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.

Monday, November 10, 2014

a husk, experiencing the strange stresses

In the few days after my mother's death, I've taken up a regime of day-drinking ("Champagne, which is a breakfast drink", I informed the Sober Husband) and day-eating on the couch.  This was interrupted yesterday by a phone call informing the Sober Husband that one of his brothers had died.  Bizarrely it turns out that the brother in question had passed away around the same time as my mother, but had not been discovered for a few days as he was living alone after his divorce.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

the stress

In July the Sober Husband was suddenly fired from a wonderful job he loved and was very good at.  Overnight we had no income.  Later in July he had surgery he is still recovering from, and he is not one of the world's better patients.  Since then we had two huge disputes about cash:  first, over the tiny travel trailer I bought before he lost his job and secondly over my dear cat Frowst's dental surgery, which cost $3,700.  There has also been some other marital stress which I would rather not discuss.  I also had a falling out with a friend which was very traumatic.

And now, we received word yesterday that my mother had unexpectedly died in the night.

Also, I'm turning 50 in two weeks, which I'm dreading.

This is really a four month stretch from hell.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

the Sober Husband describes the cats

The Sober Husband met a friend and the friend's new girlfriend for coffee.  The girlfriend has cats and asked about our cats.  As the Sober Husband described it, "I told her we had two types of cats."

"What?" interjected Iris, Lola and I all at once.  "What are the two types?"  Republicans and Democrats?  Extroverts and introverts?  Scientologists and agnostics?

"Let him tell the story," said one child reprovingly, after our derisive laughter had gone on long enough.

"So I said we had four adult cats," the Sober Husband continued gamely.

"WRONG!  We have five cats," I pounced.


"Count them on your fingers by name," I said.

"Frowsty, Henry, Emo, and Nert," he said.

"You left out Zorro."

The Sober Husband appeared disgusted at this point that we had somehow acquired five cats without his realizing it.  After some time, he was able to resume his narrative.  "So I said we have kittens, and every year there is some kitten we can't resist, so we are constantly accumulating cats."

the further adventures of tiny, amazing Lola

Recently we ran across some art Lola did when she was younger.  She turned her name into an acrostic:

Legally a minor

Iris and I were slayed by the first L and fell about laughing.  "Really, Lola? That's what you thought was the most important thing about yourself?"  Luckily Lola had a sense of humor about her younger self as well and didn't take offense.

On Friday Lola had no school, and I took my tiny, amazing, legal-minor to a corn maze.  I felt ashamed of never having had this American experience.  It must be a midwestern and western thing, as we had lots of corn in New England growing up, but no corn mazes. My Puritan ancestors would have been horrified at the idea of wasting good corn on fools traipsing about idly.

At the corn maze, Lola and I got lost quickly.  We attempted to use our powers of memory and reasoning.  These powers were evidently too weak.   Lola asked with trepidation, "What if we don't find our way out?"

I reassured Lola.  "If worst comes to worst, we can make our way between the corn and get out.  We will do our best to gently bend the corn and not trample any.  And we have water."  We soldiered on.

At some point we came upon one of the two viewing platforms, where you could climb out a flight of stairs and look across the maze.  We decided to skip it, because we thought it would be cheating, and we regretted that as we wandered on in the maze.  Later we talked sorrowfully about that platform as we trudged on.  "I thought we were going to see it again," I said.  "I can't believe we didn't circle back to it."

Still later we came upon a viewing platform, and we were excited.  We climbed up and learned that using the viewing platforms was not cheating.  The corn maze paths were so narrow that all you saw from up in the air was a solid field of corn.  We did figure out, however, that we were on the very same viewing platform we'd scorned earlier and had been wandering around in the beginning of the maze for a whole hour.  Online we had read that the typical person spent about forty-five minutes in the corn maze, but we were not typical, and we were atypical in a bad way.  We decided it was time to adopt a basic strategy and turn the same direction at every single intersection.

After a while, we found ourselves back at the very beginning of the maze.  This was disheartening.  We were out of the maze, but we knew we'd only experienced the first third of it.  The lady who sells tickets to the maze also felt sorry for us.  "Did you try always turning left?"

"We started always turning right."

The woman shook her head sorrowfully.  "You could try again."

Lolz and I looked at each other.

"If you're going back in, you might want to do it before these kids start," advised the woman.  A huge group of tiny preschoolers was advancing upon the maze.

I grabbed Lola's hand and we ran in.  We methodically turned left at every crossing, which felt efficient but when we reached the first viewing platform (our third visit) we found the preschoolers.  They had beaten us there.  Disheartened we trudged on.  "We are people of the corn," we said.  We tried to sing a song the Sober Husband is fond of about a chicken in the corn, but we didn't know enough of the lyrics.  "Chicken... corn... la la la la," we chanted.

Eventually we came to another viewing platform, and we clambered up. "It's the same one," said Lola pessimistically.  "No, Lola, look! We're closer to the trees.  But where's the other one?"

"They took it down!" said Lola wildly.  "They took it down while we were in here!"

 We scanned the field.  Then a man came into view, climbing up on the other platform.  "Oh, there it is," said Lola deflatedly.

We climbed down and finished the maze.  We could see from how pristine the paths were that most people didn't reach this part of the maze.   When we left, the ticket lady congratulated us.  The woman selling pumpkins said, "You wouldn't catch me going in there.  How long did it take?"

"An hour and forty-five minutes," we said shamefacedly.

"They'd have to get me out the next day," said the pumpkin lady consolingly.

Monday, October 13, 2014

tiny, amazing Lola and the make-up mystery

When Iris uber Alles graduated from middle school, her little sister Lola and I had some trouble finding our assigned seats.  As we wandered throughout the auditorium, reading the labels on the folding chairs and failing to find our name, we ran into one of Iris's teachers, one she greatly admires ("C. is so badass!").  I took this opportunity to share with this teacher how highly Iris spoke of her.   In reply, the teacher, C., fixed me with a very stern eye and said intently, "Iris shouldn't be allowed to wear makeup!  She's too hot!"  There was an awkward pause.

Eventually Lola and I moved on and found our seats.  "That was weird," I said.  "I know," said Lola.  "Was that some kind of criticism of my parenting?" I mulled.

