Do you wish to know what annoys me? “Snowmageddon.” Also, “snowpacalypse.” Oh, shut up. Anyway, it’s still snowy here, and behold Edsel playing with Levi, the one-blue-eye, one-brown-eye pit who now lives with the gaybors’ Greyhound, Jackie.
I know you can’t see Levi–they’d been running up and down the length of the fence together, and this was all I was able to capture from my SOCKS in my DOORWAY. I wasn’t traipsing out there in m’robe and sockses.
I met Levi at some point during this—snowpacalypse BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh, god that’s funny. Anyway, I met him when I was rolling the snow-covered trash cans back to their rightful spot, and he was staring at me in personal growth, which is only funny if you saw When Harry Met Sally.
He was staring at me from his yard, Levi was, and he was so pretty that I couldn’t help but say, “Well, who are you?” He wagged politely. “Hello!” I said, clomping through the snow, because crazy person. I think this is a pertinent time to point out I had on my fox pajamas, tucked into snow boots.
“That’s Levi,” said the gaybor, who unbeknownst to me had been standing on his back porch. They seem to never just let their dogs out and shut the door. Go in and watch Liberace or whatever. I mean, what’s the point of a fenced-in yard if you can’t slam the door and forget you have a dog for 20 minutes?
Anyway, he was actually nice to me this time, the gaybor was. Me in my fox pajama bottoms and boots. So.
And I’m passionate about Levi.
I also managed this one. In midtear. Still can’t see Levi, and now you’re convinced Edsel and I have manifested him.
So we didn’t have to work again yesterday, although we DID have to work from home.
So, as you know, because you have a poster on your living-room wall that reads Everything June Does, with a marker hanging from a string, I spent thousands of dollars last month to replace the thousands-of-dollars computer I bought in 2011. Through no fault of my own, the 2011 computer got so slow it wasn’t even fun to blog anymore.
So I replaced it. Can I afford that? Hell no. But I freelance a lot, too [you all nod knowingly, glancing at your living room poster], and need a computer for work.
Yesterday when we got the whole Work From Home announcement, I was immediately given an article to read. I wandered into this cold, drafty back room, and whose idea was it to put the computer back here? Must have been my landlord’s.
When I got back here and tried to open the article?
No Word. I have no Microsoft Word. “Sign in here!” it kept telling me. Sign in here! All cheerful.
I got all the Microsoft Office products back in 2011; my friend and faithful reader Steve who works there sent them to me. Now, perhaps this is the time you might feel less angry for me. What’s your problem? You got them free anyway.
Well, the thing is, I NEEDED WORD RIGHT THEN.
After several long talks with Microsoft and Apple, we came to the conclusion that:
A) When I migrated all the info to the new computer, all the Microsoft Office stuff didn’t come with me (not my fault)
B) Microsoft could help me if I had the “product key,” which is a sticker on the box I received in 2011. Oh, I don’t still have the box? Why not? Seven years and two moves? That’s no excuse.
“Why don’t you say in big letters, ‘KEEP THIS BOX’ or something?” I groused at the guy at Microsoft. I was chatting online with Microsoft and on the phone with Apple. It was a whole East Side/West Side thing going on at my computer.
In the end, Apple couldn’t do anything even though their migration instructions didn’t actually work, and Microsoft suggested I buy the new 2016 Office stuff.
Of course they did.
Why are we letting these companies bamboozle us in this fashion?
In the end, my friend/FR Steve is sending them to me again, as I wrote him hysterically to ask if he knew the “product key.” Product key. Key this.
Meanwhile, someone is despondent that grownd still iceyyy. He tries to go out, then comes right back in. He’s bored out of his evil mind.
He chased his tail 109 minutes yesterday, while I watched Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. When I wasn’t proofreading something on my phone, then writing in a notebook all the errors and then typing those errors back into my phone and emailing them to work.
I gotta get to work. Today is my six-year anniversary of dating Ned, and Ned asked if I wanted to go meet him for a drink at the place where we had our first date.
…My hair just got blown back from all the, “NOOOOOOOOOO”s.
If you’ve read me for awhile, you’ll know that (a), that means work was called off, although we are expected to “work from home,” and I remember a really bad storm two years ago where I proofread a giant deck–giant–and just as I was finishing it, Iris stepped on my laptop and erased all the changes I had made.
And that is why Iris is mounted on my wall today.
(Also, a deck is a presentation. It is important to never call anything by its name.)
This, by the way, is how Ms. Iris has spent her snow day, aka all days. Her big-game-hunting seems to have dwindled, although to her credit, now when I see something dead on my doorstep–mice, a bird, a hobo–I just assume Steely Dan killed it. I also assume he, and not video, killed the radio star.
I don’t give poor Iris any credit anymore. However, see above. How can she kill things if she’s nodded out on the horse or whatever is going on with her and all cats who can’t seem to stay awake more than 20 minutes at a stretch.
Anyway, they warned us snow was coming, and when did weather get to be such an exact science? Remember in the old days and all the jokes about the weatherman being wrong? Now it’s all, “Snow will begin in your zip code at 4:49 a.m.”
But anyway, yes, they warned us it was coming, so I left work on time-ish and dashed on over to daycare to get my child.
Careful readers will note the ears in the window, and how did he KNOW it was me? It was 5:30 on a Tuesday; every motherfucker on god’s green was coming to get his or her dog, but old Ears up there…maybe that’s why. Maybe the ears tipped him off. He could hear my thoughts or whatever from Spain.
Anyway, my giant nose and I got him home and at some point I turned into a Rembrandt with that collar. I guess it’s a scarf. Still.
I made an enormous pot of pumpkin chili on Monday, because you know what a chef I am, and yes, I just linked to a recipe. Who even am I?
