black widow came rushing out. He called me out to look at it, and it was huge. Those things are so damn evil-looking. He finally sprayed it with some wasp spray, and it ran back into it’s hole and died (we assume). Yesterday, he called the pest control people and informed them that he’d found a black widow in the yard – which shouldn’t have happened if they’d sprayed back there like they were supposed to. I guess they’ll be back today or tomorrow to spray the back yard and garage. This is the third or fourth black widow we’ve found since we moved into the house two years ago. Which isn’t so bad until you realize that black widows lay something like 300 eggs at a time, and one of the black widows we found was in the garage, way too close to our door. Brrrrr. Just thinking about it makes me feel like they’re crawling all over me. Have I ever mentioned that Carol Channing just scares the fuck out of me? (holy crap, go check this out) Something about that rictus grin just gives me nightmares.]]>


I dropped the spud off at her friend’s house earlier, and then sat in front of the computer for hours and hours working on splitting my vacation pictures up into separate categories, then thumbnailing them, so anyone who wants to look at them isn’t forced to sit and wait for huge pictures to download. How good am I to my beloved readers? That’s how much I love you! So check out the pages listed below, if you’re interested. (Edited to add: Sorry, they’ve been removed.)



Teddy Bear Factory, where the spud made a Teddy Bear for herself, and Fred made one for me (which he named Bessie Bear (his nickname for me is Bessie, I think I’ve mentioned)), we were on our way. We got home sometime after 2:00 our time (there’s an hour time difference between us and G’burg, which may have screwed us up more than we realized) and dragged all our stuff inside, gave the cats some love, unpacked, and went swimming. I’m so so SO glad to be home. The house we stayed in had a weird musty, unused smell, which permeated our clothes and all our stuff. By comparison, home smells like, well, home. I’ll be hard at work tomorrow doing laundry, so I’ll have time to start getting some sort of page of my vacation pictures put up – and there are a LOT of pictures. I’m one picture-taking fool, let me tell you. My stomach muscles got a workout while we were on vacation, because Fred did all the driving on those narrow, scary, treacherous roads, and more often that not there would be, on my side of the road, a FUCKING scary drop of, oh, twenty million feet, and it always seemed – at least to me – that we were on the verge of plummeting over the side to our sure deaths. Therefore, every time I looked out my window, I’d gasp involuntarily, tense my stomach muscles – because that really helps stop a car from falling off the side of a mountain, dontcha know – and grab the dashboard. I just thank god I wasn’t driving. ]]>


Cherokee, NC yesterday afternoon, and visit Pigeon Forge today. After sitting around the house for a while, watching TV and just relaxing, we took off for Cherokee. To get to Cherokee, we had to drive through the Great Smokey Mountain National Park, which was just incredible. (I’ve decided I’m going to put my vacation pictures on another page, or create a slideshow, because I know not all of y’all are that interested in ten zillion pictures of mountains and streams.) The drive was 33 miles, but the roads over the mountains were twisty and turny, to say the least. At one point, we drove in a complete circle within about half a mile. Everywhere we looked, there were streams and little waterfalls. Gorgeous, I tell you. Cherokee itself was less than thrilling – we walked around and did some shopping, and picked up a t-shirt for the spud and bought more stuff I didn’t really need (which could be my motto: Robyn: Buying Stuff She Really Doesn’t Need). We spent half an hour or so there, before heading back. Oh, now that I think about it, something fairly embarrassing happened. We were in the first store we visited, looking around, and there were a large number of windchimes hanging from the ceiling. I was standing there looking up at them when they started chiming vigorously, from – I assumed – a gust of wind coming through the propped-open door. After about two minutes of chiming, I good-naturedly said "Okay, we get the point," as if talking to the wind, and smiled at Fred. He got a pissed look on his face and poked me in the side and said "Stop it!" Bewildered, I said "What??" He dragged me to another part of the store and hissed "She’s retarded!" I stared at him and said "Who?" He nodded at a girl standing over by where we’d just