"I didn’t say it was a *good* story!"

This evening I found out that our local take-and-bake pizza place – a place that’s been around forever as far as I can tell – is not long for this world. The entire set of buildings on one city block in Aberdeen have been sold and the businesses left to their own devices. My half-assed guess is they were probably paying a very low rent and now that they’re forced to go seek leases in the real market, they can’t survive and decide to fold tent.

With a lot of whinging I might add, which is what I’ve been subjected to the few times I’ve gone in to purchase goods from the shops in the doomed locale. For instance today I’m told I can’t get sourdough crust for my pizza. I say, “Oh, you’re out?” innocently enough and the proprietor looks at me like I’m, yes, fucktarded, and tells me they’re discontinuing items because they won’t be around for more than a couple weeks. “It’s been all over the papers,” he kind of scoffs, clearly disbelieving that I would be so misinformed about matters of such global importance. Now, I love the pizza at this place – it’s fresh, tasty, completely unlike Papa Murphy’s or any of that franchise crap, inexpensive, and familiar. But the business owner giving me shit right now? He looks like an older, stringier, scarier version of the really bad guy in Fargo (we’re talking doppleganger, here). He’s also Russian (“or somethin weird”), tends to the surly side, and sometimes wears snug jeans that display his genitalia with too much precision for my taste (right above the counter at eye level since he’s on the tall side). So, um… yeah, it’s kind of hard to buy pizza from him. Even when he’s not treating me like an ass.

When I get home I tried to look the story up on The Daily World for the scoop on the business closures – but as I couldn’t find it after five minutes of searching, I gave up.

I’m sad I won’t get to have that sourdough crust ever again.

OT – one of the sweetest things about this story is not only the sweetness of this British lad but his teeth as well.

And dear God. If you recognize this, you know what I mean:

"we’re doin’ it, man. this is it. we’re right in the thick of the action."

Friday the 13th, indeed.

I had modest plans today. Go to a recommended antique furniture entity – creatively named The Furniture Barn – and look for a shelf for my children’s toys. As I formulated this plan my little heart started racing because as it occurred to me that my children needed a better play area, it also occurred to me it was time to give Sophie her own room. I’d been feeling guilty seeing them sharing dresser space and closet space and having no toys of their own. On the one hand I know it’s healthy to share space and toys. However, we do have three bedrooms and it’s entirely possible to accommodate one of our children per bedroom. My sewing space will have to evolve or die.

After breakfast and cleanup we pile into the car and drive to Aberdeen. The kids and I park in the rain and my children hop out of the van and accompany me into the store, where: it’s happened so many times I recognize it right away. I can sense it immediately like a lion can smell a rotting kill downwind: hatred because I have small children with me. As long as I live I will never forget what this feels like. The clerk in the antique store is not happy I’m bringing in children even though they are well-behaved and I am keeping my eye on them. And bear in mind these aren’t “antiques” along the lines of Fabergé eggs, depression glass, and tiny breakables. This is mostly furniture.

I ignore the shopkeep’s vibe and start looking around. Sophie is not the problem of course; Nels is. Still, he is mostly behaving himself except for his desire to go to areas of the store where I can’t see him – sorry, buddy. After a few minutes of a well-managed shopping stroll the clerk once again looks up from her book and asks in a chilly tone, “Anything I can help you with?” I tell her I am looking for shelves. She noises in the negatory and sort of fake-looks about – pointing out a large 3-part set for $200 a pop. “I’m sorry, we really don’t have much in the way of shelves.” I thank her and keep looking. I find about a half-dozen other items easily classifying under my category, including a nicely sturdy pine set for $45. My children are still relatively good so I look around a little more – there really are some beautiful pieces. For a moment I fantasize about having my beloved Mac resting on a $450 mission-style desk. Finally I am ready to go.

I’ll spare you the further conversation with the clerk – who makes a sharp noise as my son handles the fake fruit in a bowl, then apologetically and nasally drones, “Those are busy years, aren’t they…” Let’s just say by the time the money had changed hands I really wish I hadn’t bought anything from yet another snotty-assed shopkeep in my life. Of course the woman doesn’t help me carry the bookcase to the car, but as it turns out, that’s a blessing – it ends up that this seemingly slender, modest piece of furniture does not easily fit into my large-ish van and I fuck around and adjust and take it out and put it back in and finally do some kicking – breaking a small piece of the just-purchased item! – finally getting the goddamn thing in with only the threat of tears, no actual ones manifested. Throughout this my children have buckled themselves in their seat and are watching me and I behave nicely enough.

Finally, finally the shelves are secured. “See mom, that did go well!” Sophie enthuses (responding to some grumblings I’d made as I struggled), and she and Nels repeat the mantra as we drive on to our next destination. We get to her preschool early and as we wait in the van she comes and puts her arms around me and strokes my hair. Thank you, little girl.

