Rescue me, Denis!

I know, I know, I know…just ignore those 2 months, OK?  DO THIS FOR ME.  I NEED IT.

So!  Hey!  On Saturday night I rescued my neighbor’s dog from her burning apartment and was praised by Denis Leary!

(RE: The Above:  All lies)

(RE: The Above:  Well, more like severe exaggerations than all-out lies)

Let me explain.

I was getting ready to head out the door early on Saturday evening to meet a friend for dinner when I heard an alarm going off.  After a few minutes it didn’t stop, so I went downstairs and asked my roommate if she knew what it was.  We kinda stood in the living room with our heads tilted staring off into space for a bit, then she said “is that a fire alarm?”  We went out on our front porch, where it was much louder,  and could tell that it was definitely coming from our neighbor.  I live in a townhouse, so by “our neighbor” I actually mean “OMFG THE HOUSE THAT SHARES A WALL WITH MY BEDROOM WHERE ALL MY BOOKS ARE”  and in a millisecond pictured my bookshelves bursting into immediate flame and consuming everything.   Molly and I just stared at each other with eyebrows raised for a moment before she said “I’m going to call the police.”  She did.

To further set the scene, their dog was going fucking apeshit this entire time.  It was simultaneously irritating and scary. 

It is also important to remember that it about 9 degrees at the time (no, seriously-  that is not exaggeration) and we were both in our pjs (yes, at 6 PM- shut up).  

Molly:  Damn!  It is very cold out here.  I guess if we’re going to wait for the police we should put on some real clothes.

Me:  What if they send FIREMEN!?  I need to go put on mascara! 

Twenty minutes later, fully dressed and suitably bundled, the police hadn’t shown up yet, though we had seen a police car drive by our street a couple of times and never stop.  By this point, the alarm had started to holler “EVACUATE EVACUATE EVACUATE” which was creepy.  So far we hadn’t seen any smoke, and we had looked in all the windows we could, so we were still pretty nonchalant. 

Then the dog stopped barking.  I immediately pulled out my phone and called 911 again- this time asking for fire specifically.  Also, about this time, I got my first whiff of smoke.  I wouldn’t say I was frantic on the phone, but I will say they were there in a couple of minutes.    When they pulled up in front of our house, this guy got out:

No joke.  The resemblance was so uncanny that my jaw dropped.  If I hadn’t been A) frozen to death and B) freaked the hell out I would have said something to him.  Instead I just laughed one loud, ridiculous  “HAR!” and waited for the questions to start.

How long has it been going off?  Uhhh…20ish minutes?

Have you seen any fire or smoke?  Nope, but we could smell it a bit.

Do you have their contact info?  No…and isn’t that bizarre?  They are our next door neighbors!  What is this world coming to, etc., etc., etc.?

They peeked in the front windows and then sorta nodded at each other with furrowed brows and one of  them said “I’m going to head out back and see if I can get in that way.”  Two of them went around the back and the other three chatted with each other in the front yard and then the one of them came back around the house and started pulling out the big hose.

Molly and I looked at each other, panicked, and our eyebrows shot up.  “Oh, SHIT” I said, “I didn’t ACTUALLY think the house was on fire!”  We went around the back just in time to see them bust out the window of the back door.  Denis Leary reached his hand into the broken window, unlocked the door, and opened it up.  Black, awful-smelling smoke absolutely POURED out of the door.  “SERIOUSLY!   Holy SHIT” I said again.  “How is our house not burned down?”

I heard one of them yell “the stove!” and Denis ran in, only to reappear moments later holding a small saucepan, from which the smoke was emanating.  The firemen shook their heads with frustration as Molly and I gaped at each other.  Really?  That caused all of this?  A burner left on?

