The $300 dilemma

I know this makes some of you nervous, but I have a meeting right at 8:30 this Monday morning, here, which means I have to make sure I’ve said everything on this page, read it over for terrible errors that shame me, hit Publish and then copy/paste this tome to Facebook, all in the next 35 minutes.

I got up this morning thinking, OK, dash through all your things so you can blog, but then I looked up whilst doing my things and it was 10 to 8:00 already and I was all, COME ON, SERIOUSLY? And then for no logical reason I decided to try to blog from my desktop for a change, which I haven’t used in 252 days. My desktop TOLD me this. I got some sort of email.

“You haven’t used your desktop computer in 250 days,” it said, all concerned. Where was I? Was I mad? What had desktop done wrong?

I used to get up every weekday and do all my things (and you know “all my things” means feeding and pilling and letting in and out and in and out and in and out like mama’s squeezebox the pets, right?) and stampede to my desktop computer to blog. But since my surgery (did you know I had surgery?) and this inconvenient pandemic, I have used a laptop provided by my workplace for working from home. We’ve had so much more work that I’ve practically worn this poor laptop right out.

Anyway, I went to my desktop this morning, as I’ve said, but it is smack in the middle of updating something after 252 days and I was all, COME ON, SERIOUSLY? and so I had to set self up with laptop after all and here we are with

{checks time}

Thirty minutes exactly to write and begin said meeting.

So, hello.

Saturday was an absolutely glorious fall day, just the kind of fall day you want, and I had a migraine. Of course I did. It wasn’t that dreadful of one, but it was enough that I didn’t feel like doing anything so I sat outside and read a book when I could. I can’t remember the title. I got it from one of those “leave a book, take a book” little huts people have around town.

It was about a kid with CF, whose mom is a vet at a shelter. They get a dog in the shelter, a large unattractive one, that the kid can sort of read psychically. He can feel what the dog is feeling.

Anyway it was good and I never want to have cystic fibrosis and of all the things I fear I think I can cross that one off the list. I would, however, like to be able to communicate psychically with animals. That would make my life complete, if I could do that. I could head off to the zoo and be all, “Yes. Excuse me. The kinkajou is irritated by the strange-tailed tyrant. Can you move them apart?”

My plan was I’d feel better Sunday and could live my life (meaning go somewhere with my mask on) and then Sunday got here and it was cold and rainy and I said goddammit. I ended up on one of my drives to nowhere, though, and got some frozen custard with my mask on. I’m like a custard superhero.

Are there any just heroes anymore or is everything “super” now, like how there are no more just plain models? If everyone’s a supermodel, no one’s a supermodel.

Also what happened this weekend is my blog. I got an email from the fine folks at WordPress, who say my membership or something is up for renewal, and they tried to just take $300 out of my checking account, but for some mysterious reason it didn’t work. It didn’t “go through,” is I think how they put it.

I’m genuinely curious. Do you just have $300 in your checking account if it’s not right after payday? Because I don’t.

I talked about this on Facebook of June this weekend, and some of you said, “We’ll give you tips, June, so you can renew” and I said, “Hang on. Let me just see what else is out there before you do.”

So I did. And if I took all my blog posts from 2007 till now, which is what I’d want to do, I’d end up spending money anyway to do that because I’d have to hire someone to help me design a new blog. Plus then everyone would have to go to a NEW, FOURTH place. I’ve already gone from blogger to Typepad to here. And if I downgraded to just regular cheaper WordPress, I couldn’t have all my old pictures, nor could I put up new pictures. I’d be out of room.

The problem is I’m big and bulky. I’m almost 14 years old! My first day of blogging was December 15, 2006. Which by the way is right about when Pioneer Woman began blogging and you can see we have a similar trajectory.

I do have to say I just adore my two Pioneer Woman pans. I really do. See how mature I am?

So I think I will put up a tip jar here. If I don’t raise $300 to renew my blog for the year, I’ll figure something else out at that time. If I do, we’ll keep going here with all this riveting material, especially today.

https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/JuneGardens

Let me know if that link doesn’t work. There’s also a tip jar link on the right side of this page. And for heaven’s sake, if you can’t afford it, don’t do it! Don’t tip! Just you reading all this nonsense is enough for me.

Oh, crap. While we’ve been talking, I got a “ping!” and it was that same message from WordPress that I got over the weekend. And then I heard my text ping and I was all, OHMYGODWHAT and it was my credit union thinking it’s fishy that a company is trying to take $300 from me.

Which by the way is nice of them but OHMYGOD I do NOT have $300 to my name right now and now I am tense and they’d better not overdraw my account.

It also makes me tense that their text ended in a comma and not a period, but I will not fret about that now.

OK. Talk to you tomorrow. In case you’re worried, it’s only 8:23, so I have plenty of time to hit Publish. Here’s a photo of Iris as consolation because this was an extra-boring post.

Look how the ottoman/coffee table is ruined. THANKS, MILHOUS.

XO,
June

Sand is just rocks that grew old—June Handy

Mr. Lawn, of the recently neutered Lawns, is highly annoyed that he can’t go outside. The vet instructions said no playing ball in the house and also no going outside. Are we the last generation to get all Brady Bunch references like they’re our second language or will the millennials also know these from reruns?

