Friday, August 31, 2012

There's a hole in my bucket...

It is actually in a pipe, a big scary, old, metal one in the basement.  It is particularly sinister looking, due to the layers of old gunk and peeling paint.  I just happened to notice the little dribble of water, thank goodness, before it turned into some monster leak, like the one that gutted the bathroom and kitchen last year.


This is not going to be an inexpensive fix, I can tell right now.

It just looks like something that will cost a lot, based on the level of grossness of the pipe, and the fact that it is lurking behind the ancient concrete utility sink.

I am sure there was a point when it seemed like a grand idea to make a utility sink out of concrete, run a big important water source behind it, and mount it on a concrete base that is waist high, but in modern times it is a very bad and expensive looking idea, not a good one at all.

Naturally the pipe had to burst on the Friday afternoon, before a holiday.  We have literally had scores of these types of problems over the years and each time they happen on or right before a holiday.

I blame myself for fixing up the kid's rooms last week.  It is impossible for  me to spend money on non-emergency things without an expensive emergency following close behind.

I should really know better by now. 

To add insult to injury I was given a new schedule at work, which begins inconveniently next week, when a plumber might be free to come fix this problem.  I will be working three ten hour days, with no flexibility, so it really makes home repairs nice and extra stressful.

I was already pretty perplexed and stress out about dropping off and picking up my kids from school, but I would say that my stress level is now at 11.

One more thing and I am checking myself into that home for the very, very nervous.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

We bought Freyja a new bed.  It is a very fancy iron/brass affair that should last her until she is big enough to buy her own bed.

We bought it from Mark's boss, who is turning her grown up daughter's room into a study.

It came with a mattress more fancy and luxurious  than any mattress I have ever owned.

It is very thick and lush and tall.  It is a tall bed, and looks Alice and Wonderlandish in Freyja's attic room with it's sloped ceilings and funny angles. The boss threw in a very fancy Battenburg cutwork bedskirt  which thrilled me to my very core, as I am that big a fan of Battenburg lace. 

We moved Freyja's old bed into Maxwell's room, which is a slightly less sloped ceiling attic space.  Her mattress was quite nice, so now he has a quite nice mattress too, sitting upon a lovely pine futon frame I bought for Rolf''s daughter in 1992.

I am as mad for solid pine furniture as I am for Battenburg lace. 

He had been sleeping on a double bed that Mark had when we got married, since moved into his own digs at age two.

It was a fine bed and a fine arrangement for a long time, as it allowed us to have a guest bed, but lately Maxwell has become a giant and with all his giant stuff around needed more space. 

His room with the narrower bed, seems much more spacious and nice.  I bought some new sheets with a fun vintage stripe and I think the whole thing is a vast improvement. It took about three solid hours or my sorting and vacuuming but the whole room is outstanding now.  I removed three bags of recycling (he is more writerly than his mother!) and two hefty bags of Goodwill stuff.

Best of all was when my friend Rachael came over this morning at 10:30 on the dot and picked up the full mattress, box spring and frame and whisked it away for her niece to use.  It was a good bed and deserved a good home.

Rachael is the kind of person I admire.  The type that shows up with rope, and knows how to tie a decent knot.  The fact that she speaks three languages, parents two children like a pro, looks beautiful and dangerous all at the same time and teaches college, really pales in comparison to that roping of a box spring to the roof of her car.

I was in shock that the bed was so easily and painlessly dispatched.  I always expect thing to be difficult and harrowing.  This was a breeze.

I was so emboldened by the bed that I made my way to Ikea this afternoon to find a storage unit for Maxwell's Legos and action figures.

For me, hell looks a great deal like an Ikea store.  The rat maze like layout gives me an instant anxiety attack and the lack of sales people creeps me out.  Oh, there are people who work there bustling around like flies, but if you ask for assistance you are treated like a leper.  It is as if they have been specifically forbidden from being helpful.
No matter what they ask, withhold information and be as dismissive and vague as possible!

