Well, I made it. I made it through most of this week with -$5 in my account.
My intent since buying this house for $6 and living in the hood is to only use cash for life, so I paid cash for m’Botox this month, but as I told you, The Botoxer did a little extra here and there and it cost
MORE THAN $600
and it broke me. I was okay till the gas company took their automatic withdrawal. The auto withdrawal is a thing I have marked on my calendar as happening on payday and not the MIDDLE OF THE DAMN WEEK, GAS COMPANY.
RIGHT BEFORE PAYDAY, GAS COMPANY.
I’m starting to think I’m not going to get Botox anymore. It’s costy-pants. And it used to be that I could really tell a difference when I used it–I got this delightful eyebrow arch–and now? I’m so old and disgusting that rat poison doesn’t even work like it’s supposed to. I’m immune to rat poison, that’s how ancient I am. My brows stay dowager-ly down.
So this week kind of sucked on the cash and eyebrow front, but I had many groceries to live on, and the dog and 47 cats were stocked the fuck UP, so all was well. We just didn’t rent movies or drive through Subway, as the cats like to do. No big deal.
Even Lily says, “Yes” before starting some sort of transaction.
And now it’s payday, yay, and most of that check goes to my mortgage, but still. In the old days? When Marvin first left and I had no job and I hadn’t refinanced yet? There was about $80 left over after I paid the mortgage. Now I pay $150 more than my actual mortgage, I save 15% of my check in my four-oh-wonk and I still have $600 left over.
Not too shabby. I mean, it’d be great to not live paycheck to fucking PAYcheck, but you can’t have everything.
Amazon said I could come back, by the way, and be an Amazon Associate. All I have to do is set it up and you see I’ve jumped right on that with my ambitious self. I know the setup is going to annoy me.
I still have a tip jar on here, but it’s this subtle one tiny line at the side of the page, here. I don’t want to be all, “FEED ME.” That’s my trouble. I’m not opportunistic enough.
Speaking of it being the end of the month, though, remember how I had so much trouble finding a suitable calendar to suit all my suity needs? I settled on a Farmers Market, no apostrophe, one. Here’s January’s riveting picture:
Potatoes, y’all. I mean, sure, it’s great to have a pinup of the Rose Finn Apple. Actually, that’s a great dog name. This is my dog, Rose Finn Apple. Oh, that makes me want to run right out and get a girl puppy.
Anyway, I’m holding out hope that February’s image is more riveting than potatoes. I mean, I rejected a lot of motorcycle and kitten calendars for you, Farmers Market No Apostrophe calendar. Step up.
I guess that’s all I have to tell you, which I admit was, you know, not a lot. Oh, as a result of yesterday’s post on tidiness, I went on Facebook and polled my tens of Facebook friends, asking if they made their bed. The poll hasn’t ended yet, but as of right now, 7:34 a.m., the results are…
137 — Yes 124 — No
Faithful Readers Paula and Fay said yes. Faithful Readers Bev and Deborah said no. I tell you this because their names are at the top when I click, “Answers.” I mean, I’m sure my sociology teacher from 10th grade answered, as well, but he wasn’t at the top of the list when I clicked “Answers,” so.
I noticed that most of the people I’m friends with in real life gave a definitive yes, furthering my theory that I make friends with thin sort of nervous women. I’m sorry, all the thin nervous women I’m friends with. I’m just drawn to you, like gray cats. Apparently you like chubby jolly women.
Well. “Jolly.” Is it possible to be mirthlessly jolly? Because that sums me up. And how long am I gonna be able to get away with “chubby” and not downright portly?
Okay, really going. It’s 16 degrees out and I think that calls for the blow dryer, or at least Laila Ali.
When I first looked at this house, I was struck by a few things. A) How cute it was, 5) How cheap it was, and E1.a.9) How neat it was.
It turns out I knew the owners, or at least half of the owners. The woman is someone I work with, and she has always been impeccable. Her posture is astonishing, and her clothes were always the most ut, and it was sort of like I was working with Jackie Kennedy without the unsavory-Greek-husband period.
Once I moved in, I heard from neighbors about how exacting the husband was, and I can tell that’s true because nothing in here had a flaw. It was amazing. One afternoon The Poet was over, and we noticed that Milhous had batted one of his mice under the stove. “I’ll bet that’s where ALL his mice are going,” I kvetched, and proceded to move the bottom drawer out of the stove and look underneath.
“The Poet, look at this,” I said to The Poet. Under the STOVE, y’all, UNDER THE STOVE, there wasn’t a speck of dirt. Just clean, dust-free concrete.
As a result, I’ve aimed to be a better housekeeper. A few people have come over and exclaimed, “It’s so CLEAN in here,” which I hear about as often as I hear, “You have natural athletic abilities.”
On Saturday mornings, I sweep and I scrub the kitchen and bathroom floors. I dump out the litterbox and wash it and air it out. I clean the sinks. I vacuum. You wouldn’t even recognize me. You’d think, “That can’t be June. On Saturday mornings, June has her regular softball scrimmage.”
I have no idea what a “scrimmage” is. I just hear that word up close to athlete things.
This past weekend, I had shit to do, like read and hang out with Wedding Alex, so I didn’t do as much. I did sweep all the floors, because pet hair, but I didn’t scrub anything. Also, on Monday night, my friend from work Ryan came over unexpectedly, and I had a little flame of pride that I’d made my bed, which I try to do most days now.
But yesterday morning? I didn’t. I didn’t make the bed. And Edsel had tracked his damn muddy paws through the kitchen that morning. Usually, I spend a painstaking amount of time cleaning them when he comes in, but I hadn’t known it’d rained, so his paws being muddy was a delightful surprise.
I’m telling you all this because yesterday at lunch, there was a knock at the door and it was the tidy guy who used to live here. He’s in his 70s and he’s lived here on and off since 6th grade.
He also owned the house next door, but he’s sold it, which vexes me. The women he’d rented to was PERFECT. Friendly without being annoying, quiet, neat. And now god only knows what nightmare is moving in next door.
He wanted to ask me a few things about the logistics of that (I have this private alley and he wants to use it to get stuff out of the other garage) (I know how you all are. How you get off on TANGENTS about things. “What did he want, June?”) (“Tell us, JOOOOOOON.”) and while we stood talking on my porch, Edsel behind the storm door barking and grabbing his face and screeching like that kid in Home Alone, it dawned on me he might like to see the house. Since he lived here for, you know, 60+ years and all.
“Oh, I’ll come in for a bit,” he said.
In the living room, I have FOUR THROW PILLOWS piled haphazardly on a chair. I got them free when I got that loveseat I regret buying. They’re blue and tan, and I got them out this weekend to take them to Goodwill and then never did.
Also, both the couch and the chair have pet blankets on them, for the whole fur sitch, and the blankets were all…SMUSHY, and everything looked ridic.
Then I took him here into the den, my favorite room, and there was a sweater just balled on the chair. In four months of living here I’d never done that, BUT OH I DID THAT DAY. Goddammit.
Plus? There’s an orange on the side table.
Then, of course, we meandered into The Larry Mud Melman floor in the kitchen, the Tracks of My Paws floor, and the only good thing I can say is there were no dishes in the sink. But? Also for the first time ever? I’d thrown a coat onto one of the kitchen chairs.
And for the grand finale, the unmade bed.
Here’s your house! I’ll bet you’re glad you sold it to me!
Jesus. As he drove home, probably a single tear rolled down his cheek in mourning for his once-pristine dwelling.
So that’s my latest humiliation, in my line of humiliations that make up the fabric of my life.
Well. Two. I had two. But normally my weekends are epiphany-free.
The first one happened right as I was wrapping up the workweek. “I have so much spinach that I’m worried it’ll go bad,” I said to The Copy Editor Who Sits Behind Me, and let’s give her a name from the Random Name Generator.
“I have so much spinach that I’m worried it’ll go bad,” I said to Trix. “I’ve put it in smoothies and on sandwiches, and it’s like that giant bag won’t budge.”
Also, I am a riveting coworker. With my spinach woes.
“Why don’t you sautee it?” asked Trix, who is quite likely to hate her new blog name.
So on Friday night, I asked my Google Home how to sautee spinach, and it turns out it’s easy, and it turns out it shrinks your available spinach down to a nub, and it turns out it’s delicious.
Also, that isn’t really exactly an epiphany, is it? It’s more that someone told me something. But I’d like to go down in history as the person who invented sauteeing spinach, and can we make that happen? Like, when I die, you guys can be all, “Maybe you never read her blog, but did you know she invented sauteeing spinach?”
My other epiphany was that I’ve decided I have low-porosity hair. I know this means almost nothing to you, as opposed to that life-changing info on my spinach consumption, but as a curly person who is in 72 curly-hair-care groups, it changes everything. Particularly because my hairdresser told me I have high-porosity hair. But I’ve decided she is wrong. I hope she’s not like Fonzie and unable to say, “Wrong.” Remember that? He’d say, “I was wr.” No wonder it didn’t work out with Pinky Tuscadero.
That sums up my two epiphanies, but also I took a shitty shitterson shit sandwich shieski of pictures this weekend, so let’s look at some.
My grandfather used to say that when your breath wasn’t so fresh. “Did you just eat a shit sandwich?”
Let’s have Things Your Grandfather Said Day in the comments. That is if today’s fascinating info isn’t enough to comment on.
