Archive for the ‘Ah, Regrets’ Category

Sad Clown Good Summer

Friday, August 1st, 2014

I have been waiting to tell you for almost two months–I have quit my job. Well, I tried to quit. I handed in my resignation letter and everything. My last day in the office was yesterday.


I cleaned out my cubicle, which sent the message “how about send me an email instead.”

I was feeling a lot better around the time I resigned. I felt like I had a lot of clarity. That generic life kind of clarity and a lack of brain fog. I probably felt about 85% healthy at that point.


This is the closest I come to an Instagram filter.

And then they offered me a short-term contract that I could do in 15 hours a week until the end of the year. I’m only like medium stupid so even I knew that was a good deal. I’m keeping my hand in and avoiding a gap on my resume.

In the meantime, I will be writing. I have a terrible pornographic vampire novella to finish. I would also like to edit an unpornagraphic short story I wrote in a laundromat around xmastime when I had time off that I will kick out under my real name. So I need to see if I can do this–write and edit and self-publish when I have concentrated blocks of time. If I can consistently make enough royalties, then I can leave Techworld…FOREVER.

Now as an extra-curricular activity I will be working on my health too, which was another hard thing for me to do in an office.

So things could be a lot worse. I could live with someone who writes messages in eyeliner when my toothbrush head gets ancient.

Wait, that is me. I do that to people.

Anyway. I think I will be off the wifis this weekend in Twin Peaks, and I’m not really going to seek it out, so I’ll be out of touch. I’m bringing my laptop and I’ll probably be writing offline. And I will take pictures, lots of pictures. HAVE A GOOD WEEKEND.

Talk about pussy power

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

I HATE DANDELIONS! I know, I know, everyone does, unless you’re one of those twee morons who says things like, “But what is a weed, anyway, man?” or you’re an UBERFORAGER and you make underpants out of bark, or, most likely, you’ve never been forced to keep up a rental yard that the owner just won’t up and pave/gravel/whatever. A thing I hate even more than dandelions themselves is a landlord’s dandelions. It is a trial, like hanging out in a whale.

When I was in middle school my mother ran away from home for the third time and we ended up in middle of the city that was adjacent to the village I grew up in. There were actual city things there, like crosswalks and stores, and more than just bar, bar, church, bar.

Right down the street from our temporary robber’s cave was a big, decaying house that served as a media junk shop. It cemented my love of two things: Nixon political memorabilia, and science fiction and fantasy books. I would beg my mother for money or for the chance to do paid chores so I could buy deliciously stinky, shredding pulp novels by CJ Cherryh, Robert Asprin, or Terry Brooks.

I read EVERYTHING. All kinds of trash. Really good stuff that made me cry, like The Golden Apples of the Sun. I was completely non-discriminating in that way that kids are. Mostly I would dive into the sci fi/fantasy section, and pick things by cover and blurb. If I liked something, I would try to buy all of the books there by an author.

One day I picked up a book that had something very weird on the cover. It was a painting of a sexy dandelion, with boobs and feminized humanlike features under where the yellow flower part was. I cannot, for the life of me, remember what it was called or who wrote it, but I know it involved a time or space traveler who found himself in a world with lower tech and a bunch of political drama that could be solved in two minutes if anyone understood how to make a gun or how pregnancy worked. The part where the traveler was consulting with the sentient, lurid weed seemed tacked on, as if the editor said, “This is okay, but the painting for this book is already done. Your story needs a fuckable giant flower with tigol bitties that issue some kind of mind control sap.”

?? !!

I think this was my first encounter with any kind of interspecies sexytimes (though it was not the last, to both my delight and dismay), but this one broke the seal and made an impression. Every time I am out weeding, I think of this horrible book. I’m actually a little squicked by the larger ones that get away from you with the huge roots…just argh. I cannot knowingly eat any part of them.

That’s kind of generally insulting anyway. “Here, I found this crap at the side of the road that is kind of bitter and annoying and I made you a salad with it.” And yet I like wild mushrooms and berries and drugs I find on the ground. I DUNNO MAN. I am still a mystery to you.

My point being, dear diary, today I weeded my disaster of a front yard because I could not stand to look outside and see dandelions. And I planted sunflowers (acceptable yellow flower). The WORST flowers are ALWAYS yellow. It’s just a fact.

Acceptable yellow flowers: sunflowers, forsythia

Marginally acceptable yellow flowers that are ok but look cheap even if they’re not: lilies, roses, carnations

Unacceptable yellow flowers: marigolds (YUK), dandelions, everything else

IN OTHER NEWS

I love bags that are PSAs:

Here is your Zen riddle for today: if I had common sense, I would not have the contents of this bag. GOOOOOOONG!!! Goodbye.

You can fly

Friday, June 27th, 2014

We’re going to start with eggs and end with a BEEYOOTIFUL swan.

Recently I read that double yolkers are the results of first-year hens trying to get their albumens together. I think this must be one of Fruit Loops’s, who is around a year old. The eggs are big this year.

I ordered duck eggs recently, because they were on mega-sale through my CSA, and if you know duck eggs you know they are large.

The duck egg is in the middle and mine are flanking it. The biggest one on the left, which ended up being the double yolker.

Last weekend we popped out and picked up three more pullets, since I recently lost a couple of chickens again. We’re back up to eight again.

These are kind of my garden variety deviled eggs, except with some goddess dressing in place of lots of mayo, and with some beet horseradish and a pickled jalapeno on top. I found the horseradish at some random store called…The Europe Store (?), in Mill Creek, maybe, after an unsuccessful mushroom hunting trip in BFE. I am always sad when stores like that don’t sell what’s in their name. Imagine buckets full of dirt from Belgium or deeds to castles in file cabinets for sale at the Europe Store.

This sinister mess is custard steeping with coffee grounds. Beloved Shan stayed overnight almost a year ago on her way to a vacation elsewhere and she brought a really cool hostess present. I am cooking (ice creaming?) my way through it this summer and the first one is Vietnamese iced coffee ice cream. It is KAPOW. A good start.

It’s a pretty nice here, for June. Cloudy today but it’s been really sunny and the tomatoes are going crazy.

My scented geraniums are going bananas. I have flavors like nutmeg, mimosa, chocolate mint. I am trying to figure out how to overwinter them without bringing them indoors.

I’m also slowly digging up the front yard. This is a weird one, because there’s going to be an egress window from the basement happening in this yard, which will make kind of a big covered pit, so the plantings need to move out from the perimeters of the house.

So other than the quince tree behind the birdbath, and the boxwood hedge, I am not sure what’s going to stay. When we moved in, it was four square raised beds with pebbles between, centered with the birdbath, but the bed frames were rotting and it needs to be shifted. I want something kind of more organic and less formal, but I really don’t know what I’m doing here. I stopped digging it up, because I could feel the bees frowning at me. P. wants to transplant some of the herbs in the fall as well. So I am leaving it bee for now. GET IT BECAUSE “BEES.”

Finally, since it is early summer, they actually let my kid graduate. I got her report card and she mostly recovered from her disaster, EXCEPT her Japanese grade got WORSE. A complete flunk out there!

I have been wondering if she sabotaged her own trip, honestly. She was becoming increasingly anxious about going. I’m still sad, I really wish she would have pulled it off.

