Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Digging in the Dirt

My son is digging for buried treasure in our yard. Muttering to himself, “Jewelry, rings, bracelet, something. I’ve got to find something so I can be rich.”

To say he is covered in dirt would be excessive. Dusting is too little. Patchy, mottled, spotted perhaps. It’s running the length of his shin from the one knee he is using to support his efforts. His shorts have a ring around the seat. Dirt is sticking to the green ice cream stain on the front of his shirt. The rims of his nostrils are brown.

“Mom, how come I can’t find any buried treasure?”
“Sometimes you have to switch locations.”
“What? What does that mean?”

“You know, change your spot.”

“Mom, I don’t need this stinkin’ shovel. I’ve got a great idea.”

The boy practically herniates himself trying to lift our broken garage door.

“Need some help?”

Enter new pogo stick, gift from grandma for Christmas. “What’s he doing?” says my husband, who is bunched up on a short wicker settee. My husband loathes wicker.

Sticking the bottom of the pogo into the hole, my son begins to pump the handle up and down like a jackhammer.

“Well, mom, that flattens nothing out. Well mom, that flattens everything out. Yep, I just need these three things. The shovel, the clippers and the pogo.”
This conversation would go on whether or not I was present to hear it.

I’m tempted to bury some treasure in the hole when he runs inside for dinner. But what effect will that have? Maybe he’ll think there is treasure in every hole, reward from every effort. It will likely end this activity that has gone on successfully for about 1 ½ hours, giving me a chance to write. These are the things you think about as a parent, when you have a moment to think.

Keep digging Will. The digging is reward enough.

NB. I wrote this piece about 4 years ago but I liked thinking about that day. Especially my husband suffering in the wicker. Good times.

NB2: I just found this quote and love it for this story: "There comes a time in every rightly constructed boy's life when he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure." ~ Mark Twain.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Yesterday I went to the gym for the first time in about a month. I've been dealing with contractors and sending out work samples to prospects. So I let the gym slip.

I was looking for inspiration or motivation, reasons why I should go to the dreaded gym. One of my facebook friends said simply, "Get your butt down there." That's really all it is. Making the time. And overcoming my fear of swine flu stagnating on the treadmill. Also avoiding the various rush hours from the mommy brigade arriving promptly at 9am to the swingers who start showing up around cocktail hour.

Where to find inspiration? Typically when I wake up, at least these days, my brain starts in immediately. A flurry of bad thoughts about I gotta do this and I gotta do that. What, another load of laundry? Please let the dishwasher be empty. When are the sheetrockers coming? I have to get out before they arrive.

Mainly I have to get out of my house by 8:30 to avoid conversations with my general contractor. In an earlier
blog post, I referenced a typical conversation I have with my GC.

Fred: "Yeah I was on this job and the homeowner was like all pissed off because these other guys came in and it's all FUBAR'ed and now I gotta fix it. That's what they all say to me, 'Freddy, make it go away.'"

Me: "Uh-huh."

Every time he saves the day. It's amazing.

Except for that time last week when he dropped his table saw in my garage. Then the saw fell into some metal object that then fell on my scooter and cracked the fender. Here's what my scooter looked like before:

Oh there was also that time when he knocked himself out with our garage door. Still not sure how that happened.

My mom says I should be patient with these guys because they have hard lives and they aren't as fortunate as I am. They drink too much. They're divorced or in some kind of murky relationship with their kid's mom. Fred's got a girl. They've been together 7 years. I think he likes his dog more than he likes his girl. His face lights up when he talks about his dog Deak. His girl, not so much.

But I digress. Inspiration, inspiration, looking for inspiration. I went to Dunkin' Donuts to get my morning coffee and I ran into one of the guys in the klatch. There are two guy klatches at this Dunkin'. I don't know why the image persists of women sitting around gossiping over coffee when all I see are man klatches.

This guy is in the older guy klatch. (He sits with the guy who hoards napkins.) Normally we exchange hellos but he was running late and didn't see me waiting for my coffee. As he was chatting with the Dunkin' lady he asked her how to translate "beautiful but cold day" into Spanish. Something about fria. He repeated the phrase twice with a big smile on his face, happy to be learning something new.

As I pulled out of the Dunkin' parking lot, I saw a group of high school girls running down the street-- a local high school cross country team I am assuming. One girl was about 20 feet behind everyone else. All the other girls were running in a pack in front of her. She was a little bigger than the others, but not much. Normal by most standards. But the other girls were thin and tall with perfect pony tails swinging in the wind as they left her in the dust.

What I noticed about the lone girl running behind was that she didn't look downtrodden. She actually had sort of a grimace on her face, a look of determination. This girl was running her own race.