So far this year, I’ve re-read Angle of Repose by someone or other.
God invented Google, girl.
I also read a book that we got sent to us for free at work because some mailing lists think we’d be the kind of place that we might talk about new books. It was called Family Baggage.
Angle of Repose was good and worth the reread. Family Baggage was the kind of book you take to the beach.
Then I started that Marie Condo book or whatever her name is, about tidying up. So far it’s made me anxious. Then, as you’ll see with future photos coming up, I also bought Michelle Obama’s autobiography and I can see me reading all of that before I go back to Tidying Up. Not literally. I can’t literally see myself reading in the future. Because creepy.
So on Saturday morning, I read some of Marie Condor, not knowing I’d end up buying Michelle Obama, and it’s this kind of madcap unpredictability that makes the Life of June so readable.
At noon I had a Botox appointment, and with my newfound cheaper house and fiscal responsibility, I intended to pay for it in cash that I’d saved, and who even is June Gardens anymore?
This is only my second time going to this particular Botoxer, and I really like her, but she talked me into a new jab o’Botox here and a poke of it over there and in three days to a week I’d better have trouble getting into PG-rated movies, is what I’m saying to you.
My point is, when it was time to pay the bill it was WAY MORE than usual and now I’m destitute until Wednesday night.
I went home and thought of ways to cook Milhous when I got a text from Wedding Alex. “I working downtown,” she said. “You should come hang out.”
So I did, as it was free and all. I expected that she was somewhere selling her needlepoints, but she was not. She was, like, manning a counter at a store.
Turns out she was doing a favor for a friend, which is different from “asking for a friend,” a joke I am so over.
Anyway, it was cool in there (I’d been before but stuff changes all the time. Like, all of a sudden I’m sauteeing spinach) and I stayed for hours and eventually walked around downtown and drove all the old men crazy.
Speaking of jokes you’re over.
There was a woman in here sketching people in this bar. I wanted to, you know, WALK RIGHT UP to the window and take a photo, but, hello, freak.
Eventually I came back from my stroll downtown and went back to Wedding Alex’s store that she now owns and tried on this coat and loved it but I am broke see above crap.
On Sunday, I had plans to go downtown again, which is not a euphemism, to attend pit bull bingo. It’s where you play bingo and all proceeds go to rescue pit bulls, and also pitty pit heads are there for adoption and oogling.
I was meeting Trix and also Fewks, The Guy Who Sits Next To Me at Work, plus Special Guest Star Fewks’s wife, and I was lucky to get TV FUCKING PARKING right out front. But I got in there and,
They had a bigger turonout than they expected. It was can’t-move crowded and it immediately gave me angina and I was all, You guys, I am not staying for Calcutta Bingo I’m sorry so I ended up walking around downtown again.
Basically, this whole post is The weekend. I went downtown. Not a euphemism.
Do you remember a few years back there was a fancy antique store downtown with a door at the back of the store that led to a teensy courtyard that I thought would be perfect for my second wedding?
That store closed, as did all hope of my second wedding, but there’s a vintage shop there now!
I have to go, even though I have eleventy more photos to show you. I must get to work, and why does everything take so long?
I’ll show you the rest of my downtown pictures tomorrow, so now you have something to live for. Don’t forget to tell me stuff your grandfather used to say in the comments.
A lot of people are sad that their lipstick is no longer findable, and my, June, what a good writer you are. Words just trip off your tongs or whatever the phrase is.
The point is, my phone was, as usual, listening to me yesterday because on Instagram ads–a place THEY ALWAYS GET TO ME, MAN–they had an ad for build-your-own lipstick. You got to blend the colors online and say what consistency you wanted and what FLAVOR, even (that was $3 more) and in the end, I didn’t do it. But now I can’t get it out of my mind. And even though I’m typing on a desktop computer, somehow my phone will know, and later Instagram will repeat, “Spend thirty dollars on lipstick, Jooooooon” and eventually I will succumb because
DOESN’T THAT SOUND FUN? Oh my god! And you get to NAME the lipstick! What should I name it? How about $30 Poorer?
Speaking of spending my money on things, I also ordered a DNA test for Edsel. Again.
Nine years ago when I GOT Edsel, when I did a build-your-own-dog online, when I said Ima build a dog whose bottom teeth stick out to Egypt, when I did that, I ordered a Wisdom Panel DNA test. They told me Eds is a German shepherd/Iris setter.
I mean, German shepherd I can see. But Irish setter?
After I spent a million dollars on the now-ironically-named Wisdom Panel, one of you said, You know, June, it looks as though you went online and built yourself a Carolina Dog. And like everyone else on earth, I said, What’s a Carolina Dog?
Carolina Dogs, which the AKC recognizes, are from this area, big surprise, and they’re some of the last wild dogs left in the world. They came over like 9,000 years ago on the Bering Straits, whatever those are.
Carolina Dogs have been wild and primitive for so long, and kept to themselves so much, like Ted Bundy, that other breeds didn’t get in their bloodlines.
They evolved to do well in the wild, so they blend in with a field and their tails are curly for … some reason or another, I don’t know. I get bored with facts after awhile.
Once I was told he was a Carolina Dog, I thought, well, I can see that. But how would I know for sure?
A few years ago, I found a personality test for dogs online because I have too much time on my hands. The testing took Edsel and me like three days to go through, and in the end?
They politely told me that Eds is no genius, but that he shared the traits of the first domesticated dogs, with his “burgeoning” social skills. Which,
SEE? He’s a damn wild Carolina Dog. He ran callin’ Wildfire.
They also said his empathy was “through the roof” and I will not disagree with that.
Anyway, because I have too much time on my hands, still, yesterday I searched around and found a company that will DNA test for “primitive” breeds such as the Carolina Dog.
So yesterday they had a special online, and I ordered a DNA test for Edsel rather than lipstick for myself, and I guess it’s these sacrifices we make for our children.
Is that how parenting works? You do something you totally want to do, like send your kid to boarding school, and then you act like it was a sacrifice you made for the kid? Cause that is brilliant. I wish I could get away with that. You make sacrifices for your cat and you just seem crazy, not noble.
Anyway, the test is allegedly on its way, and this whole waiting this has never been my strong suit. If it comes back German shepherd/Irish setter again, Ima be pissed.
Oooo, it’s a dramatic rainy, windy day here. I love dramatic weather. Also, would you like to know what’s not interesting? Other people’s weather.
That, at least, is one way I have not turned into my difficult grandmother: I am not riveted by anyone’s weather, not even my own. My grandmother used to sit around watching cable, getting the guff on our barometric pressures and so on, then call us to discuss. “It looks like it’s just pouring the rain where you are,” she’d enthuse.
Grammy had three little clocks my cute grandfather made her. Each one had a gold plate under the clock face with the names of my father, my aunt and me. That way she knew what time it was in all of our time zones. She knew my time and she knew my humidity, things I probably didn’t know myself.
And while I know I just said weather isn’t remotely interesting, I do have one more story to tell, but it’s weather AND dog-related, which makes it okay to tell.
The first thing Edsel and I do when we get up each day is stretch together, then we head to the back door so he can go out and sit on the toilet with his newspaper. While he’s out there, I make coffee or feed the cats or open the blinds or what have you, then I head back, where generally he’s standing longingly at the steps waiting for me. (At the old house he could open and close the screen door himself and that was easier.)
As I’ve already mentioned, it’s raining hard. After he got back in, I noticed he was following me as he always does, but there was an intensity to his follow that I knew meant he wanted back out.
Sometimes when it’s bad weather he ventures out to pee or what have you, but once he doesn’t agree with the weather he won’t actually do it unless I stand in the back yard with him. I don’t know what to tell you about this dog.
At the old house, I’d have to stand and get rained or snowed or locused on while he did his business, but at this house, I have a convenient awning. I will always have a yellow car and I will always have an awning. How did I live without either? (It’s really easy to find your car in the lot. With a yellow car, I mean.) (I suppose if I put an awning on my car I’d find it easily, too.)
My point is, we went back there, and as soon as he was out from under the awning, Eds squinted in agony. Oh, poor Edsel. Imagine having to poop in a downpour. He squinted across the yard like he was trying to find just the right location to drop a deuce. It looked like maybe he was gonna dial a Realtor soon when…
…he wasn’t out there to poop at all. He ran across the yard and got Blu and brought it back in. I think he was worried Blu was gonna drown.
Edsel loves three things: me, Blu and all cats.
But that is not why I’ve gathered you here today. Today I wish to discuss items you can’t find anymore, and how annoying this is, and why do companies have to be so greedy.
Yesterday I was at my computer and a coworker I will cleverly call Spence, since that is what everyone calls him, passed by and looked at my screen. “I’m trying to find Deer Park Strawberry Water,” I told him.
The thing about my job is, I might be looking that up to fact check it, or I might be looking it up for my personal gain. In this instance it was the latter. Look, it was like five to 5:00. Cut me some slack.
“I really like it and I can’t find it anywhere,” I kvetched.
“You know what I can’t find?” he equally kvetched. “Safeguard Soap in Beige. I only like Beige.”
There’s something you’ll never hear me say.
“They used to sell it everywhere and now it’s almost impossible to find.” He was right. I searched several websites. He gave me a whole rundown of local stores that used to carry it, but no.
