faucet mounted water filter. The one that cost less than $40 at Wal-Mart. When we heard that one, Fred and I turned and looked at each other, with big cartoonish question marks over our heads. I mean, what the fuck? All I can guess is that they think it’s some big, elaborate filter system, instead of the cheapie faucet-mounted thing that it is. Fred was seriously tempted to counter their counter-offer by saying they couldn’t have the water filter. Wouldn’t it be funny if a $40 water filter was the reason the deal fell through? Expect to hear a lot of boring house stuff over the next two months. Oh, that’s the other thing. They don’t want to close until July 31st – I think they’re renting somewhere in the neighborhood, and that must be when their lease is up. On the one hand, I’m glad it’s so far away because that gives us plenty of time to find a new house. But on the other hand, I’m supposed to be leaving for Maine on August 1st, the day after closing! I’m not sure how we’re going to deal with that. I took the spud to get her hair cut today. We specified a chin-length, layered cut, and got one that was a tad longer than we – I – would have liked, but it looks cute, all curly. The hairdresser/beautician/hairchick blew it dry whilst scrunching it, so it was a lot curlier than usual. I don’t expect that the spud – who is just like her mother – will be bothered to "do" her hair every day. I would put up a picture, but as soon as we got home, she ran a brush through it, and all the curl went away, leaving her with triangle-head. Let’s see… boring house stuff and a blurb about my day. Yep, I think that about covers it! —–]]>


Becky‘s, Saundra‘s, and Kristin‘s takes on the situation. But I’m sure y’all were already reading them, anyway. While I’m linking things, you must must MUST read A Girl Named Zippy. It’s got some hilarious fucking parts in it, and I found myself laughing out loud many, many times. Go buy it now! I’d lend you my copy, but in the rush of running around trying to de-crapify the house, I stuck it in a box of books to my sister, who will promise to save it for me if I ask, and then we’ll both forget about it for 43 years until she calls me at the nursing home and asks "What book was it you wanted me to save and give back to you after I read it?" And I’ll say "When?" And she’ll say "1999? 2000? Maybe 2001." And I’ll say "P is for Peril?" "No." "Dreamcatcher?" "No." And so on until it’s lunchtime and I’m so excited at the thought of Lime Jello for dessert (it being Tuesday and all) that I hang up on her and go hobbling out to the lunchroom with all the other old people. So go buy it. Yesterday, after spending 2 1/2 hours scrubbing out the litter box area next to the washer and dryer, and then pulling the washer and dryer apart to clean the floor between them (and finding $1.38 – SCORE!) – an experience I do not care to ever ever ever repeat, thanks so very much – and then after loading all the trash in the garage we needed to get rid of, and sweeping the floor of the garage – and what a difference it makes! – and showering, etc., I went shopping. That’s right, shopping. And not at Wal-Mart. No, I went shopping at the mall, for something like the 4th time in the almost 5 years I’ve lived here, because we’re going on vacation to Gatlinburg today, and I had no decent clothes to bring. Everything I already owned consisted of a few pairs of black pants, and a ton of t-shirts. And since we plan on going out to a nice restaurant one night while we’re there, I’m thinking that a pair of black cotton pants, a The Lotion and the Basket t-shirt, and my muddy sneakers isn’t exactly the fashion statement to make. So I hit the mall. After an hour and a half of shopping, I left with 6 shirts, 3 pairs of pants, new underwear, and a new pair of shoes. Oh, and a new purse. The clothes I bought at Lane Bryant, which has an unfortunate habit of putting all their ugly clothes in the windows and on display, but hiding the decent stuff in corners so that you really have to search for it. I hit the dressing room three different times, carrying in armloads of clothes with me each time. Once, while trying on a pair of shorts, I got sidetracked looking at the muscles in my calves. We don’t have a full-length mirror at home, so I’d never seen my legs from that angle before. I mean, I have HUGE calves, but there’s a lot of muscle there. Any body part that carries around a few hundred extra pounds for 10 years or more is going to develop a little muscle whether you like it or not. The pants I bought are NOT stretchy pants, and I was actually a size smaller than I thought I’d be, which is cool. The dressy shirts I bought (the same shirt, in two different colors) are actually kind of fitted. And they fit. And they make it look like I might actually have a waist. I’ve never been much of a shopper, but this particular shopping excursion was so relaxing and I ended up with such nice stuff that I can see myself becoming an occasional power shopper. Okay, I need to go make sure that the house is ship-shape before Fred gets home (he’s picking up the spud at school on his way home at 10:00; can you believe that even though it’s the last day of school, they’re having a full-length day?), and be sure that I’ve packed everything and the kitchen sink, make sure the cats have enough food, yadda yadda yadda. I’m still about a week behind in my email, and perhaps I’ll get caught up when I get back from Gatlinburg – especially with those 3,003 emails I owe YOU, Divine Mizz M – and perhaps I will not, but one thing is sure. There will be pictures. Lots and lots and lots of pictures. Pictures of mountains, pictures of the spud with mountains in the background, and perhaps I’ll get lucky this time and get that waterfall picture I want so desperately. See you then! —–]]>


