Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The harbingers of spring...

Here in my little suburb of Boston, spring can be marked by many things. The dirty paw prints on the freshly washed kitchen floor, Lily's bloodied knees from falling on the snow free pavement and the smell of thawed dog poop in the backyard are all signs that indeed, spring has begun.

The best sign of spring however is the huge piles of great stuff heaped on the curb of the homes of the affluent as they begin their spring cleaning. In some towns people throw away old tires or used paper towels. In my town people throw away dinette sets. I have found many things while out driving in my town, but rarely has my haul been as precise to my needs as it was yesterday.

You may recall my fascinating post about cleaning out David's office. You have probably already reread it several times, taking a few moments to read aloud the poignant bits to loved ones. I understand this need. You will now need to update your friends and family because yesterday, just twenty-four hours after uttering the words to David, I found exactly the item for which I longed.

There it sat on the curb, with a sign which read, "FREE". A leather couch. Not just a leather couch mind you, a leather couch without tears or mysterious stains. It was a leather couch in good condition. I pulled over, put all the seats down and had Lily help me hoist it into the minivan.

"A leather couch!" she trilled. She had never seen such a beautiful couch. The seats were warm from sitting in the sun and this only proved its magnificence.

We brought the couch home and dragged it into David's office. We put it into the very spot were we had stood, just hours before and had said, "A leather couch would be great here!"

The junk gods made it so. I know this and will make an offering to them at the alter of Goodwill. For now, I will show you our treasure so that you too might come to believe in the salvation of junk.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring arrangements...

One of the difficult things about homeschooling is that I rarely have time alone in an empty house to properly clean and putter. There are so many interruptions and distractions that I never seem to be able to just devote a day to getting the house just right. This week I tried to focus on small areas in an attempt to stay on top of things.

It was so nice to see the sun for a change! It's amazing how much more productive I am when there is sun!

Walter was kind enough to pose for me. Whoozagooboy?

My dress dummy has her spring apron and hat on.

Love and rainbows!

Daisies and The Bobbsey Twins.

Just another 1950's housewife dreaming of a modern fridge!

We returned Walter to Amy today. We will miss him, though sweeping up three dogs and three cats worth of hair this afternoon made me realize that two dogs is definitely enough!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

March, April- it's all cruel.

It will never get above 45 degrees again. I am trying to accept that this is my new life. We will always be right on the verge of a spring which will never come.

In keeping with the theme of general hopelessness, I decided to spend the day cleaning and reorganizing David's office. His office is huge. We transformed what had been a large detached two car garage into four rooms. One is his main office where he likes to sit and play wordtwist write scripts and have conference calls. One of the rooms has no windows. It's his editing suite and needs to be dark. Nothing makes a filmmaker crankier than the afternoon sun's glare on the screen. One room is sort of a catch all of wires, DVDs, film props and other miscellaneous crap. The final room is the big room and it had recently become a landing place for tripods, tape stock, office supplies and other crap.

It was the big room that I tackled today. I probably shouldn't have because I am getting a cold and about half way through the project I wanted to go back inside the house, crawl into bed and watch Law and Order for a few hours. Instead, I was a good wife and cleaned and rearranged and sorted. Finally it was done.

Because I did not take any "before" pictures, I will understand you not being terribly impressed with the "after" photo. You'll have to just trust me that the "before" was very, very bad. I should probably iron that slipcover.

Now that this is done I can enjoy some well earned sloth tomorrow. Law and Order here I come!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Three dog night...

This weekend we are dog sitting Amy's beautiful dog Walter. He's part Eskimo and part English Setter. As an owner of pugs, I am somewhat unaccustomed to his very doglike personality. He has an actual nose for one thing and has a far more serious bark than the squawks of my mutant dogs.

Having three dogs, three cats and two children in the house very much puts me into my "English Farmhouse" fantasy. I imagine the huge rambling farmhouse- with a big porch of course. There are flowers growing everywhere and the house always smells like fresh baked bread.

