A. uncharitable and B. want to use my tub someday, I confess I loled. I have zero confidence in this guy at this point. We just want him to finish.

So here’s new monstera:


It’s terrible on this pillar, though, and I will be getting something so it can be lower. Also, if anyone is actually reading this (this is not a test) have you ever cut back a very leggy rubber plant successfully? I think we need to start over on that guy. [Not pictured.]

Moving the monstera to the pillar meant that I had to move the rain lamp, which I did not like in the dining room, because bronze on bronze weirdness.


I like it in the living room better. Look, it’s like a page out of Dwell magazine, if the room was decorated by a drunk okapi.


Y U SO PRETTY, LADY??? And you smell of melted crayons. It’s like my dream woman, really.

To finish Snake Plant Madness, I got plant stands of differing heights to “add visual interest.” I was talking to a friend yesterday about much I love the word “interest” used in that way, and how you only use it in two contexts: decorating and gardening. And gardening is just decorating outside, so there you go. And then I took that wood thing outside, and rubbed it all over with Murphy’s Oil Soap, and then rubbed teak oil into it. MAN it looks great now. It really does. I am so impressed.

WHO WAS THAT PERSON? WHAT THE FUCK AM I GOING TO DO WITH A FRINGE JACKET AND A GALLON OF TEAK OIL? Christ, what an asshole. I kind of want her back though, as long as the inside of my head is not going “EEEEEE/KILL ALL HUMANS.”

And look, there are some cords, and there is the ladder, leading up to the attic….

I started a carnivorous garden in a “comically” oversized brandy snifter, because I bought it and it was too big for my marimo to go in. Maybe someday the marimo will graduate into it, like when I am 90.

A carnivorous garden is something I wanted in the back of my head, like when I would be falling asleep at night. I’d say, “And it would be cool to, like, have a bunch of carnivorous plants in a jar and we can reenact scenes from Suddenly, Last Summer in the living room.” And then I would say to myself, “Self, pull the other one, it has bells on,” AND THEN I felt like I had hoovered up Cocaine Mountain 24 hours a day, so boy howdy was I ever doing seven projects an afternoon.


“We will eat all of the fruit flies that will bother you in August.” No you will not you fucking LIARS, there are TOO MANY.

I have a little twinge when I look at it, like it’s a gift from another personality or something, or something you did when you were blackout drunk. I actually did things like this when I was very drunk in college. I was like a very drunk retiree when I was on school holidays. “Mmm, drank two martinis, time to do some gardening.” SIGH, past SJ. You were pathetic. But STI free. EH.

ANYWAY. Am I the type of person who can actually maintain a fussy little window garden? We’ll see, I guess.

Now it’s shameful secret overshare time (a day ending in “Y.”). My poor mocha bathroom, the one with the insano teal walls, has been hideously abused. The guests only see the pink poodle bathroom, but today you get unfettered access.

I asked P. to switch out the exhaust fan because it was ancient and really not cutting the mustard, especially with four people using this bathroom. I’m kind of glad to have a delay on working on the basement, because this bathroom is turning into a 911.

Look at this mildew. There was a little patch when we moved in, and all this has spread this winter. The new fan has a “humidity sensor” and will run as long as it goddam needs to. And will be quieter!


CHEESE AND CRACKERS MAN. It’s IN the paint. THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!!!!

So I got some of that Kilz stuff to coat the ceiling in, and I’m going to repaint as soon as he’s done putting the fan in. I figure there’s no point in repainting until there’s so more powerful sucking in this room. I know, why don’t I just stand in the bathroom? HA HA, you’re hilarious.

And then we have to address this poor sad bathtub. Horrifying, innit?

This poor house has experienced A LOT of benign neglect. I guess we’re the ones to turn that around. Anyway, hope your weekend is going swimmingly. Monkeychow out!

For a human animal to call for help/on another animal

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

FUCKING SHIT. Strudel got clipped by a car in a parking lot of a BurgerVille in Vancouver, WA. I heard a BANG which I thought was a fender bender, but it turns out someone was bending their fender on my kid. She went flying some and scraped her knees. Her shoe went blasting off into the bushes far off. I didn’t see it, because she was throwing out a wrapper and I was waiting for her in the Honda with my back to her.