She’s been really clinging lately–to childhood, I guess. She’s been mad at me for lots of things, including insisting that she check her email once a week and suggesting that she start a book of faces account to keep track of her middle school friends. I want to hand her a crow feather and say, “Beat it to the mall like a normal kid and come back before dinner, ok.”

Her father, the notorious SeaFed, was there, which was a nice surprise. He was trailed by his three youngest daughters. Two of them look like toilet paper commercial angels and the other one looks like his wife. Strudel met them for the first time.

After graduation we were invited to the cafeteria to have cake and punch, but SeaFed fled to the parking lot, where he waited for Franny to come out so he could take her to ice cream. Franny ran back and forth between the cafeteria and the parking lot until I told her to STOP IT ALREADY, I would just come out and see her off with her father. She was obviously anxious about her worlds colliding and tried to slip off, to just leave, but I kept up.

I offered to take a picture of all of the SeaFederales, and he said, “You might be surprised to learn I remembered my camera.”

There was so much in that single sentence, it was kind of stunning. It was sort of a dig at me, because I used to have to keep on top of him about the tiniest shit (until I stopped and found that the world didn’t end, not even close). It was a dig at himself as well, famously forgetful and on Planet Mars half the time.

“Oh no, I meant all of you together,” I said.

“Oh!” He handed over the camera and I snapped him and his four girls.

Franny left a couple of days later and has not been in touch as usual. I don’t think she knows how to bridge the gap, to stay in touch. Just like her running back and forth between the parking lot and the cafeteria. I should be collecting her from the airport on July 15, but instead I will be meeting her at the ferry terminal as usual.

Here is a taco holding an Abe Lincoln.

Function is the key

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

UP BETIMES and writing for an hour. ~860 words. When I am at my peak I can crank out about 1,000 words an hour, preferably to the accompaniment of my 90′s R&B station on Pandora. Bel Biv Devoe really saut├ęs my scallions at 6 a.m., YAKNOWWHATIMEAN? When I was really pushing it I could barf out about 2,500 words a day in addition to working 40 hours and being generally awesome. I am writing under a new pseudonym since this is a new genre I’m writing in. This is how I want you to think of me, up at dawn listening to Color Me Badd and writing terrible fetish porn for money.

I almost feel like this should be my last entry ever ending with that sentence. BUT NO. Sorry. What is the end like? I think it’s death. I should probably do like the NYT and put my obituary in a drawer.

I’m morbid on this beautiful, sunny day. I think it’s because I was sifting through the long ago, trying to sort my way into the future. Now that the bathroom is done, P. is chomping at the bit to demo the other half of the basement.

“Do you have ALL MORNING?” I asked.

“What!” he said, innocently. “We just need to move some furniture.”

False. I knew there was sorting to do, and a Goodwill pile, and more things to go in boxes. It would require THINKING. That’s the worst kind of cleaning, isn’t it?

We spelunked into the file cabinet. Here is the Jacob Marley part, showing you his cobwebby scrabblebag:

Why, it’s my court paperwork! Most of it, anyway. This is all from the first action (divorce). I saved all this because I did not think the bullshit was over. I was right, because then he moved, and then child support, and THEN 2.5 years to settle the parenting plan, and FML. That’s the synopsis.

I had a friend who was considering her own divorce from her husband, about a year after mine was finalized in 2005. I remember pulling this stack out and saying, “Look, this is a physical representation of the shitstorm that’s coming.” Hers was worse than mine in some ways, though I don’t think her husband claimed she was a Satanist. (Hail Vigoda.)

So today all of this went into the recycling bin. Fuck it. It’s done. Things are so nailed down now there’s no reason to refer to this stuff. Any action going forward will be a new action. I think there was a point to keeping it all at one time. How much have I spent on lawyers…maybe $25k in the past ten years? That might be low. My advice is to stay in your house as much as possible and wear your helmet when you go out. There is no birth control like an ever-present helmet, plus safety.

Of course P. had to rip at some of the walls after most of the stuff was moved out.

It turns out the studs are laid flat side down, so there’s no room for modern insulation at a proper thickness. The idea is that the walls, which are just studs and this terrible cheap paneling (a pale shadow of the nice fir stuff that’s on the upstairs walls) will go. The ceiling is panels, but after some research and due diligence none of it seems to be asbestos. I am fond of the lights, but they’re just not very functional in a low-ceilinged space that is meant to be a bedroom. I’m thinking about kicking some of them upstairs to the kitchen to replace the dire boob lights.

The window to the right will become an up to code egress. I am thinking about lightly limewashing the fireplace, since that is reversible, and will lighten up the room. I’m really okay with a dim bedroom, since the living areas of the house are so bright.

He pulled some paneling on the east side of the room, where there is (was) a wall between the living room and the furnace room, but now there’s nothing!

Here’s a view into a finished bathroom. YAHOOEY! The closet will go on this side, and it’s going to have to do double duty as a linen closet for the basement. It should be fine.

I want to hang a couple more things in the bathroom and then I will snap it….probably tomorrow, fingers crossed.

Born to be a god among salesmen

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Hooboy. For those who are not familiar, in the popular video game The Sims 2, there is an item your avatar can use to literally suck the skill out of another Sim. I mean, I’ve definitely sucked the skills out of people before, but it’s usually temporary and they recover with a nap or some therapy. So I guess I am looking at my last post date and feeling like someone has done that to me. Time is flashing by again, and all I’m doing is working, in spite of having a grillion ideas about what to write. I’m going to figure this out, mark my words.

So, check this cray shit: my bathroom, as of Monday, is FINALLY done. I think it’s been more than a month since construction finished. We failed the plumbing inspection three times because the plumber is a cock. It all involved something very boring called a mixing valve, and him installing the wrong one, and then fighting city hall and the League of Inspectors and losing. All of this took time. In the meantime we took a shower a few times, because YAY NEW BATHROOM.

ASIDE: an exchange I just had with Franny.

Me: Are you going to eat those Cheerios dry?

F: I don’t like almond MALK, MOTHER.

Me: Why don’t you just put some cream on that business?

F: I’ll have the shits all day. DO YOU WANT ME TO HAVE THE SHITS ALL DAY?

Me: …Is this a trick question?

That kid yells everything now.

ANYWAY. After taking a shower less than ten times, water started coming out of the wall. So the plumber had to come fix that too. I am kind of afraid to take a bath because I am afraid of water in the wall. I better bite the bullet, though, because this room is only under warranty for year.

The good news is that once the plumber started his cavalcade of shittery, we have not paid for any of it, thanks to our contractor. He told us more than once that he’s not using this plumber again. I looked at his Yelp page and I’m sure his reviews are all fake.

I’d rather just have things done, of course, than have my contractor foot the bill. But now they are…maybe. P. took a wall panel down in the basement last night and nothing was behind it, so now we can see directly into the furnace room. I need to take some pictures. This weekend is going to be moving the furniture out of the basement “living room” so demolition can start properly in that room.

