Asparagus pee cracks me up.
Asparagus pee cracks me up.
I didn't get kicked out of anywhere today. Not one place! I did kick the cat out of the closet, the blinds, and my washtub vegetable garden. He was unrepentant.
Tonight a couple of coworkers and I got kicked out of the Cloak Room, the tiny, dark bar across the street from the Capitol building, for putting cigarettes out in a shot glass. (You can't smoke in bars in Austin, but some of the smaller places adhere to the letter of the law by simply not providing ashtrays.) Putting butts in the glassware was not terribly considerate, sure, but we didn't think it was that big a deal.
It was a very big deal. When the bartender came up to bus our table, she saw the offending glass and yelled, "Y'all are putting cigarettes in MY glasses? JESUS CHRIST!" Then she stalked across the room, cut the music, turned the lights on full blaze, and announced last call. It was 1:25 a.m. Nobody budged, and we realized the lights would probably go back down and the music would resume as soon as we left. So we did.
The last time I was kicked out of anywhere was when I was 18 and my drunk ass threw up in the Blue Note in Columbia, Missouri, at an Uncle Tupelo show. I stood swaying outside by myself in the cold in a city where I didn't know anyone but my roommate inside and tried to listen to the show until the bouncer took pity and let me back in for the encore. I can't decide which story I like better.
We've been living in this house almost two years, but I only recently noticed the light fixture in our hall looks just like a boob. Check it out:
So now whenever I see it, which is several times a day, I picture something like this:
It's pretty awesome, actually.
(Note to self: A life drawing class wouldn't kill you.)
Today was the same as yesterday, minus the flea spraying, plus a walk, plus a bitchin' rainstorm. What kind of loser goes to the grocery store two days in a row? The kind who forgot to get a prescription filled and still needed a carton of perpetually sold-out Topo Chico, that's what kind. Also Europeans who like fresh vegetables. The fops.
I do not want to post about how all I did today was wake up, spray the yard for fleas, buy groceries, go to work, and then come home, open a beer, and get online. But, really, I have no choice.
I am fairly proficient in Photoshop, but I am by no means a master. There is always some new trick to learn. For example, I have been using it for years but had no idea there was an asshole brush at my disposal all this time.
Ok, we just need to employ a little copy and paste action, then merge the layers...
Perfect. Now if I could just master the cloning stamp once and for all.
If we have to have rats! in the attic! at least we have an entertaining pest-control guy. In addition to his amazing piss-detecting abilities, he has some good stories. Today while he was setting more traps he told me about the woman in west Austin who had a rat infestation so bad the rats got into her car engine and ruined it with their pee. It turned out they were attracted to the expensive food she was giving her dogs. The food was of such quality that the rats in her house all had thick, shiny coats. "They were like show rats," he said, and giggled. He also assured me the peanut butter he was baiting the traps with was salmonella free.
As funny as he is, I hope I never see him again after he comes to check the traps next week.
There really are parties everywhere this weekend if I can hear a band playing all the way up here in our quiet, uncool neighborhood at 2:30 in the morning.
We have rats again. We had them last fall and spent what seemed like a lot of money to have them removed, although that seemed like a slightly more reasonable figure when we watched the nice men pull huge decomposing rat corpses out of the attic and take them far, far away in their truck.
But the rats came back this week, and I tell you hearing the loud but weirdly delicate scritch of rat claws in your downstairs ceiling is a profoundly unpleasant experience. What if they claw through the drywall and leap at our throats while we sleep? Or go for the eyes? Everyone knows the eyes are the most succulent part!
The nice men had promised to come back for free if the rats returned, so when we heard the thumping and scratching the other night, the original sum seemed smaller still.
Eric said the guy came over today and walked around our backyard for a while, then sniffed and said, "I smell rat piss." Eric said we had cats, so was he sure, because...and the guy cut him off and said, "No, that's rat piss." Then he sniffed a little more and showed Eric the hole where they got in.
What a terrible superpower to have, to be able to distinguish rat piss from all other kinds--I know for a fact we at least have raccoon, possum, cat, and human* piss in the yard, and I can't smell any of it, let alone tell the difference.
But in a way it's also beautiful. At least the guy can make a living off his ridiculous skill. I mean, I can touch my feet to the back of my head, and so far that hasn't gotten me shit. Anyway, the rats should be gone for good this time and then the cats can stop staring intently at the ceiling for hours at a time.
*Shut up, it's good for the compost pile.
I don't remember where, but recently I read about the greatest cheap and lazy method of making a garden bed that involves nothing more than laying down newspapers to smother the grass and dumping a bunch of mulch on top. I wanted to plant some stuff along the side of the house to mitigate the ugliness of the air conditioning unit and eventually shade a few windows, so I decided to try it.
Seriously, it's fantastic. I don't even know if it's going to work yet, but I'm all about it. All you need is like thirty bucks' worth of mulch--free if you want to make your own, but I don't--and a ton of newspapers. In that case it is nice to know a sympathetic archivist who is nice enough to rescue a bunch from her library's recycling bin.