My ex-mother-in-law used to love Chanel Gold lipstick, and they discontinued it, and I used to find it for her brand-new on eBay. What kind of freak hoards lipstick and sells it online?
Anyway, what’s your thing you can’t find? Doesn’t it irk the fuck out of you?
The end of my story, although I just told 12, is a happy one. After work, I had to go to Rite Aid to get root spray, as my alarmingly white roots are popping through AGAIN, and while I was over there in Beauty (which I always am. #AllThis), I popped over to the soap and FOUND some of the Safeguard Beige and, yes, I spent that $4 on my coworker. I am nothing if not generous.
Okay, tell me your thing you like and they are making scarce. Stupid manufacturers.
Do you think the Tracy Anderson mat workout I did last night has been negated by the four Girl Scout cookies I just had for breakfast? I feel like Kate Middleton never sidles up to some S’mores cookies at 7 a.m.
Oh, and yes. In answer to the poll I gave you awhile back about what workout I should do, I opted for Tracy Anderson because she was there. I still don’t know if that’s my final answer, but that’s what I’ve been doing.
I’m complementing that workout regime with Girl Scout cookies. I should write a fitness book.
Anyway, today I have a bunch of crap on my desktop that I keep meaning to show you at some point, and today is that day. I really know how to make things fascinating, don’t I?
Here’s me trying Perrier strawberry water. I was hoping I’d try it and carry on about it so much that I’d become the Perrier spokesperson. Surely they want some chubby old lady in Greensboro to be their spokesperson.
Okay, great. You’ve seen that. Now I can take this off my desktop. Hang on.
BABY KITTY IRIS!
Okay, Iris was not the most perfect little kitten you ever saw. I mean, first, she lacked actual eyes. And then she had a bad ear infection so she always had medicine on her temples. Really, since day one, Iris has had the cards stacked against her. But look at her little smile. She’s always been plucky. And murderous.
BABY KITTY IRIS AGAIN! And an afghan with 6 tons of dog fur on it. You know what I do now? I put the afghans up between uses. I know. What a Tidy Tess I’ve become.
Okay, now I can throw away the baby Irises on my desktop. This is so Mary Condom or whatever her name is. Why can’t I ever remember that tidying up woman’s name? I finally watched the first episode of that, with the couple who call each other “Babe” 497 times a day. Then after I hated them, I moved on to
who made me so angry and nervous I almost couldn’t watch. “Well, I have three rooms of Christmas decorations out all year because I like Christmas.”
Dudes, she had nutcracker soldiers on top of her dining room hutch. ALL YEAR.
I can’t get behind people who have that much crap. Mostly because there’s no room to stand behind them. But really, I threw out some stuff when I moved in here that I was like, Wow. You have no heart at all. Some of it makes me feel bad, in retrospect. But everything I gave away or threw out was stuff that moved in a box from one house to the next for decades.
Why? Why keep that? I get nervous about having things around that I don’t need, and I suffer not a bit from the “but what if you NEED a piece of chicken wire one day” disorder.
Edsel and Tallulah when I hid a treat under the chair. Man, that chair was in better shape then. That was 47 foster kitten claws ago. I have big plans to recover that chair once I’ve saved my dollars.
I miss having an Edsel and a Tallulah together. Eds still tilts his head when I say, “Tallulah.”
I only have one thing left on m’desktop that I have to show you, and it’s a fascinating video of my latest pet.
Milhous is RIVETED by ice. I found this out the hard way when I spilled ice out of the ice maker. Now anytime I push that lever for ice, he runs over with this high-pitched meow he reserves only for ice. It’s his ice meow. Anyway, here he is being riveted.
Maybe he’s part otter. We should do his Ancestry DNA profile.
I should also offer the caveat that Milhous is riveted by everything and I personally look forward to the day he slits his eyes disdainfully at the world the way a cat is supposed to. I don’t know about you. But that that’s my hashtag goals.
Outside of home and my 48 pets, we had Maker’s Day at work yesterday, which isn’t as good as if it’d been Maker’s Mark Day, but still. Everyone at work who is creative (aka everyone at work) was encouraged to bring in a sample of what they did (“I make situations awkward,” I said, “can I bring that?”), and we displayed it all on the pretty, exposed-brick floor they don’t let me up on very often. Oh, it’s nice up there. Huge windows and so on.
Anyway, I managed to tell people I made all the food, all the art, and even the keg of beer one guy brews. What I like are the people at work who still give me the benefit of the doubt. “Did you really?” And someone else will pull them aside and be all, Don’t notice June. She’s an asshole.
Anyway, which I already said but there you go, there’s one very quiet guy at work who makes this incredible chunky jewelry, and I tried every single piece on because you know how I am. I am haunted by one ring that’s silver with a honey-colored piece of amber in it. I never ever wear amber, but it was so pretty.
Should I get it? I don’t think it’s cheap. Every piece of amber jewelry I buy is one step further from my goal of recovering my chair. It has no impact on my goal of Milhous getting bored by life like the rest of us, however.
Oh yeah, life goes on long after the thrill of living is gone, June
For a long time, I’ve admired men. Not the part where they try so hard to not cry on TV that they look constipated.
I admire that they have other interests.
I mean, I know there are women out there with other interests, as well, but not nearly as many of them. Most women I’ve known when I was anywhere from age 14 to the present are mostly consumed with, you know, meeting a man. That’s their hobby. They’ll say it’s ceramics, but it isn’t.
When I was a kid, I used to write shows and reenact them into a tape recorder, a hobby that drove everyone around me absolutely berserk, mostly because I was often sticking my microphone into the adults’ faces at family get-togethers to ask things like, “Are you happily married?”
But somewhere around 7th grade, the grade where all things fall to shit, I lost interest in doing anything but “getting a boyfriend.” That was my big goal in life, to “get a boyfriend.” It was always “get,” like a trophy or mumps.
The coolest girls, like Tammy Chelenko, had boyfriends in 7th grade. In high school, she scored the richest and handsomest boyfriend available. She also had a fabulous wardrobe: Even though she wasn’t rich herself, she had a sister a year older and what I assume was a young, single mom, and they all shared excellent late ’70s/early ’80s clothes. There was a lot of Espirit and Candies shoes.
I was convinced that if I had cool clothes like Tammy Chelenko that I, too, could “get” a boyfriend. The fact that I looked like a man was irrelevant.
(Maybe that’s why I managed to score all the gay guys as friends, because I looked like a young boy. I’m just now having this epiphany.)
Anyway, it took till 9th grade until I “got” a boyfriend of my own, and I think that first one lasted six weeks. Then in 10th grade I fell in love with Giovanni Leftwich.
No one told me how great that was going to be. Being in love was better than the best dramatic play I ever wrote and performed into my tape recorder. Being in love was better than kittens. [Disclaimer: No, it isn’t.]
Sadly for me, Giovanni lost interest and I was shattered and right there describes the next 37 years of my life. I spent all my time chasing the feeling of “falling in love,” getting it, losing it, and seeking the next one, to the exclusion of really anything else.
And I knew it was fucked up. I hated it about myself. Why wasn’t anything else nearly as interesting? And that’s when I started to admire men. Because as much as they might be into me for six weeks to 14 years, depending on who we’re talking about, each man also had a burning outside interest: Art. Music. Cars. The Civil War. (The Civil War guy didn’t last long. Our relationship got dysentery.)
I realized I needed to be not obsessed with men, so I started trying to find things that I liked better than, you know, obsessing about men. And I failed. I really did. This whole time, that’s been my number-one goal.
And I’ve hated it about myself.
So, as you know, from your Big Book of June Events, for the last 7 years I’ve been on and off with a man named Ned. For the first three and a half years, we were very much on and I don’t think I’ve ever been quite as obsessed with anyone as I’ve been with Ned. Oh, he was elusive. You’d see him one night and he’d be charming and attentive and you COULD NOT WAIT for more, and then he’d be busy for the next 11 days.
There are rats in labs that they give treats to, and to get the treats, the rats have to pull a lever. The rats who ALWAYS got a treat when they pulled the lever weren’t nearly as obsessed with pulling the lever as the rats who only got treats intermittently. The intermittent rats cyber-stalked the treats and did a lot of Tracy Anderson to be alluring. At least it did in my book.
But for the last three and a half years, Ned and I have been mostly off. And I don’t know if it’s that I’ve had no choice but to fend for myself or because menopause gave me the brain back that I had pre-7th grade or WHAT, but here’s what’s happened.
I don’t think about men anymore. I mean, I do, but it’s not my goal to meet someone. To “get a boyfriend.” I think about my cats and my credit score and refreshing my curls between washes and the royal family and I’m not saying I’m profound, over here. I’m just saying that something in my brain has shifted these past three years.
I really thought when I moved out of Ned’s place in 2015 that I’d meet someone else fairly fast, but I never did … and I never got very sad about it. There was a time (1979 to 2015) I’d have dated anyone just to not be alone. Now I like being alone so much that I wonder if I’ve turned into the Hermit card from my tarot deck.
This past weekend, Ned and I had drinks to celebrate the anniversary of our first date seven years ago. I’d spent all day deep-conditioning and air-drying my hair, a thing he didn’t notice, nor did he notice the skirt I’d picked out special because he likes me in skirts. I mean, we are so not dating.
