Monday, December 16, 2013

So the timing is pretty sweet ...

... and by sweet I mean cool, interesting, conveniently ending this semester, not sappy with flowers and snowflakes and long walks or whatever.  I have no predictions in that direction as yet.
I did, however, meet this guy for breakfast yesterday.  Breakfast at noon–thirty, but what can you expect of a Sunday that dawns on fourteen brand–new inches of snow?  Shoveling, that's what.  And a bunch of sissies who should have stayed off the road if they weren't prepared to brave a couple inches of slush.
Also, I have four–wheel–drive, but he did not, so I spent a certain amount of time waiting around on Church St.  That was nice, actually.  Even if the rest of the day had sucked, at least I got to hang out in a secondhand bookstore, which is a rare occurrence these days.  But it didn't suck.
I'm going to repeat that.  It didn't suck.  The guy had a goatee that he occasionally braids, a braid down his back, and showed up wearing overalls, and it still didn't suck.  This is progress.  I was greeted with a hug (no groping, though), and it still didn't suck.  We got coffee.  We walked around.  We went to Henry's Diner.  We debated whether American cheese actually qualifies as food, let alone cheese.  He held that the addition of soy lecithin to cheddar and colby doesn't uncheese it.  I disagreed, maintaining that American cheese is not in fact cheese at all, but thinly disguised plastic.  The waitress served our food, but forgot to give us silverware.  He walked me to my car, two blocks past his, and said he'd enjoyed himself.  I might have enjoyed myself, too.  We made plans to meet for karaoke (!?!) next week.  That could be interesting.  As my Swedish great–grandfather is often quoted as saying, "Ve vill see vat ve vill see."  It might suck.  Then again, it might not.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


People, some dude wants to call me tonight after he puts his kid to bed.  Not even Jon Stewart and Buffy combined could keep me up past the kid's bedtime.  It's the end of the semester, and I mean to finish The Curse of the Black Pearl with the kid, because it's almost vacation, and that's how we roll, climb into bed and sigh in luxury, and drift off into blissful dreamland.  Sorry, dude.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Naming the tree. Is this a thing, now?

My sister named hers Claudio.  Brittany, Herself, calls hers Betty.  Dandelion Mama called hers Fakey
Fakerson, but, as the name implies, it was artificial, and therefore reappeared for years.  So, is this a thing?  Should I name my (as yet unpurchased, because I am clearly The Grinch) tree?  And what should I name it?  Joe?  Pete?  Billy?  Velma?
If there ever was a tree that should have been named, it was the one I had two years ago.  It was the end of my first real semester of school.  My son had, less than a month ago, debuted the opening act of what was to become a saga worthy of, if not the Icelanders, at least the Russians.  As a result of the stress, I also had to obtain my first academic extensions - in two classes, no less.  My divorce was about to become final, the only bright spot in an otherwise completely shit month.  We needed this tree.  I had been frantically making up work since the semester had officially ended, and now it was December 24th, the last possible day to find one, so after the evening Christmas Eve service, we went to the farm stand on the way home.  I think they had three trees left.  Maybe five.  All were small and crooked, except one, probably eight feet tall with an enormous trunk.  We took that one.  It was almost bigger than the car.
The layout of our apartment was ... not ideal.  For anything.  Unless the front door, when open, was open completely, it blocked the stairs to the second floor, where we lived.  There was only an inch of clearance between the door and the banister.  At the top was another door, which opened into a hallway so narrow the fire marshal barely approved it.  To get the tree into the living room, we'd have to do some serious defying of the laws of physics.
First, though, we had to get it through the front door.  My older son and I dragged it up the front steps and began our attempt.  I figured we could get it up and over the banister, and not have to drag it up the whole flight of stairs.  We pushed the door open, and open, and open some more.  Suddenly there was a crack, and the door sagged toward us.  Dry rot.  The door, old, solid wood, had dry-rotted from the inside, and now the screws hold the hinges had given way, having nothing to hold on to.  Fuck.  I took a deep breath, held back my tears, and shoved the door the rest of the way against the wall, vowing to deal with it later.  We dragged the tree the rest of the way up the stairs, heaving and panting, and laid it, snowy, frozen, dripping, in the living room.
Down in the entryway, I stared at the door, trying to think.  The attempt wasn't very successful.  Finally, I just wedged the door back into the doorframe, locked it, and left it to deal with the next day.
Back upstairs, we began to reduce the tree to a manageable size.  The trunk was fully eight inches across, maybe nine, frozen solid, and all I had was my trusty pruning saw, which is meant for small branches, a couple of inches in diameter.  I started sawing.  Ten minutes later, I had made maybe an inch of progress, and the carpet was strewn with soggy sawdust.  My son took a turn.  We traded again.  Finally, the giant chunk of tree trunk fell free.  We sliced some off the sides, too, to narrow the diameter, and levered it into place on the tree stand, which was promptly flattened.  There was just no way we'd ever make it fit.  Damn.  Plan B.  Or C.  Or F.  I grabbed a metal mixing bowl from the kitchen, some florist wire that I happened to have lying around, and rested the tree in the bowl, then wired it to the window latches.  Done.  Victory!  I high-fived my son, then told him, with great regret, that, since it was probably getting on ten o'clock, and I was exhausted, we'd decorate the tree in the morning.  Christmas morning.
"No problem, Mom," he said, the light of temporarily restored faith in his eyes.  "It's ok.  Santa will do it for us tonight."  I stared at him, my breath temporarily sucked from my body, scrambling all ability to form a thought.  The wha-...?  Who?  Santa?  Did I mention that my son was, at that time, nearly fifteen?  He'd discovered the benevolent lie surrounding Santa's existence years before.  Yet here he was, belief shining from his face.
"Of course he will, sweetie," I breathed.  What else was there to say?  And, indeed, Christmas morning, the tree shone forth in all its splendor, fully decorated and surrounded by wrapped gifts.  I'll tell you what, Santa owes me big time.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


I'm getting a little bored with the exclusivity of my current blog topic, so I'm thinking about branching out.  In the meantime, here are a few (!) links to blogs I especially enjoy.  Feel free to enjoy also, or not, as you are inclined.  They tend to lean in a mommyblog direction, but not exclusively.  I'm not going to say anything else about them, so you can form your own opinions without preconceptions, except to mention that Schmutzie has this wonderful feature she calls Five-Star Friday, which she is no longer posting to the main page, so click on that link (I think it's in the upper-right-hand of the page).  It features amazing writing from various blogs ... I highly recommend it.