Much later (after each and every student had given not one but two speeches, some other people had given speeches, and the students had had lots of pictures taken and consumed lots of h'ors d'oeuvres), I started to tell Iris about this chance encounter.  Lola decided that she, not me, should tell it.

"So!  C. was fascinated by tiny, amazing Lola," began Lola.  "Mommy was telling C. about how Iris thought she was a badass, so C. sadly had to tear her attention away from tiny, amazing Lola."

At this point Lola was interrupted by her audience, who wished to know what exactly was so amazing about Lola.  Lola eventually got back into the groove of her story:  "So then C. said to Mommy, 'Iris shouldn't be allowed to wear makeup!'  Then she turned her attention back to tiny, amazing Lola.  And Mommy was all surprised by what C. said.  And Mommy asked tiny, amazing Lola, 'What did she mean by that?'"

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

and yet life meanders on

Life has not been the most fabulous lately, and I realize there is no one to blame but myself.  I am healthy once again, after resetting my own immune system successfully, and my husband is employed once again.  I'm back to my gym rat days, obnoxiously enough, and was taunting Iris uber Alles today.  "Poke me here" (forcing the poor thing to prod me in the upper six-pack zone).  "See!  You could bounce a coin off there. "  Then I poked her similarly.  "Look!  It's like a marshmallow!"  Later, I noted, "Feel free to prod me in the abs whenever you want.  Perhaps you are afraid you might harm your finger."  Iris rolled her eyes.

I tend to be a glass-half-empty (probably drained by a rich sociopath when my back was turned) kind of gal on the whole.  Funnily enough, given how dark my outlook has been of late, that I'm bizarrely able to take with equanimity the one thing which drives most women my age insane:  hot flashes.  I've been 'pausing hard lately, and for the most part, I'm fine with it.  I lived in the tropics for a couple of years and liked it; for a while I led a fruitless campaign to get our family to move to a warmer climate.  So I'm viewing this all as my having moved to my own private tropics.

But yet, it is a dark time.  Warm, but dark.  My psychiatrist retired, the slacker, and I feel abandoned.  The Sober Husband and I are in marriage counseling, and it's been what Jane Austen might refer to as "a right old clusterfuck."  For example, yesterday our counselor suggested that since I am irked by the Sober Husband's ubiquitous complaining, I should try doing everything just the way he likes so that he will never need to complain.  I used about fifty swear words in my explanation of why that is never going to fucking happen.

I'm of a mind to call it a day and not return to pay for more of these gems of counseling, feeling I could get more from a vintage copy of "The Total Woman" (which I read in sneaky bursts while babysitting as a tween), but the Sober Husband is in strong disagreement.

After Robin Williams died, people thought for awhile about depression.  I saw so many Facebook statuses urging, "If you ever feel like that, call me!!!"  I rolled my eyes at each and every one of these.  The sad truth is that at this point, honestly I am not going to call anyone on a bad day.  Everyone is fucking sick of hearing about how I am depressed.  There is nothing more dreary than hearing about someone's depression, and anyone whose phone number I have has undoubtedly long ago had their share of hearing about mine.  Additionally, the last thing I want to hear is unsolicited advice from someone who has never attempted suicide and who is not a psychiatrist.  "Just look on the bright side" and "Why don't you just shake out of it?" and the like are not helpful in the least.  And, finally, if you really feel that bad, you don't feel up to talking on the phone.  You feel more like curling up in bed in silence.

In times like this, honestly it is literature that keeps me going.  If I were to die, there are so many books I wouldn't have read.  Lately, there have been some amazing books, gorgeous jewels of books that made me gasp and feel that it was worth it, dragging through life, if you at least get to now and then put up your feet, take off your shirt if you're 'pausing hard, and get drunk in words.

Recent books you should read, particularly if you have my flavor of depression:

California by Edan Lepucki:  A dark dystopic tale about life after our society collapses due to economic and environmental disasters.  Beautifully written, it raises so many questions about political activism, what life is like living off the grid, how to build a society, the use of a liberal arts education.  Absolutely brilliant.  When I finished it, I started it over from the beginning, just not wanting it to be done.

Station 11 by Emily St. John Mandel:  Another novel set in the near-future after society's collapse, this time due to a pandemic.  Mandel's book is so beautifully written, such luscious language and such an intricately linked plot, that I kept exclaiming out loud as I read it.  "This book is like a necklace," I informed the uninterested Lola.  "It's just so gorgeous, and it all ties together."

The Bend of The World by Jacob Bacharach:  Bacharach's protagonist is a rather aimless man with a meaningless job and a shallow relationship whose gay, drunken best friend is obsessed with arcane theories and conspiracies.   Extraordinarily witty and chock-full of silliness, but yet extremely moving and beautifully written, with an breathtakingly spare use of language at times.  I literally laughed out loud at one point and teared up at another, and there is not another book I can think of which has drawn both of these reactions from my black, shriveled soul.

Your Face In Mine by Jess Row:  A man sees someone he thinks he knows on the street, but this can't be his old friend.  This oddly familiar person is the wrong race.  A weirdly gripping intellectual exploration of the implications of racial reassignment surgery, pairing beautiful writing with original ideas.  I was so engaged by this book that I paid no attention to my surroundings and ended up with a rather wretched sunburn on my left thigh.  It seems appropriate that part of my skin changed color while I was reading this book, a little unintended homage to the power of Row's writing.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

becoming too special

My most majestic pet, the long-haired beauty, Frowst, requires daily doses of a morphine derivative due to hideous ulcers in his mouth.  The long-term plan is to extract more teeth (he's already had one oral surgery), but the medium-term plan is to keep him doped up on painkillers and hope he doesn't lose more weight.  (He gets special, appetite-tempting meals served to him, as well as a special medication aimed at increasing his appetite).

The Sober Husband is unsure about this.  "You are already his person; now you're becoming his pusher!  It's not going to be pretty"

Thursday, September 04, 2014

the Recent Unpleasantness

I have not been speaking much here, and it's been in large part due to what I have been referring to as the Recent Unpleasantness.

In early July, the Sober Husband was summarily fired on short notice from his beloved, high-paying job.  One week he was jetsetting around the world in business class, holding meetings, mentoring people, setting policies, etc.. and the next, he was at home looking as though he'd been struck with a poleax.  On the day he came home, jobless, I greeted him and said, "There's something I wanted to tell you."

