Sunday, February 24, 2008

Eviction Diction

"I knew we were about to have some problems when they started unpacking framed pictures because who the fuck travels with framed pictures?" my mom said after we had finally gotten them out of the house.

"I also knew I had problems when I had to tell them not to smoke crack in the house," she continued.

Because yeah, if you're gonna smoke crack it has to be outside. Jeez, I thought everyone knew that.

The guests from Hell didn't leave on their own. This is because they were grifters with nowhere to go who totally preyed upon my parents, lured them in and then showed up on Casa dei Sogni's doorstep when they were evicted from their apartment in California. Sam Antonio, Martine and Hartley act as a sort of dysfunctional team of con artists and my parents had no idea.

They met them in the bar of a fancy hotel in Beverly Hills frequented by celebrities. Sam and Martine were rowdy and started buying my parents bottle after bottle of expensive champagne and tipping the hotel employees hundreds. Then they started in with the stories about how Martine was an heiress and Sam was a dot com billionaire trying to popularize his dream of Arena LaCrosse. They had fun and exchanged numbers. Every few weeks or so they would call and invite my parents to new fancy restaurants and go through the same routine of throwing cash at servers and bartenders and draining bottles of rare, high priced vintages. They paid for everything.

This is a technique that con artists use to lure in new prey. They use the money gotten from one con to impress the next victim. Then, once the new victims are hooked they start "forgetting their wallet" or being a little short on cash or needing a little to get by because they aren't liquid and they're waiting on some very complicated bank proceeding. I've seen it a million times and so have my parents, but they are more forgiving of people than I am I guess, or maybe they just really want to believe the best of people. I'm a cynic. I never give anyone the benefit of the doubt.

My parents never saw the rumored Malibu mansions where Sam and Martine said they lived and they would sometimes go weeks without hearing from them at all. This is because they would go broke into between con jobs. They would blow the money as soon as they got it, so during their down times they had to lay low lest they be discovered. Their excuse for not letting my parents see where they lived was that they were renting out the mansions (plural), some other time they were renovating and another time they used the excuse that Sam's ex wife was causing some problems with the ownership. It was all a lie. They rented a shitty apartment in Venice Beach and got thrown out of it.

They showed up because the knew my parents had a nice, big house in Florida (yay lots of drugs and scumbags there!) that they didn't live in full time. They figured my parents would let them live there, so last Sunday, dogs, pictures in frames, seventeen suitcases of trashy clothes, drug addict teenager and all, they arrived and proceeded to wreak utter havoc.

Thursday night my parents went out to dinner with some other friends and they came back home to a disaster. Their dogs had thrown up and had diarrhea all over the bedroom they were locked in while their neglectful owners sat in a bar and got fucked up all day long. Sam and Martine had gotten into a fight and he beat her up. Hartley was naked and strung out on drugs across one of the guest room beds.

Poor old Israeli Uncle Ben Yusef had no idea what to do with himself or how to handle the situation. In the middle of it all my cousin, the one who attends a very prestigious northern university, arrived. It's his Spring Break so naturally he was coming to Florida too. He took a cab from the airport and walked in to find Hartley slung across the bed he was supposed to sleep in, unclad and in a drugged out stupor. It was a bit of an awkward moment.

When my parents got back home Casa dei Sogni looked like the stage of the Jerry Springer show. Martine was all bruised up, dogs were yipping and shitting, Sam Antonio was livid and accusing Martine of stealing his drugs and money and my cousin was trying to get Hartley out of his bed, except he wasn't being very assertive about it and was all like:

"Dude, umm. Dude. Could you like, move, or something?"

So that wasn't really working.

My dad took control of the situation and made Sam and Hartley go outside and sleep in the RV and then he locked them out of the house for the rest of the night. Martine got to sleep in the bed that was full of diarrhea and dog throw up.

In the morning Martine supposedly called her parents to get her a plane ticket back to where she's from in Ohio and my dad packed her up and dropped her off at the airport. Then he had to call Mini-T to get rid of Sam Antonio and Hartley who did not want to leave at all.

I wish I didn't have a job because I had to miss the brutal cussing out that followed. My mother let loose on them and really no one in the world can cuss someone out like my mother. I'm not even sure I can reproduce the exact effect but I think it went something like this:

"Sam Antonio you pathetic Mark Twain looking like piece of mother-fucking shit you should be ashamed. You came into my house - my sacred space that I share with my family that I have not fucked up like you have fucked up yours - and you destroy my property and you disrespect me and my husband and my children and even my god damned dogs and you tried to con me like the fucking low-life, coked out gypsy motherfucker you are. You had the nerve to bring drugs into my house and drink all my god damned liquor and eat all my motherfucking food like that shit belongs to your ass and you think you can just stay here and make me clean up after your whore ass, stripper girlfriend with her nasty herpe mouth and her god awful fake tits. Sam Antonio you're a god damned pedophile - a child molester. You are 62 years old fucking a 24 year old child and you do this and drag your son around making him buy you drugs. You have destroyed this child and that girl and any chance they'll ever have at having a normal decent life, now take your kid and your god damned dogs and your broke, lying, sorry, trifling, pathetic ass and GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HOUSE right the fuck now."

It was kind of like that. In real life it was probably better.

Then Mini-T came, and I have to tell you that Mini-T, my big black brother, is very intimidating looking in appearance, especially if you are a 62 year old man who does incidentally look like Mark Twain, if Mark Twain was an alcoholic, coked-out train wreck, or if you are an equally drugged up, depressed Emo kid.

Mini-T got the job done. He just started driving with all their crap loaded into the back of his truck and said they better pick a destination. They were able to contact their new drug dealer, a woman whom they had met the day before in the bar. She lives in Miami and said they could stay with her. Mini-T drove them all the way to South Miami and once they got there Sam Antonio had the nerve to hand Mini-T a dollar, a single dollar bill and say some stupidity like:

"Thanks for helping me out bro. Let me give you a little something."

A DOLLAR BILL.

"Man please, " said Mini-T, "Your broke ass needs that shit way more than I do, bitch."

Back at Casa DS, Martine was plaguing my father with phone calls and texts. She couldn't catch her flight. She supposedly needed $350 because her bags exceeded the limit and because she had to buy a ticket for her rat dog Chanel. She wanted him to come give her the cash. I think what she was trying to do was get some cash and then she would take a cab down to South Miami and hook right back up with Sam and give him the money, which would last about five minutes. I don't think she had any intention of leaving.

Luckily, my dad had a little more sense this time. He told her to get her behind on the plane and he ended up going back to the airport, taking the suitcases with him and promising to ship them to her COD, via UPS once she called and provided an Ohio address. She was not ok with that, but what the hell could she say? My dad did end up having to pay for the dog, but he paid that directly to the ticket agent and it was $75, which he said was worth it to be rid of her.

As he drove back home for the second time my mother made him stop and rent a steam cleaner. It has taken her all weekend to disinfect the house.
Thursday, February 21, 2008

Random Cute Lizard


I saw this lizard the other day and it seemed oddly cute to me. I don't normally love lizards, but I kind of liked this one. Maybe it was the way it was standing up on the step.

The Dog That Attacked Me




This is the dog that I don't like. This dog attacked me on Sunday and it yips and shakes and is generally useless and annoying and badly trained. Martine is holding it and you can see her big ass cold sore lip there. The picture is blurry because the dog wouldn't hold still.

Peanut


This is the pirate dog that I like. I have a thing for Pomeranians. She is wet here because she was out in the rain the other day. She suffers from extreme cuteness. I think so anyway.

Pork Butt

I get Bomboclaat finally. I understand this dog. He hates everyone as much as I do. Last night he practically begged me to take him away from the madness that ensues in his house when my parents are home. I almost snuck him into my car and took off North of 95 to who knows where - just me and the deaf dog on a long, empty highway beneath the lunar eclipse. God, it would have been wonderful, except for the smell. That dog fucking stinks.

Last night I actually acted a lot like Bomboclaat, growling, snarling, sniping and overeating (my appetite returned). The catalyst for my acting like a Mini-Pin was a big pork butt, but let me rewind a little and fill you in on the goings on at Casa DS since the BBQ, because that's the only context in which my wanting to commit mass murder over a pork butt will make any sense.

Because I have a life and a job and school, and well, also because I discovered that I can get ALL of the "Lost" episodes (ALL OF THEM) for free on the ABC website, I hooked the computer up to the TV (well I personally didn't do it, Husband did it) and I have been completely engrossed in this stupid show. Disc 3? Who cares. It's all instant gratification online. Wow. I'm about halfway through Season 1 - oh, well anyway, so I haven't been back to my parents' house.

