Friday, February 29, 2008

Moving on

It's been a couple of weeks since my last update, but I think you'll understand when I tell you what's going on. I'm losing my house. I've tried working out solutions, yadda yadda, but I decided giving up was the wisest choice--for me. Honestly, I'm no longer all that enamored of home ownership. I've done it for 12 years, and I'm ready to let someone else worry about repairs and taxes.

Now for the positives: This house is too much house for just Kevin and me, so we're moving into a smaller house that will be much easier to keep clean and in order. Packing to move has forced me to clean out unbelievable amounts of useless crap--things I haven't looked at in five years, things I'd never, in a million years, use. I can't believe I had all that junk sitting around gathering dust. No wonder I've felt overwhelmed and mentally cluttered for the past few years! With each bag of trash that gets tossed, I feel lighter mentally and emotionally.

Next positive: We're moving to a college town (and, yes, it's the town where Daniel goes to school, but I've sworn a blood oath not to intrude too often), and as I told Greg, I feel as though I'm re-entering civilization after 12 years of exile. The new town has live music and theater! An art museum! Tons of restaurants, bookstores, and cool shops! A botanical garden! A historical society! I can't wait to get out and start exploring.

Yet another positive: The job market up there is much, much better than here in Mayberry, so Kevin and I are hoping he can find a job with more of a future. After a little surfing, I've already seen listings for job search, career counseling, and job retraining services, so that's a good sign, I think.

And another one: Rent is going to be far less than my mortgage payment, so I can get caught up financially and maybe even save some money (what a concept).

I know losing my house is a bad thing, but I don't think I'm wrong to feel a little hopeful. This house and this town were a wonderful place to raise Daniel, but that chapter of my life is over. Time to turn the page to the next one.

I won't have Internet access next week because my service provider is switching cable companies, but I might head over to the library a few times and check e-mail (address over there to the left). I'll have plenty to do to keep me busy--just wish me strength to withstand the withdrawal pangs, would you?

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Almost exactly 48 hours after Andrew was here, I'm coughing, hacking, sniffling, aching, feeling nauseated, and running a fever. DAMN IT. Anyone know the penalty for ex-icide?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A laugh and a rant about exes

Celeste has officially stolen my heart, as the person who's made me laugh the hardest in the past 24 hours. She left a comment yesterday about my picture over there in the sidebar to the left, saying she adored my baby picture and it reminded her of Dale Chihuly. Of course, I had to Google him. I clicked the first link that looked promising, fully expecting him to be a photographer like Anne Geddes, who takes nauseatingly sweet photos of babies (inexplicably reposing in giant roses and assorted fruits). You can imagine my surprise when I saw this picture of Dale Chihuly. Bwah! Bless your heart, Celeste. I had a long, tiring day trying to turn an author's meandering incomprehensible prose into something approximating English, so ending my day with that kind of laugh was exactly what I needed. By the way, Dale does very cool glass art--check out some other links for him on Google.


Giggling over my younger self's resemblance to Dale also helped me deal with the annoyance that is Kevin's ex-wife. Some of you have heard me complain about her before, so I won't get into repeating the litany of her horrible parenting skills, her nastiness, her lying, etc., etc. Well, I'll give you one example: She's mysteriously been able to afford digital cable services ever since I've known her but whines about not having money to buy new winter coats for her children. Anyway, she's always been a little afraid of me, which delights me to no end because I'm hardly what you'd call intimidating. I'm 4'11" if I stand up very straight, and if I had to compare myself to a celebrity, I'd say Mrs. Claus before her red hair turned gray. Not exactly the stuff of nightmares, but she fears me so much that she's terrified of actually speaking to me on the phone. Mwah-ha-ha-ha.

