Monday, April 26, 2010

For a number of valid and invalid reasons, the kitchen's not as clean as it should be--my bare feet actually stuck to the floor this morning--and there's a fly buzzing around, either looking for his dead friends, whom Lula and I killed with the fly swatter, or for a way into the cabinet, so he can lay eggs in the brown sugar, which I will drink with my coffee tomorrow, and then fly eggs will hatch beneath my skin and worms will come out of my eyes!

Could it happen? Yes, it could. Also, the flies could interbreed with Venus flytraps (a strange reaction after being "spritzed" with XXXX Strong Antibacterial Countertop Spray) and become extremely aggressive, hyper-intelligent, pack-oriented flesh-eaters, feasting on you and me!

Oh, jolly it is to be with thee!
Dead and merry, merry we be!
Eaten alive by flies are we, while fly larvae exit excru-ti-a-ting-ly!

The obvious conclusion, of course, is that flies need to be annihilated. By me, and increasingly willingly by Lula, whom I wasn't too sure about brainwashing with a hatred of flies, though I couldn't help it: I hate flies! I kill them! Even if they have an important place in the food chain, providing vital nutrients to birds, small reptiles, and blah blah blah! I hate them. And now Lula hates them too, and I'm TOTALLY okey-dokey with it, especially when I find their smooshed entrails on the window screen. :)

Yay, dead flies! We love you!

We love you, dead flies, ohhhh, we love you
We'll try to be true, dead flies, truuuueeee, oooooo, to you
Because you brought such joy to us when you died without a fuss
when we found your guts were spread
all over the new bedspread

When we didn't hear your goddamn buzzing no more,
chasing behind you was less a chore
When you didn't rub your poopy hands
all over the baby's head
that was when we really knew
you were really truly dead
That was when we really knew
that we really looooove you!


Monday, April 19, 2010

During the past week my nephew was born. I already have two nieces and nephews through Joedy, but this was the first time one of my siblings had a child, and the experience I had of his birth was not much different from having my own kid. Okay, I didn't actually feel contractions or get offered drugs, but the emotions I encountered between hearing "it's starting" and "he's out" were erratic and intense, with the progression from excitement, irritation (what's he doing in there?), worry, and relief seeming either too fast or too slow, and--most tellingly--the Speculation Factor hovering dangerously close to High.

(Sitting at the kitchen table) Hm...I haven't heard anything in a while--I guess that means they're in the hospital. Hopefully there hasn't been a problem...would they call me if there was one? I don't know--maybe...Would I call them? Maybe, but that doesn't mean anything. Or does it? Does the fact that they haven't called mean there's a problem??

(Exiting the bathroom, zipping fly) Dammit! Of COURSE they called while I was in the bathroom! Shit...that message sounded weird. Like maybe something was wrong, but they couldn't say what, because if they did, it would seem like they thought something was really wrong. OF COURSE they don't want to think that way! Jesus! Shit! Why the hell did they call when I was in the bathroom? Especially now that there really might be a problem!

(On the kitchen floor, surrounded by bread crumbs) Oh god--thank god. Thank heaven. Thanks, heavenly ham sandwich--he's born. He's fine. Everything was fine, they said. He's sleeping, he's eating, he's crying, he's fine, and his name, his name is--what's his name? Wait, they didn't tell me his name? What...what the...what am I supposed to do, GUESS? Was I supposed to know or something? Oh wait--I do know. That's right--they told me a while back. Ok. It's fine. Everything's fine. I'm fine.

Not long after getting the last phone call, by which time I was in full relief mode, a little crying sesh came on, surprisingly, out of the blue, and for a few minutes all I could think was: "I am so relieved! He's OUT! I AM SO RELIEVED! He's OUT!!"

I was relieved. Probably not as relieved as his parents, but enough to see, suddenly, that aunthood would be serious a lot of the time, with--of course--a whole new bunch of hopes and worries attached. It will probably be serious a lot of the time, but not always, I hope: after all, someone needs to introduce him to butter eaten on top of cream cheese; a certain book or two; horses; and the diarrhea song. His parents are going to be plenty busy and will need help showing him the funner things in life, and few, after all, will want to do that more than his Tatou Zazou.