I ran when I saw her sitting on the road in front of the lady’s car. Strudel was weeping and I ran to pick her up (bad idea, I know, but I felt physically incapable of not picking her up). She was feather-light from the adrenaline, of course. I started saying the license plate out loud as I moved her to the sidewalk–it just happened.

“She didn’t even look!” the lady said. I decided that was when I was done talking to her. I looked at her: limp blonde hair, teal scrubs, but not a doctor, 40s. Small. Scarred face. Eyes that kept sliding over us and then off us.

There was a witness nearby who actually saw it. She had kids in her minivan. “She was driving really fast,” she said. “You should call 911 and then file a report. Your kid might be in shock.” She gave me her phone number as a witness.

“Thank you, I’m in shock, too.”

So I called them. I took a picture of the front of the car that hit her while her dad comforted her.

“It always looks like that,” the owner said as I snapped it. Every time I looked at her, her eyes darted away. Her face was a mask, impassive. In a weird way I admired how calm she was.

An ambulance came, but Strudel was pretty okay, thank goodness. Her head was not involved at all. They looked her over and gave us ice for her knees.

We ended up filing a police report, which is a good thing to have. I got a piece of paper that was called an “Exchange of Information” with Strudel as the pedestrian and the name of the driver. I was thinking about how I would feel if someone handed me a piece of paper saying that I had hit a kid.

Strudel has swollen knees now with bandages on him. The officer who took the report gave her a firm, but kind, dressing down about looking both ways.

“It doesn’t matter whose fault it is,” he said. “Little girls never win against cars. You were very, very lucky today.” She nodded.

I know we’re in a litigious culture but I don’t think I could prevent myself from apologizing if I had hit someone’s kid with my car. I don’t think the lady’s evil or anything. Or maybe she is, who knows? But I don’t think I could have stopped myself from apologizing, and I’m sure I would have been bawling while I was doing it. But that’s me.

Okay, I’m going to sit in the hotel bathtub and cry silently for a little while before dinner. I will take all of these near misses from the universe. ALL OF THEM!


Icing knees before dinner.

My Bark is Worse Than My Barf

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Oh a twist–Monkey #10, who successfully traded hats on stage with eleven monkeys for two matinees and an evening performance last week, not to mention all the practicing, has suddenly come down with lice. What a crazy random happenstance. I dropped a dime on her with the school, because I am also hearing that there is a full-on outbreak and girls are “hiding” lice so they won’t need haircuts.

Things kind of festered because Strudel has not really been having me braid her hair at night for the past week or so, and I was just suggesting a Nice Bob to resolve her tangling and pain issues.

“NO!” she said last night, as her dad picked her nits.

Franny, meanwhile, has not had a haircut since September, and her ends and layers were getting a little tired. She asked me to give it a blunt trim across her shoulders, which was easy to do once I had gotten laundry load #4000 in and dishes were done.

“Oh that looks nice, Mom.” She thought for a minute. “Should I have…BANGS?” She started pushing little wispy bits down to preview what it might look like.

“I think you should, but I’m going to tell you what my hair stylist tells me: commit fully. No wimpy little bangs that you will have to style endlessly and they will still kind of look crooked and weird and not behave. You should make it a hairstyle.” I pulled a chunk of her hair forward to show her how it would look full and frame her face.

She went for it.

I like it. It’s very hipster anime Cleopatra. I showed her about a little heat, and a little style product, and BANG (no pun intended, but there you go).

THEN, not to be left out, Strudel clamored for a bob. I JUMPED! This is probably the quickest haircut I have ever given and she said the same thing she ALWAYS says every single time.

“I HATE THIS. Wait. This is actually okay. This is pretty good.” Sigh. “I think I like this. Thanks, Mom!”

And then after I was done, P. swooped and picked even more nits. This was after a round of smothering with tea tree oil and almond oil, too, of course, since I was out of Listerine (note to self). It will probably need a wee bit of clean up when she wakes up.

I tried to take a picture, but she turns into a blur. I get that she doesn’t love the camera, or holding still, and a lot of times I just leave her be and “miss” stuff. It’s okay, some of it stays in my head. I really wanted to snap the bob though and I was a little disappointed in myself for pressing it.

“Can you just…hold still?” I asked.

“Not really!”

“I want to see your hair in this, can you just, like…act normal?”

“I AM ACTING NORMAL!!” Hmm. Touche, there, Calvin.

