The interior designer spent several hours today meticulously coloring a rendering for one of our projects, numbered 114. Every time I walked by his desk he had a pile of pencils and drafting brushes and triangles and was delicately texturing a roof tile or getting the shape of a shadow just right. At 4:05 pm, he finally declared it finished and showed it off to the rest of the office. We oohed and aahed and he put it down to work on something else.
At 4:10, I walked by his desk and knocked my elbow into a full cup of water balanced on the ledge at the edge of his table. I looked down and saw the cup and water sloshing rapidly across a color rendering of project number 114. I gasped and dropped the message I was carrying and fell all over myself apologizing, and wondered why he was calmly mopping up water instead of freaking out the way I was doing.
It was the old rendering, thank any cosmic force you care to name. The new drawing which he'd just finished was sitting safely on the layout table 3 feet away, dry as a bone. Because no one told me that ahead of time, I fully expect to see a new grey hair tomorrow when I look in the mirror. That'll be 6, by the way. I'm counting.
Jacob, I win the clumsy contest.
What, you're bringing me cookies? Hooray!
I could sit here and eat them all day.
Such a tasty delight,
I'm just ready to bite,
...But they're chock-full of eggs, did you say?
It's been a very cookie-full day today, which makes it truly shocking that I've eaten no cookies at all. First there was the giant platter of cookies brought by the stone rep who came to present at lunch, which have been sitting around on the layout table making my brain hurt from the effort of not eating any (see limerick for explanation). Then there's the matter of the holiday gift catalog which came today from Apple Cookie & Chocolate Company, which consists of cute gimmicky cookie gift baskets you can give out based on your field of work. I leafed through it, of course, because for pete's sake, it's COOKIES. In the Plumbing & Mechanical section I found a gallon bucket of cookies in a container marked HVAC: Heating Ventilation And Cookies.
It might only be hilarious if you deal with construction and know that HVAC stands for Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning, but I've been falling over myself laughing all afternoon. Cookies!
Our dear Democratic friend John
Inspires most people to yawn.
But when shove comes to push,
Since he's better than Bush,
His boat is the one I'll get on.
There's a rather nice editorial in today's San Francisco Chronicle. It's precisely the kind of perspective of which I need to be reminded once in a while. I acquired a near-instant disinclination to support the man after his first campaign speech in Oakland, and it was only compounded by the vague feeling that my strategic anyone-but-Bush vote in 2000 had been the wrong decision. I won't, I told myself, vote for anyone who doesn't genuinely represent my interests this time! I'll reject the binary bullshit that Presidential elections always come down to and show that options outside the two-party moderate center are necessary for elections to mean something!
I won't, though, is the thing. I'll yell about Kerry's heavy-handed use of the Salt Shaker of Christian Crap That Doesn't Fucking Belong In Politics, and I'll narrow my eyes and purse my lips and complain that I don't quite trust him on reproductive issues and gay rights, but then I'll remember that he stood up at the Democratic convention and said he'd never see the U.S. at war again. You have to vote for a politician who says that, for the same reason you have to give puppies treats when they manage not to pee on the carpet. If you don't reward the good behavior, they'll just go and do the bad thing again.
Vote for John Kerry: Because There's Enough Pee On The Carpet Already.
Sit in boat, grab a beer, pick up oar;
Make your arms, back and butt kind of sore.
Watch Michele slowly bail
With her pitiful pail...
Guys, we really should do this much more.
I might even have to amend my earlier comments and say that next year we should do this during the horribly crowded early season (so Dustin and Anderson can use the rope swings without actually killing themselves) and then come back again during the late season when there's nobody there. Yeah! More canoeing!
Next time we should all speak only Russian for the entire duration of the trip, though. That's my boat... er, vote.
There was a priceless headline on BBC Online yesterday that I dearly wish I'd copied down somewhere. As near as I can recreate it, it said,
"Bush says Iraq situation at critical point with elections nearing"
My first reaction was surprise at the surpassing ballsiness of that statement. Playing a bloody political situation overseas for re-election votes at home is one thing; admitting it openly is another thing entirely. My second reaction was also surprise. When I opened the article and read it, I suddenly remembered that Iraq is being geared up to have its own democratic elections at year's end. Oh. Right. Yes, I suppose this is a critical point for that as well.