At that point one of the other firemen came out of the house and said “Do you know the dog’s name?”  “No!  Is he OK?!”  “I guess so- he’s just laying on the couch looking at me without a care in the world.  Do you want to come get him?  It probably isn’t good for him to be breathing all this smoke.”  Molly went and got a leash from our house and took him out to the front yard where he proceeded to be as nervous and scared and heartbreaking as you can possible imagine.  I think seeing the firemen going in and out of his house and having the big, flashing truck scared him, so we brought him into our house where he proceeded to roll around on the rug in the living room and turn Molly’s cat into a LOLCat (full on puffed up tail, arched back, trying to run away so fast that his little claws couldn’t get purchase on the floor and he just ran in place- it was HILARIOUS).

As the firemen were packing up their fans and leaving a note on the door (Sorry we broke your window, dumbass!  Don’t leave the stove on!”), I apologized to Denis for spending god knows how many tax dollars on a smoking pan. 

“Nope.  That’s fine.  That’s how house fires start.  (except he said it like “Dat’s how house fiyahs staht.”)  You did the right thing.”

And the damn policed never even showed!


That posting thing I do sometimes

There is this thing call NaBloPoMo (for those of y’all that know about this, bear with me.  My mom reads this and she’s not all into the interwebs like some of us are.), which is short for “National Blog Posting Month” wherein one must post something every day.  This is especially useful for those of us who sometime forget, like for weeks at a time, that they actually have a blog.  Whoopsie!

So for the last, I don’t know, like two years or something, I’ve been a little remiss in my blog posting thing.  (Don’t worry.  This isn’t one of those posts where I’m going to be all:  “you guuuuysss, I’m so sorry!  I’ve been busy and there has been work and stuff but I promise I’ll get to posting soon, love ya!  Thanx 4 the support!”  I hope you’ve all realized that when I say that it is utter bullshit.  If I was a man beating his girlfriend I would say:  “Baby, I’m going to keep on hitting you in the face.  I’m not going to change.  But you’ll stay with me because I’m rich and the sex is good.”  Except that I am not rich.  And the sex isn’t there.)  (ahhh…it feels good to have another tangent enclosed in parentheses!)

So, like three months ago I though to myself.  Hey!  I know!  I’ll participate in NaBloPoMo when it rolls around again!  That’ll kick my ass in gear!  And do you know what I realized today as I was scanning my google reader? (Which I just got to under 1000 news posts for the first time in ages!  Hurrah!)  That November is NaBloPoMo.  Why, that is THIS month!  Whoopsie again!

So, in honor of the forgotten NaBloPoMo, I present you with a post.  A brief and pointless one, which is a huge digression from my typical EPIC and pointless ones!  For me, I feel like this is a pretty damn impressive accomplishment.

Hot again

So, Charleston.  Charleston. …Charleston.

This was the first time I had been back in just a shade over two years, and it did me a lot of good.

It was 52 degrees when I left here on Friday morning.  I took the train in, at prime commuting time, with all the commuters.  I marveled for a while at how happy I was that I didn’t have to do that anymore- that awful, crowded, hour + commute on a train full of suits with dead eyes.  It was nice not to be one of them anymore.  Not that I ever wore a suit, but I definitely had dead eyes.

I got off the plane in Charleston in the afternoon and Leezle (y’all remember Leezle, right?  My lesbian?  My old roommate?) came to pick me up.  We walked towards the door of the airport and I could see the Palmetto trees swaying.  Leezle was wearing shorts and a t-shirt.  As we walked to the door, I asked her if it was hot.  She looked at me like I was crazy and said “do you see all these sweating people?  Charleston has provided for your homecoming by giving us a heatwave, damn you.”

So we walked outside and it hit me- 87 degrees and breezy.  I just stopped right there on the sidewalk and let it rush over me.  It felt like getting a hug from your favorite person in the world (as long as that person is made of 87 degree breezes).  It’s hard to explain, but something about that warmth after it’s been so cold here for weeks was healing.  I felt like I grew two inches and my hair turned shiny.

The rest of the weekend was a flurry of food (Melvin’s BBQ, shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy,  grits again…), sweet tea (it must have been a few gallons worth, I’m sure), and dear, dear friends who I have missed terribly.  All weekend I heard “We miss you!  When are you coming back?  Please, please come back!”

I don’t care who you are- that’s a good thing to hear.