Moving furniture is a sucky thing I can do now, because I’m feeling pretty much back to normal. I’ve been realizing I feel like I had some kind of weird mental reset, and now I super care about stuff I didn’t before and I don’t care about other stuff I did. I’m still trying to sort out what goes in which column. It’s really alarming, in a way that’s completely unapparent to the casual observer. I suspect my reserves were really low in February and I was headed for some kind of crash. It’s not good when your whole family licks food poisoning and you can’t shake it off.

I’m eating well. Kind of a lazy Whole 30. I don’t want to join the food/exercise cultists, I just want to eat and feel okay. I have a work comrade I like to go out to lunch with, and I thought I’d get a Thai beef salad, but the lunch menu was all rice and noodles. I just went with it, but it was really surprising. Other than the curry, I didn’t really enjoy any of it. I guess it’s been about a month now on a lot of hardcore veg and it’s becoming a habit. It’s shifting the steroid weight gain and I’m having very few sugar crashes. Very few headaches. I don’t “need” coffee like I did and I don’t drink it most days. I don’t feel like I’m about 90 and I’m a fucking walking thesaurus on the fly in conversation like in ye olde thymes. I was actually getting quieter around the time I got sick because I was struggling for words or the complete parts of a story I wanted to tell.

Franny’s ramping up to middle school graduation next month, and her trip to Japan. I had to have a talk with her about how she busted her promise to keep her grades up this year as a condition of this trip. I calmly told her she would be fundraising completely on her own to have future opportunities like this one.

She went into a tirade about how the Japan trip was my idea (it wasn’t) and how she didn’t really want to go in the first place (lies). I told her that was all irrelevant once she’d decided to go and agreed to the conditions. Her plan lately is to start yelling and try to blame everything for whatever the problem is rather than take responsibility for her actions. In short, she’s acting like a young human being.

I’ll tell you the truth, though, she’s so histrionic lately it’s hard to keep a straight face. I know she’s really feeling these feelings, but it’s over the top. She had taken a deep breath and was at the start of some fresh tack when her nose started bleeding. Franny has a fair amount of nose bleeds in the spring and summer, much like her father, so I wasn’t super alarmed.

“Oh honey, your nose is bleeding. Have a tissue.” I found myself making schmoopy “poor baby” face at her. I didn’t mean to. She was just so funny with her crazy yelling and then she had hysteric’d herself into a nosebleed.

“WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING AT ME ARGH!” STOMP STOMP STOMP SLAM.

P. came home shortly thereafter and she had recovered and was yelling some phrase at the table in between our sentences. He told her to pipe down.

“WHY? I’m not INTERRUPTING.” ($PARENT takes ten points of OBNOXIOUS DAMAGE!)

“You know, I’m not exactly thrilled with you and your grades right now, and this is not helping,” he said.

This set off an episode of “EVERYONE HATES ME” that involved more hysterics and us trying to calmly and briefly state that we no one hated her, we were just unhappy with her actions. As if I needed more multitasking during dinner. I am such an asshole–I had to turn around at the sink so she wouldn’t see me smiling. I do not know what my problem was yesterday.

P. even called her out on using “POOR ME AND MY SMOOSHED FEELINGS” as a distraction from what the real problem was, which was the decisions she made. It was pretty awesome. I knew he was going to be a good dad. He was pretty much a grandpa when I met him already.

“Are we DONE?” she asked, when we had, in fact, said our piece.

“Not until you’re 18,” P. said. ZING!

Other than the fact that her general obnoxiousness level has risen significantly in the past few months, which I can pretty much ignore, she’s pretty cool to be around most of the time. It’s obvious she’s just absolutely intoxicated with hormones and barely able to deal most of the time. I feel for her. But I am not going to let her skate, either.

Strudel, on the other hand, is an absolute dream right now. She practices her violin and is polite and wants to play games with us and is doing pretty well at school considering she has an absolutely 5-car pileup of a teacher this year. She’s got some of that nine-year-old spaciness, but I’m going to enjoy the crap out of this now, because when she hits 13 it will be like living with a psychotic corporate lawyer who can beat you at Scrabble.

It’s Poofy, Bitch

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Hey, it’s my last steroid pill. Bye, jerk.

I am told it will take about a week for the Prednisone to leave my system completely. Once I realized I was going through withdrawal during the two week tapering process, which was causing joint pain and muscle soreness (ha ha the thing it was suppose to relieve) I felt better. Every three days I tapered down by half a pill and on that day it felt like someone came up behind me and gave me a good hard shove in the middle of the back off a curb. Brain fog, achiness, irritability.

So I want to say, as if this is my award speech, thank you to everyone who called, visited, emailed, texted, commented. It means a lot to me and it really did make me feel better. If you know someone else who is sick, do exactly what you did again for them.

My prize is a lifetime supply of Rice-a-Roni and ten pounds. I am distinctly more vibealicious than I enjoy being. However, if this is what I get over death or a chronic condition, I’ll take it. It’s a small setback in my four-year plan to become a furce cougar by forty with the ropy neck tendons and Courtney Cox weave and spray tan. At least all my clothes fit. Okay, most of them.

And this is much better than last week when I was so poofy due to the Prenisone bloat I looked like a 7 months pregnant Chipette giving a blowie. I discovered activated charcoal. I don’t care if it’s monkeyscience, it seemed to be depoofing my poor guts. I’m trying to do things like put in probiotics and take vitamin B.

Another upside of this is that I have barely noticed my last two periods. I think the steroids were having a good effect there on cramps, maybe? No cramps + menstrual cup= me forgetting I was on my period. Oops. I would wander off and not put it back in. The Gift of the Menstrual Cup. There, I have just named your bestselling self-help memoir. YOU’RE WELCOME.

I will be interested to see what life without a hammering heart is like again. I’ve been off coffee (drinking herbal tea or less caffeinated tea) but I bet that won’t last long. I’ve been having fewer frightening crashes as I’ve been tapering down, but I was in bed at 8:30 last night, which seemed like a “mini” crash. I predict a couple of days of a LOT of sleep. Yay.

In Other News: Edith at the Hotel

I anti-socialed out and hid at the hotel with the dogs, which was the best thing for everyone. I could not really carry on a conversation, I was so tired.

Edith was amazed by baths. I think she thought only she goes in there.


“What are you doing?”


“Horace, are you seeing this?”


“Seriously, what the fuck are you doing?”

Eventually she got close enough so I could grab her with my bucket. I washed her with the fancy shower gel and then looked down. My bathwater was brown. I am stupid. The dog was clean, though. Then I took a shower and put the lotion on my skin.


“Is that yuzu lemongrass I smell?”

I Shaved My Dog Now I’m Not Sad; Or, Where’d You Go, Asshole?

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

There is a lot of music that reminds me of other people, but the other people don’t know I was ever thinking about them, nor have they heard the music themselves. I realized this this morning when I was listening to Felicia Carter, who I haven’t listened to since last summer really. It’s like someone else wrote the secret poems for you.

Yep, we’re calling it spring. I even went outside in the 6 a.m.s and could see things. The birds are going crazy, but my chickens, who do get the pellet, not the worm, are sleeping in.

I think the plum tree is going to have a good year. I made like Obama with the turkey and gave it a pardon after its extremely lackluster performance last year. I figure if it wasn’t actively diseased or foaming at the trunk or anything it could stay.

“We could just plant a new one,” P. said.

