27 September 2005

My delicate condition

So a head cold snuck up on me and bit me in the throat a couple of days ago. One second I was lounging comfortably on my couch, watching Tivo'd episodes of Mystery! (mostly dorky old Sherlock Holmes stuff, but I'm all a-flutter over the return of Foyle's War for a third season -- Yay for more Honeysuckle Weeks!) and the next thing I knew I had this weird tingle in the back of my throat.

Ten minutes later it hurt to swallow.

Twenty minutes later I was on all fours, desperately scrounging for cold medicine in the cabinet under the sink in the bathroom. WHY do I always get sick when I'm entirely out of tea, honey, broth, theraflu, AND ginger ale?

So I suffered through one night of breathing through the delicately woven barbed wire that had been shoved down my throat and struggled to the store the next morning to spend fifty bucks on everything that I thought had a shot at making me feel better -- vats of chicken broth, beef broth, tea, honey, throat lozenges, garlic and cayenne for magical heal-all soup, etc. Luckily I was able to call in sick to work both yesterday and today (things are slow around the old shop this week, thank god) so I've been able to roll around from bed to couch to bed again, pouring an unending stream of hot tea with honey down my throat.

Honestly. I went through an entire box of ThroatCoat tea in Day One alone.

Still feeling like ass, still having a hard time forming coherent sentences, still weak and sore and meh.

And it's so damn beautiful out, I just want to go out and play but I get tired just putting my shoes on. Somebody go out there and have a great time in the sunshine and perfect fall weather for me. Then report back to me on your wild shenanigans, in short, easy-to-understand sentences, in a soft, murmuring tone of voice.

Then arrange for me to have a full-body massage while in a hot tub. Asleep.

22 September 2005

House of Sloth

One of the things that gives me the most satisfaction of a non-naughty sort is having all the dishes done and the kitchen neat as a pin only hours after creating and consuming an enormous and intricate meal involving the dirtying of most of the dishes I own. This admission would surprise and confuse most members of my family, as I am descended from a long and proud line of bad housekeepers. I remember cleaning my great-grandmother's brush of her long, grey strands of hair and thinking I have to do everything around here!

Some may postulate that my attitude is the result of having been raised in the Mad Victorian House of Sloth, where lasagna pans went unscrubbed for weeks, ivy climbed through the livingroom windows, and un-house-trained Newfoundland dogs had their way with the carpets for decades, and that I am somehow scarred by this upbringing and am now overcompensating.

Those people just couldn't be righter.

Now, normally I am not a domestic goddess, nor do I walk around being all OCD about cleanliness -- far from it. I enjoy taking a day off from bathing, for instance, as I have remarkably short hair and tiny little WASP pores, and honestly, Americans bathe too often. We do. Chill out, and step away from the antibacterial soap. That stuff will, in fact, kill you.

I am also notoriously bad about doing laundry. I have been known to just go ahead and buy more clothes rather than make a pilgrimage to the laudromat. Everyone has a chore they find odious to the point of death, and laundry is it for me.

I also allow spiders to build little arachno-condos in various locales of the basement, giving in to a little of the old joie de vivre and live-and-let-live that doubtless inspired my mother to allow five unhousetrained Newfoundland dogs to spend the day inside -- all day, every day.

This, THIS is why I never brought any friends home to play after school.

Spiders at least clean up after themselves, and keep the house clear of other buggies. Also, they are awesome. I dig spiders. And no, I am not now nor have ever been Goth. My ghostly pallor is entirely due to my superior New England genetic breeding. Although I did once date a very sexy goth guy who occasionally wore vampire teeth to clubs and who painted spooky pictures for gothic fantasy novel covers and who named his daughter Raven. I really shouldn't do this, because Google will somehow lead him to me now and he will be angry at me for mentioning his daughter by name to the internet, but you have to know: His last name was honestly, legally, by birth, Savage. Hence, Raven Savage.

There. I've done it. Maybe he'll forgive me if I remind the internet that he was really, really sexy.

So. Back to my selectively strenuous house-cleaning habits.