In this particular fantasy I have chickens of course, and there are several dogs following me towards the chicken coop. The dream goes on and on in the most pathetic and predictable ways. There are wellies and aprons and tea brewed on the Aga. It's really too much to bore you with except that if I am perfectly honest I must admit that my pugs would clash with this vision. Only Walter would really match.

March is a time of year when I am very prone to imagining a fantasy life. Sometimes I am running a junk shop. Interesting people pop into my shop and we chat and they shop. This fantasy never gets very far though because I have worked in retail quite a lot and can tell you that it is most often a very boring job which makes your feet hurt.

It was spring here for one delicious day. I did all of the laundry I could find and hung it all up to dry on my clothes line. The children complained about the scratchy towels but I was in heaven at the efficiency of it all.

Thank god Amy is away since I have resorted to telling you about my laundry. There is nothing more pathetic than a laundry story, except for maybe a laundry dream. Since I have already told you about actual laundry, I will tell you about the laundry dream I had this week. I was washing all of the white slipcovers, and I had an enormous box of OxiClean. The dream gets even better, because then I noticed that I had a new super duper washing machine. I woke up feeling quite happy.

I could tell you other things. Rebecca had some teeth pulled. I saw a new dentist who confirmed something which I suspected (my old dentist was suggesting unnecessary dental work). I bought a new lipstick without first testing it and the color was actually perfect.

None of these things however compare to the laundry dream or the English farmhouse dream or the reality of the three dog snuggle.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bran, needles, and retching...

This week David took our cat Stanley to the vet. Stanley has been trying to hork up a hairball for about a month. I'd been giving him hairball medicine every few days when the sound of him horking became too loud to ignore. I was loathe to spend money on sending the cat to the vet with something like a hairball, but the google warned that untreated hairballs lead to death and I did not want to be the woman whose cat died of an untreated hairball.

I love our vet. He is quirky and interesting.

I made David take Stanley to the vet because I did not want to be the one to truthfully answer the questions of just how long this cat has been gagging on his own fur. Since Rebecca, AKA The Informer was going along, I knew that she would spare no details of Stanley's pathetic retching and tell Dr. K that I have been ignoring his hairball distress for weeks.

So David and Rebecca brought Stan to the vet where the following things happened.

Stan was weighed. Verdict: Morbidly obese.

Stan was diagnosed with a hairball. Verdict: Add bran to his diet

Dr. K gave Stan an anti-inflammatory to soothe his inflammations.

Dr. K gave Stan acupuncture to realign his kitty energy.

Dr. K gave David acupuncture because Dr. K and David are kindred kooky spirits.

Results: Stan continues to retch, I am trying to figure out how to get my cat to eat more bran and David wants to make weekly visits to the vet for acupuncture.

Monday, March 14, 2011

"Neptune is shaking the wall, and the foundations, stirred by his mighty trident, and tearing the whole city up by its roots."*

I was on such a nice roll there will regular posting. On Friday I was all set to blog about my latest experience at the most depressing supermarket on earth  Stop and Shop, when Japan was rocked by an earthquake and then nearly swept away by a tsunami. Suddenly my excitement about the new self scanner guns at the Stop and Shop seemed foolish.

I have been watching the footage of the water moving in, first a stream and soon a force of water so strong that houses are effortlessly displaced from their foundations.

I can imagine how these events were experienced in the days before cameras and television, when information was communicated through song and word and scrolls. It must have seemed a punishment, a recrimination for wrong deeds when the earth cracked open and threw you to the ground. I don't know which is worse, the idea that the earth shakes and water destroys at the whim of an angry god, or the stark terror of knowing that there is no reason for either beyond the simple mechanics of physics. Plates and water move and wash away everything in their paths.

There is no way to prepare for calamity. It arrives, throws open the door and hauls you out. It does not care that you aren't ready, that your bag is not packed. This is your new life- if you are lucky enough to survive it.