“Let’s give it one more year,” I said. “It’s old. Maybe it’s just tired.” If plum trees ever sit in judgment of my root system I hope they will come to the same conclusion about me. Next year. One more year.

He sprayed it with salad oil. I don’t question these things, really. I mean, maybe he knows something, or maybe he is just crazy. (Cue the sound of “HEY” many hours later when he discovers this.) Something seems to have worked.

I am considering spraying salad oil all over my own face at the moment. I’ve got the Prednisone poof. I’m not full-on Om Nom Hamster but it’s not great, either. There’s this rise where the chipmunk action starts and then it stops and I can actually see normal face and cheekbone behind, so it’s not like when my face has just been fat. I woke up the other morning and my nose was swollen–I actually noticed it in my peripheral vision. I am down to one pill and I feel pretty normal and sleep isn’t too bad anymore. By Monday I will be on half a pill, and then done by Thursday. I hear it can take a couple of weeks for the swelling to go down. In the meantime I feel like I have grit in my eyes so I wear my sunglasses everywhere, but am considering a bag for my head. I think I have had more veins burst in my cheeks but it’s hard to tell at this point. When no one is looking I kind of fondle my fat cheek parts and they sort of feel like dumplings or like mochi or something. My anpan filling is: bile.

[As a fun aside, P. came by while I was editing this, marveling over how my face is totally back to normal now. He is insane and can somehow sense when I am feeling bad about myself and will take that moment to say the most untrue thing.]

Franny left on Friday morning and I happened to be here since I had a vet appointment for the spaniels, who had ear infections and ear mites. I kind of understood their ears were off when I was really sick and I was trying to keep them clean, but I hadn’t realized how bad it had gotten until Horace yelped twice at work when people were petting him. They got shots and I have ear cream and I am getting drugs for them, all is well. I am ace at cats but still kind of a dog novice, sigh.

This is one of those things that is so easy to deal with when everything is normal. But getting sick, followed by lice, and now dogs. Whoosh. I think everything is under control now. (HA HA, did I really just type that.) After work I washed my car and made dinner and just that was exhausting, but not in a bad way. It’s weird to go from being able to do 12,000 things in a day to having to pick three things and then being forced to stop.

But this is all an aside to say that we decided to have a fight on the way out the door. I, Official Monitor of Toothbrushes, happened to notice that hers had been untouched for a couple of days, since I had put a replacement head in the bathroom for her. I should have left it alone. Am I actually capable of not answering the siren song of neglected oral hygiene? I am not.

“Hey, you went to bed early last night,” I said.

“Yeah, I was tired,” she said.

“You ate a bunch of candy and then I know you didn’t brush your teeth and then you went to bed.” Wait for it, it gets worse: “That is a recipe for cavities, friend.”

“I’m not going to GET cavities,” she said.

“SAY WHAT, CRACKER?”

“I don’t get them,” she rephrased.

“Well, if you keep up on your teeth you are less likely to get cavities. Magical thinking like that is not going to protect you from anything.”

“I need to be POSITIVE, MOM. I can’t tell myself I’m going to get cavities.”

“No one thinks they’re going to get them, honey,” I said. “But there’s steps you can take…”

“ARGH. It is so hard having divorced parents,” she said.

I think this bout of drama is coming from a friend at school whose parents are fighting unceasingly, causing the girl to worry her parents are splitting. It is also causing Franny to be in the ladies’ bathroom with her during 4th and 5th period while the girl cries, which I don’t love. Franny is the resident expert on divorce.

“I told her what it is like to go through a divorce,” she said, on Thursday evening.

“Do you remember?” I asked, innocently. “You were only three.”

“YESSSSSS,” she sighed at me.

But back to oral hygiene.

“So what is so hard about having divorced parents?” I asked.

“You’re so STRICT, Mom! If I forgot to brush my teeth, my dad would just say, ‘Oh well, do it tomorrow.”

This is where I interject in my head only: There’s an epitaph for you.

“Your dad and I are different people,” I said. “You know that.”

There was a little more scrabbling and then she stomped off to her room declaring she “didn’t want to talk about it anymore.” This is her tack lately–get very defensive about something, then declare the conversation over.

Strudel was sitting across from me at the table.

“Do you want to live somewhere else?” I asked her sotto voce.

“Where would I go? I belong here.”

“The train station?” I offered.

“There is no one who loves me at the train station.”

Later Franny came out to pack her backpack for school.

“You know, honey,” I tried again. “Your dad and I are so different, that even if we were still together, we would have drastically different ideas about how you should be raised and treated. We did when we were together and trying to raise you. This isn’t just a divorced parent thing. This is a different people thing.”

She said nothing. I went on, because when things are going down the crapper I like to enhance the situation by sticking my head in tiger mouths I guess.

“P. and I don’t always agree on you guys, but we find compromises. That’s the key.” Silence. “Um. So. We’re not going to see each other for a week. Are you sure you want to leave things like this?”

She walked out.

“Bye, Mom!” Strudel said, following her.

Franny was like this last summer as well. Really, really shitty before long breaks or vacations. This was bound to happen if I’d brought up the tooth brushing or not. I have heard all the theories and I’m not going to spend the week fretting. I assume we will have a talk at some point. I hope someday we can have more of a “Bye, have a nice trip, see you in a week,” interaction.

Later, after school, Strudel surmised that Franny was jealous we are taking a trip to Portland without her. Maybe so…maybe not. I know Franny is going to Walla Walla for spring break.

In other “stupid things I have done lately” news I decided to “loan” my sister my ye olde butcher block table.


VANISHED! Now all the plants have moved and are in a terrible jumble.

It’s actually really good because their apartment needed an additional countertop. Their space is like ours–50′s apartment, instead of house, with a galley kitchen and an open nook and no counterspace. So the butcher block will be a counter and a workspace in the nook. You can make bread on it and chop things, which is what it was used for when SeaFed’s mother had it in her kitchen. Since I’ve had it, it’s been off to the side somewhere, holding plants, not actually being used. It was acting as a plant stand in this house, which is a shame. I just gave her the whole “If you move and you think you want to get rid of it, let me know first,” but really we will be here a while, and this kitchen will never magically expand to hold it as an island, and my ass needs drawers and shit. I did give her the “This is an Alexander heirloom” lecture since we West Coast meanderers have such few possessions that actually mean anything. I did have a sigh when I tucked it away into a corner in another house yet again.

So P. is like, “Yo, what is your plan for this corner now that you have given away a thing we had that was working.” This is a very legitimate question. Sadly, I do not have an answer. Yet. I think I need a Countertop Solution. I really like what’s going on at this house. I’m imagining sealing the “permanent” counters that are by the sink and stove, and leaving my standalone guy sealed with food-grade oils so P. can continue making bread there as he likes. But maybe something in the corner too. Well, I have done it now. Godspeed, little butcher block table. You made my mother-in-law’s 80′s kitchen look fabulous, and I’m glad I inherited you when she remodeled in the aughties.

I’ve signed up for fruit and veg delivery, which was kind of a little epiphany I had when I was sick and getting stacks of frozen Trader Joe’s food in. It’s not a proper CSA in that they use multiple sources, but it’s nice. I’ve been meaning to do it for years but the time was never quite right. It’s making me really creative, because I take it as a challenge to use everything up before the next delivery. I’m thinking about going back to Amazon Fresh too. I may never leave my house again, except for work. (I am working on a secret mole tunnel; it’s only four miles).