For dinner tonight, we had (try running a mental tally of how many dirty dishes this meal produced, if you can keep your mind of off the mind-blowing deliciousness of it all):

1. Cheese and crackers (Brie and Carr's Water crackers with cracked black pepper, natch)

2. Raw bar appetizers of oysters and littlenecks on the half-shell with horseradish sauce and lemon

3. Steamers with hot broth and drawn butter

4. Basil/Garlic encrusted roast chicken

5. Pan-roasted fingerling potatoes

6 Dessert, for those who could face it, was Ben and Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk. I had tea for dessert. Good, clean, honest green tea. With honey.

And those dishes, they are done. That sink, it is scrubbed.

The cycle of slovenliness, long passed from mother to daughter, has been broken. Let the healing begin.

16 September 2005

Fairest Ophelia

My in-laws are hurricane magnets, so of course they are here for the weekend. Ophelia has been demoted to a tropical storm, but that still means we have to batten down the hatches, put away the Paddy O'Furniture, and stock up on batteries. The in-laws (who, by the way, I absolutely adore, so stuff it with the in-law jokes -- these are the people who like to send me on trips to Amsterdam and New York City for no apparent reason) are actually staying in Provincetown, so they just stopped in this morning to say hello goodbye until our scheduled fete Sunday evening. By then Ophelia should have said hello and goodbye, too, so all should be well.

It's the truth about those guys being hurricane magnets, but maybe it also has something to do with their propensity for visiting friends and relatives all the time in hurricane-prone locales like North Carolina, Fire Island, and Provincetown. So when I heard they were visiting this weekend, I figured on inclement weather.

Word to the wise: They're coming back in October. Which is still well within official hurricane season.

So they stopped by this morning, I brewed up some tasty coffee and gave them a tour of the garden, such as it is. They made appropriate "EEWWWW" noises at the monstrosity McMansion across the street, and recommended stealing the lightbulbs out of their 500 mega-watt driveway lamps that have stolen our night sky. I mentioned that we had considered shooting them out with beebee guns, or spray-painting the lamps with black paint and they said that was a good idea too.

You gotta love in-laws who endorse creative vandalism in the service of a good cause.

I was gratified to receive, in their presence, a phone call from one of the folks I freelance for, offering me a nice big fat job, just to show them that I am in fact gainfully employed. I couldn't have set up that phone call any better if I tried, right down to my mother-in-law looking at the phone as it rang, reading the caller ID, and exclaiming "It's from (big fancy New York City publishing house)!!!" I took it in the other room, feeling important and well-connected.

Almost makes up for the whole No-Grandchildren-Produced-Yet thing, doncha think?

I also think they're a little horrified, or at least mystified, that we live so happily in just about the tiniest house ever in the world -- you could fit about twenty of our houses into theirs, and their upstate New York farmhouse is far from huge. But they are also jealous that we live by the sea, and they can see that we are happy and content, and this motivates them to send us on trips to Europe.

Then we checked the radar and decided it was well past time for them to find their B&B and fortify their provisions with suitable amounts of wine and cheese and candles and magazines and other pleasant things to sit out a storm with, so we sent them on their way. Like I say, we'll see them for dinner on Sunday.

And it has just now begun to rain, so I guess that whatever is going to get battened down has been battened, my car windows are rolled up and the candles are lit, so let's see what this latest storm can do.

13 September 2005

Always did want a mohawk

It's very unusual for me to be doing this, really, but I'm working a heck of a lot this week. So much of a lot that I am working as much as I can and am still managing to not get around to doing stuff that needs to be done. So I'll be a bit less apt to post than usual this week.

A week from now I'll be able to return to my usual slacker ways. But for now, I am running in 72 different directions at once. Bet you didn't know there were that many directions, huh? Well, there are. And if you were to choose any combination of those directions, and go there, you would find me. There. Um? Yes, I suppose I am insanely tired. Wh--why do you ask?

My life would be much easier if I were a web-based comics game superhero. Oh, wait! I am!

Well thank God for that, then!

08 September 2005

Baby please come back

I am confused.

I make a habit of bringing some nice chocolate to meetings that are long and tedious, to share out amongst my fellow-sufferers. They like it, and I am not at all above buying friends with candy. You know you are no better than me.

