Wednesday, August 18, 2010

To shave or not to shave?

Tell me: Why do I continue shaving my legs when there's no one here to see them? No, it's not a philosophical tree-falling-in-the-forest question. I'm really wondering. Force of habit, I suppose. Even when I was so pregnant I couldn't tie my shoes, I managed to keep my legs shaved. Well, I was a bit more bendy back then.

I have a new back door--and no, that's not a euphemism for a booty lift. The threshold on the door going from my garage to the back yard was rotting away, which the rental inspector noted as a "must fix" when she was here last month. My laid-back landlord forgot to tell me he was sending a couple of guys here to fix it, and his oversight almost caused a heart attack. In me, that is. This past Saturday, about 7:30 a.m.--an ungodly hour on the weekend, right?--I heard someone pull into my driveway and then pound on my door. It was still dark outside, so I did my best Gladys Kravitz imitation and peered out the window. I saw two strange men loitering outside. Call me paranoid, but no way in hell am I opening the door for men I don't know when I'm still in my pajamas and it's dark outside.

Finally, they left. Just when my dogs had finally calmed down again, they came BACK and pounded on the door longer this time. I don't mind telling you I was freaked out. I lurked in the hallway, trying to see through the living room window. I wanted to get to the fireplace poker, but they would have seen me dashing across the living room to get it. Oh, and here's how freaked out I was: It never occurred to me to call the police. Dumb, I know.

Monday, my landlord called and apologized for not letting me know he'd sent these guys over to work on the door. Christ on a biscuit! Yes, a little advance warning would have been helpful. Later that day, Harold the Carpenter came over to measure the door. He noticed how flimsy the back door was and said he didn't think it was very safe for a "lady living alone." I decided not to correct his assumption that I'm a lady and said it had been worrying me. My poor osteoporosis-ridden Aunt Joan could have kicked that door in with no trouble, even dragging her oxygen tank. He offered to tell my landlord that the door was starting to rot, too, and recommend replacing it with a steel door. Not much of a stretch, really--it was a hollow-core door, and the veneer had already started peeling off because of water damage.

Harold came back the next day and installed the door. It's much sturdier, and I feel a lot safer. I guess I'm keeping my legs shaved because of all these men coming over to do chores for me. If my legs start getting stubbly, I might have to call a plumber next.

Monday, August 16, 2010

That's an oogie mess

I wish I could afford to have We Mow It come here regularly because my yard has never looked prettier. Two guys showed up last Thursday and cut the grass; edged along the driveway, walkway, and sidewalk (which has NEVER been done before); and even blew dead leaves and twigs off the front steps and back porch. I tried to talk them into letting me get them some iced tea or water because they looked like they were about to have a heatstroke, but they kept insisting they had water in their truck. Maybe I looked like one of those black widow ladies who would poison them and then chuckle evilly? Or Annie Wilkes in Misery. "I'm going to put on my Liberace records, Mr. Man!"

Much to Daniel's eventual dismay when he finds out (because he won't have an excuse not to cut my grass, mwah-ha-ha-ha), I now know how to work that stupid lawnmower. Kevin stopped by Saturday on his way to an art fair and walked me through the process. One of two things might have happened when the mower conked out on Daniel: He didn't back off the throttle (choke? whatever) from its starting speed to its running speed, or he let go of the safety bar on the handle that has to be pressed down while running the mower.

Weird. I just talked to him, and he insists he did neither of those things. Maybe my lawnmower hates him?

The humidity finally cleared off today, so I opened all the windows for the first time in more than a week. I got a burst of energy around 4:30, after talking to my mein boyfriend (how's my Cloris Leachman impression?), and in the past couple of hours, I've vacuumed and shampooed the carpet in the living room and dining room; mopped the kitchen, bathroom, and entryway floors; and cleaned the bathroom. I'm sweaty and my blood sugar is dropping like a rock. Maybe I'm crazy?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A lot of happiness for five bucks

Man, I was a pill yesterday. Y'all should send Ed a sympathy card. Not only did he have the courage to call me despite my man-hatin' attitude, but also he managed yet again to use his Lisa Whisperer skills to coax me gently out of my horrible mood. Remind me to do something nice for him, will you? That man has the patience of a saint, which is clearly necessary to deal with me.

Until I can figure out what's wrong with my lawnmower, I called We Mow It lawn service (not the company's real name). About 10 minutes later, a truck pulled up in my driveway. I went outside, and Charlie ran out to protect me from The Stranger. Hey, I'm short. I don't need a Doberman for a guard dog; a chihuahua is just about right. The guy was in the neighborhood and stopped by to get an idea of how big the yard is. He said it shouldn't take long and he'd be back tomorrow afternoon. So problem solved--to the tune of $45. Oy. Well, it's just a one-time cost (I hope).

