Archive for March, 2007

New people to read

Hey there y’all. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve added a few new people to my blogroll. You can go read them when you’re tired of my drivel.

Sweet Juniper

-this is my most recent favorite blog (though I still pine for you, Miss Doxie). It’s written by a couple, tag-team style. The wife is a lawyer and the husband is a “gentleman of elegant leisure.” I’m not really sure what that means, but I do know that it is fabulous. But they are kind of hippies. Lawyer hippies. It baffles the mind, I tell you! Baffles! Anyway, I like this blog for a number of reasons:

1. Because they are both very engaging, entertaining writers who write big, long, occasionally multi-part posts. I love that.

2. Even though they are parents to an adorable little girl (Juniper, which is where the site name comes from), not all of their posts are about her or parenting. But the ones that are turn out magnificent. I think what I’m trying to say here is that it is a blog with many facets. And I appreciate that.

3. I LOVE the fact that they both write it, because you very rarely have blogging couples. It is really interesting to have two different voices about the same thing on one site.

(Just a note, this will never ever happen with me and Pete, so don’t hold out for it. He isn’t so much computer literate. OK, he isn’t at all computer literate. And he only reads this site when I actually send him a link to it and say YOU NEED TO READ THIS RIGHT NOW OR MY EYEBALLS WILL MELT. He generally complies, which is good for my eyeballs.)

Whoopee

-I love this Blog. I love Antonia, who writes it. She is hilarious and has probably the best, most interesting job in the world. She reads porn for a living. Seriously, she edits porn, which is very amusing to me. She also draws funny pictures and has a baby named Esme that she sometimes keeps on a shelf (that is a lie). Her babydaddy has a moustache, but I can forgive him for that because he is also funny. Funny trumps moustache. You should go read him too.

Dad Gone Mad

-another one of my parenting blogs that I love so much (and no, I still haven’t gotten to the root of this love. Maybe I should go talk to a witch doctor). I have a major crush on him, but I’m shit out of luck because he is so in love with his wife. His kids are very cute and extra hilarious. And he also uses curse words very effectively. I strive for that.

So y’all go read these, because they are good for you. But please don’t judge me because I can’t write as well as them, ok? Swear?

Springtime

Today is the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, which means that 90 million people are in town. And they all brought their mom with them. Also, approximately 70% of the streets in the city that I usually drive on are closed, so instead of trying to deal with all the mess, I just parked very far away from work and walked in this morning.

This is a perfect time to live in Charleston, and every spring my love affair with the city starts again. Of course, by summer, when it is 115% (and I am not exaggerating here!), I’ll be back to cursing the very name of this city and the 200 settlers who came over here and decided to found a city in this putrid, foetid swamp 300 and some odd years ago. But for now! It’s all sunshine! And roses! And Lollypops that taste like moonbeams!

Everything is blooming and fragrant and striking. And, lucky for you, I took pictures.  Some of these are ones that have been sitting in my camera for two weeks, which is why the sky is so brilliantly blue in a few of these shots.  That is not the case today.  The skies are grey grey grey.  And yet?  Still beautiful.

 

And I even made a new friend:

If you live in the South East, I hope you’re enjoying this gorgeous weather we’re having. If you don’t, then consider warm wishes and hopes for no more snow coming your way. I wish you were here. Really.

Links! (or: thank god I finally finished ranting about my vacation)

51 things that can be done to stop global warming. Some of these are mostly out of your hands, like building a skyscraper (unless I am grossly misinformed about my readership), but there are other things like using a clothes line, paying your bills online, buying local produce, and turning off your computers that all of us can do. The little things help! Do it for Al!

Whenever mass populations of seemingly inconsequential creatures start dying off inexplicably, it always makes me a little nervous. I’m going to get pissed if my honey bears start costing even more, I can tell you that much!

A 16 year-old girl gets thrown off a plane for coughing too much. Uhhh…overreact much?

I don’t know what I find more unsettling: The fact that Napolean Dynomite is reproducing, or the fact that he is actually 29 years old.

Yes! Please God, yes!

In which I almost get him fired

Heh. You thought I’d forget to tell you this part, right?

Months ago, when we first started planning this trip, I had lobbied hard for Pete to get a certain direct flight from Boston to Charleston despite the fact that it cost more. My reasoning was as follows:

1. It’s a direct flight, which means the hassle factor will be minimum (HA!)

2. It flies directly into Charleston, which means that I won’t have to drive back and forth to Savannah (he usually flies Air Tran, which doesn’t come to Charleston, YET!)