In the end we paid a kings ransom for a white thing, to put shit in and I was just happy to out of there in one piece. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I'm reading the latest Annie Lamont book.

Not the spiritual one, I hated that one.

This is the one about her experience as a grandmother.

At first I was annoyed.  It was too precious.  I also find her descriptions of the people around her borderline racist.  She calls her daughter in law Hispanic, repeatedly,  in a creepy old fashioned, you should know better, way.

Mark bought me Operating instructions when Maxwell was a baby and I found it a decent look at motherhood, but her issues with her weight got on my nerves.

She talks about being in recovery from both alcoholism and bulimia, but the constant whine about weight and body image issues feels like an active problem and a bit anti-feminist to me.  You are in your 50's time to get over the fact that you aren't as pretty as you once were. 

I guess I opened this book looking for a fight and I would say I found it, sort of.  I mean clearly she is milking her schtick; body image and being a goofy, quirky but for the grace of god, kind of one day at a timer, is clearly her thing, but come on, doesn't god want you to evolve, be self directed, get your shit together after a while? I am so not a fan of 12 steppers and new age folks.  Not even a tiny bit.  Get it together and be strong, that is my advice. 

I do like a lot of what she says about loving her son.
That part I like, I get that part.
I also like her loyalty toward her friends.

She seems to have a lot of support, which I think comes from being a good person.

Having good friends is a by-product of being a good friend.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I had to do two things that make me nervous on Saturday.
I had to give a little speech for work.  I talk to people for work all the time, yak, yak, yak, that is %90 of what I do, but standing in front of a crowd of people and talking still makes me nervous as hell.   We also had to jump in and do a little skit (don't ask me why at 44 I do work that requires me to do skits, I can't really come up with a clear answer.) on the fly, sans rehearsal and I think I did great.
For a nervous person, that hates being in front of people I did great.
So there.
If the public speaking wasn't enough to jangle my nerves, I had to attend a party with Mark.
Boy do I hate parties, and this was a doozie.
It was at a bar!
If there is one thing I hate more than a party, it's going to a bar.
The only saving grace was a fellow way dorkier than me.
A boyfriend of one of the inner circle people, that I had never laid eyes on before.
It turns out he had been dating this woman for 10 years, but like me hates parties and bars and rarely goes out.  We chatted for most of the time we were there and I was delighted to learn that in addition to hating parties, he loved John Prine, Quadrophenia and that he was a closet Jimmy Buffet fan. Outstanding.
We had a gay old time talking about music and our mutual hatred of social situations, it was not a terrible evening after all.
On Friday we went to see The Campaign, with Maxwell.
I had promised  to take him, even though it was an R rated movie full of grossly inappropriate things.
It was very funny.  Most of the raunchy humor was over the top, Zach Galifianakis was just hilarious, he sort of overshadows Will Farrell in this movie.  Will Farrell's character had all the raunch, Zach was just really funny.  We had a nice evening, with just Max, Freyja was out of town visiting Mark's father and his partner. 
We had dinner at the much lauded Lardo.  
The food was fine enough, but the music was way too loud.
Not just I am a middle aged woman, who is no longer hip-  freakishly loud.

So loud you had to shout at your dinning companion.

Too damn loud. 

I asked the waitress to turn it down, which she did a tiny bit, but it remained painfully loud.

I like loud music, but not when I am trying to eat dinner. I wasn't pretending to be at a rock concert.  It was too loud. 
It annoyed me. 
A lot.
They also topped off my margarita with mineral water.
Margarita's don't have mineral water in them.  The result was a very watery cocktail that cost $8 and a pissed off patron. 
I doubt we will go back any time soon. 
I am just not cool enough, I suppose.

Friday, August 17, 2012

formal schwormal

So many things are a matter of taste and perception.

