Thursday, May 24, 2007

You thought I was exaggerating

But no, I wasn't. Here's how the right (non-guest room) side of the basement looks after day one of Project Dry House:

From the stairs:

The corner:

More trench:

Where the sump pump will actually be installed:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Flying solo

The next two days will be an adventure. Lunchboy is out in Napa for a conference and while he's gone the basement people have decided to grace us with their presence. At the same time, our upstairs neighbors (who we just found out are moving to San Francisco next month--I'm excited for them but sad to see them go) are having their skylights replaced. I'll be catsitting for their Pancake while trying to convince our three girls that two days of jackhammering (the basement stuff) and a week of loud banging (the skylights) are not the end of the world. Technically I'll be working from home, but we'll see how much I can get done with all the noise and activity.

We had tried to see if I could fly out to SF with Lunchboy so we could make a long weekend of it on the west coast, but with the house repairs and the outrageous plane fares, it wasn't meant to be. I'm bummed but kind of relieved--it'll be nice to have a relaxing weekend at home once all the craziness is over.

My mom is coming over tomorrow afternoon for some food and a little gardening. She's promised me a cutting from her lilac tree and we'll see if I can get it to live in the sunny corner of the garden.

Sally Hansen would be proud

When women want to do some bonding and feel pretty, we go get mani-pedis. Cats, however, are not much for nail care. They preen and scratch and do that funny thing where they clean between their toes and make a silly munching sound. But beyond that, they let their nails alone. Which is why our cats are less than happy right now--last night we gave them manicures.

It was a love thing, not a vanity thing. Our girls are spoiled and they like to scratch things, especially the new couches which, as soon as they were delivered, Griffin honed in on as if the couches were god's gift to her manual dexterity. Couch scratching didn't used to be a problem. The old, ratty couch was a hand me down, ugly as sin, and neither of us gave a damn if the cats tore it to shreds. The new couches are different story. I've always been extremely anti-declawing but over the past few weeks I've begun to understand why some people do it. It's hard to watch as our beloved cats have attempted to rip our new purchases to bits.

First we tried to cover all the spots they liked to scratch with blankets. When that didn't work, we got them a nice, big scratching post that they immediately began using as a bed. Griffin sits on the base and plays queen of the mountain. That cat has attitude. Though they eventually started scratching the scratching post, they continued to rip at the couch. So finally we got these.

Applying the claw covers was...interesting. They did not appreciate it. They're still a little unsure about what's on their paws but at least now their couch scratching is a lot less effective. And Griffin has only managed to knaw one of them off (the claw cover, not her paw or the couch.) Now if only we could find a solution like this for Scully's litter box issues...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Strange celebrity dream #4?

Does this one count?

I dreamed that I went to see Metallica play at a bit outdoor arena, like Tanglewood but much bigger and more badass. I arrived at the concert on horseback, right as the band started playing “Comfortably Numb,” which the crowd thought that Metallica had written. Nikki Sixx was on guitar.

All I can say is that this is the least disturbing dream I’ve had after watching The Sopranos.

Lloyd Alexander died last week and that made me sad. I loved the Chronicles of Prydain, though Eilonwy was always a bit of a twit. When I was younger, I used to read my favorite books over and over and over again until my mother would take them away and hide them. By the time she took the Prydain books away, the bindings were falling apart.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Not here for the clothes

There's a clique at my yoga studio and it's pissing me off. Yoga studios are not where cliques are supposed to be--I kind of thought studios were anti-clique, seeing as yoga is a pretty individual discipline. But the clique is there and I can't ignore it: the four or five women who comprise the clique always somehow end up on a mat next to or in front of me.

I call them the Lemonheads because their main activity is gossiping about their Lululemon and Be Present yoga clothes. Judging from their conversations, which I try to but rarely succeed in blocking out, their favorite weekend activity is making shopping pilgrimmages to the Lululemon store in Hingham so they can debut their newest purchases in class on Monday night.