I found myself really wanting to watch American Idol last night and since I STILL don't have TV at my apartment, I called my Dad and got an earful. He is not ok with his guests anymore. He feels abused and that is a direct quote. This is a good thing because it means that there is hope and that my parents might actually have some normalness in them afterall. I thought they actually enjoyed a house of pirates. Apparently they are coming to their senses and realizing this is not ok.

It turns out that Sam Antonio the alleged billionaire, Arena LaCrosse enthusiast, isn't actually a billionaire anymore. He's more like a hundredaire, which makes me way richer than he is because I am proud to tell you all that I am a very definite thousandaire. Sam Antonio is broke, drunk and homeless and actually thought that he and Martine and his son Hartley, as well as their dogs Chanel and Peanut, could move in to my parents' house for as long as they wanted.

"I'm throwing their asses out on Friday," my dad said, "But your mother figures they'll leave by tomorrow because she made a new rule that there's no drinking in the daytime during the week."

Yesterday my parents had a lot of work to do so they called the similarly drunk massage girl Star, of shower head masturbation fame from Thanksgiving, and made her come pick them up and sit with them in a beachfront dive bar all day since it might literally kill them to not drink on a weekday during the day.

If they don't leave the plan is to call my big, Black brother Mini-T who drives a truck. Mini-T will evict them from Casa DS and drive them somewhere and drop them all off. He promises to take a curvy, convoluted path so that they'll get very lost if they try to make their way back.

Sam Antonio and Martine and Hartley, as well as their dogs, are the worst houseguests I have ever seen, and let me tell you, I've seen some bad houseguests ok? I know what I'm talking about. They're filthy, mooching, classless alcoholics with no manners and they get drunk and fight with one another. Even the dogs fight. I'm not kidding.

Somehow my dad convinced me that they'd be at the bar until it closed so that it would be totally safe to come over and watch American Idol.

"Your mother roasted a pork butt!" he said.

How could I resist a pork butt?

I was so excited. The pork butt had gravy and there was rice, peas and cole slaw with apples in it! Apples in the cole slaw!! Do you know how good that is? It was wonderful and there was just enough for four people, except that Uncle Ben-Yusef is now here too so we had to eat less and share the sides with him because he is old and Jewish and won't eat the pork. We made him a Hebrew National hot dog. Old Jewish men love those.

You know what happened. The second the food was ready and we sat down, the whole lot of pirate drunks came home exclaiming how hungry they were and how good the food looked. Then Martine started feeding pork butt to the dogs!!!! Also, can I just say that for someone who wants to lose 20 pounds, she wasn't making much of an effort because that bitch piled her plate.

I panicked. These uninvited assholes were going to eat my pork butt and my cole slaw with apples in it. Something had to be done. They had to be stopped. The only way I could stop them was by eating all the food myself so they couldn't get to it. I have seen Bomboclaat successfully employ this tactic many times. He will inhale all of the dog food so that the other dog can't even get a nibble in. Then he usually throws it up and then the poor other dog will try come and eat it, causing Bomboclaat to stand over a pile of throw up, which just looks like food since he doesn't chew, and growl like a maniac.

I didn't quite go that far but I experienced a rage and possessiveness that I have never known. How dare these people impose? How dare these drunkards think they can eat my pork butt?

So I just ended up eating way too much, getting aggravated, not being able to watch American Idol in any peace whatsoever and then I got awful heartburn and felt bloated all night. The moral of the story is to just let them eat the damned food I guess. I haven't checked in today, but if they don't leave then I'm going with Mini-T tomorrow and I'm going to personally evict them.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Right now I'm sitting in my apartment drinking tea, relishing some alone time and trying to eat. I just have no appetite and I can't figure out why. Nothing is appealing. I tried to finish an english muffin and it made me want to gag. I also have to add that this morning I got up with this brilliant idea that I would try something new and see if it inspired me and the something new was a teeny little jar of orange marmalade that I must have taken from a hotel in the past year. You see, I have an obsession with things in miniature so when I see those little ketchups, honeys and jellies I have to hoard a bunch of them. Don't even show me an itty bitty Tabasco sauce - I will completely lose my mind. The thing is that I'll collect all this crap and then I'll never eat it, because DUH, if you eat it you don't have it anymore! But this kind of thinking is stupid and it's what caused my closet to fall down, so I decided to try some orange marmalade. I don't like orange marmalade. I've always put it into the category known as "Foods That Only Old Men Like." Other items in that category include mince pies, black jelly beans, fruit cake, head cheese and those huge smoked sausages that come in gift baskets and don't need refrigeration. I figured I like oranges a lot so I should give the marmalade another shot. I still don't like it. Bleccchhh. I do, however, think I might like it IN something, like a sauce or on chicken maybe.

At this moment I am also anxiously awaiting the instant that every Cuban in South Florida decides to go absofreakinglutely ape shit about Castro resigning. Husband and I made a vow that when he died or resigned or was overthrown that we would seek out the wildest displays of Cuban apeshittery and document it because that is some serious history happening and we are right here to see it. So far I haven't heard of anyone banging on pots and pans in the street just yet, but I have a feeling it's coming. I heard rumors a while ago that if he died they were planning on throwing a gigantic party in a stadium but I have no idea if this is true.

As a honorary Cuban I think I should celebrate too. You guys didn't know I was an honorary Cuban? The honor was bestowed on me by my former roommate. I lived with a Cuban guy for five years (completely platonic, not like that) and he declared me more Cuban than he was. It was partly for how I look but mostly because of my cooking and my strange dependency on a diet of beans and rice. My roommate couldn't fathom the idea that gringas ate that too or that I could cook them as good as his Mama.

In South Florida I've always been around the Cuban culture and having a Cuban roommate for five years, I really do feel a connection with these people and their traditions. My roommate had to escape in the middle of the night with his mother and one suitcase of clothes while his father, who was a journalist and political cartoonist, ended up dying in prison. I know countless other stories like this, and it had always made me so sad that there is this beautiful country just a few hundred miles away that I could never visit because of stupid politics and regimes and nonsense like that. My dad got to go a few years ago and if I can find some of his pictures I will try to post some for you. He was doing a creative project so he got special permission to go. I was extremely jealous.

But enough of that. Nothing's happened yet. Not that I would know because I still don't have TV dammit. It's going to be another week, but at least I have Internet.

I'm also looking out my living room window which faces your stereotypical white trash shack. It's a beautiful view I have to tell you. These people used to have a fence but it fell down in a hurricane and they never put it back up so now I'm treated to a view of all the junk they heap in their weed infested, overgrown backyard. Last week when I got back I noticed that the man of the house had begun collecting what looked exactly like horse-drawn carts. Closer inspection revealed that they were actually some sort of rickshaw-like contraption. There are several of them and some are covered with a tarp. This is why you can really make an argument for the merits of a homeowner's association. This is the exact reason. Rickshaws.

In other news the madness at my parents' house has escalated to levels I haven't seen since late 2005.

After my last post the boat pulled back up and all the pirates came spilling off of it and back into the house and I kid you not, one of them offered me a valium because I seemed nervous. I told you, didn't I?

My parents proceeded to have some semblance of a BBQ except that they hadn't really planned the BBQ and so it became a free for all with the pirates inviting more pirates and then later in the evening some very tan Asian hookers in seven inch platform boots showed up with their kids who sat on the living room floor and watched portable dvd players. I was disturbed.

Here is a rundown of the guests. Some are staying at the house, some were just there for the free for all BBQ.

Norman Hershelbaum - Norman is in the music business and is visiting from New York. Although he is white and clearly Jewish, Norman describes himself as African American and means it. He kind of reminds me of Steve Martin in The Jerk. Norman really believes that he is Black, so much so that when someone tried to fix him up with a white woman he said he doesn't date out of his race. Norman also wears jeans with big green and purple stars made out of alligator skin.

Two Stock Brokers - These two guys were friends of Norman and they were both pretty cute in that Jdate, slick South Florida kind of way. If you went on a date with either one of these guys neither one of them would call you back the next day. You know the type? They would, however, pay for dinner and try to fuck you in the backseat of the car in the restaurant parking lot. Most girls would let them.

Asian Hookers - see above.

Sam Antonio - Sam (62 years old) is staying at my parents' house indefinitely. He is rumored to be a dot com billionaire who made it big in the 90s. He lives in Malibu but is from Texas and he has long white hair. He arrived on the red eye from LA at 5am Sunday and was drunk. He has not been sober since. Sam, having not much to do with his billions has dedicated his life now to the promotion of LaCrosse, which he believes is the next big thing in sports. He is trying to popularize Arena LaCrosse and he has visions of it being as big as football and baseball. Currently he is building arenas and putting together professional LaCrosse teams.