Anyway, I knew I was okay with food in case I had a long winter like Laura Ingalls Wilder. And also like Laura, in her hit book Little Movie at the Shopping Center, I had the dilemma: Should I go to the movies with The Poet as we’d planned, and risk opening the theater doors afterward to see that we lived in a snowglobe?
I sound like a movie trailer. In a world…
But because she is from Iowa and I am from Michigan, we decided to not be a couple of pussies, and we applied the same logic to the size of our popcorn. You’ll be stunned to hear we had some left over.
“Well, I didn’t know you’d eat five pieces and be done,” said The Poet, who apparently really is one of those “where does she put it all” kinds of people, because she gave that bucket the college try and she weighs about 72. Lithe, is what she is. And also currently full of popcorn.
Anyway we saw Lady Bird, and I will not bore you with the fact that we liked it, as everyone likes it, and I wish I could be rebellious and say, “Not enough titties” or whatever, but I cannot. As it was a sweet movie.
Then I got up today, as per usual, and kind of forgot it was supposed to have snown–yes, snown–and went about my normal business, such as navigating the Cat Calcutta that is my hallway first thing.
But I opened the blinds, and I was all, Oh, yay! I forgot that it was supposed to have snowded. Then I checked m’phone and Oh, yay! Work is canceled. Then I checked it further, and Oh, boo. We are expected to work anyway.
So I’m constantly checking my phone to see if work is streaming in, which really cockblocks my original plans of Bailey’s and hot chocolate all day.
So, as I was saying 47 paragraphs ago, if you’ve read me awhile, you’ll know snow means I don’t have to go to work and also winter frolic pictures will occur.
Meanwhile, back inside my ranch, and that joke never gets old, Steely Dan was torn between wanting to venture outside and being highly offended that something outside kept making his paws cold.
I was in the kitchen, doing dishes because hey, dishwasher that works, and Steely Dan kept opening the damn back door, going out, trying to walk on everything that wasn’t snowy, then coming back in getting bored and doing it all over again. I’d have snapped his neck had it not been sort of cute.
He also begged to go out the front, as if maybe it hadn’t snowed in the front yard.
I wonder how many people are waiting for (b). See first paragraph. Then remember whose not-blog you are reading.
There’s something very smug-inducing about leaving your workout and the moon is still out. Like, you’re done and the sun hasn’t come up yet. Very Army.
I did Pure Barre at 6 a.m. today, obvs. And I say obvs because look at this ass. How can you miss it. …Okay, maybe the results of Pure Barre haven’t quite set in yet.
Yesterday was a good mail day. Faithful Reader Fay sent me Fiona the Hippo. I see that when they blew stuff around my camellias that it soiled the window, and now my ridiculous handyman Alf has a new thing to do. Today he is coming to fix the rod in my closet, which sounds like a euphemism but I swear it is not. I’d have to kill Alf before I let him “fix” the rod in my “closet.” Actually when you break it down that way it doesn’t even make sense as a euphemism.
Alf is someone I am sincerely fond of, who does everything he can to annoy me. Right there is the conundrum. Really, I am telling you this here so when I finally kill him, I’ll have evidence that I was driven to it. That’s how getting out of murder works, right?
I never watch those murder shows. Maybe I need to bone up. Which is also something Alf isn’t going to do around here.
Anyway, also, my father sent me a paper towel holder. He is a very kitchen-y person, and I guess knowing my paper towels were rolling around unchaperoned on my counter is very Third World to him. So now I have the World’s Fanciest Paper Towel Holder®. With a five-year warranty!
After the excitement of the mail day wore off, my Aunt Kathy sent me an email. “I don’t know how to send a link,” she wrote, “but if you Google [insert thing she said here], you can find an interview I did!”
This was all a Very Aunt Kathy email. The internet is her bailiwick. She might start working at the Apple store.
Here. Here is the elusive link. This was maybe four years ago, that this interview took place, and Dear Aunt Kathy: You look way hotter now. She’s lost weight, for one, and her hair is better.
Anyway, if you know my aunt, you know that the part where she tears up during the interview is rare and elusive. It’s the unicorn of Aunt Kathy emotions.
Aunt Kathy and I have always been more similar than my relatively steady mother and I. Not that I cry a lot; I don’t. But one might say my every emotion is rather…close to the surface.
Have I ever told you the scary mammogram story? I mean, I know I have. I regale you with that motherfucker every mammogram season. But what I mean is, after the stupid general practitioner said, “Prepare for the worst,” I did what any adult woman would do: I called my mother. I told her the story thus far.
My mother paused. She breathed deeply and serenly. “Well, we don’t really know anything yet,” she said, with all the animation of Liberace at a titty bar.
After we had our even-keeled conversation, I called my Aunt Kathy. Told her the story. Here was her response:
So. Aunt Kathy and me. Same.
Why was I on this tangent? I forget.
Here’s today’s Chubby Stick lip color, in a shade called FOR FUCK’S SAKE I CAN’T FIND IT. I put it on yesterday at lunchtime, and although it looks as though I’m posing for my senior picture, really the guy across the street had called an ambulance again. He’s 109, and calls an ambulance all the time.
This doesn’t stop me from Gladys Kravitzing every time he does it.
My point is, just now I looked in the tray, and that one color is missing GODDAMMIT. So I looked in my purse, that endless endless bowel that is my purse, with its 86 zipper compartments and 29 pockets, and I don’t see it. I also looked around that chair I was splayed on, but no.
I just went online, Googled the names of the damn colors, and I think that was Roundest Raspberry.
Oh, hell. I think we’ve done all of them, actually. Because the next one is Grandest Grape, and we already did that, didn’t we? This is why you shouldn’t let me be in charge of things.
I’ll figure it out tonight and present you with a grand finale of all 21 stupid colors, none of which were all that colorful, if you ask me.
