Linens & Things, because I decided Fred needs a second set of sheets for his bed and I needed to look at the glass 9 x 13 pans, since one got broken yesterday (and as a side note, I’d redo my entire room in the white clouds on light-blue background motif, if given the chance). Oh yes, Robyn, good idea. And THEN I just HAD to stop by Wendy’s to pick up lunch (grilled chicken sandwich, side salad, large diet coke, for those of you keeping track at home), and THEN go to the bank on the way home. ‘Cause, y’know, banks aren’t BUSY or anything on the day before a holiday weekend. Goodness, no. By the time I got home, both my salad and sandwich were lukewarm, but my diet Coke was still ice-cold. And I did all that running around after spending 3 hours cleaning the house this morning. Which is an hour less than it took me last week. Go, me! So, I finished watching Hanging Up yesterday while Fred was on his exercise bike, and later as he was getting dinner ready, I groused “Meg Ryan goes out of her way to cut her hair in the least flattering hairstyles.” Not two hours later, I found that she and Dennis Quaid have split up! It’s like I did it myself, with the bitching about her hair. Dennis heard me and took a look and said to himself, “You know, that Bitchypoo is right…” Actually, according to TV Guide, Meg initiated the split, ’cause she’s getting it on with Russell Crowe. (I’d link to the article, but I can’t figure out the direct link) Also according to TV Guide (online, this is) 41% of Playboy fans would like to see Jenna do a pictorial, and 33% would like to see Colleen. Now, I subscribe to Playboy – why wasn’t I invited to vote? You know I want to see Rudy let it all hang out. Oh, yes. Speaking of Playboy, the most recent issue came in the mail today, with Darva Conger on the cover. This is the Darva who was so worried about her reputation, isn’t it? Well, she’s right smack-dab on the cover of Playboy with a blank lights-are-on-no-one’s-home look on her face. What a classy chick. And speaking of mail, I got a check in the mail today from Amazon, refunding the money for the auction I bid on in May. All I did was fill out their form about three weeks ago, and tah-dah! today in the mail, a check. They didn’t even ask for details, which makes me think perhaps I’m not the first one who had problems with that seller. I think it’s pretty cool that I didn’t have to jump through hoops. Have y’all heard the song “Steal my Sunshine” by Len? Well, go download it from Napster. I’ll wait. Now listen to it. Know who I thought sang the song the first time I heard it? Evan Dando and Julianna Hatfield. It sounds just like “It’s About Time”, at least it does in my memory. I’d better go listen to it to make sure… Hrm. Maybe it was “Drug Buddy” I’m thinking of. Anyway. Sounds just like them! Okay, I’ve yammered on long enough. Y’all have a good weekend, and a good 4th of July!]]>


Moe wig. Fred didn’t notice, or if he did he didn’t say anything – but unless my hair is “big” (in the Southern tradition), he tends not to notice it. I think part of the problem with my hair is that I had gotten used to seeing it a light red-brown color because it had faded a great deal since I’d had it colored last, and now it’s a dark medium brown. Speaking of the shower (in a roundabout way), I was in the shower this morning, and while I was on the final leg of the event (ie, rinsing), the kitten suddenly started meowing frantically. I turned and looked, and she was right outside the shower door, standing on her hind legs, peering up at me and trying to impart a message of some importance. I tried to speak reassuringly to her, but every time I said something, she howled even louder. When I turned off the shower and opened the door, she jumped up onto the shower seat and rubbed up against me, still meowing. I stepped out of the shower, she followed. I stood there drying off, she walked back and forth, meowing and rubbing up against me. When I got dressed, I picked her up and walked out to the computer room, and she let me hold her and pet her for about ten minutes, which she rarely does anymore. Finally, she jumped down and went about her business. I wonder what that was all about. We watched Survivor last night, of course. We weren’t surprised to see who won the Immunity Challenge – does it seem suspicious to anyone else that the teams are alternating winning the Immunity Challenges? Hard to believe that that’s just how the chips are happening to fall. Kelly‘s assuming she could