January 2009


go-be-fat-somewhere-elseThanks for the kind words, y’all! I’m typing at New Desk and it still hasn’t lost its shine.

Off to work an hour away this morning, which is better than sitting home by far. But morning exercise is less leisurely, speed-stalking around several blocks in an attempt to burn off the 3 pounds I gained last week. GAINED! Gah!

There was raquetball and walking, and of course bourbon this weekend. There shall be none more of that until my fat ass starts losing weight.

If you feel like a challenge, go check out the Wordsmiths. You have 5 days to write a short story. Anybody can play, and that means you.

Have a great day.

Over the last week I’ve been renewviating the Tiny House kitchen to make better use of some weird space. The kitchen features a diagonal wall in a corner, which used to be a fireplace. It was covered (poorly) in red brick, and though it had some rustic charm, it was not exactly functional or beautiful. So, down it came (with much help, many buckets of dust, one broken wheelbarrow, and a large yard-pile of used bricks).

Now we have a new built-in desk with all the outlets and electronic gear tucked into a cabinet with a noisier-than-expected cooling fan (hence the jet power), a new light with a desk-mounted dimmer switch, some wall cubbies for mail, supplies, and cookbooks, and a gorgeous maple desktop. The old desk was 4′ wide, this one has a 4′ knee space and 8′ of counter length.

Now I’m wondering how to keep all this space from collecting papers, as is the fate of most horizontal surfaces here…desk-beforedesk-after

eeeeeI am betagged by the inimitable No Celery Please, who had a very scientific method of assigning letters. I’m not going to reveal said method in case I deign to steal it for my own use.

I now am required by Those Who Require Things (the Meme Police?) to make a list of ten (10) things I love, admire, adore, or have relations with that begin with the letter E. Here goes, in no strictly particular order.

  1. Eh? There was a kid 6th grade that moved from Canada (which was 3 hours from my home, so it was pretty common). He talked funny, but in a good way. We became good friends for the rest of our school career, and had many adventures. I’m a transplant to The South and really don’t sound like I’m from here, and was once accused of being Canadian by a sweet fat Southern woman. “Y’all from Mawn-Tree-Awl?”  More recently, a nice but weird Canadian woman bought my bride and I some Glenfiddich because we happened to be next to her in a NYC bar on Christmas Eve.
  2. Eggs: Just as astronauts need a space capsule to travel through that harsh environment, life needs a capsule to travel from… er, whence it comes. Enter the egg, life capsule. Handy in size in shape for its purpose, and also tasty in an omelet (depending on species).
  3. Enter: It’s a better announcement than ‘come in,’ and entrance denotes beginning (or to hold one in a trance, which is cool too). I like going into places and beginnings in general.
  4. Employment: Work is good to have. Not only does it pay the bills, but it gives me something to do besides watch Buggs Bunny all day. Not that I’m doing that today, but there’s been more of it over the last month than should be. Self employment sometimes means under-employment (or over-employment, which while better, is also troublesome).
  5. Electricity: One of the main reasons I wouldn’t love to live in the 1700’s. From tiny currents that remember things like spreadsheets and blog posts, to the enormous ones that enable lightning and welding and roller coasters, I’m a big fan. Oh, and of fans, coffee makers, light bulbs, power tools, phones, AC, heat, and suchlike.
  6. Elfin Magic: I like me some Keebler baked goods. There are none in the house currently, what with the Shrinking Piggies ruling my culinary life. But when I get my teeth on some EL Fudge cookies, my tongue smiles.
  7. Elevation: Cliffsides, airplanes, tall buildings, and the above mentioned roller coasters give me a thrill. When I was a teen, I got to spend a summer on my uncle’s farm in California. He has a seed mill with an elevator that rises about 70 feet over the ground, with a skinny steel ladder that goes to the top. I climbed up one afternoon just to look around. I found that this sturdy structure sure can shake in a breeze – it’s invisible from the ground, but there was a lot of movement up high. It was worth the view, despite the butt-clenching terror.
  8. Eldritch: Connoting magical wisdom and gnarly old age, what’s not to like? It’s something I hope to be someday.
  9. Exploring: As with #3 and #7, I’m an adventuresome sort. Show me a cave, abandoned building, museum, ghost town, or ginormous city, and I’ll lose myself for half a day with no plan other than finding out what’s there. Usually I can find my way back.
  10. Exit: Sometimes it’s time to go.

To play along, leave a comment saying so. I’ll assign you a letter, and then it’s your turn. No, I don’t care if you’ve played before – have you eaten before? Good, and you’ll probably want to do it again, right? See, you can do things more than once.

