Our swamp cooler is fixed! I couldn't find our warranty info, so I called Home Depot and the manager there told me there was a warranty, but no one could come out today. In fact, no one could come out for several days. Then he asked me... "How, exactly is it broken?" and I told him that duh! it's not blowing any air, how else could it be broken? (I didn't say it quite that rudely, that's why there's no quotes. I get testy when my temp's not perfect.) And then I added that it had made a clunking noise. "Oh," he says. "That sounds like the belt fell off." To which I replied. Great! what are you going to do about it? He must have missed my emphasis on the "you" because he answered me. "Well, what you need to do is open it up and put the belt back on." Hmmm. It's on the top of my house. My ladder is at Jennifer's house. And it's not big enough to get on the roof unless I use it to climb onto the garage roof and then jumb the 4 foot gap between the two roofs. I was almost that desperate. Like I said, it was hot.
The manager didn't waste any more of his valuable time listening to my ladder deliberations. He said, "goodby, goodluck, call us back if that doesn't work" and hung up. I steamed, literally and figuratively. Then I called my dad. They had told me they were coming to bring the rest of our nursery (changing table and bookshelf) out to us, and I had already roped him into helping us move our old fridge out of the dining room and into the garage (I'll post on that tomorrow) so I felt bad asking for something else, but desperate times... "Hey Dad, can you throw your big ladder into the back of the truck when you come out this afternoon?"
Kristin and I escaped the heat this afternoon at our last baby shower (we played pin the sperm on the egg!!).
When my dad and I got into the cooler we discovered that the wheel holding the belt had not been tightened correctly and that the belt, indeed, had come off. It had also been burning the rubber for a while. Remember that smoke that I swore was coming from the motor? Well who knew, it turns out that it was? I wonder what other crazy, paranoid ideas are going to start coming true? Is that buzz from my speakers, or is the car about to explode? My sense of fatalism insists that the car's going to explode and my sense of fatalism's on a winning streak. I should probably check have it checked out. "Do I have any reason to think my car's going to explode? Well, not really, but you see I have this swamp cooler..."
So, long story long. We're cool again, Kristin's feet are the size and color of eggplants, our hospital bag's packed, and the nursery's useable. Hopefully I'll have a post about my love affair with our new refrigerator and lots of pictures tomorrow.
There really was something wrong with the swamp-cooler's motor.
It's already getting hot in here.
I've got a 9 months pregnant wife and no way to cool the house. In July. In Utah.
is that other people know how vulgar I am when no one's looking.
by James Joyce
Most people are convinced that you don't make any sense, but compared to what else you could say, what you're saying now makes tons of sense. What people do understand about you is your vulgarity, which has convinced people that you are at once brilliant and repugnant. Meanwhile you are content to wander around aimlessly, taking in the sights and sounds of the city. What you see is vast, almost limitless, and brings you additional fame. When no one is looking, you dream of being a Greek folk hero.
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
Now I guess I should actually read the book. I know, I know, I go to grad school with one the preeminent Joyce scholars, who actually teaches a course on Ulysses while I'm there and not only do I not take the course, but I don't even go to the potluck barbeque that he threw after the class finished for the semester. If I had gone to that, maybe I could have picked up some talking points, some catch phrases, something that would showcase my brilliance without having to do any work...
Thanks to G at Library Bitch for bringing this little quiz to my attention...
I've learned a valuable lesson tonight: If it's too small to pay for delivery, and too large to fit in your car, you probably shouldn't buy it. If you insist on buying it anyway, ask for help.
We went to Home Depot tonight to buy a new fridge. While we were there we also bought:
- matchstick blinds for our sunroom
- paint and primer for the basement
- smoke detectors for all the bedrooms (our house currently has no detectors at all, it's amazing we're still alive to tell about it)
- One 36 inch wide screen door.
We have. It's just those larger things were also flexible. They were not rigid pieces of aluminum and glass.
There was a brief moment when the guy helping us out (you get help fast when you're with a woman who looks like she's going to give birth in the hardware isle) was trying to jam that door into the car when I had a vision of Kristin driving the car home slowly, on back streets, with me running behind holdng the door up off the ground. I was just starting to really get into this fantasy, imagining all the wacky adventures we would have on our Odyssey across the valley, when that sweet young man said the magical words: "Why don't I go get you some twine and a red flag and I'll tie this door to the car for you." And amazingly, he managed to tie that door up even though there was barely 2 feet of it actually in our trunk. I was able to drive the car instead of run along behind it.