We went to a beautiful wedding.  No really:


That’s Dan and Kinsey riding off in a pedi-cab surrounded by sparklers.  One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.  Also, there was an open bar, which resulted in this status update on Facebook the next day:

Taylor Autumn Shelby Nothing cures a gin and tonic hangover like a big plate of shrimp and grits

And truly, nothing does.

I spent a wonderful afternoon drinking hot tea (it’s fine when you’re in a coffee shop with a KILLER AC) and playing scrabble with Leezle and Mike.  Hell yes, I won.

I got a private tour of the slave cabins at Magnolia Plantation, a project that I worked on (archival research) when it was in its infancy.

I went on a Confederate Ghost Walk at Magnolia Cemetery, that was so outrageous and ridiculous I could write a who ‘nother blog post.  For any of y’all that think the war is over, y’all go on this next year.  It was especially telling to watch U.S. Senator Glenn McConnel (oh yes, he was part of it), call Federal soldiers criminals.  You know, Federal Soldiers.  The ones that fought for the United States.  You know, the country that he represents as a US SENATOR.  And that was only the 1st vignette.  There were 11 more.   It was painfully hilarious.  And I think I might have legitimately hurt myself by trying to hold in the laughter.

The only bad thing about the whole weekend was when an ex-boyfriend, who I broke up three years ago (almost to the day, in fact), drank too much whisky and told me that he was still in love with me.  How his current girlfriend WHO HE LIVES WITH feels about that, I can’t say.  I felt horrified and awkward.  It was like something that happened on TV, especially when a mutual friend walked by and gave me an evil laugh while I desperately mouthed “SAVE ME” to him.  He did not.  Fucker.

So I just did that nice smile and say “oh…thank you…I’m so flattered” thing and then avoided him for the rest of the night while I drank more gin.

I did end up seeing him the next day, when a bunch of us went out to dinner, and he was cool.  So, whew.

It was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a LONG time.  And goddamn did it make me realize where I’m supposed to be.  There are good things about New England, but this place isn’t home.


I’m going to Charleston tomorrow!

To my beautiful, beloved city that I’ve missed somethin’ fierce.

It will be warm and sultry and full of people that I love.

I can’t wait.

Vermont or Bust!

In August I went to Vermont for a couple of days for my friends Aaron and Laura’s wedding.  It was a beautiful wedding and so perfect for them.  They got married in a hidden church in the woods that we had to walk up a dirt road to get to (though there was a guy giving hay-rides for the people who didn’t feel like making the short trek).  It’s a church that doesn’t get used regularly anymore, and as we were waiting for the ceremony to begin, we complimented Aaron on the location.  His response was, “Yeah, it’s beautiful, but we had to come in a few days ago and sweep up all the bat shit!”  Awesome.

If you can’t tell by that, they are a pretty unique and interesting couple,  and in the spirit of their relationship, they’ve decided to have an unusual honeymoon.  They’ve just moved to Vermont, where they are planning on cramming every bit of their state into the next 6 months, as an extended honeymoon.   And, fabulously, they’ve turned it into a website.  So:

I hope you’ll take a look at it.  Not only are they two of the most wonderful, kind, warm people I’ve ever met.  They are also both brilliant and hilarious, so I’m sure the blog will be nothing less.

Congrats, Aaron and Laura!  I can’t wait to follow your adventures!

Why I love fall

Damn if I don’t have a love/hate relationship with fall.  In the South, fall is a beautiful thing.   It sweeps in after the long, staggering summer with one chilly night and all of the sudden months of lovely, crisp air are laid out in front of you (well, except for the inexplicable heatwave that always comes through in October).  You finally get to wear your sweaters and your scarves, pumpkins start showing up in the grocery stores, and most importantly, football is back.  Where I’m from in Alabama, Fall lasts a long time.  Proper winter is brief, so you’ve got months and months of all that is perfect about this lovely season. 

It’s not quite like that up here.  Fall means one thing:  OH MY GOD WINTER IS ALMOST HERE. PLEASE EXCUSE ME WHILE I BURST INTO TEARS OVER HERE.