3. The flight got in Monday afternoon and left Monday afternoon, which means there was no getting up early and having to rush PLUS I got a few extra hours with him.

4. Remember the no hassle part?

5. Please don’t forget the no hassle part, y’all.

6. Because of the time that it left on Monday afternoon (precisely 3:30 PM) I knew that we wouldn’t have to deal with traffic or long airport security lines. Because you know how much I hate the hassle.

Because he knows how to keep me calm and happy, he got that flight with no protest whatsoever. Picture me content and also pleased with myself for my fabulous persuasiveness and my awesome abilities at picking out the Best! Flight! Ever!

So this is us Monday morning:

9:47 AM

Me: (in a semi awake state) g’morning sweetie. It’s about 9:45. Are you awake yet

Him: ggnnnhhhhhh….

Me: yeah, me neither

9:52 AM

The construction site 3 blocks away: CLANG BANG CLACKITY RACKET RACKET YOU THINK I’M GOING TO LET YOU SLEEP UNTIL 10?? HAHAHAH! SUCKERS! CLANG CLANG CLANG

Me: [Buries head in pillow]

Him: [Confusedly] mmnnnngggnnnhhhh?

9:58 AM

Me: GODDAMMIT! EVERYTHING NEEDS TO SHUT UP! GAAAAAHHH!

Him: Ok, now I’m awake.

9:59 AM

Me: Want to go eat some biscuits?

9:59.20 AM

Him: [is awake, up, dressed, and ready to go eat some damn biscuits, woman! Why are you still in bed!?] Ok! Lets go!

So we went to the amazing restaurant a few blocks down from where I live and gorged ourselves on grits and biscuits, and then we went home and took a nap because my brilliant, meticulous planning made it so that we still had HOURS before he had to be at the airport. I am so smart!

When we finally started getting motivated to actually go to the airport, it was in the 2 o’clock hour. Someone had told Pete that there was a convenience store near my museum where you can buy RC Cola in a glass bottle, and he wouldn’t let us leave until he had purchased a genuine article of the American South (though it ended up being a lie, since they, in fact, do not sell RC Cola in glass bottles). By the time we got to the store so that Pete could have his dreams shattered, and made it back to the car, it was 2:45. Now this is where a reasonable person would start thinking: “uhhhh…damn, we need to hurry!” I, however, am a totally irrational and ridiculous person who thinks, “oh heck, y’all, it only takes about 5 minutes to get to the airport from here and the it will only take a few minutes to check in and get through security, especially because of my brilliant planning. Nothing to worry about!” So instead of getting in the car and IMMEDIATELY driving AS FAST AS LEGALLY POSSIBLE (because mom: I don’t speed!), I decide we have so much time in the world that I can just swing by the waterfront on the way out so that I can try and show Pete the tall ship that lives in Charleston Harbor (which, of course, isn’t actually there).

I’m sure you can all see where this is going, but let me just revel in my idiocy for a while, ok?

So FINALLY, we start driving to the airport and it does not take 5 minutes. Honestly, what in the hell was I thinking? I’ve driven to the airport at least 9,000 times and it NEVER has taken me 5 minutes. EVER. But not to worry, dear! I know it is now 3:05 and we are just now pulling into the parking garage, but security is such a breeze and the airport is so teensy tiny that you’ll just be able to walk in the door, toss your bag in the general direction of the Delta Counter and just walk onto your plane. You’ll see. I’m so brilliant and smart. Go me!

And then I learned a very valuable lesson. Let me share it with you: YOU MUST ARRIVE AT LEAST 30 MINUTES PRIOR TO DEPARTURE. And by arrive, they mean at the ticket counter, ready to check in. They do not mean be on the interstate at least 30 minutes prior to departure. They do not mean be in the parking garage making out 30 minutes prior to departure. When they say 30 minutes prior to departure, they mean it.

So, therefore, when we finally saunter into the airport at 3:13 and Pete goes to check in, he is informed (nicely, I must add) that YOU MUST ARRIVE AT LEAST 30 MINUTES PRIOR TO DEPARTURE. And if you arrive after said time, they will give your neglected little seat away. Oh yes. Some other person will happily sit their on-time ass right in your seat and take your perfectly timed, well though out direct flight right into Boston. That person will not be you! You=SCREWED.

