August and the Quaid Brothers

In this, this week of relentless heat and humidity, I’ve had a raging migraine since Sunday night. I woke up today very cautiously – you migrainers know how that looks, like the little kid in the kindergarten pageant who peeps out from between the curtains as the gymnasium is  filling up  – to ascertain if the headache had indeed dulled down from full on jackhammer let-me-die-now to my-head-is-a-giant-bruise-and-I’ve-never-been-more-grateful.

I’m sitting on my back deck on a perfect summer day; I just noticed it is August 1st, but I knew that because I also noticed some leaves turning at the top of one of the trees in my yard. August is the most depressing month of the year. I know some of you vote for February but you’re wrong: February knows damn well it sucks and has the good grace to bow out early. August pretends it’s still summer even though it sends in licks of cold air earlier and earlier in the evening while still clogging up the noon hour with full on heat like a sonuvabitch. Sure. Book that week up north, plan to meet on the patio, but bring a sweater. The only good part of August is that it leads to September, a month I adore.

July and August are like those siblings they compare in the magazines. They put pictures of Randy Quaid next to Dennis Quaid and say things like “one little genetic blooper, and look at the difference!” and yes it’s mean, but hey, Randy Quaid gets cast emptying the shitter on his RV in Vacation with Chevy Chase and Dennis gets to put his hand up Ellen Barkin’s skirt in The Big Easy and pull off the sexiest sex scene where you don’t see a thing. July and August are like that. One I’d let feel me up; the other I’d let empty the crapper.

I’m babysitting 8 pounds of dog that occasionally bites me. He’s a rescue and he’s darling and sweet expect for those random moments when he turns into a bag of teeth. We’re supposed to know and bribe him with treats into good behavior, but I will never ever get used to the smell of dog treats on my hands so I am rather lapse in my training. I think Alfie and I understand each other, actually. I can’t be bribed with treats either, and the people who love me do so in spite of the fact I bite them occasionally. Alfie came to us with issues and we’ll never know what happened in his first year to warrant the biteyness. I feel for the little bastard; like the man he is named for – my Dad – his early history decided far too much for a handful of liver treats and all the love in the world to put back to rights. Détente is not peace.

So watching Alfie has forced me to sit out back doing nothing, not only to let him take the air but to also put a safe distance between him and four cats who never tire of teaching him a lesson about the superior species, or at least the importance of understanding that whoever has stealth combined with sharp nails wins. Alfie is not stealthy; his nickname is Bo Jangles for the multitude of tags required to keep track of a dog; funny that they call it belling the cat.

We had to give him eyedrops, and we finally settled on a system of putting on those heavy duty gardening gloves, getting a muzzle on him, and then with one holding him, the other would get a drop in. It was hell. It was for his own good. He was instantly back to sweet when it was all over. Kinda like me and August. I’m just gonna put a five-point harness on August and ride it out.


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Happily disconnected

Got back from the cottage on Sunday and to paraphrase Sandra Shamas, the family is back and there’s gonna be laundry. Oh, how there is laundry. I was up for ten days or so, and the kids went back and forth as work schedules permitted. I don’t believe in sleeping bags so I make up beds. I tell everyone to bring a couple of towels, but in and out of the lake every ten minutes means more and more towels. Happily, we have bins and bins of sheets and towels. Some date back to my parent’s wedding, I kid you not. Tea towels are forever, it would seem.

I usually use my cell phone as a router up there so I can get internet for an hour a day or so. What I didn’t realize was that Ari has been using up the gigahooies on our plan downloading stuff at work on his breaks. “But we never, ever use up the plan,” he explained. He used up the plan. “I’ll pay for the overages,” he explained. Yup. I managed to get a column filed before the reminders went from you are now approaching your limit to you have reached your limit to we just charged you thirty dollars to YOUR PHONE IS GOING TO EXPLODE.

So. I had to call Ari to ask him what I could use. “You can text and call, but that’s it” he explained. Can I use the Googler? No. Can I check Twitter or Facebook? No. Can I check my emails? No. If you know me, you know I hate texting and I hate talking on the phone. I just tossed my phone aside and started to envy Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I also realized that if I really had to think about it, I actually have very little to say. I’m sure some of you knew that all along.

I crashed on the dock all day and read westerns, then crashed into my bed at night and watched westerns. My favourite used book store is in Rosseau, and I was there my second day up. Found an awesome new bakery and coffee shop in Orrville (thanks, Roz and G) and was grateful it was only open 4 days a week. I put in a set of taps; I called the plumber to fix the leak I couldn’t; I replaced the screen door; I had the one cat I took up discover she would like to be an only child.

Can’t wait to go back. Think I’ll just pretend my Googler is busted every time.

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Mystery solved

“Which of you kids keeps leaving the printer turned on?”

marco printer

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Waiting for the Big One

Wow. This is an excellent read from Kathryn Schulz at The New Yorker. We’ve all grown up knowing to fear the San Andreas Fault, but she explains why that’s nuthin’.

I’m still haunted by images from the Thailand tsunami in 2004 and the devastation in Japan in 2011. Recap the death tolls: 230,000 in Thailand, wholly unprepared for such a disaster and 16,000 in Japan, a place expecting it. The property damage in both places defies description.