Anyway, I forced myself to quick pickle this asparagus before I left town so it wouldn’t go bad.

HAVE A GOOD DAY.

“I have to get up at five o’clock in the morning and SPARKLE, Neely, SPARKLE!”

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

I wanted to show you my bathroom today, since it was supposed to be finished, but the plumbing inspection failed on Thursday. My least favorite plumber, aka Jackass Plumber, forgot to install a mixing valve on top of the hot water heater. Or perhaps he was not aware he needed to. It’s unclear.

The same inspector who approved the rough plumbing returned.

“Oh I see you went for the FANCY toilet,” he editorialized. There are way too many men in my house lately.

“Mmm hmm,” I said.

“Looks like this shower isn’t done.”

“It’s an open shower.”

“No door?” he asked.

“No door.”

He ran it.

“I guess the water’s staying in…”

And then a tick next to the word “failed.”

We get to try again next week. Also my vanity legs should be here by then. I bought vanity legs via my cabinet company. The legs–really more an idea of legs–were a very small black-and-white picture in the catalog that promised to be good metal companions to go with my retconned faux-nostalgic midcentury vanity that looks like something James Bond could have thrown up into, had vanities like this existed in the 1950′s. They did not. I’m enjoying this trend of thinking about what a credenza looks like and putting plumbing in.

But this isn’t Sears and Roebuck times. It is really bullshit to show me small black and white pictures at all. Sure enough, they arrived, and they are hideous. I didn’t really know what I was getting, which is not a defense. I asked for a picture or an internet link or a sample, but it didn’t really come to pass. First they sent two separate sets of black plastic legs, which was not what I ordered at all–so there was that delay.

Then what I did order showed up.


For size comparison, it cavorts among sauv blanc, water, and someone’s jank ass phone what needs a new case like whoa.

They were also kind of scratched or at least unevenly painted, and didn’t work at all with the actual vanity.

“Sooo the legs finally came,” I said, proffering them to my contractor. “Yay.” I was making bargains with myself at this point, just wanting to finish. I can do something else with the legs at some point, I told myself. He pulled one out.

“Do you like these legs?” he asked me, giving me a hard look.

“Well. Um. Maybe I can paint them, though?” He waited. “No. I don’t like them. And they’re kind of scratched up. I’ll go find some legs I actually like and have them sent immediately.” He nodded.

So I ordered legs from a site that does…midcentury legs. I figure they have ONE JOB, and they can do it well. RIGHT? Knock on knock-off legs.

It turns out the legs that we waited so long for and that I hated don’t even fit properly. So it was all moot.

We were hoping to start demoing the other half of the basement today, but it really needs to wait until the inspectors are done. One project at a time, please. So I have been futzing around the house today doing little odds and ends like painting a pillar on my porch that was getting very weather-ravaged, and test driving the DJ Roomba I bought with my tax refund. (R.I.P. Neato.)

Also I have been thinking about my kitchen today. There’s a couple of issues with it. It’s on the north side of the house, and gets a wee bit of sunlight in morning. It’s a candidate around here for a couple of those tubular skylights.

So this is what it looks like around 2 p.m. on an average April day. Dimmer than this picture makes it seem.

I decided to play up the primary colors feel between the yellow tile with the burgundy sizzle stripe and the teal-ish cabinets by adding a lot of primary red. The peace lily and the chevron bag is my sister’s for the little housewarming visit I made to her today. I had a squee. Among other things, I made her bacon peanut brittle and pickled eggs. I moved into that exact neighborhood when I was exactly her age, except her life is way less fucked up than mine was at 26. Yeh.

Also it’s L-shaped. Not much to be done about that. I like that it’s a one- or two-person kitchen and it’s pretty easy to convince people to beat it during parties so I can do my thing and get out.

Here it is with the lights on:

DEATH TO BOOB LIGHTS.

So here’s the tentative plan, but not for a while. Get ready for 50′s house heresy: I am taking out the countertops. I just cannot with the tiles any longer. Crud gets stuck in them constantly, liquid pools, and they always look dirty. I am thinking about doing wood but am not sure. I am keeping all the yellow backsplash, though. The cabinets are getting a new color scheme, and we have to redo the floors. The dishwasher leaked in January and it fucked up some of the underlayment. I feel lumps when I walk now. And the vinyl is going, of course. I am leaving the OG lights alone and the configuration, basically. It’s a nice cubey kitchen that is very 50′s sensible–no need to rip out the cabinets or anything. And it’s almost impossible to reconfigure an l-shaped kitchen so I am calling it good.

So now the question is how to work with yellow with a burgundy sizzle. I am thinking about doing something Frenchy Provencally after stumbling on a bathroom that is just like my kitchen, really (thank you, comments section).

Grey? Blue? Both? Cannot decide.

I am in the germinating phase now, since it’s far off.

This week was my last week of working part time. I’ve tapered down on Prednisone again today and it was a zap on my brain again. I dropped a bottle of rice vinegar on the back porch today–it was like it just left my hand somehow and shattered. I think I may actually sleep well tonight instead of my heart hammering at 2 a.m though. I’ve been sleeping 2-4 hours a night for several nights in a row and then I have a massive crash and sleep 12-14 hours and have a “good” day.

“How are you doing?” my contractor asked. It was before the plumbing inspector came, and we both thought we would pass with flying colors, and I would not see him again until maybe I asked him back to put in a gas insert in the basement fireplace.

“I’m okay,” I said. “The steroids are worse than the disease at this point.”

“Ah, I hear that,” he said. “I’ve been dealing with steroids for the last 25 years or so. I’m on my third heart.”

“Wow,” I said.

“And I’m a cancer survivor.”

“Holy cats, I’m glad you’re here.” We always say dumb things in the face of surprising information like this, right? Maybe just me, though.

“Me, too.” He said he owed it all to qigong and energy practice. I was not going to argue with that. I pretty much owe everything to obsessive attention to masturbation and the idea that tea tree oil can cure anything, including late-stage capitalism and jungle rot.

However. Cooking doesn’t require much thought at this point, which is pretty comforting. I can kind of just feel my way around. How many thousands of times have I sweated an onion? It sounds stupid but it really is so grounding to me. I had a little moment when I wasn’t able to walk or stand much where I was asking myself why I ever cooked, as we were hauling giant piles of frozen Trader Joe’s loot into the house that cost less than food that required marketing, planning, and chopping.

But now I’ve been doing a lot of cooking after work. On Thursday I made an asparagus and gruyere tart and then made Moroccan lamb shanks because why not? I’ve been cooking for so many years now that I think it’s keeping me from coming unhinged a little. Here is a normal thing. I was so anxious on Thursday afternoon I felt like I was going to have a panic attack, could not answer the phone, so I just focused on cooking. I had an alarm guy coming over and I felt like I was going to throw up, and made myself take an Atavan. It kind of freaks me out how I went from fish oil and an occasional Tylenol eight weeks ago to Valley of the Dolls so quickly. I hate this. I know it’s temporary, but I feel so trapped inside pointless, needless side-effectsy anxiety. I just kept rolling puff pastry dough and chopping garlic while he chit chatted at me about losing a cat from a hotel room during a cross country move.