"That you told me so?" said the Sober Husband, bracing himself.

"No, that I love you."  We made him a special dinner and tried to focus on the positive.

That didn't last long.  Soon we were squabbling over his plans to go, despite the Recent Unpleasantness, on a vacation with his mother in Martha's Vineyard.  My argument:  he should stay home to look for a job.  His argument:  he should go to Martha's Vineyard, and we could recoup the expenses by canceling my planned vacation to Burning Man.  "Oh, HELL NO" was the response from the beleaguered Drunken Housewife.

We had neither of us, the Sober Husband nor I, ever been without income or the prospect of income before.  True, I had been a starving student, but in those days I had odd jobs and the prospect of a golden future.  My being a stay-at-home mother had appeared to be a rational choice economically, albeit not always emotionally.  We'd never faced the abyss of joblessness and economic uncertainty.

A terrible period ensued of great stress and unhappiness.  Your humble correspondent spent a considerable amount of time curled up in bed, during daytime hours, softly weeping into the fur of a number of cats of various degrees of feralness.

To make things worse,  the Sober Husband had a painful surgery requiring a lengthy-ish convalescence.   I warned the children that it wasn't going to be pretty.  "Your father has one of the world's great immune systems; he never gets sick.  Plus, he's really graceful, so he doesn't hurt himself.  As a result, he freaks out whenever there's the slightest thing wrong with him.  He has no idea how to handle it.  Be ready."  This warning barely sufficed.  The normally James Bond-like Sober Husband became a tormented and high maintenance convalescent.

 A few days into the convalescence I had to leave to drive up to acquire Lola from her summer camp.  "I'm leaving you in charge," I said to Iris firmly.  She reported over the phone some difficulty in getting her father to take his medications.  He said to me indignantly, "She made me stick out my tongue to show that I swallowed it!"  "Nice work, Iris," I said proudly.

On top of this, our most majestic pet, Frowst, developed ulcers in his mouth.  Prescribed real morphine for his pain, he spends approximately 23 hours a day lying directly upon your Drunken Housewife.  When he is well, this magnificent longhaired cat spends his time surveying the neighborhood from atop a neighbor's roof or our fence.  When he's hurting, he requires being held like a baby.

But happily this season of suffering and uncertainty is drawing to a close.  Next week the Sober Husband begins a new job, an exciting and prestigious one.  Income will begin to flow again... and among the multitude of benefits which will start up I was happy to discover pet insurance!  Frowst can get the oral surgery he needs (I have booked him in to see a feline dental specialist).   We are happy that our summer of stress and worry is drawing to a close, and we feel for our friends who are unemployed who don't have a happy ending in sight.

Monday, July 07, 2014

fasting in the mountains

This year's family vacation at Camp Mather began oddly. I have been sick for eight months, with one trivial illness following upon another's footsteps. Obviously there is some underlying cause, something causing my immune system to have become as weak and wizened as Mr. Burns', but it could not be determined. Extensive bloodwork ruled out thyroid, liver, kidney, or other obvious enemies. A breath test ruled out an ulcer. The best ideas my medical provider could come up with were that I had a vitamin D deficiency (no doubt caused by my staying inside when I was sick) and crystals in my inner ears (it turns out that if you cause me to sit, roll, sit, like down, roll over like a trained dog, my eyes would shake uncontrollably, thus proving that something was definitely up with my inner ear).

On my own I ran across a recent study showing that a person's immune system could be rebooted by fasting. Evidently when the body is in ketosis (burning off pre-existing bits to keep running), the white blood cells are amongst the first to go. Then the body is signaled to make new, fresher ones. The articles I read differed between saying 2 days was sufficient, with others saying it must be a fast of 3 days. It was also argued that 4-7 days of starvation (450-750 calories) would have the same effect.

No time ever seems ripe for a 3 day fast, but I decided on the spur of the moment to try. I am terrified of going back to Burning Man with such a weak immune system, and I'm sick of being sick. Also, I gained back quite a lot of all the weight I'd heroically lost with huge exercise, and I am dying to become a gym rat again. All that I need is a halfway decent immune system once again.

On Day 1 I fasted. I did allow myself a cup of coffee with lowfat milk, a smidgeon of low fat milk, but nothing else. My rationale was that I didn't want to go through caffeine deprivation at the same time I was undergoing food deprivation. I got through the day just fine. The afternoon and early evening were spent at Iris uber Alles' graduation from the 8th grade, which featured each and every one of the 57 graduates giving two speeches: one on the subject of their choice and a shorter one about a classmate. Lola and I did well sitting through the 118 speeches (some were also given by school dignitaries), but when we emerged and saw the catered foods spread about, I weakened. I told the Sober Husband to stay as long as our admired graduate wished, but Lola and I were going home. “Lola has been so patient,” I said, but the reality was that I could not be by those tables of artfully displayed food. I knew from experience that those lavash rolls were not as flavorful as they looked, but what about the spring rolls? Best to flee.

Day one of fasting: complete, with the only rule-breaking a few tablespoons of low fat milk and a single breath mint (to encourage someone who shall remain nameless to take one, who really needed one).

Day two was rougher. It was the day for Lola and I to pack and depart for Camp Mather. Iris had an elegant graduation party to attend in Santa Cruz, at one of her classmates' second homes right on the beach, and I had promised her she did not have to miss this event.

The horrible reality dawned that each and every one of our family bikes was in a poor state. My brakes were sketchy. Iris's bike had a horrendous flat and needed a new tire, the previously applied patch having failed. Lola's bike was in the best shape but was clearly too small for her. Loving the bike dearly, Lola insisted it would be fine. The Sober Husband's was the next best off but not particularly fabulous.

“Why do we never look at the bikes until the last minute?” I complained. Next year I need to calendar  a Mending of the Bicycles Festival the week before. The Sober Husband was skeptical that any of these bikes would be roadworthy, and, as he kept mentioning, he had a coffee date with his friend J.

My fasting had taken a new turn.  Onay 1, I was peaceful and ambitious, dreaming of good health. Day 2, I was just as committed but crabby as all get out. “Call J. and tell him to come to the house, instead of meeting you for coffee,” I sternly commanded. “You guys can send Iris's bike up with me except for that wheel, and you can have today and tomorrow to get a new tire. Fix one of these bikes (with a sweeping gesture at mine and the Sober Husband's), and I will ride which ever one you can get ready.” This was delivered in a highly testy manner.

