I can’t vote for The Donald based on his hairstyle alone. That swirling dervish that he has planted on his head reveals someone who is so delusional and so deeply in denial that I doubt he could govern himself in the bathroom. Yes, I know it’s whirling dervish, I’m trying my hand at a turn of phrase. And incorporating as many clichés as possible. But I forget myself — The Donald doesn’t have bodily functions, does he? Maybe that’s why shit is always coming out of his mouth. He’s been holding it in so long it had to come out somewhere.
My Fabulous New Steam Cleaner
I just got this new steam cleaner and it is the greatest thing ever. I’ve been steam cleaning everything – walls, ceilings, mirrors, windows, chandeliers, smelly kids, smelly pug.
I just can’t stop. If it doesn’t move, I’m blasting it with searing hot steam — hot enough to peel your skin off. If you’re looking for something that can clean your grout and clean your fingers of identifying marks, you need this. My fabu hubby pointed out that I’m also enjoying a lovely steam facial and strenuous uppper-body workout while I clean. I mistakenly thought that hubby could help out and get a steam facial, too, but he doesn’t want to deprive me of the rejuvenating, youth-promoting benefits I’ve been reaping. Thanks, honey! I hope I remember to wait until you’re actually out of your Zegna suit before I go at it with puffs of 212 degree scalding steam!
All was progressing smashingly well with my miracle steamer until I locked myself in the guest room. Somehow forgot that the guest room door lacks a door knob (and has since we moved in six+ years ago,ensuing in all sorts of hilarity and pathos). In my zeal to clean the door, I accidentally pushed it shut with the 150-pound steam cleaner.
Crikey! I did what anyone would do — jumped out the window and directly into the pricker bushes that the parvo puppies favored as their latrine. Wonderful!!! Now I can steam clean my socks (and feet). Quickly realized that since I live in Scarlem (the Harlem section of Scarsdale) I had exercised proper security and locked all exterior doors. So, I climbed back in the guest room window and watched Real Housewives until the kids’ babysitter arrived. And wondered why we didn’t convert the guest room closet into a wine cellar (closet).
startling discoveryInjured one of my fingers four months ago; only hurts when I use it, but it’s slightly swollen and aesthetically unsightly. I also have a significantly reduced range of motion – only a problem if I need to open something, tie a shoe, turn a key in an ignition. I was perfectly happy to ignore it, but then thought that it might get worse with age and if I’m lucky, I’ve got 25 years left and do I really…wait…WHAT?!?! If I’m lucky? Holy Crap! 25 years?! I’ve been telling everyone I’m middle aged but I AM NOT — I’m 2/3 aged. I am 2/3 aged. If I’m not careful, I will not be present for the important milestones in my children’s lives. Time to kick off a new health programme (I’ve been reading way too much Brit chick lit – why does “sod off you stupid cow!” sound so much better than “shut the f* up you f*ing b*tch!” when they kind of mean the same thing?) I’m switching to dark chocolate and red wine, immediately — never mind that it’s 10 am, it’s never too early to start a new programme…and anyway, procrastination is for procrastinators, like me. Wait…what?
Greece is the word
A week in Greece, touring ruins — old ruins, new ruins, feeling ruined in all sorts of ways. Old ruins like Delos, the Parthenon, Ancient Thera, the usual. New ruins like the hundreds, if not thousands, of abandoned construction sites. Despite the protests of the locals — “each year is better than the last,” the half-built buildings with rusted iron stabilizers sticking out, open bags of concrete and picked over shells of cranes that clearly hadn’t operated in at least 2-3 years, told a very different story. I was ruined because in between racing around ruins and running up and down hills (those Greeks know a thing or two about scenery and the drama of a mountain view) was spent trying not to (once again) rip my skin off. Though for some reason, this time around, scraping it off with a dagger or straight razor was not as appealing as burning it off with a blowtorch. Pointedly asked hubby when getting on the motorcycle “Where is that exhaust pipe that I’m not supposed to press my leg against?”
Spent my jet-lagged nights pondering the question of the ages: is it poison ivy or impetigo? Either way, it was (and still is) a lasting memento from the Super Spartan race on Staten Island — slogging through 8 miles of mud, crawling under barbed wire, climbing walls and plunging into a tunnel of run-off from the lovely, bucolic and oh-so-hygenic streets of SI. Unemployment has its benefits. I just don’t know what they are yet.
