Category Archives: appliances

Here Kitty

Today’s a big day. I’ve got butterflies in my stomach.

Or perhaps I should say mice.

Because, after long last, it’s kitten day. The day we pick up our young, grey adoptee, Wally, from a local rescue. (A place, I might add, whose qualifications for adopting are so stringent you’d think we were getting a six-month-old baby.) It’s taken two weeks for the whole process to go through, but we’re done now, approved, prepared. We’ve got the carrier, the litter box, bell toys, Trader Joe’s scratch pad–I think we’ve covered everything.

But really nothing will prepare us. I’m terrified. I know what a kitten is. Oh, they’re cute, fetching, lovable, and all that. That’s what gets them in the door. But they’re also middle-of-the-night head pouncers, mewling meowers, tchotchke smashers, stinky poopers, furniture destroyers, and skin shredders. I hope we can handle it. Not to mention afford it!

Right. The money. Why, you ask, did you elect to do this now, with your finances in their current state? Pets are expensive.

My short answer is, blame Mike. About a year ago, in a moment of weakness, he promised MJ a kitten if she’d start pooping in the potty. We were desperate; bribewise, candy wasn’t doing it. Cut to the present. The kid is trained. Goodbye diapers. It’s a damn miracle. And I didn’t want to be those parents that made conditional promises and then hoped their kids would forget.

So I reminded her.

Which is why Mike’s short answer to the above inquiry is: blame Jessica.

In any event, a cat is coming. The house will never be the same. Mina will never be the same. Our couches will never be the same.

But Myra-Jean will believe us when we give her our word.

A small price to pay, right? Small and furry. And able–God, please–to poop where we ask.





Calendar Fail

“This will change everything,” I thought, as I put the calendars on the register belt.  “We’ll put one up where we see it every day, and I’ll update it regularly. Mike’ll use it, too–he loves organization!–and soon the whole house will be running like a well oiled machine. Not the clunky, repossessed rust-heap we are currently.”

This moment of ecstasy occurred in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia. It was August, and my sisters and I were strolling around the sun-daubed streets, marveling at the blueness of the sky and looking for birthday presents for my mom. For fun, we stuck our heads into our favorite dollar store. Canadian discounts! The best! Anyway, it was there that I found, on sale for ninety-nine cents, the aforementioned dry-erase calendars. The month-at-a-glance kind. With magnets, for the fridge! Perfect! We’d been looking for something just like them.

I bought two. “Mike’ll be so excited,” I told my sisters. “He’s all about calendars.”

But when I got back to the states Mike wasn’t so thrilled after all. About the calendars, that is. He was, in fact, totally unresponsive. When I brought them out of the suitcase (“tah-dah!”) he just looked at me bemusedly.

I scrunched my forehead worriedly. “Is it the maple leafs? I know they’re a bit weird. ”

He cocked his head, saying nothing.

“But you’re Canadian! Or your mom is. Isn’t that nice?”

Mike nodded slowly. “It’s very sweet.”

“OK, but otherwise they’re perfect. I mean, you’ve been wanting a calendar we can both write on. And look! They come with their very own dry erase markers!” I held one out. “Isn’t it cute?”

“Yes,” Mike said, with no zeal at all.

“Whatever. It’s going to change our lives. I bought two. One for this month, one for next month.”


“Anyway. I’m excited,” I muttered.

And up on the fridge it went.

Of course it didn’t take me long to see the problem. The boxes were too small. You couldn’t fit more than one or two words in them. That might be fine for a single person with no kids–someone who just needs to write “work,” or “spa,” or “Hawaii.” But for me? For us? It wouldn’t get us through breakfast.

So after the first week I stopped filling it out. Then, when I went back the other day, resolved to make a greater effort–if for no other reason than to prove MIke wrong–the dry erase marker had dried up.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I muttered. I could almost hear Mike’s delighted croon: “That’s your deep discount talking!”

I looked for the other marker. You know, the one for the “backup month.” Behind the stove. Unreachable.

So now I can’t write on it even if I wanted to. Oh, I could buy a new marker, but what’s the point? I hate the stupid thing. Canadian maple leafs? What was I thinking?

The next time I buy a wall calendar it’s going to have squares six inches wide. It’ll come with twelve dry erase markers, in different colors for all of the categories of our lives. And nationally speaking it’ll be neutral. Like Switzerland. After all, this is not about declaring fealty to a country. It’s about remembering when book club meets.

In the meantime? This one goes in the trash. Because God knows it’s not recyclable.  Damn those Canadians.


Beach of Contract

I return to you sheepishly—the world’s worst travel blogger. It’s a designation I’m not proud of. I don’t know what happened—last year I wrote faithfully every day of my trip. This year? I didn’t want to blog about being away. I wanted to be away.

So I was. And then I felt guilty about it. That would be me in a nutshell.