been, and I looked at him and looked at her, and said "So?" It turns out that she’d been moving the windchimes so they’d chime. Like I was supposed to know that, fer chrissake. Yes, I was embarrassed as hell, and yes Fred thinks it’s the funniest thing ever. Grrrr. It was almost 5:00 by the time we got back to Gatlinburg, so we went directly to Maxwell’s to eat. Fred found their website before we left, and it sounded like they had a pretty good menu, so we decided to eat there. It’s a steakhouse, first and foremost, so Fred ordered the prime rib. I, on the other hand, went against a strongly held belief ("Seafood is best when eaten in a town on the ocean – inland seafood isn’t as good") and ordered the seafood scampi. The spud ordered her usual chicken fingers. The salad was just the best salad I’ve ever had (except for the salad at East Side Marios), aided by the excellent homemade blue cheese dressing. They brought out small loaves of wheat bread, which was also pretty good. When the entrees arrived, however, I realized that "seafood scampi" was code for "seafood sauteed in butter, with an entire head of garlic". It was the blandest thing I’ve ever had, and I ended up grateful that I’d eaten my entire salad and some of the bread. On the way back to the house, we stopped and rented some incredibly crappy movies (FX2 and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer) from a little store on the way. For the rest of the evening, we watched movies; around 9, Fred and I went out to the hottub. The temperature was a painful 105, which wasn’t in the slightest bit comfortable to me. After floating around for about twenty minutes, we gave up and went inside and started our second movie. That Jennifer Love Hewitt, some actress, huh? Shortly before 11, I voted we go to bed, which was seconded by Fred. After drugging ourselves with Tylenol PM, we headed upstairs. Watching a scary movie before bed wasn’t a good idea, because Fred started getting paranoid that someone would break into the house, and his paranoia sparked some paranoia on my part. That didn’t last long, though, because the Tylenol PM knocked us both out pretty quickly. We all slept well last night, and I slept until after 7, when Fred – who had been up for a while – woke me up. The spud slept until after 8. We left for Pigeon Forge after 10, and visited some little shops. My favorite, far and away, was The Cat House, which had all sorts of cat paraphernalia. I could easily have spent two hundred bucks in there, but luckily (for Fred) I restrained myself. Fred was aching to visit some arcades, so we drove around looking for one. Since I have zero, zilch, nada interest in arcade-type stuff, he and the spud went in and I waited in the car with my book, the air conditioning on high. We stopped and ate seafood for lunch (no, I’ll never learn)(at least this time it was pretty good), made one more stop because Fred was thinking about buying a 7UP shirt (it’s the shirt the guy in the commercial wears, which says "Make 7" on the front, and "UP Yours" on the back), and I waited in the car again while he and the spud went down to a couple of shops (no, I know I’m no fun, but I don’t mind waiting in the car, so hush up). Now we’re back in the house for the evening. We’re going to order pizza and subs for dinner, and watch another two crappy movies (Child’s Play 2 and FX), and Fred and I will take our final dip in the hottub. I’m starting to like the house we’re staying in. I like that the entire bottom floor is taken up with the pool table, ping pong table, and bathroom, that the living room and kitchen are on another floor – along with a couple of bedrooms – and that the master bedrooms are upstairs. It’s a charming little house, despite the fake wood paneling and shag carpet. The hottub is outside, but instead of just walking outside to get to it, you have to go outside and around the house, taking a treacherous, slippery path to get there. The bathrooms are a tad creepy, because there are mirrors wherever you look, and god KNOWS I don’t care to look at myself in mirrors any more than I have to. There’s a cool hall of mirrors effect, though, because there are mirrors on two walls, and they reflect back and forth. I’ll have to remember to take a picture of that. Speaking of mirrors, I noticed yesterday that my hair just kind of fell apart after a while in the humidity. So I carefully blew it completely dry this morning, happy for once with the way it looked when I was finished. I sprayed a light layer of hairspray and skipped downstairs to present myself to Fred. He looked up from his bowl of cereal and said "Well, don’t you have the flyaway hair this morning!" The man is full of compliments, ain’t he? ]]>