Serenaded into somnolence by the soothing sounds of bucolic Westchester — and the head-splitting grind of a 5600KW generator. This was day three post-Irene with no power so I was distracted only by the screeching of the gas-powered generators that lined my block and the screeching of my children who couldn’t understand why no power also meant no video games and no wifi. Time to go to school, innocent ones, so you can come back and explain this wifi nonsense to me in a few years. Also distracted by the irrepressible desire to hack the skin of my arms and legs off with a dull steak knife — yes, the adventure in fence installation resulted in my annual outbreak of poison ivy, which only a 5-day cycle of steroids can abate. So we packed up the family. Went to Hershey Park, where I didn’t sleep (thanks, steroids) and instead wandered the halls of the Hotel Hershey at 4 am, gunning for a fight (thanks again, steroids). I was ready to throw anyone down. But there wasn’t anyone else. So I went to the pool and scraped my limbs along the concrete. Oozing blisters evolved into gaping wounds. I felt better. Until I realized that after I invested in my fence installation equipment, I had saved a massive $5. Co-pay for steroid cycle: $15. Sh*t.
My resume fattens…as my wallet thins
Now that I’ve been laid off for a little over a month, I’ve found all sorts of new and exciting activities that I can add to my resume. Of course, most of these activities require a sizeable investment, but I see it as an investment in my future! Or some such drivel — these career/life coaches are rubbing off on me and not in a good way. Or maybe just rubbing me the wrong way. Whatevs, on with the new skills:
Cross-Country Fence Judge. In the biz, we refer to ourselves as XC Fence Judges, but I thought I’d spell it out for you civilians. I was a XC fence judge at the Horse Trials at Fitch’s Corner. You know you’re impressed. I judged fence #6. A giant carrot with a rabbit head sticking out. Those horse people are a wacky crowd, aren’t they? I wore a swanky, WASP-y straw hat while judging. Though the fact that my hair isn’t blonde, my ancestors didn’t come over on the Mayflower and my last name sounds suspiciously Eastern European kind of blew my cover.
On-camera talent. Yes, I emerged from behind the camera (where I really belong) and onto the set. While the cameras were rolling! More on that in a future post, but suffice it to say, I am meeting with my director later this week. Sounds important, doesnt’ it? Also sounds like my Botox has become a business expense. And that’s a very good thing.
Fence installer. Now that I can judge a fence, why not build one? It’s a learn-as-you-go type of thing. Fence should be completed by Christmas. One hopes. But it should increase our property value (fully fenced backyard!)
Failed foster parent of rescue dogs. Totally related to my sudden interest in fence installation. Thumper the Bumper was a great dog, until he decided that he was the alpha of the pack and we were all below him in the hierarchy. When he started stealing food from out of our mouths (yes, you read that right) we knew we were not the best foster home for him. The bumper was assigned a new Nurse Ratched-type of foster mom and we welcomed Jerrie/John/George into our home. For three hours. Who knew he was a flight risk? As soon as we got him into the house, he started jumping from table-top to table-top (yeah, you read that right, too) trying to leap out of the closed windows. Smart he was not. As soon as we took him outside to go to the bathroom, he was off like a shot and ran for five miles without looking back. He was found three days later. He, too, was assigned a new (better) foster home.
Artisanal Organic Farming By-Hand Bug Population Control. While installing my new fence with my handy-dandy new post driver (that’s the red thing in the photo), I became distracted by the war waging between my cucumbers and tomatoes. Cukes were wrapping their killer tendrils around my tomato plants and as I was sending them to their respective corners, I found what I thought was a little baby cuke — until I plucked it and it squished black-green goo all over me and I noticed it had about a hundred legs. Ewww! I threw it in the neighbor’s backyard. But I think there’s a future in my gross-out — slap artisanal, organic and by-hand in front of anything and everybody wants it!
Over the river and through the woods….
if only that’s the way our trips to grandmother’s house would go. But no, our most recent sojourn to Mimi’s place was a lot more like “over the Throg’s Neck and through the puke.” Allow me to explain.
On a sweltering summer day, I decided that it was high time for me, stay-at-home-mom that I have become, to take the kids to grandma’s house for a relaxing visit and swim in their pool. Ha! Loaded all three kids, all of the swimming and relaxing and distracting accoutrements each of them required and added the two dogs. Our own loving and beloved spaniel mix and our current foster puppy, who I am now convinced is not a Golden Lab and Beagle mix as we were told, but a Pit Bull-Jack Russell cross. He is very affectionate, but – well, yesterday I turned around and he was standing on top of the kitchen table. Anyway, said foster puppy was highly reluctant to enter the mini-van, so I added all sorts of toys, treats, bones, etc to entice him in. And yes, I did take water and food away from both dogs about an hour before we were scheduled to leave, to avoid any bodily function disasters. On the dogs’ part, anyway.
10 minutes into the trip and just as we entered the bumper-to-bumper traffic that precedes the Throg’s Neck Bridge, an unmistakable and overwhelming odor wafted through the van. Everyone under the age of 21 began screaming, crying and mock-retching while I exploded into an unprecedented (even for me) string of expletives. Everyone in that car can now make sailors blush on four different continents (not that they couldn’t before).