When I lived in LA, the general obsession with matching, color coordinated yoga ensembles was annoying was LA and people there can be very silly. It's weird to hear these smart women talk as if practice is just a sweaty runway show. I try to relax and be less judgmental but sometimes it's hard, especially when the last ten minutes before class are filled with this:

"Oh my god, that is the cutest top! Come here, does it match the waistband on my pants? I think it does. OK, I have to order this online tomorrow."

"That lime green is so great! I think I have that top in white--don't you LOVE it?"

"Wait, is that purple a new color in the agility pants? It's pretty! And it goes so well with that lavender top!"

"I was just out in Hingham and they had a whole new line for sale. You should check it out this weekend!"

I guess it's irritating because for me the yoga studio is a retreat from all that. Maybe that's where the yoga really is, though--learning to breathe through the things that aren't pleasant, even when they pop up in unexpected places.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Break a hymen

My ten-year college reunion is coming up next month and the anxiety dreams have already begun. There’s no real reason to be anxious—it’s not like a high school reunion, which would have really major psychological implications. There’s no one I’m afraid to see at the Colby reunion, no ex boyfriends or ex friends to deal with, no one whose opinion of me would matter. Honestly, it’ll be a great time. A bunch of us hatched a grand plan to rent a house on one of the Belgrade Lakes, but no one got their act together and by the time we started looking all the houses were rented, so instead we’re staying in the dorms. Extra long twin beds!! Shared bathrooms!! Beer die parties in the lounge!! Woo!

So why is there still something weird about going back? I’m excited to show Lunchboy around campus, and to see all the changes that have been made since we graduated. The dorms? From what I hear they’re now luxury complexes as opposed to the tiny boxes we lived in back in the day. And the dining halls, which were always decent, are now supposedly 4-star eating establishments. Do they still have wok night? Taco night? Vegan night at Foss? Can I still have 5 bowls of Lucky Charms or make a Belgian waffle with whipped cream for dinner?

Reunion also offers the opportunity to do all the things I didn’t get to do as an undergrad, without any of the consequences. I always heard about people getting busy in the stacks at the library but the one time I ever got a guy back there, he was too chicken to get it going. I never signed my name in the library tower or streaked the Student Center or went skinny dipping in Johnson Pond. And Janice Kassman can’t touch me now so maybe it’s time to throw a big f*ing party. With alcohol. Maybe we’ll take the alcohol to the library stairs just so we can watch her jump up and down in frustration that 1. alcohol exists and 2. she can’t take it away this time.

Still, I keep dreaming that we get back to campus and I can’t find my way to the Student Center, where I have to go because all my course materials are in my mailbox. I’m surrounded by all the skinny girls who wore cute, expensive dresses to the semi-formals but I can’t find any of my friends. The place feels familiar and alien at the same time. I know where I am but can’t find my way.

All I need is a machine gun for a leg

I bumped into a coworker on the T this morning. He asked me, as people do when they make small talk, if I had any big weekend plans. “I’m going to watch zombies,” I said. I’m not sure whether it was the enthusiasm in my voice or the fact that I was enthusiastic about zombies that caused the look of fear on the guy’s face, but it was definitely not the answer he was expecting.

I was reading a review of 28 Weeks Later in the NYT this morning. The movie stars two people named Mackintosh Muggleton and Imogen Poots. Can you get more British than that? Can they get eaten by zombies just for having names like those?

28 Days Later terrified me for a good two months, not just because it’s an excellent suspense thriller, but because it was on TV almost every night and it was one of those movies that I couldn’t not watch if it was on. This caused some problems, given the fact that it kept me from doing laundry for a little while, but that was three years ago. I am psyched to see the sequel and yes, I’ve already let Lunchboy know that he’ll be keeping me company on all trips to the basement for the next X number of months.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Lunchboy and I have gotten into that new show Notes from the Underbelly. Neither of us are proud of this fact. It's a good show but I think it's probably funny to us because a shockingly large number of our friends, coworkers, and extended family have recently hopped on the baby train. Also, Cooper reminds me a lot of a lawyer I used to know in LA.