I decided, at the end of that get-together, that we should give each other some space. “You should meet someone you’re more compatible with,” I suggested. I don’t know if I’ll ever want to meet anyone at this point, but I know he does, and us being best friends is muddying the waters.
That was Saturday, and I haven’t talked to Ned since. I’ve watched the eclipse and I’ve bought that Marie Condor or whomever book on being tidy. I grocery shopped for all Mediterranean-diet food and on my way back from the store got a Big Mac.
I bought a plunger at the really great hardware store in my neighborhood with the 86 deer heads on the wall. I did Tracy Anderson and bought a new bra.
I’ve done all those things, but I haven’t talked to Ned. I think it’s the best thing for us right now.
Last night I was getting ready for bed when I walked into my dark kitchen and noticed this:
The full moon was streaming through my kitchen window. I really wanted to take a picture of it, but the only way it’d show up was if I turned the brightness up on my phone. I was messing with the settings when, at 10:25 p.m., my phone rang.
It was Ned.
And while I knew he was calling because he was sad, or maybe angry, I didn’t answer. I didn’t answer because we’d just go back to how we were before and get in the way of the rest of each other’s life, and I also didn’t answer because I was in the middle of taking a freaking picture of the moon on my floor and I really wanted to get it.
It wasn’t till I climbed into bed that I realized I’d finally done it. After all those years of wishing I’d be someone who thought of anything else except winning over the next man, I’ve become, you know, someone who thinks of things besides winning over a man.
And maybe you’re someone who ran track and loved insects and married the first person you ever dated and never had this problem, so it seems like no big deal.
I guess some of you racists are working today, so I thought I’d pen something for you while you fly your Confederate flag or whatever.
Hi! What’s new? I have today off, although I volunteered to help if they need help, as one part of work is screamingly busy at the moment. And I realize it’s not, you know, water torture, but it kind of cockblocks relaxing when you’re nervous about getting a “Come here, Watson, I need you” kind of email or call or I don’t even know how they’re gonna tell me if they need help. If there’s an emergency copy editor situation.
Last week in the break room, where we’ve finally got coffee again (for a few years they just had Keurigs and we all brought our own earth-unfriendly pods), I was talking to a print person about my impossible deadline, and I said, “I think people think I just read.”
“You don’t?” asked the print person, who careful readers will remember as Vilhelm Oyster, one of the very first people I befriended at work.
Every time I call Vilhelm Oyster “the print person” I picture him in a loud Charles Nelson Reilly shirt. So far I’ve called him that twice, so I’m not phoning a crisis line about my repetitive thoughts.
Oooo, but that reminds me. I need your help. Sort of. I need your help only if you’re good at the following.
I recently found this website, and please don’t ask me what it is. Like, I enjoy using it and I kind of want to enjoy using it without being in the middle of it and getting, “JOOON? Is that YOU?” Go find your own fun website.
Anyway, I found a website recently where you get on there completely anonymously, and you can be the venter or the listener. Then you either tell or listen to woes.
I’ve been the listener for several nights now. And sometimes I’ve helped, but one time this person rejected all possible solutions and eventually said, “This isn’t helping.”
One person just had an unusual sex fantasy and eventually left of his own accord.
But anyway, my question to you is, how do you help someone with their problems? Do you just listen or do you offer advice? Because you know how I hate–HATE–unsolicited advice. I think everyone does. But if you’re logging onto a tell-your-troubles website, don’t you expect more than, “Um-hmm.” “Ohhhh.” “Wow, that’s rough.” Don’t you expect more than that?
When I was first getting divorced, the person who helped me most was Emily Freeman, who at the time was a blogger who was just slightly more popular than me, and now she’s like Mrs. Famous Pants. I remember us going shopping one Saturday and proudly saying that I had 400 readers a day.
“That’s great!” she enthused.
“…So, are, you, like, using Sitemeter? Do you know how many you have?” I asked.
“Well, yes.” She hesitated.
I think at the time, she had, like 1,200 readers a day or something, and I was all, HOW DOES ONE GET THAT MANY and I think the key may be ambition, which I have never had not even for one second. Mostly, as you know, my goal is to be able to get into my pajamas. It’s not to accomplish great things or go beyond or whatever. It’s not to challenge myself and learn new things. I just want to pay the bills and be able to get into my pajamas. Mostly I want to be able to afford new pajamas.
Is that so bad?
THE POINT IS, Emily P. Freeman, whose podcast I love even though it’s Jesus-y–but GOOD Jesus-y, not “God hates f*gs” Jesus-y–got frozen custard with me soon after I was separated. I wasn’t even dating yet. Which, let’s face it, I didn’t take long to do. Marvin left at the end of March and I got on Match.com over Memorial Day weekend. However, he had a date the night he moved out. So.
THE POINT IS, and now you’re all sick of me, is that what I remember is sitting at that frozen custard table and her just listening. She didn’t ask the kinds of questions that were “I just want the guff” questions. If she asked any, they were to encourage me, somehow. She didn’t offer advice. She was just exactly perfect.
But how do you do that online in a chat room? Is what I wonder. Are any of you good at this sort of thing? Because if I’m going to continue trying to help, I’d like to actually help.
And why do people sign into such a thing if they’re going to reject all your suggestions? I’m asking that legitimately and not complaining-ly.
So that is my quandary for today. Please let me know your pithy thoughts.
I did it again. I once again turned off the pesky alarm and woke with a start–THIS time at 7:20 in the morning, even WORSE than yesterday’s debacle. I don’t even know what’s wrong with me, other than my new hormonal situation (aka I’m old) means I awaken every night at what I assume is 3-ish. I never look at the time when I awaken. They say to not look. Someone once told me that “they” are the Van Pattens, which was probably funnier in 1982. Let’s say “they” are the Kardashians. Anyway, I’m always awake for awhile after I wake up in the middle of the night, which probably screws me up when the alarm goes off.
You know what’s awful? Is when you’re trying to make yourself go to sleep and you hear the birds start to chirp. Now that’s awful.
You know what else is awful but it’s going away? Those water bottles people used to use that had the little push-pull tops, and they’d KEEP THOSE ON, which, why? And then every time they took a drink they’d make this
sound that sent shivers down m’cockles. Why do you need that top? Just drink from the damn bottle.
Those seem to be going out of style, the sucky bottles. Now everyone has those long tin canteen things like they’re planning to leave work and hike the Himalayas.
I have no idea how I got off on this tangent.
My ADD is worse than ever lately. At Christmastime, my favorite FAVORITE time of year, I bought a really nice-smelling candle at a gallery in case anyone just showed up with a gift for me. No one did, because everyone abhors me, so the good news is I got a really nice candle out of the deal. They’re made locally and I want to go kiss that candle-maker flush on the moth.
On the moth. Goddammit.
My point is, I noticed this morning that last night I got out the matches but never actually lit the candle. I think someone as forgetful and scattered as me should not be allowed candles. They should give you some kind of test before they sell it to you, like with guns. …Do they give you a test before you buy a gun?
And by the way, those matches are from Chris and Lilly. I asked if they had any matches and they gave me this enormous box of those long, strong kinds of matches, and I was expecting just a tiny floppy book of them, you know? So now I owe them matches, and who doesn’t have THAT dilemma?
Do you have Monday off? I mean, assuming you work. We do, and I am glad of it. I’m certain I’ll spend the whole day thinking about Martin Luther King, as we are supposed to do. Maybe I’ll sleep late and have a dream.
Anyway, I have to once again leave you to go have lunch, and I hope my screwy sleep schedule isn’t going to become a habit because each day that I can’t wash my hair when I shower is another day I look insaner. I look like someone who’d get out matches but not be able to pull the trigger on lighting an actual candle.
Scatteredly. Matchlessly. Kissing you on the moth. Juan
Based on yesterday’s hard-hitting poll results, you want me to join the gym down the street.
Goddammit. I don’t even WANT to join that gym.
Also, you may have noticed I’m writing to you during my lunch hour, and maybe you’re in a lather because I usually write you in the morning. I know at least one person who has announced to me that she reads while she poops in the morning, and sometimes I think the bloom is off the rose of all our relationship. My relationship with all y’all all.
The reason I didn’t write sooner is I shut off the alarm today because it was so pesky, then reawakened with a jolt at 7:10. I have to be at work by 8:00. So that was a relaxing leisurely morning and I do not at all look like dung or anything.
I did not kill a Muppet, back there. That is a slipper. Edsel moved it and I just found it when I got home for lunch, when what I was REALLY looking for was Second Blu, because the only way Edsel fetches is if you have TWO Blus and you throw one and then the other.
I never found Second Blu.
Anyway, I’ll mull over joining that gym even though I don’t want to.
In other news, they put The Poet not just on my floor, but in my row, today. I told her, “Hold my flowers and stand at your desk looking poetic.” I got flowers from a reader this week. Aren’t they pretty? They’re right there in front of The Poet, in case you missed them.
We are busy AF at work right now, which isn’t good because I also have freelance to do, so I get home drained and cranky and then have to work. But last night, please note that I took time out of my busy schedule to drank. Yes, I referred to it as “to drank.”
Last night I was working a little late (see above) when Ryan asked me to join some people for a happy hour. As you know, from your Big Book of June Events, drinking alcohol gives me a migraine so I rarely do it. But I decided to drag self out anyway, and once I got to the place and saw Ryan and Alex in the window, I was glad I did.
