Saturday, April 14, 2007

Call me "shorty," and I'll fire you!

Not to beat Don Imus with a dead horse (but come on--how much fun would that be?), but I did want to say something else about the issue. Yes, there's a double standard at play, in that not everyone using offensive terms gets chastised the same way. However, the difference between Don using "ho" and rappers calling women "bitches" and "hos" is that Don used a disrespectful term (and good Lord, let's not forget "nappy-headed," as Anita pointed out--I think I'm more aghast at that term than "ho") over public airwaves. To hear most of the offensive terms used in songs, you have to buy the CD, although I realize plenty slip by on some radio stations and in music videos on TV. As I haven't watched a music video since approximately 1987, I wouldn't know. I don't mean the medium or forum in which something is said should be used as a moral yardstick, but in terms of whether firing someone is justified, it could make a difference. Possibly.

Let's be honest, though: Don was fired not because he used an offensive term, but because sponsors were pulling ads from his show. Money talks, and no way was MSNBC going to lose that much money. So applying the same "punishment" to others who use offensive terms is difficult. How are you going to "fire" Mel Gibson or Michael Richards? As a movie or TV producer, you can decide not to hire them, of course, and as a consumer, you can always refuse to watch whatever TV show or movie they're involved in. I don't know about Mel, but I suspect Michael Richards's career is dead in the water, anyway.

I'm still surprised there weren't any major repercussions for Isaiah Washington. Did any sponsors threaten to pull commercials from Grey's Anatomy? I don't recall hearing about many people threatening to stop watching the show, either (but that's probably because they HAVE to know what's going to happen after George and Izzy sleeping together). What bothers me is that his use of "faggot" was motivated by hate, whereas Don was downright ignorant. Not that ignorance is an excuse, but hate-filled epithets seem worse somehow. I don't know. Being that ignorant is pretty appalling, too!

So that's my 42 cents worth on the topic. Should have been 2 cents, but I'm incredibly wordy.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A stupid quiz and stupid people

A woman I barely know, but who is very sweet, added me to her e-mail list and is sending me up to 10 e-mails a day with warnings about "dangers" (all decade-old hoaxes), exhortations to get a mammogram and other breast-cancer-related info (thanks, just had mine), "jokes" (and I use that term loosely), and hug certificates (shudder). She's so nice--and I am such a giant wuss--that I'm reluctant to tell her to lose my e-mail address. So I'm answering a survey she sent out today to . . . I don't know. Make me feel better about getting her stupid e-mails? Also, no way in hell am I e-mailing my responses to her. I don't want to encourage her! Y'all probably know most of this stuff about me anyway, so feel free to skip to the end of entry, in which I rant about stupid people.

1. Were you named after anyone? Nope, my mommy just liked Lisa Michelle--and she swore my dad would name me Inez after his mother over her dead body. Heh.
2. When was the last time you cried? Last night thinking about Picard.
3. Do you like your handwriting? Yes
4. What is your favorite lunch meat? Lemon-pepper turkey
5. If you were another person, would you be friends with you? This kind of question makes my head hurt. And seriously, what kind of psycho would say no??
6. Do you use sarcasm a lot? I use it when I deem it’s called for.
7. Do you still have your tonsils? They were taken out when I was six and grew back. So far I've shown no signs of regenerating other body parts.
8. Would you bungee jump? Maybe if I could read while doing it.
9. What is your favorite cereal? Kellogg's Start Smart
10. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Not for tennis shoes, but sometimes for boots.
11. Do you think you are strong? I'm freakishly strong, like Monica Geller.
12. What is your favorite ice cream? My current favorite is Ben & Jerry's Dublin Mudslide, but I love any coffee-and-chocolate combination.
13. What is the first thing you notice about people? I had to think about this answer pretty hard. I think I look for a general air that I'd find appealing, such as a sense of humor or a look of intelligence. To be honest, I check to see whether someone's home upstairs, if you get my drift. Vapid or blank people annoy me.
14. Red or pink? Blue-green.
15. What's your least favorite thing about yourself? My indecisiveness. I think. Or maybe my lack of height. I'd have a great figure if you stretched me out about eight inches.
16. Who do you miss the most? Leslie. You would have been 53 on Monday, honey. I wish I could have teased you about it.
17. What color pants and shoes are you wearing? Denim blue pants and white socks.
18. What was the last thing you ate? Coconut yogurt
19. What are you listening to right now? The sound of my freaking furnace blowing because it's 30-something degrees and SNOW FLURRIES fell this morning!
20. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Periwinkle.
21. Favorite smells? The top of Daniel's head when he was a baby, Kevin's neck, oranges, freesias, honey. I could go on and on--I didn't realize I liked so many smells.
22. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? The tech support guy to find out why my e-mail is acting up. (Answer: "We're experiencing latency issues for which we have no ETA for resolving.")
23. Hair color? Red
24. Eye color? Blue-green-gray. Like me, my eyes are Libras and can't decide.
25. Do you wear contacts? Occasionally
26. Scary movies or happy endings? Uh, a happy ending to a scary movie?
27. Last movie you watched? For Your Consideration. I'd watch anything Christopher Guest did.
28. Hugs or kisses? Gah, I hate questions like this one! Both during sex. How's that?
29. What book are you reading now? I'm rereading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix because the movie comes out in July, and I'm a complete HP geek. I'm also reading Hominids and The Queen of the Big Time.
40. What's on your mouse pad? It looks like a miniature Oriental rug.
41. What did you watch on TV last night? Haley finally getting booted from American Idol. Oh, and Medium.
42. Favorite sound? Daniel laughing. I like the sound of my wind chimes when I'm on the front porch reading, too.
43. Rolling Stones or Beatles? Well, I like early Stones stuff, but the Beatles top them any day.
44. What's the farthest you have been from home? California
45. Do you have a special talent? Yes, it involves a cherry stem. Oh, I kid! Close your e-mail windows.
46. Where were you born? Macon, Georgia

Now for stupid people. I just read Jane's entry, and she was saying no one in the "blogosphere" (heh) had said anything about Don Imus, which surprised me. For years, I'd get annoyed whenever I turned on MSNBC in the morning and saw him slurring and mumbling away; I couldn't seem to remember MSNBC aired his show in the mornings, and I always changed the channel as fast as possible. So clearly I didn't think highly of Don Imus, but I never thought he was a big enough moron to call a group of young women HOS. Correct me if I'm wrong, but "ho" is a shortened form of "whore," right? So Don Imus, exactly how much DID you drink before you aired those comments? Does the name "Michael Richards" ring any bells for you? Did you think people would chuckle indulgently and forget the next day?

Since that incident, I've read about the camp he runs for children with cancer and all the money he gives to charity, and I'm sure he has many fine qualities, but none of that negates his downright idiocy. My opinion isn't based solely on the racist tone of his comments, either. As I recall, his remarks included his assessment of the attractiveness of the Rutger's women's team, and I'm sick to death of stupid people judging women on their looks when their looks have no bearing on what they do. If you're judging a Miss America contest, your opinion of the contestants' beauty is relevant. If you're making fun of Madeline Albright because she's not Miss America material, keep your damn mouth shut. I don't want to hear it.

OK, one more stupid people rant, and then I'll shut up. People who take nekkid pictures of themselves to a photo-developing center are idiots. Generally, naked pictures aren't supposed to be developed, but in practice, many photo developers do it as long as the pictures aren't extremely graphic and don't involve children and animals. Most people use digital cameras, so I didn't think racy photos were a concern anymore. I was surprised to find out how many people get prints made from their digital photos, however--AND photos of themselves in various states of undress. You don't know who's developing your photos! He or she might be a twisted pervert who takes home a few copies for personal "use" (ick) or gets the bright idea of using them for blackmail purposes or posting them on a public forum, such as, oh, I don't know, the Internet. Highly illegal, of course, but why risk it?

Also, your photo developer might know you. Personally. Why, one photo developer I know (ahem), in the eight months he's been processing pictures, has come across naked pictures an average of once a week and recently developed a batch featuring a young woman he worked with at a different job--and sees occasionally around town. She had taken her photos in to her local drugstore in a neighboring small town, but that drugstore routinely send its photos to a store here for processing because it has high-volume machines. Gah! People's capacity for stupidity never fails to astound me.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Good News and Bad News

Which do you want first: good news or bad news? Good news is better, so I'll start with that, but you can read this entry from the bottom up if you prefer the opposite, right? That's me: accommodating readers since 2002! (That's actually when I started writing online, although at a now-defunct place.)

The good news: I had an appointment Monday for a mammogram, which I look forward to with all the anticipation of Christmas Eve. I think the worst part is not being able to wear deodorant, powder, or perfume; I feel so unclean without all my girly stuff. I kept hoping I wasn't giving off visible stink rays in the waiting room, although an elderly woman kept eying me suspiciously. Actually, the whole experience is one assault on my dignity after another, I suppose. After I'd changed into the spiffy front-closing gown and walked into the x-ray room, the technician asked me to open my gown and show her my boobs so that she could see whether she needed a different size film plate. There's no graceful way to flash a complete stranger, you know? The request threw me a little because no one's asked me to do that when I've had mammograms previously, and I almost asked her if she planned to toss some beads at me. I restrained myself and opened my gown obediently, but I did turn beet-red when she said hurriedly, "Oh, yeah, I'd better change plates!"