In my head, the logical thing to do would have been to start weeping and fall on the floor in a heap. Thank God Pete has a clearer head, because he rationally asked the Delta lady what he could do. Fortunately, there was a flight he could get to Atlanta. Unfortunately, the last flight from Atlanta to Boston was sold out. So, essentially, you’re still screwed! I frantically started throwing out other cities nearby that we could drive to: Savannah (nope) Myrtle Beach (nope) Columbia (sorry!) Charlotte (yes! But you have to be there in less than 2 hours. Do you have a solid gold rocket car?) (so, no). The Delta lady (who’s name is Sherry, and god bless her! She was being so incredibly nice and helpful, probably because she felt so sorry for Pete since he had to deal with a girl so stupid that she didn’t actually think the YOU MUST ARRIVE 30 MINUTES PRIOR TO YOUR DEPARTURE rule didn’t actually apply to her.) suggested that Pete go ahead and reserve the flight to Atlanta, and then try to find a flight that would get him from there to Boston.

Alright! Now I finally have a mission! Instead of standing there, wishing that I somehow could rectify this unbelievably stupid thing I did and stop feeling like the most incredibly worthless human being on the face of the earth, I could actually try and help! So off to the Continental counter I go!

Me: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD YOU HAVE GOT TO HELP ME

Him: Ok! I can put him on a flight from Atlanta to Philly and then from Philly to Boston. But he won’t arrive in Boston until 7:55 tomorrow morning. I will also require a the payment of one kidney. The good one. Up front.

Me: Can you print that out for me?

[I run to Pete, at the United counter, who is listening to the ticket guy tell him that since he’s a teacher, he at least gets Union benefits so it will probably be hard for them to fire him. This is a bad sign. Pete is explaining to him that he’s a private school teacher, so no dice on the Union thing. I suddenly realize that not only am I responsible for him missing his flight, I will also be responsible for him being FIRED from his job. I am the worst girlfriend in the world]

Me: They can get you there tomorrow morning, but they need a kidney!

Him: Look, if I’m giving up a kidney, they better get me there tonight.

[we walk away to a corner to figure out what to do]

Pete: (in his one moment of frustration) FUCK!

But wait! I still have an idea! I tell him to call Air Tran and see if they have anything flying to Boston. I can’t call myself because, OF COURSE, I have left my phone at home. I am worthless! So he calls Air Tran and I am hopeful! Air Tran will solve all of our problems! This will be ok and work out and he won’t get fired!

Him: Sold out. All of them.

Me: [I burst into tears] Oh my God this is all my fault. You’re going to get fired because of me! And now you have seen my ineptitude in person! I’m no longer cute and planny and brilliant! I suck! I’m so sorry! Please forgive me for this!

At which point he does the best possible thing in the world: he laughs. And then he hugged me and kissed me and wiped my face off and told me that it was an honest mistake and he should have realized that we needed to get there earlier, etc. and that I can’t blame myself for this. And that he isn’t fired yet and there are still options and it isn’t going to do any good to sit here in the airport and weep. I feel 9 million times better, though I’m still worried that he’s going to be fired.

We walk back up to the Delta counter so that he can tell Sherry that he definitely wants that seat on the flight to Atlanta and then we can figure out what to do there. And LO! The heavens have opened up! Sherry has done it! While we were out talking to other airlines and while I was crying in the middle of the airport, she has discovered an alternate route! He can fly directly into LaGuardia and then take a shuttle flight into Boston! TONIGHT! And how much is it going to cost? Nothing! No charge!

Me: YOU MAGNIFICENT WOMAN! I AM GOING TO NAME MY FIRST BORN CHILD AFTER YOU!

Sherry: [is horrified]

Pete: [is equally horrified]

Me: What I meant to say is that I appreciate this very much.

So it all worked out in the end. And my heart started beating again. And we even had time to go to the airport bar and have some gin. And Pete got into Boston safe and sound and in an reasonably timely manner. And he made it will all of his organs in tact.

And I will forever be grateful to a woman named Sherry Nickel. Sherry Nickel, I hope that one day you Google your name and you find this entry. I hope you Google “Sherry Nickel is an amazing, fabulous, glamorous woman” and it leads you to this entry. You ARE amazing and fabulous and glamorous, and I feel quite certain that you prevented 5 or 6 years being shaved off of my life. Thank you thank you thank you. I may be a little bit in love with you.

Alabama alarm clock

On Sunday morning we slept in. We had sorta initially discussed leaving in the mid-morning (though that did go against our “no-planning” plan), but once we woke up we just ended up lollygagging around all damn day.