Martine - Martine is Sam's 24 year old pirate wench and owner of the killer chihuahua, Chanel. Martine is platinum blonde and has a prominent boob job. She wore a red bikini with a skull and crossbone pattern and sat with her legs wide open. I'm guessing Sam met her in LA's equivalent to the Bubblegum Kittikat and took her home as a pet. Martine won't eat because she wants to lose 20 pounds. I told her she was skinny enough and she agreed.

"I need to lose weight for a specific purpose," Martine said, sipping champagne.

"Which is?" I asked.

"Well, ok, so like I want to break into acting and I know I can do it because there are like people who hate me. They hate me and think I'm a total fucking bitch and they were still like 'yeah you could totally be an actress Martine.'"

Nice, right? Sadly though I think it's going to take a little more than losing 20 pounds for her to be successful in Hollywood.

Hartley and Peanut - Hartley is Sam's 18 year old son who is taking a year off and Hartley is the absolute best kid in the entire world and he seems to want to stab Martine in the neck with a ballpoint pen. I seriously couldn't believe how sweet, mannerly and helpful, as well as composed, this kid was. And he's adorable in a slightly Emo (no eyeliner though), Abercrombie-ish kind of way. Hartley could make it in Hollywood way before Martine, let me tell you. The sad thing is that Hartley is lost and sad. He hates that his dad is with a drunk, 24 year old stripper with no sense in her head. He said it's an embarassment. Hartley reminded me a lot of myself - the one sane person in a family full of maniacs. I think sometimes the kids of wild, partying parents become very orderly and responsible as a way of handling the chaos. Hartley has totally devoted his life to the care of Peanut, a Pomeranian puppy who is so damned cute that I could bit her head and I have never seen a teenaged boy love a dog so much. It completely made up for the attack chihuahua in cuteness and sweetness and I was able to forgive these people for bringing dogs with them to stay at Casa dei Sogni. I guess it's ok with me as long as the dog is cute.

Colbi-Ann - CA is my mom's Black girlfriend who is gorgeous and never comes over without a pot of collard greens. She was the leader of the 25 black girls who showed up on Thanksgiving (with collard greens) and talked abotu Kim Kardashian's ass. I'm very fond of Colbi-Ann. She came over to see if she could be fixed up with Norman, as they are of the same race and all. I don't know if they made a love connection or not because the Asian hookers seemed to create a distraction.

Uncle Mendel - Uncle Mendel showed up telling us about all of his 20 year old hotties in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. He claims that he is being stalked by a former Miss Universe contestant from Peru, but she, at 38, is way too old. Uncle Mendel is in his 70s.

My Orthodox Grandparents Saba and Savta - they seem oblivious to it all by now.

Oswald Vanderwitt - Oswald has been dying for me to write about him. I have no clue how he knows about this blog, but he found it somehow and now he asks me constantly not to write about him in a way that makes it obvious that he really wants me to write about him. Oswald is so interesting that he is going to get his whole own post pretty soon, but for the meantime I will tell you that he is a complete mystery. I don't even know if Oswald Vanderwitt is even his name, and he is currently trying to break into the spirits busines with a revolutionary new product - Viagra Beer. More on this later.

Huge - Huge is the guy who came over last week wearing the shirt that said "I'm Huge." He is not particularly huge, at least not where I can see and he swears by colloidal silver. I told him if he keeps up he'll turn blue. Blue and Huge. Now that would be something to see wouldn't it? No one can tell me anything about Huge. My parents picked him up in LA. They went to Sundance with him. They don't remember where they met him. No one knows what he does. Huge is described only as "the most hooked up motherfucker you ever want to meet." I guess that means that there's a good chance that some of you know him, as he apparently, is rumored to know "everyone."

There were also about 20 more random people and dogs running in and out of the house, but I kind of lost track.

Tomorrow, Uncle Ben-Yusef is coming from Israel, but he deserves a post all his own.
Sunday, February 17, 2008

Disaster Ensues

My parents bought a new "state of the art" (my Mom's favorite description of technology as she is still stuck in the 70s when it comes to technology) freak magnet out in California. This one is stronger. I think it was made in Japan or something. The new freak magnet is pulling them in from everywhere at a never before seen rate of speed and frequency and frankly, I can't take this shit anymore. I'm going to go ape shit in about two minutes.

My weekend has been a tremendous disaster. Half of my stuff is still at my parents' house because I was so sick all week that I just couldn't get the energy up to gather everything and take it back to my apartment. I planned on doing that this weekend.

But no.

I had to go to a baby shower yesterday morning. I was stressing a bit over this baby shower, because I can't recall having been to a baby shower in my adult life quite yet. Most of my friends just got married so now they're all starting the move into the next phase of life where they all reproduce. I figure that once all the hoopla from their weddings settles down they get bored and kind of miss all the parties and attention so the best way to get all that fun back is to get pregnant and start a new round of making your friends buy you presents and honor you in various ways. So because of this I currently have five pregnant friends and one who is desperately trying to be the sixth. I still have two more out of state weddings this year so between all of my friends I should probably be flat broke by next November. My next birthday charity challenge will have to be for me.

I've got the wedding shower thing down. I know what to get, where to get it and I can win that toilet paper wedding dress game like nobody's business. The baby shower, however, is all new territory for me. Partly this is because in my family no one has ever had a shower. Whenever one of my family gets knocked up there's usually some sort of dispute in court, a restraining order against the baby daddy, other family members who are mad about the pregnancy and instead of being happy and throwing parties we all sit around and worry about the kid's future and say things like "I don't know how she'll take care of this one because she don't take care of the one's she's got." It's horribly depressing. Because of this I've come to associate baby with tragedy not baby with party. It's really sad but growing up I can't think of a single time when I ever once saw anyone happy that they were pregnant and I never saw anyone happy for someone else being pregnant either. I think this has really influenced my own choices about not having children (yeah, please stop asking me when I'm getting pregnant because I'm not, ok?)

But as I have transcended my roots to some extent I now have friends who got to come from nice happy families where people love babies instead of seeing them as money sucking, life ruining, germ infested burdens. I am trying to make the transition and my mindset is so rooted in the negative view of babies that when my friends tell me they're expecting I don't know if I should congratulate them or give my condolences and ask if they need a ride to court/ the abortion clinic/ the welfare office/ or the DNA testing place. Some things are just ingrained, you know?

But back to this baby shower nonsense. I had no idea what to do or expect. Friday night I had to get a present which was an ordeal in and of itself because I found out that I don't know what half of the stuff in the baby section of Target even is and I have no clue what people need and what is considered good taste or tacky as shit when it comes to babies. Also, I felt really uncomfortable buying my friend a breast pump and nipple creams. It was a little too intimate. I ended up kidnapping a woman in the stroller aisle and begging her to help me out. She had a baby herself so obviously she would know what babies needed, right? She did. She loaded my cart up with all sorts of infant paraphernalia, nothing concerning nipples, and a hundred dollars later I was ready to wrap the gifts and be done.

My stress was over!

Yeah, right.

In the middle of the night Husband and I awoke to a gigantic crash. Our first thought were: a. the cat has somehow ripped the TV off the wall. b. an angry mob is trying to break in and they are using a bulldozer. c. a plane has crashed into the building.

We inspect the entire house, find nothing and go back to bed thinking we are nuts or the apartment is haunted.

The next morning I overslept and cursing my friends for having a shower at 11 am, I rush frantically to shower and find an outfit. When I opened my closet I found the source of the gigantic crash. My entire closet system had collapsed in upon itself in the middle of the night as 70 years ago,when the place was built, some moron thought that one bracket would be enough to hold twelve feet of shelving and a wooden rod. I might add that when I moved in that I too was moron enough to believe that the 70 year old rig could last another 70 years.

I had a lot in that closet. Apparently I am a pack rat, although I've been in complete denial about this. I guess I think that if you can't see the clutter, that if you pack it into a closet and shut the doors, that the clutter does not exist. Oh I was so wrong. In a massive junk heap, amid the tangle of broken shelving, were my Christmas decorations, my wedding dress, the tragic leather pants my mother bought me during a psychotic episode where she bought us all leather pants, clothes from ten years ago, shoes from ten years ago and every hoochie, trashy tank top my mother has ever bought me for three dollars at TJ Maxx that I have never once worn. Somewhere in this catastrophe was supposed to be the outfit that I was going to wear to the shower. I considered canceling, but Husband assured me that the world had not ended and then he pulled out, and I wish I were kidding, a strapless mini dress that I think I used to wear when I worked at the Bubblegum Kittikat and said:

"Wear this! It's perfect!"