The second worst part is the Positioning of the Breast on the x-ray plate. You'd think after enduring 30 years of pelvic exams; going through labor and childbirth at a teaching hospital, with my lady business on display for every doctor, nurse, intern, and janitor in a 50-mile radius; and breastfeeding in front of a variety of lactation consultants, I'd have not one shred of modesty left, but clearly I do when a strange woman is hauling my boob around like a sack of oranges. I noticed that after the technician pressed the button to take the picture, the plates separated automatically to release my breast from the death grip. What a cool feature, I thought, and said so to the technician. "Oh, I know!" she exclaimed. "Can you imagine if it didn't? What if I fell over in a dead faint after taking the picture? You'd be trapped there!" We stared at each other for a minute, with that image crystalizing, and then burst out laughing. That's the funniest mental picture I've had in a while, and we both kept giggling and snorting while she finished x-raying my other breast.

The results came in the mail yesterday, and I opened the letter to find this sentence at the top in bold print: We are very happy to inform you that no evidence of cancer was found in your mammogram. Isn't that sweet? They're very happy--and so am I.


And now for the bad news: My cat Picard is gone. I noticed last Monday that I hadn't seen him all day, but I was on my way to the hospital for my appointment and worrying about visible stink rays and all. Later that evening, both Kevin and Daniel said they hadn't seen him all day, either. We searched the house, looking under beds, in closets, and all his favorite hiding places. Kevin took a flashlight down to the basement and poked around in the crawlspace, where Picard likes to prowl around sometimes. No portly black-and-white cat anywhere, though.

The few times Picard has gotten outside in the past, he's always stayed nearby. Once he climbed the neighbor's tree and had to be coaxed down, and another time he ran up on the roof, and Kevin had to climb up there and carry him down. So we checked likely places outside, but no sign of him. I put up a few flyers, but no one called. It's been almost a week, and I've about lost hope. He's such a sweet, friendly cat that I'm hoping he's wormed his way into a new family's affections. I keep thinking I see him parading by out of the corner of my eye, with that cowlick he always had near his tail sticking up. It always reminded me of a scruffy little boy. Or I imagine I hear the floor-jarring thud as he jumps down from the windowsill, where he liked to gaze hungrily out the window at birds. Every time I walk into my bedroom, I expect to see him curled up on the corner of the bed. I miss you, big guy. If you come back, I promise you daily catnip for life.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Operation Spring Cleaning: Mission Accomplished (Well, Almost)

Even though I'm much busier with work now, when I do have time to update, I sit and stare at an empty Word document. I have writer's block! Oooo, how dramatic of me. I'm a tortured, artistic soul, you know. Riiiiiiiiiiiight. I think my problem is frustration over not being able to do the 349 other things I want to be doing but CAN'T because I'm working all the time. And frankly, when I stop working for the day, the last thing I want to do is come back here in my messy office and open yet another document in Word. On the other hand, venting here does ease a little of my frustration, so . . . gah.

One thing adding to my frustration is that spring has finally arrived. My forsythia bushes have been blooming all week, the daffodils are popping up everywhere, and my crabapple tree is covered in little buds that will turn into gorgeous pink flowers soon. At this time of year, I always want to fling the windows open and clear away all traces of winter. I want to pack up sweaters and clean out flower beds and wash windows and mop floors; in other words, I want a fresh start. I've been fretting all week because I've been so busy with work, and warm, breezy days have been going by with nothing getting cleaned.

I decided that with Kevin gone this weekend at the convention, I had the perfect opportunity to get some cleaning done without him getting in my way or distracting me. So yesterday, I dragged the big area rugs out on the front porch and shampooed them, and then while they dried outside, I mopped the wood floors. I shampoo the rugs outside because I can't do it while they're ON the wood floors. At least, I don't think I can. If I can, don't tell me because I damn near killed myself hauling them outside. I can't believe how heavy those rugs are! My arms are killing me today, even though Daniel helped me carry them. Pushing that shampooer around makes me feel like Sisyphus shoving a boulder uphill, too.

Also, I washed windows in the living and dining rooms, which doesn't sound like much, but in those two rooms alone, I have six tall windows. I gathered up tchotchkes and knickknacks and bric-a-brac (all of which sound funnier and more interesting than "junk sitting around," right?) and threw them in the dishwasher. While I had the Windex out, I cleaned the glass on all my framed pictures. And the dusting. Oh my God, the dusting I did! If I didn't know better, I'd swear my furnace filter has never been changed, but Kevin does that twice a year, I think. He SAYS he does, anyway. Hmmmph. I still need to take all the--what do you call them? The metal thingies that go over the heating/AC vents? I need to take them outside and hose them off. The ones I have are big and squarish, which is just more surface area to collect dust and pet hair.

Aaaaand when I finish, I get to repeat all this work upstairs, much to the delight of my aching muscles. I'll have help, though, because Daniel's on spring break this week. I'm sure he'll be delighted I've come up with activities to fill his week. Hey, that's the kind of thoughtful mom I am!

Monday, March 26, 2007

A house plant I haven't killed!

I would like to state for the record that the little heart-shaped bamboo plant Kevin gave me for Valentine's Day is still alive. ALIVE, I tell you! Impressive, no?

Also, I meant to add last week, after teasing Stephanie with this story, that Febreeze is not the only substance my mom sprays on her dog Sophie. Prepare to be horrified: As my mom explained it, because Sophie's long, white hair gets so flyaway, sometimes she sprays Sophie with Static Guard to tame the flyaways. Oy. I can only assume my sister the vet is ignorant of my mom's dog-grooming habits because she'd throw a hissy fit, if she knew. Maybe I should suggest my mom try using a creme rinse when she shampoos Sophie; I'm sure the dog would prefer that to being sprayed!

Speaking of pets, this picture of Cairo made me laugh because she looks so snooty and haughty:

I definitely captured her personality in that picture.


Daniel is driving (haha) me crazy about taking the test for his learner's permit. I told him he needs to study the DMV booklet, but he scoffs at how "easy" it is. Whatever. I think flunking the test would be more embarrassing than waiting a week or two to make sure he knows the rules backward and forward. I took this picture the morning of his 18th birthday, but his look of barely concealed impatience hasn't changed in the two weeks since then:

I definitely captured one major aspect of his personality in that picture.


I don't know how Kevin's going to make it through this week. He's so excited about the convention for horror show movie hosts this coming weekend in Cleveland that he can barely sleep. Ghastly Ghoul, the host of the weekend horror movie show in Dayton, Ohio, hosts a big party Saturday night and has asked him to DJ again this year. When I lived in Dayton, the horror show host was Dr. Creep, but Ghastly is his "heir." Apparently, Rob Zombie is a big fan of Ghastly's, so, uh, there you go. Last night at dinner, Kevin was telling me about his plans for music he wants to use Saturday; Ghastly had e-mailed some requests to him. I asked him if Ghastly is married, and Kevin said, "Yes, his wife goes by the name Suspira." I told Kevin not to harbor any delusions that I'M going to adopt some horror show character name. I can't even imagine what name I'd come up with--Grammar-cula? Please.

Kevin's also made plans to get together with his two best friends from his high school and early college years in Cleveland. He found one, Peter, by Googling, and Peter put him in touch with Scott. When That '70s Show first came on, Kevin was thunderstruck by Ashton Kutcher's character's resemblance to Scott, in both looks and behavior, but I understand Scott's matured just a wee bit since then. Heh. I hope so--I can't picture a 48-year-old Kelso. Well, I can, but it's not an attractive image.


Work is continuing to get busier, but the increased cash flow is certainly nice. I've been scrimping and juggling bills for months, and it's such a relief not to worry about which utility's cut-off date is coming up first. The trade-off, of course, is less spare time, but until I figure out the road to independent wealthiness, those are the breaks, right?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Now with 101 uses!

Phone conversation with my mom last night:

Me: "I bet Sophie was glad to see you when you picked her up Saturday." [Sophie is my parents' spoiled, neurotic dog; she stays at my sister's house when my parents are out of town. My sister has, in addition to her dogs and cat, two Vietnamese potbellied pigs. Sophie has long white fur. These facts will be important later--but don't worry. There's no quiz.]

Mom: "Oh, she couldn't wait to get in the car to go home! But you'll never believe what happened to her at Linda's."

Me: "The cat scared her?" [That's happened before. Did I mention Sophie's neurotic?]

Mom: "No, she got poop all over her! She was outside, and when she came to the door, she had black pig poop smeared all over her back and into her fur."

Me: "Gross. What did Linda do?"

Mom: "Well, she bathed her outside--with cold water from the hose, poor thing! But when we got home, Sophie still smelled a little, so I sprayed her with Febreeze."

Note: No animals were harmed in the telling of this story. Between guffaws, I determined that she sprayed Sophie only along her back, and Sophie didn't lick her fur afterward. Good Lord.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

What I've Learned from Crosswords: A Partial List

As much as I love words, I guess it's not surprising I enjoy crossword puzzles. In grade school, I looked forward to the Sunday paper not so much for the comics, but for the big crossword puzzle in the Sunday magazine. The solution to the previous week's puzzle was there, too, so first I checked what I'd missed the Sunday before, and then began the new puzzle. I always did crossword puzzles in pen, but not because I was confident I wouldn't make mistakes. My hatred of writing in pencil was caused by those fat, unwieldy pencils first-graders were forced to use; they were too big for my hand, and I never could write as neatly as I wanted with them. By third grade, when I started doing the Sunday puzzle, school pencils had slimmed down to the standard No. 2, but I'd already discovered the joys of ballpoint and felt-tip pens, which I used at home because my teacher, the writing-implement Nazi, confiscated them if I tried to use them at school.

