Her Ladyship

Notes from the gutter.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

This is the first Halloween that I've been here in Tejas and not had something else that night. Hence I can stay home and hand out candy to the three? four? kids who make it all the way down our street (we live at the very farthest end of the trailer park entrance). While The Texan avowed to have none to do with the foolishness of giving out candy, I noticed he insisted on buying a family pack of candies that he himself enjoys very much. Ahem.

When I used to live in DC, I would rush home on Halloween night to deal with the trick-or-treaters. The last October I was there, it was unseasonably warm and thus I had the front window open to let the fresh air in. Shrapnel took advantage of the free windowsill and sat up there to watch the world go by. So I ended up being alerted to the presence of trick-or-treaters by hearing some variant of, "My GOD! Will you LOOK at the SIZE of that CAT???"

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I done been travellin'

Last week was spent in the wilds of the East Coast, ending with a triumphant return to DC. Or a return, at least, on a weekend where it was oh-my-god-gorgeous. Love love love DC's fall weather. Of course, seeing my friends and getting caught up - email can only do so much - was the absolute kicker.

What wasn't so great? I managed to absent-mindedly razor my index finger while groping around blindly in my bag of toiletries - they weren't kidding about that triple-blade action, I still can't bend my finger all the way; get into a wee accident with the rental car (shhhh - didn't tell the car company, as there wasn't any damage that I could see from bouncing off the guardrails on the Memorial Bridge); drop my debit card and extra cash in a toilet (BEFORE I used it); and eat pizza that had fallen out of my hand into a filthy DC alleyway. Of course, that last part may have had something to do with the fact that it was 3AM. Still.

Anyways, it's nice to be back. Shrapnel is working my last nerve, following me around and meowing for what feels like hours on end (WHY WHY WHY? I have no idea). So same old.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I am getting old

Know how I know that? The Texan and I went to his 20th high school reunion this weekend - mine is still a good few years away, FYI - and we went on a tour of his high school. The tour guides, former students as well as current teachers, proudly informed us that they no longer have a "Back to School" dance. Instead, they have a "Bad 80s" dance, where the kids get dressed up in their 80s finest and dance to 80s music.


On one hand, I am horrified that my youth has so quickly been commodified.

On the other hand, this ensures that another generation learns to love Erasure and Duran Duran, so it can't be all bad.


The reunion was interesting and has convinced me that when mine comes up, I'll make every effort to go. I did go to my 10th high school reunion, but everyone was pretty much still working out issues in their lives - just either finishing up grad school or starting a family or something along those lines. The 20th did have one pregnant woman and a bunch of people with small children, but overall the attitude was hey, high school was a long time go, and let bygones be bygones. So mostly everyone was just happy just to see old faces and find out what people had been up to. A lot of people mentioned they were unsure about whether to come and almost universally people seemed glad they had.

I mostly floated around, eating the odd chicken finger or working my way through a pile of drink tickets (why wasn't anyone else drinking the champagne?). As a spouse, your job is to smile politely and place faces with the stories for later gossip exchanges. I was a bit worried about what to wear, as the invite said "dressy casual" (WTF???). I figured that this is Texas and one can never get too dressed up, so I wore a little black cocktail dress. I shouldn't have bothered. A bunch of women were wearing leopard-print shirts and pants - my alternative choice. Guess that wasn't as tacky as I'd feared. Or else I've been fully brainwashed and am a Texan now.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

When exactly does rickets set in?

Just curious. As part of the house re-do, we swapped the home office and the bedroom. So now I spend most of my day in what essentially is a unlit cave. I'm getting a lot of work done, and it's not like you can get vitamin D from sunshine through windows (if I remember the Glamour investigation in the matter, the glass filters it out). But still....

I am starting to think about how I can incorporate more exposure to actual daylight in my life. And I'm not exactly sure what that says about me. Probably that whatever ties I had to nature are long-gone. (Private note to The Texan: See? See why I blanche at the idea of camping in the woods???)

Today, for example, I walked to the gym so that I could get some sun on the way over and back. I practically passed out on the way home, as it's a really muggy, hot day and like the brainiac I am, I was wearing all black. But dammit, I'm holding off rickets for at least another week now.

Monday, October 15, 2007

What NOT to do on your brand-new floor

Here's a helpful hint on a way to ensure your floors look their freshest: accidentally knock a bottle of OPI's I'm Not Really A Waitress nail polish out of the medicine cabinet right when you're tired and getting ready for bed. If you do it right, you can ensure that the bottle shatters upon impact with the counter and splatters all over the vinyl floor that is FOUR. DAYS. OLD.

Luckily, The Texan is a lot more quick-thinking than I am and grabbed a bottle of nail polish remover. It picked it up beautifully, but we did have to spend the rest of the weekend trying to air out the bathroom so that no one would spontaneously combust from the fumes.