Once in college, I had a friend I eventually slept with (see: all the white liquor one fateful night), but before I eventually slept with him we spent a whole summer being friends. Until that night toward fall when we said, “Let’s split the huge drink that has all the white liquor in it.”
Anyway, he had a summer job as a janitor at Michigan State, cleaning one whole building. I’d asked him to join me at the bar we went to, oh, every night, once his late shift was over, but he was exhausted and planning to just drive home. However, he had to pass the bar to get home, and in the window saw me gesticulating wildly with some story, and he was all, “Well, now I have to go in and hear whatever THAT all is.”
Anyway. I could not resist getting The Ned last night, and I didn’t drink all of it because now I fear the reaper and any alcohol. But The Ned was delicious and did not ruin me. It’s Russian Roulette, just like any time I speak to The Ned IRL.
So, I got away with it and am no worse for the wear, other than sleeping in because I didn’t get home till 6:45. I mean. Who even am I? Back in MY day, there were times I didn’t get in till 6:45 a.m. and still went to work at 8:00.
I have to go. Seeing as I’m writing during lunch, I have to, you know, have lunch.
Here’s the sunrise today in my back yard, and it is pretty. Does anyone have cheap ideas for making the yard cute and sit-able once spring gets here? Any cute decorative ideas or chairs or whatever that I could get that won’t cost a fortune?
Oh, also, do I need this?
I do, don’t I? It’s supposed to be for children but fuck that noise. And by that noise, I mean
[Here’s where June will not sign off, “Cuckoo for cocoa cocks, June.”]
[I saw that in the x-rated section of the video store circa 1997. Never got over it.]
While I’ve lost weight since I moved here, first from the act of moving in, and then from not drinking because all alcohol looks like a mug of migraine to me now, I haven’t worked out at all, really. I did one day of HIIT for old people on YouTube and while you’d think that would do it, it hasn’t.
I can’t even stand myself. Please help me decide which workout to do next. You have 23 hours to answer. Right now it’s 7:50 Eastern time on January 16. Whichever is the winning selection, I will try for three months and report back to you.
It’s Monday night, and I’m finally home in my pajamas with a glass of white grape juice because I’m a riveting member of society. Just the IDEA of having wine gives me a Pavlov headache now. So, grape juice in pajamas it is.
Really, my entire goal each day is to get to the part where I’m home in my pajamas for the night.
Just as soon as I got into said pajamas, which I’ve been anticipating all day, did I mention? I got an email about some freelance work I’m doing, and I have to RE-do some of it, because it’s writing, not copy editing, and this is the first time I’ve worked on this particular thing, so I figured it might not be perfect. But I was JUST FINALLY GETTING to the relax part and now I’m tense.
But I’m not gonna work on that now. I’ll think about it tomorrow. I’ll get tense tomorrow. Except I’m tense NOW.
Today, I went to work, as I am wont to do, and had some harrowing copy editing to do. You’d think copy editing would be all relaxing. Maybe you even say the annoying, “You get to read all day!”
Hah! Right. I mean, make sure Mr. Steiner’s name isn’t occasionally Mr. Stienmen the 86 times we mention him, and remember the client doesn’t like the word sparklefraffle, even though this article is about the Sparklefraffle Fair, and don’t forget to check the name of the city the fair is in because it just changed and we fixed it in some places but not all, and, oh, do this all in five minutes.
What are some misconceptions people have about what you do? Because you know what copy editing rarely is? Relaxing. You’re the very last person to see the thing, so it always ends up getting to you late, and you’re asked to do something like edit 80 pages in an hour and a half, which is not possible, but people think it is because people think I
a thing. “Oh, you get to read all day!” And I’m sure people’re all, “Well, I could read 80 pages in an hour and a half.”
So what do people think about what you do that is dead wrong?
I hope someone here is a pharmacist so they can tell us why it takes 45 minutes to give me 9 prepackaged pills. I mean, just like how you can’t “copy edit this real quick,” there’s probably a logical explanation for why it takes 45 minutes to give me the same 9 pills I get already packaged in a little foil-and-bubble container every month. It’s not like they have to compound my pills or count them out. But still. I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt, here, pharmacy folk.
Anyway. So I went to work as I am wont to do, and I know I already said that. Then at lunch, I went to the hippie healthy co-op where everyone stands in place before the salad bar, in their politically correct TOMS shoes, in order to feel the vibrations of everyone who passes by or whatever. I grabbed an earth-friendly container made of kelp and mentally stabbed 10 stationary hippies with a bamboo skewer to get them out of my way. I mentally had a hippie kabob. I got me some spinach and some blueberries and some salmon and some beet juice, and $642 later I was out the door.
I thought hippies were busy giving peace a chance and making macramé plant hangers. How do they have money to spend $9,000 on lunch? And yet they all do.
After work, I went to the regular grocery store in my neighborhood where everyone looks like a member of ZZ Top or a ZZ Top tribute band, because I live in what you might call a working-class area now. I much prefer ZZ and his Top to the hippies at the healthy store and I’m sorry.
Anyway, while I squeezed past Ray-Nathan and Bucephalis’s confab about NASCAR and chew, I got yogurt and popcorn and grapes and hummus and cheese, which are pretty much m’staples anymore, and then I came home, fed everyone who contains fur, let the dog out, put the groceries away, did a load of laundry, begged Edsel to come inside and got my coat on and left again.
By the time you read this, it will be Lottie Blanco’s birthday. I wanted to get her a little something, because she’s always feeding me and she got me a housewarming gift and besides, don’t you like it when you get to work and someone’s recognized your birthday, somehow?
So I schlepped to the store to try to find her something, and I like how an entire weekend just yawned behind me and did I do it then? No.
Lottie Blanco is less girly than me, and I know that narrows it down. But the pink sparkly boa I’d have gotten, say, Wedding Alex was not going to fly in Lottie Blanco town.
Anyway, I found a little something for her, and a card, and I hope she likes everything. Then I schlepped back here and let the dog out again because he’s obsessed with something out there, and unloaded the dishwasher and did more laundry and ate some cheese and grapes and had this delicious grape juice, and that pretty much sums up my day and my neck is KILLING me because somehow I made all of this stressful.
Why? Why do I do that? Did that day sound all that stressful?
My freelance isn’t due till Friday and it’s maybe one hour more of work. My commute is six minutes. I met all my deadlines today. Tomorrow is payday and I still have $239 left from last paycheck. I mean, I’m golden! And yet? Shoulders up to my ears.
Because I was born in 1812 (Overture), my school years went like this:
Elementary school: Kindergarten through 6th grade. (Also, if you want to get on my nerves, pronounce it “kindy garden.”)
Junior high: 7th through 9th grade. (Also, if you want to get on my nerves, call this * an “as-ter-ik.”)
High school: 10th through 12th grade.
I know now there are some years in there called “middle school.” I did not experience this phenomenon. I experienced junior high. Where, truthfully, I ate a lot of Junior Mints. And shopped in the juniors section. And we all wondered who shot Jr.
Back in the ’70s, my Uncle Leo taught 5th grade. Not to me, but to other kids. And starting with my 5th-grade year all the way through junior high, my Uncle Leo would rave about one student who was my age: Cardinal. (He wasn’t the ONLY student my uncle raved about. Uncle Leo got attached to many students, students who would actually pop in and visit him and so on. My Uncle Leo is extremely extroverted. Possibly TOO EXTROVERTED. Dear Uncle Leo: Stop fekking loving life.)
Anyway, Cardinal and I went to different elementary schools and junior highs, but by the time we got to the same high school, I was already over him, so enamored of him was my Uncle Leo and even my Aunt Kathy, who of course was also there when Cardinal would pop by. “Oh, he’s so funny!” she’d say. “You have to meet him!”
It’s a lot like how I feel about Disneyland. At this point, people have raved on about it so much I hate it.
When high school began, I was walking home from school on, like, day three with one of my friends, who said, “There’s this guy who went to the other junior high. His name is Cardinal. Have you ever heard of him? He’s so funny!”
Had I ever heard of him. Good gravy. His name was burned into my brain at that point.
Eventually, I saw the elusive Cardinal, at the roller skating rink, as you do. Someone pointed him out to me, and there he was, wearing overalls. He had curly hair. “That’s him?” I asked. He just seemed like a regular dude. In overalls.
It turns out, all that time, Cardinal had been hearing about me, as well, from my Aunt Kathy and Uncle Leo, who seemed hell-bent on having us mate. (Dear Aunt Kathy and Uncle Leo: That eventually happened. Also, hi, mom.)
They showed him my attractive and not-at-all masculine bowl-cut-and-cowl-neck junior high school photos, and he was all, “Hunh. …Yeah.”
And right at the beginning of high school, he met my other high school boyfriend, Giovanni Leftwich, who said to him, “There’s this girl I like, June Gardens. Let’s get out of sixth hour and go walk past her sixth hour,” and they did, and Giovanni was all, “THAT’S HER!” and Cardinal once again thought, “Hunh. …Yeah.”
What I’m trying to say to you is it was love at first sight. Man, were we ever impressed with each other.
What ended up happening was, one bleak February afternoon in 10th grade, Cardinal walked on over to my Uncle Leo’s for a visit. I imagine people don’t do that now, do they? Just randomly visit teachers. If you’re in 10th grade now you probably have scheduled play dates and you’re planning to live at home for at least 15 more years and you aren’t allowed to walk anywhere without a parent attached to you like a backpack.