Anyway. To partially assuage my guilt, here’s a whirlwind tour of some of the things I missed describing:

I did not write about my sister’s wedding. Not the 24-hour stomach flu MJ did, in the end, get the day before, nor the lovely, albeit blink-brief ceremony the day of. I didn’t write about the Deet I accidentally sprayed in my eyes at the reception, (or my subsequent eye-rinse with a nearby bottle of Pellegrino). I posted not one picture of my spectacular sister in her vintage pink gown, or her broad-grinned, big-hearted groom. But they were there, and so was I. And it was good.

A few days later I didn’t describe our harrowing car ride up to Massachusetts with five people, twenty bags, and one completely incontinent dog.

And then there was the Vineyard. Nothing written there. But oh, what I could have said. About MJ’s brass ring win at the Flying Horses Carousel. About long, guilty pleasure days at our hosts’ private beach. About fried scallops, extended outdoor showers, the Wolf range in our guest house, which I coveted painfully. About my book: “The Tiger,” which depressed and inspired me at once. About the dearth of ticks but the plethora of stinging jellyfish. (There’s always something.) About the live horseshoe crab a kid found at our beach, and MJ’s delight at same. The aforementioned species, it turns out, is five hundred million years old. Try explaining that number to a three-year-old.

Then on to Nova Scotia, land of vivid blues and barn-side reds. No writing here. None at all. But much biking. And crossword puzzling. And drinking of tea. And reading of a hardcover book called “Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms.” Nonfiction. Inspired by recent sighting. Dense, but I enjoy it. More beaches–this time public, but no less lovely. Constant sunscreen. A cave walk at the Ovens. Lobster risotto. Mosquitos abound, but less so than in summers past. There are countless spiders, though. An absurd number. Like arachnid wallpaper. I kill fewer this year. My attitude has softened. The enemy of my enemy, and all of that.

These Maritime days, although long, fly by. There is only one small drama: towards the end of our stay I hire a local boy to watch MJ. He is twelve. While she sleeps—which she does the whole time–he uses my laptop to view porn. The real stuff. Featuring all major body parts. And some minor. Fortunately I have a sense of humor. And a damp cloth. Plus, MJ and I are headed home.

And thus is a vacation spent. Failing as a blogger. And possibly as a mother. But succeeding, somewhat, at the task of relaxing. Except when I wasn’t.

Now that our plane heads home I will prepare to shed my lazy ways again. First order of business? Finish this post.

Second? Write another one tomorrow.

Third? Figure out how to set parental controls on my MacBook. Vacation will come again. This laptop will go with me.  And cheap sitters are hard to come by.


Whoops, in a Vacuum

Is this a job for a repair shop or the genius bar?


Sometimes I feel like God does things to me just so to provide material for this blog. I should be grateful. But this time I think He’s gone too far.

have to blame God, because honestly, I don’t know how else this could have happened. I mean, yes, I was vacuuming near my computer. Which was, yes, on the floor. And did, OK, have earbuds plugged in to it.

But really, Dyson, is your suck that strong? I am awed anew.

And super bummed.

And hoping that you–or Apple, or both–have generous warranties. And a good sense of humor.

Soapy Opera

Among the stats I’m made privy to here on WordPress, my favorite is the list of search terms that, on any given day, lead to clicks on this blog. It’s always interesting. There are a lot of “mockingbirds singing all night,” tons of “oleander poisonous?”, and a good number of “old Gaffers and Sattler dishwashers.”

Yesterday, though, I got a new one: “innocent bystander handsoap.” And I just love it. It begs so many questions. Did the searcher find what they were looking for? What was it? Could it be that they, too, were assaulted by a renegade TJ’s hand-soap and came online to find help? Or is something else–something strange, dark, and bubble-related? Something about which I am clueless?

We’ll never know, most likely. Yet I will enjoy wondering. And googling it myself, if I get the time.


Search Views
innocent bystander hand soap 1
poisonous trees to humans 1
bra thumbs 1
Other search terms 1
Unknown search terms 1
Total search terms 4


This is Forty-Five

I’ve been feeling less than my usual self lately. I’m attributing it to a mid-life crisis–I took a quiz online and answered “yes” to eight out of ten questions. I’m not having an affair, of course. But otherwise I fit all of the criteria. I’m 45, mildly depressed, cranky, tired, obsessed with having another baby, and experiencing a sudden and overwhelming desire to trade in my car. For a Honda Fit EV. But still.

So I’ve been, emotionally speaking, a bit unstable. Grouchy with Mike, prone to weeping, listless, singing a lot of 1980’s commercial jingles. Who knows why. And I’m stressed. About everything. Mortality, global warming, inexplicable moths in my bathroom…and as if all of that’s not bad enough, I have another round of AE coming up–that’s Afternoon Enrichment, for those of your who missed  spiderfest six weeks ago. I’m a wreck about it. Again. I mean, really. You’d think I was prepping for a ten-year trial at the Hague and not for two hours of crafting with a handful of pre-schoolers.

I blame the mid-life crisis. It tells me, you see, that my life amounts to nothing. What have I got to show for myself? A small family and a wobbly house. Some blog posts, a few CD’s. Oh, and a handful of broken appliances. (With a new one added just today: the garbage disposal. Because I poured MJ’s innocuous-looking cup of “perfume“–which had gone rancid–into it, not realizing that said concoction was loaded with six hundred pebbles.)