Ok, that’s a ridiculous exagerrations.  Fall also means:

1. Foliage- Listen, they aren’t messing around when they talk about the beauty of the Fall trees in New England.  That shit is magical.  The most impressive thing is how quickly it happens.  One day you drive by a perfectly serviceable green tree and the next day it is a riot of red and gold and orange bright enough to make you almost lose control of your car.  This place is beautiful right now.

2.  Candy Corn- My #1 all-time favorite candy.  This morning I walked into work and a co-worker of mine had a bowl on her desk.  I’m trying to figure out how to get her out of her office so I can dump it into my purse.   I want to find the person that invented it and kiss them on the mouth.  The quickest way to my heart is through candy corn.  (And don’t even think of bringing me those unholy pumpkins that masquerade around as a version of candy corn.  I am not fooled, and Jesus is watching you commit those sins, Brachs.)

3.  Winter clothing- Boots!  Scarves!  Hats!  I love winter clothing, and have managed to cultivate a pretty damn impressive collection of coats and jackets in my short tenure here* and I find it delightful to trot them out on occasion (and by “on occasion” I mean every day from now until May). 

4.  My birthday- It was last Saturday!  I turned 27 years old.  My September birthday is the reason that my middle name is Autumn.   

5.  And finally, but most importantly, football.  I love football. It is my favorite sport above all others.  It makes me so happy.    It especially makes me happy when my beloved team is doing extremely well.  Despite what those fucking polls say.  Ah well, what’s a good Auburn football season without getting screwed by the BCS standings and bitching about the AP Poll?  I have only this to say:  War Damn Eagle.   I’m also pleased that I have found friends up here who are excited to sit around all day on Sunday and watch football (of course, my preference would be to sit around all day on SATURDAY to watch football, but I’ll take what I can get).  They at least tolerate me talking about what happened to all the teams I love and loathe on the previous day,  so that’s good enough for me.

*If you’re keeping track, I also just passed my two-year anniversary of being in Massachusetts.   I do not know how I feel about that, so don’t even ask.

Crisp air

It’s only the very beginning of September, and even though we never had much of a summer, Autumn is already in the air here.   I’ve been waking up to cool mornings.  Certainly not so cool that I don’t want to get out of bed (well, who am I kidding?  I never want to get out of bed), but cool enough that I need a jacket when I leave in the mornings.  

The onset of cool weather gives me a certain sense of dread, these days.  It just seems too soon to be worrying about snow and coats and dark-at-4:00, especially since our summer was so brief and quick.  I don’t think we even had a single day that was over 92 or so.   Summer up here is so very different than it is in the south. 

Here are some of the things I miss:

  • Old men in Seersucker Suits – very, very common in Charleston, especially where business or society forced you into something nice when it was 110 degrees outside.  I found them so charming.
  • Giant, cheap watermelons- You can buy them here.  In the grocery store.  Shipped from Mexico.  They cost far too much money and aren’t very good.  In Alabama, you can buy them for pennies and they taste like manna from  heaven.  Or they were free, if I snatched one out of my parent’s garden.
  • HEAT- Dear god, I actually miss roasting in the heat of the south.  On many occasions, I have gotten into my car when I leave work, after it sat in the sun for 8 hours, and left the windows rolled up and not turned on the air conditioner, just so I could feel some honest-to-god heat.  I can’t believe that I miss being so hot I feel like I’m going to pass out, but I legitimately do.  When I tell people that, they look at me like I have crazy eyes (as I’m sure you are doing while you are reading this), but I’m unapologetic.  It relaxes me like nothing else can.
  • Sweet tea- OK, the stuff they have at Starbucks is actually pretty good, but it’s too expensive and I’m not around one very frequently.  I’ve had to deal with getting unsweetened iced tea from Dunkin Donuts and putting a few packs of splenda in it (because if you ask for it sweetened with sugar, they just dump a bunch into the ice-cold liquid, producing a sugar slurry at the bottom that doesn’t dissolve.  Cue fury!).  How do you get through a summer without sweet tea?