Monday, April 12, 2010

A couple mornings ago I woke up to the sight of Diablo and Astrid sprawled on the rug at the foot of the bed. Astrid was lying on her back, a look of dopey joy on her face, while Diablo meticulously "cleaned" a part of her body that I really didn't want to see, or know anything about, at that time or any time, thank you very much. It's bad enough when he cleans her ears--that licking sound! His breath afterwards!--but this, well, this was nasty. If it hadn't been for the look on Astrid's face, which was so cute, really, and the comedy of the situation, I would maybe have kicked them a little, but I didn't.

Yesterday, after roasting a turkey breast, covering it with plastic wrap, and leaving it on the kitchen counter to cool while I picked Lula up from school, Lapis got on the counter, chewed a hole through the plastic wrap, and ate a significant amount of the turkey. I barely kept myself from drop-kicking him out the door (I just hurled him) when I got home, but my annoyance was quickly replaced by incredulity when he got BACK on the counter (how the hell'd he get in the house?) while I was administering snacks to the kids and went right BACK to gnawing on the turkey. In broad daylight, so to speak--as if, heck, this was a totally normal, acceptable thing to do.

Coming as it was from the cat who used to "catch" footlong submarine sandwiches from the trash can behind our old house (which we shared with the submarine sandwich deliveryman), drag them in through the open window, and leave their half-eaten plastic-wrapped carcases behind the couch, under the bed, and in the closet, I guess chewing through plastic wrap to get to freshly roasted turkey was a normal thing to do. Or maybe it's that my view of "normal" has changed--after all, I'm the one who put the turkey, half-chewed plastic wrap and all, in the cabinet above the stove, so Freaking Kittle Buns couldn't further vandalize it...

After exiling Lapis I thought I'd feed the dogs. Usually Joedy does this, but since he was gone and since we'd recently bought two new kinds of dog food--in hopes of conducting a scientific experiment that would hopefully tell us why Diablo's breath stinks like you-know-what--I poured what remained of Bag #1 in both dogs' bowls and a little of Bag #2 in Astrid's bowl (she's bigger). While Astrid immediately hunkered down and starting loudly eating, Diablo began to bark. I'd gone upstairs to change Malko's diaper, and I recognized his bark as the "give me something I want NOW, I will not stop barking, ever, until you give it to me, even if you slit your throat with exasperation first" bark. It was a demanding bark. A determined bark.

I ran back downstairs, ready to shake Diablo for being such a pain in the you-know-what when I had, like, enough going on ALREADY, but when I found him sitting on the kitchen floor next to Astrid I was mystified: you don't want to go out? You don't want your food? Still barking, he looked at me and then at Astrid's bowl, back and forth a few times, and then it hit me: he wanted some Bag #2 dog food, just like Astrid had. Bag #1 was not sufficient; she got some, so he should get some. Half irritated, half impressed, I poured some of Bag #2 in his bowl, and he contentedly lay down on his stomach and began to eat.

After Malko and Lula were bathed and in their pyjamas I put Malko on the living room rug and went around putting dinosaurs away and scraping oatmeal out of bowls; when I checked on Malko, I noticed he was playing with something grey and oddly shaped. Looking closer, I saw it was a piece of bone--a piece of bone with a thick wedge of marrow on one side and hair, disgustingly scary hair and dirt and grime and probably poop, for god's sake, stuck all over it. Grabbing it out of Malko's hand, hoping he hadn't yet "sampled" it, I thought: this is ridiculous. This is ridiculous, and it's disgusting. And then I thought: thanks, animals. Thanks.

Tonight I was tired from the constant go-go-go of the last few days and when we came home from the bank and the post office after picking Lula up from school I didn't want to have anything to do with any (annoying) animals, especially two dogs who were totally hyper from not having been walked for two days. "OUT. Get out," I said, banishing them from the kitchen, and for a while--ten minutes, while Lula and Malko silently gorged themselves on watermelon--it was peaceful. Calm. Almost relaxing. Then Lapis started meowing loudly, DEMANDINGLY, to have his back scratched, and the dogs saw a person on the sidewalk and started barking like the Apocalypse was coming, and then, guess what?