Anyway. It seems like so little. Compared to most of the people I know, anyway.

Which brings me back to AE. Because all I can think about is how spectacularly the other parents do it. You should see the “crafts” they come in with! Looms, to teach the kids to weave. Silkworms, to help the kids grasp metamorphosis. They teach them to make artisanal paper, then use it to make books. There is gluten-free baking, vegetable dying, block printing, silk screening. I halfway expect to come in one day and see the kids grinding their own flour. Which they’ve grown, right before class, in their newly-fashioned hydroponic garden. That they mulched by hand and fertilized with fish carcasses that they mashed themselves after first raising said creatures in a hand-blown glass bowl–also made in class–that they later recycled into a terrarium in which they built a microcosmic universe, complete with teeny-tiny galaxies, all made from hand-dyed dark matter.

Then there’s me. I have no fucking ideas. Or I do have some, but they’re all inchoate and utterly illogical. Each possesses a fatal flaw. If only there were a craft that employed those. I’d be so well equipped. Fatal flaw God’s Eye, anyone? Hang it on the Christmas tree!

Oh, I considered making perfume. That seemed like a great idea for a second. It fits the “emergent” theme. It uses natural materials. Engages the senses. There’s a recipe for simple rose water online. But it requires boiling water. And I refuse to bring anything scalding into a group of four-year-olds. Unless its my wit. So that idea is out.

There were others. Many of them. None panned out. So I went to Michael’s. My beleaguered husband offered to take me. I think he was at his wit’s end. I am not quiet about my suffering. I am not subtle. I agonize, vocally and often. Between nervous rounds of “Oscar Mayer Wiener,” of course. These AE classes may be harder on him than they are on me. So to the strip mall we went.

There we found–on sale for fifty cents apiece–some small cardboard birdhouses.

I’m not sure why they were so discounted. Unless it’s their size. The holes in them are so wee that a real bird could never fit inside. OK, maybe a hummingbird. But only a baby. A runt, actually. Still, I bought ten of them. My “students” are going to decorate them and give them to their dads for Fathers Day. I know, it’s absurd. It makes no sense. It’s un-emergent, requires no motor skills, and uses nothing natural. Unless you count cardboard, which is, after all, recyclable in some states. Still, no father in the world needs a tiny, unusable, paper birdhouse that’s been painted, covered with glitter, and dotted with stray beads. No father bird, even. But that’s what they’re going to get. And damn it, they’re going to like it.

Because I’m having a mid-life crisis, and right now this is the best I can do.

“‘Cause if I was an Oscar Mayer Wiener, everyone would be in love with me…”


Here Comes The Bridling

I’ve set myself one task for today. One idiotically simple task. I told myself the entire day would be a success if only I got it done. And why wouldn’t I? It’s relatively easy. It requires no real effort, thought, or concentration. It’ll bring in money. It’ll clear space in our house. It’ll relieve me of a psychic burden of no small significance. For it’s a thing I’ve put off for awhile, now. Ten years, to be precise.

No wonder, then, that here I sit, writing instead of doing it.

What is this Herculean task, you wonder, that she avoids so strenuously? Has she been asked to rewrite the tax code? Master symbolic logic? Solve the crisis in the Middle East?

No, just to sell her wedding dress.

And nobody’s asking me to do it! I want to! This may sound harsh, but my last marriage was a farce–a well-intentioned one, true, but a farce nonetheless. Of unnecessarily long duration, I might add. I was over it before either of us said “I do.” I do not, then, possess a shred of sentimental attachment for it or any material item representing its tenure.

Why, then, can I not get this thing done? Pure, unfettered laziness, mostly. And other neuroses: The dress is sealed in a box, like some mummified ancestor. I’ve never liked corpses, even of the sartorial variety. I’ve always been more of the “let the dead stay buried” type. Plus, what if I cut the dress accidentally while opening the carton–as I will–with a large paring knife? Vera Wang could get Freddy Kreugered before she’s even out of the box. It’s likely, if I’m involved.

Then there’s the measuring, the descriptions, the photographing. The latter, especially! What a pain! First of all, I don’t have the right hanger. And as far as backdrops go, I’m even more screwed. Anywhere I hang my five-thousand dollar frock there’ll be an antedeluvian appliance hulking in the frame behind it. Gaffers and Sattler dishwasher with your ballgown? That should up the bids.

Then there are the lighting issues. Today, for example. It’s like “Wuthering Heights” out there. I can’t take pictures on a day like this. That’s why I’m on the couch with a cup of Earl Grey instead of crossing this vintage frock off of my interminable to-do list.

The fact is it may never happen. And if it doesn’t, why, I’m nothing if not resourceful. The box the dress is sealed in, for example, could make a very suitable coffee table. We’ve needed one in the guest bedroom forever. Drape a little cloth over it and you’ll never know the difference.

Or I may, but I’ll be too busy resting my feet on it to care.