view from deck There’s also a covered hot tub, which I’ll take a picture of at some point. After we got here, we unloaded the car, then laid about, gasping for air. At some point, Fred and the spud went out to the hot tub, and I laid on the couch watching TV and snoozing. We finally made dinner – steak on the grill, mmmmmm – and then sat around watching TV, talking, and looking at the view out the sliding glass doors. Fred and the spud went to the bottom floor and played pool and ping pong for an hour or so while I watched TV and read. Just like being at home. We sent the spud to bed around 11 last night, and headed upstairs ourselves at the same time. We laid in my bed and talked for a while, then Fred left for his own bed, and I rolled over prepared for a good night’s sleep. Which so didn’t happen. I tossed and turned all night, not sleeping worth a shit. I don’t know why – the bed was comfortable, I brought pillows from home, it was cool enough, I had my earplugs. Fred didn’t sleep well either, and neither did the spud. Fred finally got up and came into my room sometime after 6, and we talked about how tired we still were. Fred went to take his shower, and I tried to get more sleep, which didn’t happen. Finally, I gave up and got up to take my shower and get ready for the day. By the time I came downstairs, Fred and the spud had had their bowls of cereal and were watching TV. It was only shortly after 7, and since nothing in town opens until 9 or later, we sat around shooting the shit. It’s now 9:30, and Fred and the spud have gone into Gatlinburg for the morning. They’ve been gone 45 minutes, and Fred’s called 3 times already, necessitating my putting down the laptop and running for the phone each time. Grrrr. They’re going to visit the arcades and all the other places I have no interest in seeing, and I’m going to hang around the house, watching TV and reading Watermelon. I brought four books with me, just in case. I’d hate to run out of books! If I’m lucky, I might snooze. This afternoon, we’re going back into Gatlinburg to visit the museums and other places we all want to see. There’s a local channel which runs nothing but local commercials, and there’s a store called HHI in Pigeon Forge (just on the other side of Gatlinburg) which appears to sell each and every piece of crap ever invented. Naturally, Fred and I are dying to go there. If nothing else, there’s plenty of shopping in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. We plan to go to Cherokee, North Carolina tomorrow. Fred is all kinds of excited that there’s gambling there. He’s talking about dropping the spud and I off to go shopping, so he can go gamble for a few hours. I’m not sure if he’s serious; I suspect not. As I tell him, though, "It’s your money, babe. Lose it if you want." —–]]>


Crack always makes me want to speed! Is that a gun in your holster, or are you just happy to see me? So I’m doing laundry on Wednesday this week, since we’ll be in Gatlinburg over the weekend. I’m starting to get kind of excited about our vacation, though nowhere near as excited as Fred. It’s supposed to be rainy the whole time we’re there – which figures – but I don’t think we had planned to do many outdoor activities. There will be plenty of sitting in the hottub, though, lemme tell you. Fred was on the phone last week, and the call waiting clicked. He put the call on hold and picked it up. Suspiciously – because this was the very day I’d placed an order with Peapod and accidentally given them my real number (something of which I do not make a habit) – it was a telemarketer. "Hi, I’m with blah-blah-blah and we’re doing a survey on grocery store buying habits," he said. Fred smirked at me and said "Oh, we don’t eat." and clicked back over to his other call. The only way that would have been funnier is if we had a video phone.

I bet telemarketers have people say "No, I’m busy right now, but if you’ll give me your home phone number, I’ll call you back." ALL THE TIME. I first heard Seinfeld use it in his act sometime in the 80’s and someone presents it as a fresh new way to deal with telemarketers every few months or so. Personally, my favorite method of dealing with is to press the button on my "Easy Hang-up" box, and hang up the phone. What that does is play a VERY LOUD beep three times, and then a voice comes on and says "This phone number does not accept these kinds of calls. Please put this phone number on your "do not call" list." Y’all don’t email me and tell me telemarketers are people who have to pay their bills, too. I have zip, zero, zilch sympathy for them.