After our Aberdeen errands The Boy and I pick my father up to help me with some furniture moving at home. I pick him up and get to vent about the shopowner (he is sympathetic and asks about my experiences in Port Townsend – I tell him it was worse – we commiserate) and my stupid assy attempts to get the shelves in the van. I make coffee and dad and I chat about family, children, jobs, and mess about moving a large rug into Nels’ room.

This afternoon suddenly I am aware of a horrible smell in my house – very much a burnt paint / rubber smell. We recently had a new gas insert installed (which is a lovely addition, by the way) and the fumes upon installment had disappeared but are back now. This sucks as it surfaced this afternoon and putting a call into the furnace people doesn’t go over well on Friday night. But when I mentioned “headache” to the receptionist she got off the phone pronto, to get me a technician.

So right now I am currently late to a friends’ for dinner, as I sit waiting for a man to come over and tell me what I’ve been breathing today. At least Nels and Ralph are off to dinner – provided they find the place.

Here’s hoping my weekend goes a teensy bit better.

why do i even try

Maybe I should have stuck with what works – staying home with my family, my new house, my projects, my peeps. But no – today I “ventured out” and have been rejected in minor yet thoroughly annoying ways. I’m considering going into hermitage.

First off, today was my first time helping at my daughter’s preschool as the assigned snack / helper parent. First let me say this group of parents seems to provide far less healthy food options than the co-op we were involved in for years in PT. That’s fine – I am no control freak and I know it’s hard to constantly think of healthy options to feed your family. In light of how acclimated to quick snack food the kids are at this school, today I wanted to make something that wasn’t plain bulgar or whatever – something homemade that the kids would actually eat. So I made an apple tart (puff pastry, apples topped with a crumble of brown sugar, oats, butter, almonds, and cinnamon) and whole-milk plain yogurt topped with craisins.

OK, so as the kids come to the table at 2:05 three children see the “raisins” on their yogurt and *IMMEDIATELY* start bitching about them. Two of these children *hounded* me about how nasty it was I’d put these on their yogurt (whoops – I only did it b/c I thought it looked pretty). Then one child takes a bite of the yogurt and lectures me loudly on how bad it tastes – I can only assume he’d been used to high-corn-syrup / sugar versions. At that point I was very appalled by their manners and thanked my lucky stars that I’d taught my kids no matter how much they *don’t* like what someone puts in front of them to eat (and sometimes they really don’t), it is not OK to YELL at the person who made it (these three children literally were yelling). I know this is dumb but for some reason it hurt my feelings or irritated me or something. Maybe because of the complete lack of gratitude? Thinking of the households these children must be raised in? (I’m careful on the judgement thing though – God Only Knows in what ways my children reveal my own lacking parenting). All the other children ate up – or picked off craisins, or whatever – without comment.

So after a big day at school with my two kids and these five others I get home and check my gmail – usually a positive, relaxing experience. I immediately see the admin of a recent Flickr sewing group I’d joined had sent me a poisonous email regarding an image I posed with “offensive” language (whoops – I did have “fuck” in the title – I’d named it so before I’d joined the group). Now, I had read the FAQ / guidelines before joining and there had been no mention of “offensive” language so I didn’t think about it. The email was one of those prim, uptight messages about how if I “keep using offensive language” I will be BANNED from the group. Ooo, so powerful! So mighty, admin! Who gives a shit!

Of course I edited my tag and re-uploaded the photo. I am not wanting to offend anyone and had I been alerted to this upon joining I would have happily edited away first. Just wanting to share my love of sewing with others who sew. GODDAMNIT!

welcome to HQX. here’s a shit sandwich.

I am a nester by instinct, ability, and natural inclination. So when yesterday in late afternoon my children and I arrived in Aberdeen, met with property manager E. to our new place, I gave her my money, got the key, parked at my ‘rents house and checked out our new digs since it was – according to E. – “ready by tomorrow”, and found that upon opening the door it smelled like 12 KINDS OF ANIMAL EXCREMENT, well, I was a bit sad. And a few other feelings.

Which is how it smelled before it was cleaned and when we checked it out three weeks ago – because some trash were living there and letting an animal menagerie (which included birds, rodents, and a snake, the latter two categories presumably kept separate) shit or piss wherever, including a poor dog who my parents tell me howled and whined nonstop, poor thing. According to E. yesterday it had been “professionally cleaned, the carpet is clean and it smells good” but it was JUST AS BAD AS YOU CAN IMAGINE and my father who has lost half the senses in his body completely agreed as did anyone else I let in there (the children, telling them not to TOUCH anything). As in, I couldn’t even move my possessions in or those possessions would quickly end up smelling like a particularly vile cocktail of animal ass.