And how was your weekend? Less idiotic than mine, I hope.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

All over but the shouting

And I'm sure there's going to be plenty of that too as The Texan and I get all the furniture and assorted sundry back in place. But I am pleased to report that the floor-work on our place is OVER. Now, good news: we no longer have to depend upon the the responsibility of strangers and can focus on getting the house back in order. Of course, bad news: now we can no longer blame the irresponsibility of strangers and must get the house back in order.


Saturday, I went over to the South side of San Antonio with a few friends for a long-scheduled day of volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. Now, thinking it over, it probably would've been better not to have planned to do that after a week of lifting furniture and shifting possessions out of the way of the floor guys, but c'est la vie.

It is a really big development: apparently Habitat has built around 500 houses there over the past three years. A few more streets are planned and then they'll move elsewhere. On the way there, we drove past a few chickens in the road (this is an urban setting, mind you).

Anyways, I had envisioned it to be something like when we used to volunteer for Hands-On DC, or DC Pick Up Your Crap as my friends and I used to call it, where you'd go to DC public schools and spend as much time being feted for your "volunteering" as you did actually working. Not so much with Habitat. We showed up, signed waivers, had a short instruction period where we were told basically not to hurt ourselves, and put to work.

According to the schedule, Saturday was supposed to be spent painting and landscaping. But our leader said they were really anxious to get the shingles put on the roof, so anyone who could handle it, get on up there. I thought, oh pshaw, this is a single-story house and the roof is like any other roof. How bad could it be? Well, I got to the top of the ladder and found I could not swing my leg over and step onto the roof. Never has a 22.5-degree incline seemed so steep. Back down I went.

After a few minutes, I tried again, and this time did it. Of course, I got around on the roof by scooting around on my ass - no way was I going to stand up. We had some problems getting the shingles all lined up, but after a while, we got the hang of it. I went slowly because I am not used to handling a hammer and had no interest in pounding my thumb. There were a bunch of girls there from the same church and sorority working on the roof next to me and Little Miss Sunshine to my immediate right kept trilling about how many houses she had worked on and all the wondrous skills she had accumulated in the process. She then went on to, oops tee hee, tell her friends her high school "nickname" (which I would bet $10 she made up herself), and by and large forced her friends to call her that. We had to work lined up, so if one person went slow, they managed to slow down the whole line. Of course, that person was me. So when Little Miss Sunshine was sitting there, waiting for me, she'd tell her friends, "I am going as fast *I* can." I was ready to tell her where she could put her hammer while she was waiting, so I decided to take a break, get some water, and switch to the other side of the roof.

Habitat does provide everything for its volunteers - from bottles of water to hand sanitizers to sunscreen - so when we were digging around in the cooler for more water, we assumed that the bag of cookies was for everyone to share. Um, turned out they weren't. Sorry, rightful owners of the Rainbow Chips Ahoy. Next time, don't stick your food in the common cooler.

Anyways, after four hours on the roof, it was time to have lunch. And because I am lame and a horrible person, I...bailed out on Habitat for Humanity. I KNOW. I was just beat though. Instead of staying through until the midafternoon, my friends and I left for some Persian food and air-conditioning. We agreed that we'd go again, but tell the organizers that we'd only be there for the morning. More than four hours of manual labor and I'm all in. Sad, yes, but hey, you have to acknowledge what you can do, right? It makes my friend ZFF's trip to Thailand where he spent two WEEKS working on a Habitat school all the more astounding.

Monday, October 08, 2007

All tucked in

Our two-day project to refloor our house has stretched into an eight-day hell-fest. About the only good thing is that since our office is presently out of commission (it has suffered a subfloor leak from the air-conditioner, so it's all ripped up in an attempt to dry), I have to work while sitting on my bed. Okay, actually, I'm in my bed, my cat is on my lap, and I have a couple of chocolate molasses cookies* at my side. This is not a bad way to work.

While all this mess - we're living here while the flooring is being put in, which has meant that we've had to constantly shift furniture from room to room, depending on where they are working. Plus we're swapping the bedroom and the office - is distressing for The Texan and me, it's the pets who are truly freaking out. Animals even more than people like consistency and routine, neither of which has been in our house for the past week.

The dog is slowly learning not to skid on the new floor - although we do get at least a couple of Scooby Doo-worthy flailing of the limbs every day - but the cat is really annoyed by everything. His biggest peeve is that he can't quite jump up on the bed now, since the floor is wood laminate in the bedroom and we've got a silk comforter on our bed. There's nothing there for him to grab onto, and while it's kind of fun to see him cling precariously to the side of the bed, you do have to feel sorry for him. So I've jury-rigged a little ladder for him with his litter container providing a step up so that he can join us at night. Thus far it appears to be working.