It's the headline equivalent of those pictures that show an old woman with a large nose, or a young girl with her chin turned up, depending on how you look at it. It's absolutely, 100% accurate whether you read it cynically or stick to the obvious and innocent facts. I think I'm going to call the Met and tell them I've discovered a priceless masterpiece that should be displayed in their galleries.
Peanut ran out and gave me a scare;
I grabbed her, but only caught hair.
But the big raccoon's grin
Made her come right back in
And now she's content to stay there.
"For my lunch, send a meal without meat."
You obeyed my request, which was neat.
But my order entailed
The one place where you failed:
Make it food fit for humans to eat.
Here's one for the "No, that's not what it means" files.
The office had a lunch presentation from a roofing materials company today. The company rep bought us nice boxed lunches to eat while listening to her presentation, and even made sure to accomodate the vegetarians in the office. I apologetically asked her on Monday to see if the catering company could make anything vegan, and if not, I told her, vegetarian would be fine. When the food arrived today the rep told me that the caterer had actually made up a vegan lunch specially for me, which was delightful news. I noted the dish name on the box -- "Green Garden" -- and opened it with grateful anticipation. I will provide you now with a complete tally of the box contents.
Ooh. They were doing so well up until those last two, and then it just went all to hell. Let me explain.
The cookie is perfectly reasonable -- vegan cookie alternatives are not something I expect standard catering operations to carry -- except that their other snack alternative, which they did not include in this case, is a small bag of plain potato chips (vegan). The dressing, in a small container on the side, may appear reasonable on the surface. People generally want dressing on their salad. I wanted dressing on my salad. I didn't necessarily want a kind with 8 milk products in its ingredient list. Italian dressings are frequently vegan. Vinaigrettes are almost always vegan, and quite delicious on both salads and breads.
I'm coming down so hard on this company primarily because I know that they also make a wonderful red pepper pasta salad which is, now that you mention it, vegan. I've had it before when I was the one placing the lunch orders. Today, someone else in the office chewed happily on a dish of it while I reflected on how much I hate green salads. I considered the delicious oil-and-vinegar dressing on the red pepper pasta, some of which could have been drizzled on my sad dry lettuce to great effect. I could have mopped it up with my slice of bread, and the result would have been so pleasing that I wouldn't have even given a second thought to the cookie/chips cock-up.
Vegan does not mean dry, guys. It doesn't mean bland. Nor does it mean lacking protein, for that matter. I should make up a delicious vegan meal with dressing and seasoning and tofu and non-lettuce-related vegetables, and send it to the caterer with a note saying "This is what vegan tastes like."
A bath is a luxury treat:
Big old tub of cast iron, with feet.
But the part that's so fun
Is that when I get done,
My toes are all pruney. So neat!
A man whom I see on the street
Yells "POW!" every time that we meet.
Now I could be mishearing,
But it sounds like he's jeering
The name of a steamed Asian treat.
I had a shocking moment today of realizing something profound and completely bizarre, which is not related to the above limerick. It made my day. It made my week. It may have made my decade. There's this band, see, about which I'm fairly sure I've rhapsodized before. I probably used phrases like "the robot armies of death and destruction" and "oh god what have they done to my brain?" They sing about whiskey, and the devil, and the desert, and I was listening to my most beloved of their songs on repeat on the way to work this morning. I idly tapped my fingers in time to the cacophany, then did a double-take and wondered if I was counting wrong. One two three, one two three... three? Dum da da, dum da da, dum da da, dum da da. Step, step, close. Step, step, close.
It's a waltz. It's a waltz about streets full of dead and the last battle with Satan, and I can't get this grin off my face.
The unit is called Anapest:
Two syllables weak and one stressed.
Make your lines twos and threes,
(Fudge a bit if you please),
And everyone will be impressed.
The man with the death-bunny head
Made Donnie just wish he were dead.
Don set houses ablaze,
Then went back 30 days,
And snuffed himself right in his bed.
I watched Donnie Darko again last night, as a direct result of having read my sister's ravings about it. Jacob didn't want to watch, so he retreated to the study to play Tribes and I watched the movie in the living room by myself with the lights off and the doors shut.