For May’s collaboration, each participant chose a song that meant something to her. The songs were burned onto a cd, and each participant created cover art for another participants’ cd. The Playlist – I can see clearly now You can sleep while I drive No one but you Life Where is my mind Tonight and the rest of my life Wonder Bitch Little Light of Love Why can’t it be me Angel Standing By Boys of Summer The Lamenter’s Lament Babylon How You’ve Grown Sand and Water

This cover art was created by Kristal. Nobody on the road Nobody on the beach I feel it in the air The summer’s out of reach Empty lake, empty streets The sun goes down alone I’m drivin’ by your house Though I know you’re not home Summer, 1986. I was 18 years old and though I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up (and in fact still don’t), I was young and carefree and hadn’t a worry in the world. At least, that’s how I remember it. But I can see you, your brown skin shinin’ in the sun You got your hair combed back and your sunglasses on, baby And I can tell you my love for you will still be strong After the boys of summer have gone My best friend Liz and I spent that summer, that humid, sticky, hot summer, cruising around. We went to Old Orchard Beach, the biggest tourist trap around. We yelled at cute guys from our windows, and upon occasion, whoever wasn’t driving would drink. I never will forget those nights I wonder if it was a dream Remember how you made me crazy Remember how I made you scream Now I don’t understand what happened to our love But babe, I’m gonna get you back I’m gonna show you what I’m made of With no air conditioning in either of our cars – it was Maine, for crying out loud. Summer lasts twenty minutes. Who the hell needs air conditioning? – we drove around with the windows wide open and the music blasting. Most of the time we listened to the radio, and Don Henley’s Boys of Summer was all over the airwaves that July, August, September. I can see you, your brown skin shinin’ in the sun I see you walkin’ real slow and you’re smilin’ at everyone I can tell you my love for you will still be strong After the boys of summer have gone In Lewiston we drove up Lisbon Street, took a right onto Maple, a left onto Knox, a right on Spruce, a left on Bates, a left on Ash – where The Cage, a hopping bar, or so we believed, was located – back on to Lisbon Street again, a hop on to Canal Street back to the beginning, and around and around and around we went. We called it "The Area". "Ready to go home?" one of us would say when the night had been relatively calm. The other would stare out the window and then suggest "One more drive around The Area, and then we’ll go home." Something invariably happened on that one last drive. Out on the road today, I saw a Dead-head sticker on a Cadillac A little voice inside my head said Don’t look back, you can never look back I thought I knew what love was What did I know Those days are gone forever I should just let them go but On one of those one last drives, we passed two guys hitchhiking. Like the dumbasses we were, we stopped and picked them up, and then went back to their house. We were 18, they were in their mid-twenties. They were pretty drunk. We sat in their living room and talked, then one of them – Steve? – leaned in and kissed me. In my naivete, I thought he tasted and smelled like apple wine, but in my later years I realized it was beer. Steve tried to talk me into going into his room, and I wouldn’t. After hearing enough of his begging and whining, Liz got up and dragged me out of the house. I can see you, your brown skin shinin’ in the sun You got that top pulled down and that radio on, baby And I can tell you my love for you will still be strong After the boys of summer have gone On another of those last drives, we were approached by some pissed-off rednecks (yes, the northeast has it’s share of rednecks) with baseball bats. They’d been unhappy with my yelled "Oh, I’m so impressed!" when they sat beside us at a red light as they revved the engine of the crappy old car they were driving. When they jumped out of their car with bats in hand, we gaped at them for an eternity before I slammed my car in reverse and sped down the street away from them. Most of the time, though, our cruises were fairly uneventful. We’d often run into our friend from work at McDonald’s, Tuna, and his friends, and we’d follow each other around, park and talk for a while, then drive around some more. One night, Tuna rearranged the letters on the sign at Burger King – remember when they were doing that lame "Where’s Herb?" campaign? – to read "Herb Gots Aids." It took the people at Burger King well into the next day to change the sign back. I can see you, your brown skin shinin’ in the sun You got that hair slicked back and those Wayfarers on, baby I can tell you my love for you will still be strong After the boys of summer have gone We were young and carefree, and we did silly things and stupid things, and we laughed until we howled most nights. It’s been almost 16 years since that summer, but all it takes to bring me back are the first few seconds of Boys of Summer. In an instant, I’m transported back to the night in early September when the air held the slightest chill of the coming Fall. Liz turned to me, and with the memories of the summer still in our minds and Don Henley blasting on the radio, she smiled. "This is our song, Robbie," she said. And it is. —–