While I’ve been talking to you and tryina figure out lip colors like it’s interesting, I’ve been eating my protein bar, in the hopes that I won’t get to work and want a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit after allegedly burning 394959394 calories at 6 a.m. because I’m in the Army.
Do you capitalize “Army”?
I guess that’s all my big news for now. Oh, I just noticed the date and remembered today is my six-year anniversary of having Lily. I’d already snagged Iris, maybe a week before I got Lily. Before that I’d been out of cats. And now there’s a cacophony of them!
I just got up to take a photo of the cacophony of cats, and this was the best I could do. Hey, why are my wood floors dull? I mean other than the fact that 32 paws traverse them daily. How do you make ’em shiny again?
I guess I have to Bona them. Which is not a euphemism and here we are back at the beginning.
Talk to you tomorrow, but before I go, what smell makes you the most nostalgic? I was thinking about this last night. I was tryina sleep early cause I knew I had to get up at 5:30, but there was this…BRIGHT LIGHT shining into my window, and I was all, What the hell is that? Ima give the gaybors a piece of my mind if they…
…it was the moon. The moon! Then I didn’t mind the light so much. But anyway that’s what I thought of as I lay there wishing I’d fall the hell asleep already. Why are we always awake when we don’t want to be and sleepy when we can’t be? Why?
For me, definitely Vick’s Vapo-Rub. And probably really cold winter smells that I can’t remember anymore because I’m never back in Michigan in winter unless someone falls over dead.
I was home in early September once, but just once, and in the early morning it was already frosty, and just the feel of that was very nostalgic to me. The smell of the leaves and the frost and how it was still KIND of summer, but also headed quickly to fall.
You know how if your hair is one way, let’s just say curly, to throw a scenario out there and how’d I think of that. So, your hair is one way, but you do something to it to make it the other way, like straight, but your hair WANTS to be the other way, so as soon as it can, it starts to curl the fuck back up.
That’s how Michigan feels. Sure, it’ll give you two and a half months of “summer,” but it really wants to go back to being cold.
While I’ve been talking to you, the moon went away. I guess I’d better get to work.
In August of 2007, my then-spouse, Marvin, and I moved from Los Angeles to Wadesboro, North Carolina. We went from a population of 3 million to a population of 3,000. It didn’t occur to me that this might take some adjustment.
But this is what I DO in life. I plow through it, never thinking anything through, then being stunned by the struggle because I didn’t think things through. I wish for you to put this on my tombstone, along with the 40 other things I’ve asked you to put on my tombstone, which at this point is something of a scroll. A stone scroll. That you can somehow pull out to read all the epitaphs I’ve written.
“You wanna visit June’s grave today?”
“Ugh, no. I can’t even deal with unrolling her stone scroll.”
Anyway. So instead of sitting, oh, still, and letting myself be charmed by TinyTown, I immediately commenced to finding ways to leave. This is why, on February 27, 2008, I was driving to Raleigh for a job interview, when I passed a little dog on the side of a busy road.
(I just took this yesterday, and was stunned by just HOW busy that road was. Tallulah was less than 3 months old when I found her, and you guys, she was past that gutter. It gives me chills. She was probably moments from being in that road.)
I never made it to the interview, because as we all know by now, I made the best U-turn of my life and swooped that little puppy up and into my car. My initial plan had been to knock on the trailer doors, there, to say, “Here’s your dog,” but when I saw all the yards weren’t fenced, and that she was so very skinny, and once I saw the sun glint through her gold eyelashes, I instead shut my car door and put her in the passenger seat. And right then I knew, I had myself a Tallulah dog.
I’ve never known something so certainly, and never loved someone so fast. It was her gold eyelashes that did me in. Those gold eyelashes assured her spot as my passenger that day.
She was the best passenger I ever had, for 8 years.
This week would have been her 10th birthday, and I decided it was time to scatter her ashes all the places she loved. That included her first home, where I found her; the house we had in TinyTown; my yard here; the dog park; and any other places I can think of where she was happy, i.e., anywhere Edsel wasn’t.
(She was never a fan. Don’t tell Edsel. He was nothing BUT a fan of that dog.)
So yesterday I took the day off work to drive back to TinyTown and to where I found her, which by the way is precisely nowhere–it’s not even a town. Tallulah was a small-town girl. Livin’ in a LONELY world. She took the midnight train going an-y-where.
Also on June’s scroll: She burst into bad ’70s music when no one wanted her to.
The problem was, yesterday was our first snowstorm of the year. Go, June! Wait, did you just plow through something without thinking it through? Hunh.
Just as soon as I got out to the car, it started to snow. It was so pretty, and I was all, Oh, it won’t stick.
So, once again, my favorite passenger and I got into the car and headed on down the road a piece.
I took the country roads to take me home, because it’s a really pretty drive, and normally I’d have stopped to take photos for you, but as the grandmother I’m turning into would say, it was pouring the rain. It wasn’t far out of Greensboro that the snow turned to rain, but man, we’re talking rain. Much rain. It rained longer than Queen Elizabeth.
Oh, June. You’re not funny.
Whenever I return to TinyTown, I am charmed by the people and the beautiful old houses and I think, Why the hell did I ever leave TinyTown? I wonder if I’d have gotten divorced if I’d left. I wonder if I’d have ever met Ned. I’d never have had a Steely Dan, or known a single Alex.
But left it I did, which means I missed the news that my friend Lucy died earlier this year. She was a woman I met through the Episcopal church, where I was the best church secretary the world has ever known.
My stepbrother-in-law Bill once told me about a guy he knew who chucked it all to become a mushroom farmer. He wanted a simpler life. Turns out, being a mushroom farmer is really hard, and you have to constantly keep up with the heat and the moisture and the soil and your mushrooms and LIFE WAS NOT SIMPLER.
This sums up my experience of going from being a proofreader at an ad agency in Los Angeles to being a church secretary in a town of 3,000. IT WAS THE HARDEST JOB I EVER HAD.