Next, I braved the heat to go to the grocery. I was out of peanut butter, and that just won't do. While I was standing in the checkout line, I looked at the $5 DVDs for sale. To my shock, I saw 1776, one of my favorite musicals. I have an ancient videotape of it, and I thought it wasn't even available on DVD. I've adored this movie since 1976, when I worked on a community theater production of the play. I did old-age makeup for a persnickety little snot who constantly wiped off the makeup I did and ordered me to do it again because he didn't look old enough. He was freakin' 18 years old. What did he want? Miracles?

I suppressed the urge to do a little dance of joy right there in the checkout aisle and put the movie in with my groceries. The cashier picked it up and said "Great movie!" He couldn't have been older than his early 20s, so I was surprised he'd even heard of it. Then, even better, he said, "I'd watch anything with William Daniels in it." I asked whether he'd ever seen St. Elsewhere, and he said, "Could you BELIEVE the ending of that show??" We chattered excitedly about that for a couple of minutes while the bagger looked on in puzzlement.

What happened next made me so happy, so try not to make fun of me. He pointed to the movie and said "GREAT music, huh?" And then, folks, he started to sing. He began with the line "It's ninety degrees," and yes, I joined in with "Have mercy, John, please. It's hot as hell in Philadelphia!" We stood there grinning at each other in delight, and the bagger's mouth dropped open. It was like a scene in a, well... in a musical. I drove home smiling the whole way.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Vexing vegetation

I hate it when my own damn hubris comes back to smack me in the face. I'm doing great! Just this wee little lawnmower problem, which is easily solved! Whoo hoo!

Yeah, not so much. The problem is that I relied on other people for help: people of the male persuasion, to be specific. I should have known better than to assume Daniel could help me with one chore. The kid has few practical skills and is too busy gallivanting around the country to use the ones he does have. I had to make a series of increasingly threatening and pitiful phone calls just to get him over here to cut the grass. When the mower wouldn't cooperate, I tried to make arrangements to have Kevin come over and show him how to work it, but Daniel's jetting off to a friend's family farm this entire week and is completely unconcerned about what I'm going to do.

I asked Kevin whether he could come over this morning and show me how to get this %^$^%! piece of machinery to run. He said he would ask Sam whether he could use his car and get back to me yesterday afternoon. Naturally, he didn't, and he didn't call this morning. I called him around 12:30, and he said, without a tinge of apology, that he didn't have the gas money to come down here. I said, "You're kidding me, right?" No, he wasn't. I snapped, "I supported your man-child ass for 12 years, and this is the best you can do when I ask for ONE SMALL FAVOR?" What was I thinking? He has no "best."

I should have known better than to rely on a man for anything, and I was an idiot for leaving the task of cutting grass up to Kevin all these years and never learning how to run that stupid lawnmower. Now I'm going to have to pay someone--and probably a GUY--to cut my grass, and that's money I can't really afford this week. No, I don't know any neighbors or friends up here well enough to ask for help, and I'm certainly not going to ask any friends from Mayberry to drive 40 minutes one way to cut my grass. I loathe asking anyone for help, and the one time I'm forced to, I'm disappointed. Gah. My sunny optimism has been felled by goddamn VEGETATION.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday, Monday

Remember Kevin claimed I wouldn't be able to survive without him? He even insisted that he did "so much" around here, and I wouldn't be able to handle doing it all on my own. Well, so far, the house is cleaner than it's ever been--and it's staying that way. I even manage to haul those big ol' trash cans out to the curb with my puny girl arms. The only problem I've had is with the damn lawnmower. I couldn't pull the starter cord hard enough, but Daniel could. However, the first time Daniel tried to cut the grass, it ran for a few minutes and stopped. Turns out it was out of oil. Stupid me, I assumed Kevin kept an eye on the oil level. I went out later that day and bought oil, and Daniel came back Saturday to try again. We put some oil in, but again, the lawnmower ran for a few minutes and then stopped. Daniel's out of town all week, so I'm going to have to call a lawn service until I can figure out what's going on or ask Kevin to come over and see what the hell he did to my lawnmower the last time he used it. :-|

Other than that, I'm surviving quite nicely, thank you. I'm even healthier! I went to the doctor Friday for a checkup, and he was delighted with my weight loss. He was even happier with the reduction in my blood pressure (now an impressive 115/60) and pulse rate. I was tickled that he looks exactly like Paul Winfield with glasses. (Paul Winfield played Captain Terrell in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, who, along with Chekov, had an ear worm inserted that drove him insane. I hear he's doing fine now.) It's much easier when I'm doing casting for the movie about my life when people already look like existing actors. I still can't think who should play me, however. Any suggestions?

I meant to write about this earlier, but a few weeks ago, the reunion coordinator for my high school class e-mailed and asked whether I could verify that I graduated with the class of 1977. He acted as though he didn't remember me, and he was in the play I assistant-directed my junior year (The Bad Seed). Hmmmph! I wrote back and said yes, I could verify I belonged with that class because I remembered he wrote new lyrics for David Bowie's "Golden Years" to fit our cast and crew. (In his defense, he probably couldn't find a record of me graduating that year because I graduated a year early and took off for college without telling anyone in high school.)

