February 28, 2005

Survey Says

So, when it comes to toilet paper, which are you:

(a) A roller, wrapping the paper around your hand in a padded little mitt, much like a wee urinating baseball player?

(b) A folder, carefully creating a neat little symmetrical square of paper even Adrian Monk would be happy to use? or

(c) A wadder, tearing great sheets of paper from the roll and heedlessly smashing them up into a big, glorious ball without rhyme or reason?

I'm a wadder. The King is a folder. And yes, we actually spent nearly an hour discussing this, and the attendant personality disorders that go with each type of toilet-paper style preference, over dinner last night.

February 25, 2005

The Best News I've Heard All Day

While I wipe the happy tears off my face, you should go check out Lilysea's blog.

Spring Cleaning (And an Unusual Number of Pornography Mentions)

So we've decided to put our house on the market next weekend. Given the metro-DC real estate market insanity (think Victoria's Secret on once-a-year clearance sale day), it should sell in less than 48 hours. We bought it less than an hour after it went on the market, and hopefully we'll be as lucky selling it.

Therefore, this weekend will be devoted to cleaning the house and making it presentable. We started a few days ago and did the downstairs. Basically, you have to put away every single personal item--the goal is to make the house look like a model home, beautifully decorated, but unlived in. The issue is, our house is not beautifully decorated. The King and I prefer black leather furniture that looks like it came from a frat house basement. We've got tacky alabaster statues--about twenty of them--of naked women. Granted, they are Greek goddesses from when the King lived in Crete, and at least they aren't out on the front lawn, but they're still naked-lady statues.

We have my collection of erotic books and pagan books, from my dabbling in Wiccanism. Given the astounding percentage of fundamentalist Christians around here, those probably will ensure that at least one woman will screech, "Bob, we can't buy this house! It's inhabited by SINNERS! We'll never get their filthy God-cursed aura out of the carpeting!"

Plus, we definitely don't have enough closet space to hide all the vibrators and porn.

(Geez, when I look at it like that, we definitely shouldn't be allowed to be parents.)

So anyway, given all of the above issues, we're working on it. We've found ourselves disagreeing on what constitutes "personal items that must be hidden" and what are "beautiful home decorations." For instance, I said, "King, your collection of seven dusty and mismatched model cars should be stashed in a box." He said, "But these are collectors items! Everyone will think they're really cool!" Me: "I don't. And they're not. If they're from Ace Auto Parts and you picked them up while getting a new spark plug, they're not considered collectors items. Trust me."

Of course, just then, 20/20 had a bit on some guy who sold his childhood collection of those itty-bitty Hot Wheels cars for like forty-three bazillion dollars. Which the King thought made his point.

And then he indicated the three porn mags and two overdue library books that I had missed under the coffee table and I had to shut up.

February 22, 2005

Things That Piss Me Off

I've been working up to a post about fatherhood versus motherhood. Grrl's commenters touched on it in her post, and it was really brought home to me in an article I'm editing at work right now. The article is an analysis of what social workers should do about the fact that fathers generally have nothing whatsoever to do with their children, once the children are in foster care. All social work services are geared toward the mothers.

The article was debating between (a) establishing father-oriented services, just for men, to help teach them how to help their children and improve the family's well-being, and (b) saying that why the fuck should men get special treatment? The mothers are expected to do all the heavy lifting and deal with the foster care system entirely on their own. What's stopping the men from doing their fair share?

I'm inclined to agree with the latter, and I always want to say a big "Fuck you!" to people who act like a man taking his kids to the park is so cute and such a sweet thing to do, when he is surrounded by dozens of mothers doing the exact same thing. But on the other hand, when it comes to kids in foster care, the important thing is helping the kids, right? Even if that means giving their fathers a little unfair extra hand, if it'll improve the kids' lives?

This paragraph in the article really irked me:

"Some caseworkers attributed a gender bias in part to the fact that many social service systems, such as public assistance, were established primarily for mothers, who are used to accepting help and have learned to cope with travel, bureaucracy, paperwork, and inevitable delays. Participants observed that fathers typically have little familiarity with social service systems. They tend to experience the child welfare system as confusing and controlling. They want clarity and answers to questions about matters such as court outcomes that caseworkers are often unable to provide. They are more easily frustrated and resent having to jump through the 'hoops,' particularly if they were not living with the family and do not feel responsible for their children’s maltreatment."