Then we got into a fight about why an eight year old, red, sequined, strapless mini dress that barely covers the bottom of my ass is decidedly not appropriate attire for a morning baby shower where most of the guests would be wearing sweater sets and pearls. Also, he wanted me to wear the red minidress with a pair of old brown loafers because those were the shoes closest to the top of the pile. My friends would have had me committed if I showed up in that get-up. Although, it might have been slightly amusing, I have to admit.

I managed to pull something decent out of the heap and I went to the shower where I was late and where they were all playing games that had to do with one's knowledge of babies, so I failed miserably. Then we all sat around and drank blue punch that looked exactly like Windex and they all talked about babies, because four of the guests in addition to the showeree were also pregnant. I said nothing and everyone made jokes about pregnancy being contagious to which I declared myself vaccinated.

At the shower, which was really nice and in a lovely home, I encountered my newest addition to the Nasty Assed Recipe Hall of Fame, and this was good because it had been a while since I'd seen a casserole worthy of being placed alongside the pretzel salad.

The hostess called it a hot chicken salad. It was not ok. It also caused me some significant cognitive dissonance. My brain almost exploded. On one hand I was in this beautiful house surrounded by girls in pastel outfits who were all educated and had been to Europe at least twice, but on the other hand they were serving a dish for lunch that was totally out of Millpond and reminded me of one of my own family gatherings where people would be talking about the restraining order against the baby daddy. It was really confusing. I still haven't figured it out.

The casserole consisted of cut up chicken chunks mixed with raw onion and celery, lots of mayo and salt and pepper. This was spread in a casserole pan and topped with a layer of orange American cheese which was then covered in crushed potato chips, chow mein noodles and slivered almonds. The whole lot was baked in the oven and served hot. NOT OK.

By the time the shower was over I was ready to starve to death and when I get hungry I get mean. I knew I had to go home and confront the closet situation. I can not even explain the new level of irritability I've achieved this weekend.

At home Husband was waiting for the Direct TV guy to come install our new dish so that we can have 275 channels that still don't have anything to watch on them. The guy had come, had a panic attack and left, promising to return. In the meantime Husband had brought the contents of my closet into the living room for me to sort through. I decided to watch "Lost" dvds because I want to catch up and see why everyone loves this show. I had gotten to Disc 3 of Season 1 when the disc stopped working leaving me completely hanging not knowing a thing and with nothing else to watch on TV since the Direct TV guy disappeared into oblivion with his panic attack. I may never know who clubbed Sayeed and where that damned polar bear came from and who the guy in the suit standing in the water is!!!

Husband is now building me a new closet, the Direct TV guy never returned even after we called back three times and my house now looks like a Salvation Army thrift store instead of a place where human beings can actually live and walk through without tripping over junk. The good thing is that I got rid of a lot of crap, including god damned Disc 3 of Season 1 of "Lost."

But on top of all that unforeseen work I still had a lot of planned work that has to be done that I didn't get to. Also my laptop was in my room at my parents' house.

This morning Husband and I were going to come to my parents' house, get the rest of our stuff, including my laptop, and then we were going to try to get all the work done that we need done for tomorrow.

We arrived to find that the freak magnet had worked some major overtime. The house was filled with what looked like the crew of a pirate ship. Come to think of it, a lot of my parents' friends look exactly like pirates. Perhaps, in a sense, they are like pirates, most of them. They have lots of earrings, tattoos and jewelry. One guy had his nails painted to look like cat's eyes. The men wear puffy shirts and vests and boots, and Readers, can I just give you a word of advice? Never trust people who wear puffy shirts and vests, ok? Just take my word for it. If you see a man in a puffy shirt and a vest - RUN.

I think I'm going to get a Jolly Roger and fly it out in front of the house when my parents are home. It would be perfect.

So here are all these people who look like the crew of the Black Pearl and they are all staying here and they are staying in my room. As we arrived a boat had pulled up and everyone was going on the boat, and then my husband got sucked into the vortex and he too ended up on the boat, but I resisted. I had to work! I had to do the laundry. I had homework and needed my laptop! It was utter madness.

Finally everyone left. I went to get the laundry and my schoolbooks out of the car and guess what? Husband took the keys with him on the boat. At least, I sighed, my laptop was here.

I went upstairs to get it out of my room and oh my fucking God I was attacked by a strange dog. And my room here looked like my closet did yesterday. The pirates had ransacked my room - my only safe place in my parents' house where I go when it gets too much for me. My sacred spot was destroyed and there was an attack dog in it!!!

I can not describe the mess that the pirates had made in my room. They had basically emptied four suitcases and five dog carriers. There were alligator and purple ostrich boots all over the floor as well as some whorey looking clothes, so I'm guessing there are some pirate wenches on board as well. I don't know why there were five dog carriers because I only saw one dog, and the one dog was a vicious chihuahua who bit the shit out of my ankles until I yelled at it and it went under the bed. Somewhere in the mix of beads, spandex, leather vests and dog kibble I found my laptop and came downstairs.

And this, dear readers, is all I could do because everything else was locked in the car.

Does anyone have an extra Xanax for me? Oh wait, I bet the pirates could help me out with that.
Thursday, February 14, 2008

Do Not Get Your Sweetheart This for Valentines Day

I am pleased to report that I feel almost better. Maybe it's the fact that I live in a world where bacon in chocolate exists. Maybe it's the perfect weather we're having today, or maybe it's that all that medication that made me dream of miniature safari animals has actually worked. I'm kind of feeling in the Valentine's spirit I have to say. I'm feeling the love (or the cough medicine).

I haven't always felt the love. I used to hate Valentines Day. From messing around the Internet today, I see that I was in good company. Plenty of people are writing and sniping about how they hate Valentines Day. Believe me, I totally understand. It's a crappy holiday if you don't have someone or if you do have someone and that someone is an utter jackass. I've been in both of those places aplenty. I happen to have gotten lucky with my dear husband and he makes me want to express my love for him all the time. I'm not that into needing a holiday to do that and I'm definitely not one of those girls who has to have a big fuss made just because it's February 14th. I find that the more secure as person is in his or her relationship, the less presents and nonsense on specific dates even matters.

Tonight, I refuse to go out and fight crowds and spend too much money just because it's a day when you're supposed to do that. I'm going to make my husband his favorite dinner, which is a homemade french bread pizza. Then we'll make some cookies, light some candles and watch a movie. This makes me impossibly happy.

I've not always been so easy-going. Back when I was with Evil Ex I dreaded Valentines Day. I dreaded every holiday. I was so insecure that I looked to special occasions to see if he would give me some validation. If he didn't do anything for Valentines Day it confirmed that he really didn't love me. If he did something, anything, then it might mean that he loved me a little bit and there was some hope. On every V-day, birthday, anniversary or whatever I always hoped he would do something incredible and would surprise me. I knew lots of girls whose boyfriends did amazingly romantic and over the top things for them and I always hoped Evil Ex would one day realize that he was a jerk and would miraculously change and become one of those guys who flies his girlfriend to Paris and proposes on the banks of the Seine. This never happened. The funny thing is that now that I have a healthy and normal relationship I think all the over the top shows of romance are tacky and silly. I just want some cookies and a DVD and I'm thrilled.

The last year that Evil Ex and I were together I finally started to get some sense in my head and I knew it was definitely not going to work based on his Valentines Day "gift." This is easily the worst gift I have ever received from a man and I would like to share this with all of you who may be reading who are sad and single or lonely today. I hate that this holiday does that to people. Holidays should be fun for everyone, not just the people in happy relationships. If you are feeling sorry for yourself today then read this and say "at least I didn't get that!" Then go get some bacon chocolate for yourself.

My last Valentines Day with Evil Ex I was sitting at home being pitiful. I wished he would bring me roses. I wanted candles lit, champagne, lobsters, Paris and well, I wanted a different fiance. I wanted one who at least came home once in a while. At the time I didn't know he was off getting ready to get someone else pregnant. I was an idiot. I thought he worked a lot and played 20 hour games of golf on the weekends.

It got pretty late and I had somehow convinced myself that he was late because he was working on some fantastic surprise for me. This was going to be the best V-day ever. He was going to outdo himself. Not that that would have been very hard. It's pretty easy to outdo nothing. I mean he could have taken me to Chick-Fil-A and let me get a chicken strip combo and if he let me get a lemonade with it I would thought that was him outdoing himself.

Evil Ex got home at around 9 pm. He was totally empty handed. I thought he was teasing me, you know, pretending that he forgot or that he didn't get me something because he was about to surprise me with something extra-incredible. I gave him his card and gifts and he looked genuinely surprised. I decided to play along. Nothing happened. A little while later I couldn't take it.

"Come on," I said, "Don't torture me. What'd you get me? You got me something right?"

"Uhh yeah. Of course. Yeah. It's out in the car," he replied.