All week, I looked forward to the Sunday puzzle, but I wanted more than one a week. Then one day, during a trip to the grocery with my mom, I found whole magazines full of puzzles. After pestering my mom all the way through frozen foods until she gave in and bought it, I used my allowance to buy subsequent issues. I dabbled in other puzzles the variety magazines offered; I liked coloring in the squares for diagramless crosswords, but word searches bored me. Eventually, I discovered logic puzzles, which I love even more than crosswords, and I'm one the nerdy subscribers to a bimonthly logic puzzles magazine.

As I mentioned a couple of months ago, now I do crossword puzzles online, although I still like doing them on paper now and then. The other day, I was thinking about the stray facts and odd words I've learned from years of doing puzzles that are completely useless except in the context of crosswords. So if you ever decide to take up crosswords to ward off The Senility, here's a short list to help you:
  • edda: An Icelandic literary work
  • iter: A Roman road
  • sten: A type of British gun
  • Pele: Some guy who played soccer
  • alb: A garment priests wear
  • erose: Irregularly notched
  • Edo: Tokyo's original name
  • ogee: A type of architectural molding
  • Orono: Where the University of Maine is located
  • alate: Having wings
  • epee: A type of fencing sword
  • Ott: Baseball player Mel (and no idea on what team or in which decade he played)
  • Volga: Longest river in Europe
I've never used one of these words in conversation, with the exception of mentioning "The Volga Boatmen" song (which can't be mentioned often enough, as far as I'm concerned). If I took up fencing or remodeled a house, possibly "epee" or "ogee" would come in handy, and one day, I might find myself in Maine, asking for directions to Orono. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I'll never discuss sports, so I can't foresee using Pele or Ott's names for any reason. Nevertheless, these words and many more occupy space in my brain that could probably be put to use for, say, making sense of the stock market or figuring out why fools fall in love. Neither activity fits as well with my morning coffee, however, so I guess I'll continue amassing useless trivia and remain ignorant of other, more puzzling topics. Hey, it's the iter I've chosen!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Wearin' o' the Green

My folks just left about 30 minutes ago. I'll say one thing about them: They never wear out their welcome. They're all about the short visits, which is a sterling quality to have. Daniel was ecstatic about their main birthday present to him--the cutest little docking station (is that the right term? you know, with speakers and a recharger) for his iPod. It even has an alarm clock in it, which will be perfect for a dorm room.
One of my parents' irritating traits, however, is insisting on paying for any restaurant meals, and they always suggest going out to eat. I decided to nip that in the bud by saying I'd already bought ingredients to make my magic meatloaf. To be honest, I don't know what it is about my meatloaf; I think it's pretty good, but Kevin and Daniel go stark raving mad over it and eat like they're playing Henry the VIII in one of those cheesy Renaissance "dining experiences." It was a big hit with my mom and dad, too. My dad, who usually eats like an anemic bird, had an almost trucker-sized portion. I wish I could give you the recipe, but I can't because it's embarrassing. The ingredients are decidedly nongourmet--downright pedestrian, even--and you'd lose all respect for me.
In the middle of the night, however, I had a moment of panic that I'd poisoned everyone with the magic meatloaf. I woke up with horrid waves of nausea and spent the next hour or so getting rid of any remnants of dinner, with thoughts of food poisoning dancing in my head. Daniel and Kevin were fine, but I was an interesting shade of sage green when I got up and felt like a horde of Irishmen had been Lord of the Dancing all over me in my sleep. Happy St. Patrick's Day! I sent Kevin and Daniel out to breakfast with my parents and stayed here, sipping tea and reading People. That Sandra Bullock is the prettiest thang, isn't she?

I'm disappointed that American Idol is underwhelming me so far this season, but of course I won't stop watching. The top 12 is such an odd mix, with Melinda and Lakisha standing WAY out from the rest of the pack in talent. The rest can be lumped into fair-to-somewhat-good, with a few "what the hells??" in there. That little Sanjaya is just pitiful, and the sooner that poor kid goes home, the better. I'm worried about the next atrocity with his hair. What's next? Corn rows? Blonde extensions? I suspect the AI stylists gather backstage and hoot "I know! Let's try hot rollers on his hair this week!" "Ha, that's perfect! Let's suggest that dangly earrings are the latest trend for men, too!" STOP IT, you hateful stylists.
Next week is British Invasion music, and normally I'd be excited about it because I love that music, but if Chris Sligh (or anyone else) slaughters "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter" the way he murdered a Diana Ross song this past week, I'm going to be pissed. Now, I know you lovely people who have fine musical tastes know better, but I heard, to my dismay, that teenagers on the AI message boards were all excited because they thought "British Invasion" meant Oasis and the like. I'm scandalized, I tell you!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Noel Coward would have been proud

I'm rushing to post something before my parents get here because I have approximately 4,372 things to do before the white-glove test, er, my parents arrive. Also, I should pick up my panties from the bathroom floor, no? Kidding. Kevin's the only one who leaves his panties on the bathroom floor.

ANYway, the experiment in Noel Coward Levels of Civility and Sophistication went quite well Wednesday night. We arrived at the same time as the Ex's Wife (hereafter referred to as EW because I am a lazy typist) but before the Ex, who was driving separately from work. The Ex is chronically late, too, although that's not the reason I divorced him. (It was just one of the many reasons I wanted to kill him occasionally.) The time flew by while we chatted and perused the 47-page menu. Man, Japanese menus are detailed and wordy, aren't they?

Finally, the Ex arrived, and Daniel opened some cards from the Ex's family and presents from the Ex and EW. The Ex had bought Daniel's iPod a couple of months ago as an early birthday present, so he got Daniel an iTunes card and an armband holder Daniel can use when he goes for walks. He kept referring to Daniel's "ih-pod" (short "i" sound) because he enjoys jokes that make him sound like an old fogy, and Daniel was kind enough to crack up every one of the 32 times the Ex did it.

Going back to the menu for a moment, I haven't seen so many phonetic misspellings since I tutored in the ESL lab in college. For example, next to one item, the menu said "Ask the Waitless about this Special!!" I kid you not.

The food was great and much less expensive than the sushi restaurant Daniel and I love. This restaurant has the unfortunate name of Ocean World, however, which prompted Kevin to keep making remarks such as "I'll have the Shamu tempura!" or "Is the porpoise sushi good?" Hee.

I had so much sake that at one point, I was standing up acting out a story from the days when Glenn and I ran a dinner theater. Trust me: Telling this story without acting it out is much less funny. If you could see me, I'd act it out for you, too. It was so funny that we spent the next 45 minutes telling old theater stories. (All four of us have done theater, so we could have spent far longer trading stories, believe me.) Poor Daniel was appalled by some of his parents' past antics.

I realized something odd about EW while we were telling theater stories. I really do like her, but she is the worst, most long-winded, boring storyteller. She includes way too many details and explains things that aren't essential to the crux of the story. However, she seemed to think I was the one most interested in her tales and addressed most of them directly TO me, so I had to keep a fascinated look pasted on my face, even though I could feel my eyes slowly glazing over. It was like being hypnotized v-e-r-y slowly. No, the sake had nothing to do with it. Hush.

I think Daniel had a good birthday, though. By the way, he was surprisingly thrilled with the new clothes I bought him. He must be growing up because normally, he reacts to clothes as gifts the same way Ralphie and his brother reacted to getting socks in A Christmas Story. He even wore one of the new shirts to dinner that night and looked quite handsome (mom bias aside). Here's what I was most proud of, however. The waitress gave us comment cards to fill out that said "Thank you very mach!!" at the bottom. So on his card, Daniel wrote "I liked our waitless very mach." Have I mentioned how much I love that boy? His snotty humor fills me with pride!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I'm Twitchy, the Eighth Dwarf

I should learn how to write shorter entries so that I can post more regularly, I think. Work has been so busy lately that I don't have the time I'd like to write. Besides, I'm far too long-winded. Editor, edit thyself, right?

So here's what's been happening the past week or so: I spent an inordinate amount of time fussing over Daniel's application for federal financial aid and finally got it submitted in the nick of time. Have I mentioned my hatred of paperwork and applications? OH, THE HATRED AND LOATHING. I wouldn't survive working for a government agency.

Also, I gave Daniel his first driving lesson and have developed a new twitch in my right eyelid that hasn't gone away yet. Apparently I didn't explain the concept of power brakes clearly enough, and the first time he stopped, he stomped on the brakes so hard that I nearly went flying through the windshield even with a seatbelt on. I think I have a permanent scar on my neck from the seatbelt cutting into it, and I'm positive I can see finger impressions in the dashboard now. On the outside, I remained remarkably calm, however. Maybe the bottle of rum I had tucked under the seat helped? Heh.

I've also been preparing for Daniel's 18th birthday TOMORROW, OH MY GOD, MY BABY IS TURNING 18, WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN?? In a burst of Noel Coward-esque civility, my ex, his wife, Kevin, and I are taking Daniel out to dinner at a Japanese restaurant. If the conversation gets stilted, I plan to quiz The Ex's Wife on his bad habits and quirks. "Does he still take 6 hours to balance the checkbook because he thinks calculators are newfangled inventions?" "Hey, how many times has he gotten lost between your house and the grocery store? Ha, ha!" That should get the conversational ball rolling, right? I'm the Socializer! Invite me to your next party to get things going!

Oh, for Daniel's birthday, I decided to add him to my cell phone plan and get him a phone. He's mentioned wanting one a few times, and I can get a good deal on it. Also, I got him a sturdier leather case for his iPod, a nice hardback paper journal, some new shirts because his current ones are hanging on him like giant sails flapping in the wind, and the movie Borat. Sacha Baron Cohen makes him helpless with laughter, so I guess he's a typical 18-year-old boy in at least some ways. Besides, I need to make sure I maintain my status as Mother of the Year by buying my son a movie filled with ribald language and crass humor, you know.