This would be the December Wordsmiths challenge, as evidenced by the photo below which is remarkably similar to the image at right. The deadline is 1/15 – it’s not too late! Go write something!

***************

hands_holding_jarAnnie, Mr. Banks’ Executive Assistant, opened the door and stood aside for a nervous young man. He squirmed his way before the great mahogany desk and tried to pry his eyes from his own shoes.

Mr. Banks, not known for being mild-mannered, barked, “Well, kid? Whatcha got?”

Young Bill looked vaguely in the direction of Mr. Banks’ eyes and stammered, “I’m a salesman, uh, sir. I’m very good.”

“So far I’m not convinced, but Max recommended you, so let’s see what you can do,” said Banks. He scanned his office for something neither too valuable nor covered with papers, and reached for a stapler. “Sell this to me,” he demanded.

Bill took it gingerly, examined it for a moment, and nearly stapled his tie to his thumb. He regained his composure, cleared his throat, and began, “This fine stapler is indispensable in the modern office. Note its sleek lines, the polished black finish, and its ease of use. You’ll keep this nearby for years, and it’s a super value. Ahem.”

Mr. Banks scowled and snatched the stapler back from Bill’s sweaty hand. “That’s nice, kid. I’ve got no time for nice, people don’t open their wallets for nice. I need someone who will MAKE customers, not just sweet talk people. Beat it.” He punched the buzzer for Annie.

“B-but sir, I can do that for you. G-give me another chance. Let me try again,” said Bill, locking the door before Annie could come to show him out. He’d already been shown out of four offices today, and he was determined not to move back to Pennsylvania.

The cigar traveled to the other corner of Mr. Banks’ mouth, and he grunted. “Persistence is good. Here, sell me this… thing,” he said, gesturing to a glass jar on a shelf behind Bill.

Bill picked up the jar, set his jaw, and looked Mr. Banks in the eye. His eyes narrowed, and his face widened into a grimace that was nearly a smile and certainly a challenge. “HI, BILL HERE FOR THE FANTASTIC BANKS GLASS JAR. IT’LL HOLD ANYTHING YOU PUT INSIDE, WHETHER IT’S WATER, YOUR FAVORITE DRINK, CHEMISTRY EXPERIMENTS, OR EVEN FRESH AIR. YOU CAN KEEP IT ON A SHELF, YOU CAN STOW IT IN YOUR CAR, OR YOU CAN CARRY IT ABOUT TOWN. BRING IT TO CHURCH, SUMMER CAMP, FAMILY PICNICS, OR TO THE BIG GAME. ALL YOUR FRIENDS WILL WANT ONE, BECAUSE IT’S THE LIFE OF THE PARTY! EASY TO CLEAN, EASY TO FILL OR EMPTY, AND IT WILL ONLY POUR WHEN YOU TIP IT OVER LIKE THIS. ALL THIS FOR ONLY $19.95! BUT WAIT, IF YOU CALL NOW, I’LL DOUBLE YOUR ORDER! THAT’S RIGHT, TWO AMAZING BANKS JARS FOR ONLY $19.95!

Mr. Banks caught the cigar before it fell to the stained carpet. He reached for the jar, set it carefully behind his desk, and passed a contract across the desktop.

“Sign right here. Welcome aboard, Mr. Mays.”

billymays

Last night I went to band practice for the first time in years. I like to noodle on bass and drums, and a new friend of mine plays guitar. He invited me along to try out/ sit in for a while, and it was a total blast. The musicians are all pretty top notch, and I would have been really intimidated if I didn’t get to learn a few tunes and practice up aforehand.

I pulled into the driveway around 10 at dark, and went to retrieve the empty trash bins from the roadside. My neighbor across the street heard the rumbling BigWheel wheels and burst out of the house shouting, “HEY! Git over here and bring yer bottle!”

Uh, ok. I was looking forward to a lil peace and quiet nestled in front of a roaring fire teevee, but hey, I’m neighborly. I gathered up the bride, blended some vodak and fruit and juice, and made for the door. Before making it through the living room, Tiff got a phone call. It was the neighbor, demanding we bring her some beer ’cause she’d run out. We happened to have one lonely diet beer left over from Tiffoween, so we nabbed it and finally made it across the street.

We reached the steps and before knocking, three people shouted in drunken non-unison, “COME IN!” I guess they had been having a party for at least a moment, because the living room was full of people, empties, and smoke. Settling into an open spot on the couch, we heard all about the day’s exploits and the news from PCG (Porn Couch Girl). She’s back in town after a stay with her mom, and crashing at the Neighbors’ until she gets on her feet. I figured Mojo would be interested in hearing about her, so I took notes. Unfortunately, I left ’em at the neighbor’s house, which may be mortifying if PCG finds ’em. Tiff tells a bit of the story already, so I’ll make this next word a link for you.