never existed. I’m not stunned or disheartened, because I was only aware of her supposed existence in the most general of ways. I followed links to her page from time to time, but was never drawn in by the writing, and thus never stuck around. Nicole said it all much better than I could, anyway. Go read her entry about the whole deal. If you belong to my notify list (and if you don’t, I’d like to know why the hell not!) you already know that we signed the papers with the realtor on Sunday, got our bright, shiny "For Sale" sign in the yard, and spent much of Sunday and most of Monday cleaning frantically. The realtor told Fred yesterday afternoon that someone had already called and wanted to see the house. We were excited until we discovered that the supposed "Potential Buyers" were people who already lived in our neighborhood. Last time we put the house on the market, two years ago, these same (we suspect) neighbors went through the house, telling the realtor that they were interested in our house because they wanted a basement. The people who went through the house last night told him that they wanted a basement and a pool. They had to be the same people. It pisses me off, because we spent two hours rushing around, touching up the paint (Fred), vacuuming, scrubbing the kitchen, yelling at Fred to vacuum the couch and chairs downstairs (me), and only because some assholes who live in our neighborhood wanted to see what the house looked like. If they had simply knocked on the front door and asked for a tour, I would have let them look to their heart’s content. They told the realtor, after looking through the house last night, that they weren’t interested because they "Wanted bigger rooms." I don’t know where they think they’re going to find bigger rooms, because we have one of the biggest floorplans in this subdivision. Our bedroom is 15×16, the family room is 16×17, the rec room (what we use for the gym) 13×23. Those are some nice fucking room sizes, people. Assholes. So while they were going through our house, we were checking out another house, one that Fred found on ValleyMLS. We drove by it on Saturday, liked what we saw, and asked the realtor (whom I shall call Jeff, which is not his real name, because if I tell y’all his real name, you will figure out who he is, find out where our house is located, and come kill me in my sleep) to take us through it. It was a cute little house, with a nice big porch (a plus in my eyes), on around an acre of land (remember, we’re looking for more than the less than 1/4 acre we already have), and in the country, but not so far in the country we couldn’t drive to the grocery store in 10 minutes. Unfortunately, there were some structural problems – a window was rotting away on the outside, and the basement was obviously prone to flooding, which the current owners tried to disguise by painting the floor. Speaking of the basement, we were all standing in the basement discussing the flooding problems, when I heard a long, low sound coming from Jeff’s direction. To be blunt, it was the sound of a long, long fart. My eyes wide as saucers, mouth hanging open in amazement, I stared at Jeff, who just stood there, smiling, his hands in his pockets, rocking on his heels. No one said anything, and then Jeff pointed out a scary door near the stairs that led to the ground under the rest of the house. We all peeked in, Fred mentioned that "There could be a BODY buried in there!", and we went to check out the rest of the house. From the second floor, there was a gorgeous view of horses running in a nearby field. It was everything you’d want in country living – nice lot, pretty view, not too close to the neighbors – so it’s too bad that the house kinda sucked. But as I said on the way out, "One down, 150 to go!" Our search is just beginning, and we don’t want to get too excited yet, anyway, because we can’t really do anything until our house is sold, though Jeff thinks it’ll be sold by August. We dropped Jeff off at his office, and it was then that I found out – to my relief – that the long, low farting sound I’d heard was the scary door opening by itself.]]>