kick Gervase‘s ass was a big tip-off to us who would actually win the challenge. (Fred pointed out that she’s a river guide, and what guides do is sit in the back of the boat and steer while everyone else paddles, but upon reading her profile, I see that she spent 21 days rowing a boat through the Grand Canyon, which sounds like a cool thing to do.) Is it just me, or do the cocky ones always lose? Speaking of which, did y’all see The Iron Chef New York on Sunday night? As soon as Bobby Flay said the obnoxious “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think I’d win!”, I knew he was going to lose. I mean, the Iron Chef ALWAYS wins, anyway, but I had thought that maybe Bobby would win this time, since the show was taking place in the US. The funniest part was when time was up and Bobby stood on his cutting board and threw his arms up like he was the champ, and the Iron Chef got all peeved. Well, pretended to get all peeved, anyway. That Bobby Flay sure is cute.]]>


Flawless was better than the entire rest of the movie combined. And Trick was pretty damn good, altogether. Neve Campbell’s brother, Christian, was the cutest damn thing I’ve ever seen. I told Fred that I want to adopt him and just look at him all day, he’s so adorable. Tori Spelling was pretty damn funny, too, and I’m no fan of hers. So I was sitting on the couch reading yesterday (I’m currently reading About a Boy, for those of you taking notes at home), and the annoying little voice in my head began suggesting that I go out back and water the catnip and morning glory plants back there, because lately if I don’t water them every day, they wilt horribly. Since I’m a big failure at ignoring that little voice, annoying as it is, I finally gave up on reading and went out back to do it’s bidding. Since it’s a pain to drag the hose over to the plants, water them, and wind the hose back up, I fill up a couple of gallon milk containers with water and water them that way. I had watered the morning glories and catnip plants, and was walking back toward the house, when I saw a morning glory plant growing in the middle of the gravel at one end of the pool. Deciding I’d be nice, since I had some extra water, I dumped water onto it. This big black ugly evil spider came running out because it thought something was caught in it’s web. It was a huge fucker, and as I looked closer, I saw the red hourglass. Black widow. Lovely. I ran inside the house and told Fred to come upstairs, which he did, and I grabbed the wasp and hornet spray, and led him out back. The black widow had gone back in hiding and wouldn’t come out, but we doused the entire area with bug spray, so we’re hoping it’s dead. Fred always says the first time he finds a black widow in the house is the last time, ’cause we’ll be moving immediately. The cats are acting freaky as all get-out, especially Spanky, who walks around staring at walls and howling all the live-long day. I’d blame it on a full moon, but according to the calendar, that’s a few weeks away. We got some thundershowers last night, so perhaps he’s still reacting to those. A tad slow, is our Spanky. Of course, since – I believe I’ve mentioned this – the entire world revolves around my menstrual cycle, he could be reacting to the hormones in the air. Fancypants spent all of last evening running around the living room and master bedroom, freaking out the other cats and just generally looking like a dork. Laura told Fred last week that her husband says she spends a week getting ready to have her period, a week actually having her period, and a week recovering. Sounds about right to me! ]]>


Whyyyyyyyyy? I don’t care for Pepsi, but if they came out with Pepsi with only one calorie, you can bet your bippies I’d be drinking it. And don’t try to tell me that Pepsi One tastes just like Pepsi. I can taste the nasty artificial sweetener taste, and can’t stand it. Though it’s been a while since I tried it, and maybe I should try it again. Beggars can’t be choosers, I suppose. So I’ve been drinking a lot of water, which means I have to get up 45,000 times a night to pee, and I don’t think I ever really wake up completely, just stumble to the bathroom while asleep, and stumble back to bed, probably still snoring all the while. I’m surprised I haven’t squished the kitten yet, since she likes to lay in the warm spot where I sleep while waiting for me to return from the bathroom. Holy god in heaven. Check this out. Last time I had my hair cut and colored, I made my