Thursday, April 22, 2010


I've relocated to here! So mosey on down, and sorry for the hastle if you've bookmarked me and all that.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The problem with airplanes and big groups of people, regardless of how much airborne and zinc and multivatims you booste, is you're bound to catch something. Which, we inevitably did, incubating it in our lungs, and bringing it back to Madison. So here we are, tight heads, swimming lungs, hacking and coughing and sneezing and sniffling while we try to pack and enjoy each other's company in our last week and a half here.

Last night we went to Target (ohh, Target, I'm so tired of you. Why are you so convenient? And so close to my house? And why do you carry everything?) to buy a few staples, including robitussin, zicam, and airborne. As we were checking out, the cute, elderly midwestern saleslady stopped us in our tracks and asked us for our IDs. She erroneously thought it was for the Airborne, even though it was actually for the Dextromethorphan in the robitussin. So Charlie says, "Really? For Airborne?" and the elderly saleslady, in her innocently charming Midwestern accent says, "Yep. There must be something in Airborne that you can make into Meth."

Meth? Are you kidding me? This woman doesn't even know the first thing about meth. Airborne is totally homeopathic; it's a mix of herbal extracts, amino acids, electrolytes, antioxidants, and vitamins. Some higher power in Target told her that any time she had to take an ID it was because someone could allegedly make "meth" out of it, and that's the information she's now doling out to customers. Awesome. Now you probably have some teenage kid trying to get high off of Airborne. Good luck to you, buddy.

The Curse of the Wet Food

When we traveled to Massachusetts for the wedding, we abandoned the Bitter and the Leopold for four full days with bowls of food and water staggered throughout the house, the sliding glass door wide open, soft places to curl up, and our blessings.

Upon returning, it seemed that the "wet food" curse had been broken. Bitty is the one that dictates the wet food in the household. Though mild tempered by nature, she turns into a tiny demon in the morning, opening her throat and gargling out loud meows from deep in her chest cavity until you have no choice but to feed her. Her meows aren't normal, either. Leopold has a variety of meows to choose from- the pathetic boy meow that's high pitched and slight, the deep, booming meow he uses when you're breaking his "closed door policy" (which, he's found, is incredibly effective if he puts his mouth to the bottom of the door, and projects his voice into the entire room), the short and tiny trill he uses when you wake him up from a deep sleep, etc. When Bitty meows, it's like someone's got a chokehold on her throat. Like her vocal cords have been grated. Her meow rattles around in her throat until it comes yelling out, sore and angry, and her face contorts into a jackal's smile.

The day after we returned, as I mentioned, I thought the curse had been broken. I stumbled out of bed to make my coffee, and Bitty sat in her little bed dwelling underneath our dining room chair and just blinked at me repeatedly. And Leo, who takes cues from Bitty, stayed calm and collected, folded up like a little chicken with his legs tucked under in the morning sunlight. So they didn't get wet food. And I joyously retold the story to Charlie when he awoke, and he said we could save wet food for "special occasions" (whatever special occasions for a cat are).

But the next morning, when I stammered out of bed, bleary eyed and annoyed to be awake without caffiene in my system, the chorus of chortled meows hit my eardrums more angry than ever to have missed a day of wet food. Bitty ran around the kitchen island like an irate baffoon, scuttling between my legs and meowing non-stop, which set Leopold off with his high-pitched whines. Charlie and I are 100% sure that Bitty is a mentally challenged cat. My dad, a man of wisdom, will say he tries not to attribute much intelligence to a cat... but I've lived with many cats in my day, and can tell the difference between a normally functioning cat and Bits. She sleeps at least 22 hours a day, she is deathly afraid of everyone but me (she's warming up to Charlie, and she loves our friend Nick, go figure), and I've already covered the meow. She doesn't understand the function of the squirt bottle. It works well with Leopold-- we've got it down to simply showing him the bottle when a bad behavior is on display or even being considered, and it stops him in his tracks. I can squirt Bitty repeatedly and she just looks at me, confused and upset, and then continues to meow. And on the last visit I had to the vet, they told me she'd never lost her baby teeth. That's right. All the teeth in her tiny skull are baby teeth. All the teeth that contribute to her strange overbite (that's right, my cat with the huge, lamplike eyes and the ridiculous overbite) are baby teeth. And her bottom incisors are in the wrong spot.

So we're back on the wet food track; there was a bit of an issue when we switched from the seafood pate (which made our house smell like the Boston Harbor) back to the meaty bits but we've overcome this problem, and we're eating again without complaint. We love her to death. But we're pretty sure she's not at 100% functioning capacity.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


The first two years I lived in Boston were spent in a pretty thick fog of depression. The adjustment from country to city was not easy for me, and it was culminated by the fact that my classmates around me seemed thrilled to be there, happy to leave behind their rolling hills and star-dappled skies. My body yearned for clean air, wide open spaces, rivers and streams and mountains to hike.