Evil Ex went out in the car. Oh this was it, I thought. I was about to get a wonderful romantic surprise!!! I watched out the window as he messed with something in the trunk. It was big! I was getting a BIG VALENTINE!!

Evil Ex came into the house with a bundle of something wrapped in a blanket that he always kept in the trunk.

"Well I didn't do a good job wrapping it," he said, handing it to me.

I was so excited I couldn't hardly stand it. I unwrapped the blanket and found....

A heating pad. I found a heating pad, not even in a box, which had been wrapped in a a sandy trunk blanket and had a long tangled cord hanging from it.

Obviously this was a joke. Right? Ha. It was a joke. Ha?? Funny?

I turned the heating pad over. Maybe it had a surprise hidden in it and this was all part of the game. I had heard lots of stories about guys surprising their girlfriends by making it seem like they hadn't gotten them anything or that they hadn't gotten them something good, but then it turns out it was just a joke and there would be a diamond ring or something hidden inside. Nothing was inside the heating pad. Except the potential for, well, heat.

"Don't you love it?" Evil Ex asked.

"Is this really a heating pad?" I asked.

"Yeah! You love heating pads!"

"I do?"

"Yes, for cramps," said Evil Ex.

"I have never had a cramp in my life."

"Well you can use it for headaches."

"You want me to put a heating pad on my head for Valentines Day?"

"Yes!"

"A heating pad???? For Valentines Day???"

We proceeded to get into an argument in which I put two and two together and realized that the heating pad was his grandmothers because he had been driving her around the week before because she had strained her leg. She had left her heating pad in his car. Evil Ex, realizing that he was about to be in big trouble because he had forgotten or neglected to do anything for me went to the car and wrapped up the first thing he saw and tried to pass it off as a Valentine's gift for me. He had given me his grandmother's used heating pad. It wasn't even like he gave me a new heating pad! Not that that would have been much better, because in times of romance one should really not bestow one's lover with a gift that reminds one of pain and sickness. Just a word of advice in case you wanted to give your girlfriend say some Breathe Right Strips or a humidifier you just got for cheap on Ebay. You may also want to rethink that surgical tape idea as well.

Nana's used heating pad was the beginning of the end, for obvious reasons. It remains to this day in the absolute worst gift I have ever received hall of fame. Nothing has ever topped it and I hope nothing ever will. I would definitely rather have had the Chick-Fil-A, without the lemonade.

Use my comments section to commiserate. What are your worst Valentines Day gifts or stories? Please share. If I get some really good ones we can make a whole post out of them and laugh together at them because that always makes it a lot better. I like to find the humor in dreadful days and situations, as you all know.

Happy Valentines Day


Happy Valentines Day. If I could I would send each and every one of you this wreath, although I suspect there are several of you who wouldn't even want it. It's the thought that counts, come on. I would also get you this chocolate.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Sickness Update

Thank you all for your well wishes as I try to get better. It's really nice of all of you. I figured I owed you an update, especially for all the people urging me to go to the doctor, although I can not be responsible for what I might write in my current heavily drugged state.

Yesterday my father took me to the doctor where I stayed for most of the day because I had to have IV fluids and a shot in the ass that burned like I was being injected with straight fire. I'm not a wuss about needles at all, so this was pretty unusual for me. Normally I don't think they hurt at all, but I'm telling you this one had my eyes watering. The good news is that I don't have pneumonia (yay!) and the bad news is that I am really sick, but we knew that already. More good news is that I am getting a lot better from whatever they gave me in that shot and IV. I also got a nice new asthma inhaler that is allowing me to breathe instead of the thing I was doing instead of breathing, which was taking huge gasping, rasping heaves of air and then coughing like a walrus.

I've never had an IV before. I've always been a bit freaked out about the idea of having tubes and bags and needles attached to my body with tape. I guess I always thought that if you need some apparatus like that, that you are in dire straits at that point and are pretty much about to die. Clearly I exaggerated the threat in my mind because I was not about to die yesterday and the IV was far less dramatic than I had always imagined it would be. In fact, it was kind of cool. I like to refer to it as mainlining some healing. It's a faster, more efficient way to get better and I would much rather get stuck with a needle than swallow a mess of horse pill antibiotics all week. I know that's just my own bizarre quirk. Needles are ok, but God forbid you'd ask me to swallow a pill. I lose it. I can't swallow big pills and turn into a crying five year old. I must have choked to death on something in a past life.

The IV was so wonderful that I almost wanted to bring it home with me. Never before has something made me feel so much better so quickly. I don't know what the hell was in that bag. Also, the doctor came and stuck a syringe of some other magical liquid in the IV, which he called "a push" and it was something pink and made me so hot for about thirty seconds that I thought I was going to spontaneously combust and then miraculously my hot flash subsided and I was all better and went back to reading National Geographic. Doctors are so damned mysterious. I wish I knew what all he was putting into me. Whatever it was worked. Maybe it's best I not know. I might become some shooting-up-pink-stuff junkie.

Then I came home and started loading up on medications. At this point I am a walking chemical stick. I am more pharmaceutical than human and I am really, really dizzy. I am majorly tore up, people. Last night I had one long hallucinatory dream about a guy who had sprouts of morning glory vines coming out of his chest. Then he walked down the street and found a teeny tiny zebra fighting with a teeny tiny giraffe, so he picked up the teeny tiny zebra and took it home and let it graze on the vines on his chest. It was seriously fucked up. I can't even believe my mind could conceive of something that fucked up. I think I am on the verge of writing my own Alice in Wonderland over here.

I'm still at my parents' house, which seems like the best option for me right now because I can be supervised and fed soup at regular intervals and my mother can stop me from going up on the roof and singing Purple Haze in the rain while I'm tripping on cough syrup.

While I've been sick I've watched an unusual amount of TV because there's nothing else to do. In my healthy life I'm too busy to watch many shows and I guess I was naive and just had no clue what kind of nonsense is actually on. I actually watched a show that was all about some girl trying to breast feed and she was having trouble so she had to call in a Lactation Consultant. Not only did I not know this job existed, but I had no clue that it was some super-hero like profession that got its own reality show. That people actually watch apparently. I don't know. That kind of skeeved me out. I don't think it would work on Prime Time. I know we have Super-Nanny, but I just can't see Super-Lactation Consultant. It was really dramatic too. Super-Lactation Consultant was all like "LATCH ON!!! We have to get her to LATCH ON!!" as if the future of the world hung in the balance because the baby wasn't getting enough colostrum, which is a word I don't ever want to type ever again.

After Super-Lactation Consultant I watched a show about some women having babies in a bathtub which freaked me out to the point that I think I may never have children. You should have heard them screaming and they were all buck naked on television with rooms full of people looking at them naked and screaming and feeding them ice chips. One of the women had a gigantic tattoo on her stomach and the pregnancy had distorted it. I think that may have been the souce of some of my nightmarish hallucinations.

I couldn't take anymore gestation and lactation so I had to turn off the TLC and switch to HGTV and watch people fix up ugly houses. I find these shows very relaxing, but boring. Now I'm watching America's Funniest Home Videos from around 1989 and laughing at people with mullets falling dramatically.

There's an interesting commercial on for a medication that treats Restless Leg Syndrome, which I understand to be some condition where your leg has sensations in it that make you want to go out and kill people. Someone described it to me as your leg feeling very itchy and twitchy to the point where you need to shake it around all the time and this prevents you from sleeping. I can see where that could be annoying, so they have a pill for it that they're advertising all over TV now. I've seen the commercial 99 times at least this afternoon. Now what gets me are the side effects - compulsive gambling and uncontrollable sexual urges. I picture the following scenario:

Woman: Honey, how's that restless leg syndrome that was keeping you awake at night?

Man: Wow, this new pill is amazing! My leg doesn't itch or twitch at all anymore! It's like a miracle! Of course I've lost our house in a card game and gambled away our children's college fund at the Indian Casino and we'll probably be living in the car for a while, but wow, my leg is totally healed. Also, I fucked sixteen hookers, the next door neighbor, my best friend's grandmother and two of your girlfriends. But yeah, that Restless Leg is GONE!

I think I'd rather have an itchy twitchy leg.

But again, thanks for your well wishes. I am on the road to recovery. My immune system is taking a slow boat back from Tahiti, but it IS on its way home. Oh and I forgot to tell you, and this has nothing to do with anything except lots of cough syrup and steroids, but yesterday I saw a double rainbow and it was really pretty and I just wanted to share. Because I am on drugs.
Monday, February 11, 2008

Ugghhhhhh Groooann Moan Bitch Ughhhhh No

A few weeks ago my immune system came to me carrying a suitcase.


"I hate you, " said my immune system, "I'm leaving you."

"Why?" I asked.