Also, just to be annoying, Edsel has asked to go out FOUR TIMES this morning and I haven’t been awake an hour yet. So then I have to panickedly let him out in a rush, lest we have the charging of the Forest, and it rankles. The last thing Edsel ever wants to do is rankle me but he did. I swear he goes out there and forgets why he’s in that room.

…Ah. As I’ve typed you, I can see the pain pill is kicking in, a pill I don’t think Forest Lawn needs today but that will ensure he will rest and not tear outside to get dirt in his parts. It’s his last one, so I can’t drug him into submission after this.

Anyway, hi. That’s the last I have to say about that, maybe. I’m at my kitchen table this morning. Below is the current situation, now with drug eyes.

Here’s my outside view, and would it KILL me to put the chairs back facing the right way when I’m done with them??

The yard looks pretty, doesn’t it? Let me tell you what’s back there right now: acorns. The lawn guy fertilized my yard some weeks back, with grass seed, so he can’t BLOW the yard, lest the seeds just blow all over yonder. So although he cut my grass recently, the acorns remain.

And I don’t just mean some acorns. It’s the difference between the Hershey with Almonds and those bars you can buy for a dollar to raise funds, where every millimeter has an almond in it. Walking across my yard is like walking on a beach that has rocks instead of sand. I realize sand is just rocks that got old, but you know what I mean. We’re talking acorns, is what I mean.

Doesn’t it mean a hard winter, if you have a lot of acorns? Do you wish I’d say “acorns” more often?

Does anyone know what kind of winter we’re supposed to have? I was recently on a walk with someone in my quarantine bubble—there are like four people I’ll see—and we happened upon a persimmon tree. “Oh!” I said, because I am Dick, Jane and Sally. “Oh! Oh! If you cut a persimmon, the seed shape inside tells you what kind of winter it’s supposed to be!”

It’s true. Well. You know. “True.” If it looks like a fork, it’s mild weather. Spoon-shaped means lots of snow to shovel. A knife means cutting, bitterly cold. This was maybe a month ago so hang on while I scroll my phone looking for the cut persimmon. Let me get your opinion on this …

OK, what the hell is this? Cause it looks like a seed to me. How the hell can we predict anything with this vague seed? Geez. You try to be scientific.

Is it a spoon? It looks more like a thought bubble.

Anyway, I have to go. As per usual, I have to begin working and also spend the whole day monitoring the door. Doing some deForestation.

God, I’m hilarious.

Love,
June

In which the whole Gardens house is barren once again

I don’t want you to get too excited, but it’s trash day over here at House of June. I have a very bad video of Milhous riding the trash cans, and this is why I get annoyed when I live my life and tell you about it and I get, “No picture, June?” or the one that makes my blood boil and spill all over the stove. “Pics or it didn’t happen.”

IT’S NOT ALWAYS PRACTICAL TO CAPTURE THINGS ON FILM. As I predicted, holding a phone while pulling a full trash can was not easy.

Also, anything I told you happened, happened.

I have a big issue with that. With being accused of being dishonest. Once on Reddit someone said they didn’t believe me that I walked into PetSmart that day back in 2012, walked back out and lo and behold, there in a shoebox was a puppy in my car.

Of all the rotten things people have said about me, that’s the one that annoyed me the most. Why would I make that up? HOW would I have made it up? Did I buy a puppy and a shoe box and a polo shirt and a toy shark to style the whole lie? That’s…going far.

Anyway, in other news that happened, both Forest Lawn and Edsel went to the vet yesterday.

This is not a photo of my dog or my cat at the vet. It’s me because I am full of self and rootage. ^^Here I am, trying to think of a lie like there was a troubador in the parking lot at the vet! No! Someone put a troubador in my car! That’s it!

Clearly I had kind of a wait at the vet. Lots of yer art shots.

I dropped everyone off in the early morning, see, and then they neutered poor Forest, see, and they checked out Edsel’s suspicious mole. See. I kept asking the mole if it had a permit to be in my dog’s face. I asked it for ID.

Anyway, the mole is fine, although the vet says it should come off because likely it bothers him. $500 if I do it when we clean his teefs. And Forest did well and was ready to go at 1:00. So these photos are from when I said, “I’m here” to when they finally brought out my animal companions. I hate that phrase.

Here’s everyone emerging, with Edsel doing his signature leash-in-the-mouth move that he likes. Forest was antsy all afternoon when we got home. He drove me insane, truthfully. I just wanted him to rest, but he wouldn’t. Also he’s jonesing for outside and the vet said no. So now every time I let the dog out it’s like what’s-his-name in Catch Me If You Can. I’m having to sneak that dog out like I’m Miep and he’s the yogurt in Diary of Anne Frank.

They’d given him a pain injection yesterday (Forest, not what’s-his-name from Catch Me if You Can) and also a cone if I saw him licking. I DID see him lick, once, but that cone was a full-on disaster so we did not keep it on. He PANICKED with it on, so we abolished the cone.

Today I gave him a pain pill and here he is right now:

I have typed this whole thing around him; he’s very clingy today. He’s such a beautiful cat, though. Isn’t he?

So basically right now I’m dealing with drunk roommate.