But man, did I love the people there. I saw the church and the steeple, then I opened the door and saw all the people, and they were fabulous.
It’s funny–when we first moved to TinyTown, we had one car, a car Marvin would take to work. So my only entertainment was walking, and right outside our door was the world’s steepest hill, so every day in the August heat, I’d climb that hill. This church, the Episcopal church, was at the very top, and I’d sit on the wall and spit up blood while I caught my breath. I would admire the architecture every day. At night, the steeple would be surrounded by barn swallows, but I didn’t know what they were yet.
I’ve learned a lot of things living in the South: To be, not to seem. What a barn swallow is. To enjoy conversation. A ham biscuit. And that not everyone automatically believes in evolution.
I didn’t know I’d end up working at that church, is my point.
Anyway, when I learned my favorite parishioner Lucy died, I called her husband, Dr. Whit, and we made plans to get together yesterday.
When I pulled up to his house, he ran out for me with an umbrella, and does anyone want to join me in wondering why I left TinyTown? He’d made a cozy fire in the living room, and we had lunch and talked about just everything. That’s the thing about the people there: They all have the gift of gab. They make an afternoon fly by, because they actually know how to have conversations. No one checks a phone, no one dominates the talk. It’s a skill everyone there seems to have.
I was stunned to see they still have their mean cat, Dixie, named because she was found out behind a Winn-Dixie 14 years ago. “Has she gotten any nicer?” I asked hopefully. “Can I pet her yet?”
“Oh, no, don’t do that,” Dr. Whit warned. “Don’t ever do that.”
Of course, we talked about Lucy, and he even gave me some of her ashes, and I got my nerve up and asked, and YES, she got to be buried in her Tiffany box after all. I really almost cried when I found out. I so wanted her to get her Tiffany box.
After our visit, I stopped at the church and scattered a little Lu around the back door. I used to work every day from 8–12, and she’d be in her crate during that time. If I ever had to return for more pressing church secretary duties, I’d take her back to work with me for the afternoon where Dear People of TinyTown: Occasionally she’d poop in the nave maybe a bit. I am sorry. SHE WAS JUST A PUP. It was just a little puppy poop.
I remember her little excited puppy self clamoring to the back door of the church, trying to get up those big stone steps. And I remember Father Mike very tolerantly saying, “Hello, Tallulah” when he’d see us together in the office. He was the kind of guy who kept dogs for hunting, so you have to hand it to him that he didn’t fire me on the spot.
I also drove through the bustling downtown that continues to be adorable, then over to my old rental house, which doesn’t look good. They cut down some greenery, somehow. I want to look at old photos to compare the difference, but it looks barer now.
Nevertheless, since no one was home, I sneaked to the back yard like a common criminal and scattered Lu where I stood with her for countless hours in the cold, holding her leash, saying, Go potty go potty go potty go potty until we’d give up and go inside, where she’d poop on the floor as soon as we got in.
“Lu really prefer to poop in nave.”
Then I popped in on some other friends I made in TinyTown, Jerry and Rachel. They are the very definition of gracious. They served me hot cider and chewy almond cookies on a silver tray. Also on my tombstone: She never had elegant silver trays.
Careful readers will note this is the couple who had me over a few Christmas Eves since I moved to Greensboro. Their house was built in the ’20s, and they are the second people to ever own it. It has built-in cabinets, and one of those fireplaces with the wood columns and the mirror built in over it and OH MY GOD THAT HOUSE Y’ALL.
I forget how happy the people of TinyTown make me. And when I left their house, Jerry walked me to my car with an umbrella over me.
Hey, why’d I leave TinyTown?
Anyway, the weather was not letting up, and I basically hydroplaned my way to Tallulah’s old homestead. I saw a kid playing in the yard of one of the trailers, and I was tempted to ask, “Did anyone steal a puppy from you when you were just a wee child?” but I did not. Instead, I very casually walked around the grass, scattering Lu out in the driving rain, looking, I’m sure, not remotely berserk in my suede fringe boots and fur-collared retro coat.
The closer I got to home, the snowier it got, and while hydroplaning was not relaxing, neither was slipping on the ice. Despite my concrete shoulders, I took time out of sliding on the road to open the gift Jerry and Rachel had given me, a big tin of peanuts, and what better time to delve into a tin of peanuts than when you’re on an icy road, with cars spun out every few miles and ambulances everywhere? It’s a moment that cries out for a peanut break.
Tip for readers: Some tins of peanuts have very sturdy foil tops. These foil tops will SLICE YOUR FINGER TO RIBBONS should you choose to, oh, eat peanuts and drive.
You have no idea how badly I cut my own self. Turns out, bleeding and driving don’t mix. Oh my god, I was Nicole Brown Simpson. I was Sunday Bloody Sunday. I was bloody, Mary.
The peanuts were delicious.
I made it home alive and Dr. Whit even called today to make sure I did.
It didn’t even snow that much–although it’s still snowing as we speak. But it’s that kind with the icy top layer, like a creme brûlée. And today I was supposed to go do something exciting that I was gonna tell you about, but now that’s been put off.
But that is probably good, since I have droned on forever about my day in TinyTown, and talk about your gift for gab.
Not as gabby as my tombstone is gonna be, but you know what I mean.
I understand that doesn’t narrow it down much. But he did the thing I really hate, where he was lounging in his chair, then sat up straight and started BOOF-ing. And looking at the back door.
BOOF! His hackles weren’t up, but he was EXTREMELY alert. “Edsel, stop it,” I said. I always say this, like getting him to act…not alert will make whatever’s upsetting him go away.
Because in my mind–and, oh, you really don’t wanna go in there–he’s acting this way because the Manson family is out back. Because the devil is hobbling around back there, on his way to my attic, like at the beginning of The Exorcist.