It’s a half hour read or so. I suggest you make the time.

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Dear Men on the Internet

There are times you look at something and think, “now, that can’t end well.” And you’re right. Twice in the past week, Men on the Internet (well, that’s where their stories ended up) have strapped fireworks to their body parts and died. Don’t do this. These guys in Greece aren’t much better: they used homemade firecrackers and tried to run them through a battery for extra oomph. They got it. Someone accidentally killed some people while playing beer pong. With a gun. My kids play beer pong. And they sometimes play with fireworks. We’re heading up north next week, and these Men on the Internet have me worried.

Some Men on the Internet are more manly, of course. This gentleman in Texas was simply avenging a friend who went all ‘damn the torpedos’ (he actually said ‘eff that gator’, but I prefer my version) and jumped into a pond with a huge alligator in it. The gator did what any self-respecting thing with big teeth would do if something landed in its mouth: it ate him. His buddy, named Bear (just what his parents had in mind, I’m certain) killed that damned gator to get even. The fact that nobody has been killed by an alligator in Texas since 1836 mattered not a bit. “He had to go,” explained Bear. “That’s what happens when you kill someone.” No, Man on the Internet, that’s what happens when you jump into an 11 foot alligator’s mouth. I’m with the gator on this one.

This one is admittedly more Dear Boys on the Internet, but only just. Two evil little bastards in New Jersey lured some geese (no doubt Canadian) on to the road and ran them over? WTF? How about we let me play a little beer pong with them? Or I know of some alligators no doubt looking for a little revenge.

Dear Men on the Internet: if I politely decline to date you, it doesn’t mean I’m “really bitter” or even that I “seem to have some anger issues”. Well, I suppose actually it could seem that way, but rest assured, I’m simply exercising my right to answer your question with a “no, thank you” and the fact you read a lot more into that doesn’t mean I have issues, it means you do. No link for that one. Actually, those two. And, to be fair, I really think you have to have at least met me before you get to decide if I’m bitter, and to remind me that “men don’t like women like me”. Gotcha.

I have a friend who helpfully sends me ads from her city’s Craigslist. She does this because we share a twisted appreciation for some of the things that Men on the Internet post on the internet. Because they are trying to find true love, they helpfully post pictures of themselves. They think women will find this enticing, or something. Here is what we do: We critique these pictures, but not in the way you think. We aren’t actually debating why you’re standing in your bathroom holding your penis in one hand and your phone in the other (remind me not to borrow a phone from a Man on the Internet); no, we are sizing up your actual bathroom. One friend who is a little decorating-OCDish wants to replace a lot of shower curtains. We often remark that your towels look a little dodgy. Sometimes, it’s just all the clutter. All of which just reminds me that Women on the Internet don’t look at things the same way as Men on the Internet.

I guess the theme I’m sensing is a combination of dumb and/or dangerous, (some) Men on the Internet.

Women will get their own post, obviously.

Oh, and this I just loved:

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The Alfie Sagas

This is Alfie:
alfie tag

This is Alfie’s dinner:
alfie's food

This dog cracks me up.

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Who’s that knocking at my door?

Argh. For the umpteenth time (I’m turning into my mother; it’s official), the Jehovah’s Witness’s (too many apostrophes?) were banging on my front door. This is how it works: I’m sitting at my computer, so I can lean and look towards the door and see who it is without being seen if I’m fast enough. I can then sit down at my computer and they can cool their heels at the door wondering, why, if there are several cars in the driveway and the door is open, is nobody answering their knock? Can everyone be in the bathroom?

They always knock twice, at least. One time, this nosy old bat actually opened my door and yelled yoohoo. OPENED THE DOOR TO MY HOUSE AND STARTED TO COME IN I LOST IT AND YELLED AT HER. Which of course made me seem like I needed saving all the more, I’m sure.

But I’m funny like that; I don’t buy anything I didn’t order at my door, except Girl Guide cookies. I don’t care if you’re ‘working in the neighourhood’, I don’t care if you have a clipboard (and tell me, since when did a clipboard become as official as a cop badge?) and want to sell me furnace crap now that the law has finally snuffed out your ability to sell me natural gas programs. Anyone notice how fast they pivoted on that nonsense?

I’m not sure how serving your religion entitles you to trespass against me. See what I did there? Maybe I need to be fighting fire with fire.

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Alfie’s first visit to the cottage.

He is on the dock. Safety first…
alfei dock

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“A little bag of meal was standard equipment in the tool kit.” – John Steinbeck

Great read, even if you’re not a car freak. But especially if you are.

“I don’t know what I did wrong but what I did was final.”

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It’s official

I’ve run out of hiding spots for the cat food. This is Marco the Brat….I’m considering applying a thin coating of oil to the range hood.
mark brat

I was away for a couple of days with Chrysler, and because it’s easier to drive to Detroit than sit around airports waiting to make a one hour flight, I asked them for something fun. They gave me this:
challenger 2
It has something called a Shaker Scat Pack, which isn’t poop. But it is fast. Very fast. It was indeed fun.

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