At some point I was speaking to the family members about what needed to be done, and the Sober Husband and Lola slowly backed away, down the hall and out the front door. I flew into a temper and chased them. “I do not care how crabby I am, you just cannot leave in the middle of a conversation without saying goodbye! Do you realize how awful that is! How rude that is!” The parrot screamed, “Goodbye! Goodbye!”

Eventually my darling Mini Cooper was packed, with two bicycles on the top and plenty of stuff on the inside. Lolz and I took off. I had asked Lola to find us a book on CD to listen to on our ride, amongst our many, and she had chosen one which turned out to be on tapes. “Lola, I SAID CD. My car can't play tapes.” Lola quailed. “It's okay, Lolz, it's okay,” I assured her. “We'll try some short stories.”

I had a book of Tom Perrotta short stories on CD in the car, and we tried one. It turned out to have a discussion of threesomes and some other sexual inappropriateness which caused me to hit the fast forward button. I felt irked. The stories I'd listened to earlier from this collection had largely been okay for Lola; they just had to be followed by a sexed up one. We did listen to one about an elderly woman whose whiny plastic surgeon son refuses to bring his kid, the woman's only grandchild, to visit around the holidays. It wasn't racy, but it failed to grip.  We gave up on Tom Perrotta. (In Perrotta's defense, a couple of those stories had been greatly appreciated when I was in different company, driving back from camping with my friend Michele).

Lolz and I made excellent time arriving at Camp Mather. Due to my fasting, we forewent our usual decadent Mexican lunch in Oakdale (the Mexican food of Oakdale is magnificent). We did stop for diet Red Bulls, as I found myself flagging and needed a pep-up. The study had said that “fluids of no nutritional value” were acceptable during fasting, and I thought a diet Red Bull should surely count as a “fluid of no nutritional value.”

In the afternoon Lola furtively ate Cheezits in the car. This was horrifically difficult for me. I craved those Cheezits so much.

Once at Camp Mather, we located our cabin. It was somewhat inauspiciously located, in a clump with other cabins, not near any of the roads. It would be tricky to get my Mini close enough to unload. I figured out the closest I could get it, and we gamely unloaded the car. Getting the bikes off the rack was harder. I had a milk crate to stand on, but even so it was agonizing to get them off. A kindly woman sensed my growing psychosis and brushed off my rejections of her help, insisting. We got Lola's bike off. Then the friendly woman's husband arrived and helped get my own bike off. Lolz and I were grateful, although I was well aware of the bad impression I was making: short-tempered and incompetent at removing my own bikes from my own car. 

 Trying to reverse the Mimi back out of the trees to park it for the week, with Lola stationed to watch for dangers, I ran into a rock. “Lola, you were supposed to be looking!” I snapped. The neighbors came out, as if to ensure I did not murder poor Lola. I steered the car as best as I could and got it safely parked with no further misadventures.

Lola and I set up our cabin and hung a hammock. It was time for dinner. I sent Lola ahead to the dining hall as I was still fasting, but then began to feel guilty. Poor Lola, going alone to eat. I came along behind, getting myself some plain green tea (no milk, no sugar, nothing). I found Lola in the end sitting with a couple we know from her school, whom Lola had informed of my fast. “So you're fasting!” they greeted me. “We're taking care of Lola.” I sipped my plain hot green tea while they ate garlic bread and pasta and salads and desserts.

I apologized to Lola for my crabbiness, and she was kind enough to be encouraging to me. We wound the evening down quietly reading.

Day III: I woke up in a state of altered consciousness. I felt vaguely saintly and above it all. Crabbiness from Day II was far below and behind me. I floated about in an aethereal state.

At breakfast I had no interest in eating. Lola had a full meal, while I sipped green tea. The couple we know stopped by. “Still dieting?” they asked. “Fasting,” I corrected, “and I'm in an altered state. It is like those people who fast for religious reasons. It's wonderful.”

They looked at me as though I were insane and excused themselves.

Despite my being on my 3d day without food, Lola and I did some manual labor around camp. Our picnic table was at a 45 degree angle and positioned right between three cabins. Lola discouraged trying it, but I was hellbent on carrying it around and up the hill to the side of our cabin, where it would be a bit more private and a bit more level. It was not easy, but we did it. “Amazon Lola!” I praised her. We set up our bug-repelling dining tent over the picnic table and arranged all our chairs. “We've got it all nice now, Lola,” I said happily, still in my lofty state of an elevated consciousness.

However around noon I snapped. I felt so delightfully above it all... but I was keenly aware of the box of Cheezits. I also felt weak. “Lola, bring me the Cheezits,” I said. “It's 11:58, can you wait two more minutes?” urged Lola.   If not for those Cheezits, I could have made it another day. I actually skipped a wine and cheese social at Camp Mather (and believe me, I am all about wine and cheese socials) due to my fast.

End result: 2 ½ days of fasting, followed by 24 hours of very light eating, then returning thereafter to regular eating whatever the hell presented itself which appeared edible.

It may be a placebo effect in part, but I feel so much better. The first day or two after my fasting, I felt good but weak, and now my energy is gradually returning.   Since then I've worked out a few times at the gym, decluttered my garage, and generally shown a much higher energy level.  I also resisted a cold the Sober Husband had and a virus one of the children had.  Fasting:  it's magic.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

competitive art

The Sober Husband recently pushed me into starting a Twitter account.  Iris uber Alles watched him and then elbowed him out of the way when he was choosing an avatar.  Insulting his choices, she said wearily, "Let me."  She turned the computer to display the results to me.  "Oooh!" I said happily.  "I love it!"

Thanks to Iris, I am a goat, and the top of my Twitter is a lovely picture of Coconut, our feral cat with whom the children and I are obsessed.  (Once when the Sober Husband was away on business, one of the children asked him, "Do you miss Coconut?"  When he said, "To be honest, I haven't thought about him", the children were appalled.  "We worship him," they hissed).

Lola did not take this lying down.  She devoted several hours to creating a piece of art "for your Twitter."