Why did the devil have to enter through the attic? Don’t you think he’d have had more clout than that? “Man, I want to possess this child, but I can’t get past the bouncer. Better go in through the vent up here.”
So Edsel would not stop being…alert, despite my bone-chilling command, and I really have control of this dog. Eventually, I let him out, not without worrying that once I opened the back door that Freddie Mercury Kruger would burst in.
See. Why do I always think of great Halloween costumes such as Freddie Mercury Kruger the second Halloween is over? I have mentioned about 87 wonderful cat names/Halloween ideas through the years, and aren’t ANY of you keeping a list?
He ran to the right, which is not his style. The right side of the yard is for pooping; everybody knows that.
He never poops first. First he runs straight back, in order to bark at Jackie the gaybors’ Greyhound, or at the small white fluffy thing in the adjacent yard, whose name escapes me but is inevitably Sugar or Sassy or Desdemona. Okay, money is on Sugar.
Then he goes to the left, to his pee tree, and FINALLY to the right if there is a poop need. And let’s say there’s the rare poop emergency, something he must address straightaway, even before Searching For Jackie Gaybor. Then he poops over to the left, by his pee tree.
Look, I don’t make up the rules. I just observe them. Also, I’m probably gonna need a new tree soon.
The point is, that dash to the right got my attention. So I flicked on the light, prepared to die, and looked in the right of the yard.
It was a kitty! And not one of mine!
This poor black-and-white cat, a huge specimen, was up in this sort of spindly weed tree over by Poop Station Number Two. Over by Mrs. Brown’s Dropoff Point. And no, he is not still up there this morning, which won’t stop someone from saying, “I don’t see the cat, June. Where’s the cat, JOOOB?”
“KITTY!” I said, to the jaguar-sized black-and-white creature, whose eyes were glowing, horrified, at the sight of Edsel glaring up at her.
I’d forgotten that other cats would fear the Eds. “Edsel, go inside.” He dutifully did, and my next class of June’s Iron Fish of Dog Discipline starts soon.
Iron Fish. Goddammit.
“It’s okay, kitty,” I said, and if I had a dime for every time I’ve tried to reassure a horrified cat that things are okay. You know who never believes you that things are okay? Horrified cats.
Also, how did he hear a CAT in the yard? I understand that dog is endowed in the ear department, but CATS DO NOT MAKE NOISE, one of their more positive traits, along with being down to earth and making great quiche.
Also, also, Steely Dan was back there. In the yard. Completely unconcerned that a giant speckled cat was in his weed tree. This lead me to believe that they are friends, and perhaps stomp largely through the neighborhood together, one seeing things in black and white and one appreciating the gray areas.
The point is, Piebalderdash LEAPED off the weed tree, then TORE through the yard, which I am sorry to tell you prompted Edsel to DASH out the house and CHASE the poor cat in a circle, which lead me to shout, “EDSEL, you LOVE cats!”
Piebalderdash got out through squeezing under my fence and into Peg’s yard, a trick all cats seem to know instinctively. I sincerely hope whomever buys Peg’s house does not mind cats. Or own a cat-hating Rottweiler or anything.
This leaves me with several questions. Several issues of our time.
Who is this cat? How is it I’ve never seen him despite walking this damn neighborhood every damn day since 2008?
How did Steely Dan meet him? Are they really friends or just coworkers?
Could Piebalderdash be SD’s lover? Is Steely Dan like a really butch gay guy cat?
Would cat-loving Edsel have really eaten that cat had he caught it? Or was it more of a game?
How would a piebald cat fit into my color scheme? Would I, in fact, have to get a black-and-white dog in order to balance things out?
What is wrong with me?
I guess today I should check NextDoor for missing cat notices. You know I like looking on there anyway, cause it’s such a passive-aggressive fest anyway.
“I’d just like to THANK the person who…”
“To the person who was playing music at 2 a.m. last night…”
“Who is parked in front of my house?” Really? WHO GIVES A FUCK?
The lady who’s obsessed with her neighbor’s affair has dissipated, mostly because the other neighbors told her she was a terrible nosy person for (a) reporting every time the man in the affair stopped by (he had the nerve to, yes, park in front of her house) and (b) photographing said car AND SAID GUY as he got into and out of his auto.
I mean, she IS a terrible person with no life, but that didn’t mean I didn’t want updates.
I like how I say this woman has no life, but I droned on 1,000 words about a cat in my yard.
I’ll talk to you tomorrow. I leave for Michigan tomorrow–I work only one day this week, which was dumb, because even with my days off this week, I have five and a half days left of vacation, and I will probably not use them. So I shoulda taken today. But now I have a whole project I have to do TODAY, so I can’t, like, call in and say, “I’m using a vacation day!”
Talk at you.
Everything looks worse in black and white.
P.S. I FINISHED MY BOOK! THAT FREELANCE BOOK I WAS FREELANCING ON FREELANCINGLY!!! IT ONLY GAVE ME THREE MIGRAINES!!!
There will be another waiting for me the minute I get back.
I agreed via email, while at my regularly scheduled job, to take on a freelance project. I didn’t pay enough attention to the deets and dear June, please say deets, because please see above ref to regularly scheduled job and distracted. They offered me a flat rate, and I already agreed, and it’s not nearly going to be enough for the volume of work Ima have to do.
Crap. Contract is signed. Work is already with me. Crap, I say.
In the meantime, it will keep me out of trouble, and there is SOME money in it. Just not much.
We had our annual pumpkin painting contest at work yesterday.
I never participate, except to go out there and eat the snacks, and judge everyone’s work. I have no visual skillz. Like, seriously none.
Yesterday, when my day of judging pumpkins and pumping kin and so on was done, I meandered to our bustling downtown, which is sort of bustling, actually, and is generally pleasant other than the occasional crazy guy “Excuse me, ma’am”-ing you as you walk by. Maybe it’s because when I’m downtown, I drive all the old men crazy.