I’d better go. I have to work around Alley of the Dolls, here.

Pulling fish bones out of the trash,
June

Formica, cat food, candy cigarettes and David Sedaris

I probably won’t be able to write you tomorrow morning. I have to get Forest Lawn, cemetery kitty extraordinaire, to the vet.

Here he is eating Iris’s food. I called the vet to ask about this, and they say it’s OK if everyone eats Iris’s food, although Forest needs a daily can of kitten food as well, which he does eat. So at least I feel less nervous about everyone eating it, not to mention annoyed because it costs. But it’ll cost less to try to buy regular cat food, kitten dry food, kitten wet food, and also special Iris stomach food.

Anyway, Forest and I have to be at the vet between 7 and 9 a.m. tomorrow, where they will promptly remove his man parts, and then I can get him in the evening. I have to be “at” work at 8:30, so I really don’t see when I can blog at you tomorrow, unless I am there at the exact time of 7 a.m. and have we met? That is not going to happen.

I’ve never waited till a cat is 7 months old to fix him. I can’t think of when I had an unfixed cat in the house, cause the shelter always insists on doing it before you can take them home. I wonder if Forest has ever gotten to … you know. Bang a gong. I wonder if he tells the other cats about it and they’re all, like, whoa. For realz? We live in cage then get fix and we get zero tail ever.

Perhaps I need to get out more.

But I can’t. Plague. I like how the numbers are getting alarming again and every photo on my social media is people at restaurants and on trips. Are we just incapable of telling ourselves no? Of not socializing? What horrible thing do we think will happen if we tell ourselves no and feel a bit bored and lonely? It won’t kill you, you know, to feel bored and lonely. Coronavirus might actually kill you, though.

But let’s go back to my table. This image is a whole nother day where Forest is over here eating poor Iris’s food. It’s on this table because then Edsel can’t get it. The rest of the cat food, the bowls that go uneaten, are on the dryer for the same reason. I used to have Iris’s food on a counter but she can’t get to it on her own and I always had to lift her to it like I was her personal elevator. Like I was Mrs. Otis. She can get to the table on her own.

Anyway, the table and chairs are from Peg. I am sure they are “good” because she was a designer, but I am really hankering for a Formica table, a small one. I’d like to put it against the window but the fridge would be in the way, which irks.

What do you think? And where can I get a cute Formica table? These chairs above are so bulky, and don’t really fit in the table and are forever banging against it.

Maybe I don’t want Formica. Maybe I just want a small white table where you can bend the leaves down. You know what I mean? Then I’d have more room in the kitchen. Living in a small house is fine for me, but there’s hardly ever a time I’m not squeezing around something.

I act like I have all this money to just buy tables. Did I tell you what happened with m’car payment? They called me last week to say, “You car payment is late.”

Late? I have auto payments.”

“No, you don’t.”

“Really? I swear I … well, OK. I’ll pay it now.”

And I did. Then the very next day? They withdrew my autopayment. My auto autopayment. And just try to get ahold of them. You can’t reach a person unless you enter your PIN, which I don’t have. They THINK I have a PIN because the bank that has my car loan is the bank where Marvin still goes, and he never took me off his bank stuff, so technically I could pay using Marvin’s bank info, which I CAN STILL SEE when I look at my car stuff.

I never do this. Because I am a magnificent person.

Anyway, if I knew HIS PIN I could speak to a representative. But since I do not know it and I can’t talk to anyone to tell them all this, I can’t reach a human at my bank.

The whole thing makes me feel very calm. Centered, is what I feel.

What the hell does that even mean? I want actual, concrete words describing what being centered is. I hate those yoga words. Fold down through your heart. Shut yer namastehole.

See. Just one moment with my bank thoughts and I’m already hostile.

Anyway, once the end of the month gets here and I am not living on whatever’s left over after you make two car payments by accident, I want to look at table solutions.

Can I put Peg’s table in the attic or will it come crashing through the ceiling and kill me? “She stayed home so she would’t die and then her table killed her.”

It seems like a good table, have I said that? And one day maybe I’d regret not having it. When, though? I’m old. I’m practically done. Then my loved ones will have to go to my attic, where by the way I have never gone in this house, and lug down Peg’s table and be all, “What’re we gonna do with this?”

For some reason I am scared to look in my attic. I picture a snake lounge area, where they’re all smoking on chaises. Can snakes climb up your house? They must be able to, right? God, snakes are creepy. How do they light their cigarettes?

This just made me think about how October 5 marked 10 years that Ned stopped smoking. He’d smoked like a snake on a lounge chair for 25 years, then made the decision to stop when he read a David Sedaris book, and then? Stopped. He got Chantix from his doctor but he had terrible nightmares so he didn’t take it long. He just stopped.

In a million years I’d never be able to just stop suddenly like that. I have to go back and forth for ages. I always admired his ability to do that. I never knew Ned as a smoker. Once we smoked candy cigarettes but that was as far as that went.

I think candy cigarettes are my favorite candy, because not only is it the candy you can play with, it also just sends a terrible, terrible message to children, and I am always down with that. I feel the same about toy high heels. Not that you eat those. Unless you do. Oddball.

I’d better go. I have to go to work and then I have to go to bed and then I have to get up and take the cemetery cat to get his headstones removed. I’m swamped.