Anyway. My uncle was looking at slides from photos he’d recently taken. What you should know about Uncle Leo is he gets INTO things. Playing the fiddle, tapping trees for sap, veganism, the stock market, stained glass. I mean, he embraces these hobbies wholeheartedly. He becomes Gordon Gekko and Yull Brenner and Charlie Daniels … and then he’s over it.
So right then he was into photography. He got out the slides and forced Cardinal to look at what I imagine to be 58 photos of the same flower, the way people who are newly into photography make you do.
Anyway, one series of slides was of me. Because I’ve had this charming personality all along, from birth I’ve been in a Show-Me State, these pictures were of 10th-grade me, dressed top to bottom in my grandma’s clothes. Oh, I’d placed a babushka atop my June hair, slipped on one of her housedresses and her cat-eye sunglasses, even some orthopedic gramma shoes. The photos he took were of me in this getup, holding hands with my then-teensy cousin Katie.
How I wish I had one of those pictures, incidentally.
So after all those years of seeing me doing my male impersonation in junior high, and after not being impressed with my profile during Mrs. Vitito’s sixth hour, somehow the sight of me dressed as a gramma is what did Cardinal in. He had to have me.
So from 10th grade up until we were 21, Cardinal and I dated on and off more often than — well, I can’t think of anything funny that goes on and off a lot.
Afterward, after the lovin’, we stayed friends (depending on which woman he was dating could stand us being friends, and Dear Every Single Woman Cardinal Dated from 1986 to the present: WE ARE JUST FRIENDS OH MY GOD).
My point is, the ’80s found me hanging at Cardinal’s house just all the time, till we both moved away.
So when I found out Cardinal’s dad died last month, I started thinking a lot about those years. Here’s what I remember about Cardinal’s dad.
First of all, I did the math–god help us everyone–and of course when I met Cardinal’s parents, they were younger than I am now.
I remember Cardinal’s dad was the first person I knew to have a phone in his car. Cardinal would leave my house at night and eight seconds later, the phone would ring.
“June! Guess where I am? THE CAR!!” Cardinal would say. It was so EXCITING. Also, Dear Cardinal’s Dad: I’m sorry that that probably cost you $80.
I remember his dad listened to The Doors on Sunday mornings, and that he grilled really good steaks. I remember being there one summer evening, getting ready to have a steak, when their two Afghans ran through the yard and knocked the whole grill over. Cardinal’s dad did not have a tantrum the way I would have. He just calmly saved the steaks he could.
Incidentally, Afghans are not bright dogs.
And no matter how many times we broke up and got back together or hung out as friends, any time I reappeared at Cardinal’s house, his dad never said, “I thought we were through with you.” He just always welcomed me and took the whole thing in stride.
Cardinal’s parents retired to North Carolina, so I was able to drive to the memorial yesterday.
When I walked into the church, after first showing up at the wrong damn place (“The ad said it was at the funeral home,” I said. The ad. What the hell is wrong with me?), I was worried I was STILL at the wrong place. I didn’t recognize anyone.
It took several minutes for me to place Cardinal’s family, and for them to place me. His mom said she stood looking at me hug Cardinal and wondered who the hell I was. “It’s the person who haunted your kitchen for years,” I said.
There was his sister, who was always nice to me. And his brother, who caught me hiding in the closet once when I was up in Cardinal’s forbidden room. There were Cardinal’s nieces, who when I last left them were in high chairs and who now have kids of their own. Once I got used to what everyone looked like now, I totally recognized everyone.
Afterward, we went back to Cardinal’s mom’s house, and we sat around talking for awhile, and I thought about Cardinal’s dad. If it weren’t for him, none of those people would have been in that room. Those funny, interesting people.
He was married to Cardinal’s mom for 60 years. He had three kids and if I’m counting right, seven grandkids and a few great-grandkids. And there they all were, carrying on without him even though no one wanted him to be gone. All of his kids went on to have kids, and even though he’s gone, he continues, you know?
The only memories I have of Cardinal’s father are happy ones. I only remember him being nice to me, and welcoming, and funny. And that’s a pretty good legacy to leave if you ask me. Leaving someone with good memories and a more-than-slight desire for a grilled steak.
Yesterday sort of kicked my ass in the feeling-bad department. There was a situation with so-called friends in real life, where I thought I was among my people, but it turns out I … wasn’t. This made me feel quite blue, and unloved.
I toiled at my desk all day like Bartleby the Scrivener, facing the wall of my outsiderness.
Yes, those were the kinds of feelings I was immersed in, where I was thinking things like, “The wall of my outsiderness.”
Part of what I had to do at work yesterday was call people to fact-check things. The other copy editors–and see yesterday’s post where I say I’m not like other copy editors–do not enjoy calling strangers to check facts, whereas I loves it. Oh, I do. Everyone I meet is so lovely.
“How do you do that?” asked another copy editor, after I hung up from yet another pleasant call. “My exchanges are so often tense. Maybe it’s the part where you sound friendly.”
Shy people have never made sense to me. Just FAKE BEING FRIENDLY. Why is that hard? Have the sun in your voice! For fuck’s sake.
But look. Since I teeter on the very edge of the introvert/extrovert line, I was getting drained as the day wore on. And plus also I felt bad about what had happened earlier in the day. Drained and unloved-feeling are not a combo that works for keeping the sun in your voice.
Then I got a text. From my friend Sandy.
From somewhere around 1978 to about 1984, everyone on planet Earth–except maybe you, the reader I’m now explaining this to–watched General Hospital. Seeing as it was on at 3 p.m. (on channel 12), I don’t know how we all managed to do so, although I seem to remember rushing down the freezing sidewalk in freezing Michigan to our freezing apartment to not miss a moment of it after school. Did I really get out before 3:00 in junior high? And why did I have to be a teen when there weren’t VCRs or whatever?
I like how the most modern recording device in my mind is a VCR.
Anyway, a big draw of General Hospital was Laura Vining Faulkner Webber Baldwin Spencer Cassadine Spencer. At least those were her last names when I left her, in 1984. She may have added a pearl or two in the ensuing years.
Another not-nearly-as-big-a-draw-at-all was a restaurant where they all confabbed, a restaurant across the street from General Hospital called The Floating Rib.
Why? Why The Floating Rib? And yet they all stampeded over there in between Lasa Fever outbreaks. “Bobbi and Jeff are at …The Floating Rib.”
I guess I should not be surprised that writers who came up with the hospital name General Hospital can’t come up with a restaurant name better than The Floating Rib.
Anyway, it turns out that while most of us watched General Hospital all the way up through Frisco Jones’s shenanigans and then lost interest? Apparently the folks in Port Charles just kept right on going.
Imagine all the things you’ve done since 1984. In all that time, given a few years off for Bare Essence or whatever,
Laura Vining Faulkner Webber Baldwin Spencer Cassadine Spencer (aka Tyger Hayes) has been slogging over to General Hospital to work. And now she’s the mayor of Port Charles! Well deserved, I say.
I was given this crucial info yesterday from my old friend Sandy, whom I met in the dorms in 1984, making her, apparently, my Official Replacement® for General Hospital. I can honestly say, with all the dumb-ass shit we ever did together, including sitting on opposite ends of the couch reading gossip magazines for 20 hours at a time, we never watched General Hospital as a couple. A Current Affair? Oh, hell yes. But ever GH.
And yet, apparently it was part of our fiber, like Tara is to Scarlett.
My point of all this is that for some reason, the idea that The Floating Rib still exists somewhere, and that despite her fancy job and fancy house and fancy husband, Sandy is still aware of The Floating Rib with me, warmed m’cockles, is what it did.
And despite the fact that she’s in Michigan and I see her once every 10 years, I remember a time I needed her to do something awkward for me, and I called her and began with, “Can you do something for me?”
And her answer was immediately yes. Not, “What?” Just yes.
And despite the fact that there was this time in college where a whole bunch of people didn’t like me? And what’s with me, anyway? How unlikable am I? Anyway, there was this time when all of my regularly scheduled college friends took a turn, like that chardonnay you leave in the fridge too long, and tens of people didn’t like me, but Sandy never wavered.
People come and go. But every once in a while, there’s another eyeliner-loving, gossip-magazine-reading, Floating-Rib-knowing pal who’s been there all this time, just like Port Charles and Laura Vining Faulkner Webber Baldwin Spencer Cassadine Spencer.
“I’m finally, after three months, getting my brows waxed at lunch today,” I announced to the other copy editors in my row. “Three months! It’s not like me to let myself go like this.”
They stared at me a bit.
I’ma go ahead and tell you right now, I’m not like other copy editors. If you wanna be Michael Jackson about it.
Other copy editors, and I think I speak from experience as this is my 22nd year of doing this job, tend to be more, well, low-key than me. I don’t even know why I’m a copy editor. Yes, I do. Marvin told me to be one, in 1997. I’m a copy editor cause of Marvin. Marvin also told me to be a blogger in 2006 and that’s why I am. Now that Marvin’s not here anymore, who’s gonna tell me what to be?
Anyway, I’ve let myself go, mostly due to my move, and I told the other copy editors this pertinent fact.