You actually can learn something new everyday. You can be running dead last and that's okay. Inspiration. I found it at Dunkin' Donuts of all places.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bad Twitter

For the most part, say 99.99% of the time, Twitter is a shiny, happy place. People tweet about their lives, their work, their passions. They are supportive and complimentary when conversing with their tweeps.

Sure there are some porn boys and girls and one time I got a very strange message from a guy called @Iheartpantyhose or something like that. He wanted to know if I was wearing any. I felt sort of sorry for him, looking at this twitter pic of a very young man wearing only pantyhose. Because no one wears pantyhose anymore.

I got in the middle of a dust-up on twitter one night when two women got into an argument with @dooce and her husband @blurb. I banged out a quick blog, made some mistakes that I corrected, not before insulting at least two of the people involved. One woman used some very choice words to explain why it was none of my business. The other @lydahl became a follower and I'm following her as well.

There are some passive ways to mess with someone on twitter. It's actually a tactic for growing followers to follow someone, they follow you, and then you dump them. There are tools you can use to check who is following you and who is not. I use http://www.friendorfollow.com/

Another is http://www.followwatch.com/. I think followwatch notifies you when someone dumps you. I don't mind when one of those "Make Money on Twitter" guys stops following me. But there have been a few legit ones that made me think, "What did I do?"

Recently, I started following this new guy @telesticles. I found him through another guy @TheUserPool. @TheUserPool is pretty interesting. His twitter bio is: You might call me a technology geek....I'm also the guy fucking your wife at work. @TheUserPool followed me first and I followed back. We DM'ed a few times and he seems pretty nice. It just so happens he has a ragin' sex life.

So @telesticles... his deal is he picks a twitter trend, almost all of which are inane. Yesterday was something about holla and today is #youknowyouruglyif (misspelled) and #arealwife. So @telesticles finds people using these idiotic phrases and he starts messing with them. Most of the people he's messing with are young women, wearing lingerie or in other "sexy girl" poses.

To @badgal69 he wrote, "Here's the real question: does #arealwife speak English. Because you sure as hell fucking don't.

Here's another one: Ass clown alert for @marcusbowers. Specific mockery not necessary. He does it for you.

A couple of days ago, I re-tweeted something from @telesticles and we exchanged the following:

@fightingfinn People don't always know what they're getting into when they RT me. I've been known to waste a lot of time just being a prick.

@telesticles You don't scare me.

@fightingfinn I'm not really a scary person. Just more of a malcontent and a grump. So long as you're fine with that, I'm fine with that.

Okay I get it now. Underneath it all, he's not a bad guy. Maybe even a nice guy, though his
twavatar looks like a box turtle on crack.

More insight from @telesticles: "Repurposing a proposal for a campaign designed to defraud an old client into a proposal for a campaign that will defraud a new one."

At last I understand. He's in the marketing business, probably advertising. A cautionary tale.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Top 10 Signs We're Living in Bizarro-world

  1. Levi Johnston, appeared at the 2009 Fleshbot Awards, celebrating amateur and professional porn. There he told a reporter Sarah Palin was smart not to dish about him on Oprah saying, "She knows what I got on her." Yes she done did know, Levi.
  2. Balloon Boy's parents, Richard and Mayumi Heene, will be charged with a felony and misdemeanor respectively, but will only serve probationary sentences. Thankfully, they will continue to be parents to their three young boys.
  3. In the current issue of O Magazine, Oprah writes about using her voice as a force for good and a revelation she had while hiking in the Colorado woods. She asked of the universe, "What would you have me do?" and the aspens whispered back, "Take the high road." In this spirit she graciously offered to be the person who unveiled the chimp mauling victim's face for the first time on TV.
  4. Mike Tyson was arrested and charged with battery for punching a photographer at LAX. He did not, however, bite the man's ear off so it's considered a win-win for both.
  5. Kenneth Feinberg, Obama's executive compensation czar, is concerned a 50% cut in pay to Citigroup's top executives will drive talent away from all companies receiving a US taxpayer bailout. Andrew Hall, a Citigroup trader, may earn as much as $100 million this year because his contract precedes the bailout. I don't know how he'll get by on that kind of chump change.
  6. The Filipino extremist group responsible for kidnapping then releasing an Irish priest is called MILF. I'm not going to be the one to tell them.
  7. Carrie Prejean, former Miss California USA, was outraged by interview questions regarding a sex tape she made with a boyfriend claiming, "Christians aren't perfect." She went on to say, "Homosexuals aren't perfect either but they're more not perfect than Christians so they deserve to be smote."
  8. Michael Jackson's funeral cost more than $1 million including $600,000 for his crypt, $35,000 for his clothes, $12,000 for invitations and $5,000 for extra special dirt.
  9. Britney Spears twitter account was hacked but the account has since been reverted. Now the real Britney is tweeting about lip-synching her way through Australia.
  10. Modern Warfare 2, a first-person killing game, sold 4.7 million copies on the first day of release in the US and UK. Msnbc columnist, Winda Benedetti, describes the rush she felt when in hand-to-hand combat with a (fake) human being bad guy, she plunges her (virtual) knife into his (pretend) belly and he takes his last breath in her (imaginary) arms.
NB: This note was hanging in the bathroom at Macy's Herald Square. Perhaps most alarming is the manager's inability to correctly spell maneger.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Is This All There Is?