My immune system informed me that it was tired of my shit and wasn't putting up with my abuse anymore.


"I can't take it," my immune system complained, "You don't exercise enough. You don't eat enough. You run your big mouth on the Internet about how people should stop eating like assholes when the truth is that you may eat healthy things but you don't eat enough. Some days you only eat one meal! I can't run on this little food and frankly, you could stand a cookie every now and then."

"Without corn syrup! But hey, I ate apple pie the other day," I argued.

"It's not just your eating. You are doing too much. You run around like a crazy person. You take on a super human amount of things to do and you actually do them and well, but it's at my expense. I'm sick of you being an overachiever. And you don't sleep enough and I hate your perfume and well, I just think we need some time apart so that you appreciate all I do for you. I'm taking a long vacation," my immune system complained.

"You're being unreasonable. You can't leave me," I said.

"Oh yes I can. Watch me! You're getting a stomach virus!!"

"I am NOT getting a stomach virus and you are NOT leaving me! You belong to me. I am the boss here!"

"Ok, you're getting the flu too. You're going to have the worst congestion of your entire life. You're going to cough so much you puke. Your chest is going to heave in agony and you won't be able to breathe. You will moan in pain from your aching joints and there will be no relief!"

"You're being a jerk immune system and besides, I had a flu vaccine, so nanny nanny boo boo. You're bluffing!!"

"Ha ha ha. I'm going to give you a flu strain you aren't vaccinated against!!! Then you can have a secondary lung infection and bronchitis too!! Because I hate you!"


"You can't hate me! I demand that you stop this right now. Right this instant!!"

"Do you want a yeast infection too?? Huh?? Do you? Because I will not hesitate to give you a raging yeast infection on top of all this! Do not push me!"


My immune system was just being way too hateful for me to argue with anymore and the idea of a burning crotch along with my other suffering was enough to scare me into submission.

"Fine, " I said, "Fine. Go on vacation. Leave me here."

With that my immune system left on a first class Trans-Pacific flight to Tahiti where it's now staying in a thatched roof cottage on the water and a Tahitian beauty in a sarong is serving it fresh papaya.

I, on the other hand, have been sicker in the past 2 weeks than I've been in at least 8 or 9 years. For real. I am deeply unwell. I can't even believe that I got up out of bed to write this and that I am functioning, but I was just desperate and bored and sick of being sick, which caused my immune system to call and threaten me again, but I am, as usual, ignoring it. Sometimes life has to flippin' go on, you know? I'm not the kind of person who sits around in bed and cries. Except that's what I've been doing pretty much.

Also I have no Internet at my house ( I turned it and the TV off to save money since I thought I'd be here for at least six months because I am an idiot) and my air card won't work inside my apartment because my apartment is old and has really thick concrete walls. So basically everything sucks. Hard. I also have to work and do my school stuff and then...my parents came home.

My parents called last week, totally out of the blue, as is their style and informed us that they would be home in two days. They were driving the RV back across the country and will be home for two months. This meant we had to move back to our apartment, which is fine with me. I was kind of missing the apartment, but I would have just rather had a little more notice and I wish I wasn't so very sick. Moving a bunch of junk and a neurotic cat when one has the flu and a 102 degree fever is the opposite of fun.

The good side of this is that my mother is here and when one is sick a nice mother can make a world of difference, especially when the nice mother is assisting in the making of a big pot of chicken soup. I'm at my parents' house right now to eat the chicken soup and use the Internet and watch their TV on their couch and let them take care of me, which I have to say, they are doing. God bless 'em.

Oh and before I go on can I just add that I think they remotely reactivated the freak magnet because I kid you effing not, they weren't here for ten minutes, literally ten minutes before some dude showed up at the door wearing a tee shirt that said "I'm Huge." As I sit here typing this in their living room a guy wearing a jeweled belt buckle the size of a hubcap, along with a jeweled baseball cap also walked in. Behind him an older man wearing a skull and crossbone necklace arrived and started smoking so my mother shooed them out of the house so they wouldn't send me into a state of respiratory arrest.

The chicken soup isn't ready yet and I really need it to be because it is the last resort in a long line of potential remedies for what ails me.

I got so desperate that I started trying EVERYTHING. You know how when people find out that you're sick they start in with all the things that they know that will absolutely instantly cure you and how most of them are ridiculous? Well, I got so desperate that I tried them all in hopes that maybe something, anything would offer me some relief from my pain. Nothing works.

My mother has been telling me for years that pouring peroxide in your ears will cure everything from the common cold to freaking tuberculosis and it will do it instantly and miraculously. Can I tell you I have poured a gallon of peroxide in my ears and it has done nothing except maybe, MAYBE clean out some wax buildup, but I doubt it even did that. I also gargled with it. I am so desperate that I would give myself a peroxide enema if I thought that might help, but I know it wouldn't.

I tried zinc lozenges, zinc up the nose, Airborne, Emergen-C, assloads of Vitamin C, echinacea, goldenseal and mangy dog root. I took probiotics and did some freaky yoga stretches that made me feel like I had gas. Then I used hot compresses, cold compresses, sat in a steam bath, rolled in Vicks and prayed to God naked on the bathroom floor. My friend Emma's mother told me to coat my feet in Vicks, put socks on and go to bed. She swore I would wake up cured. I woke up with greasy, minty feet. It didn't work. Nothing worked.

I said, fuck this homeopathic shit. I made Husband go to Walgreens and he got me enough decongestants and cough suppressants to start a profitable meth lab. Oh! How's crystal meth against the flu? I haven't tried that. I took the medicine. Nothing worked. Aunt Kiki chimed in and said I had to gt Delsym for my cough. My cough laughed at Delsym. It wants codeine. My cough is a junkie.

So that's where I am. I'm getting light-headed so I think I'll just watch TV and sob quietly to myself until the soup is done. I think I'll be back soon. I'm getting really bored. Also I should have TV and Internet at my place by the weekend. One hopes.

How are you all doing? You guys sick too?
Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Time I Did Elton John Terribly Wrong

One time I did Elton John terribly wrong. I lied to Elton John and I’m coming clean –
exposing the truth of my actions in hopes that Elton John may some day be able to forgive me, because I’m deeply sorry. Really, I am.

I didn’t lie directly to his face. It was more complicated than that. Normal people like me aren’t allowed to actually speak to Elton John, or for that matter even make eye contact with him, so I’m going to have to explain.

When I was nineteen, I lived in Atlanta and I worked as a cook in an extremely fancy hotel. As I had no formal schooling, the chefs there trained me in the culinary arts. I was a high school dropout. I couldn’t go to college, so I needed a skill and some kind of a career to support myself. I liked to cook so it seemed like a good choice for me and it worked out pretty well because before I got the job I was living with three other people in a musty apartment with a bunch of cats. No one ever cleaned and I literally slept on a mattress that I pulled out of the wet, mildewed garbage in front of the Daughters of the American Revolution building on Piedmont. My parents didn’t help me and I got fired from my job as a coffee shop waitress because even back then it was apparent that I just wasn’t meant to wait on people. I was, however, meant to cook for them.

I worked 60 and 70 hour weeks at the hotel, but it was worth it. I had health insurance, a uniform and got to eat whatever I wanted. This was the best job ever. Although I worked in all the kitchens (pastry, brunch, banquet, garde-manger) I loved the times when I got to do room service. The overnight shift was the best because hardly anyone ever ordered anything and when they did it was something easy like scrambled eggs. We had a pretty extensive room service menu, but people just didn’t order from it very often. They would call and make special requests, which we were supposed to do everything in our power to fulfill. Since we were one of the finest hotels in Atlanta, we got a lot of VIPs and famous people and when I did room service I had to cook for them. I never got to meet anyone, but whenever a VIP would make an order the person who took the orders would tell me who it was for so that I would make it extra special.

The woman who took the room service orders was a gigantic black lady named Everestine who had six kids. She hated white people. She loathed white people. She wanted all white people to die. Of course I completely ignored this and told her I loved her anyway in spite of my unfortunate affliction of whiteness. She used to act like she hated me, but Everestine was totally full of it because she used to drive me places and let me sleep at her house all the time and she even took care of me when I was sick. She did all this while telling me how evil my whiteness was and how she could never not hate me because she had to stick to her vow of hating all white people forever no matter what, but I paid her no mind. Once when we were at the mall Everestine refused to give up her parking space until a black person came along to take it, because it was a good parking space and she didn’t want a white person to have it. We had to sit there for an hour until some black people finally showed up. I’m not kidding. This really happened.

Everestine hated our VIPs because they were usually white people, but whenever one of them called she’d come tearing out of her office as if Jesus Christ himself had called asking for a grilled cheese on wheat. She’d make a great big deal out it and have hysterics if I took too long cooking whatever it was the VIP asked for, but then she’d realize what she was doing and turn her sense of urgency into a long diatribe about “whitey.”