dream house. We’re completely, totally in love with this house, and with minor revisions we want to build this house someday. We went so far as to send in the $4 for the study plans, and when they came and we could look them over in more detail, we were just blown away. The master suite has a sitting area, 3-sided fireplace, wet bar, and tiled exercise area. It’s absolutely incredible, except for the fact that it’s designed with a stucco exterior, which if you know my husband – and big fan of bricks, he is – you’d know that stucco ain’t gonna fly. I went to Linens n Things this morning to buy for myself pillows like the ones Fred bought for himself Friday. I haven’t been in that store since last summer when my sister was visiting, and consequently I forgot how much I love it. I especially love the kitchen stuff – it’s so bright and shiny, and I’m desperate to take one of everything home with me. Oh, and the towels all look so pretty and comfortable, not to mention the walls and walls of comforters. I could live in that store, if not for the fact that it’s Fred’s money I’m spending these days. I can’t believe that I’m continuing to get up at 6 am, even though I could sleep in for half the morning. It’s kind of annoying, to tell the truth. Part of the problem, I’m sure, is that I go to bed when Fred goes to bed, so I’m in bed by 10 every night. A girl can only get so much sleep, and by the time Fred leaves in the morning, I’ve had pretty close to 8 hours. Damn, I just found out none of my "home" links at the bottom of the page work, at least not in May. Could y’all have mentioned that, maybe? Hmph. I’m scared to see how far back the mis-link goes. Probably to the beginning of the year. I can’t believe I’ve been doing this journalling thing for over 7 months now. I also can’t believe we’re almost 6 months into 2000. How’d that happen? So, we’re getting ready for the big family vacation, and Fred’s all kinds of excited. The spud and I went to Winn Dixie and stocked up on soda, and bought a few things for the trip. Tomorrow, we’ll hit Publix and buy the stuff I didn’t get today. Why didn’t I get them?, you ask. Because the spud was making the wheel on the shopping cart squeak as much as humanly possible, and I was afraid I would lose my mind and snatch her baldheaded if we didn’t go home right then. You’ll be relieved to know that she still has a full head of hair. For the time being, anyway. ]]>


NosyKitty(click on the image to see the full picture) After Wal-Mart, we came home, loaded the Jeep up with more boxes, and headed out again. This time, we dumped the boxes off at the dumpster behind the DI offices, calling on Fred to come give us a hand. That Jeep was jam-packed with boxes, lemmetellya, and there are still 3 or 4 boxes yet to be hauled away. When the boxes had been dumped, we went to the cat store to pet and covet all the cats. (This, by the way, is the same cat store where we got Tubby and the kitten (I almost typed "Tubby and the spud" there)) There were several kittens there, but none were particularly friendly. We spent ten or fifteen minutes in the "cat room" where they keep most of the adult cats, petting and talking to the various cats. Most of them were pretty friendly, but a black and white declawed female was after my heart, meowing almost constantly, rubbing on my legs, then jumping up on a cat tower so she could be face to face with me. This time, however, we left with only a bag full of cat toys. We waited until after we’d eaten lunch to get out the new cat toys, but once we did the kitten was thrilled to have new toys to lose under the couch. She was pretty much a blur for a while as she ran from one toy to another. CatInAction Finally, she settled down with the orange feather duster and took a breather. The other cats sat and watched her run back and forth like a dork, shaking their kitty heads in disgust. "She’s a CAT, not a DOG," they said to each other. "She’s not supposed to FETCH. What a disgrace to the feline species." FancyPants And then they laid back, kicked their hind legs in the air and licked their butts. kittyplaying
