Friday, January 23, 2015

things I hate that everyone loves

Paris.  It smells bad, and everything costs too much.  The most overrated city in the world.

This one Indian restaurant in my neighborhood everyone adores.   It's the only Indian restaurant I've ever run across which has next to no vegetarian options.  And weirdly it serves virtually everything in wraps. Now I have been to southern India and know what a dosa is, so I know that a "wrap" is a version of an authentic Indian dish, and if it were a dosa, I'd be fine.  But meat in a wrap?  And that's Indian food?  Get off my lawn!  Which brings us to..

Wraps.  To begin with, the word is so unappetizing.  "Wraps."  It looks and sounds like the antithesis of good food.  And it seems to stress that what is inside the food doesn't matter.  All that matters is that it's wrapped up, because you are too much of a slob to get your lunch in your facehole without it being hermetically sealed.  Also, I like to be able to see what I am eating.

Amazon.  It killed off so many independent bookstores.  It tried to go after beloved publisher Hachette by not selling Hachette's most prominent authors.  It didn't give a fuck that it was preventing authors from making sales by barring those authors from its site, when they were just innocent third parties.  And it treats its employees like slaves.  Warehouse employees faint during the summer.  They are kept under fear of firing.  Their bathroom breaks are severely limited.  I could go on and on.  In summary:  it's an evil, evil company.

The Sober Husband has been recruited by Amazon many, many times, including for really interesting and fun jobs (most notably working on their delivery-by-drones program).  We've had some conflict over this.  "I'd rather you work for online porn.  Or spam," I have said.

The mountains.  I don't want to go skiing; that's much too cold.  I'd rather be by the sea or off in a nice, toasty warm desert.  It puts a strain on my poor car to heave us up some giant peak, only to have to turn around and come back down to a more sensible level.

Tomatoes.  Why are they in everything?  Why is it assumed that vegetarians live off tomatoes?  I tried some online eating program where they give you recipes and shopping lists so you can eat healthy but fabulous diet foods, and every single last meal was crammed with tomatoes.  Tomato salad, tomato flatbreads, stuffed tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, grilled tomatoes, pureed tomatoes.  One of my favorite cookbooks, a seasonal menus book by my beloved Melissa Clark, is unusable all summer because every single fucking thing revolves around tomatoes.  Last year at Burning Man someone decided that, as a kindness, they'd make dinner for those of us working on building our theme camp, and the vegetarian option was spaghetti in tomato sauce with chopped up tomatoes all over it.  And then the only topic of conversation amongst everyone during the whole meal was how weird it is that the Drunken Housewife doesn't eat tomatoes, did you ever hear of anyone who didn't like tomatoes, why doesn't she like tomatoes?, surely she would like the tomatoes if she only ate them, everyone loves tomatoes, tomatoes are the best thing in the world, it must suck to be her, god, what a picky eater. And then the next day everyone wondered what the hell was up when I snapped and said, "I don't want to hear ANOTHER WORD about how I don't like tomatoes.  Seriously." In summary, tomatoes are loathsome, oozing their nasty little seeds everywhere.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

more than anything in the world

I love camping in the desert, and the children frankly think that is one of the more inexplicable and idiotic things about their mother.  Today in the car Lola asked me again to explain why I like being in the desert.  I struggled to describe the desolate majesty, the weird beauty, and among other things, I said that because there aren't trees, you can see farther.

That right there to Lola was the matter in a nutshell.  "As you know, I love trees."  She grew pensive.  "I love trees more than anything in the world, except a bunch of things."

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

street closures and the jaded residents

For a couple of weeks there have been some ominous signs posted, stating that parking will be forbidden on much of our block for a five day period.  The five specified dates of forbidden parking passed by without incident.

Then today suddenly, three or four days after the permits for blocking off parking had expired, I drove home to find to my displeasure that our street was closed.  "Dammit, Lola," I said, "what is going on?"  I parked a block away, complaining about having to shlep my groceries and Lola's backback.  "It's a good thing I was lazy at the grocery store and didn't feel like doing much shopping," I observed to Lola.

"What if we'd had a mattress delivered?" said Lola.  "Two years ago we had a mattress delivered.  What if we had waited until today?"

We shlepped our things home, discussing this outrage all the while.  No parking signs do not mean a street is going to be closed off, just that you can't park there, and it seemed wrong to us that our street was barred to us.  As we were approaching our house, my next door neighbor's sleek Porsche roared through.  "Hey!  Brad drove through the cones," I said.  My neighbor emerged from his car.  

"How'd you get through," I said admiringly.  "I couldn't fit my Mini through those cones."

"I just drove over them," said my normally mild-mannered neighbor.  "I've just had it with these street closures.  It's always something.  I say fuck it!"  There was a pause.  Lola and I had never heard this neighbor swear before.  

"I'm too well-behaved," I mourned.  Brad's defiance seemed admirable next to my mealy-mouthed obedience to authority.

"What the hell are they doing, anyway?" Brad continued.  "Is that the water department?"

We all regarded the giant excavation in the center of our street, just a few feet from my house.  

"Didn't they just replace all of that a few years ago?"  We three agreed that only a couple of years ago, the city had torn up our entire street and replaced all the water pipes.

"How can they just close our street?" I complained.  "I feel like they should send us a letter, give us some notice.  I could have had a piano delivered today.  I have had a piano delivered before.  Or I could have had a cocktail party today."

"Listen to you!" said Brad.

"I have had cocktail parties before," I said defensively.

"You sound like you're from Atherton!  Cocktail party! "  He paused.  "Come to think of it, if we were in Atherton, I bet they would have told us they were closing the street."