The eternal question. Things are not going my way right now and according to my astrological chart, according to my mom reading it, things won't be going my way for several months.

I'm sitting here, Will home again for another bogus school holiday, and his whistling is driving me nuts. I'm waiting for the contractors to show up. Angel with his sad face. Fred with his non-stop talking. Rock, a ginormous human being, who may be called Rock because of his stature or because of his specialty, sheetrock. All the noise, noise, noise, noise as the Grinch says.

I have to break it to Angel that my husband is still not happy with the paint job on the house. And he'll look at me with those sad eyes, wondering when the hell he's going to get paid. I'll have to listen to another story from Fred, in which, in general, he is the saviour of some homeowner like me who's been screwed three ways till Sunday by other contractors. Fred, not even Superman does that much saving.

They're all here, all the time. On ladders in my window, talking to me when I'm on the phone, leaving their crap everywhere. It's like having 10 children or 10 husbands.

One time I was taking a shower and walked out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel. I thought they were all gone but Benjamin was still in the house. Thankfully, his back was turned and he's sort of hard of hearing so I don't think he saw me as I scampered away.

I sat down this morning to watch a 20 minute film, Helicopter by Ari Gold. In that short span of time, I was interrupted 6 times, Three phone calls. One I urgently need your help mom, because my video player won't rewind. One my cable modem is jittery and screwing up the video. And finally, Angel, breaking window glass in the backyard.

There was a chance I would go to Ethiopia with a client next week but they couldn't work out the plane tickets. Literally, I thought YES! The sweet release of flying 20 hours to Addis Ababa, landing in a place where no one knows me, without reliable phone or Internet. Just quiet.

There's another chance I can go in February and I am praying the travel gods will grant me permission to fly, fly away.

In this film Helicopter, the director's mother is killed in a helicopter crash. She was 47 years-old.

Follow this link to watch Helicopter: http://vimeo.com/6887916

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Mom Haircut

I'd been thinking of cutting my hair off until about two weeks ago when I got a very cute cut at Chez Shay in Fairfield. Now I'm feeling better and less crazed about doing something dramatic.

I haven't had short hair since I was a kid when I took the scissors to my own head. The results were not great. I was no Meg Ryan in French Kiss. My son said if I cut my hair too short, I'll look like one of those Frankenstein dolls. He means a troll.

Then my husband chimed in and said if I cut off my hair I would look like a nesting doll. Here I am with my new haircut and 5 mini-me's. Frankly I don't care what either of them says. I may just cut it all off.

Maybe I'll remind my husband that it costs about $300 to keep my hair in this style and this color. That's about $1500 annually. I could cut all my hair off and wear a scarf just like these little babushkas.

I'll admit, it's tough to pull off cute short hair. Katie Holmes has cute short hair. Of course, she's married to a megalomaniacal psycho-freak, but her hair is darn cute.

It's a slippery slope from Katie Holmes' cute mom hair to WTF was Katie Couric thinking mom hair. Seriously, all those image consultants, one of the highest-profile jobs in news EVER, and this is what they come up with for Katie Couric?

I think that's the #19 at Supercuts next time you go, Katie.
And then there's the long slow slide into grandma hair that you get "done" once a month and then don't touch. That hair that was the reason Spray Net was invented. That hair stays in place through all kinds of weather, kept neatly tucked away in a pointy plastic rain cap. That hair smells like maple syrup and cookie dough which may in fact be trapped underneath all that Spray Net.
Grandma hair says, "I've earned the right to this helmet head and by golly you'd better not touch it." For now, I'll keep my shoulder length, out-of-control, freaky curly hair. I'm enjoying having curly hair after a childhood filled with barrettes that slipped off and waterfalls hanging limply to one side. I may go completely crazy and buy those Bumpits "as seen on TV".

We'll see what my husband thinks about my new beehive.