OK, breathe. It will be fine. Maybe. Today I went to see E. as soon as her office was open. The conversation did not go well and in fact got worse and worse as she was unwilling to take responsibility – “unforeseen circumstances” – WTF? – let alone apologize that a family of four counting on a move-in date of the 16th will now not have a place to move into. At this point, as much as I loved the house (sans the ass-smell), I was glad I had not signed a piece of paper with this woman. I got my money back and gave her my key. As it sits now – after a heated conversation where she told me I “need to calm down” because as you who know me know, I am just the type to be loud and crazy – she’s supposed to check the place out and sort out if and how they are going to make it liveable and if they are, when it will be ready. At this point I honestly don’t even know HOW they can get that odeur out without some major carpet tear-out, treatment, etc. perhaps including a match and kerosene. Mostly, also, E. was such a shit that I won’t cry tears if I have zero future dealings with her. Which is a shame because it’s a neat place, across the street from my parents’, I knew the guy who lived in it for years and years back in the day, and I would have loved living there. Again: minus the ass. The worst part for me in some way is that E. will probably rent to some other tenants who will take similar non-care of what will increasingly be a less beautiful old house. P.S. this happens in Grays Harbor, a fair amount.

So Ralph will be here tomorrow with a 24′ long u-haul (that’s feet, not inches) and I’ll probably have to put our shit in storage and be back to square one looking for a place. Balls.

Luckily we are not set up too shabby; camped rent-free (so far) in my parents’ large house, Ralph and I are getting along fine, and the kids are doing well. I am very stressed but I hear moving is one of the most stressful experiences to go through, so at least it’s par. Which somehow makes me feel better although I don’t feel that good.

This afternoon after my children had napped a bit (they are STILL at it) I crept up to the upstairs bedroom, set up my Mac and connected via wireless (P.S. this took three minutes) and took a deep, deep sigh of relief. With my Mac by my side, and family too I guess, things are a bit better already.

Dad of the Year

We decided relatively last-minute to visit my family this week and installed ourselves in their guest room last night at 1:30 in the morning, after a long roadtrip. This morning my husband took the kids out to look at real estate. He returned earlier than we thought and the kids tromped into the living room.

“Oh, did Daddy buy a house?” my mom asks my daughter.

“No, he was teasing me,” she says cheerfully. “He said I’d live in the van by myself. And I’d only eat dog biscuits and spiders.”

“And then I cried a little bit.” She concludes, evenly. (One might assume this is when the teasing stopped).

Ralph entrez, shamefaced we heard her testimony. Earlier this morning he deliberately terrified our son with a giant, creepy, papier-mâché black widow spider.

(Edited to add – two seconds ago, I hear my daughter ask Ralph: “Dad, are these pickles a little bit poisoned?” Should I be worried?)

breaking my first rule of blogging, briefly

Today I discovered a sobering truth that only marginally relates to my life, but I’ll mention it anyway. You may not know there there a hefty amount of mommy and daddy bloggers – some of my readers perhaps know a few of the more infamous ones – who through ads on their site are getting paid to blog their family stuff (thereby earning the term “professional blogger”). Well, I was sort of aware of this, but apparently there are also a healthy amount of mommyblogger-haters who are simultaneouly blogging about the mommies and daddies. You know, criticizing these parents for exploiting their children shamelessly to make a few bucks (or a bonafide salary) with Google ads. And from my ten minutes checking it out these two factions seemed to be going back and forth, snarking at one another, some of them disallowing comments or deleting ones that don’t meet standards of nicety, many of them seeming to revel in the shit-slinging, padding their blogrolls, and collecting “fanship” of some sort. It’s a small but rather active faction of the Inter-Tron and the whole thing depresses me.

It has never seriously entered my mind to put ads on my site and make money. I could present the scorecard as to why this would be a bad idea for me (my writing = marginally good; my photoblogging equipment = nonexistant; my willingness to keep a cute gimmicked format = not there; my ability to sensationalize my life for profit = weak). The concept of earning money from my blog is only slightly tempting since I have a decent readership here. Or perhaps I should say, the number of people who read my blog is surprisingly high; and the actual people who take the time to talk to me are stellar. But the difference between a well-liked blog with a modest fan base and a money-making blog is a huge gap. Unless I posted pictures of my boobs or made up lies I’m not likely to pull in any decent capital (whoring my blog out has occurred to Ralph and I think he did the math – currently I’d earn something like $5 a month). My entries are enjoyed to the extent they are because I write marginally well and regularly post; even lately I’ve failed to keep my frequency up.* In short, my writings are gratis, and it turns out you get what you pay for.

And the bottom line: if I don’t try to actually make money off my kids by my sarcastic, rapier-like wit, I may just not get publicly hated. Maybe.

(As I typed this, my son was asking my husband for dinner. “Mama has a fresh pizza for us!” Ralph cheerily informs Nels. “You go cook!” the boy orders me, pushing me into the kitchen. Now, why is it that if my girlchild had asserted my social subjugation in this way I would have been less offended?)

* The top reason I don’t read many of my friends’ blogs – because I really, really desire my friends to keep one and keep them well – is the lack of posting frequency or regularity. Reason #2 more distantly follows: content is too poor (boring, navel-gazing, lots of webcam self-shots, bleh).