We joke a lot about babies--we CAN joke because we aren't ever around actual babies and since none of said friends, coworkers, or extended family have actually had their babies yet, we haven't been forced to face the gritty reality of parenthood. My best friend has two boys who are 3 and 5, but they are the kind of angelic, charismatic kids that make having offspring seem like it's only slightly tougher and less enjoyable than getting a daily spa massage while eating caramel straight from the jar.

Two of our friends, both of whom live in Somerville, got pregnant unexpectedly right around the same time and for a while we all joked that the Somerville water must be full of fertility cooties. It could have been true--the stuff in th Somerville water supply is mysterious and definitely capable of f*ing with your body. The truth, however, had to do with the porosity of latex and the effectiveness of withdrawal. One of these friends, who is about to enter her second trimester, had brunch with Lunchboy two weeks ago and he was astounded when she consumed about three plates worth of food and left the table still hungry. Days later, he continues to look up and, out of nowhere, say things like, "I can't believe how much she ate! I can't wait til you're like that." Then again, he jokes that I must already be pregnant because I'm constantly starving and exhausted. That would be the Pill, seeing as it works by making your body think it's already pregnant. Right? When I'm not eating, I'm napping. What can I say--I like food and naps. The week before my period, all I want is sugar and carbs. Vegetables become completely unattractive but cookies? Suddenly and totally irresistible.

Lunchboy's excitement and enthusiasm is wonderful. But we're not ready for kids quite yet. We talk about it a lot but then the cats do something gross or loud and really, 3 cats feels like it's enough for now. Plus, when they yell I can just throw them in the bedroom and close the door and you definitely can't do that with kids.


In the elevator at work:

Man: "Work is my refuge from my kids."

Woman: "Hahaha. You're joking."

Man: "No, I'm not. When I get sick, [boss] tells me to go home but it's so much worse there. At least work is quiet and there aren't toys all over the place."

Woman: tightfaced, visibly angry, "Imagine how your wife feels, home all day."

Man: shudders, "I try not to."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Catching up

There are days when work is so busy that by the time 5pm rolls around, the last thing I want to do is look at a computer screen again for the rest of the day, so no blogging happens. Then there are days when I just can’t think of anything to write. Both of these have been happening a lot lately.

Let’s see. We went to see Mike Daisey’s Monopoly last week, which was amazing. I liked it even better than Invincible Summer. The Somerville Open Studios were this past weekend and they were fun. We checked out Brickbottom, Joy St. and the Mixit Studios near Davis before “stopping” at home to get jackets and somehow falling asleep/playing Viva Pinata two afternoons in a row. Bliss. Napping is highly underrated. We did not check out our neighbor’s penis art this year, though I was tempted just so I could send a postcard to Higgypiggy and Chiz in LA.

The dry basement people are coming on Friday to install the new drain and sump pump. I am excited and also a little nervous because they’ll have to tear up a bunch of tile, dry wall, and baseboards to put in the drain and get rid of water damage (not to mention the jackhammering to get through the cement floor. We haven’t told the cats about this.) Since neither of us is particularly well versed in home repair, I’ve been calling contractors and repair people to get estimates for the cleanup work after the drain is installed. I’m very excited about the prospect of having a dry basement but very nervous about the contractor/cleanup part because I don’t know what I’m doing and don’t want to do something stupid and/or extremely expensive by accident. I am now very interested in taking some home repair classes. Not that I intend to do a lot of the heavy work but at least I won’t feel so ignorant. Why can’t it all be as easy as putting together furniture from Target?

One of the many good things about getting this basement work done is that it’s forcing us to deal with the pile of crap that’s been accumulating in the middle of the basement over the past year. One of the things we want to do once the basement stops leaking is put in some storage and shelving down there, but since that hasn’t happened yet, we haven’t had anywhere to put the giant, talking cardboard Darth Vader or the bags of stuff that Lunchboy says he wants to sell on eBay. Goodwill, here we come. Does anyone know where I can recycle a dead computer monitor in Cambridge or Somerville?