Friday, January 16, 2015

things said in our home

Me, to Lola:  "If after you move out and you come by to visit and you find my corpse partially eaten by cats, don't be mad at them.  Tell them you're sorry and get them some nice canned food."

Lola nodded in agreement.  "It's not like you're using your body, after you're dead."

Sunday, December 28, 2014

cheery thoughts

I'm depressed, and I hate nearly everyone and everything.

Happy holidays!

Friday, December 05, 2014

enduring, enduring

Ever since the horrible week in which my mother and one of the Sober Husband's brothers both unexpectedly passed away on the very same day, I've been in a deep, dark depression.  My forms of self-medication have involved sitting on the couch sipping prosecco (a day drink, thankyouverymuch) and eating home-made Chex mix, something I associate with my mother.  The last time I was in the hospital, my mother sent me a batch of homemade Chex Mix; we made it a lot when I was growing up, and we developed our own recipe.

The other people in the house have been left to forage for themselves, as I haven't felt up to cooking.  Frozen foods and Chex mix are the order of the day.  I did rally for Thanksgiving, when we had an epic feast with eleven different dishes.  Then I plunged back into my depression when our hot water heater broke the day after Thanksgiving, leaving us with a few days of no showers and no dishwasher and  a nice $1,300 bill.  It felt like something terrible was happening to us every day.  My dentist told me to have expensive oral surgery, a recommendation I am ignoring, the day after the water heater trauma.

A few people suggested to me that we replace the hot water heater ourselves, but tellingly none of them live in San Francisco.  Our house is on a very steep hill, so our hot water heater has to be lifted up over five feet to its inconvenient location and also it has to be made earthquake-safe.  Also we don't own any vehicle that could possibly contain a hot water heater.  I felt ashamed, but in the end, we had to admit we wouldn't have done such a good job.  The professional owned a truck and had the right equipment to braze the gas lines and to drill into the exposed bedrock under our storage space.

In the background the Ferguson and New York grand juries failed miserably to see what was obvious to anyone else, which is that walking in a street or selling loose cigarettes are not capital offenses.  Some people very dear to me had horrible things happen to them as well, things I won't write about as they are not my traumas to tell.

We're walking on tiptoes here, afraid of what each day holds.

Friday, November 14, 2014

how I didn't even manage to go to my dead mother's funeral

I was not looking forward to going to my mother's funeral.  Obviously, emotions would be raw, and my family is not close at the best of times.  Additionally my parents retired to a remote area of Texas which is far away and not easy to reach.  There is an airport two hours from their house, but there are no direct flights there from any of the three major airports in my area.  So getting there always involves plenty of time and money.  But I felt that clearly I needed to be there, to pay my respects and to see how my father was coping.  Neither of the children wanted to go; both are very diligent students and feared missing several days of school.  The Sober Husband is still fresh in his shiny new job but was game to accompany me.

The night before the funeral the Sober Husband checked the weather forecast.  "The high is going to be below freezing," he informed me cheerily.  Expletives escaped my dainty lips.  Although I'm from Maine originally, I have lived in California for over twenty years.  I don't have any winter clothes.  Usually Texas is in the seventies, but a freakish storm was advancing.  "It's going to be colder than Alaska," I noted after doing some searches online.

The day came to leave.  I got better flights from San Jose than I could find from San Francisco, so I planned to pick up the Sober Husband at his Silicon Valley office on the way to the airport.  (Almost every flight combination had a travel time of over 11 hours, but I managed to find one clocking in at only 5 hours by flying out of San Jose).  I kissed the children goodbye in the morning and ran about like a decapitated chicken during the day running last minute errands.   Then I set out to meet the Sober Husband.

As I drove down to Mountain View in heavy traffic, the Sober Husband called to tell me our flight had been delayed an hour.  I kept driving.  He called again to say it had been delayed two hours, meaning we would miss our connecting flight.  We agreed that we'd go to the airport and try to figure something out with the customer service people, and I kept driving.  He called a third time to say that our second flight, the one to where my parents live, had been cancelled entirely.  "Let me think, "I said, and I hung up.  I called him back and asked him to call some other airlines and see what they could do.

When I reached the Sober Husband's office complex, I felt like trying out the fancy new valet parking which had recently been instated.  I pulled up by the valet parking booth.  The valet was talking to a man with a clipboard, and they both rather ostentatiously turned their backs on me, as if to say, "Not for the likes of you."  "Fuck it, " I thought.   "I'll roll old school and park myself."  Was the problem my gender?  My lack of techie geek cred -- is it that obvious?  Surely it wasn't my car, as a youngish, undented Mini Cooper should be welcome anywhere.  I found a parking space for my beloved Baby and hiked back to the lobby, where I found the uncustomarily dour Sober Husband scouring Expedia.
We both worked our cellphones and took turns with his laptop.  But the answer was clear:  there was no way we could get to El Paso the next day before the funeral.  The best case scenario would be arriving several hours afterward, and that didn't feel worth it for me, as we needed to return the very next day for a variety of reasons.  We called my father and told him we couldn't come.

Due to this large and unseasonably early winter storm, over one hundred flights from Denver, where we were due to change flights, were canceled.  Ours was one of them.   I was so glad we hadn't gotten on our first, severely delayed flight, as I could only imagine what it would be like at Denver, with all the people from all those over a hundred flights stuck there.

We texted our neighbors, who were hosting Iris and Lola for a few nights, and the friend who was having Lola over after school to say that it was all a false alarm and we'd be returning home.

Back at home I felt discombobulated.  I was supposed to be having a painful, cathartic, awkward family moment, not feeding the pets and driving Lola to school as usual.   On the bright side, with this extra time the Sober Husband was able to arrange to go to his brother's wake in Chicago.  So at least one of us will get some sort of a catharsis or meaningful moment.