I decided to see if I could bang together a Moroccan dish that tasted like Moroccan food with what I had in the cupboard and from memory. It was okay, really. I’d write it down, but I didn’t take a picture, so that would be kind of boring. It turned out. But here’s the tart:


Alien wiener tart.

I have been junking/thrift scoring plant stands for the house and bathroom. I liked my new snake plants but I thought they needed some levels to be finished. Behold my whirlwind life.

Now I’m happy with it.

Any thoughts about my kitchen are A. optional and B. would be welcomed.

I am guessing I have now paid off about 7/10s of the temples I burned down in a past life

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

I take some steroids for breakfast, some codeine for DIZ-sert/
By the time they bring the pancakes, I’m only partly alert

(With non-apologies to Kanye West but I will link to the lyrics page because that seems to make them send me emails to ask me to stop linking to them. Jolly times.)

Up betimes and pretending to do my taxes, except actually emailing with my contractor, Jolly Mike Ehrmantrout, about some last minute plumbing stuff. It turns out the pipes under the bathroom sink faucet are not long enough to make a connection to the water below. Ha! Solutions are being solicited and bandied. I had to ride my tauntaun to the outlands of West Seattle yesterday to see if they carried a faucet that would come with long pipes.

Also:

Me neither, JME! This means I get to see Jackass Plumber again. The last time I saw him around Xmas he “fixed” my laundry set up, then left, and my basement trench flooded. I was not supposed to see Jackass Plumber on Thursday when he was here and was to be finishing everything up, since I was supposed to be at work, but I got derailed again (more on that soon). He came up to talk at me about pipe problems and give me some bizarre recommendations for faucet brands. I brought one recommendation to the plumbing store in West Seattle and they pulled out the catalog and said, “Er…see, that brand doesn’t really do residential, just mostly pretty plain industrial-purpose stuff.” Er okay.

Since Jackass Plumber woke me up, he kind of figured out I was sick. That and the giant pile of pill bottles on the table, which were not arranged so artfully then.

If we are keeping score at home, that’s two types of steroids now, an inhaler, Tylenol 3, Vicodin, and Ativan for sleeping. Last month I was taking the occasional Advil, and now look at me. My pill regime comes with a booklet with FUCK YES CAPLOCKS instructions on how and when to take all of these pills. Stapled onto it is a helpful pamphlet titled: “Will You Ever Poop Again? Your Guess is as Good as Ours.”

This could be the motto for blogging, yes? I should cross stitch this onto something.

I told the plumber, briefly, that it happened in Hawaii last month and was still kind of a mystery. He launched into a story about Kehei and how his wife tried snorkling but her fake boobs were too big and she kept popping up again? He said something about saline, but it seemed just as likely somehow that he thought that’s what regular boobs are made of. I am barely standing, here, bub. I don’t want to hear about The Wife’s (I think that may be her actual given name) “pontoons.”

Jackass Plumber promised to be quiet, but I was really worried about P., who was trying to sleep so he could function well when the girls got home. We are trying to stay very engaged with them in a normal way. For the first two weeks I was home when I was sleeping, sleeping (pre-steroid wakies) I would force myself to get up around the end of school and let them yam on about their day and ask questions and sign field trip forms and make promises for upcoming kid functions I hoped at least one of us could fulfill.

P. was so tired because he had gotten up with me Thursday morning at 3:30 to take me to the ER, since my breath was getting so short I was wheezing. This was one on my list of red flags supplied by urgent care on Thursday. “Go if your breathing gets worse or is labored.” This won’t get any worse, I thought. And then it woke me up. I’ve never had asthma, but I was told that’s what it looked like and sounded like. The ER is pretty nice at four a.m. on a Thursday. Apparently no one was out getting their arms sliced off or anything, so I had the joint to myself.

They checked for congestive heart failure, since the inflammation is traveling inward and that is a likely place for it to go, and cleared that. I had a CT scan on my lungs to look for blood clots. Being injected with iodine, if you’ve never experienced it, was not fun. It really burned going in, which I was not warned about, since it wasn’t supposed to happen. The pain hit my toes and I started crying. The tech started out by warning me that when it went into my veins it was very warming and I would feel like I was peeing myself, but I wasn’t. That hit me suddenly, and I did have to go, and I was convinced it was happened. “Well, this is it. I’m going to have to tell her now that I actually did it.” But I hadn’t. Dark magicks!

This bad boy took four jabs and two nurses to get in, but thank heavens it worked so they could proceed to poison me with iodine.

I was also given some kind of breathing mask thing that issues a mist that I was supposed to suck down for ten minutes to open me up. “I’m skeptical that this will work,” the ER doctor said, “since I don’t think this is an asthma-type reaction but some other kind of inflammation. But it won’t hurt.”

The nurse removed the mask when the medicine was gone. “Now how’s that?” she asked.

“Are my lungs supposed to hurt now?” I asked, in the most polite tone I could muster. No, she told me, surprised. I knew they were trying to help. Holy hell did I spend the rest of the day annoyed about that every time I coughed. Lung rage. I told them I felt like I had a small cat on my chest now instead of a great big one. I was back to wheezing by last night but now I have an inhaler which seems to be helping?

Also as of yesterday I am losing my voice, so I assume my vocal chords are inflamed as well? My nose is bleeding too (lightly), but I think it’s because my whole body is dry. I douse myself in the take-no-prisoners, wait fifteen minutes before sitting on a slippery surface, industrial-strength moisturizer anyway, because that is how my skin rolls, and it usually is happy for twenty-four hours or so. But my skin on my legs and arms is peeling off in sheets and pills, as if I sustained a bad sunburn weeks ago.

Everyone I see says the same thing–they cannot decide if it is auto-immune attacks (extreme body pain and inflammation), or if I still have an infection (extreme body pain and fevers). Or both. The roulette wheel has been spun and my primary care doc has referred me to an infectious diseases specialist. So I’m going to pay him a visit on Monday. More tests have rolled in–no dengue, no HIV. Still waiting on Lyme’s.

I’m thinking about writing up a little history of this to bring in since it’s long. The timeline. What I feel like now. What I felt like when it was acting like “normal” flu at first. What I feel like when they taper me off steroids right now. (Like this: ;;;;____;;;;) There’s a lot there.

I’m trying to get on part time at work next week and for the next little while. I tried to work full time last week and the first half of the day was decent and productive and the second part of the day was extremely painful and distracting. It’s pretty weird being on a double dose of steroids, now though. I think it’s making me a little manic. So I am shuffling around very productively. I cleaned the leather in my house, and busted out the Murphy’s oil soap and went to town on a midcentury tiled tray that needed some spiffing up. I used to eyeball trays like these at Antika (r.i.p) but they were always four times as much there. But now I have the hook up. I also oil soaped a giant tiki shield that I am going to hang in the bathroom as well, in case some Visigoths invade and I cannot find a towel. Basically I want to oil soap all of the old wood in my house now, especially my velvet painting frames which I can never quite undust completely. I think spring is making me projecty, which I will do very sloooowly.