Running Blind, when the killer has hypnotized the victims and convinced them to swallow their tongues? NOT POSSIBLE. Besides which, just because someone’s hypnotized doesn’t mean they’ll do WHATEVER YOU WANT THEM TO DO. Hypnotized people will not do things like kill themselves at someone else’s bidding any more than un-hypnotized people will. But that’s a topic for another day. You know that little piece of ligament thingy that attaches your tongue to the floor of your mouth? That’s a special little thing the Great Architect designed because he/she/it knew how fucking stupid humans would turn out to be. If that weren’t there, people would be swallowing their tongues left and right, I’m sure. But it IS there, and therefore YOU CANNOT SWALLOW YOUR TONGUE. Go ahead, try it. YOU CAN’T, CAN YOU?]]>


No, those are just from the black parts of the peas!" Around lunchtime, I went into the kitchen to make lunch, and checked on the peas to see how they were coming. Lining the top of the water were myriad little black bugs. I guess we’d discovered Ground Zero. They weren’t all dead yet, either. More than a few of them were swimming back and forth, trying to figure out how to get out. So I put ’em all – and the peas – down the garbage disposal. Take that, you little bastards. The spud had a shower to attend last night, one that her class was throwing for their teacher at a restaurant, so Fred and I dropped her off and went to a nearby Mexican restaurant for dinner. When we were leaving, Fred picked up a couple of magazines with listings and pictures of houses for sale. Therein, we found our dream house. Okay, so maybe it’s a long drive from there to Fred’s work. And so it’s a really really old house with no central air. Yeah, it "needs work." No doubt the electricity would need to be redone, and it’s probably all but falling down. But lordygodalmighty, the SIZES of the bedrooms! 19×19, every damn one of them! Five thousand square feet! All the floors are wood, and it was built in 1847, when they knew how to build a house! And it’s on 3+ acres, with a VIEW! All for $129,900! It’s like it’s calling me home… —–]]>


We have agreed to decide one way or the other about the house this weekend. I’m betting we’ll end up putting it on the market. The average time homes around here are spending on the market these days is 3 – 4 months. Last time we put the house up for sale, we took it off the market after 28 days, because we got impatient. As long as we realize it’ll take a little while to get things rolling, we should be okay.

Of course, we could always sell the house the day after we put it on the market. Realtors love to tell the stories of the houses they’ve sold – "This one house went on the market on a Friday and it was sold Monday morning! Sight unseen! And it was LITERALLY falling down! And the buyer insisted on paying double the asking price, plus an extra 10% commission for me! So… I guess we could probably sell your shithole…"

No, actually, the realtors tell us the house is in good shape and yadda yadda yadda. The depressing part is that we’ll be recouping hardly any of the money we put into the pool and fence, the hardwood stairs. In fact, we decided on an asking price of just $6,000 more than we were asking last time.

Should we decide to sell, that is.

I told Fred that we should just accept that we’re nomads and will want to move every couple of years for the rest of our lives.

Have I mentioned that we’re going to Gatlinburg next weekend? I don’t think I have. The original plan was that we were going to go to Florida – not only is it Memorial Day weekend, but it’s also Fred birthday (Saturday). When Himself got around to looking for either a hotel suite or house to rent, he realized that prices went way, way up for Memorial Day weekend. And since we’re dorky that way, we didn’t particularly want to share a hotel room with the spud, at least not for 3 nights.

If you’ve forgotten this little tidbit of information, being around water really puts Himself in the mood.

Anyway, once we realized that we could get an entire house (with a hottub!) for less than half what we’d pay for a decent hotel room in Destin, we decided to go there instead.

It’s actually more appropriate to go to Gatlinburg, because it was just after we got home from Gatlinburg last May that Fred’s wakeup call came and he started eating right and exercising.

And now he’s lost an entire person. 138 pounds! Pretty awesome, isn’t it?

This year we intend to do a couple of short hikes in the national forest. Just because we can, without killing ourselves.

And y’all KNOW I will have fifty million billion zillion pictures of houses and mountains, and maybe this time we’ll even get some of those little bitty waterfalls I loved so much.

Does life get any better, do you think?