The rest of my time has been taken up by fretting about increasingly convoluted work projects that refuse to go smoothly and the disorganized mess my house has become. "Has become." I snort in my general direction. Like it's usually a model of organized cleanliness. I usually do maintain some sort of system to the chaos, but it's gotten way out of hand, and I'll be agonizing over it all week because my parents are driving here Friday to visit for Daniel's birthday. You're looking forward to hearing more about that, I can tell. Awww, aren't you sweet?

Monday, March 5, 2007

For Karen

I was reading a summary of Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking at Amazon last night to figure out whether I wanted to read it. I suspect that book would turn me into a puddle of tears, but I'd still like to read it--or one of her novels--someday. I've read only a few essays of hers here and there. I started thinking about the first time I heard of Joan Didion, the summer I started graduate school, which inevitably led to thoughts of Karen. She was in my class on Southern women writers, one of the best classes I ever took.

I was a little intimidated by some students in there who had majored in English as undergrads; I'd been a communications major, so although I'd read a wide variety of authors on my own, I wasn't as knowledgeable as they were. Consequently, I kept my mouth shut during most class discussions. Not Karen, though. She had something to say on every topic, and her comments were usually contrary to the general consensus and often involved Joan Didion, her favorite writer (whether Joan was pertinent or not--and she usually wasn't because she isn't a Southern writer).

Neither factor was what made people in the class nervous, however. Karen's contributions to discussions were usually in the form of outbursts: She interrupted, loudly and insistently, and always peppered her remarks with several "fucks" or "fuckings." I've been known to swear like a sailor at times (ahem), but I never thought that was appropriate in a classroom. I wasn't alone, either; you could see other students, and the professor, flinch a little every time Karen let a "fuck" fly out. What made me more uncomfortable, though, were her mannerisms. She was so jittery--constantly twitching and shifting in her seat, jiggling her foot, throwing her hands around while she talked. Sometimes she talked so fast she almost tripped over her own words, and the longer she talked, the louder she got.

The way Karen interacted with people was odd, too. After class, she'd usually run out the door, tossing papers into her backpack and scattering books and pencils in her wake. I overheard her once telling someone she rode her bike five miles to school, but she never looked tired or winded at all when she arrived. On the rare occasions she did hang out with some of us after class, she was given to abrupt announcements that never had anything to do with what we were talking about. Out of nowhere, she'd blurt out "Yeah, I had sex for more than two hours last night!" or "You were so full of shit about that essay." I developed the habit of veering away from groups she was in or making an excuse to get away fast when she approached me. Even when I agreed with her opinions in class--and she did have a good point sometimes, despite her lack of finesse in expressing it--I never spoke up to support her lest I be painted with "The Crazy" brush, too.

Every now and then, I wish I could be 21 again: young, with no real responsibilities but full of possibilities. And then I think about how I treated Karen. I mean, it's clear to me now that she had ADD, hyperactivity, or maybe mild autism. I'm pretty sure that if I met her now, I could react with a little more understanding and sensitivity; I'd like to think I could make the effort, anyway. Back then, I thought I was Miss Open-minded, a model of tolerance for different lifestyles and viewpoints, but I was so full of shit. I couldn't handle someone being the slightest bit different behaviorally, and instead of trying to understand her, I freaked out and avoided her. I don't understand now what I was so afraid of. That her behavior was contagious? That other people would assume I was nuts, too, if I showed her any kindness? I wonder how often she must have felt alone and isolated. How many times was she hurt and bewildered by the way other people treated her? No wonder she usually raced to the door after class was over.

Sure, I'd love being 21 again in some ways. Having my breasts in their original location--very nice. Being able to run up two flights of stairs without breaking a sweat? Great! Not having to worry about bills, empty nests, and gray hairs--yes, yes, and yes. If it meant going back to that level of ignorance and uncertainty, however? No, thank you. I wish I could tell Karen that--and tell her how sorry I am for being so self-involved and afraid that I couldn't put myself in her shoes for one minute.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Mr. COI must die

I am livid. Mr. COI finally got on my last nerve. I got up this morning to find an e-mail from him--which was unusual in itself because he rarely e-mails or answers my e-mails--and I'm reproducing part of it here with some explanations from me:

This all worked better when the worked/edited copies were emailed back and forth and ALL the authors were cc'd...
[That was never the practice. Files are always posted on the FTP server. Occasionally, I've e-mailed files when authors had trouble connecting to it--because I'm a nice, helpful editor.] ...the FTP server is/has been a pain in the ass. The FTP link that was provided does/has NOT worked from the very beginning. I've sent several emails about that, yet the issue has not been corrected and no one has sent me the edited versions until this week. [BUZZZ! Wrong. He never said exactly what problem he was having, despite my repeated e-mails asking him to clarify. And for the record, no other authors have problems with it. The "edited versions" he mentions have been available since December 20 of last year, yet he never asked me to send them by e-mail until now.]
What's humorous here is your willingness to accept my changes/submissions via email if I'm having problems connecting with the FTP server. [Yeah, being helpful--that's funny, funny stuff! I told the putz I'd e-mail them if necessary, but he NEVER RESPONDED. I'm supposed to read his mind?]
That said, when I don't get a copy of the edits/comments, I am working blind. As was the case for this chapter. If I see no need for changes, due to a lack of comments/edits in the first submission, I don't make any. [This makes not one whit of sense. I told him an edited version had been posted. How could he possibly assume there were no edits or comments? Pardon my language, but he's a fucking idiot and a liar. He tried to turn in last year's chapter as his author second submission, and the only place he could have gotten it is from the FTP site. And although I'm repeating myself, I think, this author second he turned in didn't even contain HIS OWN CHANGES to the draft he originally submitted last November--which was more than a month late, I should point out.]
I have about 3-4 hours this weekend to work on Chapter 6 & 7. I'll send what I have, by email, Sunday night. [And it will be promptly returned to him as unacceptable. Three to four hours won't even begin to fix the sloppy crapola he turned in.]

Want to see my response? It's not nearly as snotty as I wanted to be:

[Mr. COI], it's a [publisher] guideline to post all files on the FTP site, which provides a more objective record of when files were submitted and serves as a backup in case someone loses files on his or her system. Chapters were supposed to be posted to the FTP site when we worked on the previous edition, too; it's not a new guideline, and the other authors have been following it with no trouble.
What I find humorous is that I e-mailed you about the files being ready on 12/20/06 and offered to e-mail them if you had trouble with the FTP site, so you had more than two months to request I e-mail the files to you. You never did. I'm glad you find my willingness to be helpful humorous.
In addition, your AU2 submission did not contain [other author's] edits OR your own original Ch. 7 changes. It's exactly the same as the version from the previous edition--which was, by the way, posted on the FTP site.
Three to four hours isn't going to be enough for AU2 passes on Ch. 6 and 7. Had the chapters, particularly Ch. 7, not been submitted in such rough shape for AU1, that might have been enough time.
Hugs and kisses, [OK, I didn't really say that]

Stephanie commented that chronic hemorrhoids might be a suitable punishment for Mr. COI. I agreed before I saw today's e-mail from him, and now I don't think that affliction is severe enough. Any thoughts y'all have on what he does deserve would amuse me and perhaps keep me from killing him. ARGGHHHH.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Mr. COI strikes again

Whew, busy week. I've been working like a dog on that four-author book, but there's no way it's going to be published in time to hit the sales cycle for fall college classes. The authors have been dragging their collective feet and turning chapters in late AND in rough shape, and permissions for software they'd planned to include on the book's DVD are turning into a nightmare. Even with open-source software, they have to get the software creator's permission to distribute it on a CD or DVD. Have they done that? Don't be silly. So Kid Manager and I have been trying to track down that information.

To make matters worse, Mr. Conflict of Interest (the author who can't be bothered to show up for conference calls) said he was dropping off the project because he was having surgery for "an old war injury." FINE WITH ME! For a few blessed weeks, I didn't have to deal with him or his sloppy work. However, when author seconds of his chapters were due, suddenly he was back on the project and claimed he'd have the first chapter done by last Friday. Keep in mind he's had that chapter with my edits and reviewer feedback since December 20, OK? That will be important later.

Naturally, I assumed he wouldn't finish by the date he gave, but when Friday came and went with no chapter, I started e-mailing to ask for updates. Finally, on Tuesday, he e-mailed the chapter files because he said he couldn't access the FTP site to post them. I opened the files and discovered, to my dismay, that not only had all my edits--10 hours worth of work--and the reviewer feedback disappeared, but the chapter didn't even have the original changes for his author first draft! I did some checking and realized he'd gone to the FTP site and downloaded the previous edition's chapter, and submitted that version. So he did NOTHING for his author second pass, and he lied about not being able to use the FTP site. I was livid, I tell you. I wrote a terse e-mail to him, stating what he'd done, and copied all his co-authors, Kid Manager, and the acquisitions editor (the big cheese, in other words). Do not fuck with me, Mr. COI. His co-author tried to apologize for him, saying Mr. COI couldn't get to the FTP site to download my edited version, but I told him that excuse didn't wash. Mr. COI had been notified on December 20 that the chapter was ready and had plenty of time to try to download the files, and I'd specifically told him I'd be happy to e-mail the files to him if he had trouble with the FTP site. Take that, you putz. Gah! Do these people think I'm stupid?

OK, enough about work. I think I mentioned Daniel's Brain Game team was done for the year, but he joined the science AND social studies academic teams, which also have quiz matches with other schools. The kid went for three years refusing to participate in extracurricular activities, except for occasional French Club meetings, and suddenly, he's signing up right and left for activities. I think the Little Red-Haired Girl is on the science team, and I'm sure she's a partial motivation. I'm delighted he's having fun and getting involved in something with a social component, though.