next appointment, six weeks from then, and Beverly promised to call and remind me the day before. Well, this weekend I realized that this week would be 6 weeks, and I couldn’t remember if my appointment was on Tuesday or Wednesday, the problem being that if my appointment was on Tuesday, the hair place isn’t open on Monday, and therefore Beverly wouldn’t be calling me the day before. I know! Thrills and chills all the time in this journal! For some reason, I decided that my appointment was tomorrow, so I got up, did my exercise tape (which kicked my ass as usual) and took a shower. By the time I got out of the shower, it was 9:40, so I called to find out what time my appointment tomorrow was. I know y’all can see the next part coming. “I don’t see you for tomorrow… Oh, you’re down for 10:00 today!” the helpful lady who answered the phone told me. So I had ten minutes to get dressed and be out the door, which I did with time to spare, of course. Hell, it’s not like I wear makeup or anything… The irony, of course, is that I got there before Beverly and had to cool my heels for ten minutes. Mean, heartless kitty I’m not sure why, but the kitten appeared to be mad at me the other day, and despite my pleas for her to come lay on her pillow on my desk and let me rub her belly, she wanted nothing to do with me and instead curled up with the wires between my desk and the shelves holding my cpu, printer and scanner. Whatever she was mad about she got over fairly quickly, but I’m curious to know what made her hate me so. Last week, I made a small deposit – $20 – at the bank, to cover a small check I had written the day before. And, since things were going so well on the banking front, this is the time something had to get screwed up. When I checked my checking account online – a habit I suggest you all get into (checking your own accounts, that is, not mine) – I saw that not only had they credited my account with a 20 cent deposit instead of $20, but the check I’d made the deposit to cover had come through, and they paid it, but it also incurred a $25 NSF fee since I hadn’t had enough to cover it. I called and the customer service lady made a note in the computer, but it wasn’t until today that they credited the other $19.80 to my account. That’s a little ridiculous, don’t you think? 4 days to catch a mistake like that? Anyway, I called and they reversed the NSF fee out of my account. I guess that’s what I get for playing it so close with my checking account. I rented The Teena Brandon Story Friday, along with Flawless, Trick, and Mumford. Fred and I watched Mumford Saturday night, which we both liked more than we’d expected. Then, since the movies are due back Wednesday, I watched The Teena Brandon Story last night. It was interesting, if a little repetitive. They had a limited number of pictures and therefore had to keep showing the same ones over and over. The main reason I rented it was so that I could see what the real people looked and sounded like, as opposed to the Hollywood-ized version. It left me sad, but it’s such a sad story that I should have known it would leave me that way. I also watched most of Flawless, and while the Philip Seymour Hoffman (Fred referred to him as “Philip Michael Jackson Hoffman Seymour” last night) as drag queen gimmick was interesting, the movie was a waste of time. Unless, that is, there’s a super-duper extra-special twist ending in the last ten minutes, since I haven’t quite finished it, because Fred was haranguing me to come to bed. I returned Mumford and The Teena Brandon Story after I had my hair done today, and rented Hanging Up, Anna and the King, and The Talented Mr. Ripley. Luckily I have until Sunday to watch them, because I still have Trick to watch as well.]]>


kitten sits on the floor mat by the shower and watches me until I’m done and open the shower door, when she jumps into the shower and walks around licking up some tasty shower water (could I have said “shower” any more in that sentence?). Friday morning I hadn’t yet showered, and was waiting for the water to warm up, which she apparently didn’t realize, because she took a flying leap onto the shower seat, and sat there for ten seconds or so, trying to figure out why water was hitting her in the face before she freaked out and flew out of the shower and down the hall with her tail sticking straight up, like a kitty bat out of hell. Damn. I can’t believe it’s practically July. We had a nice sunny day Friday, and another Saturday, but three