I’ve been hitting my hook up spot for ye olde crap in search of tiki theme thinggummies for the basement bathroom, which is going to be a janked up fruity paradise wherein I could entice magically undead Gauguin in take a bath with me. (Note to self: procure Gauguin prints.) But of course I see other things there. Like the tray.

No scotch, which is for the best right now, but still kind of a sad look. Part of me wants to fill them with tea or pus or something decorative for just now.

Also, asking for a friend, do you know anything about the care and feeding of these jobbers? This is a lamp, which, when turned on, oil beads cascade down the strings. It is very classy, like courvoisier and pina colada butt lotion However, alas, a couple of strings are “jammed” and the spice does not flow. Also her center needs to be dusted so it’s off for now.

Observant readers will notice that this “friend” also has decided with her impeccable taste and infinite wisdom to paint her dining room bronze as well. Quelle co├»ncidence!

Seriously though I am going to have to sign P. up for some clubs or something so he can be gone more at dinner time, so he will not obstruct my view of her perfectness.

Okay, I don’t appear to be receiving my life’s guarantee of death today, so I better start its counterpart, taxes.

Superpower: Smug Designated Driving

Friday, March 14th, 2014

You ever see someone from the past, or the not-so-distant past, and just get a BLEAH feeling? Isn’t that funny how a long time later you can still get that?

A couple of weeks ago, when I was kind of hovering between getting over regular flu and lurching into “it hurts to walk” I stopped at the grocery with my sister. There I saw one of my ye olde Seattle roommates. I recognized her immediately–she looked exactly the same. Same terrible clothes, same stumpy self. Just older.

It’s a paradox, really. I find when I dislike someone, they become unattractive to me, no matter how conventionally attractive they are objectively. So of course if I see them again, they are still going to seem unattractive and leave me with a smug and shallow feeling. Of course if I like someone they are quite fetching, even if they have a Nazi penis antler protruding from their forehead. It’s science.

Where was I? Oh yes: BLEAH. I turned down the aisle and pulled a face.

“WHAT?” Morgan asked.

“Oh. Glenda’s here,” I said.

“Her? Christ! You always run into terrible people at this grocery store.”

“I know, and this is my grocery store, so this is really uncool.”

But I was not planning on running into Glenda at all. It would be easy to avoid the aisles she was doing her sinister shopping in.

Glenda was not supposed to be my roommate at all, but she was the best choice among a few bad options. I was being (justifiably) kicked out of my apartment in Illinois and had nowhere to go, really. I wasn’t even eighteen yet. Glenda expressed interest in having a roommate and I jumped to Seattle, turning my upcoming visit with her into a one-way trip.

There was already some bad blood under the bridge, to mangle some metaphors. Before she had moved to Seattle and when we all hung out together, she had slept with one of my boyfriends, basically just because she had felt like it. I never really talked to her about it, because I didn’t know how to handle things like that then. He told me he’d slept with her, and I knew it was his choice as well, and I guess I was just supposed to take it on the chin because it was just sex and now it was over, and hey, wasn’t it great that we were all being honest?

I spent a lot of time crying in secret and plotting revenge, because if there was one thing I was learning from my new older friends and the world of adult work was that you had to pretend you were cool with everything. I learned that the movies were lying liars, and you couldn’t really assume monogamy, and I was the super unreasonable one, not them.

The two of them knew each other before I showed up, and I realized later I was horning in on her unrequited situation. It set this weird dynamic of Glenda seeming to have crushes on guys I was into and dated, and her spending a lot of time subtly negging and slut-shaming me for dating people. I had gotten a weird vibe that Glenda was after him before they slept together, but I didn’t see her as a “threat” because she was straight-edge and acted weird and uptight. My high school boyfriend sleeping with her was just kind of doofusy collateral–he told himself it was just a one-night stand. It meant more to her.

Then Glenda and high school boyfriend drove away together to start a new life in Seattle, while I was left behind, sentenced to one more year of high school. As I watched her car and trailer disappear into the horizon with him in it I had a twinge of jealousy, and a bigger twinge of sadness over missing my toxic friend and ex-boyfriend. I had an image of her as Tantalus–she would have him all the time now, as a roommate, but I was certain that as soon as he entered the limits of a large city with public transit he would become the Hottentot of Twat and she would be just a friend. He moved out again for other reasons, but things were souring, as I heard from both of them separately via whispered conversations on the telephone.

So I had an idea of what living with her was like (terrible, and involved dozens of identical unshared and labeled bottles of sauce), but as I said, I was desperate once I had been kicked out. I was game to make the best of it. She had spent a year living in a big city–I had been disowned by my mother a few months prior–we both had been through some shit and I was sure we’d grown and changed. At least her former roommate and my ex-boyfriend was behind us. We could laugh about that now.

Once we found an apartment together, her number one move was to claim the only bedroom, and to assign me the living room. Reasoning: I was a whorey slutbag, and she didn’t want to be disturbed by the queue of suitors who would be waiting in the hall, clutching onto their paper numbers like in a deli, waiting for me to shout, “NEXT FUCK!” Looking back, I’m really not sure what the thought was there. I mean, she had enough game to sleep with my boyfriend, why was this the agreement? And why did I agree to split the rent evenly in exchange for no privacy?

The other big issue with us was food. Surprise, white girls in the United States having food issues. I’ll bet you’ve never heard this one. I was a french fry vegetarian at the time, which is to say I didn’t know about tofu or beans or vegetables that weren’t canned or frozen. I started branching out a little, and began buying mushrooms (which was a thing that was always canned, limp, and slightly odd-colored when I was a kid) and small onions. Being a lazy vegetarian suited my situation quite well, since it was probably one of the cheapest ways I could have eaten at the time, and I was broke, of course. I bought tiny frozen “meals,” three for a dollar for lunch, and marveled at my sexy protruding hipbones, which were actually saying, “Hey, nutrition moron, you are actually not eating enough calories or protein.” I attributed it to all the walking I was doing, which I’m sure helped.

Glenda generously took me to Safeway with her in her car once a week to shop, for which I was very grateful. She was a vegetarian as well, teetering on the edge of veganism–eschewing dairy and eggs. The fridge was full of “smart” “cheese” and other soy products. We both obtained copies of the weekly coupon circular beforehand and would dutifully tear out coupons we needed. I had discovered before she moved to Seattle that she split checks down to the penny at restaurants, which has never, ever been my way. What I think none of my friends know is that sometimes they will go to the loo and I will SNEAK ATTACK and pick up the bill, in part because of Glenda’s inability to say, “You can make up the difference next time” or “I am not going to make a fuss over thirteen cents.” It was NOT POSSIBLE for her to do this. However, it made me discover that I like treating people, as well as being treated, and I like saying things like, “Next time it will be my turn.”

This annoying penny-splitting propensity of hers carried to the grocery store somehow. We would leave the store and she would demand to see my receipt. What had I spent this week?

“Uh…$47.63?” I’d say.

“HA!” she’d shout. “I spent $46.18!”

I’d look at her, my face nonplussed, but secretly annoyed underneath. What kind of weird game was this? And was the ride to the grocery store worth it?

