Archive for the ‘House Calls’ Category



Someone to Watch Over Me

Shane and I headed out this morning on what we decided would be an epic adventure–at least by our standards. We’re easy to please. The morning started off pleasantly enough. We made our first stop in Valley Springs, Arkansas, for a quick lunch at Sonic. It was then we decided we’d play a game–for at least the first day–to see how little we could spend on food. (We brought only a few bottled waters with us and no food at all.) Our total bill there came to $4.82. That was a pretty good start, but we thought that was probably going to “win” the lowest meal amount for the day.

From there we detoured briefly to Eureka Springs to see the Christ of the Ozarks, a structure at the Great Passion Play complex. The monument, which stands almost 70 feet tall, sits atop Magnetic Mountain. It’s worth noting that as we pulled onto the complex, the heavens actually opened. It rained so hard that we had to wait about 15 minutes for the storm to  pass so we could take our photos. Considering the rest of the day, I’m pretty sure it was an omen of things to come.

Here’s the thing. I was once told the statue doesn’t have feet because if it had been that much taller, it would have required one of those red flashing lights to warn aircraft. To prevent the Giant Jesus from having a flashing red beanie, they just left off (or maybe cut off) the feet. I doubt this story is true, but it would be SO awesome if it was.

After we shot pictures and video of Jordan’s crate in the van next to the Giant Jesus, Shane had me pose next to the monument. He suggested I kneel down and touch the bottom of the robe, which is how I got a photo of me touching the hem of his garment.

We also stopped by the Crescent Hotel, a former psychiatric facility now said to be haunted, on our way out of Eureka. We hadn’t really taken into account the narrowness and bumpiness of the streets in Eureka and how that would affect our navigating them in a large van carrying a person locked inside a box. Oops! Hope there wasn’t any damage to Jordan or his computer equipment.

Not long after we crossed into Missouri we began experiencing intermittent interruptions on the mobile wireless. Finally it just went kaput, so we were sort of in the dark as to what Jordan was doing during that time. It was frustrating, so we decided to take a break and grab a bite to eat. We pulled into a McDonald’s and grabbed a meal. The final total was $4.30, so we actually came in .52 under our first meal.

Our Internet kicked back up just outside Kansas City, and once there we saw a couple of sights before settling in with our host for tonight. Jordan arranged for us to stay with a friend with whom he once worked at the Kansas City Zoo. We were thrilled not to have to pay for a motel room, and the friend had made us dinner and had cold beer to boot. Awesome, right?


The zookeeper has two dogs and three snakes.

I can’t think about it too much or I’ll end up sleeping in the van curled up next to Jordan’s crate, and that’s just weird. So tomorrow, when I’m out of here, I’ll tell you more.


If I survive.



Mileage: 450 some-odd miles. (Shane has the exact total, and he’s asleep.)

Liquid consumed: 16 ounces water+32 ounces sweet tea+12 ounces soda=60 ounces total

On-the-road bathroom breaks: 3




As some of you know, I have a swimming pool.

I have a pool because it came with the house.  Of course, this house also came with spectacularly cheap rent, a garage full of stuff the real owners (have forgotten they) are stowing, and the owner’s dog.  (She’s my dog now, though.  Mine!)

I don’t bitch much about the pool.  I can’t really justify complaining about it because (1) It’s a private pool in my backyard; (2) I live in Arkansas, where the humidity hovers around 1 million percent in the dead of summer; and (3) It’s a private pool in a relatively secluded area.  Besides, a significant reserve of real water is pretty much always welcome and desired in these parts, so long as it’s not infested with mosquitoes or water moccasins.  (My pool has neither.  Once I had a tadpole problem, but that’s because I left the creepy crawler in for, like, four days when I went out of town, and when I came back I had tadpoles.)