bright, sunny days in a row was apparently too much to ask for; it’s been overcast ever since. We’re growing catnip in a hanging planter in our backyard, and it’s growing very well and very quickly, so we harvested a few leaves Saturday. Spanky always eats his catnip immediately and goes trolling for more. The other boys take their time, sniffing and rubbing on the catnip before they eat it, especially Spot. The kitten, however, had no interest in the catnip, and just watched the other boys quickly get stoned, with a cartoon question mark hanging above her head. Spanky always gets really paranoid after eating catnip, whereas the other boys get relaxed and roll around on the floor a lot. Perhaps this is because Spanky is a spaz. I talked to the spud last night on the phone. It’s always difficult talking to her on the phone, because her answers always consist of “yes,” “no,” and “I don’t know,” so the conversation didn’t last long; just long enough to ascertain that she’s not being abused, she’s not dying of boredom (as if! she has Brian to play with, and I understand they were on about their fiftieth game of "go fish" last night), and she’s having a pretty good time. My god. This made me tear up. I’m having a klutzy day (I should find a graphic for that, with a foot in a cast); it’s not even noon, and so far I’ve walked into my cardboard Cartman poster, scraping some skin off my shin (ha! I’m a poet and didn’t knowit…), and hit the little toe of my left foot on the doorjamb (I screamed in pain, and all the kitties came running). Those fucking little toes are about useless, aren’t they? They never do anything but get kicked into the doorjamb. I wonder if my insurance would pay to have them removed. But then, knowing me, I’d just bang the nub where my little toe was into doorjambs and such. Because that’s the kind of klutz I am. ]]>


ideo killed the radio star as Video Kid the radio star. God help me, for some reason I’ve been laughing my ass off about that all morning. Speaking of this morning, today has been a double treat for me! That’s right, instead of just sitting around all day doing laundry, I also ran around cleaning the ENTIRE house! Lucky me, huh? I don’t remember if I mentioned it or not, but we canceled our cleaning service, because it went up $6 a week, which in itself isn’t a large amount of money, but it I did the math, and we were paying something like $300 a month to the cleaners, and since I’m not working, I just couldn’t justify something like that to either myself or Fred. Carolyn, the woman who was cleaning our house, took about an hour and a half to do the whole house, so I optimistically believed it would take me two hours or so. HA. I started at 8 this morning, and finished just before noon. Cleaning the house just kicked my ass all over the place. I was all kinds of hot and sweaty, and my face was a dark, dark red. I feel that I did a better job than Carolyn usually does, though, and I have a definite sense of accomplishment. I will be hurting bad tomorrow, though. After a quick dip in the pool, which was pure heaven, I showered and dressed and went to the movie store. And then, because I hadn’t had anything but three strawberries and a lot of water to eat all day, I swung by Burger King. Did you know that “A BK Broiler and a large Coke” apparently sounds just like “A BK Broiler Value Meal with a diet Coke” over the drive-up speaker? It must, ’cause that’s what I got. And the only reason I actually drank the diet Coke is because I was dying of thirst. In fact, it almost didn’t suck. Almost. So, the kitten is home. Fred picked her up on his way home from work yesterday, and when I picked her up out of the carrier box, she was doped to the gills. She stumbled around, weaving and squinting, and wouldn’t let me touch her on the head. The vet told Fred that there was a 50/50 chance the hairs would grow back, and if they did, there’s a place in Birmingham where they’ll remove them permanently. I wonder if I could get them to shape my brows while they’re at it… She’s been fine today, if a little clingy. I guess I didn’t need to worry about her hating me – she loves me twice as much today as she did yesterday, it appears. She won’t let me out of her sight, and follows me around, chirruping and rubbing against my legs. Which reminds me of a cute story about her (keep your groans to yourself, people). There’s a little yellow stuffed chick which usually sit on top of my monitor. Monday or Tuesday, as she was sniffing around my desk, the kitten reached up and smacked it with her paw, which made it fall backwards off my monitor and behind my desk. The kitten decided the chick was running and hiding from her, so she excitedly jumped down, ran around behind the desk, and dragged it out. Then she proceeded to carry by the butt across the room, stopping now and then to beat it up a little. The kitten and her chick She loves it when you pick it up and toss it across the room for her – she’ll go get it, and carry it back and drop it at your feet. It’s adorable. Now I’m off to try to grab a nap before Fred gets home. Y’all have a good weekend! ]]>