And do not feel that I am doing this just because he's my darling little angel and nothing's too good for him: I am doing it largely for my sanity. See, when he can't do something he wants to do, he complains about it. Loudly, persistently, and for hours at end. Saturday night we were kept up from about 1 to 5AM with his pissing and moaning about it. Hence, the litter box as step-stool.

Anyways, lately we've gotten really into "Flip That House" on TLC, or, if you're very ambitious, "Flip This House" on A&E. The difference? The former is a half hour and shows non-professionals doing house-flips and all the comedy that ensues (my favorite is when someone does something boneheaded and the captions come on to tell you why it's not a good idea). The latter shows various real estate teams who do it for a living. Either way, it involves a lot of yelling at contractors, something I can really get behind lately. Thursday was a particularly bad day when I broke down in tears while dealing with three difference contractors. You want to see a pair of guys move quickly? Have a female start tearing up in their vicinity. The flooring team skedaddled so quickly they didn't even bother to pick up the trash they'd left behind or reattach our bathroom door (we're friendly and open here, but not THAT friendly).

* While The Texan is in charge of cooking at our house, I in theory am in charge of baking. Which means about once every couple of month I make cookies. This time it was a recipe for chocolate molasses cookies I'd gotten out of the paper. My mom has this story about how when she was little she ate a whole jar of molasses, something I call bullshit on since there is no possible way anyone could swallow a whole jar of that sort of bitterness. It works in cookie form, though, and these turned out so well that The Texan bogarted the whole cookie jar. That usually is my job.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

One small consolation

Our floor-work is, surprise surprise, taking twice as long to get done as originally promised. Last night The Texan and I tried to camp out on the brand-new wood laminate*. That lasted for all of half an hour, then my back started hurting and we split up to the two sofas. The dog freaked the fuck out and damn near crawled up The Texan's ass, he was trying to stay so close to him for comfort (he's a sweet dog but doesn't handle change well). The cat, on the other hand, took to circling the living room, repeatedly clicking his little claws along the outer edge of the room as he brushed up against the blinds. And then clawed at the blinds. And then meowed at the blinds. Over and over and over....

Anyways, the guys came back today to do some work and just swooned over Shrapnel (he'd been locked in the office out of the way yesterday, but today I was tired of his yowling and let him loose). I am serious, I have never seen this level of adoration for a cat. Every time I came out of the office for some water or to talk with the foreman, I'd see the workers dangling a piece of string for the cat or taking a picture of him with a cell phone. It turned out that they were even able to pick up and hold the cat (those of you who know Shrapnel can understand why I was staggered by this knowledge. Petting, he will put up with, but strangers usually are considered verboten by him). I had to check when they left to make sure they hadn't spirited him away in their tool boxes.

T-minus three more days until the work is done, or until my sanity is completely gone. Perhaps both.

* Yes, I know real wood would've been better. But come on, this is a mobile home. No way are we paying more for the flooring than what the entire place is worth. Besides, it looks purty as it is.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Russian Navy Blue, I love you

I finally found OPI's Russian Navy blue nail polish. It is gorgeous - a rich, lustrous blue that isn't goth at all. Or at least, that's what I'm telling myself. I almost got J-Ditty to get it on her nails too for her mani-pedi*, but she went with a lighter blue - Sapphire.

J-Ditty was in town this weekend. She'd already been to San Antonio (for our wedding), so this time she just focused on shopping and hanging out. I introduced her to several of our SA faves - Bobby J's burgers (where Bobby J insisted on carding me. Teehee), puffy tacos at Chi-cha's, and BBQ at Rudy's. Oh, and of course there was the requisite boot shopping at Shepler's. Plus she got to see multitude cat-on-dog fights in our living room (verdict? tie).

She and I went yesterday to Fredericksburg, a little faux-German burg in Hill Country so she could see some of Texas that wasn't urban sprawl. Despite one small snafu where I swear to god we were going perpendicular to the way the map said to go and yet we ended up exactly where we needed to be, it all worked out as planned.

I couldn't take her to the airport this morning because I was expecting not one, not two, but three sets of contractors to come work on the house. (Two out of three actually showed up - not a bad turnout, considering how flakey a lot of them are.) (And I say that out of bitter experience. If I have given you a credit card, let you charge half the predicted cost of the project on it, and arranged for a starting date, you can be DAMN WELL SURE that I will not have changed my mind. Jackasses.) But we got to watch Regis and Kelly before she left, as well as make fun of the Today show, so it's all good.

* Why hasn't the memo about not cutting cuticles made it to the nail salons? Every single magazine article I read about that says that for the love of everything that's holy, do not let them cut your cuticles, unless you want there to be a fungus among us. And without fail, at every single salon I go to - and they're not *all* trashy - I have to wrestle the cuticle-cutters out of the stylist's hands. This time it wasn't anything different. She was severely wounded that I wouldn't let her cut my cuticles and kept messing up while applying the nail polish, then blaming my apparently grossly-overgrown cuticles on why she screwed up.