Regardless, I have a love-hate relationship with the pool.  It really is rather expensive to maintain a pool — even the above-ground variety — in a single-income (and often unemployed) household.  Yet despite the constant, time consuming, required upkeep of a healthy pool — water, chemicals, skimming, etc. — there is almost nothing I adore more than swimming naked in the moonlight.  (Or, more specifically, floating nude on my back while gazing at the stars.  But it is still a spectacular and singular experience,)

Still, having a pool — even an above-ground pool with a built-around-deck — is a shitload of work.  And I kind of hate that work.  (And yes, well, I hate most any kind of work that translates to physical labor.  Such is not a significant revelation.)  Yet maintaining the pool is mostly tolerable in the “open season,” though.  I mean, I’m not an “outside” person.  Sunlight mostly sucks except when it’s filtering lightly through my blinds and casting a much-needed healthy glow on Buffy’s visage on my TV during my repeated viewings of season six.

Nevertheless, I maintained the pool and stayed current with all that costly and time-consuming extraneous pool maintenance shit for — well, a lot longer than I probably should have — in 2008.  Part of that was because there is nothing more exquisite and pleasurable for me than lolling around naked in moonlit water.  As such, I took advantage of the fact that this Arkansas fall has been unseasonably warm and that the pool was still usable until late September.

But I’ll also admit to not giving two shits about some pool-related things about which others are far more militant.  In point of fact, I pee in the pool and encourage other people to pee in the pool.

It’s not totally gross, though.  Fact the first: urine is sterile.  Fact the second: there are tons of chemicals in that pool killing all kinds of microorganisms all the time.  Fact the third:  I would rather not have small-bladdered four-year-olds running across my hardwood floors 7.6 times an hour to go inside to pee, dripping water all over the place.  Fact the fourth:  I would rather not have drunk 40-year-olds lumbering across my hardwood floors 7.6 times an hour to go inside to pee, dripping water all over the place.  Fact the fifth: alcohol kills lots of stuff, and I’m fairly certain the beer-to-pee ratio in my pool was in my favor most of the summer.



It’s What’s On the Inside That Counts

5:34 pm · category: House Calls

This is my house.


It’s on a quiet street in a small subdivision full of young families and retirees. In other words, people who are not like me. I do not own this house. I will never own this house. I will never own any house, because I’m terrified of that kind of responsibility. And also major home repairs.

But I feel so very, very much at home here. I’ve worked hard to make this place my own, and it worked. Most days I’m so happy in my house that I don’t want to leave.

Take my bedroom, for instance. It is the very definition of the word “sanctuary” to me. It’s light and airy and spare and not mucked up with all kinds of crap.

Master Bedroom

And then there’s the master bath, which is bigger than bedrooms I’ve had in the past. (Also, you might be noticing a color theme at this point.)

Master Bathroom 1

Master Bathroom 1

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, too, because I’m all about baking and using the George Foreman grill.


Dining Room

And finally the living room, which might as well be my home office because I spend billions and billions of hours here, parked in that ass-ugly chair with the laptop actually in my lap and the DVR remote never more than an arm’s length away.


Home Office

Built-In Bookshelf

Note: All photos open in Flickr with notes.



While I Was Out

This is what I did during my blogging hiatus, in no particular order:

  • Kicked Rocco out
  • Got fired
  • Decided to write, organize and produce my own version of Food Court Musical
  • Learned how to make homemade candy bars
  • Signed up for unemployment
  • Worked my way up to the number one and number five spots, respectively, on Facebook’s “Addicted to Angel” and “Addicted to Buffy” trivia applications
  • Gave up my dream of being in the roller derby
  • Realized unemployment will not keep me from being homeless…
  • …Began bathing dogs for Aunt Doodie in exchange for her paying my rent
  • Started taking a yoga class
  • Got cable TV with a DVR
  • Spent a lot of time with Aunt Doodie musing about how we would survive on a deserted island
  • Started working on building a freelance career, which will theoretically enable me to stay home so I can play “Addicted to Angel/Buffy” Facebook applications and watch the DVR all day long
  • Successfully completed a ten-day cleansing fast
  • Entertained at my home twice in one week — a record!
  • Found out my Aunt Shelley has cancer
  • Realized I am not equipped to write, organize and produce my own version of Food Court Musical, so enlisted the help of my friends
  • Became obsessed with sushi and ate it almost every day for two weeks
  • Lost nine pounds
  • Spent a lot of time daydreaming about how Nathan Fillion and I would live on a deserted island, using Aunt Doodie’s survival ideas and my “tons of free time” ideas
  • Attended the Slayage Conference, where Rhonda Wilcox saw my name tag, remembered me, and asked why I never formally submitted my paper
  • Made my home almost totally chemical free
  • Became disgusted by sushi and vowed to never eat it again
  • Found out my cousin Bailey is having another baby
  • Learned how to fry an egg perfectly
  • Bought a plane ticket to LA for the WD party in October
  • Twisted Cindy’s arm until she agreed to visit me this summer
  • Ate more sushi
  • Found, loved and lost my precious Dr. Horrible
  • Lost a toenail