A guy asked me if I could get him something to drink. Someone had bought him a plate of Middle-Eastern food, and I could just see this white person, all proud of himself, not thinking OH MY GOD THIS WOULD MAKE YOU THIRSTY, and the point of my story was I ended up buying this man some very pretentious $2.50 water at the local bookstore.
But yesterday, I went down there not to drive all the old men crazy, although that’s a given, but to get my red coat.
I’d admired said red coat at my friend Kit’s store, which you’ll be stunned to hear is called Design Archives. It’s a ’50s, swingy coat, a red-orange color, and I almost bought it but didn’t, because I already HAVE a winter coat, so why do I need another.
“Oh, hell, I’ll give it to you for [insert absurdly low amount here],” said Kit, when I messaged her later. “I’ll tell them to put it on hold for you.”
And that is why I was downtown, driving all the old men crazy, and Dear June: You are not Thin Lizzie. Stop. Love, Readers.
“I want to see your new red coat,” my friend Hamlet wrote me, because everyone must know my everything, so when I got home last night, I slopped the hogs, fed own self, drove all the old men crazy and finally came in here to take a webcam photo of said red coat, to not only give Hamlet the exciting sneak preview, but also to show all y’all today.
The goddamn webcam takes 87 hours to pop up on my computer. There have been plenty of times I’ve wanted to webcam you during a blogging not blogging moment, and said fuck it cause it takes too long. So last night I clicked on the icon for it, then prepared to wait the hundred hours for it to finally work.
When I DID see it was up, I noted that instead of the camera being on, the video thing, veeeeedeo thing, was on, and what I enjoy about myself is my rapid ability to show off.
I am reminded once again of my grandmother saying, “Look at her. She doesn’t need anybody else. Just sits with herself and laughs.”
Anyway, here’s the coat.
After I got my designs from the archives last night, and before I came home to show off for company, I headed back to the bookstore to sit in the window and watch people. Judge their pumpkins. I like how I show you instead a view INSIDE the store, but whatever.
Oooo, also, I forgot to mention that when I took a walk with m’coworkers yesterday, I saw a KITTEN, a black-and-white KITTEN, under a car. “KITTEN!” I said, racing toward it.
“How did she see that?” I heard someone ask.
Anyway it ran away from me, and into these woods, and after work I returned to said woods and “kitty-kittied” myself hoarse and no kitten. Annoy.
The rustling through the woods and the walking downtown in the rain and Dancing This Mess Around and driving all the old men crazy resulted in end-of-day hair that looked like this:
Dear God. Yes, I DID have that shirt on inside-out. You know how I am.
So that about sums it up. I got a weekend yawning before me, as I do, and that’s just fine. I don’t know why no one will dance with me.
I ain’t no limburger.
June, driving all the old men crazy, since whenever I became obsessed with that line.
I stood in my backyard just now and watched several leaves fall from the branches of my tree and sway all the way to the ground. It was so pretty that I got the phone so I could show you, but of course once I got the damn phone, the leaves stayed tight.
weee not leaf-ing. heeeee!
Leaves are dicks. Nevertheless, I made a video, hoping to capture a leaf falling, like you’ve never seen that before, but instead my video is more let’s say meditative. Till Edsel. You’ll see.
I hate holding the phone vertically to take a video, but the first time when I went up then down to look at the dog, it got sideways.
I’ve been trying to be meditative lately. As you might know, I had jarring news last week, and you only know this because I wrote about it on the Facebooks, on a page called (Face)Book of June, and what was warm, what was really lovely of you, were the four people who joined the page, read my tale of sadness, then promptly quit it again.
So, no. No, I’m not adding anyone else to the page at this time. It was supposed to be for friends of this page. Friends. Of this page. So. I’m a tad wary right now.
But anyway, if you “Don’t have Facebook” (say, Madame 1800s, how are the 1800s going? Is there penicillin yet?) or whatever, suffice it to say that what happened was that I was on the mend, I was headed toward moving on from my last “relationship,” if you even want to call it that. I think I may just refer to that time as, “Those five years and 10 months that I was gravely mistaken,” but that takes too long.
Those years when I had Stockholm Syndrome?
My Not Found 404 Error?
Anyway. I thought I was moving on from it, whatever it was. It officially ended in 2015, but then it kept …hovering there, and I started it back up again last year at this time, then it ended again, badly, in December and I thought, Okay, this is really it.
But then it hovered again. And it’s hard to convince yourself a relationship is over when someone is constantly coming back, telling you he loves you.
Until you find out he doesn’t.
I found out some stuff, some you-were-not-loved information. And I wasn’t told because there was guilt or so much respect that anyone needed to come clean with me.
I found out because the other woman contacted me.
I’ve been in a limbo for two years. A purgatory. And one thing I like about myself is my ability to not be dramatic about everything. But really, this half-broken-up shit is wearisome. So it’s kind of like I’m in a new breakup.
But since I’ve already spent much time grieving and mourning and feeling incredulous about everything, it’s moving along faster than you’d think, this time.
The point is, I’ve been trying to be meditative. When I walk Edsel at night, I’m paying attention to what I smell, what I see, what I hear. And it helps. Because otherwise I could be walking around with my brain spinning, as it has spun each day since I stupidly convinced myself I was in love, way back in March of 2012.
When your overwhelming feeling is more of anxiety that you adore this person and you worry they won’t adore you back? That’s really not so much love as a neurotic coupling. Must remember this.
You must remember this, a diss is still a diss. A lie is just a lie. The fundamental things apply, avoidant guy.
But I’m doing okay. I’m no longer in denial. Well. I’m 99% not in denial. I think I so dearly wanted some way that this would work out that I never quite accepted it was over.