By the way, I saw the chickens again last night. This time they were literally playing in that yard with three children. They were not at all alarmed by said children, they just plucked along as chickens do while children played. I offered them all candy cigarettes and play high heels.

So I guess they’re OK and I should stop worrying about the loose chickens. Is my point.

Focusedly,
Juan

June Rayburn

There are a few weeks in May and October where I can just shut off the thermostat altogether, and these past two weeks were apparently it, as I woke up today and it was 45 degrees. You know that scene in the Little House books where Mary and Laura wake up and Pa is sweeping snow off the top of their blankets? By the way, for all your roofing needs, seek Pa. Good work, child abuser.

Anyway I had a weekend and now I will tell you about it and that is why you come here. To retain all the dull drivel that makes up a new day. Fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.

On Friday evening, I took a walk. I have read that exercise helps with ADD and who knows if it’s true but squirrel.

That never gets old.

Anyway, I was rounding a corner a few blocks away from my house when I saw some chickens. Three of them, of varying sizes and colors. They were just climbing a porch like they were about to go Jehovah’s Chickness on someone’s ass.

Why were chickens on a front porch? I wandered past the house to stare in its backyard. No coop. No chicken toys. What the?

I got m’phone and called Mike the Lumbee. Got his voicemail. “Mike? Are you missing some chickens?” I asked. “They’re over here on the corner of Transitioning and Neighborhood.”

The next morning I had to take Milhous for his shots. It’s been two years I been havin’ Milhous, can you believe?

He went right into his carrier. He meowed never on the way there. They told me he’s a perfect weight (me too) (if you’re a chubby chaser) and he’s in tip-top condition. “He purred through his vaccines,” they told me.

I must return to said vet—who might as well name itself June’s Pet Hoarder Clinic—on Wednesday for Forest to get the big chop. The removal of the bits. I’d say he’ll be singing higher but Forest has the cutest high-pitched squeak of a meow.

Anyway on the drive there I saw the chickens again. Oh, DEAR. I called Mike the Lumbee again whom I had just seen on his riding lawn mower, and he did not answer me. Was he AVOIDING me? I won’t be IGNORED, Lumbee.

Anyway, because there’s a plague on I have to drop off said cats at the vet and wait. So on Saturday I took a walk around the vet’s neighborhood. There’s a beautiful Episcopal church there I love. They took up the whole block with various outbuildings like a bookstore and a music school. I think the Episcopalians are a rich bunch.

Also, I always like wind chimes like this, but if I got some would they drive me crazy? Would the neighbors hate me?

Back before it was all the rage to have a plague, I always meant to stop in here for coffee and books and I never did. I don’t even know if this place is even open now.

Eventually, Mike the Lumbee called. “Those chickens belong to the people next door to where you saw them. They wander all the time. It’s illegal for them not to have them in their pen.”

It is also illegal for M the L to have a rooster but that is beside the point. Also I like that rooster. George. The rooster’s name is George. Mike let me name him.

Anyway, after that I voted. I mean, I dropped the cat home first, although I am just having a total flashback. Two years ago, I took Mil for his shots when he was just a kitten, and it was also a cool fall day, and Peg’s funeral was that day but I wanted to vote real quick. So I went to the voting place and THE LINE WAS HUGE and I spent the whole time worrying Milhous was too hot in the car and when I came back out I was fairly hysterical but he was just fine the end.

I went back to that same early voting place and there was a line out the door, so I said fuq thiz.

They also had early voting at the college A&T, which is the largest HBCU in America and it’s right here in my town. I got TV parking—this picture is taken from my car—and got right in, voted, and left. I totally could have cooked Milhous in this car again without incident.

Also I stopped by work to get The Poet’s cards. Her husband died, and people wanted to send her cards and kept asking me for her address and I kept saying, “Just send them to work; I’ll get them and take them to her.”

They must not be delivering mail much at work because there were none in her little mail cubby and I know people sent them. It did not occur to me to see if they put them on her desk a floor down from the cubbies. Anyway remember when I was there a few weeks ago and saw some of the owner’s stuff on a printer so I took it to her hoping she would not be there because she always looks impeccable and I was wearing a cat stole with cat pants?

On Saturday, I was not as fur-covered but I did have on my Baily Bros. Building and Loan sweatshirt and there she was. Our impeccable owner. Looking perfect. We chatted about The Poet awhile and it would appear I am not fired for wearing a Bailey Bros. Building & Loan sweatshirt.

I got it on Instagram. That’s all I know. Instagram knows the depth of me.

Also on Saturday, a dog wandered onto Chris and Lilly’s place. Lilly said it’s skinny and a little beat up and it flinched when Chris had a stick. Z named it Luna and they have decided to keep it and I really wonder if my animal magnetism is rubbing off on them. They seem to find animals more than I do. Remember the pig? And of course the world’s most prolific cat who gave them all those kittens.

Day one. Dog has selected well.

On Sunday I went back to my trail to walk. On the way in, the trees were all sorts of colors. Purple. Magenta. It was amazing.

No.

But once I got IN the trail, the leaves really haven’t changed all that much.

Come ON, leaves. Change. I got people to entertain, here.

