Saturday, September 30, 2006

Saga of a Dog

Amidst a little human trepidation, Daisy the Dog came to live with us. (Would the landlord let her stay? Would she behave well? Would the cats accept her?) The landlord seemed ready to let her stay. A few quirks aside, she was wonderfully impressively sweetly joyfully well-behaved. The cats were healthily wary of her but warming up quickly. Yesterday, Piper took a nap with me, with Daisy on the bed. Today, Nina finally emerged from the bathroom.

But Daisy the Rescued One-Year-Old Dog has allergies. To cats? Her nose swelled up with hives, along with her ears and her legs. She rubbed her face and chewed her legs. We gave her benadryl, and the hives went away. But logic and a sense of responsibility remained, and we reluctantly admitted that if something happened to her that couldn't be fixed with occasional benadryl, we just couldn't afford to fix it. And Daisy the Dog deserves the assurance of emergency veterinary attention.

So Daisy returns today to her original rescuer, Eric's brother, and his wife who loves Daisy and his sons who love Daisy and his dog who loves to play with Daisy, who will no doubt be known once again by her alias, Bailey. And they will take good care of her.

But we're still sad.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Shopping List

  • plastic baggies
  • two bowls
  • stuffed toy
  • rawhide
  • milkbones
  • kibble

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Today I spent hours doing "zone maintenance." That means I scanned the barcodes on literally hundreds of cookbooks to identify and pull the ones due back to the vendors, and organized--categorically and alphabetically--the ones staying on the shelves. This is a heinously tedious task that should never be given to people as OCD as me, because we'll inevitably enjoy it. I drove home in kind of a dangerous daze, and now I'm starting to twitch because I know customers are still at the store, moving books around in the grilling section, which I haven't even quite finished organizing. Addiction is a bitch.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Evening. Autumn.

Tonight I drove away from a place that smells warm (like books) through air just cold enough to touch, past trees half orange-yellow-red but still half green, across a bridge across the river, into a swirling purple and gold sunset. And then there was home.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Festive Intestines

Last night, bad storms that never actually reached our neck of the woods scared us into raiding my store of candles in the basement. We brought more upstairs than I could find places for, and I piled some of them up in a corner of the living room floor. This included a small wooden tray with four square pastel candles in it, wrapped in cellophane and tied with gauzy white ribbon. This morning, this particular candle was pulled out toward the middle of the living room and the ribbon...gone. I searched for it under and behind furniture, but we have a string-eating cat (who once chewed off and ate an inch-long section of a strap on my favorite tank top while it hung on a rack to dry), and I'm afraid the ribbon is in here:

So now I worry. Ribbon can do terrible things to tiny digestive tracts: obstruct intestines, or get hung up and slice through them. So I feed her hairball remedy/laxative and watch for vomiting (none yet), lack of appetite ( see that belly?), and lethargy (while I hunted for ribbon, she attacked the flashlight beam). Also, I watch the litter box for festive poop. Little gift-wrapped turds. Awww, for me?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

How to Sabotage a Perfect Afternoon

First, finish cleaning the house. After all, it should have been a one-day project, and you've been working on it all week. So just try to ignore the sunshine outside and get the vacuuming and mopping done already, damn it.

Next, have lunch. It's 4:00 by now, and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? is on, so you can watch that while you eat. And if you're going to watch that fluff, you might as well watch a real trivia show: Jeopardy! comes on next.

After Jeopardy!, you remember that you have a couple of overdue bills to pay, so you should get the checks written out now, while you're thinking of it. You can put them in the mailbox tomorrow morning.

Finally, it's time to make a cup of tea and go outside with a book. You've always read on the front porch before, but the sun looks nice and warm in the back yard. While the water's boiling for the tea, you can drag a chair out there.

On your way outside with the chair, you close the outermost door behind you--the one you share with your landlord's upstairs apartment--and momentarily wonder why. You've never done that before, because there's also a screen door.

You set your chair in a sunny spot beside a low wicker table, where you can easily reach for your tea. Then you go back inside to check on the water for the tea and grab your book and cell phone.

Well, you try to go back inside. But you had no idea, when you unlocked the deadbolt in the door, that the knob was also locked. How could you have known? You've never tried to open this door from the outside before, and the lock doesn't keep the knob from turning on the inside. So you're locked out from the back of the house. You walk around to the front and try that door, even though you know it's locked. You always keep it locked.