Till now. I accept that it’s over. My plan is to never say one word to my 404 error ever again.
Oh! But while we’re on the topic of that (Face)Book of June page, I noticed yesterday a few people on there with the Facebook silhouette
And one person in particular with that image, and no friends, and the only info on her Facebook page was where she went to school. I say “she” but it’s a clearly fake, neutral name.
It worries me.
Look, I’m over there being me. My real name, my real details. I know this may come as a shock to you, but I’d rather tell that stuff to real people.
Anyway, this particular person has been on my readers-of-my-blog page for six years, so I didn’t just delete her right away. I messaged her. Said the stuff I just said to you, about real and so on, and how it worried me that she/he had no identity. “Is there anything you can tell me to put my mind at ease?” I asked.
So I removed him or her, and also someone who had no info on her page except a picture of the Verizon chick from the commercials. Then I announced on the page at large that if you had a fake profile, or no profile pic, I was going to have to remove you, because it makes me uncomfortable.
Here’s what happened.
“I have a picture of a flower, June! Don’t kick me off.”
“See, no,” I’d explain, “I’m saying if you have NO photo at all, and NO friends, and NO posts on your wall that I can see. That’s when I’m removing folks. Because how is it fair that you set up a fake account so you can lurk my life? No. This page is an exchange,” is what I said.
Then three comments later, I’d get, “I hate how I look, June, so I have a photo of a soccer ball. Please don’t take me off this page.”
“Yeah, see…” I’d say, and explain it all again.
Ten comments later, guess what.
So that was my day yesterday, until finally last night I was face-down on my living room floor, just typing “please scroll up” every 14 minutes or so.
Cats. You’re all cats. I herd cats in my real life, I herd cats in my online life. But I do heart you all, those of you who are real with me, I mean. I know I haven’t met most of you, but dear god, are you part of my every day.
I’ve watched you lose tons of weight, or a husband, or your jobs. I’ve seen your family members get sick or well. I’ve seen you have rotten days and great ones. And even though it’s weird, and impersonal, our relationship, it’s also sort of very personal.
Thank you to those of you who’ve been real, and have seen me through this stupid 404 error, for screaming at your computer DON’T HAVE DINNER WITH HIM, JOOOOB! all these years, thank you. I’ve tried to be as real as I can, and I appreciate how real you are all being, as well.
I guess that’s all I have to say today. My freelance work came early, goddammit, so I ended up having zero free days after all.
Edsel just let himself and all the cats in, which was convenient for me. Last night, late, there was another NextDoor about a “sweet cat” and I didn’t even have to open it. Of course I did.
“This sweet cat followed us home. Is he yours?”
Ima just brand that asshole with my address and a DON’T FEED. Also, “sweet cat.” Could it be possible that he has multiple personalities? Or maybe he just turns on the charm when a potential new food source rears its head.
I can’t solve every mystery today. I gotta just keep moving on.
Under last night’s waxing gibbous, I found myself at the Full Moon Oyster Bar, in the company of a man. A gentleman caller. A swain.
It was not our first date. I kind of hope it will not be our last. Also, I did not eat any oysters. You know, I used to. Back in my devil-may-care Seattle days.
Do you know what I never actually have had? Is any devil-may-care days. I’ve had younger-and-just-as-neurotic days, sure. Probably the times I had oysters were far drunker times. My devil-may-Coors days.
Anyway, it’s early yet, but so far this guy is pretty good. We had our first date a month ago, a date that involved me meeting him for a drink and realizing on the way there that I was EFFING STARVED, and when I got there, he’d already ordered a cheese, meat and nut plate and it was JUST THE THING I wanted and we had a great time. I mean, not just because cheese and meat, and plus also nuts, although I’m not gonna lie to you, that was a pertinent highlight.
The next morning he wrote to say, “Listen, I know I’m not your type, but I really had a good time, and thank you.”
Here was me:
See, I love a good gif, but then when I have to watch them over and over again, I get bugged, so let’s go to a new paragraph quickly so we can scroll past it.
Okay, see, we still need more room to scroll.
[scroll scroll scroll]
MAYBE GIFS AREN’T WORTH IT. In unrelated news, I would like to kiss that German shepherd doggie right on his manly head.
Okay. So, yesterday, I finally asked this guy why he’d sent me that weird “I know I’m not your type” text.
“Really?” he asked, shifting uncomfortably. Clearly he was hoping I’d just let that pass. Do you know what I never do? Hey, June, why can’t you keep a man?
“Okay, well, look. I’m not trying to suck your dick,” he began.
See. Right then I knew.
“But I never thought I…deserved anyone like you. You’re incredibly attractive, really smart–very smart–and you’re very, very funny.”
People think I’m smart because I have good diction and a quick wit. But ask me anything about physics.
“I am hilarious,” I agreed, stealing his bread from his plate of oysters. He’d already said I could have it. Shut up. Also, do not mention my rapidly declining attractiveness and the consumption of bread at 8 p.m. WHEN I WAS ALREADY HAVING VODKA and hey, carbs. Hey, devil-may-carbs.
“But why would you think that?” I asked. This guy is great. He’s funny, he has a job, an actual job (are you out there dating at my age? Because this is actually a going concern. You’ve no idea how many 50-year-old men out there are not exactly gainfully employed, and still they trot themselves out there. Hey, ladies…), he’s been very kind so far, and I don’t know, man. I don’t know why he doesn’t see that. I mean, I see clear as a bell what a catch I am. [plague joke goes here]
Anyway, he probably doesn’t deserve anyone like me, as he seems like a good person who does not warrant having to be to be cast into World of June. So there it is.
Oh, shit. Steely Dan is fighting with a squirrel hang on.
He–my date, not the squirrel–knows I have a blog but does not know the name of it, and anyway, I told him right off the bat not to read it because Faithful Reader Deb’s husband Peter told me years ago not to whip this monstrosity out too soon–rather someone should get all this delightful pleasure-of-life personality metered out slowly.