12:23 am · category: Body of Mine, House Calls

Things I Made Tonight

  • Brown Rice Basmati Pilaf (with celery, onions, raisins, fresh ginger, and a ton of spices)
  • Hot and Sour Soup (without bamboo shoots [I foolishly bought bean sprouts instead because I AM A DOOFUS.] and with shiitake mushrooms [I hate mushrooms.] and sliced pork.

Verdict: Delicious


Things I Wish I’d MadeTonight

  • French Sourdough Bread (I really do have the perfect recipe.)
  • Cherry Pie (I had everything, but I got distracted by the awesomeness that is the rice.)

Verdict: Wistful but (probably) healthier



What the Hell?

8:31 pm · category: House Calls

Yesterday the recycling guy carried off the old laundry basket we put the glass items in.




Okay, Maybe I DO Have a Touch of OCD

I’d never lived in a town that had a recycling program until last year. And, as with most things, I embraced it whole-heartedly.

The problem is that I. Cannot. Stop. I take home the dozens of extra copies of USA Today that are shipped to my work.  I dig through the hotel garbage cans and remove discarded items from my friends’ vehicles. I pick up trash in parking lots to take home with me just because it’s recyclable.

My city provides only one small recycling bin per household, but Rocco and I have supplemented it with other containers. We use the city-issued bin for plastics and paper, an old laundry basket for glass, and an old trash can for cans/metal.

I like to think the recycling guy appreciates our pre-separating items for him, but he’s probably just wondering why two people have so many beer/soda cans.



Product Performance

These are the things I’m crazy about right now.

Secret Clinical Strength Deodorant I sweat. A lot. This is the first deodorant I’ve ever used that really keeps me dry and non-smelly, and I therefore highly recommend it.
Lee Pace Rocco and I fought over who gets to have him as a pretend boyfriend. But it ended just like our fight over the pretend boyfriend at our favorite Chinese restaurant, and Rocco finally won.
Reusable Grocery Bags Very handy and environmentally friendly. Plus, Kroger takes three cents off my final bill for every bag of my own that I provide. (This, of course, made my total roll backward even more, and I almost had an orgasm in the check-out line.)
Honey I used it as a hair mask in the shower the other day, and my mop was half as frizzy as usual, even though I let it dry naturally and didn’t put any product on it.
Nathan Fillion Clips I don’t know what it is about him, but he seems awfully funny and unassuming. Of course, he is an actor.
Medicine Aisle Standoff This is my favorite post on any blog by any person ever ever ever.



Dirty, Dirty Dish War

Tonight Rocco and I had a few friends over for dinner, and they were all kind enough to help with the clean up afterwards. Of course, after they’d gone home, I had to totally reload the dishwasher.

This happens more often than you might think. Like, every single day. Luckily, I don’t have a problem like That Girl has. Rocco and I are both neat freaks to an extent, and he’s very good about putting things in the dishwasher as soon as he’s done with them. The problem is how he puts them in. I have very specific ideas about how to load a dishwasher. I guess these ideas are my own, because my family never had an automatic dishwasher when I was growing up. But boy-howdy, the dishwasher must be loaded a certain way.

Issue One: Plastic
Rocco puts plastic in the dishwasher, so I have to take those items out and hand wash them when he’s not around. I don’t care if the Rubbermaid/Ziploc/Gladware containers say they’re dishwasher safe; they always seem to shrink and then the lids don’t fit and then I get supremely pissed off.