Lady Lice-a-lot is coming to the rheumatologist with me this morning. Guess what? I “have something” now, I think. Parvovirus B19 came back positive, finally. I will let you know more when I know what the heck this means, overall.

Also I am burning with desire to show you my bathroom, but I am missing VANITY LEGS. OH GOOD GOD. SJ problems. I am going to shoot it later anyway, because there is an inspection today and tomorrow and then it is DONE, vanity legs or not (legs are backordered til next week).

ETA: Okay, it’s NOT parvo. It was just showing that I have had it. Dammit. Still, I’m getting better.

Feral Dwarf Rides Again

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Strudel had lunchtime detention today, I am informed. She had already confessed to the crime last night, though.

Strudel: I put a “pinch me” sign on my friend’s back today!

Me: That’s not very nice at all.

Strudel: Well, no one pinched him very hard.

Cautious Optimism

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Good news, I suppose. Things seem to have stopped getting worse. I am in kind of a holding pattern now and am still crazy tired. The doctors have officially settled on viral myositis, which is nice because it goes away eventually. I am really hoping this will be the last week of my convalescence. I don’t think I’ve had a fever for 24 hours, but it’s gone away and returned before, as has the pain. We’ll see.

Strudel’s birthday is Wednesday and she will be nine. She wants to go out to dinner, which is a typical thing here at Rancho Asshole. If I am having trouble walking I’m going to take some codeine and suck it up. We’re going to have FUN. Dammit. I am also on the hook to make her usual pineapple upside down cake, which blessedly she is not making me dye blue or anything this year. Don’t tell her I said this, but YUCK.

She has demanded Indian food and submitted a long birthday list before we went out of town, which I cherry picked from as usual. Several years ago Franny began including “surprises” on her birthday lists, which I think is a very legitimate ask. Strudel twigged to that idea and has run with it. I like to be surprised sometimes as well–a good one is a gift in itself.

On Sunday night P. and I were laying in bed at the late hour of 8:30 or so, and we had done all the necessary marshaling to send the girls off to blow zees. Strudel came in to have her fine, thick, long hair braided into two chunks before laying down, which makes it less of a tangled nightmare when she wakes up. She took in the picture of her destroyed parents in repose. For a moment I imagined we looked like Charlie Bucket’s grandparents, just ancient and broken.

She said goodnight and turned to leave the room, but lingered in the doorway for a moment.

“Are you two going to…flake on my birthday?”

“NO!” we said in unison.

I’m not going to lie, that hurt. The thing about this kid is that she says things like this, which is exactly what’s percolating in her roiling, evil brain, and has no idea how things may come over.

Franny, hypothetically in the same situation: “I am worried that you two are too sick to execute my birthday in a satisfactory fashion.” Franny’s first word was “poopbubble” (while pointing at an airplane) and while I don’t quite remember her second, I’m pretty sure my little Betazoid’s second word involved an “I” statement.

Strudel: “Sup, flakes.” Ouch.

But you can decode the message easily enough. I have never flaked on a birthday, though I think she was less than impressed at our tired, lackluster Xmas decorating in the first year in this house. There was presents and Feast though.

Franny was feeling better this weekend. She never got the voms like the rest of us, but she was still pretty knocked out with the virus. This weekend her volume went up again so I knew she was doing okay. She was chattering about Stephen King’s IT, which she read recently and brings up anytime she sees a clown, some balloons, or even something like a funny-shaped cloud. I think it’s made itself home in her psyche.

There were balloons tied to an open house sign on the way home from the store.

“BALLOONS! ‘They all float, motherfucker!” she said in a funny voice.

“Is that what Pennywise says?” I asked, laughing. I skipped the whole IT experience.

“Well, I added the ‘motherfucker’ part.”

She made me laugh so hard I peed a little. She doesn’t drop the MF bomb too often lately, but when she does, it’s pretty effectual. And a good sign for her health.

The smallest drop of pre-Christmas can get you immaculate pregnant so always wear your rugelachs

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Wherein we feature two basketball hoops, 70 quail eggs, Edith, “ten years ago”, and &etc.

PRESENTLY (h/t B-Potts) we are seated in the dining room, surrounded by the aroma of natural gas (well, okay, that gross stuff they use to scent it) and the windows open. There is a terrible grinding sound coming from the floor below me, but I am promised that the washing machine will be working by tonight, which is a fucking Xmas miracle in December. The cats and Horace are looking at me murderously, but Edith is chewing on a tendon that is almost as long than she is, with the attitude, “Tro lolo, it has always been this way and so I suppose it will always be.”