This week I bought a particularly nice bar of imported chocolate. Last thing I remember, two nights ago I had six little squares left of deliciousness. I remember putting it in my purse.

I just went to retrieve the buried treasure and it is gone. I do not remember eating it. I did not give it away. My husband does not go through my purse, nor does he like chocolate much.

I am now sad and lonely. Where did it go? Why did it leave me? What is it doing now? Does it ever think of me?

04 September 2005

Things that are nice

1. the sound of very distant fireworks

2. the smell of a charcoal grill down the street

2. crackers with goat cheese and just a drop of honey on top

3. freshly cleaned sheets and pillowcases

4. sliding between those clean sheets on the bed with freshly shaved and moisturized legs

5. finding your favorite person already between those sheets, happy to see you.

02 September 2005

O capo, my capo

I went to a different library branch today than I usually frequent to pick up a couple of nerdy books about Chaucer. I hate going to a different branch, even though almost all of the town libraries have more convenient hours of operation than my local does. I hate it! Those strange, unfamiliar librarians! Those strange, unfamiliar floorplans! Those strange, unfamiliar Belarussian seasonal workers emailing home that are not MY Belarussian seasonal workers emailing home!

The worst is the librarians. My relationship with my regular librarian is like many people's relationships with their bartender. She knows me. She knows what I like. She runs me a generous line of credit. If she feels I deserve the penalty for overdue books, she lets me pay when it's convenient. If she feels I don't deserve the penalty, she makes it go away. Poof!

How does she differentiate, you ask? Easy. Fines on books she doesn't approve of, like the latest Janet Evanovich or Anne Perry or any Martha's Vineyard-based murder mystery, she charges me. But if I need a few extra weeks with Anne Lamott, Philip Pullman, Marge Piercy, or maybe Joe Ellis (even though I told her about his nefarious past, he's still an outstanding historian), then she quietly clicks delete when they come up as overdue on my account.

She's also an old hand at theatre, so she pimps hard for the shows I'm involved in, and she taught English Literature at a prestigious college near my prestigious college, and she occasionally lectures on art history. Get the picture that no other librarian in town could possibly hold a candle to her?

It doesn't help that the librarians at this other branch today are of a particularly snooty brand. But I squared my shoulders and went in, figured out their stupid, foreign floorplan, and found the books I wanted. Then I stood patiently at the circulation desk while the librarian yelled at the Belorussian students emailing home, because they hadn't "signed in." The Belorussians made the excellent point that it shouldn't matter that they hadn't signed in, since there were several other computers available and nobody waiting, but the snooty librarian was having none of it. So the Belorussians shrugged, ignored her, and went back to typing in Cyrillic.

I already had one strike against me because I was wearing a Yankees shirt, something I rarely do around here out of sensitivity to the fragile psyche of Red Sox nation, who can't seem to see an interlocking NY without either flying into a rage, sputtering in umbrage, or breaking down in sobs (seriously, despite last year's historic win, some people's knees still buckle at the mention of Bill Buckner). My nemesis librarian was wearing a little enamel pin of a teddy bear wearing a Red Sox jersey. A... teddy bear. And she turned her nose up at me. She probably wears blinking little Christmas tree earrings in December, and oversized Tom the Turkey applique sweatshirts in November. Seasonally-themed clothing and accessories make my eyelids itch.

My second strike against this librarian was recorded when I realized I had left my library card at home (but my usual librarian never needs my library card!) and so she had to look me up in the computer system.

Then she saw the fines.

Ooooh, you have over eight dollars in overdue fines... I can't let you take these out until you pay this balance!

I don't know what came over me -- maybe I just wanted to confirm the opinion of several that I am secretly a gangster hiding from my nightclub-owning past -- but I responded by leaning way in over the counter at her, narrowing my eyes meaningfully, and telling her that I had an arrangement with the librarian on my side of town, and that we would take care of it... between ourselves. Then I just silently, balefully, stared back at her.

After a blink, and then a more rapid double blink, she scuttled back to the keyboard, scanned my books through, and hurriedly stacked them next to the metal detector near the exit.

Things to do today:

Terrorize little old ladies who volunteer at the village library.