So we got the door home. Not that we needed it tonight, or even tomorrow. If Kristin thinks I'm going to get around to installing that door before we could have talked one of our I'm-so-butch-and-I've-got-the-biggest-truck-to-prove-it friends to go pick it up for us, she's forgotten who she's married to.
Of course, we did get a kick out of the looks on all the people's faces as we drove around town finishing our errands with a screen-door hanging 3 feet out the back of our car...
Well, after 4 years of committment to each other, a marriage and an annullment (damn you California Supreme Court!!) and just in time for the baby, Kristin and I are legally bound to each other. Well, kinda. We finally got our act together and drew up our medical and financial powers of attorney and our wills, replicating a few (very few) of the rights/responsibilities we would have been granted if on the day we met we had driven to Vegas, gotten drunk and made a pit stop at a Chapel O' Love. Oh yeah, I guess one of us would have had to have been a man. (This scenario is improbable: I would have insisted on the Star Trek Experience at the very least.) Well, that's ok. We've made up for it now. Let all those who prophesy that the end of Civilization As We Know It begins with Gay Marriage get ready to count the signs of the apocalypse. I expect at least a plague of locusts from this packet of papers, baby!
And the biggest irony cherry on the top of my legal sundae? Though it's the law in Utah that Kristin and I cannot be wed (or even, really, legally bound), and Utah's new constitutional amendment throws these documents into a huge legal gray area, it was the friendly Teller/N.P. at our local Utah Law Enforcement Credit Union that notarized all our contracts. He even did it for free. Makes me laugh so hard I want to puke.
Other loose ends: I also turned in my thesis manuscript. It's only oh... about 3 months late. It was also 1 day past the latest deadline. Making it a bit iffy that I'll actually graduate in August. I may graduate in December instead (as opposed to May, when I was supposed to graduate if I had turned the manuscript in on time the first time) . But at least it's done. Mostly. I never did get a written permission from Dar Williams to quote three lines from one of her songs. I'm hoping no one notices. It's not like the thesis is getting wide distribution or anything. Heck, I had to pay $75 to bind the thing and I'm not even getting an official copy. [begin public apology and oath to God] Dar, if you're reading this (and I know you're not, but at least this will clear my conscience) I want you to know that I tried really, really hard to get someone from your record label to give me permission to quote you. It's not that they refused, it's that no one had ever asked before (very hard for me to believe) and they just didn't know what to do with my request so they kept back-burnering it and I finally gave up. I promise that before the book goes national, I will personally track you down and get your permission. [end public apology and oath to God] Now that the manuscript is off my mind I can start working on the book I had wanted to write but couldn't because of MFA technicalities. I may even feel motivated enough to write some new material. Wouldn't that be something!
And the final loose end: I FOUND THE SMELL!!! It was our spare bed all along. Kristin informs me that I should have checked the bed first thing since that's what the dogs have been lying on panting the summer away, but it was only a couple of weeks since I had changed all the bedding and I didn't think it could possibly be that smelly that soon. Boy howdy, was I wrong! And just in case any of you reading might be thinking of staying at my house when you're in SLC, don't worry, the bed itself is completely encased in plastic so the dog cooties can be removed with the flick of a zipper. I'm gross and thoughtless, but not THAT gross and thoughtless.
Well, I haven't written in a few days because I've been busy securing my future. That, and it's been hot. Very hot. Unbelievably hot. So hot that we've been running our swamp cooler non-stop. I think I smelled smoke coming from it earlier. It was either coming from the cooler's motor or the fireworks being lit at our neighbor's house. My sense of fatalism insists that it's the cooler.
I have also been avoiding the computer because of the smell. There's a smell in our basement. Apparently, I own a smelly basement. I'm not sure where the smell is coming from. It could be damp from our week of undesert-like humidity. It could be teen spirit. It could be the fact that the basement is the coolest place in the house, therefore it is the place where our two large dogs lie and pant. I haven't decided. All I know is that no amount of Glade Plug-Ins will defeat the smell.
So today we decided to escape the smell (and the heat) and pack up the cooler and the dogs (I know, kinda defeats the purpose, but what are ya gonna do?) and some friends and drive up into the Uintahs* for a day of relaxation. We should have gone alone. But our friend, Jennifer, needed a day-trip. She just bought a house, she's drowning in boxes. And her mother is here from LA to lend a hand. Unfortunately Jennifer's mother's method of helping is to carefully point out all the stuff that needs to be done. By Jennifer. Immediately. She is also very handy at doing completely unnecessary things, like scraping paint flecks off windows, while the things Jennifer actually needs help with lie scattered across the floor. She is also (and this I can sympathize with) obsessing over Jennifer's smelly basesment. Of course, Jennifer's basement is really a crawlspace that no one should spare more than 2 seconds to go "Yup, it's a crawlspace -- why don't we go back upstairs" on. I mean, really, the only people who would spend any length of time down there are most likely hiding bodies. And do we really want to make it more comfortable for them?