the kitten (I don’t know why I insist on calling her “the kitten”, she’s 10 months old now) was walking around with her left eye completely closed. I called and made an appointment to take her to the vet, and all yesterday afternoon and last night, she didn’t play much, preferring to lay on me and sleep. This morning, her eye was open more, but she was still squinting, making like Popeye. The appointment was at 10 this morning, and just like last time, the problem was that she had eyelashes growing in such a way that they were poking her in the eye all the time. The vet managed to pluck all the offending lashes from the inside of one eyelid, but when it got to the other eye, she started fighting, and they couldn’t get her to hold still. I had to leave her, so they could sedate her and do the plucking. This did not make me happy, ’cause you KNOW she’s going to remember who dropped her off at The Place Where They Stick Things Up My Butt and Hurt Me. Hopefully she has a short memory, though, and will only associate Fred with that place, since he’ll be picking her up on his way home. I can only hope. So, Fred hasn’t had any processed sugar in something like three or four weeks. He’s diabetic – I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned that – and he was watching TV one night, and they showed an older black man on one of those reality shows about paramedics or emergency room doctors. The man was diabetic, and they showed his foot, which had toes which were all black and rotting off, and they were going to have to amputate. That was all Fred needed to see, and no sugar has passed his lips ever since. A couple of weeks ago, he bought the Anthony Robbins weight-loss tapes, and he’s lost about 20 pounds since. Though I’ve been listening to the tapes with him, I’d been not nearly as good about sticking to good-for-me foods, and thus haven’t lost much, if any, weight. Tuesday, he stopped by his doctor’s office on our way over to his mom’s house to drop off her Tony Robbins tapes, since the scales at the doctor’s office are much better than the scales we have at home, and he found that he’d lost 8 pounds since the last time he’d weighed, 6 days before. Now, don’t be emailing me and telling me he’s losing too fast. He was worried he might be and talked to his doctor, and she said he’s fine. Anyway, later that evening, he called and told his father how much he’d lost, and his stepmother snickered “Is he trying the multi-year plan?” Is it just me, or is that pretty fucking rude? After that, his father told him that exercising in the pool, which he and I have both been doing, is not “real” exercise, and that walking is better. Why do people find it necessary to be so freakin’ negative? I mean, I’m not thrilled that he’s losing weight and I’m not, but I have no one to blame for that but myself. It doesn’t mean I’m not happy for him that he’s losing weight, because I am. Which reminds me – we had an argument the other day over whether eggs are a dairy food, or a protein. Y’all email me and give me your opinion on that, would you? I say it’s dairy, he swears it’s like meat. His mother agreed with me at first, then changed her mind and said it’s like a meat on a diabetic diet. Anyway. In the local mall, there’s a stand that sells clear vases full of water with glass marbles on the bottom, a plant on the top, and a Betta fish in the water. They sell them for something like $30, and Fred’s stepfather put the same exact thing together, paying retail for all the pieces, for $12. Today, I was in the grocery store, and they have two or three of them at the customer service desk, only in one of them there was a crawfish instead of a Betta. It was pretty neat-looking, actually. Reminds me of the pet store in Rhode Island I was checking out, and along with the usual goldfish and other varieties of fish, they sold small shrimp. I had a vision of raising my own shrimp for food. But they don’t make fish tanks big enough to hold enough shrimp for me…]]>


