Sunday, December 28, 2008

No Dish For You

Our family is attempting to join the world of high-def this year. We bought a new flat-screen TV for the family room, which is not as extravagant as it sounds, as our old TV turned everyone on the screen green fifty percent of the time. We'd almost gotten used to watching Martian TV, but the chip dead center in the glass gave people an unexpected mustache. The old TV was built into its own console which would be nice in a large house, or even a large room. In our family room this TV was the equivalent of having your own Easter Island statue inside. We needed the space. We needed flesh tones.

Also, we needed high-definition satellite service. Out came the DISH installation guys, in their flannel shirts and work boots, wielding clip boards. I knew we were in trouble the minute they stepped in the house wearing matching dubious expressions.
"We got a problem," the big one said.
"Already? You just got here." Sometimes I can be so naive.
"You got a tile roof. We don't do tile roofs."
"But the old one is already up there, on a tile roof."
"It's in our contract. No tile roofs."

The little one suggests, after a tour of the yard, that we simply mount the newer, larger, disc directly on the front of the house. I imagine he felt we would be grateful to not only share the sculptural beauty of the disc with the neighbors, but also for the clear view we would have of it from inside our front window as well. He also suggested we just run the cable along the ground, across the doorway. Just mow around it real careful, he cautioned.

Surprisingly, my husband was unsatisfied with this idea. We are now re-scheduled for Saturday, which was the soonest a contractor, who is not intimidated by tile, can come and walk on our roof. I expect to hear from the contractor that he's not allowed to touch electrical components and will need an electrician.

Friday, December 26, 2008

I Can't Believe It's Not a Head Injury


"What could go wrong?" we asked ourselves. It was only the movies. You sit in the dark, watch the movie. No problem. "Sure," we said, "_____ can come with us."

A little background. Our neighbor boy, a very nice individual for the most part, the same age as our ten year old, is spectacularly accident-prone. Once he threw a brick up in the air and hit himself in the face while in our front yard, a fact I only became aware of after he wandered into my house covered liberally in his own blood. Another time he locked himself out of the house during a full-fledged windstorm when his mother wasn't home, and we found him being buffeted about the neighborhood in bare feet. He has fallen into our bushes, off our front steps, out of his mother's car while it was still moving. It has only been recently that he has learned to use the brakes on his bicycle. Before that he would stop by literally riding it into the nearest hard surface, which was usually a neighbor's garage door.

So,as I said, this particular neighbor boy would not be a candidate, for say, go-cart racing, or
snowboarding, at least not without notarized release of liability papers signed by the mother and an emergency team standing by. But the movies? What could happen?

Butter could happen.

When my son and his friend asked to go to the lobby as the previews began, to spritz a little butter on their popcorn, we felt safe in giving our blessing. Ten minutes later both boys returned with their paper boats, all limbs apparently in tact, and sat down in the seats they had previously chosen, situated directly behind us. We settled in for "Bolt". Soon there came a tap on my husband's shoulder from behind.
"I dropped my popcorn."
"That's okay, we'll get you some more."
"That's okay, it didn't taste no good anyway."
"That's because it's covered in butter!" my son cut in, disgust in his voice. "No, Mom, like a lot of butter! He used up the whole can!"

It was right about here that my husband realized that the bottoms of his shoes were slippery. And the floor. And the floor beneath his feet was shiny in the light of the movie, which had just begun. And that every unfortunate soul in the three rows in front of us who attempted to stand was doing a new shiny-shoe interpretive dance. Muffled curse words were heard to float about the theater. We slid down in our seats and prayed that no one would break a tailbone before "Bolt" made it home to the sound stage.

As we slunk out of the theater at the end of the movie, we saw, in the light, the unmistakable evidence of a butter river that had flowed downhill beneath the seats of many hapless movie-goers that night. We told ourselves that it was the budget theater anyway, and the place could use a good pressure-washing. We told ourselves that no one was seriously injured.

We told ourselves that the neighbor boy's mother didn't look suspicious as we dropped him off at the door, as if she somehow could have predicted our butter ordeal.

Walking off the Guitar Hero Hangover

leaf with rain drops

I took this picture with my cell phone this morning and sent it- took a walk now that the rain has finally quit, and enjoyed the fresh air. This is the best time of year to live in southern California, because the air is clean, cooler, but still mostly sunny. Of course, out-of-state relatives that come to visit invariably arrive in August when it is blast-furnace hot and the air can best be described as chewy . Then we have conversations about how terrible it must be to live here. I make sure to agree.

My son has developed a crush on Pat Benatar. This is a Guitar Hero Christmas, for which I have only myself to blame. Since the wrapping paper came off the boxes yesterday morning, we have been living in a non-stop early '80's MTV video (Try very hard not to picture me in spandex ). I didn't like hair band music when it was actually popular, and hearing the talk box intro to Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer" played on the infinity loop in my head will likely drive me over the edge by the new year.

Fortunately, the walk helped. Besides seeing a pretty leaf and capturing it for posterity, I took note of all the drunken-looking, half-inflated snowmen, and Santas on lawns all over town. I stopped my dog from 1) barking at a kind elderly woman in a Carol Channing wig, and 2) launching himself at a passing city bus (this involves a move with the leash that is much like fly-fishing, only the dog casts himself out into the street, and you pull back forcefully on the leash so that the dog sails back to you like a fish on the line). We bought milk and carried it back in re-usable grocery bags, for those of you who look to me as the poster child for green living.

When we returned, Guitar Hero was mercifully silent. I'm off now to hide the plastic guitar under the couch.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008



"You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd." - Flannery O'Connor

-Merry Christmas!

Oh Yeah, I Have a Blog!

So, 2005 really isn't that long ago....I'm thinking I'll come back and visit with myself a bit (although I guess I could tell someone I'm here, but then they'd read it, and then others would know stuff about me, which is both a little exhilarating and a little terrifying at the same time.

So what have I been up to in the last years? Oh, so many things. Here are a few, excerpted from my Christmas "unnewsletter" that a few hapless individuals received from us this year:

1 The current contents of my purse are “piney-fresh”. It’s true! This is the unexpected result of absentmindedly putting a bottle of Christmas Tree Preservative in my purse while wrestling a Christmas tree at Home Depot. All the agitation loosened the cap, and the rest is a blast of refreshing every time I reach inside. The best part is, the solution is concentrated, so Christmas can truly last all year long for me.

2. Once upon a time, we had a shower in the master bathroom. Then one day I came home, walked into the bathroom, and gazed in wonder upon the neat pyramid of shimmering safety glass nuggets lying on the floor. These nuggets used to form shower doors, but apparently the doors grew weary while we were all away, and laid down on the floor. When we resolved to replace the doors, the tile suddenly felt tired too and fell down.. Much time later, we entertained a parade of men with leather tool belts, who gazed in equal wonder upon the empty space, offering to help us in exchange for vast sums of money (no one seemed interested in my offer of a free waffle iron). One man smoked cigarettes in his car outside while searching in the air for the exact right amount of money it would take to make our shower dreams a reality. Unfortunately, all of those numbers he found could not go on paper (“Write it down? Why would we need to do that?”) Apparently only suspicious people need stuff written down. We are suspicious people.

Luckily, a man with numbers that would go on paper finally appeared, and a shower might happen in January. Please postpone all celebrations until further notice…

3. My daughter's orthodontist kindly pointed out to her that her chin was “asymmetrical”. Just as I prepared a motherly speech about how we are all special and unique, he added “Just like yours!” This was unnecessarily cruel on his part. We are now taking donations for research into this rare and debilitating condition.