The city seemed to hang in my window, a constant reminder that I wasn't home, and even though it would seem that I had more opportunities there than I'd ever had in Vermont, I felt trapped. I was limited to how far the subway system would take me, and the return to my dormitory was always inevitable.

By year three, the transition finally happened, and Boston started to feel more comfortable, and by year four and five, Boston felt like home. By year six, I was itching to go, so I did.

We went back to Massachusetts this past weekend for Lydia and Todd's wedding. It was a whirlwind of a trip (as our trips always seem to be) and on the last day, we traveled via commuter rail into the city to visit with our dear friends Mikki and Ezra before heading back to Logan Airport. While riding the commuter rail, I was surveying the Beverly- Salem- Lynn- Chelsea- Boston scenery and realizing that Boston is a dirty city.

Graffiti peppered the walls of every building, every train station, every stopped truck. The backyards had piles of trash-- shopping carts overturned, bumpers and fenders sticking out, plastic bags waving around in the breeze, piled ten feet high. The buildings were all dilapidated and crumbling. Had I become so numb to the city by year three, four, and five that I stopped noticing? That the graffiti, piles of trash, and crumbling buildings looked like home? That the rainbow oil stains floating atop the water seemed natural? That every bit of normal land was a "wildlife preserve" and not just "land", and that was o.k?

Of course, there are beautiful parts of the city. For example, where my friends Emily and Jeremy live in Brookline. Or where Mikki and Ezra live on University Ave. And the historic parts of the city, as I explained to Charlie as we flew in, pointing out tiny buildings from the airplane window. This is a city that I know and love, though will probably never call home again. We're still finding home.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Bunnies!

Easter rolled in with a family day, which is exactly how we wanted it. We went to the 9:20 church service (my sister-in-law Tina suggested we could go to the 7:45 but those of us without children quickly nipped that idea in the bud), followed by an exhilerating Easter Egg hunt at David and Sydney's house, and finished it off with a filling, delicious home-cooked meal.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Dust Bunnies

Despite my impeccably clean (and OCD) husband, it's hard to keep up after 2 cats and a wife with a really full head of hair (and little interest in cleaning, though I'm reforming my ways). Yesterday, we were sitting on the couch with the sliding glass door open, soaking up the fresh warm air, and a dust bunny went sailing past us, followed closely by Leopold, who was hunting it through the house, as if it were prey.

Caught by a gust of wind, it took a sudden change of path and flew straight up above his pointy black ears, and Leo, without missing a beat, leaped high into the air, and clapped his paws together in a vain attempt to capture it.

When Charlie first realized what was happening, he looked on in horrified repulsion, before yelling, "EEEWWW, DISGUSTING!". I, on the other hand, was amused and entertained. Then, he started cheering him on as if at a sporting event, calling, "You can do it, Leo! Catch it! Catch it!" Which only further encouraged the cat. When he finally did catch the little ball of fur and dust, he sat there chewing and spitting, fur stuck to his wet nose and scratchy tongue. Not that it'll deter him next time.

Welcome to my life.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Slinging It

Since Cales asked for photos of my sling, I can only oblige...

Leo has two household rules, 1. He has a "no closed door policy" in the house. Regardless of his interest in said room, the door cannot be closed. If it is, he will yowl endlessly and rip up the rug until he has gained enterance.
He's a brat.
2. If there's a box, bag, or package, he has to be inside of it. This is the bag from our new comforter, with Leopold zipped up inside.
8:23 am,  I'm sitting on the couch in PJ's eating a powerbar and drinking coffee. Charlie is plugging in the vacuum.

"You're not vacuuming now are you?"
"Just by the foot of the bed because Fluffington has decided to make that his shedding lair."

Whenever the vacuum goes on, the cats come scattering out like animals from a forest fire. They run, swagger bellies low to the ground, to the farthest point in the house from the vacuum. Sometimes, I'll vacuum in the bathroom without realizing that Bitty's crouching behind the open door. All of a sudden, like a runaway train she bolts, her legs moving faster than Scooby Doos', eyes big as saucers.

Last night, during dinner prep, I was considering the things you learn in partnership. Where I prefer my pasta Al Dente, Charles prefers it nice and cooked. But partnership is a compormise-- so I take out my pasta when it's done, and leave his in for four more minutes. Easy peasy, and we both eat happily.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Summer Plans + Urgent Care

On the first of May, Charlie, myself, and the Fat Cats will pack up our little bags and head east to Charlie's parent's summer house on Lake Mascoma in Enfield, New Hampshire, where we will camp out for May and June. Our plan is to move to the Northwest, but with our own wedding and my sister's wedding (on April 17th!) we figure taking our time and not rushing a big move like that is the wise thing to do. Besides, spending a few months, alone, at the lake house will prove agreeable, I'm sure.