Today it snowed, but it was not a tsunami.
Today my kids fought, but it was not a tsunami.
Today my life was imperfect, but it was not a tsunami.

Today I opt for gratitude, gratitude, gratitude. There was not a tsunami.

*Special thanks to my pal Julian for writing very movingly on Facebook about the tragedy and comparing it to these lines from The Aeneid.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Don't hate me because we sleep late.

Today was a sleep late sort of day. How late did we sleep? Until 9:30!

I like to give all sorts of selfless reasons for homeschooling, but I'd be a dirty liar if I didn't acknowledge that sleeping in is one of the top three reasons I do it. The other two reasons? Not having to deal with homework and visiting museums and zoos off-hours.

After we were done sleeping until 9:30 (did I mention about the sleeping until 9:30?) we went to the library where we wandered around filling our book bags until we had forty-five books to check out. Forty-five books! The librarian was the right sort of librarian and she praised our selections very nicely. I could tell that she wanted to come home with us and lose herself in a quiet of afternoon of reading.

We took out a whole bunch of books about primates in general, one about Jane Goodall specifically, some Babymouse, The Double Daring Book for Girls, some mysteries and a whole bunch of Warrior Kitty books. We took them home, camped out in front of the fire and read quietly four about four hours. It was complete heaven.

This meant that the laundry and tidying in general were neglected, though it's not like they are going to walk away from neglect.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Banging seven gram rocks...

Warning: I am going to try to blog more often. Prepare yourself for drivel.

Things I managed to accomplish today:

1. Emptied the dishwasher twice.

2. Brought the trash to the curb once.

3. Paid $62 for gas. I was chatting with the gas station attendant and we were reminiscing about when gas was about a dollar a gallon. It was cheaper than milk! Cheaper than eggs! Sigh. I am now that lady who rants about the price of gas. #Loser

This week my obsession with primates reached a level of simian stupendousness never before seen at Shiny Red Houses. We went to the zoo yesterday and spent four hours hanging out with the gorillas. Seriously, Kiki and her baby sat on one side of the glass and we sat on the other. She loves looking at diamond rings (who doesn't) and when I put my hand to the glass she leaned closer, eyeball to gem to examine it more closely. We sketched pictures of her and showed her our versions of her. She looked them over with a critical eye and then moved back to the ring. She cannot be blamed. The quality of our art is not all that high.

This week Lily has been wearing a variety of fake mustaches. She likes to travel incognito and the overall effect is amusing. She has been compared to Freddy Mercury, Elliot Spitzer and Teddy Roosevelt. Thoughts?

The snow has melted leaving behind piles of soggy dog poop in the backyard. If I were very rich I would pay someone to clean up dog poop and to come over my floss my teeth every night.

Speaking of things on which rich people squander their money, it is thanks to Charlie Sheen that I realized that my working knowledge of the metric system is abysmal. When Charlie referred to banging seven gram rocks I wondered, just how much is that? Is it a quarter cup of rocks? Or more like a tablespoon? My shame is vast. Charlie Sheen knows the metric system and I do not.

I remember in the seventies there was a push for the metric system. It was going to be the new big thing- even Big Bird talked about it. But then Reagan got involved and declared the metric system the math of communists. Either way, it looked like extra math, so I ignored it and here I am today, a grown woman made to look stupid by Charlie Sheen. That my friends, is not #winning.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

We March along...

March is a dangerous month.

March is longing and desperation. The months of being indoors have worn away the cartilage of my psyche; every dream I have is a raw ache of bone on bone.

March is the month I most desperately dream of moving someplace new, of starting a new life. Perhaps a move to Africa to study chimps or a farm in Wisconsin.

March is impotent restlessness. Too cold to put out the laundry for a proper airing out. Too cold to walk without feeling winters bite.

When March offers a thaw we grab at it greedily, pushing our faces to the sun, we inhale the scent of snow melting as it trickles in rivers down the driveway.

In March we pace. We watch the sky and thermometer, waiting.

Will it be today?

Will I see green today?

Will I be saved from March?