For the past few weeks I have been caught unaware, surprised and often gobsmacked by people I thought I knew well. 

I tend to think the whole world should share my sensibilities, as I imagine most people do, so it always comes as a big shock to me when people view things dramatically differently than I do.

We have a friend that was recently diagnosed with cancer, which required a serious surgery.

I think I have shared before that if I am sick or in the hospital the last thing I want is a visitor.  Rolf went to visit this friend straight away and it was exactly normal for him.

I suppose if he is ever terribly sick, I should go visit him, rather than staying the hell away, which is what is my natural impulse.

I said "give my regards and tell our friend that he is in our thoughts.  Tell him we just went through something like this."
Rolf said "don't sensationalize things Heidi." which I thought was absurd.

I said "people don't like to feel alone, they want to feel that others can relate to their situation."

So there you have two dramatically different takes on privacy and decorum.

I had coffee with my old high school friend J. a few weeks ago.
He is nothing like I thought he was in high school.
As adult he is deep, introspective, spiritual, quirky, confident, lovely and bizarre.
In high school and even before in grade school I thought of him as quiet and conservative.

I thought he would become a person with low self esteem.

He did not. 

We have coffee every few months and the conversation almost always floats in the same direction after a little while.

We mull over the suicide of a mutual friend.

Sometimes we talk superficially about it, but more frequently we dissect the event of the week of his death.  We go over and over it like two detectives looking at a cold case file, even though we know the outcome will be the same.

Our friend will still be dead, and we will still be profoundly effected by it.

This time I had an interesting thing to add.  I had been contacted on Facebook by a sort of second string friend, that had spend time with our dead friend in the weeks leading up to his death.  I hadn't thought of him for years and years and years, because he was the sort of boy that didn't find me irresistible and I hate that type, then one day there he was on my computer screen, which reminded me that he gave me a ride home on a very cold February evening from the funeral of my dear, dear friend that was inexplicably  dead.

Not one bit of my demanding, exacting personality could explain it or make that suicide clear, which drives me crazy to this very day.  Suddenly there was this extra piece, a new layer- this old acquaintance appearing through Facebook to jog me memory and add a tiny bit of detail that I had stowed away or compartmentalized.

 We delved deeper into what might have led our dear gentle friend to act out so violently.

J and I talked about the gruesome details he knew and the ones I knew.  I tried to match up the clues and signs.

At one point I banged my fist on the table, which led J. to say "now that's the Heidi I know! You said you blamed all of Lake Oswego for his death!"

"You think I was wrong to feel that way?"  

I suppose I did say that a long time ago.  I suppose I knew what I meant at the time, but I will admit now that mental illness played a bigger role than I used to be willing to admit.  That and LSD.  I like to hold a grudge and J. likes to forgive.

He likes to be forgiving.

I like to be angry and outraged.

It felt a little shocking to be called out like that. I felt judged.  I felt betrayed that he didn't share my disdain for the people of the town we were both misfits in.  I wasn't brave enough to ask J. what he thought of me in high school.  He is a writer and might be too honest.  I only want to be thought of the way I thought of myself and if he didn't view me as some kind of sophisticated loner I might be terribly disappointed.

The third incident of me getting things entirely backward from how I thought they were happened when I was chatting on the phone with an old boyfriend that I am still very close with.  We were blabbing away getting caught up, when he veered off into telling me about a new lover, which generally feels fine, but there was something in his tone that made me wonder if I had somehow had his personality all wrong for the past twenty years.  He seemed to have transformed into someone so alien that I questioned whether it was possible that we could remain friends.  He was just going on and on about how this woman had transformed him, and that everyone he had ever loved in the past, had been false. I dated this man for years.  He asked me to marry him.  It felt like an intensely passive aggressive thing to say, but at the same time, if his feelings are sincere, then I suppose it's just the truth, but geesh. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Playing catch up with cake

My friend Leslie McCollum had a release party for her new book Preschool Gems last week and I made some cake for the party.  I couldn't commit to being at the reading.  I just can't face crowds in the heat, or downtown driving, but cake I can do. The party was at the sweet little Roadrunner cafe, run by a sweet little couple and their sweet little child.  I really like this family and hope the best for the cafe.  I arrived early, set out the cakes and hid in the kitchen slicing bread.  