Here's how I know that: When she wants to call Kevin, she has to work up the nerve to leave a message for him, so she calls about five to six times first, hanging up right before the answering machine picks up each time. (Yes, she is too stupid to realize I can tell it's her because of caller ID.) Finally, she gets brave enough to leave a message, which invariably starts this way, in her slow, whiny voice: "Keeeeeeeevin, you neeeeeed to call meeeeee the second you get this meeeessage." First? I cannot stand it when people say "You need to . . ." Perhaps you'd like me to do something, or you think it's important I do something, but I don't need to do anything, except maybe pee after drinking three cups of coffee. How about "Would you please call me?" or "I need to talk to you soon." Second, she usually calls while he's at work, so he's not able to call her back until he gets home, often a few hours later. When he does call back, she bitches about him not calling the "second" he got the message, which hello? Just because he didn't call the second she left the message doesn't mean he didn't call back as soon as he got it.

Gah. ANYway, The Ex-Wife wanted to talk to Kevin about Andrew feeling "a little sick" because he was supposed to come over last night and spend the weekend. The Ex-Wife said Andrew threw up yesterday morning but was fine now. That didn't sound serious, so Kevin said he'd be there at the usual time to pick him up.

Well. I wish you could have seen this poor kid when he walked in. He threw up three times yesterday, not once, and he had a fever of 102 and a cough that rattled the windows. He couldn't take his coat off for half an hour because he had chills from going out in the frigid air and said he COULD NOT EAT his dinner. I've known Andrew 10 years, and I've never seen him sick enough to not eat. Plus, he was coughing and hacking everywhere without covering his mouth, and I don't want to sound Monk levels of neurotic, but Jesus. I could practically see flu germs arcing through the air and leaping down my throat.

I gave him some cold-and-flu medicine and had Kevin bundle him up in bed, and he fell asleep at 9:00, which is also unheard of for him. And then I fussed at Kevin for about 10 minutes nonstop about The Ex-Wife's idiocy in letting a kid that sick leave his home. It's not just her being inconsiderate enough to let him to infect other people, but when kids are that sick, they shouldn't leave their own homes and beds, where they're more comfortable. I don't like being sick in someone else's house, and I don't think anyone does. I've never let Daniel go over to his dad's house when he's ill enough to run a fever. With a typical cold and sniffles, maybe, but with a fever and vomiting? No way.

When Andrew got up this morning, Kevin checked his temperature, and it was still 102 (which worried me because fevers are usually lowest in the morning). Kevin asked him how he felt, and he said "Okay, I guess, but . . . I'm sorry, Dad, but I want to to go home." So Kevin called The Ex-Wife, and she said "Oh, sorry, I didn't know he was that sick." Argh! I could tell with one look from 15 feet away, and he's not even my kid!

I'm going back to look at that picture of Dale Chihuly again because I need another laugh. Damn it.

Friday, February 8, 2008

I can't get ANYthing to work

I've been trying this contact lens site because I want to see what I look like with different-colored eyes, but I keep getting an error message. Maybe it'll work for you. Some of the contact colors I saw look so unreal--bright green or purple?--that I'm dying to see whether I look like an alien in them.
Let me explain the "alien." I have a first cousin, Jennifer, who was born with beautiful dark-brown eyes and brown hair. Several years ago, she dyed her hair a rather unnatural yellow-blonde and got bright-blue contacts. She was a pretty woman: tall, great figure, beautiful features, olive complexion. With her new hair and eyes, she looks bizarre, though. At a recent family reunion, my mom told me that Jennifer was talking to my Cousin Dewey. (Yes, his real name, and he's something like my second cousin once removed, I think? I'm a bad Southerner because I can't keep all those convoluted cousin relationships straight.) After Jennifer left, he told my mom, "She's still gorgeous, but she looks like an alien!" My mom and I still laugh about it. Dewey's such a sweet old man that she didn't expect that comment from him. Every now and then, we try to work "alien" into a compliment. "Nice eyeshadow, even if does make you look like an alien." "New haircut? It's a little alien-like, but pretty."