For the past few weeks, he and a few other seniors who have been taking French the past four years have been going to local elementary schools and teaching French to third graders. I thought Daniel might not have the patience to teach young kids, but he loved it. He even asked me for ideas on lesson plans! I'm still useful! Whooo! The last day of teaching, he came home looking exhausted and said he'd learned a valuable lesson. "What's that?" I asked. "Never, EVER, give candy to third graders," he said grimly. He and his partner decided to take in some candy for the last day as prizes for a game they'd devised, and apparently the kids were bouncing off the walls in a frenzy of candy greed and sugar rushes by the end of the lesson. Heh.

Kevin's art class went well last Saturday. Not as many students as he'd hoped for, but the five who showed up had a great time and asked when he'd be teaching another class. He met with the art center's director, who asked him to teach at least one class a month, preferably two. His next class will be on making art dolls, loosely based on the faux voodoo dolls we made as a craft project at our last Halloween party. Mayberry's on the cusp of the Bible Belt, so Kevin's promotional materials for the class have to include a disclaimer that the art center doesn't endorse voodoo, and the dolls aren't meant to be used for actual voodoo practices. Because that's SO likely to happen, you know. Without the disclaimer, who knows what people might try to do with these potent symbols of evil!

Kevin made a big deal of saying he wanted me to attend this next class, too. He's been making an effort to take the iniative more on finding things for us to do together, bless his heart. We had a little talk about some of his recent behavior, but I didn't accuse him of having irritable male syndrome or anything. I figured that would put him on the defensive. I are so smart sometimes! One decision we came to is that we need to spend more time together doing things we both enjoy, and art and crafty pursuits are definitely interests we have in common.

Sometimes it seems as though we go for weeks in which our conversations consist mostly of details about picking up milk and stamps, figuring out what to make for dinner, discussing whether shampooing the couch will get rid of the smell from Holly throwing up on it, and other fascinating topics. I guess other couples fall into similar ruts, but with an impending empty nest, I don't want to become one of those couple who go out to dinner and have nothing to say to each other. That prospect terrifies me. My theory is that spending more time together to remind us of what we saw in each other when we were falling in love might help both our irritable moods. And if it doesn't work, I can always make a voodoo doll of Kevin to make him behave. Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Maybe I'll just get him a Playboy subscription

Kevin's teaching his first class, on collage and mixed media, at the Sugarcreek Art Center today. He had to work last night, so he was up late gathering supplies and going over his notes for the intro. I can tell he's nervous because as he was leaving, he said "I wish you were coming to the class!" Fine time to tell me, pal, when I'm sitting here with crazy bed head and wearing pajama pants. Oh, don't feel sorry for him. I think he wanted me there more to boost participant numbers than for moral support. Only five people signed up ahead of time, but the center does get walk-ins for classes. I think the weather and time of year affected the number of sign-ups, too. He's planning to teach a class on rubber stamping later this spring, and I'm sure more people will sign up then. Keep your fingers crossed the class goes well for him, will you?

Oh, and I must say something snotty about his cousin Sam, who's heading up the foundation that Kevin's the artist in residence for. Sam blathers a blue streak about how "marvelous" Kevin's artwork is and how "supportive" he is of Kevin's artistic efforts, but is he attending the class today to support Kevin? Why, no. And Kevin wonders why I snipe about Sam being all talk.


That damn Greg (heh) suggested a Playboy subscription for Daniel's 18th birthday. He was kidding, of course (RIGHT, Greg?), but his suggestion reminded me of something I know about Daniel that I'm not supposed to. A while back, Kevin was putting away laundry and went into Daniel's closets to hang a few shirts. (He doesn't usually put Daniel's clothes away FOR him, just for the record. He was carrying a bunch of shirts up and decided to hang Daniel's up so that they wouldn't wrinkle or fall off the doorknob. Anyway, end of unnecessary explanation.) A stack of magazines on the shelves in there caught his eye, and when he took a closer look, he saw they were Playboys. Here's what's funny, though: They weren't current Playboys; they were from the late '60s, early '70s, and quite tame by today's standards. We figured someone brought them in to the bookstore with a box of books to sell, and Jon offered them to Daniel and the other male employee more as a joke. Apparently Daniel took him up on the offer! I had to laugh when I looked at a few issues. I mean, the pictures are almost sweet. If that's as far into porn as he gets, fine with me.


I was more upset than I let on by Kevin's touchiness over getting stuck in the snow last weekend. See, when I met him nine years ago, he was one of the sweetest, most laidback men I'd ever met. Frankly, that quality was a huge part of his attraction for me, as it was a diametric opposite to my ex-husband's personality. Over the past couple of years, I've been surprised to see outbursts of anger, irritation, and defensiveness from him. He's not a psycho, but the change has been noticeable. I tried to rationalize it by attributing it to depression (and his moods did improve a little after he started antidepressants) or frustration over being out of work or working in jobs that gave him no opportunities to use his creativity. He's had a lot of problems with his daughter, and Lord knows problems with kids can make you angry and frustrated as hell. I've had some ups and downs in moods, too, what with occasional depression and perimenopause and idiot salesclerks and theater employees (heh), too, so I thought maybe he was reacting to MY moods.

Greg mentioned male menopause after my entry about Kevin's snit fit, and I thought it might be a possibility, but with my usual laziness, didn't look into it any further. Then I got an e-mail from Kathy (more famous as The Millionth Reader at Jane's) talking about dealing with men's midlife crises, and I thought "Second mention in a week: Someone's telling me to look into this more."

So I Googled "male menopause" and lo, there were more than a million hits. I started clicking around, looking for descriptions of symptoms. This WellnessMD article, among many others, listed "dwindling libido and impotence" (which I first typed as "importance"--ha! Freudian, much?) Uh, NOT A PROBLEM. And I'll leave it at that (you're welcome).

I kept looking, and found this article at MSNBC, which also mentioned decreased interest in sex but added increased irritability and feeling "down and discouraged." What's interesting is that the article said testosterone levels start decreasing gradually as early as 30 and continue for many years, whereas woman have a sharper decline in estrogen levels starting at 50, on average. So men do go through menopause (or, more correctly, andropause), but the transition is usually a hell of a lot easier for them because it's more gradual.

I was feeling somewhat put upon, all "Men! And if they had periods, instead of cramps, they'd have soothing, tingling waves of contentment wash over them. Hmmmph!" And then I found the MenAlive site. According to the author, male depression can mimic andropause symptoms, making diagnosis more difficult, and depression often manifests itself differently in men than in women, as anxiety and irritability. Then I hit on irritable male syndrome (IMS), which at first I was tempted to dismiss with "I think that's called just being male," but I don't know. A lot of what I read sounded familiar. IMS is sometimes called Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome because of how drastic the behavioral changes can be, and that certainly fit Kevin. If you're involved with a middle-aged man, I recommend checking out the information. I don't know whether the guy writing the stuff on this site is a crackpot or is making up all these theories or what, but what I read made sense to me.

Now I need to read more about what to do about IMS. I did see something about testosterone supplements, and hell, no. That's the last thing Kevin needs, in my Google M.D. opinion. More testosterone in him? I'd never get anything done!

Edited to add: Y'all should pay attention to the lovely Miz S, if you go check out that site! I'm oblivious to advertising most of the time and didn't notice all the stuff this guy is hawking. That makes me suspicious, but I still think the descriptions of behaviors are interesting, and to be honest, I'm relieved to think there might be something wrong with Kevin, whether it's physical or psychological. Not that I WISH an ailment on him, but that's better than resigning myself to him becoming the world's crankiest old man, right?

Oh, and no worries: He doesn't read anything here. I'm not hiding it from him on purpose, but when I switched sites, I just never gave him the new address. Even at my old journal, he didn't read that often because I think he was afraid of inhibiting my "self-expression" or some such notion. Self-expression, heh. More like aimless babbling, but still, it was sweet of him. See? He is sweet when he's not being Mr. Crankypants.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Heed the snow blob's warning!

Why do I have to work for a living? Whyyyyyyyyyyyy? It gets in the way of so much I want to do. For one thing, I was enjoying updating more often, but I don't how I'm going to continue doing that if work stays at this pace. More work = money coming in, so I don't want to complain too much. Sometimes the feast-or-famine nature of freelance work gets to me, though.


In case you were wondering, the snow finally started melting, and I did indeed survive my Cabin Fever '07 experience. Good thing I wasn't a pioneer woman in one of the plains states who was forced to hole up in a cabin the entire winter. I wouldn't have maintained a Little House on the Prairie cheerfulness in the face of hardship. No, I'd have been the type who wrote increasingly paranoid, disjointed entries in my diary that would one day be found and illuminate for my descendants why I went insane and roasted my family in the fireplace. Or maybe I WAS one in a former life, and that explains my dread at the prospect of one more day of being trapped inside by the weather.


Damn, American Idol sucks up a lot of time during semifinals, doesn't it? I read the other day that at 1 minute and 30 seconds per song for each contestant, a night with 12 contestants takes up 18 minutes of actual singing. That's of a two-HOUR show, folks. That leaves 102 minutes for judges' comments, commercials, intro-backstory blather about contestants, and, of course, manufactured drama. Thank God Kevin's been working mostly nights and I've been taping shows; we just fast-forward through all the crap and commercials and save vast amounts of time. I don't think I'd enjoy it nearly as much if I wasted 204 minutes plus the results show in one week.