So anyway, we decided to drag Jennifer with us to the Uintahs. And her mother came along. We would have done Jennifer more good if we had just dragged her mother to the Uintahs. As it was, I don't think Jennifer was able to relax one bit. And I certainly wasn't able to relax with all the mother-daughter bonding flying thick and fast between them. Then Jennifer's mother (who shall remain nameless, to protect the innocent) began to try and rub Kristin's 9-months-pregnant belly. Now everyone who knows Kristin knows how well she handles invasions of her personal space. God wept. Literally, the heavens opened and big tears began falling. We (after only 1.5 hours of mountain air) packed up our playing cards and picnic with alacrity, bundled our now wet (as well as smelly -- in fact, now more smelly) dogs into the car and took off for the city. Luckily they had ridden in their own car behind us. We felt for Jennifer, we really did, but it was every woman for herself. I hope they made it back to the city -- we didn't wait to find out.
So, we tried to escape a smelly house and ended up spending time in a smelly car. Since the basement now smells much better compared to the car, I thought I'd come down and post. And on that note, here's a little poem I wrote not too long ago that I think is a perfect way to end this little narrative.
FOLLOW THE SMELL
Open the windows. Empty the trash.
Wash dishes. Raid the fridge, wipe it down,
throw out the beef, the milk, the mushrooms, the fish,
the apples, the quiche, everything smells of rot, of brown
spiders and grey-white flesh. So you corner the dogs, hose them down
put them out to dry. Scrub every surface. Use ammonia.
Use bleach. Use sand. The smell’s still here, it’s grown.
Grind eggshells in the disposal. You have no idea
what to do next. Something is still harboring bacteria.
Do you think to burn your mattresses again, dance around the fire,
let the smoke fill your nostrils then shower
and disinfect yourself? Don’t be a
fool. It’ll do no good. It never does me any good.
Something in my mouth, my throat, is poisoned and dead.
Ok, I know, It's a bit dark. But don't worry, I'm taking medication for that, and I expect to be cured of all darkness in the quite-near-future.
*For those of you who just happen to be reading this and who also just happen not to know me already or be familiar with Utah at all, the Uintahs are a Mountain range approximately an hour outside of Salt Lake that run along the border of Utah and Wyoming. They contain the tallest mountain peaks in Utah as well as some very pristine (and cold as hell! Fucking liquid ice, I'm telling you!) lakes. The Mirror Lake Highway is a national scenic byway between the Wasatch Front and Evanston and as such is one of the prettiest routes to some of the nastiest porn within an afternoon's drive of the heart of Mormondom. For a path to hell, I give it two thumbs up!
1) Well, I've looked at your mission statement and website and decided that working here wouldn't kill my soul.
2) I really liked what you guys did to Martha Stewart, and I thought that if there was anything I could do to help bring more Marthas down, then that's what I should be doing with my time.
3) I could still live with myself while working this job.
4) Oh, there's a lot about me to know... but not much that applies to this job.
I said all this and more at a job interview a couple of weeks ago (I had a serious fall down our stairs and had not yet finished swelling up before taking a handful of painkillers and rushing off to this interview.) And yet, this morning I was offered the position. I still went to my interview at the Museum and did really well at that (at the end I was offered a second interview), so it looks like after several months of nothing I am about to be given some options!
WARNING -- if you're reading this and you haven't yet read book 6 of Harry Potter, and you think you might, and you'd be upset if you accidentally read something that might allude to an event that happens at the end of the book, you should get over yourself. I mean, come on, even I'm not that bad.
Well, I did it. I bought Harry Potter Saturday morning, resisted all weekend and then caved yesterday and finished the book about 2 am this morning. I know that many of my friends think Harry Potter is overrated; that anything that popular with the masses has got to be lowest-common-denominator stuff. But I gotta admit, I love it. I think the books are just getting better. I am actually fighting plot hangover today. That's where once I finish a book, I just can't get it out of my head -- going over and over the plot points, the dialogue, the trajectory, the-what-happens-next. It makes me terrible company. This morning Kristin and I had a prenatal exam and a battery of tests and I could barely concentrate... she kept asking me why I was mad at her. I wasn't mad, just distant and foggy from being hung over from my Potter bender. Of course, since had I told her she could read it first, and then accomplished reading the entire book in one day without her knowing (I was also extremely productive on the deep house-cleaning front, rewarding my super-efficient scrubbing with bouts of super-efficient reading, so that she wouldn't guess that I was off the wagon) I couldn't tell her that I was hung-over, so she's chalking it up to my increasing depression.