After you have assembled those two things, you just lay the newspapers over the grass and weeds, several sheets thick, overlapping them so no weeds can poke through. The news has been pretty bad lately; the garden will grow amid stories of lost fortunes and furious primates.
Then you soak the papers with the hose so they won't blow away and will break down more quickly, and spread a few inches of mulch on top.
That's all. It took ninety minutes, thirty dollars, and the kindness of a friend to make 100 square feet of plantable space. You're supposed to let the whole mess break down for a season, but fuck that. I'm trying for scraggly bushes, not prize-winning orchids. Luckily, you can just punch holes in the newspaper and dig underneath whenever you're ready to plant.
Stay tuned. It could be a beautiful garden. It could be a bed of death.
Every time we see a three-leafed jagged plant, I, the alarmist, always assume it's poison ivy. Eric, on the other hand, always--always--insists it isn't. Not shiny enough, not jagged enough, not poisonous enough, or something. He never concedes.
But it has to be, sometimes, doesn't it? We spend a fair amount of time outside, so the odds strongly favor it being poision ivy at least once in a while. So in the name of scientific accuracy and marital accord, won't someone (JLowe) tell us what this is?
Except it makes me so happy, literally a bright spot in kind of a dreary time. It's more vibrant and purply in real life. The blooms are at their peak now. There should be a lot more next year.
Here are some more redbuds, at 38th and Lamar. The cypress (or cypress-looking?...anyone?) trees behind them smell like oranges, the live oaks behind the cypress (or cypress-looking) trees are pretty old, and the power lines in front of everything are a blight.
The end about trees for today.
I'm working a lot this week. That is boring, so I'm not going to talk about it. Except I just did. Shit! Delete! Delete!
Wow, a year already. I had to work all day, so we indulged in most of our anniversary festivities yesterday.
That little tiny blur of pink that even the super macro mode on my camera couldn't make out? That is all that remains of my wedding pedicure. I had to verify it with a magnifying glass, but it really is a speck of toenail polish. It lasted a whole year. So, is that (a) gross, or (b) fascinating? I pick (c) stupid.
Here's our anniversary layer with the cake topper Eric made. The musty freezer smell nearly knocked me over when I took the cake out of the box and unwrapped it, so we weren't expecting much. And in fact the frosting was terrible, almost inedible, but we were delighted to discover it peeled off quite easily to expose a core of some damn tasty lemon cake.
Not pictured: The late-night dance party we had in the living room. And, um, some other stuff...hey! I hate to cut this short, but I have a date to laze on the couch with a bottle of champagne now.
Surgery round two, electric boogaloo, is complete and without complications. The surgeon opted for an elbow cast and some external pins to be extra safe this time. Eric will be none too pleased about that once he stops flying on the good hospital drugs. But hopefully that's it and healing will commence.
This year started out great and full of plans but ran right into a wall immediately after: an ER visit, surgeries, sickness, refi stress (ultimately a good thing and we brought it on ourselves, but still), and some really busy periods at both our jobs. We're tired.
Sunday is our one-year anniversary. I will probably have to work, but we intend to take some time to eat some freezer-burned wedding cake and have a toast for everything good in our lives, of which there is plenty.
We closed on a mortgage refinance today, with a nicer rate and better terms than the original. Hooray!
I could tell they really have cracked down on lending because it was almost harder than when we bought the damn place two years ago, except of course without the part where we were terrified we would pick the wrong bad moldy murder house and leave all the perfect good sunshine life-force ones languishing on the market.
At one point this time around, the lender even called me at work and asked me a bunch of security questions to make sure I was a real person who wanted to finance a real house; after I answered them all correctly, he said--I swear--"I believe you are who you say you are," in this kind of solemn voice and hung up. I stood there for several moments, holding the silent phone to my ear, thinking, Yes, but who am I, really?
Anyway, I've pulled myself together since then. Life has gone on and all the paperwork went through just in the nick of time. Really, the only thing to do after all that was celebrate with a delicious fried chicken dinner.
Ok, really the only thing to do after all that would be to drink about seven beers with whiskey chasers. But I had to work, so Top Notch it was.
I regret I did not get a picture of the woman sitting across from me, a real Texas lady with a huge oval of perfectly teased and sprayed salt-and-pepper curls that would have made Ann Richards herself weep with shame.
I also regret that the celebration will not last long as Eric has to go back in for more wrist surgery tomorrow. Truly necessary and truly evil. Wish him luck.
The basil is doing well and has its second set of leaves out. The carrots, though, are dead or drawing their last raspy, painful carrot breaths. My friend Lynell looked at them and told me they probably needed some better light than the incandescent I'd been using. I brought a CFL to work today to supplement, but I fear it's too late. Maybe I'll start again. Maybe I'll put some onion seeds in there. Maybe I'll give up completely. On everything.
Seriously, I am in a bit of a rut lately. I am hoping my new tool/toy will remedy that, but I don't know. Maybe the best I can do for now is futz around with plants and try not to kill them and trust that something will inspire me soon.