Anyway, after that I want you to know that I came home and THERE WERE THE CHICKENS AGAIN. God DAMMIT. Then I watched Match Game ’78. People are forever asking me which place I find shows and here’s the thing: I just speak into my remote and it finds shows for me and I don’t pay attention. I watched three episodes. I saw Bert Convey, as you do. I saw Brett Sommers and Arlene Francis. I saw Debralee Scott, who always struck me as kind of cheap-looking.

Best of all, there was Charles Nelson Riley, Betty White and Richard Dawson, before he got all gross and kissy. Oh, it was a time! Gene Rayburn had his skinny mike. They played the “I’m thinking” music while they filled in the blank. I’d love to know what happened backstage. Did they all do coke together in the green room?

Anyway, five stars. Highly recommend.

I’d better go and get to work. I worked a little yesterday, and by “a little” I mean three hours, so right now there’s no work for me to do but it will be here soon. I can feel it. The way you feel a good storm.

I’ll talk to you tomorrow, when I have adopted and built a coop for those chickens, whom I have already named K, F and C.

Enjoying my free Turtle Wax and brown blender for being a contestant,
June

Roofied by pasta

I’m writing to you because there is no work to do right now, which is rare and odd and I kind of don’t know what to do with my hands. At work, if there is no work, we have a list of other stuff we could do, stuff I did anyway on top of how busy I was, so now here I am. Workless.

Oh! But listen to this! This is a tragedy. Not as big a tragedy as having ghosts next door. Talk about getting ghosted. Why didn’t I think of that for a title yesterday? Dangit, June.

And you’ve never seen someone look not at a house harder than I did not look at a house last night during Closing of the Blinds over on that side of m’dwelling. I looked away like I was that Bangles chick.

Why did we think that was an appealing thing to do to our hair?

Anyway, my current tragedy. Tragedy du jour.

As you know, because it was in all the papers, I got employee of the month this month. As a reward, you get, well, you can get lots of things but I opted for a restaurant gift card. Hey, hips.

They gave the certificate to me last week at flu shot day, and I was stunned to see it was for $100. I thought it’d be for, like, you know, $35.

It came wrapped in the restaurant’s menu. I got to choose the place and it’s local and I adore it. So the first night I got the thing, I ordered a salad and a pasta dish, because my hips need to be wider. They delivered, a thing my neighbors are talking about. “You sure get a lot of deliveries,” they all say, as if there isn’t a pandemic. Of course I get a lot of deliveries. My cats’ flea meds. Edsel’s heartworm stuff. My hair dye. Groceries. All delivered. I’m not going to a store if I can help it.

The delivery person for my food wrote a note on top of the gift card denoting how much I’d spent that time, which was I think $35. It isn’t a card so much as a piece of paper of heavy stock, maybe a little bigger than a check.

I put that thing in the secretary, not that Mrs. Wiggins lives here.

I am full of the references today.

It’s a desk, full of nooks and crannies, and why do crannies never stand alone? You never say, Oh, be sure to dust in all the crannies. No. It’s always with nooks. They’re always together, like people who have couples Facebook accounts.

Anyway, then I used the card again I think over the weekend. I once again got the Granny’s Gone Nuts salad, which is, you know, salad-y things with blue cheese and green apple and walnuts and salmon. Oh, it’s delicious.

Last night, in case you didn’t notice, was the 14th. I don’t know about you, but that’s the night before my payday. Things are always a little … tight for me on the 14th.

“Oooo! I’ll use my card again!” I said to self, as opposed to “I’ll use my cardigan,” which I have found rarely garners me any food.

I went to town and ordered a different salad (disappointing) (stick with what you know) and a caprese flatbread. At this point, the person answering the phone knows it’s me, because three gift-card orders in one week, you know? I’m hard to forget. So I placed the order and said I’d come get it this time because I try to drive the car at least once a week. #Adventure.

I went to Mrs. Wiggins to get the card.

And?

Not there.

NOT THERE.

Oh, I looked. I looked in that secretary like I was its gynecologist. I looked in stupid drawers that in a million years I’d never have put that thing, like my tank top drawer. Yes, I have a tank top drawer like I’m Helen Hunt in that tornado film.

I went outside and dug in the recycling. I looked in the cushions. I even lifted my welcome mat.

The last thing I remember is the food delivery person coming last week, 20 minutes early while I was still out on my walk. There are so rarely cars back here that the car was of note, so I ran home in a panic and sure enough it was the delivery woman.

I recall her handing me the bag and the card all at once. Then? Blank. Like I was roofied via pasta.

GONE! That gift card is gone. I had to call the restaurant back last night to tell them I lost my certificate and tell them my debit card number and thank god it even cleared. It was the 14th, man.

So that’s my tragedy and I’d kvetch further but I just got work to do.

Cardlessly,
June

Unsettled

I have something creepy to tell you and I hate it.

This past weekend, my next-door neighbor was here. She and her boyfriend are temporarily living with the guy next door, you remember, the guy who paints? Anyway, for now they’re living with him. They help him out with his light and water bills, and he gives them a place to stay.