Then there was my cooking. I was an indolent kid, and sometimes I would scramble some eggs with cheese and then flee off into the sunset. I should have washed my pan, I know. Glenda gave me lots of grief about the torment of having to smell cooked eggs and real cheddar in the kitchen, and how disgusting it was, and therefore how disgusting I was by extension. She did not like meat, eggs, dairy, alcohol, chocolate, or drugs, and informed me of all of this on a regular basis. Then she would retreat to her vestal virgin fortress of smugitude, muttering something about chicken abortions before closing her door and blasting Pearl Jam.

I turned eighteen in that apartment, and Glenda, two years older than me, turned twenty. The summer after high school in Illinois I worked with a friend who turned twenty-one, and she kicked down a still-unexpired ID of a woman from Minnesota, who was a good match for me. We both had black hair and were similar sized, and our faces were close enough. I memorized every detail of it and practiced her signature. I even knew her star sign. Naturally I brought this with me to Seattle, of course, and used it to get into shows. Occasionally I used it to buy a terrible jug of Carlos Rossi or Gato Negro, but that was a rare thing.

One of Glenda’s favorite bands was touring when she was about two months shy of twenty-one. In spite of the fact that she had frizzy blonde hair to my dyed black, and outclassed me by at least 50 pounds, I let her borrow it. It never came back again.

“They confiscated it.” No offer to try to find me another one, and no offer to make it up in some other way. She was mostly mad she couldn’t get in and bootleg the show. Seattle didn’t have much of an all-ages scene then, and suddenly I found myself at home most nights, reading.

I had introduced her to another high school ex-boyfriend of mine while we were still all together in Illinois, and interestingly he had moved away at about the same time she had, but to Phoenix instead of Seattle. I couldn’t really blame all of my young adult friends for fleeing, but it still sucked. Ecstatic to get away from Illinois on my school breaks, I visited him during my senior year a couple of times and he talked about us getting back together after I graduated, but I wasn’t totally keen on this idea. I had heard him drop some racist slurs when he lost his temper on one visit, and I knew we weren’t a great match in other ways. I wanted a fresh start after high school and was hoping to meet some new douchebags in my shiny new future before I ended up in jail or whatever was coming.

After I moved to Seattle to live with Glenda he almost immediately came to visit, hoping to rekindle things. Glenda orchestrated the visit–it really wasn’t really discussed with me. It was made clear to me that she had decided that her friend was visiting her. I expressed my displeasure at having to share close quarters with him. She worked during the day and I was so newly arrived that I was still job hunting. When I was not turning in applications, he spent his visit following me around on the bus and trying to be extra perfect nice guy. I was so, so not feeling it. I wanted to be alone, to explore Seattle by myself. He told me he was considering moving to Seattle. Meanwhile I got the same creepy feeling that she had a huge crush on him, much like with my other boyfriend. They can have each other, I thought.

But he wasn’t interested in Glenda. He spent one of the last nights of his visit talking at me for hours about how we should get back together and how great it would be and how we could get an apartment and make horror films and get tattoos together and by the way could he see my labia piercing? He had heard about it.

NO. NO. Also, no. He went back to Phoenix for a couple of months and got hit by a car when he was bicycling to work, which made me sad, but he was okay. I think that was kind of a last straw for him, because as soon as he recovered he moved here.

“So I was thinking he could live with us for a while until he can find his own place,” Glenda said. “He can stay in my room.” She always had a bunk bed–why? WHY?

“NO NO NO NO NO,” I protested. “He CANNOT live here! We’re not getting along! He’s being creepy right now! He has a HEAD INJURY!” This last part was technically true, from the car accident, but he was acting weird before that. He had pushed me over the edge with his last visit and the four-hour attempt to “wear me down” into getting back together with him.

“Well, I’ve decided. He’s coming to live with us.”

UGH. I knew I had to move out, pronto. I looked around for a second job so I could save some money.

Living with him did not go well. Sometimes we would sit on my bed and read comics together. Other times there was so much tension we would literally fistfight (I won). I was so stressed out I was getting weird and would do things like drunkenly roll around on hallway floor, singing PJ Harvey at the top of my lungs, no doubt picking up loose kitty litter while my fake eyelashes fell off. (I was going through kind of a a Dorothy Vallens from Blue Velvet thing then.) (Token goth.)

A good thing that happened was that Glenda began to keep her door closed at night, after my ex began sleeping in her room on the top bunk. This meant she could no longer wait until I’d gone to bed to call Nietzsche into her room and keep her there with treats so Nietzsche would sleep with her. That’s NACHO CAT, lady. I would lay in bed and steam as I would hear her call, “Here kitty, kitty” so softly. I was such a doormat then.

In the midst of all of this tension, the three of us were all still attempting to be friends. We still hung out and went bowling and talked, and did other pre-dotcom hip urban grungy Seattle youth things with other local Seattle youths. My relationship with SeaFed was coming along, though no one knew he was haranguing me about marriage, so I saw that there was an end in sight of living with Glenda, at least.

One day she called me from work about something and we chatted for a few minutes.

“Did you still want to borrow that Henry Rollins book?” she asked. “I’ve finished it.”

She told me it was just under her bunk bed and I could go into her room and grab it. I was rarely in her room at that point and I felt kind of weird coming in. My ex was going out more, and had found a job, and was preparing to move into his own place, finally. I knew he had spent the last night out at show and that she and I were alone in the apartment. I didn’t immediately see the book. I walked to her bed, got down on my knees and took a look.

I saw it there–the corner of it, and reached for it. The book was surrounded by some kind of trash, I noticed, which surprised me. Glenda was a packrat but I didn’t think of her as a person who would keep garbage in her room. Then I figured out what it was. Fast food wrappers, dozens of them. Wrappers for burgers made with real beef, egg sandwich wrappers, all with congealed American cheese stuck on them. Next to that, giant bags of bulk Valentine’s chocolates and empty foil wrappers everywhere. I pictured my quasi-vegan roommate, alone in her room, chowing down on burgers and chocolate, two things she claimed to despise. I thought of the months of grief I’d gotten for scrambling eggs and shamed for being indulgent enough to buy half of a pudding cake on sale at Safeway. I suddenly felt very, very tired.

My perspective changed then and became less combative, more compassionate. I didn’t really understand what was going on with her, but it was obvious there was a lot of conflict there. I don’t believe for one second that Glenda wanted to be me, but maybe she wanted to be a little freer. I have often thought over the years about how she surrounded herself with people who used drugs, often hard ones, who drank, who smoked, who enjoyed chocolate and sex. I know what when we’re young we often find ourselves with people who are bad matches (case in point), but I still wonder about her weird guilt/vicarious living thing.

I hope she’s happy now, and can do what she wants without guilt. Maybe she grew up into not-an-asshole, but I wasn’t going to find out. I kind of lingered around the grocery store, letting her go through the line first, and then we spied on her like creeps from inside as she loaded her groceries into her car.

“She looks so old,” my sister observed.

“I know, it’s weird, isn’t it? She’s only a couple of years older than me.”

“Really? Wow.”

“Well, it’s our evil genes on Mom’s side that causes more of a contrast,” I said, patting my unlined, petal-like cheek.

“Ha!”

“She was a bad friend to me,” I said, watching her drive off. But it was complicated.