Anyway, I'm nearly snapped out of the funk now, since I just received an interview for the job of Assistant to the Director of the Utah Museum of Natural History. I would really like this job, so I'm acutally off to buy a suit. I've been interviewing without a suit, because a) I don't own one, and b) I don't want a job where I would have to own one. But for this job, I think, I would ease up on b, so I'm off to find a suit. Hopefully that will distract me from the fact that it'll be at least 1.5 years before I find out what happens next to poor Harry and if Ginny will actually let him break up with her for such a stupid reason. Yes, yes, that's what upset me most about the ending. If he hadn't pulled that little breaking up with her bit there at the end, I would be content to wait patiently for the last book. Oh well, there's nothing I can do but go on with my life. One day at a time. "Lord, give me the strength..."
So, what do you get when a pumpkin cuddles up to a zuccini (or a yellow crook-neck, I'm afraid my pumpkin was a teensy bit slutty last summer) and lets nature (and Marvin Gaye) take its course? You get a plant that starts out looking like a zuccini and then begins growing legs, then arms, then second heads -- lime green second heads that appear within hours, swelling almost visibly, as snaky tendril arms begin sweeping in the plants to be devoured with audible gulps. It's a bit unnerving. We've created a monster. Our mutant baby is paying us back by smothering all it's tomato baby brothers and pepper little sisters. The problem is that the lime green growths are just so damn good. Pumpkin-scented zuccini flesh, sweet and mild. Cooks up beautifully. Too bad we're not sure who the father is.
We didn't do this on purpose. We special-ordered organic heirloom squash, tomato, and pepper seeds. We carefully nurtured the seedlings all spring, dreaming of the organic, heirloom babyfood these seedlings were going to become. Then when we went out to till the garden: "Oh look, a volunteer squash plant of some sort. How cute! Let's till it under!" Ah, but this little mutant (oh, excuse me, HYBRID) is clever. It just happened to be growing around the one tree root cutting through our garden plot. So it was spared, and we planted in the soft, fertile soil around it. And all our precious plants immediately died. Coincidence? I'm not convinced. We were so depressed about the carnage that we didn't have the heart to pull up the one plant that was thriving even though we'd heard about the dangers of cross-pollination. We replanted in a spirit of harmony with the native inhabitant. For a while all was peaceful. The newcomers began to thrive. Then the hostile take-over began.
I'm torn. We paid a lot for the plants that Mutant Squash is determinedly eating. But at least something is producing in my garden this year. Maybe Mutant Squash will be sated after a few sacrifices, a couple of days of pushing the other plants around (yes, all the agression has happened only these last few days) showing them who's boss. Maybe not.
Saw this article on Planetout today:
Ronnie Paris Jr., 21, of Tampa, Florida is accused of abusing his 3-year-old son in an effort to prevent him from being gay, until the boy slipped into a coma and died.It reminded me of a conversation I had with my brothers a few months ago. Before Kristin and I knew that our fetus was of the female persuasion, my brothers told me that they were hoping we'd have a boy because that way he'd be more likely to be straight. No, they put it stronger than that. They said that for its own sake, they hoped our child was a boy, and if it was a girl, they hoped that we would not selfishly (or blindly) deny the girl the ability to date boys. So, apparantly as lesbians we would only allow our children to date women. Thus if we had a girl, she would be forced into dykehood, but if we had a boy he would be spared a faggy fate.
I was shocked, I was appalled. Not at the logic, but at the fact that that logic was coming from my own family; the family I thought was understanding and supportive and hipper than that. I replied that I hope my child will turn out queer as a Confederate bill. Then it was their turn to be shocked and appalled. I modified my statement. Not a retraction, but a clarification: Since I see nothing to mourn in the fact of gayness, I have absolutely no problem with the thought of the possibility of having a gay child. And further, not only will I not limit the gender/sex of possible dates for my daughter, I will also not be upset (nor read too much into) if she dates first one sex then the other, then back to the first (and I'm not even going to attempt to place restrictions on the gender-expressions of said dates). And if my child turns out to be straight? Well, I'll love and support her and make certain that there're condoms available (though I don't think I could bring myself actually to hand them to her).