Welcome to West Virginia Like I said yesterday, I always slowed down to 60 while focusing and taking the picture. Here’s the “Welcome to West Virginia” sign. I tried taking a picture of the Maryland sign, but I didn’t snap the picture fast enough. Anyway, I felt very welcome in West Virginia for the entire ten minutes I was there, before I crossed over into Virginia. I missed taking a picture of that sign, too, unfortunately. I know y’all are heartbroken. The one major difference between I-81 north of the Mason-Dixon line and I-81 south of the same is that in the south, they adore their wildflowers. Wildflowers Absolutely adore them. There are signs up by every patch of wildflowers Wildflowers! See the wildflowers! Don’t PICK the wildflowers! Wildflowers next 17 miles! The very thought that someone might PICK the wildflowers sends someone into a tizzy, apparently, given how many signs there are warning not to pick the wildflowers. Wildflowers There are miles upon miles of wildflowers; more than once, there were red poppies and yellow flowers and purple flowers as far as the eye could see. Above the Mason-Dixon line, though, it’s pretty much Wildflowers? Who gives a fuck about wildflowers? Up there, they apparently just mow the wildflowers down at every opportunity. Wildflowers Okay, okay, enough about the wildflowers, right? Oh, here’s something I saw more than enough of. Yes, that’s the I-81 South sign. Have I mentioned I spent something like 8 or 9 hours on I-81? It’s fucking eternal. I81 There’s sort of a comfort to staying on the same highway for so long, though. As long as I knew I needed to stay on 81, I didn’t have to bother looking at the exit signs, didn’t have to worry about missing my exit. 81 takes you through Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley (note to self: when driving home from Maine in August, try to convince the spud that they named the Shenandoah Valley after Shannon Doherty. She’ll totally buy it. If she knows who Shannon Doherty is). The Shenandoah Valley is very pretty, all mountains and rolling green hills with charming little houses and farms dotting the landscape. Unfortunately, none of the pictures I took of the aforementioned charming little houses and farms came out. Damn those trucks Damn those trucks These pictures came out, though. These pictures illustrate the most frustrating moments of my trip to and from Harrisburg. First of all, there were a FUCKING TON of trucks on the road, especially on 81. I mean, miles and miles of 18 wheelers, lumbering along. And every time I got going good and set the cruise control, one of the lumbering trucks in the right lane would pull out right in front of me, and slowwwwwwwwwly, slowwwwwwwwly, ever so slowwwwwwwly, pass the truck it had been behind. Meaning that I had to hit my brakes, hard, and slow down by about 15 miles per hour until the truck had finally passed the other truck and got the hell out of my way. I was giving out dirty looks left and right, let me tell you. Tennessee So I had entered Tennessee and had only one last exit to take, the exit for highway 72. I noticed finally that I had gone almost 40 miles since getting on highway 24, and the exit for highway 72 was supposed to show up somewhere around mile 33. At the point I realized I’d missed my exit, 24 was winding through some very steep mountains which nary an exit where I could turn around. I ended up going about 20 miles out of my way before I could turn around. It all worked out, though – I turned around and found my exit, so overall the whole fuckup added maybe half an hour to the trip. Which isn’t so bad for a 12 hour trip, I guess. I finally made it home around 7, and my wonderful husband had dinner waiting for me. He sat with me while I ate, and then we watched The Faculty, which wasn’t bad. We went to bed around 10, and I slept like the dead. It was very very good to be home. ]]>