Puppies, like Earth girls, are easy.

I’m on vacation. Yah-TAH. I have no plans except to get out of town to Portland at some point soon. I’m enjoying hiding in my house when there is not banging noises. I think I like almost anything that changes my perspective some, which this remodel is doing. It has renewed my enthusiasm about having access to my very own personal washer and dryer that is accessible at any time day or night. That is really fucking special, isn’t it? How fortunate.

There have been small trials along the way, mostly under the column of capitalism fails. My contractor and I got our wires crossed and I ordered a tub and then he ordered a tub. Two tubs were hurtling towards my house from Kentucky. What a waste! My tub, which as it turns out was the wrong tub, had a bunch of fixtures I needed to fish out from under it, which involved cutting it off its pallet. I was afraid to have the tub come all the way to my house, thinking it would be a major fiasco to find strapping equipment to restrap it, and that it would take up too much room, since the non-Elco half of the garage is filled with things like dodgy dirt piles and tools.

So I decided the most efficient thing would be to drive to the shipping company that received the tub. They were amenable to this and were nice men to boot. One helped me undo the tub, fish the shower and sink fixtures out, and restrap it. I offered to pay for the materials but they waved me away. It was pretty cool to go out to a freight company in Woodinville. I need to find a job where I can hang out all kinds of places where no one wants me, like the laundromat and freight companies. I really wish I would have brought my camera. The office/dispatch area reminded me of some blue collar jobs I had in the way back before college. My back hurt just looking at the “YOU MUST BE COMPLETELY OFF DUTY FOR YOUR BREAKS” sign. I did get a sneak peek of the chrome lion footies as they will look on the correct tub and HOOBOY TACKY SHINY BONER AHOY.

The medicine chest arrived and when I brought it into the house I could hear the contents tinkling merrily–the mirrors were totally shattered. Also I have bought entirely too much tile, because I measured the basement before the plumber showed up and changed the design. The day they cut the cement floor open, many spaghetti poodles as well as other brik-a-brak jumped to their deaths off the shelf, gouging my toilet seat on the way down. There was something I’d never seen before that was original to the house–an electrical lock that opened the garage door, which was the entrance I was using for the workers. This lock is broken now. It’s these little things that I didn’t foresee happening that are adding to costs and are just kind of generally a bummer. It will be worth it when it’s done, though, and I am sitting in a giant vat of hot water reading a Lawrence Block novel.

I put the tile together last weekend to make sure I liked it and the design. This will be, basically, what the shower looks like when it’s done. If you cock your head to the left 90 degrees you will see what the vanity backsplash is meant to look like. Everything else is chrome and white.

This lighting is terrible, but let me assure you it’s a light green and black–Daltile “Mint Ice.” I decided to dance with the one what brung me and make the basement look like the upstairs. So, darker border tile, a “sizzle” tile and BINGO. It’s surprisingly hard to walk into a modern local tile store and get your mittens on boring 50s tile. HA.

Speaking of trashy writing like vintage Lawrence Block–I have written another short story, but unlike the one this spring which turned into a novella (whoops) and the one after that in the summer that turned into a novel (double whoops) this is an ACTUAL SHORT STORY. It’s about a woman who splits in two. I’m going to submit it to a few “exposure” (free) journals and see what happens after New Years. So that is a good thing that came out of my laundromatting.

I have been doing very little cooking, since my water is unpredictably off or on, and almost no entertaining. I did pickle a bunch of quail eggs on a whim, so these should be delicious in about three weeks. I used the last of my long pepper from my Victorian year. As well as allspice and mustard seed, so they will be Victorian goodness.

On one of my last days of work I decided to take the Elco out. It’s only coming out about weekly now, since it does not run as well in the cold, and as the former owner told me, “If the roads are icy and the back is empty, the rear can catch up with the front of the car and kill you.” Oh, okay. Good times. It’s rarely icy here, though, and the sunrises have been glorious lately. I think this car was made to be in Seattle now, really. Anyway I was driving it home and the volt gauge for the battery started jerking around.