So women are expected to just deal with all the crap and red tape the social service system throws at them without a single complaint, but men are excused from getting so frustrated that they just abandon their children altogether? Women never resent having to spend years filling out forms and never getting any answers just because we're women? WHAT THE FUCK? And the last sentence is the best one--Men "resent having to jump through the 'hoops,' particularly if they were not living with the family." So now abandoning your kids even BEFORE you had to deal with the system is okay, because it means you aren't responsible for the economic and emotional fallout of your abandonment???

So What Do We Think?

Peeing in the shower--gross or normal? Me, I love it. The King doesn't mind if I do it, as long as he's not in there with me. But others object.

February 17, 2005

Blatant Bloggity Hijacking

Lovely Cecily* posted a fabulous list of questions up on her blog, but her comments section got too freaking long, so I'm going to totally steal them and answer them here, because I thought they were awesome.

1. So what do you think of Howard Dean being the next head of the Democratic National Convention? Will he keep the party left, or move the party even further central?
Dunno, although I agree with one of Cecily's commenters that there's basically no "left" left in the Democratic party. And I hated Dean anyway--I was completely in love with Kerry years ago, when the primaries were just warming up, when no one had ever heard of him. Oddly, I fell more and more out of love with him the closer the election got, so much so that I considered not voting at all by the end because he had gotten so stupid and irritating.

2. Why don't we hear more about the religious left (idea totally stolen from Charlie’s blog)? And why doesn’t the DNC court them instead of doing things like making an anti-choice advocate the new minority leader in the Senate in order to appeal to the new “morality voters”?
There is a religious left? One of Cecily's ladies said, "Because we're too busy sending layettes to African women stuck in refugee camps, feeding homeless people and people with HIV/AIDS..., encouraging fair trade, making microloans to women and supporting Heifer International." I hope she's right. If you're one of those religious left folks, can you come visit me? I'd love to chat, and you guys definitely need to get more press.

3. Is “reality” television losing steam?
God, I hope so.

4. Do you think Hillary Clinton has a shot in 2008?
Probably not, and I'm totally torn on it. I love her, but she's so extremely left that I don't know if I could actually vote for her. I'm also torn on nationalized health care--I want everyone to have affordable health care, but if that happens, the quality of my own health care with go down. Look at infertility treatment in England and Scotland. I have a relative who nearly died in England because she couldn't get treatment in time for her uterine cancer--she had to fly here and get treated and pay for the entire thing out of her own pocket, with no insurance.

5. Who is the hottest man over forty on TV right now (I vote Treat Williams on Everwood or David Caruso on CSI Miami)?
Julian McMahon, no doubt. But a better question would be, who is the hottest woman over 40 on TV? Oh wait, there aren't any? Interesting.

6. What takes better photographs, film or digital?
Film. Is there really any doubt about that?

7. Didn’t chemo-bald Melissa Etheridge mop the fucking floor with Joss Stone singing “Piece Of My Heart” by Janis Joplin at the Grammys?
Abso-fucking-lutely. I wanted to lick Melissa's gorgeous, sexy, fabulously bald head.

8. If you watch the HBO show Carnivale, what the FUCK is going on?
Don't watch it, but from what I've gotten from the commercials, no one has a clue.

9. What’s your favorite bad movie of all time (mine is Roadhouse)?
Ah, Labyrinth. David Bowie in tights, oh yeah, baby.

10. What made you start your blog? If you don’t have one, why the hell not?
Secretly, I hoped that a publisher would read it, think I was a genius, and offer to buy my novel. (I almost wrote "buy my soul" right there. It would probably be easier to do that then to sell a novel.)
* That's how I always think of her in my mind, as "Lovely Cecily," as if it were one word. I don't know why, but she definitely is very lovely, so it works for me.

February 16, 2005

The Navy's Poor Grasp of Geography

We are now fully in the thick of moving planning. As previously noted, I quit my job this week. This morning, I spoke to an extremely peppy realtor, who will be coming over next Tuesday night to examine us and our home and decide whether we are worthy of her services. (This vaguely reminds me of an adoption homestudy and totally makes me feel sympathy for all the crap adopters have to go through.) I also checked up on placing an ad online for our dog* so he can be adopted.

I also made a doctor's and a dentist's appointment. Why, you might ask? Because the Navy does not own a map.