Daniel turns 18 in three weeks! I'd like to get him something special for his birthday, but I'm so broke right now. With all the work I've had, you wouldn't think I am, but payments are at least a month behind the actual work. Anyway, I wanted to give him a present that acknowledges the significance of this birthday--that it marks the transition from child to adult, in a way. I haven't a clue what that might be, however. Any ideas?

Speaking of my boy, he continues to develop a warped sense of humor that fills me with all kinds of strange pride. Heh. The day after the blizzard, he went out to shovel the steps again and took his camera outside to get some pictures of the snow. He said he'd tried to make a snowman, but the snow didn't pack well. However, I found a picture he took the next day, and he did manage to fashion a snowman of sorts--more of a snow blob, I guess:

Bwah! I just love that kid. He's never lost his "Calvin and Hobbes" quality.

He was so excited last week because he got an acceptance letter from Purdue. He'd listed geology as his first choice of major, with history as a second choice. Unfortunately, his math grades and math scores on the ACT/SATs weren't high enough to get accepted into the College of Science, but he made it into the College of Liberal Arts. He's cool with that and figures he can reapply after a year, if he takes some science and math review/remedial classes and does well in them. His grades in natural sciences have always been high, so I think he has a good shot at it; if not, he'd be happy doing something in liberal arts.


Netflix finally sent The Departed, so I'll have seen an unprecedented TWO of the nominees for Best Picture before this year's Oscars. Whooo! The other one was Little Miss Sunshine, which I loved, even though I don't think it's going to take the Best Picture award. Daniel and I have already filled out the ballot cards Entertainment Weekly includes in the Oscar preview issue. We've been doing that for the past three years, and then keep score during the show of who predicted the most right choices. I've edged him out every year so far, but his prediction score has been improving. He just might whup my ass this year--our own nerdy little version of the child surpassing the parent. Poor Kevin. The man hasn't got a competitive bone in his body and is slightly bewildered by our intense enjoyment of this game. He adores snarking about the red-carpet interviews and cheesy performances of Oscar-nominated Best Songs, however, so that night has something entertaining for us all.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

I'm back in the sweat pants again

Even with yesterday's fresh snow, I was optimistic about getting out of the house to see a movie. Going down to Mt. Pilot was out of the question, but maybe, just maybe, Mayberry's local theater would show something besides Talladega Nights, which topped the marquee for six solid weeks. Ugh. Holding my breath, I dialed the movie line and was shocked to hear that Music and Lyrics had a 5:00 showing. Matinee prices, even!

About 4:30, Kevin and I headed out to the garage, with me practically skipping down the shoveled path. I was wearing real pants! And a bra! Lipstick, too! Well, I'd wear lipstick in the aftermath of a tornado with a fever of 105, but REAL PANTS, people. Mountains of packed snow lined the driveway on either side, but I stayed positive--until Kevin backed up and got stuck. He kept revving and spinning the tires while I gritted my teeth. I lived in Chicago for 10 years, and I know that technique isn't going to get you anywhere on slick snow. Finally, when the smell of burning rubber began drifting through the air, I suggested Kevin try going forward again and rocking the car back and forth. Apparently this remark was a slur on Kevin's manhood, intelligence, character, etc., etc. "Stop criticizing me!" he yelled. "Oh, I forgot being helpful is CRITICIZING," I retorted.

For God's sake. Am I nuts? It would have been better to let him burn the tires up than offer advice? Meanwhile, the clock on the dashboard was ticking inexorably toward 5:00, and the possibility of a fun movie date began fading. Kevin was getting nowhere fast, so he grudgingly got out of the car to let me try. I told him to get ready to push on my signal, and then rocked the car back and forth a few times. When it felt right, I hollered at Kevin to push and backed up until I was through the packed snow. Kevin ran to the car, and I was nice enough to brake for a few seconds while he climbed in.

Now, let me emphasize that I did not gloat, but Kevin pouted and muttered "Fine, YOU lived in CHICAGO, you know all about driving in snow." All the way to the theater, we "discussed" the difference between criticizing and giving advice, and I bit my tongue about 42 times to stop myself from shrieking "Would you GROW the HELL UP?" Which would have been quite mature of me. Pot, kettle, yadda yadda. I was determined to see the movie, however, so I tried to let it drop.

We raced into the theater at a few minutes before 5:00, and as the teenaged cashier was handing the tickets to us, I happened to spot the movie times listed above him, which said "Music and Lyrics: 4:50 7:00." WHAT? The movie line said 5:00! I asked Teen Cashier whether the movie had already started. He looked blank (well, blankER) and said "I dunno." I asked whether he could, oh, I don't know....FIND OUT? He stared for a few seconds and stuttered that the previews were "probably" still playing. Fine. We walked back to the theater, but when we went in, I saw Hugh Grant talking (adorably, I might add) to Brad Garrett on the big screen and threw a minor hissy fit. I don't know about you, but I'd rather have major dental surgery than watch a movie that's already started. It's just not done. If I started my own religion, that would be number one on the list of deadly sins. (Number two: Talking in the theater during a movie.) I stomped back to Teen Cashier and demanded our money back.

Of course, nothing else worth seeing was playing in that stupid theater, so we went back home. I was crushed. I'd looked forward to this outing so much, and I desperately needed to get out. Instead, I got a stuck car and a ridiculous argument and missed the movie because the idiot girl who records the movie listings read the wrong time. Hmmmph! If we get more snow today, I'm going to commit hara-kiri on the giant icicle hanging next to my back door. At the very least, I could put my eye out!*

*For the three people who haven't seen A Christmas Story, I'm kidding.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

All snow and no fun make Lisa an insane woman

After this week, I'm thinking of writing a book: Diary of a Mad Freelance Editor Stuck Inside Her Freaking House Because of a Damn Blizzard. Possibly with a shorter title. After Tuesday's blizzard dumped about 16 inches of snow on central Indiana--and the 35-40 mph winds created drifts up to four FEET high--going anywhere was impossible. My garage is a separate building out back along an alley, which the city never plows, of course. Kevin shoveled a path from the back door to the garage Wednesday, but too much snow was blocking the driveway and alley to shovel away.

I'd gone to the grocery store last weekend, so food wasn't a problem. Cold weather and snow puts me in a cooking mood, and this week I made two huge pans of stuffed shells and homemade beef-vegetable soup with corn muffins, and I even indulged my guys with pancakes and bacon for brunch on Valentine's Day. I figured if I kept us all stuffed, we'd be too lazy to kill each other from all the enforced togetherness. Heh. I was in a good mood that morning, too, because of the little surprise Kevin left on my desk the night before. Usually, we don't make a big production out of Valentine's Day, but I found a sweet card and this plant waiting for me:

What made me laugh, though, were the little clingy gel hearts and cupids he'd stuck all over my monitor, which I didn't see at first because it was dark. When I moved the mouse, the screen lit up, and all the decorations popped out.

Daniel was delighted to have snow days Tuesday and Wednesday, but a little dismayed to have another snow day Thursday. Three days at home with just your mom isn't any teenager's idea of a good time, I'm sure. Usually, he never has a problem with getting bored; that kid has always been able to amuse himself quite well. When he offered to shovel the front steps and walkway, however, I knew even he was grasping at straws for something to do. I posted a few pictures on Flickr, mostly as proof of his stubbornness. It was 10 degrees outside, but would he wear anything on his head? Don't be silly. He's been a walking furnace since he was a baby, but I can't believe his head wasn't cold! I sent one picture to my parents, and my mom was horrified at his hatless state--which is, of course, the main reason I sent the picture to them.

When Kevin got home from work Thursday, he discovered that a mysterious he-man neighbor had partially cleared the alley with a snowblower. Bless retired men with motorized toys who need to find something to occupy their time. So Friday morning, he was able to get the car out to drive Daniel to school and--even more important--make it to the store to buy Diet Coke and a People magazine for me. I was going through withdrawal, people! No Diet Coke since Wednesday, and the new People had been out for a whole DAY. Besides, being cooped up inside has made me a little crazy, and he was hoping those two offerings would make the mad glint in my eyes subside. They did help, but the prospect of going out today and seeing a movie with him were doing more to keep me sane. You can imagine my dismay when I looked out the window earlier this morning and saw more snow falling. The weather people predicted two to four inches, but we've already got that, and the snow's still coming down in buckets. Arrrghhh! If you read about a middle-aged woman who's been wearing sweat pants and slippers for four days going berserk and chopping her family into bite-sized pieces, don't be surprised.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Storm of the century? BFD!

Blizzard! Danger, Will Robinson! Oh, all right: It's still just a blizzard warning, but I like to get a jumpstart on overreacting. The weather liars have been trumpeting THE STORM OF THE CENTURY since Sunday, so naturally, everyone's running around freaked out. Kevin said that last night at work, every customer immediately asked, after walking in the door, "Do you still have milk??" What the hell is it about imminent snowstorms that makes people flock in Pavlovian droves to the store to buy up all the milk, bread, and eggs? Do they develop a craving for French toast when it snows? As it turns out, W@lgreen's was indeed the last place in town to have milk stocked. Both the grocery and W@l-Mart were out. That's a LOT of milk, folks. Mayberry-ites must have the strongest bones in the Midwest.