“I’m looking at you right now, in full makeup and hair, with giant earrings and cute shoes, talking about how you’ve let yourself go,” said another copy editor, who by the way was wearing a skirt with little proofreader’s symbols all over it and I COVET IT.
Nevertheless, I persisted with my theory, and stampeded to the brow wax salon and got properly groomed. It didn’t take long, so I had time to dash in and pick up something for lunch before heading back. Food, yay!
There’s a new restaurant in town that’s supposed to be healthy. Naturally, Ned had a city-wide parade to commemorate its opening. Naturally, I’ve never even considered going there.
But go there I did, post-brows, because it was less than a block away and my other nearby choice was Hardee’s. I considered walking to said healthy place, but there are no sidewalks. So I drove a few buildings down, turned left
and entered hell.
It was like Times Square on New Year’s Eve, without the fun. There was plenty of screaming and vomiting and Ryan Seacrest, though. The ENTIRE WORLD was in that tiny parking lot, and you couldn’t turn around, or leave, or do anything really except hope everyone ate and digested and left so you could finally do ANYTHING with your car long about 3 p.m.
I ended up going the wrong way down a back alley, which sums up my life, and parking in another parking lot that warned I’d be towed if I weren’t going to that particular restaurant. Oh, I wanted them to try. Oh, how I did. Because you’d have read today about how a middle-aged woman with giant hair and good brows disemboweled the entire car-towing industry with the foil edge of her contacts container. It’s all I have in my purse to disembowel anyone. I’ve thought it over.
I walked ON THE STREET to get to the restaurant, and when I entered, it was one of those places where you curl around the outer rim of the store and order at a counter, like Ponderosa only without any fun steak or pudding. My choices included a lot of quinoa and kale, two of the saddest words in our language.
And oh, did the white ladies love this place. Who ARE you women in yoga pants at noon? Why don’t you have to work? Also, if you don’t have to work, MUST you stream into restaurants between noon and 1:00? You’re already a trophy wife. You win. Let us have our goddamn lunch hour. We get ONE HOUR A DAY. Let us have it without waiting for a parking space, a waiter and a table.
When I began that line yesterday, I still had a glimmer of hope left for my future. By the time I left, I had the haunted look of those miners who were trapped for weeks.
Finally, after 12 hours, there was only one person left ahead of me, and she was a simply beautiful young girl with smooth hair and slender legs that didn’t touch in the middle. She had on those ankle boots all girls under 30 insist on wearing, and while I’ve caved and bought some, I always feel vaguely like chubby Peter Pan in them. Peter Pan if he’d let himself go.
The entire time she waited in line, Slenderella, over there, Puss in Boots, up yonder, crossed one booted ankle behind the other.
Why? Why do you need to do that? How are you even balancing? And furthermore, why?
When she got to the counter,
are you holding onto your hat?
When she got to the counter, she MADE A CALL. I could not hear what she was saying, but she had 8 million questions for the beleaguered person behind the counter. The ENTIRE WAY UP that endless line are little signs and menus telling you where EACH DAMN PIECE of food is sourced from, and how everything’s made, and what allergens are in them, so WHAT did Bootenanny need to know that HADN’T BEEN ANSWERED IN THAT ENDLESS LINE?
She stayed on the phone the entire time, like she was at a Christie’s auction, ankles crossed, and I envisioned fricassee-ing her on the hot surface behind the counter. Hog-tying her would have been easy; she was already halfway there.
I got a chicken bowl with purple rice (why?) (the rice probably crosses its ankles when it stands) and black beans and avocado and resentment and WAY WAY WAY WAY too much lettuce. No one needs that kind of lettuce in their life. No one.
Anyway, I got back to work IN A MOOD, and can anyone else tell me if this bothers them or if I’m just a cross (ankled) person in general…
If you eat at your desk, does it bug you when people want to discuss what you have? We sometimes have food trucks at work, and inevitably, someone will say, “Oh! Is that from the food truck?”
No. I brought a cheeseburger and fries from home and placed them in this handy open cardboard container. It’s a wonder it’s all still hot, isn’t it?
I got to my desk, did I mention in a MOOD? And poor Fewks, the guy next to me, was all, “Eating healthy today?”
Guess who did not have good health after that. Was it disemboweled Fewks?
It probably would have been better for my blood pressure to go to Hardee’s.
I don’t sleep with Milhous, because bestiality is illegal, but also because he’ll run up and down the bed all night endlessly and I’ll have to snap his neck.
But last night I was all settled into bed, I was a settler, with my iron skillet and my loin sack or whatever, when I realized I’d forgotten to brush m’teeth.
So I FLUNG the bedclothes aside dramatically even though no one but Edsel was there to appreciate it, and WHIPPED open the bedroom door annoyedly.
And there? Was Milhous.
He was leaning against the door, all splayed out like the Sphinx.
Little Milhous! All forlornly leaning against the door all night. I mean, I just assume he’s forlornly out there all night.
That run-aroundy bastard still isn’t getting in, though.
Other than that, I’m trying to think of anything else that’s happened that’s remotely interesting. My throat is starting to hurt, and if I’m getting a cold Ima be annoyed.
Ah. Here’s something relatively interesting: I noticed someone at work has little toy soldiers in yoga poses, which I thought was charming.
Also, it’s nice to have Iris home. Also also, I have got to fix that dresser that I ruined. Also also also, don’t tell me that my chair is at an odd angle; I’m using it to uncurl the rug. I’ve had this rug nearly three months and one side of it still sort of curls up. Does anyone have any hints, or is anyone fairly hefty after the holidays and willing to lie on one corner of my rug for a day or so?
Speaking of audience participation, I did move some stuff around and get rid of things on my bathroom cubbyholes, but I haven’t finished yet. I like the idea of raiding my china cabinet for containers.
Oh, hell, I have to go. I realize the best part of life is the thinner slice and also that I had nothing of note to say to you today.
I have to go unbutton my shirt past my ribs.
Lift your eyes if you feel you can. Reach for a star and I’ll show you a plan, Juun
P.S. It’s January 9. Does anyone still have remainders of Christmas around? I have all the X-mas-themed cookie tins out because my mother wants me to mail them back, MOM, and also one Christmas card displayed that came later, as it is really a thank-you card from my mother. I guess the only reason I still have Christmas remnants is because of mom.
Because my madcap adventures never stop, I had a dental cleaning yesterday. Oh, June, that’s crazy.
I’ve been going to a new place because the dentist I went to for 11 years had a hygienist who talked endlessly. I don’t mean she talked a bit. SHE TALKED ENDLESSLYYYYYYY. Plus, it hurt when she did my teeth. Probably because she was talking and not paying attention.
So some years back I screwed up all my courage and called the office. “Yes. Um. Next time I go in, may I be scheduled with Muta instead of Chattina?” And they did it. I was so sweaty asking for that, worrying they’d say, “But why?”
And the next time I went in there, I was cleaned by Muta. Oh, she was wonderful. She spoke occasionally like a normal person, and the whole experience was lovely.
Then the next time I went in there, everyone was out for a funeral except Chattina, whom they decided should stay behind and man the office. Gee. Why. Why didn’t they want her along at the funeral, do you think? Why’d that person die, do you think? Did he or she die of chatting?
So she cleaned me to the tune of This is My Life Story Told in Painstaking Detail, and I did not make an appointment when I left. I thought I was so clever with that tactic. But when I DID call to make the appointment with Muta, a few months later they called to remind me of my “cleaning with Chattina.”
GOD DAMMIT. And that’s why I picked up my teeth and headed to a new office. And oh, this new hygienist is wonderful. She doesn’t hurt at all, and she’s pleasant but not talky, which may have something to do with the fact that I told her halfway through, “You know what I like about you? You take time to enjoy the silence.” And she agreed that talking endlessly was draining on her as well. And then it was super extra quiet and I felt bad. They probably have a note on my chart: VOW OF SILENCE PATIENT.
Our problem, and by “our” I mean women in America, is we feel the need to talk to establish that we like each other. Silence is only for when we’re pissed. “Nothing. Nothing’s wrong.”
But really, when you actually like someone and feel comfortable around them, you can have an hour of silently doing your thing while the other person does their thing (in my head when I picture this, one person is teaching a chicken how to dance and the other is knitting Bible covers. You know how I say you never want to be in my head?) and it’s perfectly fine.
Why can’t we do that with our hairdresser, our hygienist, our manicurist? Why can’t we be all, “You do your thing and Ima read this Chicken Dance magazine”? Why isn’t that better than, “Did you have good holidays?” “Oh, ya. We ate a lot. Hah hah. You?”
Anyway, of course I need crown replacements for all the crowns I got years ago, and I love how when you’re paying $49,000 for those crowns they don’t mention they’ve got maybe 20 years on them.
Also, the free toothbrush they give you? Every time they give me one, I base how well my next six months are gonna go on the color of the toothbrush they give me. Like, royal blue? Price is Right losing horn.
Orange? Jesus, just put me in a coma for six months.
But this time? I got a lavender toothbrush! Ooooo, good times are headed my way!
Also at my dentist they give you a small tube of lip balm that I really like. This time my flavor options were citrus, ass and almond swirl. I went for almond swirl.
So that sums up my trip to the dentist, and I thank you for your attention to this pressing matter.
Y’all were so helpful when I was recently trying to organize my shoes that I thought I might elicit your help in the bathroom. Someone push on my head!