That was enough to jog his memory, and he gave me updates on people we'd done theater with. I was a little upset to hear our drama teacher, Mr. K, died several years ago, but he was middle-aged when I knew him. I was more upset to hear that a good friend, who I even dated a few times after high school, died about 10 years ago, possibly of AIDS complications. I can't help wondering whether he knew he was gay back then. Well, I'm sure we all had things under the surface we were hiding.

Right now, I'm hiding from the thought of the week ahead, which I'm dreading. I have a lot of work to do, the weather is supposed to be brutally hot, and I won't have much contact with Ed. He's in training this week that involves being outside in full body armor--and in August in Georgia, that's not going to be fun. His week is going to be much worse than mine, poor guy.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Greg just reminded me that I failed to supply a conclusion to Saturday's entry--that is, what happened when Kevin stopped by. If I were writing serial stories for magazines, I'd be fired tout suite, wouldn't I? I can imagine me ending an installment with "The murderer crept ever closer, with a mad gleam in his eye, while Detective Jones sat unaware, reading peacefully by the fire...." and then picking up the next installment with Detective Jones shopping for peaches at the grocery. Outrage would ensue!

Unfortunately, Saturday's story has no such suspense. Kevin stopped by as arranged, and I had his DJ outfit and two bags of laundry ready to go. (Yes, I'd done the laundry for him last week because did I mention? I wanted him out of here.) He played with the dogs for a bit while I gritted my teeth. "Yep, they miss you! Don't you have to go pick up your equipment SOON?" Finally, he grabbed the laundry, and then, to my shock, tried to kiss me good-bye. I managed to turn my head so fast that I think I pulled something, and he wound up getting just my cheek and part of my ear.

He left, and I called Ed back. About five minutes later, I saw Kevin pulling up in the driveway again. Just as I was swearing a blue streak, Kevin came up to my office window and said, "I left my DJ outfit here." Christ, I jumped a mile. I went into the living room, and sure enough, there it was. I unlocked the front door and handed it to Kevin, and he said something smarmy about kissing me making him forget to take his outfit. I faked a laugh and said, "Oh, everyone says that to me," and shut the door. Gah.

Oh, and I avoided the call to Thurston and Lovey Howell by looking up their e-mail address in the church directory. I just wasn't up to a phone call, and with my luck, if I tried to call at a time when I'd normally get their voicemail, one of them would have decided to stay home that day. They replied with a nice e-mail and said that whatever the reason for the breakup, they're sure it was very hard. That's almost exactly the same thing the woman running RE classes said. It must be the politically correct response du jour.

I'm feeling flu-ish today. No fever--just achy and tired, and my throat's sore. I think everything that's happened in the past few weeks is finally hitting me. I've decided to take the rest of the day off, and I'm getting into bed with a logic puzzle book, a novel, and a big glass of iced tea.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Breaking Breakup News

It's been so long since I broke up with anyone that I forgot about the "breaking the news" task. I've told all the important folks: my family and you people. However, several local friends and acquaintances still don't know. I got one announcement out of the way this morning. A woman at church e-mailed Kevin and me, asking us to teach a religious education (RE) class for high school students. For Unitarians, RE classes don't involve Bible study; the high school curriculum for this fall is a series of classes comparing the major Western religions, discussing beliefs about the afterlife and religious prejudice, examining dogma and creeds, and so forth. Interesting stuff, but I'm not going to be around the entire year, and Kevin, obviously, can't do it because he moved to another town. So I had to e-mail this woman and explain we broke up. Aaaaawk-ward! No reply yet. Heh.

Next, I have to call a couple we'd met at church, who have been urging us to get together for dinner. They sent us an invitation for a pool party at their house, which is almost an hour away. Kind of a cute idea for the theme--Gilligan's Island--but I'm not showing up in a coconut bra in front of people I barely know. Also, they live out in the country, and I can't drive back home that far at night. My night vision isn't what it used to be; I do fine on main, well-lit roads, but dark, gravel-paved roads in Corn Country? No, thank you. I'm not looking forward to making this call and listening to expressions of condolences about the breakup. If they say "Oh, I'm sorry," I'm a little afraid I might blurt out, "Well, I'm not!"

I haven't decided how (or how much) to tell theater friends from Mayberry. Is a group e-mail in poor taste? Etiquette manuals don't address this issue, or they'd probably suggest separate handwritten letters on monogrammed stationery. *snort* What should I do?

A new season of Project Runway started last week. I do adore watching stressed-out people make bad decisions in the face of ridiculous challenges, and every now and then, there's a moment of impresive creativity. What I love most about this show, however, is reading the hilariously bitchy commentary at Project Rungay. Snarky gay humor never fails to cheer me up, and it cracks me up that these two guys invariably refer to Heidi Klum as "Frau Seal." You know she'd hate that!

Oh, I just got a reply from the woman supervising the RE classes at church. She's sorry to hear about the breakup. Should I tell her "Don't be!" :)