Okay, I guess this whole entry can’t be about the cats, so I’ll refer to the notes I jotted to myself this morning. Fred’s smooth ass. Cops. Rude bitch in Wal-Mart. Creepy guy in Wal-Mart. Well, doesn’t it sound like y’all are in for a treat! First off, I just have to say that my husband has the smoothest ass, ever. Ever. It’s as smooth as – nay, smoother than – a baby’s bottom. And how does he achieve this silky smoothness? Does he loofah twice a day and rub baby oil into his cheeks with a soft cotton cloth? Nope. Does he use special, extra-softening body wash in the shower, perhaps? Use an exfoliating rub? No and no. He does nothing. Nothing, and his ass skin is soft, smooth, and a pleasure to touch. The bastard. Should any of you have the opportunity to touch his ass, I highly recommend it. Saturday evening, Fred and I were watching Cops. They were undercover – I don’t recall the city – and a guy approached the undercover cop and asked if he wanted crack. The cop indicated that he did, and the guy, before getting in the cop’s truck, said "Are you a cop or affiliated with any law enforcement agency?" "No," the cop said. Let me repeat that: "No," the cop said. Fred and I have a long-running dispute over whether or not undercover cops have to admit to being cops when asked directly. He swears up and down that they have to tell the truth, whereas I think that’s idiotic. Why should they have to admit to being cops? He says it’s entrapment if they lie, but I don’t see how that could be. Our argument got so heated that Fred called his mother once, who lives next door to a former Chief of Police. She went next door and asked him, and he told her that yes, they have to admit to being cops. I just don’t buy it! Why should they have to blow their cover like that? Anyone out there know for sure? Let me know. There was this incredibly rude bitch in Wal-Mart this morning who was taking up the whole makeup aisle with her freakin’ cart. She turned around and looked at me as I approached, then turned back to her perusal of the Cover Girl liquid makeup. There was no way I could get around this woman, and I waited patiently for a moment, then loudly said "EXCUSE ME!" Without looking at me, she reached out and moved her cart one-tenth of an inch toward her side of the aisle. I waited a moment more, trying to decide if I should just ram her cart out of the way, then sighed loudly and turned my cart around and went back the way I came. When I came down the next aisle, who do you suppose was just coming up? That’s right, Rude Bitch. I glared at her and muttered "Oh, need to take up every aisle in the fucking store, do we?" Okay, so I muttered it under my breath so she couldn’t hear it, but I said it. Recounting the Rude Bitch story from this morning reminds me of the time the spud and I were at FoodWorld, and the woman moseying along in front of us came to a dead stop. Again, in the center of the aisle so no one could get around her. What the hell is up with that? When I am shopping, I make a point of keeping my ass and my cart out of peoples’ way. Anyway, when the woman in FoodWorld came to a halt and stared down at her list, I rolled my eyes. Said the spud, as loud as humanly possible – which is her way – "HOW COME YOU ROLLED YOUR EYES?" I blushed and hissed "Shhht uppp!" at her, but the woman did move out of my way. When we were checking out – I guess I should say I was checking out, since the spud had gone with her 2 remaining quarters to the machines – I realized, as I was merrily punching in my PIN (****, for those keeping track at home)(ha! I slay me!) while making no effort to cover the keypad as I should have, that there was a fairly creepy-looking guy staring in my direction. I whipped my head around, and he all obviously shifted his gaze to the floor, making it apparent that he’d been watching me. Immediately I became paranoid, believing that he was planning to follow me out to the parking lot and either snatch my purse or hold me up at gunpoint. While standing there, I kept glancing at him, giving him the gimlet-eyed "I see you looking at me, and I know what you’re planning, motherfucker" glare. He looked at me twice more before he finally scurried off to find another hapless victim. The moral of the story is, don’t even think about fucking with me, or I’ll give you a really mean look.]]>