While we were still hovering between sleep and wake, we were suddenly vaulted into awakeness by the sound of a screaming chicken and lots of crashes coming from somewhere below us (we were sleeping upstairs). My mother had left the laundry room door cracked, and somehow one of the chickens had managed to push it open and come into the laundry room (no doubt lured by the pungent scent of cat food). Once she got inside, she suddenly discovered she didn’t know how to get out and started getting a little nervous. My mom heard her and went in to try and help her, which the chicken interpreted as a direct declaration of war with an intent to make it as scary and painful as possible and the chicken EXPLODED all over the laundry room, jumping on every flat surface available, knocking down anything that wasn’t nailed down, squawking, and flapping her wings as she frantically tried to extract herself from such a dangerous situation. Idiot.

This is what woke us up.

This is what woke me and my Yankee boyfriend from Massachusetts up.

A chicken. In the house.

Welcome to Alabama, baby.

After we got up and ate breakfast and sat around on the deck for a while, we decided to go for a walk in the woods (“seeing the estate”). It was actually pretty damn hot as far as March goes; I think it was around 90 or so by midday. We walked for about an hour, mercifully snake-free, though we did have a contingency plan in case that happened. That contingency plan was this: If we see a snake, be prepared to carry me shaking and crying out of the woods. It was lovely, and I think Pete really enjoyed seeing the woods of Alabama. I certainly enjoyed the excursion, though I did not enjoy the inescapable scent of Deet that permeated every ounce of my being for the next two days.

We saw some pretty flowers:

 

And a spiderweb covered in pollen:

 

“achoo!”

After we got back from the walk, we packed everything up, had lunch, and got back on the road for Charleston. We arrived back in Charleston around 9 PM, just in time to go out and have a nice farewell dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Hank’s, which, once again, consisted of massive amounts of seafood (though this time, mercifully, without the awful redition of “Margaritaville”).

Oh, and the facial hair is a different post entirely

After we went sailing, we drove back to the beach house to get our bearings and figure out what we were doing for dinner. We had a theme for the weekend that was basically, “whatever we are doing more than 1 hour from now we will figure out in 45 minutes. Now get me another beer.” My parents were exhausted and perfectly happy to eat a light dinner based on what was left from our lunch on the boat (which, admittedly, was pretty damn good. It was a veritable feast of smelly cheeses, snooty olives, and various “spreads”). I, however, would not stand by that, as one of my primary goals whenever I go to the beach is to personally consume as much seafood as I humanly can, often resulting in either Iodine poisoning or the de-population of a small snow-crab colony in the Aleutian Islands. Thankfully it was the latter this time, though I do foresee Iodine poisoning sometime in my future.

Pete and I mindlessly drove around the little town we were staying in until I spied a place that would likely offer me an obscene amount of steamed seafood in a kitchy setting that may include A) a roll of paper towels on the table B) flat wear in a little paper bag C) cold, cheap beer, and D) some sort of bucket on the table in which I would discard the tiny carcasses of the animals I would feast upon.

We found one eventually that met all of the former requirements and along with the bonus features of terrible, live beach music on the patio (which I steered away from. Nothing ruins a big plate of seafood for me like mediocre renditions of Jimmy Buffett songs and “Brown Eyed Girl”). I was sorely tempted to order something that was called “The Big” but I settled for a lesser plate of steamed shrimp and snow crab legs. It was still quite massive, requiring the waitress to brace it with two hands as she lowered a plate roughly the size of a garbage can lid, and I had slight apprehension that I was about to do as much damage to my relationship as I was to those giant clusters of sweet, sweet crustacean. Nothing takes the shine off of romance like seeing your girlfriend gleefully devour a mountain of flesh. That’s hot, y’all!

And despite the fact that I had to ask him on 2 separate occasions to please roll up my sleeves because my hands were too covered in crab boil and melted butter to be able to function on my own he did not break up with me. And he even kissed me right there at the dinner even though I looked like this:

Do you need to see a closeup of those yucky hands?

I am such a lady.

The next day we went back to my parents house so that our drive back to Charleston wouldn’t be so long on Sunday. We spent the afternoon tending to the horses, drinking more beer, and listening to NPR while Pete and my father did silly ridiculous accents that caused my mother to laugh so hard she may have experienced a minor aneurysm. Good times.

My parents have a cat named Top Gun (or “Toppy” as I call him, but it must be said with the Cockney accent. It just doesn’t sound right unless it is coming out in the voice of a 19th century street urchin with Galloping Consumption) who is a notorious hunter. He has brought in all manner of animals into my parents house at 3 AM which he deposits in the bathtub so that he can torture them for a few hours before eating all or most of them. He will occasionally leave behind little treasures for my mother to find in the morning such as a collection of entrails, a single tiny liver, or the nose and whiskers of some sort of rodent. He once left behind the back half of a rabbit, but the only reason he didn’t eat the entire thing was because it was a large rabbit, almost the same size as he was. This has declined in recent months (since he got snipped. “brain surgery” as the vet called it). Now he tends to entertain himself with large lizards and reptilian animals, though ever since the got bitten in the head by a rattlesnake and almost died, he’s stopped messing with those.