my bright idea. So, the spud and I got on the road very very early Friday morning – 4:30 am, in fact – and managed to miss the very worst of the rush hour traffic around Chattanooga. Our next big city was Knoxville. Knoxville, if you’ve never been through there, has a huge, nasty stank about it. I can only guess it’s the smell of factories, but whatever it was, I was only too glad to see it in my rear view mirror. We made it onto I-81 North sometime around 8:30 or so (I’m guessing, because I don’t really remember), and stopped for breakfast at Shoney’s, which took us all of about 20 minutes to eat and get back on the road. Virginia took us FOREVER to get through – we were on 81 North for something along the lines of 8 or 9 hours, and that was me driving with a lead foot. For the first few hours, I drove slower than I wanted to – 7 miles over the speed limit, thank god for cruise control – but sometime after lunch, I realized that if I heard the spud ask “Are we STILL in Virginia?” one more time, I’d have to throw her out the window, and told myself “In for a penny, in for a pound”, and sped up like the true speed demon I am. I only hit 100 once, and that was only briefly. I first noticed the signs for Winchester, VA when we were about 177 miles from it. I did the math and thought to myself “When we’re near Winchester, I’ll only have 100 miles or so to go!” Which would have been cool if there were signs up perhaps every 20 miles announcing the mileage left to Winchester. Instead, every 2 miles, there was a sign. 175 miles to Winchester! 173 miles to Winchester! Which only served to make the journey seem longer. I’d think, “Has it only been 2 miles since the last sign?? I thought it was a lot more than that!” In other words, the trip dragged. I couldn’t stop myself from looking at the clock every now and then and figure out how long it had been since we left home. “Ah, we’ve only been on the road for 2 hours… 4 hours… 8 hours… Miles to go before we get there…” We were finally, finally, about 30 miles from Harrisburg, when my cellphone chirped. I left it on “roam” for the entire trip, but there were certain areas – Virginia’s “Technology Corridor” being one, ironically – where I got a “No Network” on the little screen. Anyway, I had apparently been in a dead area without realizing it, and suddenly the phone chirruped, letting me know that I had voice mail. I scrolled through the options and began listening to the voice mail. Which was a long message from Debbie telling me that her car had broken down in the Bronx. Yippee! While I was listening to the voice mail and exclaiming “Oh, shit! Oh, shit!”, the call waiting kicked in, with Fred on the other line. We talked for a few minutes, then hung up, he to call my parents and I to call Debbie. Luckily, there was a rest area where I could pull over, which I did. I called Debbie, talked to Fred, and after half an hour, I was back on the road to Harrisburg, where the plan was for me to check into the hotel I had reservations at, and then we’d decide what to do. Mapblast is pretty cool, but it fucked up on the very last part of my trip. The last step was “Take I-283 for .5 miles to 495 Eisenhower Blvd”. Which was very well and good, except that I was driving down I-283, which is a separate road from Eisenhower Blvd, and in fact we drove by the Econo Lodge while still on the highway, with no way to get there. “Hey,” I said to the spud. “There’s our hotel…” We both looked at it as we drove by. I took the next exit and doubled back, so everything worked out. But I find that a sad lapse on Mapblast’s part. After we got settled in our room (there was a truly creepy guy hanging around in the lobby, and I couldn’t get the deadbolt on our door to work at first, so I was freaked out, imagining I’d wake up in the middle of the night with Creepy Guy standing over the spud and I, so I made a mental note to pile the spud’s (very heavy) suitcase in front of the door, and the little table on top of that, but I managed to get the deadbolt working later, so all my freakiness was for naught) I called Fred quickly, and then the spud and I went looking for food. Since it was Friday evening, all the restaurants we passed were packed, and we sat in line at the McDonald’s drive-up for five minutes before giving up and then went down the road to Taco Bell, where I ordered a bunch of soft tacos and 4 large Pepsis to take back to the hotel with us. While the spud dug into dinner, I called Fred again, and we discussed our various options, which consisted of my driving to the Bronx, where Debbie, Shaun and Brian were already in a hotel while they were waiting for her car to be fixed; driving home Saturday with the spud; or buying a one-way ticket from Harrisburg to Portland, where my parents could meet her. Since I was about 2 1/2 hours from where Debbie was, I wasn’t much up for that, if only for the reason that I didn’t particularly want to add 5 hours to my driving time, on top of the 