plumbing woes

A: “Is the upstairs toilet fixed yet?”
Dad: “Yes. If you pee, push the inner handle. If you poo, push the outer handle.”
A: “Whaaat?”
Dad: “One flush uses half the water of the other flush.”
A: Walks downstairs to use basement toilet.

Core Memory

Our garage door doesn’t always work correctly. I could ask the husband to explain exactly what is wrong with the door, but then I would get a lengthy diatribe on the history of garage doors, theoretical mechanics, how we should be using invisible force fields instead of doors and blah, blah, blah. Let’s just say that the door is slightly broken. So, when one child announced that the door was open Friday night, we immediately went into pet inventory mode. The dogs never leave our cove, but the cats aren’t allowed outside.

Westley couldn’t be found. The house and yard were searched repeatedly. The houses beside and behind ours were searched. No Westley. Darkness came and I sat in the yard past midnight, still hoping to spot the cat’s eyes shining in the darkness. Bad dreams and sadness made the rest of the night last forever.

Saturday morning, everyone searched the house. Then, everyone searched the yard. Then, we did it all again. And again. Signs were made and put on every street sign. We emailed the neighborhood watch. We went door to door, asking neighbors to look under sheds and cars. We scoured the animal shelter rooms full of tragic animals. Everyone felt hopeless. We all knew the worst case scenario, but nobody could bring themselves to speak it.

We tweeted and facebooked Westley’s picture. People reposted our messages while also offering support and encouragement. Over and over, they said that indoor cats don’t travel far and he had to be nearby. Fantastic children from the neighborhood joined in the search. One man called and offered to give us a kitten.

The children searched and searched. Not once did they complain about being tired or hungry. Well, Evan did flop in a neighbor’s yard while the husband chatted with the neighbor, but that was an unspoken complaint about waiting to resume searching. Everyone in the family fell down and got bruises, got scratched by branches and walked more than they have in weeks, but the children never stopped searching. Their eyes were filled with tears, but they were incredibly brave little people.

As dusk fell, the cat had been missing more than 24 hours and the mood in the house was morose. I sat and mentally tortured myself over what we had and hadn’t done. Westley had vanished without a trace. Except, there might have been a single solitary sighting. One neighbor mentioned that he thought he saw a tan cat in the creek on Friday. The children had searched up and down the dry creek that runs one border of our property, so that neighbor’s comment didn’t really register. When everyone said he’s hiding nearby, they weren’t specific. Maybe I was concentrating my hyper intense searching too much in the houses directly around ours. Desperate and frantic, I needed to keep searching. With darkness falling fast, I had to walk the creek. I brought the dogs in case their smell attracted Westley out of his hiding place and as soon as Amy heard that I was going out searching again, she eagerly joined along.

The dry creek is filled with fallen tree limbs, live tree roots, rocks, old concrete and trash. Navigating it means trying not to slip or trip while climbing over and under trees and branches. We worked our way to the culvert that goes under a street in the neighborhood. At that point, it was getting too difficult for the half blind dog with bad hips. I walked the dogs home and told Amy I would meet her on the street atop the culvert. As I got close to the spot in the street where she was to meet me, I heard her screaming for me. I ran.

I spotted her in the ditch on the other side of the street, peeking in the culvert. In a voice that is still repeating in my head, she yelled, “I found him.” She crawled into a nasty batch of scrub brush and pulled out a crying Westley. As I took him from her and searched for obvious injuries, Amy and I joined his crying. The three of us stood in the street, hugging and crying. As we started walking home, I realized a car had been stopped in the road a few feet from us, watching. The neighborhood resident behind the wheel rolled his window down and smiled brightly. “You found him. I’m so happy for you. I have to go tell my wife.”

Westley ate 3 dinners and went to sleep for the night on Evan’s backpack. Amy stared at Westley with a big smile and tear stained cheeks. “Mom, I feel like today became a core memory.”