My parents also have two chickens and a Rooster named “Caligula” (I have no idea. Don’t even ask). At one point, Pete ordered Toppy to go catch him some small furry animal so that he could make a Russian hat for Caligula to wear. Maybe he though his beak would get cold or something? Who knows. He’s crazy.

About 2 hours later we were making dinner when I saw Toppy dash by with something vaguely furry and wiggling in his mouth. I screamed “what in the HELL do you have!?” and he turned an stared at me with an “If you take this from me I will devour you soul” look as a little tiny rabbit struggled between his ferocious teeth. Mom held him down while daddy gingerly extracted the incredibly cute and heartbreakingly terrified little bunny.

 

“Oh my god I’m gonna die AHHHHH”

We were all aflutter and Pete just stood there and said “Holy shit! That cat just did what I told it to! I can order cats around.”

And just like that, he decided that he likes cats. Maybe things will work out for us after all. And maybe we will have an army of cats! Which we can train to defeat the snakes of the world!

 

 

 

 

Getting my bearings

Oooohhhh Lawzy! I’m back and I feel completely discombobulated. It is shocking that it is this hard to get back into a regular schedule after taking an entire week off of work. I woke up this morning (after a terrible night’s sleep because my bed was cold. Why did my heater go back to Massachusetts?) completely confused and bothered and not quite sure what I was supposed to be doing. Was I going sailing today? Did I get to go downstairs in my pyjamas and talk to Pete while he cooked me eggs? Why in GOD’S name was my alarm going off? Why is it noisy outside? Aren’t the woods of Alabama usually really quiet in the morning? Is that a garbage truck I hear? WTF?

And then: AHHHHH! I have to go to wooorrrk. I’m all aloooone. Bleck. Whine whine whine.

But damn, y’all. I had so much fun this week. It was great and perfect and warm and sunny and entertaining (except for the very last part, when I almost got Pete fired, but I’ll get to that later). Everyone got along very well. My parents loved Pete. He loved them. We didn’t kill each other even once during the multiple long drives, and, in fact, I wasn’t even annoyed or frustrated at him (except for when he told me he didn’t like Weezer. Because: Oh my God! How can a human being not like Weezer? Is that even possible?). He may have gotten annoyed and frustrated at me, especially when I started yelling at the stupid, selfish cows driving 40 mph in the left lane on the interstate, GOD! But, if he did, he kept it quiet.

We drove down to Alabama on Wednesday afternoon (did I say we were leaving in the morning? Well, I lied.) and then on Thursday morning (-ish) we drove down to Mobile bay so we could go sailing. We spent most of Friday sailing and had a great time. The weather was perfect. Warm but not hot with a nice steady wind. Really ideal conditions. I also got to see my parent’s marina for the first time. We used to keep our boat in a marina called Pirate’s Cove in Perdido Bay, which is right on the Alabama/Florida border, but it was destroyed by hurricane Ivan, rebuilt, and then almost immediately re-destroyed by hurricane Katrina. Ever since then, there has been a shortage of Marinas in the gulf coast area, so my parent’s have their boat in this very salty marina in Mobile bay.

Let me teach you a nautical term: Salty. Salty is used to describe a person or object related to the sea that is A) in a state of disrepair B) in a state of repair but it is hard to distinguish C) rather, shall we say, colorful or D) weatherbeaten.

Here are some examples of things that are salty:

1. Captain MacAlister:

2. The merry band of pirates from the Black Pearl

3. Old ramshackle fish camps

And

4. My parent’s marina

Now, salty can be used as a good or bad term. Often, sailors with a lot of experience are referred to as “salty” with some sense of reverence. Other times, as in the case of this marina, it isn’t necessarily a good thing. Now my dad loves this sort of thing. He thinks it adds character. I think it is funny. Because salty marinas tend to attract an unusual class of people. People, for example, who would have a boat named something like this:

I swear to god that is completely un-retouched and true to life. My friends, this is what happens when rednecks win the lottery.

Here are a few more pictures from the excursion:

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, y’all. I have more to write about and more pictures, but I need to go to the bank right now. Entertain yourself for a while, and I’ll be back later to finish up this story. Cheers!