But anyway, I said, “I’m probably gonna mention tonight in my blog. Did you remember I have a blog?”
He remembered. Has he read it? “You know what? I have not. You told me not to, so I decided to take your advice.”
There is not a woman in America who would’ve done the same. EVERY WOMAN WOULD STAMPEDE FOR THE BLOG.
“Well, if I do talk about tonight, you’re probably gonna need a blog name,” I said, and careful readers will note I’ve gone 751 words discussing him and haven’t needed a blog name yet.
“Do I get to pick it?” he asked, sipping his manly brown liquor. “Okay, call me Ward. It’s a play on my middle name.”
Ward. Ward and June!
All 10 of you screeched, “IT’S A SIGN!” and this is why lesbians move in together on the third date. It’s not a sign, for heaven’s sake. But it was a charming coincidence.
Anyway, the point is, it’s nice to be dating someone with potential, and it was two years ago yesterday I left my Year Abroad house, so that was A SIGN. No. But I did note it.
I gotta go. I can’t talk about it, but I am still on jury duty, so. I’m tough but I’m fair.
Before I go, here’s what I think of when I think of Tom Petty.
Back in my devil-may-Coors Seattle days, my then-best-friend Esmerelda came to visit me, and we took a very manly hike up a nearby mountain (the one they show at the beginning of Twin Peaks). After, it was midafternoon and we drove past one of those tiny bars with the gravel parking lots, and we didn’t even need to say a word. We turned the car into the lot.
Our bartender was not what you’d call a handsome woman, because any woman who looks like Tom Petty is not winning any contests. We ordered a pitcher of beer because I had a designated driver date with me, a man much younger who we’d teased relentlessly all day (“If June had been dating you when I got married, I’d totally have asked you to be my ring bearer,” I remember Esmerelda saying).
The bar was my favorite kind: small, dark, with a juke box. We sat there on an absolutely beautiful sunny afternoon, listening to all the Tom Petty songs in that juke box, our feet up on each other’s chairs, drinking bad beer and laughing.
I don’t mean a mosquito, or a pesky fly. I mean there was a huge, black, antenna’d, angrily protesting bug in my room whose sole purpose was to terrify me. If I were to make an educated guess, I’d estimate he was about 16 feet long.
I first saw him last week, when I entered the room to put clothes away. I keep the door shut to my bedroom, because Steely Dan eats clothes,
and there’s a giant walk-in closet in my bedroom, a walk-in closet the beige-loving person who owned this house before me added. Despite the 10 years it’s taken to eradicate the brass-n-beige extravaganza in which she left this house, I could kiss her flush on the mouth for that yeah-you’re-charming-with-your-1950s-touches-but-fuck-this-postage-stamp expansion of the closet.
Anyway, to me it’s a convenient walk-in closet. To Steely Dan it’s a smorgasbord. So, door shut. At all times.
The normal cats used to love to go in there and sleep under the clothes, on top of the suitcases, so they were completely hidden. There’re also shelves of linens, perfect for curling into a furry circle and purring. And it’s the warmest room in the house, as she added a heat vent, the Beige-Lover did, for that small-ish space.
But all that’s done now. Because at first I’d see SD in there and think, How cute. He loves the closet too. And then every item I pulled from there was Flashdance.
So the room was dark when I opened the door a few days ago to put clothes away, a day that was as tragic as the clothes-putting-away scene in La Bamba.
As I made my way to the closet, I thought I saw some…scurrying.
“ACK!” I screeched, and looked nervously but didn’t find anything. I hung the clothes in the closet, one eye cocked to the side, like a flounder. Looking out the side of my head for whatever scurried. Had it just been one of my many hallucinations? I certainly hoped so.
As I made my way to leave the bedroom, there he was. On the wall. It was like someone had mounted a black horned boat to my wall–you couldn’t miss him.
“ACK!” I screeched, and when giant bugs report back in their Giant Bug Newsletter, they must describe my house as R3sid3nc3 W!th ACK L@dy.
I started at it, horrified, my hand to my throat as if any second it could leap over at me with its bug shiv.
It waggled one antenna at me teasingly.
“ACK!” I screeched as I shut the door.
Look. I’ve lived alone now, excluding my year abroad, for five years. I’ve learned how to take off doorknobs and put new ones back on. I’ve learned minor dishwasher repair. I can snake a drain and pay all my bills. But I cannot deal with bugs. I cannot. If they’re on the floor, I am happy to drop a dictionary on them and then pounce on said dictionary several times and leave the book there for, oh, nine days.
I literally make the bugs eat my words.
But if it’s on a wall, no.
You can’t make me.
So, I did what any adult would do; I shut the door to the bedroom and slept sheetless, in the guest bed with Edsel. For four days. (Because the sheets are in the closet. Of the bug room.)
I also threw Iris in there, in the hopes she’d just murder it. It was my version of free extermination.
I had clean clothes in my dryer, so I lived off those for several days. Hey, who needs that bedroom, really?
The other night, I flicked on the bathroom light, and?
GODDAMMIT HE ESCAPED. HE ESCAAAAAAAPED. And I only have the one bathroom.
Could I move into the Y temporarily? Could I get a gun? I thought of Scarlett O’Hara. She did murder. She must have been almost as scared of that Yankee as I was that bug. Couldn’t I get myself together? Vomit a radish and gather up my strength?
Finally, it dawned on me. I could buy bug spray! It wouldn’t be pretty, but at least I could kill it from a distance, as Bette Midler would say.
As I was on my way to get bug spray later that afternoon, I saw it. Dead. In the living room. He’d given up the tentacled ghost on his own, and all I had to do was wait him out. I got up my nerve and the vacuum, and swept him up, ACK!-ing the entire time.