I'm such a moron about computer hardware. Software, I can learn, but show me anything with cables and electronic parts, and I'm intimidated. My printer finally died last week, so I bought a new printer/scanner combination. I can't believe I'm admitting this, but I'm stymied about unhooking the old printer and scanner and hooking up the new one. If I don't shut down the computer before disconnecting the old printer and scanner, are sparks going to fly out that start a raging inferno and burn down my house? And if I do shut down the computer and disconnect the old equipment, is Windows going to be confused when I turn the computer back on and repeatedly inform me that some hardware isn't connected? If so, how do I shut it up until I can get the new printer connected? And do I need to uninstall the software for the old computer and scanner at some point? My new printer/scanner has been sitting on the floor of my office for four days, which is pathetic. Any suggestions? Feel free to make fun of my ignorance; I can live with the embarrassment if you can get me past this ridiculous frozen-by-indecisiveness point.

Edited to add: I just found the link for the top 10 Superbowl commercials. If you're slow like me and haven't seen them yet, there you go. Love the last one: I could watch Justin Timberlake getting smacked upside the head with things over and over and over. :)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

AI and PR

I've been working my short little fingers to the bone this week, so in terms of exciting news to report? I have nothing. So far this week, I've been collapsing on the couch around 7:00 or 8:00, watching a little TV, and then going back to work for another hour or two. I'm unduly excited about the variation in this routine planned for tonight. Kevin decreed we're spending the evening upstairs putting away piles of laundry he's washed, cleaning the bathroom, and generally straightening up. Few people see the upstairs, so I tend to neglect it, but the general chaos up there is getting on both our nerves.
I'll spare you the whining and complaining about lazy, incoherent authors and move on to the TV watching. American Idol aired its "Best of the Rest" episode last night, and I was unimpressed, except for Ryan being so familiar with Dolly Parton songs. Watching him sing "Islands in the Stream" and doing a little dance with the auditioner's mom was pretty much worth the time I wasted on that episode. Ryan's such a tiny little man that it was like watching a wee leprechaun caper around.
What else? Oh, Project Runway, of course! SASHA, if you haven't watched yet, STOP READING.
Ricky, the designer who's been sobbing all season at the drop of a hat? Tell him he's awful, and he cries, but tell him he's good--yep, he cries then, too. And he's been weeping and wailing in every episode while wearing the most godawful hats I've ever seen. So last night when he was eliminated, I was bracing myself for the inevitable waterworks. Not one tear, however. What the . . . ? Maybe his Greek fisherman's cap made from mesh (why??) consoled him.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I thought I had a few good years left

Would you believe I haven't continued reading that stupid Cornwell book? Well, yes, you probably can. I finally gave up and turned to the end of the book to find out who the killer is. I know. I'm just like Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally, minus the fear of commitment, the wit, the neurotic self-obsession, and the skill at imitating "white man overbite." Other than that, I'm just like him, though!

Recently, Miz S wrote about one of the most devastating effects of aging: Noun Loss. Her description was spot-on and, sadly, all too familiar. You see, I've been suffering in silence for several months about my struggle to pluck the noun I need out of my brain's word soup. Verbs and I play together nicely, and I'm still master of my adjective domain, but nouns and I? We're becoming strangers to one another.

For a person who makes her living with words, this development is upsetting, as you can imagine. Worse, it's embarrassing. I used to laugh, smug in the knowledge I'd never have this problem, when Kevin told me about common exchanges with his mom, which went something like this:

"Kevin, get the thing from my bedroom. It's under the thing."

"Uh, Mom? What thing?"

"You know! Goddammit, the thing. It's under the thing."

If I can remember what letter the word starts with, at least I can reel off several possibilities, as Miz S did when searching for "smoothie." Sometimes, however, the entire word is simply gone, with no clue as to what it starts with or sounds like. A couple of weeks ago, I wanted Kevin to give me the remote because he has no idea how to work it, and it takes him longer than three seconds to find the volume control, and with my patience issues, I can't abide the wait.

ANYway, I started with "Would you please hand over the . . . " and then went blank. I stared at the object of my desire, hoping its name would come to me, but nothing. In desperation, I mimed clutching the remote and pressing buttons on it, but apparently I'm not destined for success in charades because Kevin guessed "The lobster?? You want me to give you the lobster?" I'd like to point out that with a guess like that, Kevin's not about to take the charades crown, either. He's begun referring to the remote as "the lobster," which does amuse us. See? I can still laugh about my . . . uh, the thing that's wrong with me.