Elton John used to come to our hotel all the time. I have no earthly idea why. Back then Elton John had a fancy penthouse in a high rise on Peachtree, which was the pride of the entire city. Every time anyone in Atlanta drove past this building they would have to cease all conversation and point out that Elton John lived in that very tower. Then on the way back, coming the opposite direction, they’d do the same thing all over again. If they had to pass the building every day, every day they’d twice repeat that Elton John lived in that building. That one. Right there. Elton John’s building was walking distance from our hotel. I never understood why, if you lived in a fancy high-rise, you would choose to spend several nights at a hotel that was less than a mile away from your actual home.

The only answer I can come up with was that Elton John really loved my chicken club sandwiches. I can understand that. If I made you one right now you would say it was the best chicken club you’d ever had and you’d want to smack your grandma across the face (this is one of those bizarre southern expressions that makes as much sense as staying in a hotel walking distance from your house). My club sandwich has chicken, apple-smoked bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, mayo, avocado and secrets. If I make it for myself I leave out the mayo and I’m willing to tell you my secrets. First I poach the chicken and slice it thin. I use buttered, whole grain toast. The mayo’s homemade, the veggies seasoned, and I brush my bacon with maple syrup, sprinkle it with cinnamon, cayenne and black pepper before baking it. It’s beyond good. Elton John can tell you. He ordered at least one of my club sandwiches every day. If he ordered one when I was working in another kitchen they’d come and get me to make it.

Then one day Elton John went on a diet. He could no longer eat chicken clubs. One of his handlers showed up in our kitchen. She had just gone to the farmer’s market and delivered to us a bag of nasty looking vegetables.

“Elton John wants you to juice these,” she said.

I agreed to do this because we had a serious juicer and made juices all the time. I wasn’t too thrilled about dragging it out, but I figured it couldn’t be too hard to make the man a glass of healthy juice if he wanted one. Could it?Yes it could.The bag contained an assortment of things like kale, collard greens, burdock root, salsify, shitake mushrooms, Jerusalem artichokes, lotus pods, bitter melon, fava beans and one golden beet. There wasn’t a normal vegetable in the entire bag. I decided to wash it and throw it in the juicer, but the juicer wasn’t having it. The vegetables were dry, so the machine jammed. I tried to add water. Nothing happened. I scraped everything out of the juicer and put it in a bowl. It looked like a chopped salad, albeit a disgusting one. One of the chefs said it looked like hamster cage bedding.

Next I tried to put some of it in a blender. Nothing happened. There was simply no juice. I had to get out the big guns. We had this thing that looked like a monster sized immersion blender that was the size of me and could instantly puree a live cow. Surely this thing could get some juice out of these vegetables, I thought.

About this time Everestine came to see why I was taking so long.

“Hurry up! This for Elton John!! Elton John need some juice!”

Then she had an abrupt change of heart.

“Fuck Elton John, that white motherfucker. Who he think he is wantin’ vegetable juice? What is that nasty shit? That look like dooky.”

She was right.

“It’s too dry,” I said, “but this oughta liquefy it.”

But the Immersion Blendersaurus-Rex proved too big and heavy for me to control, so when I turned it on the thing went crazy, like a fire hose. It flipped and bucked and threw me backwards into a hot stove and when I finally got it turned off I hadn’t pureed a thing. Elton John still didn’t have any juice and I was covered in green flecks of vegetable matter.The handlers called again and complained that the juice was taking too long.

“You need to figure somethin’ out ‘cuz Elton John be needin’ his juice,” said Everestine.

I tried to stir some water into the compost pile that the bag from the farmer’s market had become, but it wouldn’t blend. All the green stuff floated to the top of the water. I was on the verge of a minor nervous breakdown and began to curse Elton John as I skimmed the green mess from the surface of the water.

Two minutes later the handlers called again.

“You cain’t just stand there!” bellowed Everestine, “Figure it out!”

I was so aggravated that I was about one second away from tiny dancing my ass up to the Emperor’s Suite and giving Sir Elton John a piece of my mind.

“Elton John, you don’t need to be on some crazy diet drinking this nasty vegetable juice! Why can’t you just have a chicken club?” I imagined saying.

I wandered into the walk-in refrigerator to see if something in there might inspire a solution. The first thing I saw was a vat of gazpacho, which is essentially nothing more than vegetable juice. I used V-8 as one of the ingredients in my gazpacho. I laughed to myself. Elton John shoulda had a V-8. Oh!

Elton John was about to have a V-8.

I poured the V-8 into a pitcher and then I stirred in several spoonfuls of the vegetable mash I had created. Since the V-8 was thick, the green flakes stayed suspended convincingly throughout the red juice. It looked like what I think Elton and his handlers had in mind. I told Everestine to call them back and tell them the juice was very special and that’s why it took so long, but now all those vegetables were juiced and on their way up to the suite.

Everestine and I waited to see what would happen. If they recognized my concoction as nothing more than V-8 I would probably lose my job. An hour later the handlers called back and thanked us. Elton John loved it. The room service cook did a fabulous job making the unusual combination of vegetables prescribed by the homeopath, delicious and palatable.

Thank the Lord, this was the only time this happened. Apparently Elton John is a lot like the rest of us and can’t stick to any kind of restrictive diet for more than a few days. Within a week he was back to chicken clubs.

I was never found out, but let me tell you, at times the guilt at knowing that I deceived the great Elton John has been unbearable. Once I saw him in Neiman Marcus and I almost ‘fessed up but I chickened out. I was too ashamed.I’ve carried this secret for 16 years and now I’m finally free.
Thursday, February 07, 2008

Busy!

I just wanted to let you all know that for the next week or so I am really busy. Life is not affording me the luxury of being able to sit on my bottom writing what I want. Everything's ok. Don't fret.

Also, I just got word that my parents are coming back (!!!!!!!!!!), so this has caused me to have to scramble to move back into my apartment and get my life in order there and I won't have the Internet back on for a week or so. I'll try to give you some short posts, but that will cause me to have to drag the laptop out in public to write and I'm so lazy, but since I adore you all so much, I will try. Hopefully I will not get caught up in the chaotic undertow that comes along with my parents' immiment arrival and I will maintain my sanity until things can stabilize again. Bear with me and thank you all.

I swear if I have time I'll repost some old stories or things I wrote a while ago and never posted at all for whatever reason. That is, if I have time and Internet.

Enhhh. I hate writing at Starbucks. My Starbucks is full of crazy people who go there for AC.
Friday, February 01, 2008

Eulogy

In my family whenever someone dies I always have to write the eulogy, but this time no one asked and I did it on my own.

I've been obviously depressed and cranky lately, stressed out, pissed off and sick of everything. Part of that is because of the death of my biological father's wife. I'm not mourning her. It's not that. It's that she was, to me at least, a horrible person who did terrible things and who allowed terrible things to happen that she could have at least tried to stop. She divided and alienated and hurt people, but yet I felt I wanted to make some sort of peace or resolve something. Maybe I wanted that "closure" that you always hear about. I have no idea what that means. I used to spend a lot of time as I was growing up wishing the very death on her that she suffered, though as an adult I wouldn't have wished what she went through on anyone. I never got to make any kind of peace. I had no resolution. I think I may have wanted an apology from her which I didn't get. I may have seen too many movies and been too optimistic about how things would all turn out in the end. They turned out badly. I wasn't even allowed to be in her obituary and it's not that I would have wanted to be, but knowing that I was willfully, purposely banned from it, made me feel rejected and hurt all over again. I wouldn't have been welcome at her funeral and I wouldn't have wanted to go anyway, maybe. Her death just brought up all sorts of things I wish I could forget. She is, I believe, why I am such a perfectionist to this day. I could never live up to her standards.

And so I wrote my own eulogy in my own way. It's nothing like what you're used to reading from me on here at all. It is about how once, for a few seconds I saw her as pretty and how I have a memory of her that is at least not that bad. This is as close to good as I could get.


Someone let my stepmother in on the secret that there was a persimmon tree east of town, further east than where we lived in a rented, hundred year old farm house where the porch screens sagged and tore and the roof shingles flipped and skipped away with every summer thunder shower, so she drove me out to see it.

I was in the fifth grade and had a school project where I had been instructed to gather and identify the leaves of as many trees as possible. I was to then paste the leaves onto construction paper, cover them with Contact paper, label accordingly and then bind the pages into a leaf book. I had waited until the last minute as usual because I was a bad student of the sort where teachers sent home notes saying “does not work up to potential”, “doesn’t try”, “needs to make more of an effort” and “stares dreamily out the window, refusing absolutely to pay attention to lectures.” Just that week Mrs. T. had sent a note home, excerpts of which read “does not complete homework” and “is in danger of receiving an F this marking period.” I was grounded until my grades improved. Locked in a tower, my hair wasn’t growing quickly enough for anyone to climb up and save me. I was too young for a prince so I waited and sought some sort of redemption in leaves.