Issue Two: Utensils
Our dishwasher has six compartments for utensils. That’s one compartment for each type of flatware (fork, spoon, knife), which leaves three available compartments. One gets steak knives and related items, one gets the items that are in the same drawer as the standard utensils (can opener, peeler, garlic press, etc.) and one gets the items that are in the “catch-all” drawer (measuring cups and spoons, apple corer, etc.). All of our big utensils (mostly wooden and stainless steel items used while cooking like spoons, spatulas, masher, etc.) have to lie flat on the left side of the dishwasher because they’re too tall to put in the utensil compartments.

Utensils should not be tossed in all willy-nilly. If they’re in their individual compartments, you can grab the whole handful and put them in the drawer or container right away instead of wasting time sorting them. This seems entirely logical to me.

Issue Three: Glasses and Cups
These go on the far right of the top shelf, and if it’s at all possible you put like items together. The far right top shelf is nearest to the cabinet that holds the glasses. That was a whole other battle in the dish war, because I want the cups and glasses beside the refrigerator because that’s where I get the ice and the drinks, right? Rocco wants them stored above the dishwasher because they’re easier to put away. Since the dishwasher is opposite the refrigerator, this led to a minor skirmish. Thank God I moved in three days before Rocco, having thereby set a precedent.

Issue Four: Bowls
We use a lot of bowls because we eat a lot of cereal and soup. Again with the willy-nilly. These should be placed in the middle of the top rack, where those pokey-up-close-together dividers are. They fit perfectly in there. Plus, you can grab four of the eight bowls in one grasp, making it quicker to unload the dishwasher.

Issue Five: Dishes
This is the part where one might decide I’ve taken this dishwasher-loading method too far. I have this set of patterned dinnerware. I think it’s completely understandable that I want the two different plate sizes on different rows on the bottom shelf, again because you can grab them all at once and put them in the cabinet above. The part where I might be crazy is that the pattern has to match. That is, the tiny red flower has to be in the exact same position (say, upper right) all the way down both rows. I cannot physically bring myself to start the dishwasher if the plates aren’t lined up just so.

I don’t think I’m OCD, but I’ve been this way about weird things all my life. Of course all of my (money) bills have to be in order by denomination and facing the same direction, but lots of people are like that. But other people don’t, apparently, have to have their CDs alphabetized first by artist, then by album title. Their clothes don’t have to hang by type then length then color and all face the same direction on identical white plastic hangers. They don’t alphabetize their spices, fruit cups, Lean Cuisines or every single canned good in the pantry.

It’s just easier my way, okay?




Yes, I mean you and your friends — your whole sex! Throw ‘em in the sea for all I care; throw ‘em in and wait for the bubbles. Men, with your coughing and moaning, all fever, no energy — three billion of you passing around the same worn-out whining. Men! With your … sickness!

Rocco is sick, and I’m sick of it. Apparently, the stereotype of grown men being blubbering babies when they’re not well is completely true.

Oh, my God. You have never lived with a sick man until you’ve lived with a sick man who is allergic to everything on the planet, naturally high-strung, and gay.

I’ve done everything I can.

I cooked healthy, vitamin-rich food six nights in a row. The baked asparagus with balsamic butter sauce was “bitter.” The sweet potato salad was “too crunchy.” The Nigerian stew was “bland.” Of course, I offered several times to make homemade chicken noodle soup, but he refused on the grounds that he “hates chicken noodle soup.” And yet yesterday he bought three different brands of canned chicken noodle soup.

I plied him with fluids, most of which he turned down. But suddenly, the man who normally drinks nothing but water and black coffee is swilling sugary sodas while eschewing every type of fruit juice I’ve offered.

I attempted to make him more comfortable and bought him four more boxes of Kleenex on Friday night. He promptly decided to start using paper towels because “they cover more area.” Just… blech.

I’ve tried to keep the house even cleaner than usual. But I’m not allowed to use Clorox Clean-Up because it would “introduce another chemical into the public areas of the house.” I was sweeping the kitchen today when he yelled at me for stirring up the dust. And yet I’m having to navigate my way through miles of discarded, snot-laden paper towels left all over the house. I swear to God, it’s like fucking Hansel is marking a trail so he won’t forget his way between the bathroom and the sofa.

I even tried to get him to try some less invasive remedies. I made him take an EmergenC, but he refused to take any more after the first packet because they were gritty. I bought him his own nettie pot, and when I gave him the box he just glared at me.

Men, and their sickness……