According to the Navy, when a family is transferred overseas, each member must have a physical, updated vaccinations, and a dental exam. This is presumably so that if you move to, say, Nigeria, you will be prepared to be exposed to sleeping sickness, malaria, HIV, and all manner of other unpleasant diseases. (Note that none of those diseases are actually helped by vaccinations, but whatever. We'll pretend that doesn't matter.)

I have to take off work and get all of these things done because we are moving to Hawaii. Because Hawaii is technically "over the sea," it is considered "overseas." Never mind that malaria and polio are pretty much impossible to get in Hawaii, or that Hawaii has one of the largest and most advanced hospitals available to the military on it. If it's got an ocean between us and it, it's full of nasty foreigners who want to spread their yucky germs to us Americans. So I have to go get innumerable needles poked into my arms tomorrow night, and then get my teeth scraped next Wednesday, and if I ever find out who decided Hawaii was a foreign country, I'm going to kick their xenophobic little ass.

* My dog is basking in reflected glory right now. If you watched the Westminster Dog Show last night, you saw this dog win Best in Show. My dog looks exactly like her, except red instead of brown.

February 15, 2005

I'm a Free Woman

First, I have to point out that Blogger has FINALLY changed their format to allow anonymous, unregistered comments. So now you have no excuse not to say anything.

And now back to our regularly scheduled post...

I quit my job this morning. That's right, we'd damn well better be moving to Honolulu in 45 days, because I am officially going to be unemployed in six short weeks. My boss had a terrible cold, and this is our busiest month of the year, so I hated to quit on her, but I just couldn't keep it a secret any more. So I resigned, and she took it well, until...

...the girl in the office next to me came in to work twenty minutes later, and she resigned too. I knew she was planning on it, because she's moving to New York, but we had confided in each other and planned to make sure we left at different times so as not to cause a panic in the department. It was a total fluke that we quit on the same day. In fact, I intended to catch her when she came in that morning and let her know I'd quit in case the boss wanted to talk to her about taking over my job. But I had to pee, and she managed to sneak in while I was in the bathroom and resign. Whoops.

So, soon I'll be free! No more damned near-bankruptcy nonprofit work for me! I'll be working for myself, with plenty of time left over to write the great American novel and make my agent a very rich woman!

Except that my boss asked me if I'd be willing to telecommute part-time, and the idea of having a steady income is very tempting. Shit.

February 13, 2005

Midlife Crisis, Anyone?

The King and I celebrated Christmas yesterday. He missed all the holidays this year, being in Afganistan during the festive season, and so we decided last night would be a good day to wrap them all up in one, conveniently near Valentine's Day (which, for the record, is the lamest holiday ever, and yet we always seem to go out to dinner and wait two hours for a table anyway). We had a wonderful day and exchanged gifts. He gave me gift certificates for books ($125 worth!!) and a day spa, plus a set of jewelry from Afganistan, which was very cool. Also a Stephin Merritt CD, which I'm still deciding whether I like.

I gave him an electric guitar. You see, the King loves music, particularly rock and heavy metal. However, he has never picked up an instrument before. He declared early last year that he had always wanted to learn to play guitar, so I decided to indulge him. Woe is me.

The thing is, I forgot that my dear husband has NO PATIENCE. None whatsoever. He is the least patient person in the universe. You don't want to see him in line at the gas station, it's ugly.

Therefore, yesterday afternoon, when he had been plunking away on his shiny new guitar for an hour and hadn't yet mastered the A chord, much less Stairway to Heaven, he was a very, very frustrated man. I tried to tactfully remind him that I've played the piano for two years and only know Ode to Joy and Bach's Minuet, but that didn't seem to help. The ghost of Jimi Hendrix was floating over my husband's head and taunting him.

It was a long and stressful day. In the end, the guitar, somewhat shockingly, did not get thrown through a window, but it has been carefully placed on its stand, where we agreed it will stay until he can schedule some lessons with someone who, I dearly hope, knows the easy version of Stairway to Heaven.

February 10, 2005


I'm an editor, and the publishing house I work at has a huge conference once a year at which we sell our books. The conference is in one month, which means that all our new books have to be printed by then in order to be available for sale. It takes one month to print a book, which means all our books have to be at the printer by tomorrow. Four of these new books are mine--I'm in charge of getting them "to press," or to the printer, in time.