So back to the article: I'll be watching this trial as closely as I've been watching the trials of seperated lesbian parents. Why? because I'm paranoid. And because if this man actually uses the gay panic defense, and it shows any signs of working, I'm packing up my child and I'm getting the hell out of Dodge. Why would a man be afraid that his son was gay? Maybe because he is afraid that he is gay himself? Or maybe because he is afraid that other people might think he is gay and be looking to the son as evidence "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree". But if a man can kill his own son out of fear of gayness -- if someone can think of a 3-year-old that it would be better to kill them than to let them possibly grow up to be gay -- and if that man has ANY KIND of public sympathy, then what's to stop other such preemptive strikes? Why wait until the sin's been committed? Get 'em while they're young and their souls are still pure. There's already enough hysteria around children and queerness (can children be gay? at what age do children become gay? when is it too late to stop the queerness from setting in? if we let gays have kids will they make gay kids? will those kids be gay because of nature or nurture?) that toddler gay-bashing seems at once progressive (the logical step between adult-bashing and aborting gay fetuses) and medieval (the time-honored tradition of choosing the fetus over the mother because the mother has already sinned while the fetus is still pure) while, for a large part of the population, the underlying logic that children must be saved from being gay remains strong and unchallenged.
That sentiment, as spoken to me by my own family, reveals this man not as an anomaly, but as a boogey-man made real -- the manifestation of a deeply-held cultural obsession.
How long does the Canadian winter last again? Maybe I should stock up on some of those ultraviolet lights, in case my partner and I (and our forcibly gay kid) need to make a run for it.
Not that it was beautiful,
but that, in the end, there was
a certain sense of order there;
something worth learning
in that narrow diary of my mind,
in the commonplaces of the asylum
where the cracked mirror
or my own selfish death
And if I tried
to give you something else,
something outside myself,
you would not know
that the worst of anyone
can be, finally, an accident of hope.
I tapped my own head;
it was glass, an inverted bowl.
At first it was private.
Then it was more than myself;
it was you, or your house
or your kitchen.
And if you turn away
because there is no lesson here
I will hold my awkward bowl,
with all its cracked stars shining
like a complicated lie,
and fasten a new skin around it
as if I were dressing an orange
or a strange sun.
Not that it was beautiful,
but that I found some order there.
There ought to be something special
in this kind of hope.
This is something I would never find
in a lovelier place, my dear,
although your fear is anyone's fear,
like an invisible veil between us all...
and sometimes in private,
my kitchen, your kitchen,
my face, your face.
-- Anne Sexton
in _To Bedlam and Part Way Back_ 1960
I just thought I should have this poem posted somwhere on this blog. Seeing as how I've stolen so much from it and all...
Ok, first Official Post (as distinct from Unofficial Posts which would include the little screw-up with my picture that, instead of a tiny, discreet me in the profile, ended up as a humongous me in a post) not that it matters, since no one is actually reading this anyway.
I had one of those days yesterday where everything I said was cool, and interesting, and right. One of those days where everyone around me was hanging on my every word, anticipating every jewel that was falling from my lips. I was on a roll. I was hip and happening. I was cracking people up. Then I went home, got into bed and replayed my astoundingly clever and amusing conversations in my head and discovered that I'd actually been a negative, sarcastic ass-hole all day. Hmmm. Distressing. I guess all that laughter must have been at me, instead of with me. Either that or it was nervous, pained laughter provoked by the witnessing of something supremely uncomfortable and icky. Like the way one laughs when one has slipped and fallen and done a disturbing amount of damage to a very private portion of one's anatomy and one doesn't want others to know, or the way one laughs at someone else who had just done this. Of course, it could be that all my friends are negative, sarcastic ass-holes as well, and so didn't notice.
I don't think so.
Of course how to be sure? Apparently my grasp on reality lately is a little slow.
So, why do I mention this in my very first Official Post? I mention this because it seems to tie in with my hard-thought title. In other words, I am certain that everything I write here will be witty and incisive and very entertaining. But it's almost certain that 12 hours after I post I will regret everything said and wish I could take it all back, and 12 hours again will think it all perfect but a bit tarnished. And, of course, the very fact that so much hope is going into this will almost certainly guarantee that the worst of me occasionally will be on display.
I'm not writing this for those of you who are certainly not reading it, but rather for myself, so I can look back and point and say "Not that it was beautiful"...