When I was getting ready for the party, I started to step into the tub and discovered a tiny plastic horse.

Rolf was directing me "SMILE! You never smile!"

He called this a "half smile"

My natural state of nonsmilingness

Maxwell went to rock and roll camp last week.  Here he is with Freyja in the greenroom waiting to preform.

Playing bass on Led Zepelin's "rock and roll"

Freyja and cousins after the rock and roll performance. 

We finished off the week with a whirl wind trip north to attend the 50th anniversary party for my best childhood friend's parents.  Freyja and Aunt Karen.  Karen and I met when we were a little younger than Freyja is now. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I had to spend two hours in the dentist office today, replacing several old childhood fillings that were slowly falling apart.

I had put it off for quite a while, because my old fancy dentist was constantly pushing crowns.

Every crown I have ever gotten has been a real nightmare and felt uncomfortable for a year or more, so I wasn't keen to voluntarily have them done.

I am also not a big fan of grinding my teeth down stubs, so that they can be topped with something shiny and white.

I suppose I would feel differently if my front teeth were involved, but these are the four furthest back teeth and one side tooth, so I really don't mind a silver filling in the center.

My new, less fancy dentist was happy to replace the old filling with a new one, so I scheduled an appointment.

The new less fancy dentist is close to my house, very nice and lets me change my appointment to fit my schedule.  The old fancy dentist made me schedule a year in advance and there was not a snowball's change of changing, ever, for any reason.

It started to piss me off over the years, so I switched.

I am happy with everything about this new dentist, except for his weird assistants.

The hygienist is like a dog-show judge.   She looks you over from every side. Makes some notes, clicking her tongue from time to time.

She sort of circles your head checking out all the angles, then dives into your mouth without warning.

She pulls the tongue, your cheeks and she cleans the teeth in an unsystematic way that makes me nervous.  I am an excellent patient.

I like having my teeth cleaned.
I brush my teeth compulsively so there is never much to clean.
 I have a giant mouth, so there is no bother there.

I am in short, a hygienists dream.

I have been told as much by more than one hygienist over the years.

This gal acts as though I am an eighty year old man that has smoked five packs of Camel straights a day since childhood.  It bothers me when my stellar dental hygiene is not lauded and praised.

It bothers me when someone pulls my tongue out of my mouth and doesn't provide any feedback about what she is looking for and what she has observed.

The assistant that helped with today's procedure was really weird, not just poor bedside manner, a stone nutter.  While I was waiting for the doctor to show up, I was reading a magazine with cleansing recipes.  The assistant starts reading over my shoulder,

"Ewwww, I hate sauerkraut, it gives me really bad GAS!" 

What a way to make an entrance!

She went on to describe all of the foods in the entire world that give her gas, as well the duration and severity of the gas.

Now, I am not a prudish person, but I tend to be fairly conservative with PEOPLE I DON'T KNOW, not to mention I like to think of the people sticking their hands in my mouth as skilled professionals, people with tact and grace, not some chattery windbag with gas problems.

The chat didn't end when the doctor arrived. 

She went on and on, on a variety of subjects, like house-cats being dismembered by coyotes, the Street of Dreams custom houses, her Grammies deviled eggs (which also give her gas).

By the end I was beginning to wonder about the doctor's credentials, if he hires such freaky people. 

Now that I think of it, the receptionist is a little odd too.  She has that type of hair that has been dyed black too many times, like a teen age goth girl, or pre-divorce Pricilla Presley except she is in her 50's and wears scrubs.

My teeth falling apart despite my best efforts made me think of this