Usually, I put about one book to press per month. Tomorrow, I have to do four in one day. It's a tad stressful. However, I've come up with some helpful imagery to get through it.

Imagine the four books are four cows. The four cows and I are standing in a very big, fenced-in field. There is a chute at the end of the field, and my job is to herd all the cows through the chute and off to the slaughterhouse.

So, I start waving my arms and jumping up and down, shouting at the cows. They all start moving around, some walking, some running, some heading toward the chute, some running the wrong way. So I begin darting around, first running to one cow and giving it a healthy shove in the right direction (thus getting the proofs to the author for their okay). Then I run to another cow and get it going toward the chute. It flies there! It's a well-written, easy-to-understand cow with a fairly sane author who doesn't want to give me a nervous breakdown, and it returns its proofs before the deadline and plops itself right in front of the chute, ready to walk on through. I pet this cow a lot, because it's so nice.

So it goes, with me, the poor editor, herding my cows ever closer to the chute, some slow, some fast, but all generally going the right direction, with occasional slips to the side or backward, if the typesetter's computer crashes and kills half the files or the author goes on an unexpected vacation without telling me.

Then we get to this morning. This morning, one of my cows not only took off running the wrong way, but it leaped over the fence and took off through the neighbor's cornfield, along with the author's proofs which he said he somehow never received, even though the book is supposed to be finished tomorrow. And despite the three other mostly well-behaved cows doing well, that cow was the one that made me cry.

I'm now off to tell my director of publications that the cow has escaped, and then I have to go get my lasso. Wish me luck.

February 09, 2005

Counting the Days on Infertility Island

Now that my husband is home, I'm starting to think about the whole infertility/cycling/baby thing again. Not that I didn't think about it while he was gone, but it was rather pointless, as one can't have sex/IUI/IVF without him around. (Apparently this post is going to be rather heavy on the slash marks. It's just that kind of a day.)

So, I had anticipated that I would start my period about a week after he got home, having ovulated two weeks ago, which would allow us to try Clomid, have brilliant success, and have a bouncing baby girl next November, perfect for timing our move and not being too close to Christmas.

Naturally, this plan has completely gone to shit. My newfound talent for ovulating seems to have dried up, as it hasn't happened yet, and thus I'm not on the rag, and thus there has been no Clomid-eating/screwing/birthing-not-too-near-Christmas. (Well, okay, there has been screwing, but just for fun, not for conception.) Which is really pissing me the fuck off.

The King absolutely insists that any and all children we have not have birthdays in late December, which means if I don't start a new cycle soon, we'll have to wait another month at least to put the theoretical child's birthday past Christmas and into January. Grr.

Of course, it's pretty much pointless of me to obsess about this, because the Clomid won't work and I won't get pregnant anyway, but it would be a nice change to be able to obsess about an actual possibly-baby-producing two week wait for the first time ever, instead of obsessing about the fact that my period continues to insist on not appearing.

February 07, 2005

Things to Do, and Why I Hate the Phone (and the Phone Company)

Now that the King is home and adjusting to the time change well, we're really starting to buckle down and prepare for our move to Hawaii in April. It's coming up unbelieveably fast (8 weeks? Can that be right?), so I've started making a list of things we need to do before we go. It's dauntingly long, and the only thing I've done so far is e-mail someone who lives in Pearl Harbor about whether we need to bring our washing machine or not. She hasn't replied yet.

We also need to do our taxes, by which I mean I need to do our taxes. They are a nightmare because I am partially self-employed, we itemize, and we're residents of different states. So it sucks. I've always done them myself (except one year when I went to the "free tax expert" at Quantico, and all I have to say about that is you get what you pay for), and this year I'm thinking about either buying Turbo Tax or going to a preparer.

So, does anyone know about how much H&R Block charges? I could just call them and ask, but I really, really hate calling businesses, so I'd rather someone out there tell me. I will do almost anything to avoid calling Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, or any of the other million companies who send us bills for things that are frequently wrong. I hate hold music, and operators who transfer you nine times, twice to themselves, and dealing with other people in general. I love those automated phone answering services that ask you to push 1, then 3, then 2342347, as long as they give you the information you want. If you want something other than one of their eleven options, you're shit outta luck, because not only will it take you three hours to get a real person on the phone, that person won't be able to help you.