“Nooooooo!” I melodrama-ed, which is my reaction every single time it’s not running perfectly. I ran home and played internet mechanic until I found out it was probably one of five things, all likely to do with the alternator. “What is an alternator,” I wondered to myself. I have made a vow to learn how cars go and so far I am doing okay with a lot of help. I gave P. the rundown of my findings and he volunteered to take a look. In previous lives before library school he was a tractor mechanic and a fishing boat mechanic, and what is an El Camino if not the bastard child of a boat and a tractor?

I added the weekly big gulp of oil and he looked from the other side. “Loose wire,” he said. I was so happy! I need to get a grip. (Not going to happen.)

As a finale to the 2013 part of the school year, Strudel performed in the holiday concert. She is in choir now, so she got to participate in almost every number done by each grade. Franny and I came to the school early so we could drop Strudel off with her music gang and we took a seat with a cherry view on the world’s most uncomfortable bleachers. There is not enough legroom for adults so all the parents end up sitting sideways and twisted for every event in the gym.

LO AND BEHOLD who should enter and make a beeline for where we were sitting but Loudmouth Nemesis Dad, who I have not seen since Halloween, thank fuck. Wait, what is someone who is like a baby nemesis who you only remember exists when you see them? A nemesette.

This jackwagon sat behind us and started making loud declarations about how busy they were and how stressed out his wife was. He has the loudest, most booming voice that can cut through, well, a gym full of parents and their excited children. “Well there’s the tree fundraiser,” he foghorned. “And my wife is busy with the wine fundraiser. She has to collect 35 more bottles! She is totally overwhelmed! And then we’re driving to Idaho for two weeks to visit my wife’s family…”

“Do you want to move?” I asked Franny.

“So much,” she said.

Our new seats were farther away on the other side and involved a very unpicturesque view of a basketball hoop. It was PERFECT.

SO. Let’s talk about TEN YEARS AGO. I am all over the place today, and I cannot even be arsed to use chapter headings or anything.

ANYWAYS. Look, Ma, I left my husband.

Am I different at 36 than I was at 26 with a three-year-old and totally freaked out? Yeah, I suppose I am. I’ve learned a lot, but sometimes I feel like the things I’ve learned about I will not have to go through again. Like, uh…tech contracting, maybe? I know how to do it, but I may never have to call on that special skill set again. I think I’m better at life in general. I learned how to go through a terrible divorce with years of custody fallout shit. Probably won’t do that again, because I know how to detangle myself from things now, as well as not getting with people who are rill bad for me.

This is what I, personally, would do differently, if my 36-year-old self was standing behind that little baby 26-year-old graduate student (ha).

1. Document all violence, big and little. I should have taken a picture of where his fist went through the wall, and when he put the doorknob of my new apartment through the wall. I should have called the cops when he was smashing the backyard. I should have called the cops and documented when he assaulted me after our separation, because then I might not have had to deal with the humiliation of the commissioner telling me in court that I “looked like I could take him.”

2. I should have kicked him out of our shared home. This, along with the documentation of violence, may have put me in a different standing for custody. I was operating from a place of personal ethics–it was not my house (his father owned it), so I felt like I had no right to stay. I’m sure my ex-FiL wouldn’t have minded, and if I’d daylighted the violence outside of court they might not have given him money. Hard to say now.

3. I should not have bothered trying to be friendly. This was a person I could barely talk to before I told him I was leaving him, so there was no point trying to chat with him after. I don’t think it hurt anything, per se, it was mostly just a waste of time and a headache. Cordiality and basic communication is different than friendly.

4. This is so small I hesitate to even mention it, but I left way too many things behind. Once the dust settles and you heal up emotionally, there was a lot of stuff I missed. Art I bought in Mexico, other dishes and appliances I’d had for years. I had to trade him a brand new Mark Bittman cookbook just to get the basic bitch Betty Crocker thing I taught myself to cook with, that I am emotionally attached to. Of course all the lovely Mexican art has been chucked now, but it was important that he keep it all at the time.

What would any of this have changed? Again, hard to say. You are rolling the dice when you set foot in family court. I’d like to think we could have avoided those two loooong years of 50/50 custody, as well as his bullshit claims that we should go back to 50/50 time when I filed for child support. But he moved away and his attention wandered eventually, so she has one room and a home base in the end. Would I do it again? Of course, in a heartbeat, and I would do it even more poorly if necessary. Things like my calavera last supper and my dignity lives on in my memory, at least. Merry Fuckmas.