Archive for December, 2010

is it me?

I bought this sparkly, beaded reindeer shirt at Target yesterday. The deer has a rhinestone eye. I am very excited.

Erichy always says that my stories fall into a certain genre. Those of you who know me know that genre; think, being sued by my house painter and having a court date on my very first day of graduate school coursework, etc. Really, most of these stories have to do with Home Depot, so maybe that’s what my genre is: Home Depot. Home ownership. Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.

Come to think of it, my clothes have a genre, too. Reindeer fits right in. I also have a whale sweater, a turtle sweater, a rhinestone turtle necklace and bracelet, a lobster dress, a bear shirt, a bear sweater, and probably some other wearable zoomorphism that I’ve forgotten. Oh yes, sealife: here, here, and here.

Just this fall, I have enjoyed a few classic examples of my genre. There was the water softener/water heater debacle involving moldy pools of water on the basement floor; the water softener guy (thanks Home Depot) told us we needed a new one. We figured out (just in time) that it was actually the water HEATER causing the leaks. Now we have a new one of those, but not without some fun along the way; the plumber (thanks Home Depot) who installed it used our bathroom twice while he was here (for an hour), both times with the door partially open and me working close by in my study. That way, I could enjoy visuals as well as hearing him exclaim, “oh, THAT’S better.”

I sprayed EVERYTHING with Lysol after he left. Twice.

Oh, and the garbage disposal: that still spews out dirty water every day, which we’ve been collecting in a bucket under the sink. My daily bucket-emptying routine bears some resemblance to the pre-industrial emptying of slops; perhaps I should, like the Scots, call “Gardy Loo” before I toss the bucket (though I don’t use the window).

Today’s story involved the furnace; I woke up to find that my reluctance to get out of bed was well-founded, since the furnace had stopped working overnight. The indoor temp had dropped to 56. The water in the pipes was VERY cold. The cats were VERY mad. It’s all working again, but this was a fun morning. I especially enjoyed fishing around outside in the intake pipes to remove icicles and a wasp’s nest, neither of which were responsible for the failure. It was -8 this morning and, just for a visual, our world looks like this right now:

I live on Hoth.

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I need a new chair.

Don’t be distracted by the cute pillow here. Or, for that matter, by the cute cat (although it’s a good thing he’s cute; he’s also the reason our Thanksgiving plans were so spectacularly derailed).

I need a new chair.

I don’t have much against this particular chair; I seldom sit in it, so the terribly pokey springs in the cushion don’t bother me. Most of the time, the cats aren’t allowed in my tiny, tiny study, so the slipcover (old enough to be a college sophomore) is in good shape. Most importantly, unlike any furniture made for normal people who live in normal houses with normal doorways, this chair fits. I’m happy to leave it be.

But this chair has an evil twin. It resides in the living room.

First, some background. Forty years ago or so, these chairs belonged to my paternal grandmother. By all accounts, she was a woman of taste; nevertheless, the fabric that lies beneath these pristine slipcovers —a mauvish brownish tweed with orange flecks— bears the touch, perhaps, of a domineering designer who helped her pull the room together all those years ago.

For as long as I can remember, we’ve had these chairs; for almost as long, the chairs have had these slipcovers, which are now missing most of the buttons that secure them in the back. The chair in the living room has suffered at the paws of my badly behaved cats and is mostly in shreds. I got sick of it a year ago and banished it to the garage; this year, ever mercurial, I brought it back in, only to discover two horrible things. One, the rotating bottom of the chairs (they spin—why?) has worked loose on the evil twin version, causing the chair to tilt forward dangerously when weight is applied. It even startles and flings cats to the ground (a plus?). Two, I apparently made some garage mice homeless when I brought the chair back into the house; the chair now dispenses some unspeakable traces of these former occupants.

Excuse me, I have to go scrub myself all over with Clorox wipes.

My dad, who has known these chairs for longer than I have, made the mistake of sitting in the evil twin chair a few weeks ago. The moment he sat down, he said, Oh. I remember this chair.

As far as I can tell, these have always been pretty terrible chairs. But I remember them. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I’m fond of them, but I’m accustomed to them.  And that’s why I live with them, in spite of their many sins. I’ve been shopping around for chairs for quite some time. I’ve found, oddly enough, that I like the shape of these chairs more than I like the shapes of most chairs. I can’t quite bring myself to abandon them. Still, this mouse thing may just push me over the edge—if only I can ever reconcile myself to bringing another sacrificial slipcover into my living room. Maybe I’ll just get a lawn chair. A plastic one. That I can hose off. Or clean with Clorox wipes.

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holiday spirit

November really is a terrible month in academia. It’s no wonder that I failed at daily blogging; it’s a wonder, really, that I made it to December at all. Most notably, we ended up canceling our Thanksgiving plane tickets at the last minute and driving, instead, to NJ and back with a sick cat; we ate a lot of Sheetz during those days in the car. But, rather than fixating on the many things that went wrong over the last two weeks, I am concentrating today on this very pretty pseudo-Starbuckian peppermint mocha, which I made myself. Motivation to write? We’ll see. Holiday spirit? Perhaps. I’m having a hard time getting into it this year. Maybe it has something to do with the plumber rattling around in my basement right now.

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