Oh, beloved kitty toes. How I love to rub the soft, fuzzy fur between the kitty toes until Miz Pooh flails about, eyes closed as she purrs ecstatically… So, because we’re, y’know, a tad odd (for crying out loud, this journal entry opened with a paean to kitty toes – can you get any odder?) whenever Fred’s checking account gets lower than we’d like and the other one suggests a way to spend even more money, the non-suggester sings "We cain’t affoooooooord it, we onna we’fare!" (think Eddie Murphy’s Raw). After hearing this many, many times, the spud asked what welfare was. "It’s when the government helps you out, when you need money," we said, simplifying while trying to get across the basic idea. Naturally, because she’s the spud and it’s her way, she immediately became obsessed with it. Thursday night, we had barbecue for dinner, and Fred was scrounging for cash so he wouldn’t have to cross a really busy street to go to the ATM. He ended up borrowing money from her, and she went with him to get dinner, and all the way there and all the way back, she questioned him, under the impression that he was borrowing money from her because he was out of money. He tried to explain that he had plenty of money in the bank, but didn’t have enough cash on him, but it just wasn’t sinking in. So when he got his bonus check yesterday, he cashed it at the bank before coming home. Then he sat her down and explained that he got a check from the company for his bonus, took it to the bank to get cash, and then he was going to go to the bank again today (which he didn’t, but that’s another story) and put it in the bank. "I’m going to give them ALL this money, and all they’ll give me is a piece of paper," he explained, then went on to talk about how one bank sends money to the other bank when they receive a check someone has written, and so on and so forth. I’m not sure she understood. Hell, I’m not sure I understand how it works, and I worked at a bank for a year. Yesterday, I sneezed twenty-three times in a row. Fucking allergies. Anyway, after explaining the difference between cash and money last night, Fred took the spud to the bed store and showed her the power of cash. He picked out a bed and mattress, then offered the guy a flat amount of cash, plus another $30 if they’d bring the old bed and the dresser downstairs when they delivered the bed and mattress. The guy took it, saving Fred something like $300 in taxes, which he turned around and spent on bedding and DVDs. They delivered the bed sometime after 8:00 last night, and it’s so nice I’m kind of jealous. Made of mahogany, Fred tells me. Fred's new bed The bed is nice, but what I’m most jealous about is those new pillows. The pillows on my bed were something like $5 each at WalMart, so naturally they’ve gone all flat and I have to fold them over to be at a comfortable height. Oh, and because I can’t POSSIBLY write an entry without including a picture of the kitten, here’s one I took last night while the guys were delivering the bed. Freaky Kitty She was freaking out in a big way because her two instincts were at war with each other. On the one hand, she’s the nosiest kitty in the world, and on the other, she’s scared of strangers. She was pacing back and forth on my desk, peering around the corner at them, and when she heard them coming downstairs she would get on her pillow and flatten herself out, with her ears laid back. It’s the same thing she does when the cleaning lady is here. Maybe she thinks she’s protecting me. And because this was just too cute, here she is snuggled in our downstairs closet. I noticed the door was open and went to shut it, then (thankfully) thought to check and make sure no one was in it. There she was, snuggled up in a pile of coats. Look, I was napping... Notice the evil glowing eyes. So after I nagged him a tad this morning, Fred hung up a couple of the pictures I had framed for him. The Forrest Gump poster went in the library, and almost immediately the library looked cozier. I don’t know why that is, but it makes a huge difference. What with all the changes we’re making, I may have to re-take some of the virtual tour pictures pretty soon. Our lilies in the front yard have finally started blooming. They’re so gorgeous I want to cut them and bring them inside and put them in a vase, but if I do that, there will be nothing in the ring around our trees but some dead flowers and green stalks where the lilies were. Lilies I’m sorry I’m suddenly including so many pictures with my entries, y’all. Once I figure out how to do the thing where you click on a small piece of a picture to see the whole thing, I’ll start doing that. And those of you who hate the kitty pics (are there such people in this world?!) can just skip ’em. Fair enough?]]>