Daniel and I started checking school closings last night, but of course this stupid school district can't plan ahead and put out an early notice. No, every school district surrounding this one had posted a closed notice last night, but not Mayberry. I guess having strong bones means you can withstand a trip to school through a foot of snow and gale-force winds. Kevin had to get up early because he's on the day shift today, so I got up with him and flipped channels impatiently to get to Mayberry's spot in the endless list of alphabetical entries. Daniel's school did close (yay!), but while I was waiting, I noticed that preschools and day care centers have the oddest names these days, especially church-affiliated schools. Among others, I noticed God's Treasures, Tomorrow's Hope (because the children ARE our future), and Lit-O-Lamb Preschool. The strangest, by far, was Excellent in Flight Daycare. What the . . . ? I'm picturing tots in aviator goggles and flight suits toddling around. Remind me to get a good look at the pilot the next time I fly out of Indianapolis, would you?


Last night, my editor pal Jill called. Like me, she's a freelance editor and works for most of the same clients; for years, we saw each other's names pop up on e-mails and pub schedules, but had never talked. A couple of years ago, we wound up working on a set of companion textbooks and quickly became phone buddies. We e-mail and call every few weeks and often have delightful bitching sessions about frustrating authors, stupid copyeditors who don't know a comma from a semicolon, Hitler-esque production staff, and other topics that would bore non-editors to tears, I'm sure.

I've wondered a few times if we'd be friends if we weren't in the same field of work. Jill lives way out in the country, about 50 miles outside Phoenix, and spends her spare time riding dirt bikes and motorcycles. I'd feel isolated in that environment, and I fall over if I just see a PICTURE of anything motorized on two wheels. She's almost frighteningly blunt and straightforward, whereas I avoid confrontation and unpleasantness as though they're the main causes of cancer. She considers children an alien lifeform, and I . . . well, sometimes I can see her point. Heh.

Anyway, we're very different, but on anything related to editing, we connect like nobody's business. She called last night to warn me an unpleasant project might be coming my way; she had turned it down and suspected it would be offered to me next. Then we started talking about a nightmare project she's working on: a series of books for the new Office products coming out for the Vista update. A team of authors, editors, and product managers are working on the series, and except for Jill, sound like the most anal-retentive bunch you can imagine. In addition to weekly conference calls for the editors, the style guide is updated two or three times a WEEK (highly unusual) and is up to 86 pages. That's crazy. You simply can't work with a style guide that long. The worst part is that the authors, who have worked together on this series for the past 15 years, have a ton of style rules that exist only in their heads, as Jill keeps discovering. She'll make a correction only to be told "Oh, we don't do it that way." Jill then consults the style guide and can't find that rule. When she asks, they just say "Well, it's not in there, but that's the way we've always done it." Yikes.

Last week, Jill was on a conference call with the entire team, including the head honcho who started this series. (I can't say the name of the series, but it's a major one used in almost every college.) Head Honcho and the author team were arguing about some minor point, so Jill took that opportunity to doze a little while clutching the phone to her ear. Suddenly, she heard Head Honcho snap "Oh, BFD! I really don't care." She jerked awake, thinking "Did I really just hear this guy say 'BFD' on a conference call, or did I dream it?" BFD. Can you believe it? It's unprofessional, to say the least, but what a juvenile expression! I don't think I've heard "BFD" since sixth grade. We had a good laugh about it, but I told Jill she should have asked politely what "BFD" stands for, pointing out innocently that the acronym isn't on the style guide anywhere.


I just took this picture out my front door. You can't tell, but the wind is blowing so hard the snow is coming down sideways. Not much accumulation yet, however. Looking at this photo, I'm afraid I'd have to say "BFD!" Hee.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I need to update my TV references

Lord, was that financial aid seminar boring! Mostly, it consisted of a pinch-faced woman standing at the front of the cafeteria reading every single word in the FAFSA worksheet. Words that were right in front of me. In print. Plus, she was soft-spoken to the point of near-inaudibility. She'd make Low Talker Girl from Seinfeld look like a brassy loudmouth. Hell, I was ready to agree to wear a puffy shirt if she'd just SPEAK UP. Not that she said anything useful. I've been able to read for, oh, a number of years, and I wager I could have figured out the intricate distinctions between single, married, divorced, and widowed without her low-pitched mumbling commentary. Daniel and The Ex amused themselves by making rude observations on the other seminar attendees and snickering like 12-year-olds. I adore being the mature one, you know?

Pinch Face droned on, while several assistants circled the audience like sharks to answer questions from attendees. I was reading ahead (because I are so smart!) in the worksheet, and I got to the question about whether the student had registered for military service. The worksheet explanation stated that male students between the ages of 18 and 25 must register for military service to receive federal financial aid for college. I saw red, and my arm flew up as if independent of my brain to flag down one of the assistants. An assistant shark spotted blood in the water and rushed over, and I asked her whether that statement was accurate. "Yes," she said, looking puzzled. I was trying to keep my voice down, honestly, but I don't think I was completely successful. One clue was Daniel and The Ex whistling and feigning fascination in the ceiling tiles, clearly pretending they didn't know me. "Well, putting aside what I think about REQUIRING military service, why does this apply only to MALE students?" I asked. She looked at me as though I had suddenly started speaking in tongues and explained "Because women aren't required to register for military service." "Oh," I said. "I thought it was 2007. I guess I was mistaken." By this time Daniel was beet-red and The Ex was almost choking, trying not to laugh, so I mumbled "Never mind" and went back to studying the worksheet.

I'm still a little steamed about it, to tell the truth. I'm too lazy to go look up statistics, but from what I've seen on the news and read, a substantial portion of American soldiers don't have penises. If the military is going to continue targeting its recruitment attempts at low-income youth--because people who are rich enough to not need college financial aid have much better things to do than serve in the military, of course--why not do so without this backward, 1950s-reminiscent gender bias?

The seminar wasn't a complete waste of time, however. The worksheet is useful, and the assistants gave out pamphlets with several Web sites to check for scholarships. I found out, too, that I don't have to declare The Ex's income on the application. Considering child support stops next month, and I doubt I'll be able to count on him to contribute much to Daniel's tuition, I think that's fair. Even better, Daniel and I picked up some beautiful salmon steaks in a Dijon-herb marinade at Trader Joe's and had a mighty fine dinner. I broiled the steaks and made some rice pilaf and carrots with lemon-dill butter, and we even lit the candles on the dining room table. Just don't tell the feds! I can see my application coming back with an "Are you KIDDING me?? Rejected!" stamp on it, accompanied by a handwritten note: "If you can afford salmon steaks, missy, you don't need financial aid from us, now, do you?"

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sunday morning babble

You people know how to hit my funny bone. I think the only joke you missed is a bad pun; I'm embarrassingly fond of puns, and the worse they are, the better. I can't think of one to save my life, but I'm in proper awe of people who can.

What an exciting Saturday night I had! I saw Daniel on TV for the first time--and not as the subject of a Cops episode. My Mother of the Year award should be arriving any day now. I mentioned in this entry that one of his Brain Game matches was taped, and last night it aired. I know this is such a mom thing to say, but Daniel looked so good! His voice sounds great on TV, too--very clear and surprisingly deep. Daniel even admitted he didn't look as "dorky" as he thought he would. His best friend, Paul, cracked me up with his facial expressions. Every time he answered a question right, you could see the thought bubble over his head: "Wow, I really got that one??" The team chose him to answer the lightning-round questions, although he's allowed to get answers from other team members. The entire time, Paul had the funniest deer-caught-in-the-headlights expression. I could hear Daniel feeding him some answers, which was cool.

Oh! And I finally got to see the Little Red-Haired Girl who broke my son's heart. She's not as smart as she thinks she is; she got more answers wrong than right, and of course I took immense satisfaction in that. Hateful of me, but don't mess with MY BABY. Hmmmph. Also--and I'll admit I could be biased, and she was probably nervous--she had a rather haughty air I didn't care for. I suspect she's a little smug about her self-perceived superiority. It's possible I could have been looking for that, though, because of something Kevin told me. A girl at Daniel's school just started working at W@lgreen's, and Kevin asked her if she knew LRG. She snorted and said "Yes, and she's the most stuck-up thing I've ever met! She always eats lunch alone because no one likes her attitude." Hmmm. Now that I think about it, I feel a little sorry for her. She's probably been the "smart kid" her whole life and been ostracized for it, which can make you painfully shy. Maybe she's adopted that superior air unconsciously as a self-defense mechanism. OK, I feel like a jerk for secretly exulting at her incorrect answers.

Some of the questions involved math calculations, and they're allowed to use paper and pencil to figure out the answers. I noticed Daniel scribbling away industriously after one algebra question, and I was amazed--math isn't exactly his forte, after all. I asked him if he was close to getting the answer, and he laughed and said "I was doodling cartoons there."

The Z'ville team won by three points, BUT the match might have gone the other way if not for the stupid judges. To the question "What's the saintly name for the light surrounding ships' masts at night?" a Z'ville kid answered "Halo." The judges conferred and gave it to him! Not even close to the correct answer: St. Elmo's fire. He got two points for a wrong answer, damn it. Not that I'm bitter or anything. Heh.

I'm feeling a little better, mostly because this ^%$^!# rush job is almost done. I'm still not 100%, however; I feel a little weak and shaky, so I'm not looking forward to driving down to Indianapolis this afternoon. Daniel and I are meeting his dad at a seminar on federal financial aid for college. Sounds like a good time, no? I bet you wish you were me. It'll be worth it if Daniel can get some kind of grant, though. To make up for the tedium, I promised Daniel a trip to Trader Joe's afterward to pick up something fun for dinner. Compared to the local grocery, Trader Joe's is a cornucopia of exotic food choices. With that and the prospect of American Idol's Hollywood round starting this week, I don't know if I can take the excitement!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Begonia or orchid?