Scan the street for your landlord's car. She's not home. Ring the bell anyway. No answer.

Go around to the back of the house, where you can hear the kettle whistling, and pick at the screens on the kitchen windows. They seem designed to prevent break-ins: completely enclosed by the window frame, which won't bend without breaking. Try to turn the back doorknob hard enough to break the lock. No luck.

Walk across the street, where the only neighbor you've ever met is shoveling mulch in her driveway. Explain that your landlord once mentioned something about one of the neighbors having a key to your apartment, and ask if she knows who that might be. She suggests a house, and goes inside to check her own keys to see if she might have one from years ago, while you knock on the door of someone you've never met. They don't answer either, and the neighbor across the street doesn't have a key anymore. But she loans you her cell phone so you can at least call your boyfriend to see if he has any suggestions.

He doesn't. But he does tell you, when you ask, that he doesn't think you're strong enough to break the lock in the doorknob. So you quit trying that and go back to the kitchen window. You're frustrated enough now that you give the screen a really hard upward push, and get a crack between the edge of the screen and the window frame almost wide enough to stick a finger in. You look more closely at the screen, and realize it isn't break-in proof after all. It pops right off with the right manipulation. You pull a chair up underneath the window and climb in, scraping your arm and leg on the way up, and very nearly damaging your groin.

Turn off the burner under the kettle. Return the neighbor's cell phone. Put the screen back in, while having your ankle bitten by an ant clearly sent for vengeance from the colony whose home your chair leg destroyed. Turn around to go back inside and get your book and tea, and see that the sun has dipped behind some trees and the entire back yard is shaded now. Take your chair inside. There might still be a little time to read on the porch before dinner. Maybe.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Like bookkeeper, except infinitely better. Especially when it's lead bookseller in the fiction section. Which I will be. Exactly that.

When they called to offer me the job, my evil nasty cell phone did something it's never done before: it failed to ring or even show the you missed a call and have new voicemail message. That means the hole in my intestines had a full forty minutes to get even bigger before I tried to call my dad in a panic of what-are-my-options-if-
tomorrow, and happened to see the little voicemail symbol on the screen. And then I did a happy dance until my monkey slippers fell off, so it might be good that I wasn't actually on the phone with a person right that moment.

My joy was briefly tarnished by the necessity of calling the other job to tell them I couldn't work there after all. But they were surprisingly cool about it. When I said I wasn't going to be able to start tomorrow...or at all, actually, the guy chuckled and wished me luck. I'm afraid I might've misjudged him a little, and I'll probably spend at least a few minutes second-guessing my decision to walk away from all that additional cash. But I think I've spent a lot of my life being too damn rational. I'm trying to learn to trust my gut, and my gut recoiled so hard against that first job, I spent half a day crying. For a week, my gut's been urging me to believe that enjoying my work is worth more than $300 a month. Here's hoping my gut isn't a moron.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Fingers, Toes, Arms, and Legs Crossed

Maybe I'll even braid my hair. My interview for The Better Job went very well, but I'll have a little competition. Competition gives me ulcers.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I'm a liar.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Today I was offered a job. It gave me a stomach ache. The wrong reaction. I am not the kind of person who takes a miserable job because it's a guaranteed (immediate) opportunity and pays more than a job that feels better (for which I have an interview on Tuesday). Am I?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

3 Things That Made Me Smile Today

1. A trailer truck parked at a construction site, with the words "Doody Mechanical" printed proudly on the side.
2. A faded New Kids on the Block bedsheet (with the group members' faces on it) functioning as a curtain in an apartment window.
3. Getting a job interview.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Today we took a long walk and found wilderness in the city. Nearby, a green forest grows on a steep hill carved by the persistence of water. A scenic drive and a long trail that tempts my inner biker run alongside it, but it was the path's frequent unpaved digressions into the woods that held our attention. For hours we followed footpaths made muddy by last night's rain, traversed steps crafted by nature out of tree roots, slanting slippery steps built long ago by men out of square logs, and easy curving stairways of the same sedimentary rock that towers over the hillside. This version of nature came with a heavily graffiti-ed railway bridge, a slightly toxic smell, and just a little wildlife. But there were squirrels and a flying kestrel, and tracks left in the sand by not only shoes and dogs but also raccoons and what may have been--Eric said--a blue heron. I came home happy, with dirty feet and creaking muscles. We'll be back to explore other fractions of the riverbank, on other days.