The woman, who we will call Carol Ann, for reasons that will be obvious soon enough, is smart and I rather like her. She was in school getting her PhD when her life took a turn. Anyway she’s fun to talk to, and she enjoys gardening, so she just comes by and weeds my flower bed whenever she sees it getting unruly. I don’t mind extending kindness to hear even though the rest of the neighbors tell me not to. You’ve never seen such a gossipy place in your whole life.

This weekend, she and her boyfriend had an argument. When Chris and Lilly were on their way here to deliver my trees, I stood on my porch waiting for them and could hear Carol Ann and her man yelling at each other inside their house. After C&L left, I noted Carol Ann was sitting on her front porch looking despondent.

“Hey, Carol-Ann,” I said. “You want some cookies?”

She nodded her head like a child. It just about broke a person’s heart.

So I brought out the rest of the Milanos I’d gotten for when The Other Copy Editor came by and I’m just waitin’ for COVID, is what I’m doing. Waitin’ for COVID. Anyway I got out the cookies, and also one fortune cookie I had left over from Chinese food and why this behind end?

I guess the fact that I even had a fortune inside my cookie means I will survive the COVID when it inevitably hits. All my hobbing and nobbing as of late. Sure, it’s been all hobbing and nobbing outside, but look what happened in the Rose Garden.

Anyway, we talked for quite awhile, Carol Ann and I did, and by the way her fortune said, “Better days are ahead” and I saw her slip that into her phone case for safekeeping. We talked about everything and somehow we got to talking about our houses. All the houses in this little neighborhood were built in 1922, except our row, which was the very last row. Ours were built in ultra-modern 1932. They are still precisely like all the other houses, down to the last detail. In 10 years, it didn’t dawn on them to update anything for the mill workers, which just goes to show you.

I know who first owned my house. I mean, not personally. He doesn’t come over for Milanos and a bonus fortune cookie. But I know he worked in the mills, of course, and was a slasher, which is one of the hardest jobs out there. I’m sure he’d have loads of sympathy when I have to copy edit for 10 hours in a row.

Then I also know that the person who sold me this house had lived here since the early 1960s. My guess is no one else owned it other than them. I mean, I’m basing that on how long people lived in their houses back then, especially mill workers whom I doubt were rolling in it.

“I haven’t had any weird haunted things,” I told her. WHY DID I BRING IT UP? “I wondered if I would, this house being 88 years old and all.”

“Oh, I have,” she said. “Tommy told me four people have died in that house that he knows of.”

Tommy is the owner of the house, the one who paints. He has lived there his entire life. His grandmother lived and died there, for example. “I feel a presence when I’m sleeping, and that’s the room she died in,” said Carol Ann.

Carol Ann. If that’s not an “I was born in 1972” name.

“She feels like a nice presence,” said Carol Ann. “But then sometimes I feel others that aren’t.”

“Really?” I asked, intrigued, and WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?

“Yeah,” she said. “Like, once, you had all your blinds pulled, and my boyfriend and I were in the kitchen. We could see our house reflected in your windows, and my boyfriend said, “Oh my god, look in the bedroom.”

Their bedroom light was on and, again, the reflection was in my window. There was … movement in the bedroom.

“It was like four people were walking back and forth, fast,” she said. “No one else was there. But something was in my room.”

Ack.

Last night, I was going from room to room, pulling blinds. One thing I like about this house is that there are so many windows, but the pulling of the blinds is a 745-minute routine. Anyway, I was in my room and when I grabbed the blind, I noticed Carol Ann’s light was on in her room.

And I saw movement.

It was, like, this fast-moving back and forth. It wasn’t like how a person would move normally. It was too fast for that.

I pulled the blind, determinedly.

Then, to make myself feel better, I looked again. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? “You just THOUGHT you saw fast movement because of what she’d said last weekend,” I told myself.

So your very intelligent pal June looked again, saw EXACTLY THE SAME THING

AND

A

LAUGH.

It was a friendly laugh. Maybe it was my neighbor, though to tell you the truth she’s not Miss Mirth. She’s rather intense and focused. But maybe it was she.

Maybe she…got a Segway! Yeah. She’s over there on a Segway. In her room!

I’m sweaty now.

Let’s look at a photo of anything to get our minds off this.

Oh, look! Cats cats cats cats!!! Cats! Don’t think about black cemetery cat!

I feel clammy.

Did I mention?

Creeped,
June

June Prey

I woke up in the middle of the night, as I am wont to do, and for who knows what reason thought of how in 1978, Mad Magazine made fun of General Hospital and called Luke Spencer “Puke Dispenser” and I giggled in the bed till it shook like I was Linda Blair. Then I let the dog out to pee.

Anyway, hello. I had an actually busy weekend for once and don’t have to create content out of the thoughts I had. Because that is so refreshing, like a mountain stream or Tide, let’s begin.

Chris and Lilly had a Whoooo-loween at their store, so naturally I schlepped out there to see it. Whooooo-loween involved these birds of prey hanging out on the hawk gloves of birds of prey experts, and I did not at all fall in love with each bird and want to marry them in a bird ceremony and be June Prey. I like how I just act like “a bird ceremony” is a thing. LOOK at this little muffin tin, up there! This is an Elf Owl and he makes his living cooking Keebler cookies. Oh my god I love his little head.