The nice thing about the mirror in our bathroom, which is a high-tech Ikea swiveling-mirror-slash-cabinet, is that you can turn it around to the cabinet side and then it's not a mirror anymore. The nice thing about the rest of our house is that it doesn't have any mirrors at all. The nice thing about that is that creepy messianic bunnies can't appear in the mirror if there aren't any mirrors. The thing that isn't nice is that creepy messianic bunnies can still appear on front lawns and in movie theaters, and the middle of the road for that matter, so I'm not entirely safe.
If I can think of any rhymes for "rabbit", "jet engine", "apocalyptic", or "Jake Gyllenhaal", I'll write a limerick. Don't hold your breath.
Things needful for surfing the 'net
Were what I sent Jacob to get.
He got them connected,
More soon than expected,
And was he rewarded? You bet.
Let this serve as your notice, dear reader,
That my entries will now have strict meter.
I believe that this form,
Though it's not now the norm,
Is a trend of which I'll be the leader.
Bella likes to sit on things. She likes to sit on the couch, Jacob's desk, Jacob, me, the bed, and the pile of leftover carpet pad in the living room. She's easy to please as long as Jacob and I are constantly engaged in petting her at all times.
Peanut likes to sit on things. She likes to sit on the couch, Jacob's desk, me, the bed, and the pile of leftover carpet pad in the living room. When I stopped petting her this morning to brush my hair, she tried to stand on my stomach and looked at me with soulful, yet demanding, eyes.
Peanut doesn't like Bella. When they get within 3 feet of each other, Peanut starts hissing. I bop her on the head and tell her to knock it off, and she hisses at me. Then she turns back and hisses at Bella again, lather, rinse, and repeat.
Bella doesn't like Peanut. She's been whining about it since we brought Peanut home. She wanders around the house meowing plaintively, scratching to be let out, turning around in the door to look angry at me, coming back in, scratching to be let out, lather, rinse, and repeat.
Hey... now there's an idea. Lather, rinse, repeat! Not that either of them needs a bath, mind you, but if they can be bratty and malicious I can do it too.
Temperature: 77 Fahrenheit.
It explains why my flesh is melting and dripping off the edges of my chair.
I was roused out of a luxurious steaming-hot bath yesterday morning by a phone call from Jacob, telling me that the phone installer would be at our house in 15 minutes to set everything up. I abandoned my soaking and scurried to get dried off and decently dressed, despite the temptation to play the spoiled-housewife role and stay in bathrobe and wet hair. If I'd been called upon to answer some trifling question about phone service preferences, I could have waved a hand vaguely and said, oh, I really don't know, you'll have to call my husband at work. He's the one who knows all these things. You know how it is. I'm sure you can call him and you menfolk can work everything out. I'll be in the bathtub painting my toenails, and don't track in any dirt while you're sorting this all out, if you don't mind.
But instead I scrambled and got dressed before the 15 minutes were up, and hung around in my cargo pants and tank-top with my toenails totally and typically devoid of gleaming red polish. I tried to imagine what kind of useful things I might need to say: we'll be getting DSL with this, the jack in the study is probably the most important one to have working, the landlord wants to keep the phone box inconspicuous from the front of the house. There was a mix-up with the phone number, is this one I've got here the right one?
No phone installer. I called Jacob back to make sure he'd said 15 minutes; yes, absolutely, I'm sure he'll be there any moment. I drank some tea, sat out on the porch with Bella on my lap, and watched the driveway with my beady eagle eyes. No phone installer. I swept the porch, picked some tomatoes, took the gravel off of the path and put it back in the gravel bed, and watched the driveway some more. No service trucks of any kind. I put a "Please Knock Hard" sign on the front door and started organizing books. The total lack of telecommunications technicians persisted. It persisted while I put my books away on the shelves, decided they weren't properly organized, took them out, and put them all back differently. It persisted while I got distracted by The Color Purple and read it for an hour; it persisted through three phone conversations about Gene and Kristen's barbeque; it persisted through another hour of The Color Purple and thirty minutes of sorting through boxes of paperwork. What I'm trying to say is that there was no glimmer of phone installation all day, which leads one to wonder why the hell someone called to say they'd be over in 15 minutes in the first place.
If there were a contest to see who could take the greatest number of words to bitch about being gotten out of the bathtub for no good reason, I wouldn't win, because winning doesn't use up enough words. I'd take home the grand prize to the great joy and pride of myself and my loved ones, and spend the rest of my days resting on my laurels.