Mrs. Neighbor was reported by at least 4 of the party guests (including Mr. Neighbor) to have never been so drunk before. She sat on everyone’s lap repeatedly, insisted that I try this new lotion she got (while squirting it liberally on my wrist and Sam Adams jacket – grrr!), and was showing everyone her tattoos. Yessir, that’s a party. She sat down to refill her belly with alcohol, and spotted my pants. It’s not as if they were hidden, she just noticed them, of a sudden. They happened to be on Tiff at the moment, because they’re very comfy Guinness lounge pants with big shamrocks and the Harp logo all over ’em and she likes comfy (she’s a ninja). Mrs. Neighbors eyes went as wide as bloodshot bagels and demanded, “Give me your pants! I’m part Irish, so I must have them!”

Once that lady gets an idea, she does not let go of it.

She spent the rest of the night trying to get my bride out of her pants, which could have made good video. However, this being an all-ages site, I won’t be posting it here (at least not for free). She sent us home with another pair of lounge pants and stern instructions to bring her pants over as soon as they were off the wearer.

I haven’t seen her today, PCG announced from the front porch that they’re all nursing monster hangovers… we’ll see if she remembers.

*****

Went for a Shrinking Piggies walk last night, covering about 2 miles of hilly town terrain. It was refreshing until that wrong turn up a steep hill which turned out to be an unmarked dead end.

The calories burned will be quickly replaced, for today on our doorstep arrived a styrofoam box from my new brother and sister-in-law. They sent us a pile of goodies from Omaha Steaks, including a Chocolate Lover’s Cake which shall be nigh unpossible to resist. Time for another few laps around the city.

Wow, there seemed to be no end to activity over the last few weeks (except for work, which was woefully sparse). Let’s review:

  • Christmas season planning and decorating
  • Various house remodeling projects
  • A whirlwind trip to New York City
  • Another whirlwind trip, the very next day, to Virginia for Christmas
  • Writing a wedding ceremony
  • Catering a wedding
  • Getting married (ok, those last two were part of this event, but I’m making a list, dammit!)
  • Another house remodeling project

So today, the First Monday of the Year, I took it fairly easy. I got up at 7, made some coffee, and fired up the Shrinking Piggies kickoff for the year. Then, because it was there, I enlisted some junior helpers and knocked down the brick wall in the kitchen. My computer desk is now stuffed into the bedroom with another desk, bookcase, drums, and bed while that project is ongoing. The bricks were rustic enough to be shabby, a bit wiggly, and took up 6 precious inches of wall depth. In its place will go nice, smooth painted drywall with outlets, a real desk with real countertops and cabinets with lights in. Phase I of the kitchen remodel is underway, with all of 2 hours’ advance planning.

******

The wedding came off with a hitch, which was part of the plan. The Tiny House was stuffed to the gizzard with friends and family, most of whom drove over an hour to be here. I’m extremely grateful to the folks who came to celebrate with us! Bloggers you know were here as well, notably Kenju (and Mr. Kenju), Renn, Mojo, and Tiff, who played the part of Bride.

Kenju provided the flowers and corsages. Not only were they a work of beauty and art, but she thoughtfully matched them to themes present in the Tiny House. Thank you so much!

Mojo graciously did the photos for us, and they turned out fantastically (I knew they would – thanks!).

We wrote our own ceremony, loosely based on the framework of short-and-sweet examples provided by our wedding minister. In the hiring interview, she mentioned that she thought death should not be included in weddings, for it is too morbid. That guaranteed we’d be including Ye Olde Grim Reaper in prominent fashion (we’re both big Terry Pratchett fans). She pulled it off with flair.

Since this was a relatively low-key, low-budget affair (our previous weddings had been the big-church, big-music, big-family all-out event), we tailored it to our style throughout. We made the cake and cake-topper ourselves, made a big vat of Spiffy Chili a few days before, got a variety of frozen hors d’oeuvres to heat up, and arranged the house to accommodate 5x its usual load. Friends were invited early for snacks and drinks. We milled around and chatted while people continued to turn up, and when the minister arrived we marched 2 steps into the living room. 20 minutes later, we were married and the party could continue.

caketopper

*****

Our New York and Virginia trips deserve their own posts – but dinner’s on and I don’t want to miss it. You don’t think I got to Piggy Proportions by not eating, do you?

*****

Finally, much gratitude and humor is due to Jeff Kay, who unwittingly introduced my bride and me via his hilarious site (particularly through the comments section). I’ve met lots of real friends that very way, and he’s even included our mugs at his site today. Thanks Jeff, I hope to buy you some beers someday.