It wasn't calm or relaxing anymore.


Friday, April 9, 2010

I thought I'd go to bed a little while ago, but then I got sucked into a vortex of chocolate chip cookies (with walnuts) and when I finally got free I was three cookies in and shaking from all the sugar. Since I'd be lying in bed wide awake for the next few hours, I decided to do something productive instead: write about maggots!

Maggots, oh maggots, you disgusting little creeps
Hiding in the trash and making me freak
Maggots, oh maggots, I hate your little guts
I hope a giant tapeworm kicks your squishy butts

We had a Maggot Event here two days ago, which involved touching of the hideous little beasts with my bare hands, flying of maggots all around me as I threw the trash can back into the dark dank trash closet, screaming (by me) in the kitchen, and donning of customized hazmaggot suit (dish gloves, husband's shoes, shower curtain, husband's--don't ask--underwear), the end result being the trash sitting on the back porch we share with our neighbor, me ignoring the trash so I wouldn't have to witness maggots again, and then finally our neighbor putting the trash in the bins because "it was smelling." Yeah--um, sorry.

Besides that misadventure, it's been a pretty good week: we dropped Joedy off at the airport on Tuesday, and since then I've been a model of efficiency, administering baths, bedtimes, and breakfasts on a rigorous schedule, barely giving Lula and Malko time to say "Why the hell are you such a maniacal drill sergeant" between trips to the bank and Hairy Eagle Butt, our friendly grocer. At the bank yesterday, while waiting in line to speak with a rep, there was a female employee whose job, apparently, was to prep the people in line, notifying them they'd have to fill out a deposit slip, show ID, sign over their house, etc. She was extremely perky and pseudo-solicitous, talking in cliched customer servicespeak that made her sound more like a computer--one of those annoying computers that talk in colloquial language--than anything else, and it made my body tingle with sarcasm. The sarcasm went unvented until I heard her say, to the person in front of me, "Oh, we don't want you to have to spend any money," and then it became vented: I said, "Yeah right." Because, excuse me? Wells Fargo is borderline criminal, I think, in its charging of 35-dollar overdraft fees and its misleading "account balancing," which leads the hapless shmuck to think she has this much, when in fact she has this much...

"We don't want you to have to spend any money"? Spare me!

Before going to the bank we went to the health clinic where Joedy and I recently got insurance (it's called Medical Assistance Program, and it's for poor people who can't get Medicaid). I'd been calling and calling to make an appointment to get an inhaler, literally spending two-and-a-half hours, yesterday morning, on hold, so when I was told I'd meet "Ray" (the guy I was trying to get hold of on the phone) I felt pretty smug. Ha ha, I thought: I'll tell Ray there's something wrong with his phone! Maybe I'll even catch him playing solitaire on his computer, or--I knew it--eating lunch!

The clinic was packed, and when an older grey-haired man called my name I jumped up and hurried towards him. I immediately liked Ray--he had a benign, social-services-worker vibe--and when he told me there was only one doctor for the entire clinic, that the entire month of May was booked, and that he--Ray--talks to thirty new patients a day, I realized there was more to it than a screwed-up phone system. "We're swamped," he said, looking at me over his glasses. "If you want, you can go to Urgent Care for your asthma, but make sure you go early, because I heard it's so crowded they're turning people away."

I thanked him, and we left. Tomorrow I'll go to Urgent Care to get an inhaler, and I'm hoping Joedy and I will have "normal" (better) health insurance before much longer. I'm not too worried about us, but I can't help thinking about all the other people--the other people with serious health problems and few, crummy options for help.

When we walked outside, I saw a crushed beer can on the patchy lawn and a scantily-clad overweight woman rocking back and forth on a bench. "Something's wrong with this picture," I thought, and I think I know what it was.