I find it hypnotic and more than slightly unsettling.  I have yet to unleash it upon Twitter, though.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

you can follow me on twitter

I am now tweeting as @drunkenhw now!  I promise to send out a tweet when I post anything here, but I will also be tweeting randomly and possibly drunkenly as well.

Friday, June 13, 2014

at play with the eight year-olds

I am very fond of a particular game, a form of Pictionary I play on my iPhone called "Drawsomething."   Fourteen year-old Iris uber Alles got tired of this game and stopped playing it over a year ago.  "Momdude, people don't play that any more."

"Sure they do.  I play it.  All these people I play with, play it."  

She sighed and rolled her eyes.  "No one plays it."

My opponents consist of eleven year-old Lola (who took a very lengthy break from the game but who returned to the game, thankfully), the Sober Husband once in a great while (he'll make a move in our ancient match whenever he feels like ingratiating himself with me), and a variety of strangers that the game pairs me up with.  I have crossed paths with some truly amazing artists, but judging by the quality of their artwork, most of my fellow players are small children.

"Look at this," I said to the children recently, showing them a rather arcane scribble.  "What do you think this is?"

The children made some insulting remarks, but as I pointed out, the player was "probably only eight years old."  How much detail and command of perspective could we expect? Gazing at the mysterious doodle,  I said, "You know how I started playing Warcraft again, after taking years off?  Well, I was playing my new character, and I didn't know how to play that character very well yet, and someone was insulting me.  So I wanted to make them feel bad, and I typed in, 'I'm only eight.'"

The children roared with laughter.  "You said you were 'only eight!'"  We all laughed until we started to cry, except for the Sober Husband, who clearly found all of this below his notice.

At the time we were staying in a cabin, rented through a resort management company but owned by an elderly couple with an unquenchable passion for nicknacks.  Ornaments covered every surface.  Iris accidentally knocked a decorative fish off a wall, and we could not figure out where it had come from.  It was fortunately undamaged, but still we couldn't cover up the mishap because we couldn't put it back in place.  The walls were still covered with plaques, pictures, and bric-a-brac, and there didn't seem to be a surplus nail or hook.  "We should leave it out with a note," I said.  All at the same time, Iris, Lola and I had the same thought:  we would use the eight year-old excuse.

"Iris has to write, 'I am very sorry.  I am only 8."

In the end, I think it was Lola, who can produce a childlike writing, who wrote, "My sister knocked a fish off the wall.  She is sorry.  She is only 8."  At least we resisted the impulse to describe Iris in this note as having special needs.

Friday, June 06, 2014

dog for a day

The night before last I had terrible insomnia, epic, unforgivable insomnia.  I took two Xanax (prescribed to me for exactly such occasions), but still I remained awake until after five A.M.  At 7:00 the Sober Husband shook me awake, after less than two hours sleep, so I could drive the children to school.

Zombielike I drove the children to their respective schools and returned home, to discover a request that I chauffeur a sick bird up to a wildlife rehab center in Marin.  I took a one hour nap, drank some coffee, showered, and asked if the bird still needed driving, hoping the problem had been solved so I could take another, longer nap.  But no, the bird still was in a pinch, so I got into the car and drove across the city to pick up the bird.  

Only a block from the bird I saw a small dog walking aimlessly in the road.  I pulled over and looked around.  There was no one in sight.  The dog had no collar.  I parked the car (with the sick bird in a box in the back) and spoke to the dog.  The dog cowered, as though expecting to be hit, but walked over to me.  I spoke to the dog, who began to wag her tail and look enthusiastic about our budding friendship.  I waited a few minutes and then ushered the dog into the back of my Mini Cooper.

Further down the street I saw a cocker spaniel roaming idly, unrestrained and without an escort.  My heart sank.  I slowed down, but the dog vanished.  I would have normally parked and investigated, but I figured that since I had not only a stray dog but a sick bird who needed veterinary attention, I had enough on my plate. 

The directions my GPS gave me were confusing, and I missed my turn and ended up on a weird, scary street where I saw not one but two small dogs without collars roaming idly.  "My God, how many dogs are there out here?" I thought.  One of these dogs was waddling very, very slowly down the middle of the street, and I had to slow down to nearly stopping to avoid running this dog down.  "Please, I don't need any more dogs, " I thought.  The dog I had taken already was climbing all over my car and poking its snout at the poor sick bird's box.  

A man was seated on the curb, contemplatively throwing crumbs at the two collarless little dogs.  I decided to think those were his dogs or, if not, that he was in charge of them.  I drove off.  It occurred to me that if I ever wanted a dog, I now knew where to go for an admirable selection.  An hour or so later, I reached the wildlife clinic.  I cracked all the windows for the sake of the dog, who amiably licked my face.  

"What do you have for us today?" asked the volunteer at the front desk, recognizing me.  "Sick bird," I said.  "But I found a stray dog too, when I was picking up this bird!"  

I offered the dog the chance to get out of the car, perchance to pee, but she resolutely curled up on the front seat, refusing to get out.  I wondered if she was afraid I'd ditch her.  I got back in the car.  The dog expressed a lot of happiness, and I began contemplating keeping her.  I started imagining all the fun we'd have, my dog and me.  Meanwhile she sometimes disrupted my driving by climbing up on me and licking my face, and she scratched the previous pristine upholstery of my front passenger seat, but still, I was enamored.

While I was driving I spoke on the phone to the Sober Husband on my handsfree cellphone.  "Better take the dog to the shelter," he said.  "I don't have time," I lamented.  Our Lola was reading at the culmination of her mystery writing class, and I needed to be there.  I decided to drive home, leave the dog in our minuscule backyard, and then drive to the school.  The Sober Husband advised that the dog would tear up our plants, but it was better than leaving the dog in the car unattended.  

I had a little trouble getting the leashless dog into the house, as clearly she wanted to explore the block.  Once we were in the home, we saw our tabby Henry, who took great offense and puffed up like a Halloween cat, hissing.  The dog whimpered, cowered, and lost control of her bladder.  I petted them both in turns, murmuring, "There, there."  The dog ate some cat food with great enthusiasm and seemed happy to go in the yard.  Henry, still angry, hissed at me even when the dog had been put out.  I cleaned up the pee.