Pile of dog poop on the back seat, quickly followed by and even larger pile of dog puke. I jumped the curb, pulled onto the median and no, our 6 year-old Honday Odyssey mini-van is not 4-wheel drive, so I had no idea if we’d ever make it out again. I found some old newspapers and plastic bags and with 6 trial-size bottles of Purell, managed to clean up the worst of the mess. Got back in the van, fought our way off the median and into traffic. Every other driver was screaming at me and honking their horns, and I screamed back, until my youngest said “I know why they’re yelling at us! The back door is open!” Yeah, mom of the year drove over the Throg’s Neck with the rear hatch wide open. Luckily, no children, animals or prized possessions were lost, though their innocence certainly was.
Mouse update: dead and flattened mouse seen in location of release. Ironically, flattened mouse appeared to be running back in the direction of our home. Don’t tell me he didn’t know a good thing when he saw it!
There’s a mouse in the bathroom, what I’m-a gonna do?
Well, hysterical screaming is appropriate in any and all circumstances, but I did have a child in the house and was doing my best to not freak everyone else out. I was taking a shower when I noticed a thin strip of something hanging down from between the top of the glass and the railing that holds the glass in. Thinking it was like waterproof stripping or something, I moved in closer to see what my next home repair project would be. This is what I saw:
Clinging on for dear life — that mouse was shaking! As was I. Hubby wasn’t home, so I couldn’t run screaming to him, th0ugh I did leave a screaming message on his cell. I couldn’t figure out how I could handle our Chinese Dwarf Hamster (which is really just a tail-less field mouse) but get so creeped-out by this run-of-the-mill North American field mouse. He did see me naked and that is kind of gross — a peeping mouse — blech! And just when I had screwed up my courage to grab him by his disgusting pink tail — he pulled it in. So I put the cat in the bathroom and told her to be a cat.
So child and I fled the house, to the barn, where we are surrounded by all sorts of rodents and other creepy-crawly things. Hubby pulled the mouse out by its tail, with a pair of needle-nose pliers (or so he says — I know he used my tweezers). He released the small beast in the woods at the end of our block. I am wondering why we keep all these predators in our home if none of them will — predate?
beetles, gophers, powdery mildew and blossom rot
When I lived on E. 13th Street, I tried growing a container garden on my fire escape. This worked pretty well, except when I was watering and inadvertently watered the local drug dealers. I abandoned my horticultural explorations ’til we moved to the burbs.
Our first house had a postage-stamp sized yard, so there wasn’t room to grow more than a few blades of grass. That, and I was in an ongoing battle with the family of skunks that lived under our front door, so I didn’t have much time to devote to growing things. I don’t need to tell you about skunks during mating season. I wish I didn’t know about it.
When we moved to our second house, I started a vegetable garden. Organic, natch. So basically everything started growing, but was then chewed to bits by all sorts of creepy crawly things. So I bought ladybugs and lacewings in bulk. Let 1000 ladybugs loose in the backyard last year, but they seem to have a really strong preference for the indoors. Our house is infested with the adorable little things. In fact, I found one in my hair today, right after I took a shower — had no idea they were impervious to water. Good thing it’s hard to be creeped out by a ladybug — imagine if it was a slug — blegh! As for the lacewings — I think they were damned before they even got out of the box — haven’t seen hide nor hair of them since (not that they have hide nor hair). Next year, I’m going with praying mantis — just because they look so cool.
Two years ago, I discovered that one part of the garden was vulnerable to squash blossom rot, so I tried rotating my crops. Rot follows. Doesn’t have far to go, as the garden is only 25′ x 6′. Will stop planting squash.
Last year, I discovered organic pesticides. They don’t work. No matter, because the bugs are no longer an issue, the mammals are. And let me give you a run-down on all the pungently odiferous solutions I’ve tried: fermented salmon, fox urine, bat guano, garlic spray, homemade chili-cayenne and black pepper glaze and, in desperation, straight cayenne, directly onto the leaves. Noticed real bite marks in the leaves this spring — not bugs, but animals, stripping the leaves off everything. Apparently, the critters in Scarsdale NY prefer their produce properly spiced. Spinach, lettuce, beets, snow peas, string beans, sunflowers decimated. Fenced in entire garden, only to discover that I had fenced the evil creatures in, not out.
Entire family of bunnies living in my garden — they hopped out of their little rabbit hole to a veritable buffet. So freakin’ cute! Told my 5 year old that we may not have veggies, but I’m buying a gun and we’re gonna have rabbit stew. He didn’t like that too much.
Rabbits moved out, replaced by big, sleek, corpulent gophers. They eat everything, including flowers and trees. Anyone got a recipe for braised gopher?