Chris and Lilly’s kids were at said birds of prey event, and one of them said, “Owls have big eyes so they can eat kittens.”

Here is Mr. Spectacled Owl and I made a spectacled of m’self as I hugged him and kissed him and called him George. Spectacled Owls imprint on people who care for them. I imprint on people who ignore me.

Here is a spotty kissy-head hawk, with yellow lips and cute clawses.

Anyway I loved them, and also I got a pumpkin while I was there, because it’s fall and you must display a pumpkin for no apparent reason.

I got the pinkish one.

On the way home, I looked for birds of prey stores where I could buy my own owl for my bird ceremony, but also I stopped at this gravel store I keep wanting to go to but their hours are June Works and June’s Asleep. In the South, there’s this trend that places open from 8 till noon Saturdays and not at all Sundays, because of God. * till noon Saturday can go fuck itself.

This time, for once, they were open. I really need more gravel in my driveway. My gravel has gotten sad and tired like an aging diner waitress. My gravel is Doris, the blousy diner waitress.

Anyway, they also had lawn stuff. The kind of lawn stuff everyone needs. Brighten up yer lawn. Say, hey, world. I’ve brightened up m’lawn.

The more I look at this one, the more I want it. Who is she? Why is she be-lipsticked? Where’s she going? I feel like something having to do with the Eastern Star. I think she’d really brighten up my lawn afterward.

As soon as I got home from gravelworld, from Gravel’s Bolero, my pal The Other Copy Editor came over and we sat on my front porch because no one can come into my home with their myriad COVID germs. Anyway, because it was raining, which it did all weekend in droves, we sat on my front porch, which means she got to see various neighbors in various states of drama. There is always, always drama here. It’s a sad day when I’m the low-drama house.

Anyway, then on Sunday Chris and Lilly and their kitten-eating children came over because I had bought two trees from them. They have a garden store, see, and for my birthday, my mother got me a dogwood. Then I got the other dogwood for myself. One is going to have pink blossoms, and one will have white blossoms.

I debated where to put them. At first, my idea was I wanted them to be in front of my walkway, so they’d form a canopy eventually. The house down the street does that, and it looks nice. It’s sort of convenient that all the houses look alike so I can steal ideas.

But when The Other Copy Editor was here, she suggested putting on on the corner of my house. Then I asked people on Facebook and they had ideas that had nothing to do with the two options I have. “Bulldoze your whole front yard, then get 7 more trees, and …”

Anyway as you can see it was raining. But I dug and I dug and I measured root balls and I planted and

Eventually I settled on the canopy idea and now I regret it. It just seems too busy now. Should I get rid of the flower bed? I’m not that good at growing flowers anyway. Take some bushes out? I’ve not been a fan of those bushes, ever, except for the camellia, which I adore.

What you might not know is planting trees in the rain is dirty work. I think it’s possible I have never been that dirty. I had to hold my phone with the edges of my hands and I still got it dirty. When I walked into my house, it was like that scene in Pet Cemetery where the wife comes back. What dirt?

Anyway that sums me up, and now it’s Monday up in here and I have to begin the workweek.

A real shot in the arm

Yesterday was flu shot day at work, and of course none of us GO to work anymore, but we had to pop in at our allotted times yesterday. When I pulled up, I immediately saw the automobile of Wedding Alex and I squealed.

When I got out of my car, I saw the woman who has that fun birthday party every year that I always include lots of photos from. You remember. She lived walking distance from my last house, and one year she had a signature drink she called La Cougar except we all pronounced it La CouWAUR, and I had 170 of them then walked home, ordered myself a pizza, FORGOT I’d ordered a pizza, then was so delighted to get pizza at 11:30 at night.

Anyway I saw her.

“How are you handling all this?” she asked from behind her mask, across the parking lot.

“I actually don’t mind it that much,” I said.

“Argh,” she said, disgusted with the whole thing, including my weird secluded self.

Then I headed in for the shot. “I thought you were getting a HUGE SUV,” said one of the HR women, whom I’d worked with about my time off when I had my accident last year.

“Did you see that little pickle car I used to drive?” I asked her. “Compared to the pickle car, this IS huge.”

I’m forever calling my old car,

a car I LOVED, a pickle car. It’s because in my head I think of this:

but nobody knows this because no one is in my head. No one wants to be in my head. You know how in scary movies they say don’t go down to the basement? Anyway, I always say pickle car and no one ever asks, “What the Sam holy Hill do you mean?” I guess people assume half of what I say isn’t going to make any sense.

Then finally I saw ANOTHER HR person, who gave me a gift card to a restaurant because I got Employee of the Century this month. She had a cute little swingy dress on. The HR person, not my gift card, whose sex I don’t know.

As soon as my shot was done in our huge fitness room, I left out another door for maximum spacing and all, and there was Wedding Alex, who had gone to her desk and done work till her shot time, instead of hobnobbing with all the people, because that’s how Wedding Alex is. She’s very corporate-ladder-y.

Then she had to go get her shot, so I went to my desk. Not to do work—pfft—but to wait for Lottie Blanco to bring my food. The calendar on my desk was on February, still, but there was my boss who wears all the Stitch Fix we vote on, and also Vilhelm Oyster, y’all! Vilhelm Oyster and I were friends the moment I got to that job nine and a half years ago. Also there? The copy editor who sits behind me, the one who won the spelling bee. I have a series of photos I have secretly taken of the back of her over the years, and I keep meaning to compile them all as a treat for her and I never do it.