Hello, I'm feeling unbelievably crappy. I'm exhausted, and I keep throwing up (TMI, sorry), much like the problem I was having last fall (NOT PREGNANCY). My blood sugar's a little high, which I think is because I'm so stressed with this rush job. I used to handle rush jobs without breaking a sweat and could stay up until all hours working. Now I have to work a little harder than usual, and I'm falling apart. When did I turn into such a hothouse flower? (Hush, Sasha!)
I have no time to post much of anything, but if you like, leave a funny comment for me. It doesn't have to be the height of hilarity, either. You might not know this, but I'm quite the humor slut, and it doesn't take much to crack me up. Make an overworked hothouse flower giggle; it can be your good deed for the day. I promise to be less pathetic soon!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Don't ask me to explain a first down, though

About Rude Workout Lady, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks of a good comeback hours later. My normal MO, when confronted with rudeness, is to stare disbelievingly, open and close my mouth repeatedly like a giant guppy, mumble something, and walk away fuming. If I'm pushed past a certain point, however, the words just fly out without my brain even engaging--or so it seems. Sometimes that works in my favor, but more often, I wind up saying things I regret.
After I got home, I thought of a lot more I would have liked to say, but I said enough to stand up for myself without resorting to her level of rudeness, I think. Stephanie mentioned reporting her to the manager, and that did cross my mind. The manager's probably gotten similar complaints about this woman--or maybe not. I doubt any apology from her would be sincere, though, and I suspect she isn't going to be saying anything to me in the near future, much less making rude comments. So I don't know . . . should I complain?

I heard a few rumors that a big game of some kind is being played today. Is that right? Heh. Sorry, just pulling your leg, football fans. Y'all get so rabid about the Super Bowl that I can't resist teasing you. Actually, I had forgotten about it until yesterday. Kevin and I had to go to the store to pick up dog food, and the place was jammed. I've never seen lines that long there! Then it dawned on me, as I looked at the contents of people's carts: chips, beer, dip, more beer, chicken wings, oh, and beer. I noticed, too, that not one carton of eggs could be found in the store. Apparently, the entire state of Indiana is making deviled eggs.
My friend Lynn called yesterday, so excited she could barely speak. She's a HUGE Colts fan and is going to a Super Bowl party decked out in a blue tinsel wig, a Colts jersey, and a hat with a horse perched on top. Yeah, I'm not sure why we're friends, either. What cracked me up is the way she kept referring to the Colts as "we," as in "We're going to crush the Bears!" On the other hand, if Lynn were in Miami, I could see her leaping onto the field and giving Peyton Manning some tips. Gah, I can't believe I know the name of the Colts quarterback! I guess I'd have had to be in a coma for the past month not to have some football knowledge seep into my consciousness.
Last night, customers kept asking Kevin if he had to work today. When he said yes, they were aghast and expressed the kind of sympathy usually reserved for a death in the family. He's not much of a sports fan--and I'm deeply grateful he's not--but he reassured them that TVs would be set up in the store, and the other employees had planned to bring in snacks. "Oh, thank God," they breathed in relief. Kevin said he was afraid if he told them he'd miss the game, they would have burst into tears or stormed the manager's office, demanding she provide a TV for employees.
There's not much point in W@lgreen's being open tonight, however. I can't imagine many customers coming in. By 6:00, the town is going to be completely deserted, with tumbleweeds blowing down the middle of Main Street and the faint sounds of people crunching chips and munching on deviled eggs echoing through the cold, still air. Well, I'll watch the half-time show at least, in case there's a wardrobe malfunction or Nelly (Nellie? whatever) grabbing his crotch while he sings to amuse me. The Super Bowl has something to entertain everyone, right?

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Double the workout, NOT double the fun

Whew. It's been a long week. I took on a rush editing project because I need the money, but I'm beginning to regret it. This author uses 4,237 words to say what most people can say in 385. In one chapter, he's trying to set up a hypothetical company as an example, and I swear he spent three paragraphs describing the company and a problem it's having. After taking my editing axe to the description, I boiled it down to four sentences. Holy unnecessary words, Batman!


I feel a little guilty about poking fun at Kevin's forgetfulness in my previous entry, especially because I'm not exactly the Queen of Short-Term Recall. He's so darn cute in his absent-mindedness, though, that I can't help myself. I wish my memory lapses were as amusing, but walking into a room to get something and forgetting--in the 10 seconds it took to walk into the room--what I needed to get isn't quite as endearing. Sometimes it seems as though I spend half my day standing in the middle of a room and mumbling to myself "What did I come in here to do?"

The other half of the day I spend doing things backward. This morning I was making corn muffins and carefully put the milk jug and egg carton in the oven and the muffin tin in the refrigerator. Fortunately, I realized what I'd done before I created a HAZMAT accident in my oven. I don't even want to think about the stink of melted egg carton wafting through my kitchen.

There. Now I feel less guilty after confessing my memory inadequacies.


I haven't mentioned my progress with better eating and exercising lately. For the most part, I think I'm slowly incorporating good habits so that I don't have to consciously think about food choices or constantly persuade myself to exercise. I have setbacks, of course. Some days I get busy with work and forget to eat lunch, so at 3:00 I'm suddenly starving and want to eat an entire birthday cake (but I don't--really!). Occasionally, I have to force myself to go work out when I'm so tired that all I want to do is collapse on the couch and watch Seinfeld reruns.

In spite of those bad days, I'm still getting results. I've lost another five pounds for a total of 28, I think. Or maybe 30. I have the damndest time remembering the total amount, and I keep forgetting to ask the nurse after I get weighed. I'm just so excited to see any loss; that's all I can focus on at the moment.

I did remember to get measured at the end of January at Curve$, though. I hate getting measured no matter who does it, but when I went in Monday, the one Curve$ employee I actively dislike was there. She's always making little digs about my weight, which is strange for two reasons. One, the other employees never do that; they go out of their way to be encouraging and positive. Two, she's a big ol' husky girl who probably outweighs me by 50 pounds. Granted, I'm short and weigh too much for my height, but she doesn't have much room to talk. Usually, I grit my teeth and ignore her, but I'd finally had it Monday.

She was taking my measurements and bitching about having a hard time finding my waist. I tried to be nice and said, "Yeah, I'm very short-waisted--I have about half an inch between my rib cage and my hip bones!" I'd lost 1.5 inches from my waist (despite the suffering she went through to FIND my waist) and 1 inch from my hips, so I was happy. Then she went one step too far. She measured my bust and reported I'd lost one-fourth inch. I thought that was kind of funny, compared to my other measurements; it's like I can't get rid of my excess knockers, you know? I made some kind of lame joke, laughing about it being only a fourth of an inch. She said nastily, "Well, if you really want results, you have to come three times a week! You've missed some days, you know, and you have to work hard because of all that extra weight."

When I get really mad, I turn beet-red, and my face felt like it was on fire. Honestly, I thought I was going to burst a blood vessel. I snapped "I AM getting results, and I HAVE been coming here regularly. I missed a few days a couple of weeks ago because I had NO FREAKING CAR. Is there anything else you'd like to say, or can I go exercise now and get the hell away from you?"

She started sputtering indignantly, but I didn't want to hear it or waste any more time on her, so I just walked away and started my workout. I've decided there's no point in trying to deal with rude people. Telling them they're rude doesn't work; either they don't believe you and think you're being oversensitive, or they just plain don't care. One good thing came out of that incident, however: I didn't have to exercise very long to get my heart rate up! Who knew getting mad is an aerobic activity? I think I'll stick with exercising instead of throwing hissy fits to get a cardio workout, though.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I can't wait for actual senility to set in!

I've mentioned this before, but Kevin and I have a running joke about starring in our own sitcom called My Idiot Boyfriend because of all the absent-minded, bone-headed stunts he pulls (and I say that with love, truly). The theme song sounds similar to the one from The Patty Duke Show, in case you're wondering.

Well, last night was a new episode. Kevin got home from work about 10:30 and said it had started snowing again on his walk home, and then asked where I had gone that night. Act I of the episode went like this:

Me: "What do you mean? I didn't go anywhere."

Idiot Boyfriend (IB), looking puzzled: "Then why did you park the car out front?"

Me: "I didn't even go outside, much less move the car for no reason."

IB, now looking worried: "I didn't see the car in the garage when I came in through the back yard."

Me: "Kevin! Are you sure you didn't drive to work?"

IB: "No, no, I walked. Hang on, let me go look out front."

Sound of front door opening. Long pause. The front door slams, followed by the sound of IB running down hallway to my office. Act II begins:

IB: "The car's not out front!"

Me: "And you're sure you didn't drive to work?"

IB: "No!"

Me: "You actually looked in the garage when you came home?"

IB, blank stare: "Well . . . I think so. I'll go look again."

Sound of back door opening and IB's feet crunching on the snow down the path to the garage. Long pause, and then the sound of IB running back inside.

IB: "Lisa, the car's NOT IN THE GARAGE!"

Me, mouth hanging open: "Uh . . . "

IB: "I can't believe someone stole it!"

Me: "Should we call the police? Crap, I'm not dressed!"

IB: "The registration's in the car! Do you remember the license plate number?"

Me: "Of course I don't! And you're positive you didn't drive to work?"

Long pause. The clock ticks. The sun rises and sets repeatedly. Spiderwebs grow in the corner of my office. The buildings outside the window change; some are torn down, and new ones go up. Finally, IB's eyes lose their blank look, and comprehension dawns. Act III begins:

IB: "You know what? I did drive to work."

Me: Wordless sputter, accompanied by look of pure rage.

IB, hastily: "I'll run back and get it!"

IB throws on his coat and runs out the back door. I take this opportunity to look up the benefits of gingko biloba on the Internet and consider hiring a home healthcare worker to accompany IB everywhere.