At the reading, I explained to Lola that I was going to have to cut out early to go take a dog I'd found to the shelter.  She is used to hearing odd things from her mother and merely nodded.  Iris, who had been brought to the reading by her father, decided to go with me.  After Lola read two pieces aloud, Iris and I tiptoed out and raced home.  There the dog was thrilled to see us.  "I love her," proclaimed Iris.

We drove the dog to the city shelter, barely avoiding accidents on the way when the dog decided to show her love for me more boisterously (my absence having caused her loving heart to grow even fonder).

Once in the door one of the staff, who knows me well as a crazy cat lady, exclaimed, "Is that yours?"  "No, I just found her," I said.  The staff were all instantly enamored of the dog.  One half-seriously suggested to another that they should not enter the dog into the system but instead just take her home.  The dog was thrilled to get so much attention.  Everyone thanked me for taking the trouble to bring her in, rather than leaving her alone.

Back at home I cleaned up some vomit my dog-for-a-day had left me in my backseat.  Throwing this away I discovered a moribund mouse in the garage, probably attacked by a cat although with no visible wounds.  I made a little box for the mouse and determined to take it to the now-closed Wildcare (which cares for rodents as well as other animals) in the morning if it survived the night.  I put the mouse's box in a quiet spot in the dining room, away from the parrots and cats.  The Sober Husband then chose to stand next to the mouse's box and shout across the house to the children.  I looked at him irritably.  "I put the mouse there specifically because it is quiet, and you are standing there next to it shouting!"

"Your work is never done, is it?" he said. "It's like Mr. Incredible, when he says he has to keep saving the world, why doesn't it stay saved?"

The next day I felt depressed.  "I miss my dog," I kept saying.  "I had a dog for a day."  Perhaps I should drive back across town and find another one.

Monday, June 02, 2014


A lot of women have been sharing their stories of misogyny and gendered oppression in the wake of the Elliot Rodger murders.  Here's my top one:

Because when I was raped, my first husband forbade me to talk about it or use the word "rape" because it was too upsetting to him.  #yesallwomen

Friday, May 30, 2014

the bitch is back: an update

I've been considering shutting down this blog.  The primary reason is that it has been a chronicle of my raising two very eccentric children, and they have grown old enough not to want to be chronicled.  I avoid writing about the ever-amusing and interesting Iris uber Alles because, at age 14, she has become a highly private person.   However!  In discussions with Lola, she has explicitly given me permission to continue writing about her "so long as it's not embarrassing."  So we're a bit hamstrung here, but not entirely.

While I was on hiatus, a mother of one of Lola's friends invited me to get together, and it turned out that she was inspired to ask me for coffee because someone told her to read this blog, saying "Everyone reads The Drunken Housewife!"  As she read it, she recognized the details and realized that she knew the author.  Indeed, her child had spent the night at the Drunken Housewife's home (and emerged none the worse for wear).  Over coffee this woman said to me charmingly, "I knew I liked you before, but now I really like you!"  How embarrassing it was for me to then stammer, "I think I'm not writing it any more."

A few other people contacted me outside of the blog to ask me to keep writing.  So, I concluded, the blog may have seen its best days.  The bigger numbers, the being mentioned in the Wall St. Journal or other periodicals, may be past us.  But!  There are still people who want to read whatever embarrassing tripe I manage to occasionally spew out, and it's not as if I'm doing something so much better with my time.

What have I been up to, besides not blogging?  I have a new volunteer gig, working a shift a week at a wildlife rehab clinic.  That's invigorating as it's hard work in a good cause and gets me out of the house regularly.  I've been quilting again.   I'm attempting to buy a vintage trailer so I can stop sleeping in a tent at Burning Man and instead live in a tiny little bastion of retro cuteness.  I have an almost-tamed white kitten with blue eyes who needs a home very badly (a home with other cats, please, as she loves all other cats).  I've read some very good books and wasted a lot of time hate-reading PUA forums online.  I took a spur-of-the-moment road trip down to L.A. to help out my beloved commenter Hughman and his elderly beagle, Polly.   And again that brings me back to the fact that this blog has brought me real friends.  It's funny how I've inadvertently made enemies with this blog but in my everyday life, I'm more affected by the real friends who've met me through it.  It has enriched my life, although not financially (I did have a few ads here once upon a time but have not done anything to follow up on those).  So!  I'll keep it up, but with significantly fewer anecdotes of the children, sigh.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

I've been considering hanging it up

For a while I've been thinking that this blog has passed its sell-by date.  First, I'm more repressed.  Iris and Lola are old enough not to want to be written about, and therefore I no longer can report on their wacky ways freely.  I maneuver about this by often telling a story but not specifying which child it is about, but frankly I'm passing up on the best material out of not wanting to alienate them.  As one of them put it, "When I was little, I thought it was great that you were a blogger..."  Significant pause.

Secondly, you readers are more repressed (or not reading, sigh).  There used to be a lively give-and-take in the comments, with regular personalities become celebrities of this blog.  Now I rarely see a comment.  The stats show that people are still reading -- they just don't seem to have anything to say.  It makes me feel like this is a ghost town of a blog.

But then every now and then something happens that makes me feel appreciated and like this is worthwhile.  I have been occasionally recognized in public ("Hey!  Are you the Drunken Housewife?"), and yesterday a mom of one of Lola's friends invited me out for coffee.  Over our caffeinated drinks, she confided that a friend of hers had called her to discuss something she'd read on my blog.  My mom acquaintance didn't know about the blog, and her friend said, "Everyone knows the Drunken Housewife!"  My acquaintance looked up the blog and then realized, "I think I know this person!"  As I sipped my low-fat latte, she said, "I liked you before, but now I like you more.  I had no idea."

This kind of moment keeps me blogging in the half-assed way that you must have become accustomed to.  Is half an ass better than none?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

what is wrong with me? (other than my personality, sigh)

So!  I have been sick for over six months now, not with one thing, but with a series of things each following the other in lockstep.  Flus, colds, fevers, sinus infections, coughs, aches and pains...  The last few weeks have been marred by severe nausea, causing me to not work and to skip some social engagements I actually wanted to attend.

This week I developed a disturbing new symptom.  When I roll over at night in my sleep, I become so dizzy that the dizziness wakes me up and is painful.  During the worst episode of this, the room was spinning around me, exactly as if I'd gotten completely trashed and had what we called in college "the bedspins."  I had no alcohol in my system at all, though.  These episodes are completely miserable, and since my sleep is fragile due to severe insomnia, they are not easily overcome.