Yes it did, Amy. Yes it did.

size matters

Books, like people, come in a variety of sizes. Hardcover books are a great size to read, but their extra cost makes reading in the bathtub an ill advised risk. The majority of the paperbacks in the local Barnes & Noble are traditionally sized, but awkward to read without breaking the spine. Amazon books are offered in hardcover and the bookstore sized mass market paperback, but also in a size described only as paperback. The Amazon paperback size is the perfect porridge temperature of books. As much as I want to walk in a bookstore and shop, I am not going to deliberately buy a tiny book that is both awkward to hold and eye strain inducing during all night reading marathons.
paperback vs mass market

When I’m deeply immersed in a series and fail to pace myself so that I have the next book waiting at home, I do run in the bookstore to avoid having to go five minutes between books. Every time I do so, I hate it. I’ve even taken to shopping for something new at the bookstore, but ordering the slightly larger paperback version of it online. Do I feel guilty about this behavior? Yes. I know I’m going to regret my book buying habits when I no longer have a bookstore to peruse. Will I continue spending most of my book budget, err, going way over my book budget at the online giant? Yes. Even if Amazon does occasionally surprise me with a paperback that is extra large, I will still prefer the paperback over the mass market paperback.
paperback sizes


My back hurts. I stepped outside of my house and my back fell apart. Technically, we spent the entire weekend on a friend’s boat. Still, I don’t hurt my back sitting in a chair reading. I only hurt myself when I try to DO anything. I think a few days of not doing is in order.

The TMI post where I apologize

The older I get, the more my body looks like it would benefit from Willy Wonka’s taffy puller. Putting it less vaguely, I’m getting shorter and fatter. I’m down to eating one meal a day and I still look like a weeble. I even spent several months attempting various old people exercises, but do you know how awful the body noises are when attempting squats naked? So, when we went to NYC for Starving Artist’s college graduation, I invested in several pairs of Spanx. Not jiggling like jello seemed like the least I could do to reduce the Ma and Pa Kettle impression that we leave everywhere.

I did not jiggle. I did sweat buckets. Not only did looking like a soggy kitchen sponge not cause me to lose any weight, it made the area under my spanx feel like it needed to be surgically removed. The city was filled with thin women in flowy sundresses, always speed walking their way to someplace other than where they were. In that moment, I realized how wrong I was to ever frown at the people who paparazzi try to upskirt photograph. “Ew. They need more clothing under there to keep from touching bare skin to public seating.” Wrong! They are ventilating and preventing athletes foot crotch.

Life is too short for spanx misery. Rubber bands are for papers. Cotton is for tender bits.

I should/shouldn’t leave home.

Hairdresser: “Big plans today?”
Me: “No.”
Hairdresser: “Bigger plans tonight?”
Me: “Nope.”
Hairdresser: “Saving up for the weekend?”
Me: “No plans. None. Zero. Zip.”

< - I begin to wallow in self pity about my rapid descent to death when I sit home and do nothing. ->

Guy in chair next door taking to his stylist: “Sooo, what’s your hair color on your license? Ya know?”

< - Wishes I was home. ->

one decade

Ten is such an interesting age. Every so often, a fleeting breeze of maturity takes possession and you are actually face to face with the adult that the child is going to be in the future. Then, mid-sentence, the spirit slips back into a different timeline and you are trying to have a conversation with a katamari ball as it bounces across the room.

stupid human tricks

“You’ve trained the cats to beg for food from your dinner plate.”
“At least they aren’t raccoons.”

“I accidentally cracked my phone screen, but there are not raccoon scratches on our door.”

“There’s cat fur all over my clean shirts.”
“There ISN’T raccoon fur on your laundry.”

“I failed to get the Netflix dvd in today’s mail. I succeeded at not putting food out for raccoons.”

I am excessively appreciative of the relative who taught a raccoon mom to scratch on the door for a plate of food for the raccoon babies every night.