(When I was a kid, for about six months after my parents separated, my mother and I lived with my Aunt Kathy and Uncle Leo. They had one freaking bathroom because their house was built in like 1890 or something, and it was haunted. The whole house, not just the bathroom. Anyway, most mornings all four of us would be in the bathroom at the same time, and my Aunt Kathy would be on the toilet asking for someone to push on her head, a thing I found hilarious then and now.)
Let’s push on.
In my own house that has one bathroom because it was built in 1932, I have these cubbyholes, where allegedly one cutely stores one’s stuff. As you can see it’s moved from cute to horrifically sad in three short months.
So what I thought I’d do, see, is first of all get some slippers because when did these hardwoods get so drafty-feeling? Hang on…
Okay, let’s go to the bathroom. Every time I say that, I am delighted…
For those of you without org skills, and June please say “org” just all the time, you can at least creepy-crawl my bathroom cupboards, and who doesn’t like to do that?
The very top shelf has nothing, and next to that a case I use to store my makeup when I travel. I have limited closet space and also I think that case is pretty. Chris and Lilly gave it to me at some point, I forget why. Birthday?
Row two has a painting a friend made, and generic Kleenex. Really, I don’t know why I’m not a home-decorating blogger. The shelf next to it has an empty jar and a photo of my Uncle Leo and me. I guess we’re still sharing a bathroom.
Row three: Perfume I don’t use because it’s the wrong season for it, a pink container with nothing in it, water in a spray bottle to refresh my curls, and two kinds of facial cleanser I use because Hot & Flashy said to. (When I linked to her just now, I realized I’m using the wrong Yes to Coconuts cleanser. Goddammit. That’s why I’m not hot and flashy like her.)
Next to that cubby, and June please say “cubby” just all the time, is dog shampoo, a brush I never use anymore except for twice a year when I actually brush my hair, and soap.
Next row: Empty jar that used to have cotton pads in it but I found having an open jar was easier. Hair cream and more face products that Hot & Flashy told me to get. If Hot & Flashy told me to eat the blood of live rabbits I’d do it. Have you seen her? She’s so goddamn pretty.
Next row, another pink container that has nothing in it, and photos of my gramma, my Aunt Wa, mom and me.
I know you wish there were more rows, AND THERE ARE!
Next row: hair clips I never use and a flamingo. There’s a statement you make every day. Next to that is this pretty container that has all my reading glasses.
The famed cotton pads, and a jar crammed with contacts, scissors, Q-Tips and bobby pins. Honest to god what is wrong with me. Oh, and an emory board.
Then? Kleenex again and some special fancy soap from Chris and Lilly. Beside that, toilet paper, which as of this photo sesh–and be sure to say “photo sesh” just all the time, June–was taken away because Milhous won’t let me have toilet paper out.
The very bottom row, not pictured because you must be sick of my rows. You must be on death row. You’re about to have a row with me. Anyway the bottom row is a hair dryer I use maybe once a month and then nothing. Anything I’ve put on the right side of that bottom row gets taken out by Milhous.
Why do I always at all times have some iteration of a baby animal in my house?
Okay, so if you wonder if there’s anywhere else I could stick this stuff, let’s go look at the one sad closet devoted to bathroom supplies.
(“This is why I prefer my McMansion,” the reader said, swinging her horseshoe haircut decidedly. “Charm over closet space? Never!”)
The closet is a tiny little door you open with a latch, and here are the contents.
Top shelf has all the toilet paper Milhous refuses to let me display. That box has all the things in it you don’t want displayed, like Nair for giant mustaches and suppositories. Oh, and those washcloths are especially for makeup removal, and when I put them on the open shelves in the bathroom I come home to them splayed just everywhere in this house. Perhaps if you are planning to help me today, one suggestion might be, “Take that goddamn kitten to the pound.”
This next crisp photo has a backup magnifying mirror in case my current one stops working (shut up), toothbrush heads, contacts, root dye, Latisse brushes (why they gotta make the packaging so insanely huge?) and a charger for a toothbrush that no longer works.
Towels and washcloths crammed in every nook because no room. Hey, any openings in your McMansion development?
And finally, very neatly folded bathroom mats, now with Milhous and Iris. Imagine if you didn’t read on Saturday. “She has her dead cat in her linen closet!”
Here are both the shelves and the closet from a distance, as Bette Midler would say.
So that’s my situation. Please fix it. Thank you. Love JOOON.
On Saturday mornings, I like to clean. Well. “Like” is a strong term. But this house is so quaint and pretty and I want to keep it that way, so on Saturdays, I dump out the litter box and take it outside, hose it off, air it out, that sort of thing.
Then I take the back entryway rug outside and shake it, sometimes hose it down, too, hang it outside for a bit to dry.
Then I wash all the floors and throw the water outside. My point is, on Saturday mornings I’m in and out more than mama’s squeeze box.
On Saturday, December 22, exactly seven years to the day I adopted Iris, née Sugarplum, I saw her go out one of those times. Well. “Saw” is a strong term. It was only later when I obsessively reviewed my every move that I recalled her strolling out the back door during my endless trips out the backyard.
Iris went out all the time at the old house. But at this house, Lily goes out not at all and Iris maybe once every two weeks. And I used to think that was kind of a shame, because there’s a dead end behind me and a dead end to the right of me, and the next three blocks are also dead ends, plus also behind me is nothing but wilderness till it drops off and there are railroad tracks way down below.
It seemed pretty safe for a cat to wander, is my point. But no one was wandering. Iris would stroll to the backyard, maybe lounge on the grass for 15 minutes, then always come inside, and she did this only every few weeks.
That Saturday, December 22, I was getting through my cleaning in a hurry because Jo was coming over so we could go to that fabulous beauty supply store, and then after that it seems like I had a party or something. It was three days before Christmas, man. It was a busy time.
So it was dark out before I noticed Iris wasn’t home. I think maybe it was when I served dinner, and I like how I act like all the cats sit at the table and I bring out those dishes with domed lids on them. Anyway, I called her and she didn’t come home.
I didn’t like that at all.
The next morning I called her again and no Iris. When she wasn’t hungrily at the back door that morning, I was really worried. This was not an Iris move. A Steely Dan move? Oh, sure. But look what happened to him.
That’s when I began the obsessive tracking of everything I’d done the day before, and registered her stroll out the back while I was whacking a rug like it was 1892 or whatever.
In the ensuing days, both Ned and I traipsed endlessly through that bramble behind my house. I pulled on waders like a crazy person so I could check every nook. I think it was the first Sunday that we both saw a huge bird of prey circle-circle-circling overhead.
Right then I knew. I knew with every fiber of my being that Iris was dead. Maybe a fox got her. Maybe a coyote. Maybe she fell off the cliff that leads to the train tracks and got run over.
Still, I walked all over my neighborhood, I asked people, I checked the shelter and Craigslist. I called the shelter and got Sugarplum’s chip number. (God, that’s a horrific name.) (June, driving away readers with pets named Sugarplum since 2019.) I even walked right into a neighbor’s two open sheds. But in my heart, I knew she was dead. She wouldn’t just … not come home.
And I didn’t say anything about it here because people would say, Oh, my cat wandered off and came back or Oh, you never should let cats outside, and I was too sad to hear either thing. I know cats come back; I have Lily’s 52-day story. But not blind Iris.
I finally told you after it’d been more than a week, I think, wasn’t it? I’d long since given up by the time I’d told you. And I could not even think about it. Oh, it was awful. Iris is my favorite. She’s so plucky and has that little smile all the time. Oh, sweet Iris.
Yesterday morning I was blogging at you while it was still dark and I heard a meow. I JUMPED up from this chair and RAN outside, calling for Iris because I’m telling you it sounded just like her. But nothing was there. I decided maybe it was some cat in here meowing and I was being delusional.
Last night around 5:20 I arrived home from work. I had dinner plans at 6:30 and was considering doing some freelance work, so I was all preoccupied as I pulled up to my house, and
in my own car, because THERE WAS IRIS! Just sitting on the glider on my front porch. Just lounging with her little smile, like a Southern lady, if a Southern lady sat on her haunches.
“IRIS!” I screeched, and you can imagine the neighbors. “There goes that old cat lady again.”
“Are you okay?” I picked her up while she looked at me with her little blind smile. She was all bones.
I took her right to the water bowl but she wasn’t thirsty. So I carried her like she was Heidi and I was Grandfather, over to the food and you’ll be surprised to hear a bite to eat sounded good to Iris.
Of course, it was only later that I Googled it and read if a cat’s been missing for a long time, you should feed them slowly. I read this after she ate three cans of food.
Everyone here was very curious about why she smelled like Monty Hall or like she slept with three leopards or spent two weeks at the blackjack table in Vegas or whatever the hell her smell told them.
But mostly we were just glad she’s home.
Last night Iris slept with me and as always, we pressed spines. I woke up today worried I’d dreamt the whole thing till I felt her little bony cat spine still there behind me.
If you think about it, it might make sense that someone opened their garage to leave for a Christmas trip the Saturday before Christmas, and arrived the Friday after New Year’s, doesn’t it? I think Iris might have done an Edsel impression, hanging out in a garage. Cause an Edsel is a car, see.
Anyway, she’s home. My Iris is home! I was never so happy to get out a third cat dish.
P.S. I was just taking the trash out and she wanted to go outside. The answer is