In all, maybe 10 people were in that giant room at work (it’s a former mill), people who decided to work at work for awhile after or before their flu shot. We all had our masks on, and I stayed maybe 10 minutes, so I hope I did not just infect self but oh! It was nice to see people I like.

The crowning moment came when Lottie Blanco showed up with my food. I was one free kitten from having a perfect day.

Speaking of kittens, Forest is here, lying his head on my hand that’s bouncing about as I type. He doesn’t care that his head is bouncing. He has his purr on and his eyes closed. It’s very cute, but twice now he’s starfished his paw on the keyboard and erased entire lines. Does the pound have curbside service, so I can just hand him over?

Anyway, I went home and got my requisite migraine. I have a THIRD doctor’s appointment re this today.

But despite my usual migraine, it really was nice to see people I like. I’d forgotten how much I like everyone at work. Like, I really like them a lot. A big part of the charm of work was just the three-minute conversations I’d have with people in the break room or on my way out the door or what have you.

I know I’m alone in this but I’m excited about this whole thing being done and going back to normal. To my abnormally normal life.

I have to go. Speaking of work, it’s before my start time but they want me to start. So.

Oh! And my hair. It didn’t look good yesterday but I know what I did and why it turned out dumb. I used the conditioning treatment but not normal regular conditioner. I know other people can get away with doing that but not old cave woman hair, here. So it just looked dumb yesterday. My goal today, if I can ever get this cat off me, is to wet it again, condition it, gel the everliving hell out of it and see if it’s going to be cute again.

This kitten is a barnacle.

OK, work is freaking out.

Armed against influenza-ly,
June

Woman walks into a salon

I don’t want you to become too compelled, but I am deep-conditioning my hair right now. The REASON I’m deep-conditioning my hair is because I

WENT

TO

A

HAIRDRESSER

yesterday. First time since November 25, 2019. I remember the date because I’m weird about dates. I really am. Ask any family member you happen to see: What’s the best tuna? And also, Who’s the idiot savant about dates? In both cases it’s June. Chicken of the sea. And, really, chicken of anyplace else. See above re not getting her hair cut all year.

Lemme grab my phone and show you a photo from yesterday when I walked into the salon.

“Why, June. Your hair looks marvelous. There was no need to risk life and limb and go to a salon. When exactly did you escape from Witch Mountain, anyway?”

I’m serious, that’s the best it can look nowadays. Well. That’s not true. Some days I have better luck than the above, but not often. In general it just has gotten so heavy that it won’t curl.

I went to the same hairdresser I went to last time. You remember. On November 25, 2019? Anyway, she was diplomatic. “What products have you been using? Anything different?” She picked my hair up several times, trying to conceal her emotions. Her roiling emotions.

What I do, see, is belong to several Curly Girl sites on Facebook, and what THEY do, see, is tell you the CHEAPEST Curly-Girl-friendly shampoos and conditioners out there. When you have curls there are certain ingredients you want to avoid.

Then what I do, see, is head on out to Unique Beauty Supply, or at least I used to pre-plague, and get said supplies. Lately I’ve just been reordering my stuff on the Amazon, there.

My hairdresser sighed. “Yes, I know these products. If you want, I can suggest some stuff that you can’t buy at Target.”

TARGET! I go to Unique Beauty Supply! How dare you—oh, okay. What are they?

So I left there with new gel and a deep-conditioning mask, and when I’ve gotten that second mortgage I plan to get shampoo and conditioner. Oribe. That’s the high-end shit I got. It better work, as I am now impoverished. So anyway I figured I’d keep the $800,000 hair mask on while I type, and rinse it after.

She cut my hair dry—another thing you’re supposed to do with curly hair, so there was no dramatic “after” picture, but I will provide you one later today. You’re welcome. UPDATE: OK, it doesn’t look that good. I’ll try again tomorrow and send you a photo.

I have a big day ahead of me. Of course, I plan to get a migraine later, since I seem to have one EVERY DAY now. But also it’s flu shot day at work, so we are to go into the office two by two like Noah’s Ark, go into our fitness room—fitness whole virus in my body—and get socially distanced shots. As luck would have it my slot is the same as Wedding Alex’s, so to speak, so we will see each other for the first time since February.

Then last night, Lottie Blanco phoned me. “Are you going to the office for your flu shot?” she asked. And that is how we arranged to meet up so she can give me

SPARE RIBS

and

POTATO CASSEROLE

and also

PUMPKIN POP TARTS

today. I am beside myself. It all sounds so delicious. Remember when the Lottie Blancos fed me regularly? How I miss those days of being fed.

I realize all this hobbing and nobbing means I am riddled with coronavirus. I will get coronavirus, family size. Coronavirus, director’s cut. Corona, extended remix. But you know me. All devil-may-care, over here. I toss caution to the wind.

All right, I gotta go. Work starts in three minutes and I have to rinse the million-dollar conditioner out my head. Did I mention it better work?

Talk to you post-ribs.

Sveltely,
June