We spent our first night in the cottage last night. I fucking love it. It's quirky and strange and it smells like new paint and old wood. The floors are soft and smooth; they make me take my shoes off every time I get inside and pad around barefoot. The walls are wiggly, wavy, patched-up plaster and when you touch them you can feel 80 years of paint layers under your fingers. The doorknobs rattle, the doors sit funny in their frames, the hardware is eclectic. The front door closes by itself with a creak that would make Alfred Hitchcock proud, and the knobbly-footed tub wiggles ever so gently back and forth on its legs.
In all of this, the outlets all work, the lights are new with fresh bulbs, the windows open and close, and the screens are intact. No holes, no rotted floorboards, no spiderwebs. No leaks. New granite countertops, new cabinets, a nice modern fridge. Brand-new shower hardware. Everything is beautiful.
I drifted off to sleep last night thinking, "This is the test. If it's haunted, I'll find out tonight. Maybe I'll have horrible grisly nightmares. Maybe I'll hear things in the middle of the night. Maybe I'll wake up and find Jacob kidnapped or mummified or something." I always think that in old houses; if a place has had more than half a century to attract ghouls I automatically assume that it has done so. But I dreamed of taking mysterious trips and meeting interesting people, and woke up at 7:30 feeling refreshed and giddy. You hear that, ghouls? This is my house now. I belong in it.
Thursday, noisy and rambunctious, feels like Friday because it is?
We're taking tomorrow, as I mentioned in my last entry, off. That makes today the end of the week. That makes us, er, goof off. Two of the architects went on a beer run to the store down the street and brought back two six-packs. Yeehaw!
I'm sitting at my very secretarial desk tallying up business expenses and scheduling overnight deliveries with a bottle of Negra Modelo next to me. Good afternoon, RDFHDSJF Architects, beer speaking? Note to self: Negra Modelo isn't really what I look for in a beer. Dark, slightly, tasty, only slightly.
What the hell am I talking about? It's beer, at work. It's fucking great.
There are boxes in the cottage with my stuff in them!
Jacob and I moved our books, a roll of carpet pad, and my yet-unassembled computer desk into our brand-spanking-new extra bedroom last night. It was so exciting I almost fell down the stairs with a box of books. Okay, I didn't, but I was slightly afraid that I was going to. The other rooms still need some minor hardware (this is hardware like window handles, not hardware like walls) and the doors are going to be re-keyed today, but we couldn't wait. It's a point of pride to actually be able to say we've started moving.
Tomorrow is a day off work; Monday is a day off work; the next time I wake up at 6:45 I'll be seeing the sun come through the neighbor's flowers instead of the walnut tree. I guess that's not so different, is it? But I'll eat breakfast at the kitchen table, because it won't be jammed into an inaccessible corner between two walls, a bookshelf, a coffee table and two armchairs. I'll shower in the room with the huge bathtub and very shiny hardware. Oh, and two doors. TWO. That's one door for me and one door for Jacob!
I'll go in one door, take my shower, and go out the other door just because I can. Then I'll walk all the way around through the study, living room, and kitchen to get back to the bedroom, just because I can. Maybe the cats will follow me in a big circle around the whole house. If they do, I'll go back in the bathroom and back out the other side and lead them around again. Meow, they'll say plaintively, what the hell are you doing? Where's my food, and who's this other cat? Because, you see, there'll be two of them: one for each bathroom door.
Michele, may we please acquire some catscatscats this weekend? One for us, and one for Katie. Then Jacob and I will have two cats--one for each of us--and Katie will have one cat--one for each of her--and Frank will have one puppy--for each of him. Four pets, four people, not counting the mezzanine.
COTTAGE! CATS! All I need now is climbing roses and matching teacups.
I got out of bed late this morning, dallied in the shower, and in the resulting terrible rush to leave the house on time I forgot to put anything in my earlobes.
On the way to the BART station I noticed that my head was hurting. It's still doing so.
I've decided that the hurting is a direct consequence of my unaccustomed ear-nudity (cf. the title of this entry). This means two things. One, I should be allowed and encouraged to wear large, heavy, obtrusive ear jewelry at work so that my head knows fully well that I'm wearing something there. This will make absolutely sure that there are no headaches to dampen my efficiency and productivity. Two, I should put the hex wrenches that came with the new desk chairs in my ears for the rest of the day. This will be hilarious.