I'm Back

So, I'll bet you all assumed I've been away from Blogland for practically a week because I've been luxuriously lying around naked with my husband in our lovely king-size bed, right? Yeah. Right. Actually, we spent most of yesterday reattaching siding to our house that blew off in a hurricane last year. Or rather, the King reattached it, while I held the ladder and shouted things like, "Only six pieces left to go, honey! You're doing great!" which I meant to be encouraging, but I think were only unhelpful. Then we went to a Superbowl party and got drunk, and now I feel like ass. Not like an ass, just like plain old ass.

February 01, 2005

Semi-Live Homecoming Blog

1:07 pm: His plane has landed! They are at the gate, or probably still taxiing. I should be getting a call from him in about thirty minutes to say he's got his luggage (or Paris lost it AGAIN) and is on his way to get a cab. I need to say a big thank you to Delta and all the other first-world airlines, which allow you to get instant information about their flights online. You can't do that if you're flying, say, Air Nigeria (which the King has). I've got to go try to make myself look halfway presentable, although given my negligible skill with a curling iron, I'm not sure that's going to be possible.

10:48 am, 2/1: His flight left 18 minutes late from Paris this morning, but they're scheduled to arrive one minute early, which means I have just over two hours until he lands. I managed to get to the store and get roses, a balloon, and beer (and some sleeping pills to help with the crazy time change), which took FOREVER. Can I say something totally un-PC? I love it that developmentally disabled people are able to get jobs nowadays and have full, satisfying lives. They deserve it. But when I am in a hurry at the grocery store and there is only ONE checker, that one checker should be able to move at full speed. It should not take TWENTY-FIVE MINUTES to check out the one person in line ahead of me. I'm not kidding. Okay, now I must go change the sheets and dig my makeup out of the back of the medicine cabinet. Ooh, and vacuum. Shit.

7:44 am, 2/1: It's today! It's today! Presuming he didn't somehow get lost in De Gaulle airport (which is certainly possible; that place is a nightmare), the King should now be in the air over Spain, or possibly the Atlantic Ocean, on his way home. I'm already taken a shower and shaved my legs (and other unmentionable places [oops, I mentioned them!]). Now I've got seven hours to get to the store and buy beer and flowers, vacuum the house one more time, finish a freelancing job I've got going on, and, um, oh yeah, work. Because I was lame and didn't take the day off, thinking "Oh, he's not getting home until 3 pm, that's plenty of time to work in the morning!" Which is why I spent last night proofreading instead of watching nine reruns of Friends.

5:35 pm, EST, 2/1: He's on his way! I just got an e-mail from the King, and he is no longer in Afganistan. According to Delta's website, he is currently winging his way over the Middle East on the way to Paris, seven minutes ahead of schedule. I cannot even tell you how stupid I looked doing a little happy dance in front of my computer just now. Leaving Afganistan is the worst part of the trip. There are no commercial airlines allowed to fly there, so he had to take a UN transport, and there is the whole shooting-down-planes-with-shoulder-launched-missiles thing to worry about. So I'm very, very happy that part is over, and per the previous post, I was totally serious about the drunken hot wing eating. Because we're just classy like that.

Get Back on the Case for Me, Please, Because I Can't Right Now

There's a lot of political stuff I really want to address today, in particular, the scary new law popping up in Kansas (if you are in Kansas, please, please go visit Grrl's blog and contact your legislator). Grrl brilliantly explains the "insidious notion that women can't be trusted to monitor their own reproductive health" far better than I ever could. I also wanted to talk about PBS and the new Secretary of Education, and why they apparently hate gay people. I'm not at all surprised at Bush trying to pretend that gay people make crappy parents, but I am surprised at PBS. I thought they were better than that.

Please go visit Grrl and Lilysea and write your congresspeople, because I don't have the mental capacity today, because THE KING IS COMING HOME TOMORROW! In less than twenty-four hours, his plane will be touching down at Dulles Airport (assuming they aren't delayed, of course), and in about twenty-five hours, his cab will be pulling up in front of our house and discharging my husband into my very happy arms. I will be pelting him with roses and homecoming gifts and, after he brushes his teeth, many sloppy kisses. And then we'll go to Hooters, eat hot wings, get drunk, and have sex. It will be a perfect day.

(And I'm hoping to blog it semi-live--I'll definitely be around in the morning to let you know if his flight is on time, and to let loose a stream of cusswords worthy of a sailor [oh, the irony, as he's in the Navy!] if it isn't.)