I thought about the leaf book project for a long time. I wanted it to be perfect, to look like a real book on leaves that might be thumbed through while displayed on a coffee table. I would have the best leaf book. I would try, make an effort. I would focus, paying attention to the leaf book so that I would complete it and receive an A. My stepmother would show off my leaf book to her friends. My detached, disappointed father would be proud of me again.

We lived far from town. Our narrow farmhouse and a few rusted silos were the only objects lending vertical interest to a flat, not even rolling, landscape of soy bean fields. We had only a silver maple in the front yard which lazily turned its leaves to their softer silver sides, when coaxed by heavy humidity. On the side yard a thorned, flowering quince spiked up around the spigot so whoever went to twist the hose on or off got scratched. We also had two pear trees, between which she had strung a hammock they received as a gift. After the wedding when we all moved into the farmhouse I had been excited at the idea of having fruit trees, but although they flowered, the trees failed to produce the sticky, butter-plump pears I hoped for and instead spit out little more than hard, green pellets, that even the starlings left to fall, not even drawing flies when they decayed. I had only three leaves. Students were required to collect at least ten different varieties of leaves. There were no other trees by the farmhouse.

I waited because in September, October seemed so far away. I felt like I had a lifetime before the leaf book was due and I ignored the nights which grew drier and more chilly each week, bringing winds to push away the Indian Summer. The cool sharp winds whispered almost silent signals telling the leaves to change and fall. I couldn’t hear them.

A week before the leaf book was due I panicked. Desperate to complete the project I told my stepmother of my situation and braced for the inevitable punishment. At dinner she told my father and together they chided my procrastination and disorganization. In the end she promised to drive me around town that Saturday to look for leaves because as a teacher at my school it simply would not do to have her stepdaughter failing and unprepared. It would make her look bad too. It already had.

“An old man at church told me there’s a persimmon tree east of here that nobody knows about. We’ll go and find it. No one else will have a persimmon leaf,” she said.

She drove me to look for leaves in a rust colored Subaru that her parents bought her a few years before when she was in college, and she wore one of the Fair Isle sweaters she thought was sophisticated because her aunt, who had married a Dartmouth professor, sent her the pullovers each Christmas. The aunt claimed to have bought the sweaters on trips to places like Wales and Cork. No one in our town had been to places like Wales or Cork, including my stepmother. She merely wore the sweaters, many a little dingy and moth-nibbled, and pretended.

We wound through the cul-de-sacs in the residential parts of town. Most of the leaves in the yards we passed had turned to red, yellow and the brown of grocery bags. Having borrowed a Field Guide to Trees from the library she called out names of the varieties she could identify.

“There’s a sycamore. Everyone’ll have that of course, but you can’t have a leaf book without a sycamore,” she said.

Sheet ghosts hung from the branches of trees in the yards of happy families. Flies circled in and out of the eye holes and mouths of front step jack ‘o’ lanterns because it was almost Halloween. She called out the names of trees with a frightening ambition and pulled over so that I could pluck their leaves. In a short time I had a handful which I fanned out like cards.

“You need to stop rushing,” she told me, “Choose the best leaves. Don’t just pick up the first one you see. Pick a green leaf next time. Those colored leaves are dead you know. They’re red because the chlorophyll is gone.”

When I had collected the commonplace oak, maples (sugar and Japanese), elm, ash, crape and rigid, deep green magnolia, she wasn’t satisfied. By the elementary school someone had a fig tree with filigree leaves. Several homes had chinaberry trees, so we chose the house that looked like it had been abandoned. This home also had a chestnut tree and the front steps were littered with burrs. We found an Osage orange by the cemetery and it was bent and warped, heavy with fruit that looked like fragrant brains. Its leaves were fallen, so I swept one up from where the roots reached up from underground. It was dry as tissue.

“The Murrays have a gingko.”

I felt as if the leaf book no longer belonged to me, as if it couldn’t be my redeeming A and she and my father couldn’t be proud of me now because they would both know that she had done most of it. It had become her project and would be her A. She sought the rare trees, drove and spotted the less likely varieties, telling me which to collect, those to pull from the branch and which ones to let flutter out the rolled-down car window.

As we drove away from the gingko she went on about how, since these trees were in town, most of the other students would probably find them too. My leaf book would be the same as everyone else’s.

“But no one knows about the persimmon tree,” she claimed, “We’ll be the only ones who have a persimmon leaf.”

I didn’t know what a persimmon was. I had no idea that it was a fruit, so on the way she told me how the Indians ate them and how maybe the trees had been brought over from China thousands of years ago.

“Not many people eat them,” she said.

“Why?” I asked.

“They’re bitter. It’s just the skin though. Inside they’re sweet.”

The persimmon tree stood alone on a hill amid a tangle of yellowing brush, kudzu and grasses gone to straw in a windblown spiral around the trunk, looking like an unzipped gown crumpled at the tree’s feet, and the tree was naked. It was not what I had expected at all, having imagined something along the lines of a stately oak arustle with a million shivering leaves in the process of exchanging green for gold. Instead the tree was small, dark and gnarled without a single leaf and it was covered with warty clusters of red-orange fruits which seemed to fester out of the black branches, rather than dangle ornamentally from them. Having survived decades of neglect and solitude, the persimmon tree was the only survivor of what had once been a productive orchard on the grounds of a farmhouse, long since left behind. One wall of the house still stood with its chimney in tact. Jimson weed grew in the hearth.

“There’re no leaves,” I lamented, “What are we going to do now?”

I stood on the verge of tears, the tree before me suddenly becoming blurred as if in a watercolor.

“Don’t worry,” she said, “I see one at the top. It’s just hidden by the persimmons.”

She climbed in her Keds and her dingy Fair Isle, with her hair in her face, to the top branch of the persimmon tree, and although it was not really very high, to me at ten, it was a great and dangerous distance. Three overripe fruits fell to the ground, roiling a storm of yellow jackets. She paused for a moment and brushed her hair away before she looked around and up at the sky.

It was one of those perfect autumn days that people envision when remembering the Octobers of idealized childhoods spent in pumpkin patches. The air was chilled and because we had driven so far east, the nipping wind carried the smell of brine in from the bay. Late afternoon light slanted low and long shadowed, spinning all the straw to gold. The angled rays reflected off her hair, transforming dishwater to lion and she seemed to me briefly beautiful, blue eyed and full of sun. We watched a slow mobile of buzzards turning on a spiraling descent towards dead things hidden in the field beyond the old farmhouse, but then she remembered her intent and ripped the last leaf from stem. The force of her pull caused several more persimmons to plummet and split.

“I got it,” she called down.

She waved the slight and rather unexceptional leaf, and clamored down, bringing a persimmon with her, which she wiped on her sweater and bit into.

“Try it,” my stepmother said, offering it to me.

I refused. I knew better.

“Just taste it, you’ll like it.”

I would not taste the odd, fleshy and unfamiliar fruit, which frustrated her. She didn’t understand. The sun set quickly and my stubbornness made her mad, so we left and rode home in silence. She only handed me the persimmon leaf when the rust colored Subaru crunched over our oyster shell driveway. By the time we got inside she had become sullen and colorless again.

“You have your leaves now.”

I don’t remember my leaf book at all. I don’t know what happened to it, the grade I received or how other leaf books compared. I don’t recall if anyone was impressed by the persimmon leaf. My stepmother never mentioned the leaf book again, except perhaps to offer some criticism like that I had not taken the care I should have in assembling it, but I don’t even remember that. Later that year I would leave their home and move out of state to live with my mother and new father. I would never hear from my biological father or stepmother again.

The other day while grocery shopping, I remembered that I had still, more than twenty years since my stepmother drove me east of town in search of the rarest leaf, never tried a persimmon. A small display of about five persimmons stacked in a pyramid in the produce department beside some lady apples and muscadines reminded me of this fact. I bought one, not knowing how to choose a ripe fruit or even how to eat it or if there were poisonous parts best avoided.

At home, I took a tentative bite of the persimmon. I had sliced it, noting that it reminded me of meat and I had carved out the small black seeds. As I chewed, my mouth dried and my jaws ached from the sour, bitter burn which brought tears to my eyes as if I had bitten into a raw lemon. My tongue stung. I spit the persimmon into the sink, cut up the rest of the fruit and scraped it into the garbage. For the rest of the night nothing could cover the terrible bitterness I could not untaste.

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