----  -----

On Friday, we sat in Urgent Care for the morning trying to figure out what's "wrong" with me. This is one of my favorite games. Sometimes, it seems easier to figure out what's "right". For the past few weeks I've been suffering from fatigue, loss of appetite, headaches, lightheadedness and dizziness, mood swings-- the whole gamut. Two easy scapegoats for doctors are always stress, and my epilepsy (even if I don't think either are involved.. and no, I'm not pregnant). So after the doctor ran a few simple tests and found nothing, he patted my back, told me it was his job to assure me that "nothing was wrong, it was probably stress", and sent me on my way. Sure, doc, I'm glad to hear nothing is wrong. But I still feel tired, I'm not hungry, I'm headachey, dizzy, lightheaded, and I've got these terrible mood swings.

An equally troublesome but equivalently dubious issue that's been plaguing me is a pinched nerve in my dominant forearm. I think it started during my morning workout routine a few weeks ago, and I never stopped using the arm (because, who can afford to stop using an arm?!) so it continued to get worse and worse, until-- fast forward to three days ago, it was achey straight to the bone, and every time I extended it fully, I felt a shot of pain throughout the length of my arm. The doctor pinched and prodded around, feeling up my armpit and making me flex my (amazingly impressive) muscles, before he told me that, again, "nothing could be done" and it would "heal on its own". Of course I was annoyed, because I wasted my entire morning sitting around in the doctors office, but he's most likely right about the arm. What can you do about a pinched nerve, except have patience? So Charlie, cute thing that he is, bought me a sling, and I've been slinging my arm for the past two days. That has helped cut down on use, and kept the pain to a minimum.

We spent the entire weekend together so I can't complain, even if my moods were swinging like a sweet chariot, my arm was tied tight to my chest, and I popped Ibuprofen like Tic Tacs.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My darling, dear, and creative friend Melina often writes words that I feel like could have come spilling directly out of my brain, into her fingertips, and onto the computer screen. In her post, Perpetrator, she discusses the phenomenon when, as a writer (and, I'm sheepish to call myself such a thing, but Charlie assures me that I am.. so let's roll with it today), "life throws up on you and your first thought is 'This will make really good material!'"

I'm very familiar with the feeling. But I'm sad to say this is not such a story. Hopefully someone else enjoys reading it, because I won't. Or at least shares in my ire.

Upon returning to the states and landing in the disgusting hellhole that is the Miami airport, I was excited to turn my phone on (for the first time in almost two weeks)... only to discover 27 billion phone messages from a debt collector. Thinking this was strange, I ignored said debt collector through the weekend, and when the phone calls didn't stop, finally called back yesterday, and said, "Um, hi, yeah, you guys keep calling me?"

To which I discovered I apparently owed $1,000 to Bank of America. Again, I found this strange, as I haven't used my Bank of America card in a year. Despite Bank of America's claim that they are "everywhere".. they are not in Woodstock, Vermont, nor are they in Madison, WI... or anywhere in a 3 hour vicinity of Madision, WI, making banking with them virtually impossible. I stopped banking with them last April, keeping a small chunk of change in the account in case I ever moved to a location where I chose to bank with Bank of America again.

I feel kind of bad for the poor, southern sap who had the misfortune of telling me that "I had overdrawn" last June, my account had been closed last October, and now, I had accrued $1,000 in fees. After all, he wasn't personally responsible. None the less, I had some choice words for him, as I explained that the first I heard of this alleged overdrawing was that afternoon, from a debt collecter. He informed me that the $585 check I'd written in June was the perpetrator, to which I retorted, "Sir, for the last time, I haven't used this account since March. So how could I have written a $585 check in June?!" He took this as an appropriate "out" and transferred me from one sector to another, when I finally landed in Frauds.

Eventually, I realized what happened. Last April, I wrote my ex-landlord a check for $585, although I had already moved to Wisconsin, on the off chance that I didn't find a subletter for the apartment. I did find a subletter, and my landlord assured me that he had ripped the check up. Two months later, the subletter peaced out and decided not to pay rent. I felt bad for my ex-landlord, but I had purposely taken myself off the lease and had this guy added to avoid just this kind of situation. Now, the funds had been essentially depleted from my Bank of America account and put into a WI Credit Union, and apparently my tricky landlord had held onto the check... and he went ahead and cashed it. The details on why the bank never contacted me are still shaky ("Ma'am, we did contact you" "Sir, no you didn't." "Well ma'am, that's what we do. We contact people about these things." "Well sir, please explain to me why the FIRST TIME I HEARD ABOUT THIS WAS TODAY, FROM A DEBT COLLECTOR!?!" "Ma'am, we did contact you.") but, since I "waited so long" to make a claim on the check, their "hands are tied" and there's nothing they can do. Except, of course, charge me one thousand dollars.