Meanwhile, my test results came back.  If you were to look at my blood alone, you would have to say, "Huh.  There is nothing wrong with this person."  No problems with the liver, thyroid, white blood cell levels, glycemic levels, cholesterol, etc..  My blood pressure is fine.  Evidently I have no ulcer, either.  Every hypothesis so far has been ruled out.

Friday, March 14, 2014

an idiot dreaming of the purple rain

Late at night recently Prince's people announced he was playing this weekend in the Bay Area.  Last weekend he did a couple of last minute shows in L.A., and presumably he felt like doing the same up in NoCal this weekend.  The tickets sold out within minutes, of course.

I figured that he was likely to add another show.  I looked at the calendar for the venue.  It was suspiciously empty for the next day.  Late last night I kept refreshing the calendar, and then the object of my desire appeared:  another Prince show the next night.  I felt ever so clever.  But the link to buy tickets didn't work.  I refreshed that many times.  Examining the site more closely, I found a link which said that the tickets for that show would go on sale at "12:00 pm Thurs 3/13."  Clearly that couldn't be noon on Thursday, because the show's existence wasn't announced until around 10:30 p.m. It must mean midnight on Thursday, I reasoned.  Everyone else went to bed.  I myself was exhausted but determined, having missed the amazingly wonderful shows Prince put on last year in San Francisco which everyone but me attended and bragged about on Facebook for weeks (I hate them all).  The Sober Husband unhelpfully joked, "Don't you know some poor person in Oakland who can go stand in line for you?"

"There is no line!  It's all online!" I snapped.  I took my laptop downstairs.  Around midnight I started trying to buy tickets.  Every few minutes I'd refresh the screen, but the tickets never went on sale.  Eventually I fell asleep.  In the morning I tried again, but it still wasn't working.  After I drove the children to school, I looked at the website again, and far from the tickets going on sale, the show had been taken off the listings.

"I lost a night's sleep for nothing," I told the Sober Husband over the phone.  "I am so stupid."

Thursday, March 13, 2014

oddly the same

Recently we were at a friend's home at the same time he was working on his application for disability benefits.  "I hate writing," he complained.  Additionally, he has limited use of his hands (the primary reason for needing disability), which made typing hard.  "Does anyone like writing?"

I couldn't resist.  I pulled up a chair and studied what he'd written.  "You need to really emphasize the pathetic parts," I said.  "You're leaving out so much.  And you've got to lead with the worst parts."  I sat down and rewrote the short essay, emphasizing the truly horrific facts in my friend's case.

On the way home, I noted to the Sober Husband, "It was just like applying to Lowell!"

San Francisco has one -- and only one-- academic magnet high school.  (There is also a magnet school for the arts).  Dreaming of a high-quality and free education, we had Iris uber Alles apply.  The process was not quite what we'd expected.  First, the application required a couple of essays -- and they were all explicitly aimed at establishing just how much Iris had suffered in life.  The application specified that essays should address issues the applicant had experienced such as homelessness, poverty, immigration, parents being jailed, etc..   Then later in the process, Iris was required to write an essay at her present school, while being proctored --- and once again the topic was what challenges she'd faced in life, aimed at drawing out stories of great socioeconomic suffering.

I think it's appropriate that kids who have had a rough start in life be given an advantage in getting into the special public school.  Bright kids who've faced so much adversity in life but managed to cope nonetheless deserve the very finest in life.  But yet it's sad that San Francisco has only the one magnet school for academic high-fliers and that the process is so one-note.   There seems to be something amiss if applying for an academic magnet school is eerily like applying for SSI.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

feline failures to perform

The last couple of nights my insomnia has been particularly intense.  Last night, as I lay awake in the wee ours of the night, I felt irritated that no cats were keeping me company.  Usually you can rely upon having one about, but lately, no.  "There are five cats in this house," I thought, "and where are they?"  None were pulling their weight, I felt.

At some point I padded quietly to the bathroom.  As I passed Iris's room, I heard the sound of multiple cats purring.  Evidently all five cats had chosen to spurn me for Iris.

It was hard not to take this personally.  "$#*@& ingrates," I thought.

Eventually I fell asleep, only to be awakened by the insistent attentions of Coconut, our largest and neediest cat.  Coconut pushed against me until I petted him, and he walked on me, crying.  It was hard to feel excited about this, though.  Coconut was clearly thinking of breakfast.  Affection was a means to an end.  I accepted it, though, reaching down to stroke his silky fur.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

medical hypotheses

I saw a new medical practitioner, who thinks that there is probably a combination of things going on with me, likely some but not all of the following:  (a) ulcer, (b) vitamin D deficiency, (c) diabetes, (d) anemia, and/or (e) thyroid problem.  Her top bets are an ulcer/vitamin D deficiency combo.  I'm skeptical about the vitamin D theory (I go into the light; I drink vitamin D enhanced milk in my coffee) but willing to swallow some supplements.

On Monday I'm having a large amount of blood drawn for labwork, but we did the ulcer test already (but the results won't be back from the lab for weeks).  I was fascinated to see that ulcer tests are done by breath nowadays.  Long, long ago in the eighties I was tested for an ulcer, and I had to drink a lot of barium and have a series of x-rays taken while I was cavorting about topless and embarrassed.  Nowadays there's still a drink involved, but it's relatively tasty.  "It tastes like Crystal-Lite.  Lemony," said the tech, and she was right.  Not at all like the thick, nasty barium solution which solidified in my gut and caused me to feel as though I'd swallowed a cannonball.

The entire ulcer test was charming, as opposed to its eighties forebear.  First I had to wait until a full hour had elapsed after the last thing had gone into my mouth (I'd had a glass of water upon arrival at the office, injudiciously as it turned out).  Then I took a deep breath, held it, popped the cap off a little mylar bag, and then thoroughly exhaled through a spout, filled the bag, and capped it.  Then the tech carefully watched me drink the faux Crystal-lite down through a special straw (I am not sure why the straw was important, but it was included in the lab kit, and the tech made a big point out of searching for it and having me use it).  Then after exactly fifteen minutes, I took another deep breath, held it for over four seconds, and then filled up another mylar bag.  So much nicer than the old barium days, which no one would have described as charming.