12 to 13 hours I had to drive from Harrisburg to home. So Fred called and ordered a one-way ticket, and I found out from the desk clerk how to get to the airport. While the spud flipped through the channels trying to find something good on TV, I took a shower and dozed until Fred called at 11 to say goodnight. I talked him into calling to make sure I was up at 5:10 (I just don’t completely trust the automated system hotels use these days for wakeup calls), and then it was lights out for the spud and I. This is getting long, so I’ll end it here for today, and tell y’all about the rest of my trip tomorrow. Complete with pictures I took while going down the road! (Chill out, I slowed down to 60 to take most of them…)]]>


that, lemmetellya), but just to be sure I needed to go to the hospital to have it x-rayed. After the x-ray, we arrived back at the doctor’s office, and he told us I wouldn’t need a cortisone shot after all. I had a tumor on my knee. The orthopedist who found the tumor was partially retired, so he referred me to the best Orthopedic Surgeon in the area. After more x-rays, it was determined that the tumor – which had been developing for a year or more – had begun eating away at the bone directly under my knee. After what seemed like months and months of x-rays and consultations and more x-rays and more meetings, they operated on my knee. They wouldn’t know until they operated to remove the tumor whether it was cancerous. If it was cancerous, though I didn’t realize it at the time, they may have had to amputate my leg. So while they were removing the tumor and removing bone from my hipbones to pack in the space where the tumor had eaten away, people in the lab were testing tissue from the tumor and determining that it was non-cancerous. Can you see how this whole situation is one I consider lucky? Despite the pain I was in after the operation (they had this fucking NASTY-looking drain on one of my hips, and every time the surgeon or his partner came to check on me, I asked when they were going to take it out. Actually, I asked them as soon as they got there and again before they left. I wanted that motherfucker GONE), I was lucky that the tumor turned out to be noncancerous. I could have had cancer, fought it for months or years, and died. But I was lucky. Other lucky instances in my life: I got pregnant with the spud when I was 19. Instead of running for the hills, her father married me, and to this day continues to send child support. Sadly, it seems in these days that a father actually financially supporting his child is more the exception than the rule. I had the spud at the tender age of 20, and I knew nothing about kids. I lucked out, though – she was a great baby, and she’s a great kid. She did everything exactly when she was supposed to. The instant she turned 6 weeks, she slept through the night. At 6 months, she happily ate solid foods. She walked at 15 months, she talked when she was supposed to, and though she gets attitudinous occasionally, she’s still eager to please instead of a sullen, pouty brat (though I realize that’s yet to come). See? Lucky. What else? Well, I met a man online and after knowing him online and talking to him constantly on the phone, I met him in a hotel in Pennsylvania. In a hotel in Pennsylvania. He could’ve been a psycho, he could’ve raped and killed me. Instead, he turned out to be a normal guy (okay, that’s debatable) and the love of my life. Not to mention pretty freakin’ successful at what he does, and now he’s pulling down the big bucks, wooHOO! How the hell did I get so lucky? Did I have a really bad time of it in a previous life, and this is my payback? Or are the really bad things yet to come? Will I come home one day and find that the spud’s a pot-smoking high school dropout who’s selling drugs out of the basement with her tattooed pimp boyfriend? Will I find Fred in bed with a skanky stripper and a goat who are leaving nasty things all over my nice clean carpet? Will a crack develop in the pool, sending chlorinated water all over the lawn on the hottest day of the year, boiling the grass to a nasty dead brown color? Will the kitten run off with the little black cat who skulks through our front yard from time to time, leaving me with no one to lay across my head at night? Will Tubby sit on Spanky and Mr. Fancypants, leaving Spot to wander the house in solitude, uttering his weird squeaky meows? Maybe I should just shut up and be glad for the lucky life I’ve had, ya think? ]]>