What would really be charming would be a functioning immune system.  While I was at the doctors, I also got a tetanus shot, which the tech tried to talk me out of on the grounds that it is risky to get vaccinated when one has a depressed immune system.  I took it anyhow, because I'm going through training offered only once a year for wildlife rehabilitation work, and I have to get a tetanus shot by the end of the month or I'll be dropped from the training and will have to wait a full year for another chance.  There's no reason to think waiting another couple of weeks is going to mean a drastic improvement in my health, so I ignored the well-meant advice and got the shot.

Today, the day after the shot, I dragged myself to my training despite feeling ill, and the class  was full of sick people who'd evidently done the same:  a room of coughing, sneezing, feverish looking animal lovers forcing themselves out of bed.  I looked about and thought, "Good luck getting healthy" about myself.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

six months sick

For over six months now, I've been sick.  Not with one ailment, one precise disease, but with a multitude of little ones, each one following on the previous one's heels.  Over that six months, I've felt almost healthy one or two days each month -- each time thinking, "Hey!  I feel almost all better!  Maybe I'll go to the gym tomorrow", only to wake up feeling sick the next day with something new.

Colds, flus, viruses, low grade fevers, aches and pains-- each illness seeming too unimportant for a doctor's visit, none seeming to require a prescription be written.  For the past three weeks, it's been consistent nausea, headaches, and weakness.

And... I'm gaining back weight, my once amazing gym-toned muscles are turning to flab, and I'm bored and boring.

Holed up at home, my existence is somewhat Proustian at the moment, but I don't have his admirable cork soundproofing.  Marcel vanquished the street noises of Paris, but I'm hearing San Francisco tear up the sidewalks in my neighborhood.

Meanwhile my doctor quit and moved away (this is my second good doctor to do this, following on the heels of my long-term, beloved dentist).  I'm trying a new medical professional out tomorrow, but it feels ridiculous to go to the doctor with such a nebulous sort of problems.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

humiliating wishes

Recently the Sober Husband asked me what I want (which he could give me, of course; if I could have anything, it might be an improved immune system, outlawing veal, ending testing on rats, a Chinese crested dog, or a houseboy).  Pondering this led to a conversation with Iris uber Alles.

"There are two things I want, but I'm too embarrassed to tell you.  It's really pretty humiliating.  You're going to make fun of me."

"Now you have to tell me!"

"You're going to say I'm too materialistic.  Well, the first one is a vintage trailer."

Contemptuously Iris spat out, "Everyone knows that!"  It's true that over the past few years, I've spent a lot of time looking at what I call "trailer porn", and I went so far as to leave a note on a beautiful little vintage Scamp begging the owners to call me if they ever want to sell it.

I carried on, but lost my courage.  "I can't say the other one.  I can't."

"There's been so much build-up, you have to say it!"

Finally, after some pressing, I admitted to wanting a browlift.  "My eyes are the main good thing about me."  I'd like to get rid of the bags under my eyes and tighten up my sagging brows.

Iris reacted with surprise.  "Honestly, I don't think you need one.  You're not aging badly like [name deleted] or other people your age."  

"But look."  I demonstrated how fabulous I'd look by pulling back my brow.  

"I'd get the trailer."

However, in the end what the Sober Husband probably has in mind is more along the lines of buying me a bag of jelly beans or taking me out to dinner.  While I'm dreaming, I should probably imagine myself post brow-lift, looking bright-eyed and merry in my darling vintage trailer.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

love, Sober Husband style

"I'm going to Texas," the Sober Husband, who travels a lot for work nowadays, informed me.  "On February 14th."

I looked at him.  "Do you know what day that is?" I asked sternly.

He gave me his best Bambi-caught-in-the-headlights look, with long, fluttering eyelashes over beseeching eyes.  I stared stonily.

Eventually a child broke the silence.  "It's Valentine's Day, duh!" said the child contemptuously to her father.

"And I guess we're not doing anything for it," I said.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

IMing with the Sober Husband

IM convo with husband:me: Are you there?

Sober Husband: Yup. Composing my reply to your reply.

me: about what?

Sober Husband: Nearing the airport now, home in maybe an hour.
...about the meaning of all that jargon in the Wikipedia entry on the Pauli principle.

me: i don't even remember this

Sober Husband: You wrote me 19 minutes ago. I'm replying.

me: ?? Did I get hacked?

Sober Husband: Oh, you're my wife.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Lolz has an idea

"If we get another kitten that's mutated, like Lobster [a foster kitten with deformed front feet]? We should name it 'Vodka Mutini."  - eleven year-old Lolz

Sunday, January 05, 2014

who knew?

The Sober Husband is en route to Bangalore on a lengthyish business trip, one which he dreaded due to jetlag reasons and which I dreaded because (a) I am lazy and don't want to have to do everything while he is gone and (b) once I went to India for about a month, and I considered myself lucky to get out.  I got gored on the arm by a street cow, and my ex had such violent dysentery that, already a skinny man, he lost about thirty pounds and resembled a Holocaust victim.  Also, I got weirdly attacked in a group groping in Varanasi, my ex got attacked by a cab driver, and we spent the last day of our trip holed up in our hotel reading an Ayn Rand novel (me, the faster reader, reading a section then tearing it out and handing it to him).

I famously vowed never to go to India again, and now my favorite husband has gone off there without me there to keep an eye on him.  The man has lots of urban street smarts, having grown up in a very rough neighborhood in Chicago, but no foreign street smarts, so I worry.  When we were in Palestine, we saw a riot forming, and he wanted to push our infant's stroller over to join it, quelled only by my hissing "Are you insane?"

While he's away, I consoled myself by eating all his Christmas candy.  Indeed I ate every palatable piece of candy in this house.  I had some pride, though.  As I was doing housework I discovered part of a sriracha-flavored candy cane lying discarded on the floor, and I chose not to eat this myself.  Instead I fed it to the parrot.

It turns out parrots are insane about sriracha candy canes.  Who knew?  The combination of sweet and spicy tickled the avian taste buds just right, and the parrot greedily crunched the candy cane, swivelling her eyes about in fear that someone might attempt to steal this delicious treat away.

Meanwhile the Sober Husband stumbled off his overnight flight in Singapore to discover a truly odd monument to Spongebob and Christmas.  Again, who knew?